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The Tetragrammaton (; ), or Tetragram, is the four-letter
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
word (transliterated as YHWH), the name of the
national god National gods are a class of guardian divinities or deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatura ...
of
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
. The four letters, read from right to left, are ''
yodh Yodh (also spelled jodh, yod, jod, or yud) is the tenth letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signif ...
'', '' he'', '' waw'', and ''he''. While there is no consensus about the structure and etymology of the name, the form ''
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
'' is now accepted almost universally. The books of the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
and the rest of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
except
Esther Esther is described in all versions of the Book of Esther The Book of Esther (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historica ...
,
Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes (; Hebrew language, Hebrew: , , grc, Ἐκκλησιαστής, ) written , is one of the Ketuvim ("Writings") of the Hebrew Bible and one of the wisdom literature, "Wisdom" books of the Christianity, Christian Old Testament. Th ...

Ecclesiastes
, and (with a possible instance in verse 8:6) the
Song of Songs The Song of Songs ( he, שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים ; grc-gre, ᾎσμα ᾀσμάτων, Âisma āismátōn, ; la, Canticum canticōrum, ), also Song of Solomon, Canticle of Canticles, or Canticles, is one of the ' (scrolls) found in th ...
contain this
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
name. Observant
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
and those who follow
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
ic Jewish traditions do not pronounce nor do they read aloud proposed transcription forms such as ''Yahweh'' or ''
Yehovah Jehovah () is a Romanization, Latinization of the Hebrew language, Hebrew ''Yəhōwā'', one Tiberian vocalization, vocalization of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH), the proper name of the God in Judaism, God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible and is co ...
''; instead they replace it with a different term, whether in addressing or referring to the God of Israel. Common substitutions in Hebrew are
Adonai Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the ...

Adonai
("My Lord") or
Elohim In the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passa ...

Elohim
(literally "gods" but treated as singular when meaning "God") in prayer, or ''
HaShem Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the ...
'' ("The Name") in everyday speech.


Four letters

The letters, properly read from right to left (in
Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroas ...
), are:


Vocalisation


YHWH and Hebrew script

Like all letters in the Hebrew script, the letters in YHWH originally indicated consonants. In unpointed Biblical Hebrew, most vowels are not written, but some are indicated ambiguously, as certain letters came to have a secondary function indicating vowels (similar to the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
use of I and V to indicate either the consonants /j, w/ or the vowels /i, u/). Hebrew letters used to indicate vowels are known as ' or ''
matres lectionis ''Matres lectionis'' (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
'' ("mothers of reading"). Therefore, it can be difficult to deduce how a word is pronounced from its spelling, and each of the four letters in the Tetragrammaton can individually serve as a ''mater lectionis''. Several centuries later, the original of the Hebrew Bible was provided with vowel marks by the
Masoretes The Masoretes ( he, בעלי המסורה, Ba'alei ha-Masora) were groups of Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites I ...
to assist reading. In places where the word to be read (the ''qere'') differed from that indicated by the consonants of the written text (the ''ketiv''), they wrote the ''qere'' in the margin as a note showing what was to be read. In such a case the vowel marks of the ''qere'' were written on the ''ketiv''. For a few frequent words, the marginal note was omitted: these are called qere perpetuum. One of the frequent cases was the Tetragrammaton, which according to later Rabbinite Jewish practices should not be pronounced but read as "
Adonai Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the ...

Adonai
" (/"my Lord"), or, if the previous or next word already was
Adonai Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the ...

Adonai
, as "
Elohim In the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passa ...

Elohim
" (/"God"). Writing the vowel diacritics of these two words on the consonants YHVH produces and respectively, non-words that would spell "Yehovah" and "Yehovih" respectively. The oldest complete or nearly complete manuscripts of the
Masoretic Text The Masoretic Text (MT or 𝕸; he, נוסח המסורה, Nusakh Ham'mas'sora) is the authoritative Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic languag ...
with Tiberian vocalisation, such as the ''
Aleppo Codex The Aleppo Codex ( he, כֶּתֶר אֲרָם צוֹבָא, romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by huma ...
'' and the ''
Leningrad Codex The Leningrad Codex ( la, Codex Leningradensis, the "codex The codex (plural codices ()) was the historical ancestor of the modern book A book is a medium for recording information Information can be thought of as the resolution o ...
'', both of the 10th or 11th century, mostly write (''yhwah''), with no pointing on the first ''h''. It could be because the ''o'' diacritic point plays no useful role in distinguishing between ''Adonai'' and ''
Elohim In the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passa ...

Elohim
'' and so is redundant, or it could point to the ''qere'' being (''šəmâ''), which is
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
for "the Name".


Yahweh

The scholarly consensus is that the original pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was ''Yahweh'' (): "The strong consensus of biblical scholarship is that the original pronunciation of the name YHWH ... was Yahweh." R. R. Reno agrees that, when in the late first millennium Jewish scholars inserted indications of vowels into the Hebrew Bible, they signalled that what was pronounced was "Adonai" (Lord); non-Jews later combined the vowels of Adonai with the consonants of the Tetragrammaton and invented the name "Jehovah." Modern scholars reached a consensus should be pronounced "Yahweh". Paul Joüon and Takamitsu Muraoka state: "The Qre is ''the Lord'', whilst the Ktiv is probably (according to ancient witnesses)", and they add: "Note 1: In our translations, we have used ''Yahweh'', a form widely accepted by scholars, instead of the traditional ''Jehovah.''"Paul Joüon and T. Muraoka. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (Subsidia Biblica). Part One: Orthography and Phonetics. Rome : Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblio, 1996. . Already in 1869, when, as shown by the use of the then traditional form "Jehovah" as title for its article on the question, the present strong consensus that the original pronunciation was "Yahweh" had not yet attained full force, ''
Smith's Bible Dictionary ''Smith's Bible Dictionary'', originally named ''A Dictionary of the Bible'', is a 19th-century Bible dictionary containing upwards of four thousand entries that became named after its editor, William Smith (lexicographer), William Smith. Its popu ...
'', a collaborative work of noted scholars of the time, declared: "Whatever, therefore, be the true pronunciation of the word, there can be little doubt that it is not ''Jehovah''." Mark P. Arnold remarks that certain conclusions drawn from the pronunciation of as "Yahweh" would be valid even if the scholarly consensus were not correct. Thomas Römer holds that "the original pronunciation of Yhwh was 'Yahô' or 'Yahû'". The adoption at the time of the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
of "Jehovah" in place of the traditional "Lord" in some new translations, vernacular or Latin, of the biblical Tetragrammaton stirred up dispute about its correctness. In 1711,
Adriaan Reland Adriaan Reland 1676 - 1718 Adriaan Reland (also known as ''Adriaen Reeland/Reelant'', ''Hadrianus Relandus'') (17 July 1676, De Rijp, North Holland North Holland ( nl, Noord-Holland ) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlan ...

Adriaan Reland
published a book containing the text of 17th-century writings, five attacking and five defending it. As critical of the use of "Jehovah" it incorporated writings by (1550–1616), known as Drusius; (1593–1629);
Louis Cappel Louis Cappel (15 October 1585 – 18 June 1658) was a France, French Protestant Clergy, churchman and scholar. A Huguenot, he was born at St Elier, near Sedan, France, Sedan. He studied theology at the Academy of Sedan and the Academy of Saumur, an ...

