Why do you use the name Yahweh? Don’t you know that this name was invented by a Catholic monk in 1725 AD?

YHWH     Why do you use the name Yahweh? Don’t you know that this name was invented by a Catholic monk in 1725 AD? Plus, there are 20 different ways our Heavenly Father’s name can be pronounced.

 

YHWH     The belief that “Yahweh” originated from a Catholic monk could not be further from the truth. This statement can be proven false with a simple Google search. The official website of the Catholic Church states: “About the 13th century the term ‘Jehovah’ appeared when Christian scholars took the consonants of ‘Yahweh’ and pronounced it with the vowels of ‘Adonai.’ This resulted in the sound ‘Yahowah,’ which has a Latinized spelling of ‘Jehovah.’ The first recorded use of this spelling was made by a Spanish Dominican monk, Raymundus Martini, in 1270” (www.catholic.com/qa/is-gods-name-yahweh-or-jehovah).

From this citation, it was not “Yahweh” that was originated by a Catholic monk, but the hybrid “Jehovah,” arising from Yehowah or Yehovah.  Additionally, scholarship overwhelmingly confirms “Yahweh” as the likely pronunciation. Evidence for this is found in ancient inscriptions dating back to the second century of the Common Era, including early church fathers and gnostic sources. Following are other sources attesting to the correctness of “Yahweh.”

“The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh’” (Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680).

“Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used the form Yahweh, thus this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. x, p. 786).

“The pronunciation Yahweh is indicated by transliteration of the name into Greek in early Christian literature, in the form iaoue (Clement of Alexandria) or iabe (Theodoret; by this time Gk. b had the pronunciation of v)…Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only ‘name’ of God. In Genesis wherever the word sem (‘name’) is associated with the divine being that name is Yahweh” (Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, 1979 p. 478).

“Such a conclusion, giving ‘Yahweh’ as the pronunciation of the name, is confirmed by the testimony of the Fathers and gentile writers, where the forms IAO, Yaho, Yaou, Yahouai, and Yahoue appear. Especially important is the statement of Theodoret in relation to Ex. lvi, when he says: ‘the Samaritans call it [the tetragrammaton] ‘Yabe,’ the Jews call it ‘Aia’…” (The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, “Yahweh,” p. 471)

In addition to early Christian sources, evidence for Yahweh is also found in the Nag Hammadi codices, dating from the 2nd to 4th century CE. This library of Gnostic writings was discovered in Upper Egypt, near Nag Hammadi, in 1945. In all, there are over 50 texts within this library. Since they are in Greek, as with the church fathers, they preserve the pronunciation.

One such book is The Secret Book of John. This codex mentions the name Yahweh and notes, “Eloim and Yawe, two names of God in the Hebrew scriptures…. Yahweh is the name of God (based on the Tetragrammaton, the ineffable four-letter name)” (Dr. Marvin Meyer, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 127).

The Secret Book of John, as it was known to the church father Irenaeus, dates to the second century. This was the same time-frame as Clement of Alexandria, who also confirmed the name. Even though gnosticism was rightly deemed heretical by the early church, it is another witness to the pronunciation of Yahweh. The fact that these groups were at odds, but agreed on “Yahweh,” is significant and adds credence to this pronunciation. It verifies that “Yahweh” was widely recognized as early as the second century, nearly 700 years before any Hebrew manuscripts containing Yehovah.

Based on these ancient inscriptions, modern scholarship also favors Yahweh as the proper and correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton:

“Correct pronunciation of the Divine Name. ‘Jehovah’ is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although ‘Yahweh’ is favored by most Hebrew scholars.  The oldest Hebrew manuscripts present the name in the form of four consonants, commonly called the Tetragrammaton (from Greek te∙tra-, meaning ‘four,’ and gram’ma, ‘letter’).  These four letters (written from right to left) are yhwh and may be transliterated into English as YHWH (or, JHVH)” (“Jehovah,” Insight on the Scriptures, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988.  vol. 2, p. 5).

