A book on the pronunciation of God's Name

by Doug Mason 44 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Finkelstein

    I call him The Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Since the ancient Hebrews sect came out of the ancient Canaanite civilization, it was most likely the reason why they first used their main monotheistic god EL and then graduated to YHWH (Yahweh)

    Here is some interesting information .....

    A more fundamental question is whether the name Yahweh originated among the Israelites or was adopted by them from some other people and speech. The biblical author of the history of the sacred institutions (P) expressly declares that the name Yahweh was unknown to the patriarchs (Exod. vi. 3), and the much older Israelite historian (E) records the first revelation of the name to Moses (Exod. iii. 13-15), apparently following a tradition according to which the Israelites had not been worshippers of Yahweh before the time of Moses, or, as he conceived it. had not worshipped the god of their fathers under that name. The revelation of the name to Moses was made at a mountain sacred to Yahweh (the mountain of God) far to the south of Palestine, in a region where the forefathers of the Israelites had never roamed, and in the territory of other tribes; and long after the settlement in Canaan this region continued to be regarded as the abode of Yahweh (Judg. v. 4; Deut. xxxiii. 2 sqq.; I Kings xix. 8 sqq. &c). Moses is closely connected with the tribes in the vicinity of the holy mountain; according to one account, he married a daughter of the priest of Midian (Exod. i. 16 sqq.; iii. 1); to this mountain he led the Israelites after their deliverance from Egypt; there his father-in-law met him, and extolling Yahweh as greater than all the gods, offered (in his capacity as priest of the place?) sacrifices, at which the chief men of the Israelites were his guests; there the religion of Yahweh was revealed through Moses, and the Israelites pledged themselves to serve (;od according to its prescriptions. It appears, therefore, that in the tradition followed by the Israelite historian the tribes within whose pasture lands the mountain of God stood were worshippers of Yahweh before the time of Moses; and the surmise that the name Yahweh belongs to their speech, rather than to that of Israel, has considerable probability. One of these tribes was Midian, in whose land the mountain of God lay. The Kenites also, with whom another tradition connects Moses, seem to have been worshippers of Yahweh. It is probable that Yahweh was at one time worshipped by various tribes south of Palestine, and that several places in that wide territory (Horeb, Sinai, Kadesh, &c.) were sacred to him; the oldest and most famous of these, the mountain of God, seems to have lain in Arabia, east of the Red Sea. From some of these peoples and at one of these holy places, a group of Israelite tribes adopted the religion of Yahweh, the God who, by the hand of Moses, had delivered them from Egypt.

    The tribes of this region probably belonged to some branch of the great Arab stock, and the name Yahweh has, accordingly, been connected with the Arabic hawd, "the void" (between heaven and earth), "the atmosphere," or with the verb hawd, cognate with Heb. hâwâh, "sink, glide down" (through space); haze-wd blow (wind). "He rides through the air, He blows" (Welihausen), would be a fit name for a god of wind and storm. There is, however, no certain. evidence that the Israelites in historical times had any consciousness of the primitive significance of the name.

    The attempts to connect the name Yahweh with that of an Indo-European deity (Jehovah-Jove, &c.), or to derive it from Egyptian or Chinese, may be passed over. But one theory which has had considerable currency requires notice, namely, that Yahweh, or Yahu, Yaho,[23] is the name of a god worshipped throughout the whole, or a great part, of the area occupied by the Western Semites. In its earlier form this opinion rested chiefly on certain misinterpreted testimonies in Greek authors about a god Ιάω, and was conclusively refuted by Baudissin; recent adherents of the theory build more largely on the occurrence in various parts of this territory of proper names of persons and places which they explain as compounds of Yahu or Yah.[24] The explanation is in most cases simply an assumption of the point at issue; some of the names have been misread; others are undoubtedly the names of Jews. There remain, however, some cases in which it is highly probable that names of nonIsraelites are really compounded with Yahweh. The most conspicuous of these is the king of Hamath who in the inscriptions of Sargon (722-705 B.C.) is called Yaubi'di and Ilubi'di (compare Jehoiakim-Eliakim). Azriyau of Jaudi, also, in inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser (745-728 B.C.), who was formerly supposed to be Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah, is probably a king of the country in northern Syria known to us from the Zenjirli inscriptions as Ja'di.