Louis Cappel
(1585–1658);
Johannes Buxtorf Johannes Buxtorf ( la, Johannem Buxtorfium) (December 25, 1564September 13, 1629) was a celebrated Hebraist, member of a family of Orientalists; professor of Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic lang ...

Johannes Buxtorf
(1564–1629); Jacob Alting (1618–1679). Defending "Jehovah" were writings by Nicholas Fuller (1557–1626) and Thomas Gataker (1574–1654) and three essays by Johann Leusden (1624–1699). The opponents of "Jehovah" said that the Tetragrammaton should be pronounced as "Adonai" and in general do not speculate on what may have been the original pronunciation, although mention is made of the fact that some held that ''Jahve'' was that pronunciation. Almost two centuries after the 17th-century works reprinted by Reland, 19th-century
Wilhelm Gesenius Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius (3 February 178623 October 1842) was a German orientalist, lexicographer Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups: * Practical lexicography is the art or craft A craft ...

Wilhelm Gesenius
reported in his ''Thesaurus Philologicus'' on the main reasoning of those who argued either for /''Yahwoh'' or /''Yahweh'' as the original pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, as opposed to /''Yehovah'', citing explicitly as supporters of the 17th-century writers mentioned by Reland and implicitly
Johann David Michaelis Johann David Michaelis (27 February 1717 – 22 August 1791), a famous and eloquent Prussian Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent Germans, German state that originated in 1525 with Duchy of Prus ...

Johann David Michaelis
(1717–1791) and
Johann Friedrich von Meyer Johann Friedrich von Meyer (12 September 1772 – 28 January 1849) was a senator of Frankfurt, who published a translation of the Bible in 1819 (''Die heilige Schrift in berichtigter Übersetzung mit kurzen Anmerkungen''; 2nd edition, 1823; 3rd edit ...

Johann Friedrich von Meyer
(1772–1849), the latter of whom Johann Heinrich Kurtz described as the last of those "who have maintained with great pertinacity that was the correct and original pointing". Edward Robinson's translation of a work by Gesenius, gives the personal view of Gesenius as: "My own view coincides with that of those who regard this name as anciently pronounced
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
like the Samaritans."


Non-biblical texts


Texts with Tetragrammaton

The oldest known inscription of the Tetragrammaton dates to 840 BCE: the
Mesha Stele The Mesha Stele, also known as the Moabite Stone, is a stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in E ...
mentions the Israelite god ''Yahweh''. Of the same century are two pottery sherds found at
Kuntillet Ajrud Kuntillet Ajrud ( ar, كونتيلة عجرود) is a late 9th/early 8th centuries BCE site in the northeast part of the Sinai Peninsula. It is frequently described as a shrine, though this is not certain. Excavations Kuntillet Ajrud (Arabic كو ...
with inscriptions mentioning "Yahweh of
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
and his
Asherah Asherah , ''ʾăšērâ''; Ugaritic language, Ugaritic: 𐎀𐎘𐎗𐎚 ''Aṯirat'', name=, group= in ancient Semitic religion, is a mother goddess who appears in a number of ancient sources. She appears in Akkadian literature, Akkadian wri ...
" and "Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah". A tomb inscription at Khirbet el-Qom also mentions Yahweh. Dated slightly later (7th century BCE) there are an ostracon from the collections of Shlomo Moussaieff, and two tiny silver amulet scrolls found at
Ketef Hinnom Ketef Hinnom ( he, כֵּתֵף הִינוֹם ', "shoulder of Hinnom") is an archaeological site southwest of the Old City of Jerusalem, adjacent to St Andrew's Church, Jerusalem, St. Andrew's Church, now on the grounds of the Menachem Begin Herit ...
that mention Yahweh. Also a wall inscription, dated to the late 6th century BCE, with mention of Yahweh had been found in a tomb at Khirbet Beit Lei. Yahweh is mentioned also in the
Lachish letters The Lachish Letters or ''Lachish Ostraca'', sometimes called ''Hoshaiah Letters'', are a series of letters written in carbon ink containing Canaanite inscriptions in Ancient Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwe ...
(587 BCE) and the slightly earlier
Tel Arad Tel Arad ( ar, تل عراد, he, תל ערד) is an archaeological tel, or mound, located west of the Dead Sea, about west of the modern Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as ...

Tel Arad
ostraca, and on a stone from
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew Samaritan Hebrew () is a reading tradition used liturgically by the Samaritans The Samaritans (; Samaritan Hebrew: , ' (, 'Guardians/Keepers/Watchers (of the Torah)'); he, שומרונים, ''Shomronim'' ...
(3rd or the beginning of the 2nd century BCE).


Texts with similar theonyms

The
theonym A theonym (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
s YHW and YHH are found in the Elephantine papyri of about 500 BCE. One ostracon with YH is thought to have lost the final letter of an original YHW. These texts are in
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
, not the language of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (YHWH) and, unlike the Tetragrammaton, are of three letters, not four. However, because they were written by Jews, they are assumed to refer to the same deity and to be either an abbreviated form of the Tetragrammaton or the original name from which the name YHWH developed. Kristin De Troyer says that YHW or YHH, and also YH, are attested in the fifth and fourth-century BCE papyri from Elephantine and Wadi Daliyeh: "In both collections one can read the name of God as Yaho (or Yahu) and Ya". The name YH (Yah/Jah), the first syllable of "Yahweh", appears 50 times in the Old Testament, 26 times alone (Exodus 15:2; 17:16; and 24 times in the Psalms), 24 times in the expression "Hallelujah". An
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
ian
hieroglyph A hieroglyph (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximat ...
ic inscription of the
Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the conte ...

Pharaoh
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, imn-ḥtp(.w) "Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ámmōn'', ''Hámmōn'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, ancient Egyptian deity who appears ...

Amenhotep III
(1402-1363 BCE) mentions a group of
Shasu The Shasu ( from Egyptian ''šꜣsw'', probably pronounced ''Shaswe'') were Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East ...

Shasu
whom it calls "the Shashu of Yhw³" (read as: ''ja-h-wi'' or ''ja-h-wa''). James D. G. Dunn and John W. Rogerson tentatively suggest that the Amenhotep III inscription may indicate that worship of Yahweh originated in an area to the southeast of Palestine. A later inscription from the time of
Ramesses II Ramesses II ( egy, rꜥ-ms-sw meaning "Ra is the one who bore him", ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', ; ) was the third pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state ...
(1279-1213) in West Amara associates the Shasu nomads with ''S-rr'', interpreted as
Mount Seir Mount Seir ( he, הַר-שֵׂעִיר, ''Har Se'ir'') is the ancient and biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, ...
, spoken of in some texts as where Yahweh comes from.
Frank Moore Cross Frank Moore Cross Jr. (1921–2012) was the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages Emeritus at Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was th ...
says: "It must be emphasized that the Amorite verbal form is of interest only in attempting to reconstruct the proto-Hebrew or South Canaanite verbal form used in the name Yahweh. We should argue vigorously against attempts to take Amorite yuhwi and yahu as divine epithets." According to De Troyer, the short names, instead of being ineffable like "Yahweh", seem to have been in spoken use not only as elements of personal names but also in reference to God: "The Samaritans thus seem to have pronounced the Name of God as Jaho or Ja." She cites
Theodoret Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus ( grc-gre, Θεοδώρητος Κύρρου; AD 393 –  458/466) was an influential theologian of the School of Antioch The Catechetical School of Antioch was one of the two major centers of the study of ...
(c. 393 – c. 460) as that the shorter names of God were pronounced by the Samaritans as "Iabe" and by the Jews as "Ia". She adds that the Bible also indicates that the short form "Yah" was spoken, as in the phrase " Halleluyah". The ''
Patrologia Graeca The ''Patrologia Graeca'' (or ''Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca'') is an edited collection of writings by the Christian Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were anc ...
'' texts of Theodoret differ slightly from what De Troyer says. In ''Quaestiones in Exodum'' 15 he says that Samaritans pronounced the name Ἰαβέ and Jews the name Άϊά. (The Greek term Άϊά is a transcription of the Exodus 3:14 phrase אֶהְיֶה (''ehyeh''), "I am".) In ''Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium'' 5.3, he uses the spelling Ἰαβαί.


