Friday, 19 February 2010

the unpronounceable divine name

...Over the centuries, the Jewish community has avoided using or pronouncing the divine name in public. Thus, when reading the name of God in Hebrew, the Masoretes wrote the four consonants YHWH and inserted the vowels of the Hebrew word Adonai, a word that means “the Lord.”

The name Jehovah is a hybrid name. The name was formed by the use of the Tetragrammaton YHWH with the vowels of Adonai and the result was YeHoWaH. This hybrid name became the basis for the Latinized name Jehovah.

The name Jehovah was not known until sometime after 1278 when a Dominican monk by the name of Raymundus Martini, a Spaniard, first used it in his book Pugeo Fidei. The name Jehovah appeared in English when William Tyndale translated the book of Moses in 1530. Thus, the name Jehovah is an artificial creation that was not used until the Middle Ages. It does not reflect an accurate rendering of the divine name in the Hebrew Bible and its use should be avoided....

as usual, professor mariottini has an excellent write-up on the divine name. read the whole blog entry here.

7 comments:

逍遥子 Odysseus said...

very good reb,,,,thats why NIV using , the Lord,,,

anyway,,,by then "jehovah witness"got problem already to identify themselves...hehe

they still think that God's name is Jehovah,,,at the same time claiming that, they are superb good in original hebrew text...

anthony said...

according to claude, that's not good enough as God wants us to say his name!

we should stop singing jehovah jireh and change it to yahweh yireh.

we leave the JWs to themselves.

sp lim said...

I think the Chinese Bible translate 'the LORD' as 耶和华 which is a transliteration of Jehovah. Should they change it to something else? They can't capitalize the word 主.
雅伟? (my own transliteration of Yahweh) or 上帝, the Supreme God.

上帝 is never represented with images or idols in Chinese tradition. (see Shangdi in Wikipedia). Some have argued that the early Chinese were monotheist.

Guide me O Thou Great Yahweh is a bit difficult to sing.

逍遥子 Odysseus said...

apparently Yahweh is also salah...

should abide to Jewish tradition, say adonai or YHWH in written form.

anthony said...

the jewish tradition is to avoid saying yhwh (with whatever vowels to it) and replaced it completely with another word adonay (ketib and qere readings).
but it doesn't solve the problem. yhwh is ok for reading but we need to say something when we come to this word.
yahweh is probably the closest to the original according to many scholars (if based on the root word).

gokibin said...

Rabbi, as Christians, are we still bound by the Jewish practice of not pronouncing God's name? I'm all for solemn practices which I think make worship more sacred. But where do we draw the line?

anthony said...

surely we are not bound by present jewish practices. the only problem is nobody knows exactly how to pronounce yhwh either.