Why using Jehovah for God's name is as good as using Yahweh

by oppostate 91 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • _Morpheus
  • oppostate


    Wait let me turn off troll mode for a second.
    • Greg Stafford (former JW apologist and founder of the Christian Witnesses of Jah)???
    Oh boy...

    Greg shows the extant forms found in the Hebrew Scriptures could be transliterated as Jah, Jahoh and Jahoah.

    Take a look at his explanatory notes:


  • freemindfade

    I have a question. I know I'm just an ignorant troll. But you are saying josephus was your boy right? He knew what was up, right? Didn't he say the diving name was 4 vowels? Jehovah theory is three... if I'm missing something you can tell me. I make no claims at being an expert on this madness.

    No matter how bad these folks want to know it. The pronounciaton remains...UNKNOWN. does not keep me up at night.

  • _Morpheus
    You mean the debate over the proper translation of the all powerful 6,000 year old judao christain god dosent trouble you enough to give you pause???? Well.... All powerful but just not powerful enough to make it clear what his name actually should be translated as... you know pretty strong anyway..... Not strong enough to speak, like he used to when he wanted to make something clear, but still pretty strong... I guess..... In a bronze age goat herder kind of way....
  • oppostate

    Josephus is not my boy, there dude!
    But since you ask about his statement...
    • What he wrote is that it was pronounced as is written, 1st clue.
    • Then that it was made up of four vowels, 2nd clue.
    YHWH and YHWDH (Judah) are almost identical except for the D. You take the D out of Yeh-hoo-dahh and you're left with Ye-hoo-ahh. (If you prefer Ieh-hou-ah or Yeh-hwah, to me they're equally acceptable reconstructions in English sounds for the Hebrew originals).
    Now, Josephus was writing in Greek Koine the scholarly lingua franca of the day, for an educated Roman audience. They were familiar with a God Father figure, Jove (back then as IOUE since the J was a later addition to the alphabet and the V was rather a U/W sound). Funny thing about Greek unlike Latin they didn't have a letter for the aspirated H nor a vowel for U/OO. The only aspiration is the rough breathing accent mark. The ypsilon had to be combined and preceded with an omicron (ov) to make a sound like in English U/OO (ex. rude, foodl).
    So what I'm putting forth is that Martin the Catholic monk's using Jehovah instead of Yahweh isn't "wrong," and in fact it's closer to a logical reconstruction of what the Divine name would have sounded back then considering Josephus's writings and thousands of Masoretic vowel point amendations to the Hebrew text which clearly show a lack of the holam vowel that could serve as a clue to pronounce Adonay instead.
  • wizzstick

    Of the two examples you've provided, one 'Yeh-hoo-ahh' is from Greg Stafford, and one 'I_Eh_ou_Ah' is from Gérard Gertoux? Is that right? In all honesty neither sound anything like Jehovah - which in itself is still a hybrid word.

    If there was a correct pronunciation of the Divine Name we'd know it by now. The WT has it wrong. And that is important as they claim to be God's sole channel of communication.

    By the way there is an review on Amazon of the book that maybe of interest to you:

    Linguists recognise that in the evolution of a language, the vowels change more noticably than the consonents. For example, The short vowels of British Recieved Pronunciation are manifested as dipthongs or even tripthongs in many accents of the Southern United States. In 1940s Britain, the present [æ] phoneme was pronounced more like [e], and this is a time difference of only 60 years!!!

    Anglo-Saxon words of 900 years ago, are recognised by etymologists as antecendents of Modern English primarily by their consonents, because vowels, semi-vowels, and glides change even from generation to generation. The Anglo-Saxon language of 900 years ago is a "foreign language" in that it has changed beyond recognition due to linguistic factors such as ablaut, semi-vocalisation, palatisation.

    The fact that the name YHWH is made up entirely of slippery semi-vowels, and possibly aspirants, renders it very difficult for linguists to extrapolate an original form.

    palatal [j] --- semi-vowel [y] --- vowel[i]

    labiodental[v] --- biablial[β] --- semi-vowel[w] --- vowel[u]

    (This demonstrates semi-vocalisation, palatisation and the forming of approximants)

    Ablaut is shown in the gradual vowel changes of the Proto-Indo-European *[pod] to the Latin *[ped] to the authors own language French: 'pied' [pye] ('d' not reflected in modern pronunciation)

    To be objective though, the change from PIE *[pod] to the Anglo-Saxon [fo:t] to our present pronunciation of 'foot' [fut] is less striking with regard to consonent preservation, but we still notice a general trend of vowel "slipperyness".

    Ablaut (or apophony) is also demonstrated by the the pluralisation of 'man' to 'men' or that of 'goose' to 'geese'. This is common in Amharic, ANOTHER SEMITIC LANGUAGE.