Magical papyri

Among the Jews in the
Second Temple Period The Second Temple period in Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism a ...
magical amulets became very popular. Representations of the Tetragrammaton name or combinations inspired by it in languages such as Greek and Coptic, giving some indication of its pronunciation, occur as names of powerful agents in
Jewish magical papyri Jewish magical papyri are a subclass of papyri with specific Jewish magical uses, and which shed light on popular belief during the late Second Temple Period The Second Temple period in Jewish history lasted between 516 BCE and 70 CE, when the Se ...
found in Egypt. ''Iave'' and ''Yaba'' occurs frequently, "apparently the Samaritan enunciation of the tetragrammaton YHWH (Yahweh)". The most commonly invoked god is Ιαω (''Iaō''), another vocalization of the tetragrammaton YHWH. There is a single instance of the heptagram (''iaōouēe''). ''Yāwē'' is found in an Ethiopian Christian list of magical names of Jesus, purporting to have been taught by him to his disciples.


Hebrew Bible


Masoretic Text

According to the
Jewish Encyclopedia ''The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day'' is an English-language encyclopedia containing over 15,000 articles on the ...
it occurs 5,410 times in the Hebrew scriptures. In the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
, the Tetragrammaton occurs 6828 times, as can be seen in Kittel's ''Biblia Hebraica'' and the '' Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia''. In addition, the marginal notes or ''masorah''''masora parva'' (small) or ''masora marginalis'': notes to the Masoretic text, written in the margins of the left, right and between the columns and the comments on the top and bottom margins to ''masora magna'' (large). indicate that in another 134 places, where the received text has the word ''Adonai'', an earlier text had the Tetragrammaton.C. D. Ginsburg in ''The Massorah. Compiled from manuscripts'', London 1880
vol I, p. 25, 26, § 115
lists the 134 places where this practice is observed, and likewise in 8 places where the received text has ''Elohim'' (C. D. Ginsburg, ''Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible'', London 1897
s. 368, 369
. These places are listed in: C.D. Ginsburg, ''The Massorah. Compiled from manuscripts'', vol I, p. 26
§ 116
which would add up to 142 additional occurrences. Even in the
Dead Sea Scrolls The Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are and religious first found in 1947 at the in what was then , near in the , on the northern shore of the . Dating back to between the and the , the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered ...

Dead Sea Scrolls
practice varied with regard to use of the Tetragrammaton. According to ''
Brown–Driver–Briggs ''A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament'', more commonly known as ''Brown–Driver–Briggs'' or ''BDB'' (from the name of its three authors) is a standard reference for Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Le ...
'', ( ''qere'' ) occurs 6,518 times, and (qere ) 305 times in the Masoretic Text. The first appearance of the Tetragrammaton is in the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including th ...

Book of Genesis
2:4. The only books it does not appear in are
Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes (; Hebrew language, Hebrew: , , grc, Ἐκκλησιαστής, ) written , is one of the Ketuvim ("Writings") of the Hebrew Bible and one of the wisdom literature, "Wisdom" books of the Christianity, Christian Old Testament. Th ...

Ecclesiastes
, the
Book of Esther The Book of Esther (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans ...
, and
Song of Songs The Song of Songs ( he, שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים ; grc-gre, ᾎσμα ᾀσμάτων, Âisma āismátōn, ; la, Canticum canticōrum, ), also Song of Solomon, Canticle of Canticles, or Canticles, is one of the ' (scrolls) found in th ...
. In the Book of Esther the Tetragrammaton does not appear, but it has been distinguished
acrostic An acrostic is a (or other form of writing) in which the first letter (or syllable, or word) of each line (or , or other recurring feature in the text) spells out a word, message or the alphabet. The word comes from the French ''acrostiche'' fro ...

