The tetragrammaton (//; from Greek Τετραγράμματον, meaning "[consisting of] four letters"), יהוה in Hebrew and YHWH in Latin script, is the four-letter biblical name of the God of Israel. The books of the Torah and the rest of the Hebrew Bible (with the exception of Esther, and Song of Songs) contain this Hebrew name. Religiously observant Jews and those who follow conservative Jewish traditions do not pronounce יהוה, nor do they read aloud transliterated forms such as Yahweh; instead the word is substituted with a different term, whether used to address or to refer to the God of Israel. Common substitutions for Hebrew forms are hakadosh baruch hu ("The Holy One, Blessed Be He"), Adonai ("The Lord"), or HaShem ("The Name").
The letters, properly read from right to left (in Biblical Hebrew), are:
|ו||Waw||[w], or placeholder for "O"/"U" vowel (see mater lectionis)|
|ה||He||[h] (or often a silent letter at the end of a word)|
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The letters YHWH are consonantal semi-vowels. In unpointed Biblical Hebrew, most vowels are not written and the rest are written only ambiguously, as certain consonants can double as vowel markers (similar to the Latin use of V to indicate both U and V). These are referred to as matres lectionis ("mothers of reading"). Therefore, it is, in general, difficult to deduce how a word is pronounced only from its spelling, and the tetragrammaton is a particular example: two of its letters can serve as vowels, and two are vocalic place-holders, which are not pronounced. Thus the first-century Jewish historian and philosopher Josephus said that the sacred name of God consists of "four vowels".
The original consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible was, several centuries later, provided with vowel marks by the Masoretes to assist reading. In places that the consonants of the text to be read (the qere) differed from 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 vowels 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 Jewish practices should not be pronounced but read as "Adonai" ("My Lord"), or, if the previous or next word already was Adonai, as "Elohim" ("God"). The combination produces יְהֹוָה and יֱהֹוִה respectively, non-words that would spell "Yehovah" and "Yehovih" respectively.
The oldest complete or nearly complete manuscripts of the Masoretic Text with Tiberian vocalisation, such as the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex, both of the 10th or 11th century, mostly write יְהוָה (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 and so is redundant, or it could point to the qere being Shema, which is Aramaic for "the Name".
The vocalisations of יְהֹוָה (Yehovah) and אֲדֹנָי (Adonai) are not identical. The shva in YHWH (the vowel "ְ " under the first letter) and the hataf patakh in 'DNY (the vowel "ֲ " under its first letter) appear different. The vocalisation can be attributed to Biblical Hebrew phonology, where the hataf patakh is grammatically identical to a shva, always replacing every shva naḥ under a guttural letter. Since the first letter of אֲדֹנָי is a guttural letter while the first letter of יְהֹוָה is not, the hataf patakh under the (guttural) aleph reverts to a regular shva under the (non-guttural) Yod.
The table below considers the vowel points for יְהֹוָה (Yehovah) and אֲדֹנָי (Adonai), respectively:
|Hebrew word No. 3068
|Hebrew word No. 136
|ְ||Simple Shewa||e||ֲ||Hataf Patakh||A|
In the table directly above, the "simple shewa" in Yehovah and the hataf patakh in Adonai are not the same vowel. The difference being, the "simple shewa" is an "a" sound as in "alone", whereas the hataf patakh is more subtle, as the "a" in "father". The same information is displayed in the table above and to the right, where YHWH is intended to be pronounced as Adonai, and Adonai is shown to have different vowel points.
The Hebrew scholar Wilhelm Gesenius [1786–1842] suggested that the Hebrew punctuation יַהְוֶה, which is transliterated into English as "Yahweh", might more accurately represent the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton than the Biblical Hebrew punctuation "יְהֹוָה", from which the English name "Jehovah" has been derived. His proposal to read YHWH as "יַהְוֶה" (see image to the left) was based in large part on various Greek transcriptions, such as ιαβε, dating from the first centuries CE but also on the forms of theophoric names. In his Hebrew Dictionary, Gesenius supports "Yahweh" (which would have been pronounced [jahwe], with the final letter being silent) because of the Samaritan pronunciation Ιαβε reported by Theodoret, and that the theophoric name prefixes YHW [jeho] and YH [jo] can be explained from the form "Yahweh". Gesenius's proposal to read YHWH as יַהְוֶה is accepted as the best scholarly reconstructed vocalised Hebrew spelling of the tetragrammaton.