    Friedrich Delitzsch brought into notice three tablets, of the age of the first dynasty of Babylon, in which he read the names of Ya-a'-ve-ilu, Ya-ve-ilu, and Ya-ū-um-ilu ("Yahweh is God"), and which he regarded as conclusive proof that Yahweh was known in Babylonia before 2000 B.C.; he was a god of the Semitic invaders in the second wave of migration, who were, according to Winckler and Delitzsch, of North Semitic stock (Canaanites, in the linguistic sense). We should thus have in the tablets evidence of the worship of Yahweh among the Western Semites at a time long before the rise of Israel. The reading of the names is, however, extremely uncertain, not to say improbable, and the far-reaching inferences drawn from them carry no conviction. In a tablet attributed to the I4th century B.C. which Sellin found in the course of his excavations at Tell Taannuk (the Taanach of the O.T.) a name occurs which may be read Ahi-Yawi (equivalent to Hebrew Ahijah);[26] if the reading be correct, this would show that Yahweh was worshipped in Central Palestine before the Israelite conquest. The reading is, however, only one of several possibilities. The fact that the full form Yahweh appears, whereas in Hebrew proper names only the shorter Yahu and Yah occur, weighs somewhat against the interpretation, as it does against Delitzsch's reading of his tablets.

    It would not be at all surprising if, in the great movements of populations and shifting of ascendancy which lie beyond our historical horizon, the worship of Yahweh should have been established in regions remote from those which it occupied in historical times; but nothing which we now know warrants the opinion that his worship was ever general among the Western Semites.

    Many attempts have been made to trace the West Semitic Yahu back to Babylonia. Thus Delitzsch formerly derived the name from an Akkadian god, I or Ia; or from the Semitic nominative ending, Yau; but this deity has since disappeared from the pantheon of Assyriologists. The combination of Yah with Ea, one of the great Babylonian gods, seems to have a peculiar fascination for amateurs, by whom it is periodically discovered. Scholars are now agreed that, so far as Yahu or Yah occurs in Babylonian texts, it is as the name of a foreign god.

    Assuming that Yahweh was primitively a nature god, scholars in the 19th century discussed the question over what sphere of nature he originally presided. According to some he was the god of consuming fire; others saw in him the bright sky, or the heaven; still others recognized in him a storm god, a theory with which the derivation of the name from Heb. hâwâh or Arab. hawd well accords. The association of Yahweh with storm and fire is frequent in the Old Testament; the thunder is the voice of Yahweh, the lightning his arrows, the rainbow his bow. The revelation at Sinai is amid the awe-inspiring phenomena of tempest. Yahweh leads Israel through the desert in a pillar of cloud and fire; he kindles Elijah's altar by lightning, and translates the prophet in a chariot of fire. See also Judg. v. 4 seq.;

  • peacefulpete

    For anyone who thinks uncertainty about the origin and exact pronunciation of YHWH suggest some conspiracy, try looking up the names of other deities from this period, such as the OT "Molech" same thing. Even popular Greek gods like Dionysus have uncertain origins and variations in spelling/pronunciation. Its typical for this be the case not the exception or the result of some effort to conceal the deity.

  • Crazyguy2

    Another thing to note is yes there seems to be some evidence that the god Yahweh may have changed from El to another god from the desert south of Judah but it’s also let’s not forget that the original name for the city of Jerusalem is related to another Canaanite deity and the Solomon’s temple if built has the same construction style as those built in Egypt’s and even one in northern Syria. Even descriptions of the Ark of the covenant is similar to the Egyptian Bark of Ammon.

  • Finkelstein

    It would be intellectually honest to say ancient civilizations plagiarized theological ideas from civilization to another and subsequently challenged the power and strength from one god to another god ie. monotheism from polytheism and other mythological stories, an example was the story telling of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Listening to these apologists makes me so glad that I have put religion behind me.

    Incidentally the JW Furuli quotes from the stele where YHVH is mentioned along with his brother god Chemosh without acknowledging the issues that this relationship would bring with it! Furuli like many religious commentators, is highly selective in what he puts forward and is for this reason, a Watchtower culture hero. How can he live with himself?