acrostic
-wise in the initial or last letters of four consecutive words,These are Est 1:20; 5:4, 13 and 7:7. The same acrostic has been seen in Exodus 3:14 and in the first four words of
Psalm 96 Psalm 96 is the 96th psalm of the Book of Psalms The Book of Psalms ( or ; he, תְּהִלִּים, , lit. "praises"), commonly referred to simply as Psalms, the Psalter or "the Psalms", is the first book of the ("Writings"), the third ...
:11 ().
as indicated in Est 7:5 by writing the four letters in red in at least three ancient Hebrew manuscripts. The short form /
Yah Yah may refer to: * Jah Jah or Yah ( he, , ''Yāh'') is a short form of (YHWH), the four letters that form the , : , which the ancient used. The conventional Christian English pronunciation of ''Jah'' is , even though the letter here translit ...
(a digrammaton) "occurs 50 times if the phrase is included": 43 times in the Psalms, once in Exodus 15:2; 17:16; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4, and twice in Isaiah 38:11. It also appears in the Greek phrase (Alleluia, Hallelujah) in . Other short forms are found as a component of theophoric Hebrew names in the Bible: jô- or jehô- (29 names) and -jāhû or -jāh (127 jnames). A form of jāhû/jehô appears in the name Elioenai (Elj(eh)oenai) in 1Ch 3:23–24; 4:36; 7:8; Ezr 22:22, 27; Neh 12:41. The following graph shows the absolute number of occurrences of the Tetragrammaton (6828 in all) in the books in the Masoretic Text, without relation to the length of the books. ImageSize = width:1000 height:330 PlotArea = left:50 right:20 top:25 bottom:30 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical AlignBars = late Colors = id:linegrey2 value:gray(0.9) id:linegrey value:gray(0.7) id:cobar value:rgb(0.2,0.7,0.8) id:cobar2 value:rgb(0.6,0.9,0.6) DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:0 till:800 ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:5000 start:0 gridcolor:linegrey ScaleMinor = unit:year increment:1000 start:0 gridcolor:linegrey2 PlotData = color:cobar width:17 align:left bar:Ge from:0 till: 165 bar:Ex from:0 till: 398 bar:Le from:0 till:311 bar:Nu from:0 till:396 bar:De from:0 till:550 bar:Jos from:0 till:224 bar:Jg from:0 till: 175 bar:Ru from:0 till: 18 bar:1Sa from:0 till: 320 bar:2Sa from:0 till: 153 bar:1Ki from:0 till: 257 bar:2Ki from:0 till:277 bar:1Ch from:0 till:175 bar:2Ch from:0 till:384 bar:Ezr from:0 till:37 bar:Ne from:0 till:7 bar:Es from:0 till:0 bar:Job from:0 till:32 bar:Ps from:0 till:695 bar:Pr from:0 till:87 bar:Ec from:0 till:0 bar:Ca from:0 till:0 bar:Isa from:0 till:450 bar:Jer from:0 till:726 bar:La from:0 till:32 bar:Eze from:0 till:434 bar:Da from:0 till:8 bar:Ho from:0 till:46 bar:Joe from:0 till:33 bar:Am from:0 till:81 bar:Ob from:0 till:7 bar:Jon from:0 till:26 bar:Mic from:0 till:40 bar:Na from:0 till:13 bar:Hab from:0 till:13 bar:Zep from:0 till:34 bar:Hag from:0 till:35 bar:Zec from:0 till:133 bar:Mal from:0 till:46 PlotData= textcolor:black fontsize:S bar:Ge at: 165 text: 165 shift:(-9,5) bar:Ex at: 398 text: 398 shift:(-8,5) bar:Le at: 311 text: 311 shift:(-8,5) bar:Nu at: 396 text: 396 shift:(-8,5) bar:De at: 550 text: 550 shift:(-8,5) bar:Jos at: 224 text: 224 shift:(-8,5) bar:Jg at: 175 text: 175 shift:(-9,5) bar:Ru at: 18 text: 18 shift:(-6,5) bar:1Sa at: 320 text: 320 shift:(-8,5) bar:2Sa at: 153 text: 153 shift:(-9,5) bar:1Ki at: 257 text: 257 shift:(-8,5) bar:2Ki at: 277 text: 277 shift:(-8,5) bar:1Ch at: 175 text: 175 shift:(-9,5) bar:2Ch at: 384 text: 384 shift:(-8,5) bar:Ezr at: 37 text: 37 shift:(-5,5) bar:Ne at: 17 text: 17 shift:(-6,5) bar:Es at: 0 text: 0 shift:(-2,5) bar:Job at: 32 text: 32 shift:(-5,5) bar:Ps at: 695 text: 695 shift:(-8,5) bar:Pr at: 87 text: 87 shift:(-5,5) bar:Ec at: 0 text: 0 shift:(-2,5) bar:Ca at: 0 text: 0 shift:(-2,5) bar:Isa at: 450 text: 450 shift:(-8,5) bar:Jer at: 726 text: 726 shift:(-8,5) bar:La at: 32 text: 32 shift:(-5,5) bar:Eze at: 434 text: 434 shift:(-8,5) bar:Da at: 8 text: 8 shift:(-2,5) bar:Ho at: 46 text: 46 shift:(-5,5) bar:Joe at: 33 text: 33 shift:(-5,5) bar:Am at: 81 text: 81 shift:(-5,5) bar:Ob at: 7 text: 7 shift:(-2,5) bar:Jon at: 26 text: 26 shift:(-5,5) bar:Mic at: 40 text: 40 shift:(-5,5) bar:Na at: 13 text: 13 shift:(-6,5) bar:Hab at: 13 text: 13 shift:(-6,5) bar:Zep at: 34 text: 34 shift:(-5,5) bar:Hag at: 35 text: 35 shift:(-5,5) bar:Zec at: 133 text: 133 shift:(-9,5) bar:Mal at: 46 text: 46 shift:(-5,5) TextData= fontsize:S pos:(190,300) text: The occurrence of the Tetragrammaton in the Hebrew Bible


Leningrad Codex

Six presentations of the Tetragrammaton with some or all of the vowel points of (Adonai) or (Elohim) are found in the
Leningrad Codex The Leningrad Codex ( la, Codex Leningradensis, the "codex The codex (plural codices ()) was the historical ancestor of the modern book A book is a medium for recording information Information can be thought of as the resolution o ...
of 1008–1010, as shown below. The close transcriptions do not indicate that the Masoretes intended the name to be pronounced in that way (see '' qere perpetuum''). ĕ is ''hataf
segol Segol (modern he, סֶגּוֹל, ; formerly , ''səḡôl'') is a Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew niqqud vowel sign that is represented by three dots forming an upside down equilateral triangle "ֶ ". As such, it resembles an upside down therefo ...

segol
''; ǝ is the pronounced form of plain
shva Shva or, in Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew language, Hebrew, a language in the Canaanite languages, Canaanite branch of Semitic langu ...

shva
.


Dead Sea Scrolls

In the
Dead Sea Scrolls The Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are and religious first found in 1947 at the in what was then , near in the , on the northern shore of the . Dating back to between the and the , the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered ...

Dead Sea Scrolls
and other Hebrew and Aramaic texts the Tetragrammaton and some other
names of God in Judaism Rabbinic Judaism considers seven names of God so Q-D-Š, holy that, once written, they should not be erased: Tetragrammaton, YHWH, El (deity), El ("God"), Eloah ("God"), Elohim ("God"), El Shaddai, Shaddai ("Almighty"), I Am that I Am, Ehyeh ("I A ...
(such as El or Elohim) were sometimes written in paleo-Hebrew script, showing that they were treated specially. Most of God's names were pronounced until about the 2nd century BCE. Then, as a tradition of non-pronunciation of the names developed, alternatives for the Tetragrammaton appeared, such as Adonai, Kurios and Theos. The
4Q120 ] The manuscript 4Q120 (also pap4QLXXLevb; AT22; VH 46; Rahlfs 802; LDAB 3452) is a Septuagint manuscripts, Septuagint manuscript (LXX) of the biblical Book of Leviticus, found at Qumran. The Alfred Rahlfs, Rahlfs-No. is 802. Palaeography, Palaoe ...
, a Greek fragment of Leviticus (26:2–16) discovered in the Dead Sea scrolls (Qumran) has ιαω ("Iao"), the Greek form of the Hebrew trigrammaton YHW. The historian
John the Lydian John the Lydian or John Lydus ( el, ; la, Ioannes Laurentius Lydus) was a 6th-century Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provin ...
(6th century) wrote: "The Roman Varo 16–27 BCEdefining him hat is the Jewish Godsays that he is called Iao in the Chaldean mysteries" (De Mensibus IV 53). Van Cooten mentions that Iao is one of the "specifically Jewish designations for God" and "the Aramaic papyri from the Jews at Elephantine show that 'Iao' is an original Jewish term". The preserved manuscripts from Qumran show the inconsistent practice of writing the Tetragrammaton, mainly in biblical quotations: in some manuscripts is written in paleo-Hebrew script, square scripts or replaced with four dots or dashes (''tetrapuncta''). The members of the Qumran community were aware of the existence of the Tetragrammaton, but this was not tantamount to granting consent for its existing use and speaking. This is evidenced not only by special treatment of the Tetragrammaton in the text, but by the recommendation recorded in the 'Rule of Association' (VI, 27): "Who will remember the most glorious name, which is above all ... The table below presents all the manuscripts in which the Tetragrammaton is written in paleo-Hebrew script,In some manuscripts the Tetragrammaton was replaced by the word ''’El'' or ''’Elohim'' written in Paleo-Hebrew script, they are: 1QpMic (1Q14) 12 3; 1QMyst (1Q27) II 11; 1QHa I (Suk. = Puech IX) 26; II (X) 34; VII (XV) 5; XV (VII) 25; 1QHb (1Q35) 1 5; 3QUnclassified fragments (3Q14) 18 2; 4QpPsb (4Q173) 5 4; 4QAges of Creation A (4Q180) 1 1; 4QMidrEschate?(4Q183) 2 1; 3 1; fr. 1 kol. II 3; 4QSd (4Q258) IX 8; 4QDb (4Q267) fr. 9 kol. i 2; kol. iv 4; kol. v 4; 4QDc (4Q268) 1 9; 4QComposition Concerning Divine Providence (4Q413) fr. 1–2 2, 4; 6QD (6Q15) 3 5; 6QpapHymn (6Q18) 6 5; 8 5; 10 3. W 4QShirShabbg (4Q406) 1 2; 3 2 występuje ''’Elohim''. in square scripts, and all the manuscripts in which the copyists have used tetrapuncta. Copyists used the 'tetrapuncta' apparently to warn against pronouncing the name of God. In the manuscript number 4Q248 is in the form of bars.