Yeho or "Yehō-" is the prefix form of "YHWH" used in Hebrew theophoric names; the suffix form "Yahū" or "-Yehū" is just as common, which has caused two opinions:
The first argument is believed by George Wesley Buchanan in Biblical Archaeology Review; Smith's 1863 A Dictionary of the Bible; Section # 2.1 The Analytical Hebrew & Chaldee Lexicon (1848) in its article הוה.
The second argument is supported on grammatical grounds because shortening to "Yahw" would end up as "Yahu" or something similar, and forms like Yo (יוֹ) contracted from Yeho (יְהוֹ) and the suffix "-yah", as well as "Yeho-" or "Yo" can most readily be explained as derivatives of "Yahweh" rather than from "Yehovah".
The oldest known inscription of the tetragrammaton dates to 840 BCE, on the Mesha Stele. It bears the earliest certain extra-biblical reference to the Israelite God Yahweh. The most recent discovery of a tetragrammaton inscription, dating to the 6th century BCE, was found written in Hebrew on two silver scrolls recovered from Jerusalem.
In the Hebrew Bible, the tetragrammaton occurs 6828 times,:142 as can be seen in the Biblia Hebraica and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. In addition, on the margins there are notes (masorah[note 1]) indicating that in 134 places the soferim (Jewish scribes) altered the original Hebrew text from YHWH to Adonai[note 2] and 8 places to Elohim, which would add 142 occurrences to the initial number above. According to Brown–Driver–Briggs, יְהֹוָה (Qr אֲדֹנָי) occurs 6,518 times, and יֱהֹוִה (Qr אֱלֹהִים) occurs 305 times in the Masoretic Text. It first appears in Hebrew in the Book of Genesis 2:4. The only books it does not appear in are Ecclesiastes, the Book of Esther, and Song of Songs.
In the Book of Esther the Tetragrammaton does not appear, but it is present in four complex acrostics in Hebrew: the initial or last letters of four consecutive words, either forwards or backwards comprise YHWH. These letters were distinguished in at least three ancient Hebrew manuscripts in red.[note 3] Another acrostic containing the Tetragrammaton also composed the first four words of Psalm 96:11.
Short form Jah occurs 50 times: 43 times in the Psalms, one in Exodus 15:2; 17:16; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4, and twice in Isaiah 38:11. It also appears in the Greek phrase Ἁλληλουϊά (hallelujah) in Revelation 19:1–6.
God's name is also found in the Bible as a component in theophoric Hebrew names. Some may have had at the beginning of the form: jô- or jehô- (29 names), and the other at the end: jāhû- or jāh- (127 names). One name is a form of jehô as the second syllable (Elioenaj, hebr. ʼelj(eh)oʻenaj). Onomastic Studies indicate that theophoric names containing the Tetragrammaton were very popular during the monarchy (8th–7th centuries BCE).[note 4] The popular names with the prefix jô-/jehô- diminished, while the suffix jāhû-/jāh- increased. The Septuagint typically translates YHWH as kyrios "Lord".
Below are the number of occurrences of the Tetragrammaton in various books in the Masoretic Text.
Six Hebrew spellings of the tetragrammaton are found in the Leningrad Codex of 1008–1010, as shown below. The entries in the Close Transcription column are not intended to indicate how the name was intended to be pronounced by the Masoretes, but only how the word would be pronounced if read without qere perpetuum.
