Yahuah or Yahweh?

q   I have some friends who follow the Hebrew Bible and teachings and have told me the Creator’s Name is Yahuah (Yahuwah) are they wrong?

 

Daespite the fact that nearly all credible scholars and biblical references confirm and use “Yahweh,” there are still those who insist on using the “u” in the Name, i.e. Yahuah or Yahueh. Typically, those who employ the u form tend to over-emphasize the sound of the u as well—Yah-OO-ah (or -eh). The letter in question, the waw and third letter of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, is represented by the W. The development of the letter U shows a late progression. The American Heritage Dictionary says that the W came to be pronounced as a V in later Latin (proof that “Yahveh” is historically impossible). Then this source says under the letter U, “The letter U originated in the early Middle Ages as a cursive version of V.” The w (waw) in biblical Hebrew is a weak letter. The w even drops out in some English words like sword, wrong, wrap, law, wrench, two and wrinkle. The waw is almost a guttural, and is nearly swallowed in biblical Hebrew, the opposite of over-emphasis given by some to the u (oo) sound. Who pronounces “answer” as “ans-OO-er”? In the book How the Hebrew Language Grew, Edward Horowitz, pg. 29 explains how many English words with the equivalent letter ‘w’ is silent and follows the same pattern as the Hebrew “waw.” Examples include, “answer, sword, law, two, write, etc.”  “…the sound of w a long time ago wasn’t “vav” at all but “w” and “w” is weak…The Yemenite Jews of Arabia who retain an ancient, correct, and pure pronunciation of Hebrew still pronounce the w as “w” –as does Arabic, the close sister language of Hebrew,” pp. 29-30.

The main argument for Yahuah is that the name Judah (Yahudah) holds the key to unlocking the truth of the father’s name. The tetragrammaton contains the Hebrew letters (Yod Heh Waw Heh) and the name of Judah (Yod Heh Waw Daleth Heh.). Now (according to them) simply remove the Daleth and you have the pronounciation. This is indeed poor scholarship, if you can even call it that. To formulate a pronounciation by using two different Hebrew words that have similar letters is naive and linguistically not very sound. In Hebrew you can have words that are spelled exactly the same but are pronounced differently. The word שאול, “Shaul” (King “Saul”) is spelled exactly the same as שאול, pronounced “Sheol.” “Shaul” means “desired” but “Sheol” means “grave.” The vowels are different, but the word is spelled exactlty the same.

Another argument for the “ah” ending is that if the sound of the first hay is “ah,” the second hay must be the same sound. The same letter often takes on a different sound when appearing twice in the same word. For example, the “a” in always is not the same sound at the beginning of the word as it is at the end. Just because words are related in their roots is no justification for manufacturing a word or name by combining variations and should be disregarded as poor scholarship. The Berlitz Hebrew Self-Teacher on page 73 reveals: “There are, however, four letters which can be used as vowels. h and a may have the vowel sound of ah or eh, w that of oo or oh, and y of ee or eh.”

The Greek shows that the last syllable is pronounced with a short “e” sound: ee-ah-oo-eh like Theodoret’s Iabe. There is Iaoue from Clement of Alexandria. An interesting extra-biblical find is the Nag Hammadi Apocryphon of John (written by Gnostic Christians). Since it was known to the church father Irenaeus, it is estimated to have been written 120-180 CE. In the text we find the name “Yawe” occurring alongside Eloim.

The Encyclopedia Judaica notes that the true pronunciation of Yahweh’s Name was never lost, being pronounced “Yahweh.

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Jeffrey W. Haswell
Jeffrey W. Haswell
4 months ago

I was not at all trying to be disruptive or disputations, Friends. I simply believe what I’ve read from reliable sources that the Masoretes changed the vowel points so that people would not be able to continue to pronounce the Divine Name in an unworthy manner. An example was given to confirm this view, showing the Old Hebrew letters for Elohim to actually be correctly rendered Alahim. It was said that the remnant that returned from Babylon brought back Aramaic, the lingua franca, language of commerce in the area. Also it was pointed out that the J & the W… Read more »