Septuagint

Editions of the Septuagint Old Testament are based on the complete or almost complete fourth-century manuscripts
Codex Vaticanus The Codex Vaticanus (Vatican Library, The Vatican, Vatican Library, Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 1209; no. B or 03 Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland, δ 1 Biblical manuscript#Von Soden, von Soden) is one of the oldest copies of the Bible, ...
,
Codex Sinaiticus The Codex Sinaiticus (ShelfmarkA shelfmark is a mark in a book or manuscript that denotes the cupboard or bookcase where it is kept as well as the shelf and possibly even its location on the shelf. The closely related term pressmark (from pres ...
and
Codex Alexandrinus The Codex Alexandrinus (London, British Library, Royal MS 1. D. V-VIII; Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland no. A or 02, Biblical manuscript#Von Soden, Soden δ 4) is a fifth-century Christian manuscript of a Greek Bible,The Greek V ...
and consistently use Κύριος, "
Lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peera ...

Lord
", where the
Masoretic Text The Masoretic Text (MT or 𝕸; he, נוסח המסורה, Nusakh Ham'mas'sora) is the authoritative Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic languag ...
has the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew. This corresponds with the Jewish practice of replacing the Tetragrammaton with "
Adonai Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the ...

Adonai
" when reading the Hebrew word. However, five of the oldest manuscripts now extant (in fragmentary form) render the Tetragrammaton into Greek in a different way.H. Bietenhard, “Lord,” in ''the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology'', C. Brown (gen. ed.), Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1986, Vol. 2, p. 512, Two of these are of the first century BCE:
Papyrus Fouad 266 The Papyrus Fouad 266 (three fragments listed as Rahlfs 847, 848 and 942) are fragments, part of a papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the pa ...

Papyrus Fouad 266
uses in the normal
Hebrew alphabet The Hebrew alphabet ( he, wikt:אלפבית, אָלֶף־בֵּית עִבְרִי, ), known variously by scholars as the Ktav Ashuri, Jewish script, square script and block script, is an abjad script used in the writing of the Hebrew language ...

Hebrew alphabet
in the midst of its Greek text, and
4Q120 ] The manuscript 4Q120 (also pap4QLXXLevb; AT22; VH 46; Rahlfs 802; LDAB 3452) is a Septuagint manuscripts, Septuagint manuscript (LXX) of the biblical Book of Leviticus, found at Qumran. The Alfred Rahlfs, Rahlfs-No. is 802. Palaeography, Palaoe ...
uses the Greek transcription of the name, ΙΑΩ. Three later manuscripts use 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄, the name in Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, Paleo-Hebrew script: the
Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever The Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever (8HevXII gr) is a Greek manuscript of a revision of the Septuagint dated to the 1st century CE. The manuscript is kept in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. It was first published by Dominique Bart ...
, Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3522 and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 5101. Other extant ancient fragments of Septuagint or Old Greek manuscripts provide no evidence on the use of the Tetragrammaton, Κύριος, or ΙΑΩ in correspondence with the Hebrew-text Tetragrammaton. They include the oldest known example,
Papyrus Rylands 458 Papyrus Rylands 458 (TM 62298; LDAB 3459) is a copy of the Pentateuch in a Greek language, Greek version of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint. It is a papyrus manuscript in roll form. The manuscript has been assigned Palaeography, palaeograph ...
. Scholars differ on whether in the original Septuagint translations the Tetragrammaton was represented by Κύριος, by ΙΑΩ, by the Tetragrammaton in either normal or Paleo-Hebrew form, or whether different translators used different forms in different books. Frank Shaw argues that the Tetragrammaton continued to be articulated until the second or third century CE and that the use of Ιαω was by no means limited to magical or mystical formulas, but was still normal in more elevated contexts such as that exemplified by Papyrus
4Q120 ] The manuscript 4Q120 (also pap4QLXXLevb; AT22; VH 46; Rahlfs 802; LDAB 3452) is a Septuagint manuscripts, Septuagint manuscript (LXX) of the biblical Book of Leviticus, found at Qumran. The Alfred Rahlfs, Rahlfs-No. is 802. Palaeography, Palaoe ...
. Shaw considers all theories that posit in the Septuagint a single original form of the divine name as merely based on ''a priori'' assumptions. Accordingly, he declares: "The matter of any (especially single) 'original' form of the divine name in the LXX is too complex, the evidence is too scattered and indefinite, and the various approaches offered for the issue are too simplistic" to account for the actual scribal practices (p. 158). He holds that the earliest stages of the LXX's translation were marked by diversity (p. 262), with the choice of certain divine names depending on the context in which they appear (cf. Gen 4:26; Exod 3:15; 8:22; 28:32; 32:5; and 33:19). He treats of the related blank spaces in some Septuagint manuscripts and the setting of spaces around the divine name in 4Q120 and
Papyrus Fouad 266 The Papyrus Fouad 266 (three fragments listed as Rahlfs 847, 848 and 942) are fragments, part of a papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the pa ...

Papyrus Fouad 266
b (p. 265), and repeats that "there was no one 'original' form but different translators had different feelings, theological beliefs, motivations, and practices when it came to their handling of the name" (p. 271). His view has won the support of Anthony R. Meyer, Bob Becking, and (commenting on Shaw's 2011 dissertation on the subject) D.T. Runia. Mogens Müller says that, while no clearly Jewish manuscript of the Septuagint has been found with Κύριος representing the Tetragrammaton, other Jewish writings of the time show that Jews did use the term Κύριος for God, and it was because Christians found it in the Septuagint that they were able to apply it to Christ. In fact, the deuterocanonical books of the Septuagint, written originally in Greek (e.g., Wisdom, 2 and 3 Maccabees), do speak of God as Κύριος and thus show that "the use of κύριος as a representation of must be pre-Christian in origin". Similarly, while consistent use of ''Κύριος'' to represent the Tetragrammaton has been called "a distinguishing mark for any Christian LXX manuscript", Eugen J. Pentiuc says: "No definitive conclusion has been reached thus far." And Sean McDonough denounces as implausible the idea that Κύριος did not appear in the Septuagint before the Christian era. Speaking of the
Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever The Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever (8HevXII gr) is a Greek manuscript of a revision of the Septuagint dated to the 1st century CE. The manuscript is kept in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. It was first published by Dominique Bart ...
, which is a kaige recension of the Septuagint, "a revision of the Old Greek text to bring it closer to the Hebrew text of the Bible as it existed in ca. 2nd-1st century BCE" (and thus not necessarily the original text), Kristin De Troyer remarks: "The problem with a recension is that one does not know what is the original form and what the recension. Hence, is the paleo-Hebrew Tetragrammaton secondary – a part of the recension – or proof of the Old Greek text? This debate has not yet been solved." While some interpret the presence of the Tetragrammaton in
Papyrus Fouad 266 The Papyrus Fouad 266 (three fragments listed as Rahlfs 847, 848 and 942) are fragments, part of a papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the pa ...