|Chapter and verse||Hebrew spelling||Close transcription||Ref.||Explanation|
|Genesis 2:4||יְהוָה||Yǝhwāh||||This is the first occurrence of the tetragrammaton in the Hebrew Bible and shows the most common set of vowels used in the Masoretic text. It is the same as the form used in Genesis 3:14 below, but with the dot over the holam/waw left out, because it is a little redundant.|
|Genesis 3:14||יְהֹוָה||Yǝhōwāh||||This is a set of vowels used rarely in the Masoretic text, and are essentially the vowels from Adonai (with the hataf patakh reverting to its natural state as a shewa).|
|Judges 16:28||יֱהֹוִה||Yĕhōwih||||When the tetragrammaton is preceded by Adonai, it receives the vowels from the name Elohim instead. The hataf segol does not revert to a shewa because doing so could lead to confusion with the vowels in Adonai.|
|Genesis 15:2||יֱהוִה||Yĕhwih||||Just as above, this uses the vowels from Elohim, but like the second version, the dot over the holam/waw is omitted as redundant.|
|1 Kings 2:26||יְהֹוִה||Yǝhōwih||||Here, the dot over the holam/waw is present, but the hataf segol does get reverted to a shewa.|
|Ezekiel 24:24||יְהוִה||Yǝhwih||||Here, the dot over the holam/waw is omitted, and the hataf segol gets reverted to a shewa.|
The o diacritic dot over the letter waw is often omitted because it plays no useful role in distinguishing between the two intended pronunciations Adonai and Elohim (which both happen to have an o vowel in the same position).
In the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Hebrew and Aramaic texts the tetragrammaton and some other names of God in Judaism (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, 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 (6th century) wrote: "The Roman Varo [116–27 BCE] defining him [that is the Jewish god] says 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,[note 5] 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.
|1Q11 (1QPsb) 2–5 3 (link: )||2Q13 (2QJer) (link: )||1QS VIII 14 (link: )|
|1Q14 (1QpMic) 1–5 1, 2 (link: )||4Q27 (4QNumb) (link: )||1QIsaa XXXIII 7, XXXV 15 (link: )|
|1QpHab VI 14; X 7, 14; XI 10 (link: )||4Q37 (4QDeutj) (link: )||4Q53 (4QSamc) 13 III 7, 7 (link: )|
|1Q15 (1QpZeph) 3, 4 (link: )||4Q78 (4QXIIc) (link: )||4Q175 (4QTest) 1, 19|
|2Q3 (2QExodb) 2 2; 7 1; 8 3 (link:  )||4Q96 (4QPso (link: )||4Q176 (4QTanḥ) 1–2 i 6, 7, 9; 1–2 ii 3; 8–10 6, 8, 10 (link: )|
|3Q3 (3QLam) 1 2 (link: )||4Q158 (4QRPa) (link: )||4Q196 (4QpapToba ar) 17 i 5; 18 15 (link: )|
|4Q20 (4QExodj) 1–2 3 (link: )||4Q163 (4Qpap pIsac) I 19; II 6; 15–16 1; 21 9; III 3, 9; 25 7 (link: )||4Q248 (history of the kings of Greece) 5 (link: )|
|4Q26b (4QLevg) linia 8 (link: )||4QpNah (4Q169) II 10 (link: )||4Q306 (4QMen of People Who Err) 3 5 (link: )|
|4Q38a (4QDeutk2) 5 6 (link: )||4Q173 (4QpPsb) 4 2 (link: )||4Q382 (4QparaKings et al.) 9+11 5; 78 2|
|4Q57 (4QIsac) (link: )||4Q177 (4QCatena A) (link: )||4Q391 (4Qpap Pseudo-Ezechiel) 36, 52, 55, 58, 65 (link: )|
|4Q161 (4QpIsaa) 8–10 13 (link: )||4Q215a (4QTime of Righteousness) (link: )||4Q462 (4QNarrative C) 7; 12 (link: )|
|4Q165 (4QpIsae) 6 4 (link: )||4Q222 (4QJubg) (link: )||4Q524 (4QTb)) 6–13 4, 5 (link: )|
|4Q171 (4QpPsa) II 4, 12, 24; III 14, 15; IV 7, 10, 19 (link: )||4Q225 (4QPsJuba) (link: )||XḤev/SeEschat Hymn (XḤev/Se 6) 2 7|
|11Q2 (11QLevb) 2 2, 6, 7 (link: )||4Q365 (4QRPc) (link: )|
|11Q5 (11QPsa) (link: )||4Q377 (4QApocryphal Pentateuch B) 2 ii 3, 5 (link: )|
|4Q382 (4Qpap paraKings) (link: )|
|11Q6 (11QPsb) (link: )|
|11Q7 (11QPsc) (link: )|
|11Q20 (11QTb) (link: )|
|11Q11 (11QapocrPs) (link: )|
The date of composition is an estimate according to Peter Muchowski, as found in "Commentaries to the Manuscripts of the Dead Sea" by Emanuel Tov in "Scribal Practices and Approaches, Reflected in the Texts Found in the Judean Desert".