    ASSUMING that the Hebrew language underwent linguistic changes similar to Amharic, in the 1070 years between the first and last books of the Old Testanment (compared to the 900 years between Beowulf and the present literature), it is quite possible that many pronunciations of The Name came in and went out of use, especially in view of the Jewish prohibition of pronouncing the name.

    Due to the ablaut of the unwritten and "un-pin-downable" vowels in Hebrew, the name Y.eH.oW.aH (Jehovah/Yehowah), could easily have been Y.aH.oW.eH (Yahweh/Yahoweh) or even hypothetical Y.iH.uW.H (Jihuβh) or iY.H.uW.H (Ihuh).

    I appreciate the depth of research and reasoning that Gertoux has undertaken but i still believe from a linguistic point of view that is impossible to determine the original pronunciation of The Name and therefore any dogmatic attempts to support ANY of the varients are futile, even with the support of personal names such as Yehoshuah/Yahushuah/Yeshua.

  • oppostate
    I appreciate the depth of research and reasoning that Gertoux has undertaken but i still believe from a linguistic point of view that is impossible to determine the original pronunciation of The Name and therefore any dogmatic attempts to support ANY of the varients are futile,

    Indeed, Wizzstick, I agree and appreciate Gertoux's exhaustive references and research. I also think Greg has done a great job of proving his preference.

    That, as you assert, none of the proposed alternatives can be proved without a doubt, does not take away from the opinion I expressed in the OP. That Jehovah is not worse than Yahweh, and that in fact there seems to be good research supporting the idea that it may have been closer to Yeh-hoo-ahh rather than Yah-weh.

    Anglicising Martin's IEHOVA as Jehovah (and pronouncing it djuh-ho-vuh, djee-ho-vah, or even as you hear in New England djuh-ho-vurr) is typical of the tradition of Biblical English names translation.

    In Spanish Jehovah is Hey-o-ba' and Jesus is Hey-soos, quite clearly very distant from an original Hebrew and yet, Spanish comes from Latin, and Martin was a Spanish Dominican monk.

    So I'm not being dogmatic, instead I'm objecting to the dogmatic view, some keep parroting, that Martin had it all wrong and that Yahweh is a better alternative to Jehovah.

  • CalebInFloroda

    I'm a Jew. I speak and read Hebrew.

    Jewish culture finds it fitting that YHWH escapes a definitive pronounciation. Far be it from me to argue with Gentile Christian scholars, but though I spent some of my youth as a JW, I grew up exposed to the language and Hebrew culture.

    So for what it is worth: it's not a name. Not really. YHWH is an anti-name, or to be more exact using Hebrew terminology, it's an anti- "handle."

    The Hebrew word for "name" is SHEM. The word means "handle," such as found on a suitcase or bucket. In Hebrew culture the bestowing of a name or its use meant you could have some control or a "handle" on the individual. But when Moses asked G-d for his "handle" in Exodus, you will notice that it was not the Tetragrammaton that was used in the reply. G-d merely stated "I am Me," or as Gentile Bibles put it "I Am What I Am."

    In plain English this means "I am defined by myself," or even "You can't have a handle on me." God's designation is IS, with the "is" meaning what God is.

    Like the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and two Temples, the Name of God would always be presented four-square, using four letters. And like the Holy of Holies (and everything else considered holy in Hebrew culture) it's use would be limited and rare. Writing the name is one thing, like constructing the Holy of Holies, but regular access to it would never exist.

    The pronounciation is irrelevant, culturally speaking to Jews and Judaism. Gentiles gave names to their gods and uttered them repeatedly, often in gibberish to make sure they got the pronunciation just right. The heathen believed that if they did not utter the divine name of their pagan gods, the same gods would ignore them--perhaps even if they mispronounced it. If they uttered these divine names, the heathen believed they had a handle on their gods and their pagan gods would in turn have to reply.

    In Hebrew culture to use something over and over again makes it common or mundane. To reserve it or separate it from mundane or secular things makes it holy. The Name of the Hebrew G-d was thus separated from the type of use that people of the nations used their deities' names for.

    I laugh a little now because the insistence on using and pronouncing the name of a deity is a pagan practice, not one the Jews had. And as we all know the JWs are obsessed with using the Name in the exact fashion as the pagan nations did.

  • never a jw
    never a jw

    I agree with the basic premise that a name is just a way of identifying something without changing its essence. However, it's the emphasis that JW's put on that name when combined with the history of it that makes it amusing. They are always attacking other religions, especially the RC, for corrupting scripture, not realizing or not admitting that that corruption is all over their own Bible, especially that mongrel, "Jehovah"


    I have read your explanation by another biblical scholar, Christine Hayes, I like it much better than the idea of the tetragramaton being a proper name in the ordinary sense. I agree with that conclusion just based on what you quoted from the Bible, namely the name revelation to Moses.

  • freemindfade
    Calebinfloroda now that makes sense.

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