Insight on the Scriptures is a Jehovah’s Witness publication. Even though this organization continues to use the hybrid “Jehovah,” they have no choice but to acknowledge that “Yahweh” is favored by Hebrew scholars. Considering that the name of our Heavenly Father comes to us through the Hebrew language, this point is significant.

“Jehovah in that form was unknown to the ancient Israelites.  In fact, Hebrew scholars say that Jehovah would have been impossible according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization.  The God of Israel was known by a name approximately rendered into English as Yahweh” (A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, p. 247).

“Yahweh was doubtless the approximate pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, the four-letter word YHWH, since transliterations into Gr. in early Christian literature have been found in the form of iaoue (Clement of Alexander) and iahe (Theodoret) pronounced ‘iave.’  The name is a variant connected with the verb haya, ‘to be,’ from an earlier form, hawa” (“God, Names and Titles of,”  Wycliff Bible Dictionary, Charles Pfeiffer, Ed., p. 694).

“The Bible often refers to God by his proper name, which was probably pronounced Yahweh …In the Hebrew Bible, the consonants hwhy [yhwh] are usually to be read as Adonai…’my Lord,’ for the sake of reverence, and English versions represent the word by ‘Lord’ or (less often) ‘God’ in capital letters” (“Names of God in the Hebrew Bible,” Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Metzger, Ed., p. 548).

“Although the meaning of the name remains subject to debate, Yahweh is most likely a verbal form of Heb. haya (perhaps originally hwy)…Because of the utmost sanctity ascribed to the name, Jews from postexilic times on have declined to pronounce it in public reading, and only the consonants were written (YHWH; the Dead Sea Scrolls use the archaic, ‘paleo-Hebrew’ script).  Although the original pronunciation was thus eventually lost, inscriptional evidence favors yahwae or yahwe.  The name is represented in the MT by the consonants with the vowel pointing for ‘adonay ‘Lord.’  From this derived ca, the sixteenth century the form ‘Jehovah’ (yehowah).  In modern usage pious Jews often substitute the expression has-sem ‘the Name’” (“Yahweh,” The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Metzger, Ed., p. 1075).

“The scribes reasoned that if they did not point the name Yahweh then it could never be treated lightly since his name would not really be known.  Initially the real pointing was probably passed along by tradition, but in time it was lost.  In Exodus 20:7 the name Lord is written in capital letters according to the convention of signifying the name Yahweh, but the name as it appears in the Hebrew text is hwhy (yehowa), in which appear the consonants from the name Yahweh (hwhy [yhwh]) and the vowels from the word Lord (ynda [‘idonay]).  Proof for the fabricated nature of this word are the two vowels which appear on the waw, an impossibility in Hebrew.  However, until the revival of the Hebrew language in western Europe scholars read the consonants YHWH (Germans would read them as JHVH) with the vowels of ‘adonay, thereby originating the incorrect form Jehovah.  This word was then introduced into English by William Tyndale and was continued by the King James Version” (The Journey from Texts to Translations, Paul D. Wegner, pp, 172-173).

There are many other scholarly sources supporting that the name of our Heavenly Father is Yahweh. A belief that “Yahweh” arose through a Catholic monk is completely counter to ancient and modern scholarship and should be dismissed by the student of the Bible.

For More info on Yahweh’s Name please check out our post: Literary Support For Yahweh’s Name

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Geog

Since the Jews wanted to hide the name of God how sure we now are that they did not change even the four consonants ( Tetragrammaton ) JHWH ? It’s most likely otherwise why all this trouble. It reminds me also something like we lock the house from thieves but we leave the keys in the door.

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John

There are mentions of old sources, but I didn’t notice a single source listed here before 1900?? Encyclopedias, books written that mention the same type of argument, but what about the source(s)….?? I hear this comment “Shortly before the first century A.D., it became common for Jews to avoid saying the divine name for fear of misusing it and breaking the second commandment” all the time as well, but I haven’t found the source for this yet either. My understanding is the Jews stopped saying the name because of persecution. Also, the Bible does not have any type of prohibition… Read more »