|Manuscripts in blue have written the Tetragrammaton in tetrapuncta|
|Manuscripts in green have written the Tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew|
|Manuscripts in red have written the Tetragrammaton in square characters|
The numbers on the horizontal line are the approximate year the manuscripts was produced.
The spellings of the tetragrammaton occur among the many combinations and permutations of names of powerful agents that occur in Jewish magical papyri found in Egypt. One of these forms is the heptagram ιαωουηε. In the Jewish magical papyri, Iave and Iαβα Yaba occurs frequently.
The oldest complete Septuagint (B, א, A) versions from fourth century onwards consistently use Κύριος ("Lord"), or Θεός ("God"), where the Hebrew has YHWH, corresponding to substituting Adonai for YHWH in reading the original. The use of Κύριος for translating YHWH was not common in LXX manuscripts before that time. In books written in Greek (e.g., Wisdom, 2 and 3 Maccabees), as in the New Testament, Κύριος takes the place of the name of God. However, the oldest fragments had the tetragrammaton in Hebrew or Paleo-Hebrew characters, with the exception of P. Ryl. 458 (perhaps the oldest extant Septuagint manuscript) where there are blank spaces, leading some scholars such as Colin Henderson Roberts to believe that it contained letters. According to Paul E. Kahle, the tetragrammaton must have been written in the manuscript where these breaks or blank spaces appear. Albert Pietersma claim that P. Ryl. 458 is not important for their discussion of tetragrammaton, but he mentions it for ancient and for one surmise, since, all the contemporary ancient manuscripts present any form of divine name. Other oldest fragments of manuscripts cannot be used in discussions because, in addition to its small text and its fragmentary condition, it does not include any Hebrew Bible verses where the Tetragrammaton appears (i.e. 4Q119, 4Q121, 4Q122, 7Q5). The claim that 4Q126 has Κύριος is implausible, because its text is unidentified, appearing this title (Kyrios) replacing the divine name from the third century onwards (i.e. P.Oxy656, P.Oxy1075 and P.Oxy1166). 4Q126 is not considered a biblical manuscript.
Throughout the Septuagint as now known, the word Κύριος (Kyrios) without the definite article is used to represent the divine name, but it is uncertain whether this was the Septuagint's original rendering. Origen (Commentary on Psalms 2.2) and Jerome (Prologus Galeatus) said that in their time the best manuscripts gave not the word Κύριος but the tetragrammaton itself written in an older form of the Hebrew characters. No Jewish manuscript of the Septuagint has been found with Κύριος representing the tetragrammaton, and it has been argued, but not widely accepted, that the use of Κύριος shows that later copies of the Septuagint were of Christian character, and even that the composition of the New Testament preceded the change to Κύριος in the Septuagint. Its consistent use of Κύριος to represent the tetragrammaton has been called "a distinguishing mark for any Christian LXX manuscript", However, a passage recorded in the Hebrew Tosefta, Shabbat 13:5 (written c. 300 CE), quoting Tarfon (who lived between 70 and 135 CE) is sometimes cited to suggest that early Christian writings or copies contained the Tetragrammaton.
In earliest copies of the Septuagint, the tetragrammaton in either Hebrew or paleo-Hebrew letters is used. The tetragrammaton occurs in the following texts:
Sidney Jellicoe concluded that "Kahle is right in holding that LXX [Septuagint] texts, written by Jews for Jews, retained the divine name in Hebrew Letters (paleo-Hebrew or Aramaic) or in the Greek-letters imitative form ΠΙΠΙ, and that its replacement by Κύριος was a Christian innovation". Jellicoe draws together evidence from a great many scholars (B. J. Roberts, Baudissin, Kahle and C. H. Roberts) and various segments of the Septuagint to draw the conclusions that the absence of "Adonai" from the text suggests that the insertion of the term Kyrios was a later practice; in the Septuagint Kyrios is used to substitute YHWH; and the tetragrammaton appeared in the original text, but Christian copyists removed it.