Papyrus Fouad 266
, the oldest Septuagint manuscript in which it appears, as an indication of what was in the original text, others see this manuscript as "an archaizing and hebraizing revision of the earlier translation κύριος". Of this papyrus, De Troyer asks: "Is it a recension or not?" In this regard she says that Emanuel Tov notes that in this manuscript a second scribe inserted the four-letter Tetragrammaton where the first scribe left spaces large enough for the six-letter word Κύριος, and that Pietersma and Hanhart say the papyrus "already contains some pre-hexaplaric corrections towards a Hebrew text (which would have had the Tetragrammaton". She also mentions Septuagint manuscripts that have Θεός and one that has παντοκράτωρ where the Hebrew text has the Tetragrammaton. She concludes: "It suffices to say that in old Hebrew and Greek witnesses, God has many names. Most if not all were pronounced till about the second century BCE As slowly onwards there developed a tradition of non-pronunciation, alternatives for the Tetragrammaton appeared. The reading ''Adonai'' was one of them. Finally, before ''Kurios'' became a standard rendering ''Adonai'', the Name of God was rendered with ''Theos''." In the Book of Exodus alone, Θεός represents the Tetragrammaton 41 times. Robert J. Wilkinson says that the
Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever The Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever (8HevXII gr) is a Greek manuscript of a revision of the Septuagint dated to the 1st century CE. The manuscript is kept in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. It was first published by Dominique Bart ...
is also a kaige recension and thus not strictly a Septuagint text. Origen (''Commentary on Psalms'' 2.2) said that in the most accurate manuscripts the name was written in an older form of the Hebrew characters, the paleo-Hebrew letters, not the square: "In the more accurate exemplars the (divine) name is written in Hebrew characters; not, however, in the current script, but in the most ancient." While Pietersma interprets this statement as referring to the Septuagint, Wilkinson says one might assume that Origen refers specifically to the version of Aquila of Sinope, which follows the Hebrew text very closely, but he may perhaps refer to Greek versions in general.


Manuscripts of the Septuagint and later Greek renderings

The great majority of extant manuscripts of the Old Testament in Greek, complete or fragmentary, dated to the ninth century CE or earlier, employ Κύριος to represent the Tetragrammaton of the Hebrew text. The following do not. They include the oldest now extant. # Manuscripts of the Septuagint or recensions thereof #* 1st century BCE #** 4Q120, 4QpapLXXLevb – fragments of the Book of Leviticus, chapters 1 to 5. In two verses: 3:12; 4:27 the Tetragrammaton of the Hebrew Bible is represented by Greek ΙΑΩ. #**
Papyrus Fouad 266 The Papyrus Fouad 266 (three fragments listed as Rahlfs 847, 848 and 942) are fragments, part of a papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the pa ...

Papyrus Fouad 266
b (848) – fragments of Deuteronomy, chapters 10 to 33. The Tetragrammaton appears in square Hebrew/Aramaic script. According to a disputed view, the first copyist left a blank space marked with a dot, and another inscribed the letters. #* 1st century CE #** Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3522 – contains parts of two verses of chapter 42 of the Book of Job and has the Tetragrammaton in Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, paleo-Hebrew letters. #**
Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever The Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever (8HevXII gr) is a Greek manuscript of a revision of the Septuagint dated to the 1st century CE. The manuscript is kept in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. It was first published by Dominique Bart ...
– in three fragments whose contents were published separately. #***Se2grXII, Se2grXII (LXXIEJ 12) has the Tetragrammaton in 1 place. #***8HevXII a, 8HevXII a (LXXVTS 10a) in 24 places, in whole or part. #***8HevXII b, 8HevXII b (LXXVTS 10b) in 4 places. #* 1st to 2nd century #** Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 5101 – contains fragments of the Book of Psalms. It has YHWH in Paleo-Hebrew script. #* 3rd century CE #** Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1007 – contains Genesis 2 and 3. The divine name is written with a double
yodh Yodh (also spelled jodh, yod, jod, or yud) is the tenth letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signif ...
. #** Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 656 – fragments of the Book of Genesis, chapters 14 to 27. Has Κύριος where the first copyist left blank spaces #** Papyrus Berlin 17213 – fragments of the Book of Genesis, chapter 19. One space is left blank. Emanuel Tov thinks it indicated the end of a paragraph. It has been dated to 3rd century CE. # Manuscripts of Greek translations made by Symmachus (translator), Symmachus and Aquila of Sinope (2nd century CE) #* 3rd century CE #** Papyrus Vindobonensis Greek 39777. Has the Tetragrammaton in archaic Hebrew script. #* 5th century CE #** AqTaylor, this manuscript of the Aquila version is dated after the middle of the 5th century, but not later than the beginning of the 6th century. #** AqBurkitt – a palimpsest manuscript of the Aquila version dated late 5th century or early 6th century. # Manuscripts with Hexaplaric elements #* 6th century CE #** Codex Marchalianus – In addition to the Septuagint text of the prophets (with ), the manuscript contains marginal notes from a hand "not much later than the original scribe" indicating Hexaplaric variations, each identified as from Aquila, Symmachus or Theodotion. Marginal notes on some of the prophets contain πιπι to indicate that in the text corresponds to the Tetragrammaton. Two marginal notes at Ezekiel 1:2 and 11:1 use the form with reference to the Tetragrammaton. #* 7th century CE #** Taylor-Schechter 12.182 – a Hexapla manuscript with Tetragrammaton in Greek letters ΠΙΠΙ. It has Hebrew text transliterated into Greek, Aquila, Symmachus and the Septuagint. #* 9th century CE #** Ambrosiano O 39 sup. – the latest Greek manuscript containing the name of God is Origen, Origen's'' Hexapla'', transmitting among other translations the text of the Septuagint, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, and in three other unidentified Greek translations (Quinta, Sextus and Septima). This codex, copied from a much earlier original, comes from the late 9th century, and is stored in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.


Patristic writings

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) and B.D. Eerdmans: * Diodorus Siculus (1st century BCE) writes (Iao); * Irenaeus (d. c. 202) reports that the Gnostics formed a compound (Iaoth) with the last syllable of Sabaoth. He also reports that the Gnosticism, Valentinian heretics use (Iao); * Clement of Alexandria (d. c. 215) reports: "the mystic name of four letters which was affixed to those alone to whom the adytum was accessible, is called " (Iaoú); manuscript variants also have the forms (Iaoúe) and . * Origen (d. c. 254), (Iao); * Porphyry (philosopher), Porphyry (d. c. 305) according to Eusebius (died 339), (Ieuo); * Epiphanius of Salamis, Epiphanius (died 404), who was born in Palestine and spent a considerable part of his life there, gives (Ia) and (pronounced at that time /ja'vε/) and explains Ἰάβε as meaning He who was and is and always exists. * Jerome (died 420) speaks of certain Greek writers who misunderstood the Hebrew letters (read right-to-left) as the Greek letters (read left-to-right), thus changing YHWH to ''pipi''. *
Theodoret Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus ( grc-gre, Θεοδώρητος Κύρρου; AD 393 –  458/466) was an influential theologian of the School of Antioch The Catechetical School of Antioch was one of the two major centers of the study of ...
(d. c. 457) writes (Iao); he also reports that the Samaritans say or (both pronounced at that time /ja'vε/), while the Jews say (Aia). (The latter is probably not but ''Ehyeh'' = "I am " or "I will be", which the Jews counted among the names of God.) * (Pseudo-)Jerome (4th/5th or 9th century),: ''IAHO''. This work was traditionally attributed to Jerome and, in spite of the view of one modern writer who in 1936 said it is "now believed to be genuine and to be dated before CE 392" is still generally attributed to the 9th century and to be non-authentic.