    Monotheism only became established very late in Iron Age Israel (which name relates to the Phoenician God El, later used by the Jews as the generic word for God:Elohim). The OT is all about the struggle to extinguish polytheism and raise the status of impoverished Judah.

    Who is to say which tribal deity is almighty? Only religious leaders! And anthropology can explain why a local tribal deity such as Yahweh gets a transformation into the ever existing almighty creator of all things.

    God only has a name if it's in your interests to declare it.

  • punkofnice

    It makes me laugh out loud, LOL even...........learning how to pronounce the name of a fictional character.

  • peacefulpete

    The big "discovery" by this Nehemiah Gordon was not a discovery at all. He found the Masoretic vowel pointing that everyone already knew about and hailed it as a revealing of secret knowledge. lol If he had simply looked into the Encyclopedia Britannica he would have "discovered" this much easier:

    The Masoretes, who from about the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible, replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with the vowel signs of the Hebrew words Adonai or Elohim. Latin-speaking Christian scholars substituted the Y (which does not exist in Latin) with an I or a J (the latter of which exists in Latin as a variant form of I). Thus, the tetragrammaton became the artificial Latinized name Jehovah (JeHoWaH). As the use of the name spread throughout medieval Europe, the initial letter J was pronounced according to the local vernacular language rather than Latin.

    Whats really funny is that his website is filled with JWs falling over themselves with praise for him. He is making a splash and some good cash no doubt.

  • peacefulpete

    Sorry that last comment was actually in response to a very old thread about Nehemiah Gordon and his spin of the topic. I guess I'm getting old.

    Furuli in this video is being deliberately obtuse. He's a JW at heart. and either his heart is corrupting his objectivity or he enjoys the limelight of being looked to as an expert and feeding his audience what they want.

    The founders of the WT organization saw the name Jehovah in churches and Bibles and adopted it. They did not critically look at the subject, if they had they would have read Gesenius' work and looked scholarly by using Yahweh.

    Rather ironic is that they know the facts of this and have even disclosed it but still see it as a matter of such importance so as to fudge the facts to support their having taken the name of Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • Finkelstein

    The real ironic thing about J Rutherford taking on the Jehovah's Witnesses name is that the name Jehovah was created or Latinzied by a Catholic monk (false religion clergy)

    This has already been mentioned I think buts its still vital information .......

    Jehovah is a pronunciation of the Hebrew consonants of YHWH (the sacred Name of the God of Israel revealed in the Hebrew Bible) and the vowels of Adonai (Hebrew for “my Lord”).

    When the Hebrew Bible was first written down in the Hebrew language, they wrote only with consonants, not vowels. So the sacred Name of God was written “YHWH” and likely was pronounced “Yahweh.” For millennia, Jews have gone to great lengths to avoid misusing the Name of their God, as he commanded them at the mountain after he delivered them from Egypt. At some point, ancient Jews began saying adonai (“my Lord”) when they saw “YHWH.” It wasn’t until the 10th century (as far as archaeologists have discovered) that a group of scholars called the Masoretes put vowels into the Hebrew text of the First Testament. They left the consonants “YHWH” in 7,000+ locations to show it was God’s Name. But they added the vowels of Adonai to the consonants to show later generations how to pronounce the word: “Adonai.” (That was why the Masoretes did their work of adding vowels; they were concerned that the number of scribes who could read Hebrew was unsustainably low, and they wanted to preserve what was read aloud by completing the text of what was written.) So Jehovah is a pronunciation of the vowels and consonants as they appear in the Masoretic Text, though it is not how the Jews would have known the Name of God.

    Out of respect for the Jewish tradition of not uttering the sacred Name of God, the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) for the NIV have chosen to display every instance of the Name YHWH in the Hebrew Bible as “Lord.” [could link to FAQ on Lord here] “Lord” (kyrios) is how the Septuagint (or LXX; the third century BC Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) translates YHWH. This led to the English solution of translating YHWH as “Lord,” which shows readers the difference between YHWH and adonai (written “Lord” or “lord” depending on context).

  • peacefulpete

    What reeeally disheartens me is when you do a google on the subject the many many people whose lives are being consumed by this trivial debate. Not just JWs but many sects and cults. I fear there are former JWs for whom this is still an issue. They have not made peace with the reality of this being a purely academic debate about the pronunciation of an ancient tribal deity.

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