Eusebius and Jerome (translator of the Vulgate) used the Hexapla.  This is further affirmed by The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, which states "Recently discovered texts doubt the idea that the translators of the LXX (Septuagint) have rendered the tetragrammaton JHWH with KYRIOS. The most ancient available manuscripts of the LXX have the tetragrammaton written in Hebrew letters in the Greek text. This was a custom preserved by the later Hebrew translator of the Old Testament in the first centuries (after Christ)"
No Greek manuscript of the New Testament uses the tetragrammaton.:77 In all its quotations of Old Testament texts that have the tetragrammaton in Hebrew the New Testament uses the Greek word Κύριος (Kyrios). However, within the New Testament the name that the tetragrammaton represents underlies the names of some of the people mentioned (such as Zachary and Elijah), and the name appears in the abbreviated form Yah in the Greek phrase Ἁλληλουϊά (hallelujah) in Revelation 19:1–6.
In 1977, Professor George Howard in the pages of the Journal of Biblical Literature published a thesis of the presence of the Tetragrammaton in the biblical quotations cited by the writers of the New Testament, giving two sets of evidence:
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 with transliterations of the tetragrammaton.
Especially due to the existence of the Mesha Stele, the Jahwist tradition found in Exod. 3:15, 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.:40
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 or his great-great-grandson Simon II). Philo calls it 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 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, 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.
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".
Halakha prescribes that whereas the Name 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. Thus when someone wants to refer in third person to either the written or spoken Name, the term HaShem "the Name" is used; and this handle itself can also be used in prayer. The Masoretes added vowel points (niqqud) and 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 יהוה they added the vowels for "Adonai" ("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 and "Raḥmana l'tzlan" ("may the Merciful save us" i.e. "God forbid").
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 long term storage or buried in Jewish cemeteries in order to retire them from use. Similarly, it is prohibited to write the tetragrammaton (or these other names) unnecessarily. 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.
Some Jews are stringent and extend the above safeguard by also not writing out other names of God in other languages, for example writing "God" in English as "G-d". However this is beyond the letter of the law.
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. In late kabbalistic works the tetragrammaton is sometimes referred to as the name of Havayah—הוי'ה, meaning "the Name of Being/Existence". This name also helps when one needs to refer specifically to the written Name; similarly, "Shem Adonoot", meaning "the Name of Lordship" can be used to refer to the spoken name "Adonai" specifically.
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, 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 Abba; the first Hei is Imma; the Vav is Ze`ir Anpin and the second Hei is 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[by whom?] 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?] who believe that the tetractys and its mysteries influenced the early 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, 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.
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 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").
It is assumed that early Jewish Christians inherited from Jews the practice of reading "Lord" where the tetragrammaton appeared in the Hebrew text, or where a tetragrammaton may have been marked in a Greek text. Gentile Christians, primarily non-Hebrew speaking and using Greek texts, may have read "Lord" as it occurred in the Greek text of the New Testament and their copies of the Greek Old Testament. This practice continued into the Latin Vulgate where "Lord" represented the tetragrammaton in the Latin text. In Petrus Alphonsi's Tetragrammaton-Trinity diagram, the name is written as "Ieve". At the Reformation, the Luther Bible used "Jehova" in the German text of Luther's Old Testament.
As mentioned above, the Septuagint (Greek translation), the Vulgate (Latin translation), and the Peshitta (Syriac translation) use the word "Lord" (κύριος, kyrios, dominus, and ܡܳܪܝܳܐ, 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, Arabic, 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 "LORD" in place of the tetragrammaton in most passages, often in small capitals (or in all caps), so as to distinguish it from other words translated as "Lord".
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.:247–248
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:
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 Philippians 2:9-11 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".
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