Peshitta

The Peshitta (Syriac language, Syriac translation), probably in the second century, uses the word "Lord" (, pronounced ''moryo'') for the Tetragrammaton.Joshua Bloch
The Authorship of the Peshitta
The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1919


Vulgate

The Vulgate (Latin translation) made from the Hebrew in the 4th century CE, uses the word ("Lord"), a translation of the Hebrew word ''Adonai'', for the Tetragrammaton. The Vulgate translation, though made not from the Septuagint but from the Hebrew text, did not depart from the practice used in the Septuagint. Thus, for most of its history, Christianity's translations of the Scriptures have used equivalents of ''Adonai'' to represent the Tetragrammaton. Only at about the beginning of the 16th century did Christian translations of the Bible appear combining the vowels of ''Adonai'' with the four (consonantal) letters of the Tetragrammaton.In the 7th paragraph of ''Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English Bible''
Sir Godfry Driver wrote
"The early translators generally substituted 'Lord' for [YHWH]. [...] The Reformers preferred Jehovah, which first appeared as ''Iehouah'' in 1530 A.D., in Tyndale's translation of the Pentateuch (Exodus 6.3), from which it passed into other Protestant Bibles."


Usage in religious traditions


Judaism

Especially due to the existence of the
Mesha Stele The Mesha Stele, also known as the Moabite Stone, is a stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in E ...
, the Jahwist tradition found in , and ancient Hebrew and Greek texts, biblical scholars widely hold that the Tetragrammaton and other names of God were spoken by the ancient Israelites and their neighbours. Some time after the destruction of Solomon's Temple, the spoken use of God's name as it was written ceased among the people, even though knowledge of the pronunciation was perpetuated in rabbinic schools. The Talmud relays this occurred after the death of Simeon the Just (either Simon I (High Priest), Simon I or his great-great-grandson Simon II (High Priest), Simon II). Philo calls it ineffability, ineffable, and says that it is lawful for those only whose ears and tongues are purified by wisdom to hear and utter it in a holy place (that is, for priests in the Temple). In another passage, commenting on Lev. xxiv. 15 seq.: "If any one, I do not say should blaspheme against the Lord of men and gods, but should even dare to utter his name unseasonably, let him expect the penalty of death." Rabbinic sources suggest that the name of God was pronounced only once a year, by the high priest, on the Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement. Others, including Maimonides, claim that the name was pronounced daily in the liturgy of the Temple in the priestly benediction of worshippers (Num. vi. 27), after the daily sacrifice; in the synagogues, though, a substitute (probably "Adonai") was used. According to the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
, in the last generations before the fall of Jerusalem, the name was pronounced in a low tone so that the sounds were lost in the chant of the priests. Since the destruction of Second Temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the Tetragrammaton has no longer been pronounced in the liturgy. However the pronunciation was still known in Babylonia in the latter part of the 4th century.


Spoken prohibitions

The vehemence with which the utterance of the name is denounced in the Mishnah suggests that use of Yahweh was unacceptable in rabbinical Judaism. "He who pronounces the Name with its own letters has no part in the world to come!" Such is the prohibition of pronouncing the Name as written that it is sometimes called the "Ineffable", "Unutterable", or "Distinctive Name", or "Explicit Name" ("Shem HaMephorash" in Hebrew). Halakha prescribes that whereas the Name is written "yodh he waw he", it is only to be pronounced "Adonai"; and the latter name too is regarded as a holy name, and is only to be pronounced in prayer."They [the Priests, when reciting the Priestly Blessing, when the Temple stood] recite [God's] name – i.e., the name ''yod-hei-vav-hei'', as it is written. This is what is referred to as the 'explicit name' in all sources. In the country [that is, outside the Temple], it is read [using another one of God's names], א-ד-נ-י ('Adonai'), for only in the Temple is this name [of God] recited as it is written." – ''Mishneh Torah'' Maimonides, Laws of Prayer and Priestly Blessings, 14:10 Thus when someone wants to refer in third person to either the written or spoken Name, the term ''HaShem'' "the Name" is used;Stanley S. Seidner,"HaShem: Uses through the Ages." Unpublished paper, Rabbinical Society Seminar, Los Angeles, CA,1987. and this handle itself can also be used in prayer.For example, in the common utterance and praise, "Barukh Hashem" (Blessed [i.e. the source of all] is Hashem), or "Hashem yishmor" (God protect [us]) The
Masoretes The Masoretes ( he, בעלי המסורה, Ba'alei ha-Masora) were groups of Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites I ...
added vowel points (niqqud) and Hebrew cantillation, cantillation marks to the manuscripts to indicate vowel usage and for use in ritual chanting of readings from the Bible in Jewish prayer in synagogues. To they added the vowels for "" ("My Lord"), the word to use when the text was read. While "HaShem" is the most common way to reference "the Name", the terms "HaMaqom" (lit. "The Place", i.e. "The Omnipresent") and "Raḥmana" (Aramaic, "Merciful") are used in the mishna and gemara, still used in the phrases "HaMaqom y'naḥem ethḥem" ("may The Omnipresent console you"), the traditional phrase used in sitting Shiva (Judaism), Shiva and "Raḥmana l'tzlan" ("may the Merciful save us" i.e. "God forbid").


Written prohibitions

The written Tetragrammaton, as well as six other names of God, must be treated with special sanctity. They cannot be disposed of regularly, lest they be desecrated, but are usually put in Genizah, long-term storage or buried in Jewish cemeteries in order to retire them from use. Similarly, writing the Tetragrammaton (or these other names) unnecessarily is prohibited, so as to avoid having them treated disrespectfully, an action that is forbidden. To guard the sanctity of the Name, sometimes a letter is substituted by a different letter in writing (e.g. יקוק), or the letters are separated by one or more hyphens, a practice applied also to the English name "God", which some Jews write as "G-d". Most Jewish authorities say that this practice is not obligatory for the English name.


