יהוה

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Hebrew[edit]

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The Tetragrammaton in Paleo-Hebrew script, old Aramaic script, and square Hebrew.

Etymology[edit]

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The etymology of this theonym has been discussed very extensively in scholarly literature but remains uncertain.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • In the Biblical Hebrew of antiquity (before 400 BC), the word was probably pronounced approximately /jahwe/.

Proper noun[edit]

יהוה

  1. The Tetragrammaton, one of the names of God.
  2. The proper, personal name of the Jewish and Christian God.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The word is written in the Hebrew Bible either without vocalisation or as יְהֹוָה, using the vocalisation of the word אֲדֹנָי (adonáy, my Lords), because of the prohibition of uttering the name. It is thought that the original pronunciation was probably lost around the Hellenistic era.
  • Secular Jews in Israel pronounce the word as אֲדֹנָי (adonái) usually, under most circumstances.
  • Religious Jews pronounce it as אֲדֹנָי (adonái) only for liturgical purposes, otherwise they use הַשֶּׁם (hashém).
  • Samaritans pronounce it as שְׁמָא (šmāʾ) (the Aramaic equivalent of הַשֶּׁם (hashém)) under all circumstances, even in liturgy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Brown, Driver & Briggs, A Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Oxford 1907