Kabbalah

Kabbalistic tradition holds that the correct pronunciation is known to a select few people in each generation, it is not generally known what this pronunciation is. There are two main schools of Kabbalah arising in 13th century Spain. These are called Theosophic Kabbalah represented by Rabbi Moshe De leon and the Zohar, and the Kabbalah of Names or Prophetic Kabbalah whose main representative is Rabbi Abraham Abulafia of Saragossa. Rabbi Abulafia wrote many wisdom books and prophetic books where the name is used for meditation purposes from 1271 onwards. Abulafia put a lot of attention on Exodus 15 and the Songs of Moses. In this song it says "Yehovah is a Man of War, Yehovah is his name". For Abulafia the goal of prophecy was for a man to come to the level of prophecy and be called "Yehovah a man of war". Abulafia also used the tetragrammaton in a spiritual war against his spiritual enemies. For example, he prophesied in his book "The Sign", "Therefore, thus said YHWH, the God of Israel: Have no fear of the enemy" (See Hylton, A The Prophetic Jew Abraham Abulafia, 2015). Moshe Chaim Luzzatto,In קל"ח פתחי חכמה by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, Opening #31; English translation in book "138 Openings of Wisdom" by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum, 2008, also viewable at http://www.breslev.co.il/articles/spirituality_and_faith/kabbalah_and_mysticism/the_name_of_havayah.aspx?id=10847&language=english, accessed 12 March 2012 says that the tree of the Tetragrammaton "unfolds" in accordance with the intrinsic nature of its letters, "in the same order in which they appear in the Name, in the mystery of ten and the mystery of four." Namely, the upper cusp of the ''Yod'' is Arich Anpin and the main body of ''Yod'' is and Partzufim, Abba; the first ''Hei'' is Partzufim, Imma; the ''Vav'' is Zeir Anpin, Ze`ir Anpin and the second ''Hei'' is Partzufim, Nukvah. It unfolds in this aforementioned order and "in the mystery of the four expansions" that are constituted by the following various spellings of the letters: ע"ב/''`AV'' : יו"ד ה"י וי"ו ה"י, so called "`AV" according to its gematria value ע"ב=70+2=72. ס"ג/''SaG'': יו"ד ה"י וא"ו ה"י, gematria 63. מ"ה/''MaH'': יו"ד ה"א וא"ו ה"א, gematria 45. ב"ן/''BaN'': יו"ד ה"ה ו"ו ה"ה, gematria 52. Luzzatto summarises, "In sum, all that exists is founded on the mystery of this Name and upon the mystery of these letters of which it consists. This means that all the different orders and laws are all drawn after and come under the order of these four letters. This is not one particular pathway but rather the general path, which includes everything that exists in the Sefirot in all their details and which brings everything under its order." Another parallel is drawn between the four letters of the Tetragrammaton and the Four Worlds: the י is associated with Atziluth, the first ה with Beri'ah, the ו with Yetzirah, and final ה with Assiah. There are some who believe that the tetractys and its mysteries influenced the early Kabballah, kabbalists. A Hebrew tetractys in a similar way has the letters of the Tetragrammaton (the four lettered name of God in Hebrew scripture) inscribed on the ten positions of the tetractys, from right to left. It has been argued that the Kabbalistic Tree of life (Kabbalah), Tree of Life, with its ten spheres of emanation, is in some way connected to the tetractys, but its form is not that of a triangle. The occult writer Dion Fortune says: (The first three-dimensional solid is the tetrahedron.) The relationship between geometrical shapes and the first four Sephirot is analogous to the geometrical correlations in tetractys, shown above under Pythagorean Symbol, and unveils the relevance of the Tree of Life with the tetractys.


Samaritans

The Samaritans shared the taboo of the Jews about the utterance of the name, and there is no evidence that its pronunciation was common Samaritan practice. However Sanhedrin (tractate)#Summary of Sanhedrin, Sanhedrin 10:1 includes the comment of Rabbi Mana II, "for example those Kutim who take an oath" would also have no share in the world to come, which suggests that Mana thought some Samaritans used the name in making oaths. (Their priests have preserved a liturgical pronunciation "Yahwe" or "Yahwa" to the present day.) As with Jews, the use of ''Shema'' (שמא "the Name") remains the everyday usage of the name among Samaritans, akin to Hebrew "the Name" (Hebrew השם "HaShem").


Christianity

It is assumed that early Jewish Christians inherited from Jews the practice of reading "Lord" where the Tetragrammaton appears in the Hebrew text (and where a few Greek manuscripts use it in the midst of their Greek translation). Gentile Christians, primarily non-Hebrew speaking and using Greek Scripture texts, may have read Κύριος ("Lord"), as in the Greek text of the New Testament and in their copies of the Greek Old Testament. This practice continued into the Latin Vulgate where ''Dominus'' ("Lord") represented the Tetragrammaton in the Latin text. At the Reformation, the Luther Bible used capitalized ''Herr'' ("Lord") in the German text of the Old Testament to represent the Tetragrammaton.


Christian translations

The Septuagint (Greek translation), the Vulgate (Latin translation), and the Peshitta (Syriac language, Syriac translation) use the word "Lord" (, ''kyrios'', , and , ''moryo'' respectively). Use of the Septuagint by Christians in polemics with Jews led to its abandonment by the latter, making it a specifically Christian text. From it Christians made translations into Coptic language, Coptic, Arabic language, Arabic, Church Slavonic language, Slavonic and other languages used in Oriental Orthodoxy and the Eastern Orthodox Church, whose liturgies and doctrinal declarations are largely a cento of texts from the Septuagint, which they consider to be inspired at least as much as the Masoretic Text. Within the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Greek text remains the norm for texts in all languages, with particular reference to the wording used in prayers. The Septuagint, with its use of Κύριος to represent the Tetragrammaton, was the basis also for Christian translations associated with the West, in particular the Vetus Itala, which survives in some parts of the liturgy of the Latin Church, and the Gothic Bible. Christian translations of the Bible into English commonly use "" in place of the Tetragrammaton in most passages, often in small caps, small capitals (or in all caps), so as to distinguish it from other words translated as "Lord".


Eastern Orthodoxy

The Eastern Orthodox Church considers the Septuagint text, which uses Κύριος (Lord), to be the authoritative text of the Old Testament, and in its liturgical books and prayers it uses Κύριος in place of the Tetragrammaton in texts derived from the Bible.


Catholicism

In the Catholic Church, the first edition of the official Vatican ''Nova Vulgata Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio, editio typica'', published in 1979, used the traditional ''Dominus'' when rendering the Tetragrammaton in the overwhelming majority of places where it appears; however, it also used the form ''Iahveh'' for rendering the Tetragrammaton in three known places: * Exodus 3:15 * Exodus 15:3 * Exodus 17:15 In the second edition of the ''Nova Vulgata Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio, editio typica altera'', published in 1986, these few occurrences of the form ''Iahveh'' were replaced with ''Dominus'', in keeping with the long-standing Catholic tradition of avoiding direct usage of the Ineffable Name. On 29 June 2008, the Holy See reacted to the then still recent practice of pronouncing, within Catholic liturgy, the name of God represented by the Tetragrammaton. As examples of such vocalisation it mentioned "Yahweh" and "Yehovah". The early Christians, it said, followed the example of the Septuagint in replacing the name of God with "the Lord", a practice with important theological implications for their use of "the Lord" in reference to Jesus, as in and other New Testament texts. It therefore directed that, "in liturgical celebrations, in songs and prayers the name of God in the form of the ''Tetragrammaton'' YHWH is neither to be used or pronounced"; and that translations of Biblical texts for liturgical use are to follow the practice of the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, replacing the divine name with "the Lord" or, in some contexts, "God". The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed this instruction, adding that it "provides also an opportunity to offer catechesis for the faithful as an encouragement to show reverence for the Name of God in daily life, emphasizing the power of language as an act of devotion and worship".


See also

* Allah (Arabic word for God) * I Am that I Am * Names of God * Names and titles of God in the New Testament


References


Notes


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * *, reprinted in * * * {{Authority control Tetragrammaton, Kabbalistic words and phrases Yahweh es:Yahveh#Escritura