Giving heed to Jewish Fables

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VilnaGaon

Puritan Board Sophomore
Most Reformed folk have little patience with Jewish or Rabbinic fables. However they continue to translate the Tetragrammaton in the OT as LORD rather than YHVH or Yahveh or Yahweh. This is giving heed to the silly Rabbinic superstition regarding the pronounciation of the Tetragrammaton. The Tetragrammaton occurs more than 6000 times in the OT and most Christian Translations render it LORD or GOD. We almost never pronounce it in daily or corporate worship and almost never use it in our daily converse or religious publications. There is no Biblical Prohibition against pronouncing the Tetragrammton in sacred discourse(reverentially of course). It is a Rabbinic Prohibition but interestingly one in which the Kabbalists worm their way out of by pronouncing the Tetragrammaton backwards as HAVAYAH (Siddur Yavetz by Rabbi Yaakov Emden)
Would appreciate any thoughts on this.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
It is not out of heed to Jewish superstitions that we render the Tetragrammaton as "LORD;" we do it in common practice because that is how the New Testament renders the divine name. "The Lord" is a divinely inspired rendition of YHWH.
 
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kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
:offtopic: Just had to chuckle when I saw this thread on Jewish fables and heeding them written by "Vilna Gaon". :lol:
 

VilnaGaon

Puritan Board Sophomore
We do not render the Tetragrammaton "LORD" out of heed to Jewish superstitions; we do it in common practice because that is how the New Testament renders the divine name. "The Lord" is a divinely inspired rendition of YHWH.

The Hebrew OT however uses the Tetragrammaton. Should we not faithfully translate that as YHVH rather than substituting LORD? Would we not be taking away and adding to the Scriptures? There are slight variances in NT quotes of OT texts from the actual OT text itself. The NT writers had Divine Sanction to do this. We don't. We should be literally translating both the OT and NT texts without our own substitutions. If where the OT reads YHVH and the NT reads Lord we should be translating it as such.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
My Hebrew prof in seminary wanted us (when reading aloud in class) to pronounce all occurrences of YHWH as "Adoni" because that's what a Jew reading the text aloud would do/say. He didn't make a big deal about it, but now that you mention it, it probably is a bit superstitious.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
I'm confused, brother. It's not a substitution. Ho kurios either is or isn't an acceptable rendering of the divine name. If it is, then "The Lord" is an acceptable or the proper English rendering.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I'm confused, brother. It's not a substitution. Ho kurios either is or isn't an acceptable rendering of the divine name. If it is, then "The Lord" is an acceptable or the proper English rendering.

Were the Septuagint translators wrong for saying ho kurios? If the New Testament writers weren't, then neither were the Septuagint translators... similarly if they weren't, then we aren't wrong for using "The Lord".

If, on the other hand, it is wrong for us to use Lord, then it was wrong for the NT writers to quote the Septuagint version and say Lord (in Greek).

If THEY had divine warrant for using that word, then why can we not use it also?

On a further note - do you actually know how you're supposed to pronounce the tetragrammaton? Are you SURE? Do you pronounce it perfectly as an Old Testament Hebrew would? How do you know you're not pronouncing it incorrectly and therefore messing up your entire point?

There is nothing wrong with using The LORD today if that is how the Greek-speaking Jews referred to him in their letters. I really think you're straining at amoebae.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Most Hebrew names are Anglicized, a habit I am happy about. It's too weird to talk about King Chizkiyahu or Daood, or the prophet Yirmiyahu. How are we supposed to dialog with the Christians of the past if we are worried about pronunciation?

Please.

As for the Tetragrammaton, I'm happy to read it as "Lord" since the New Testament in Greek renders "JHWH" as "ho Kurios."

But I personally would like "Jehovah." 3-cheers for the old ASV!!!
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
Whilst reading the OT I would say Jehovah in place of LORD. I used to say YHWH but then felt it was inconsistant by not saying Yeshua or Yesus when referring to Jesus.

I feel it helps to emphasises the difference such as in Ps110 where LORD and Lord are pronnouced the same yet have two different meanings. I know as people follow you in their bibles they should spot know the difference between LORD/Lord but I sometimes wonder if they really observe it as they read. I feel it does make an impact on the passage to highlight the name used by God in a specific passage such as El shaddai, Yhwh Sabbaoth, etc.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Bruce,
I agree with you almost entirely ... I only disagree with the Jehovah thing (and the cheers for the ASV) :) We may not know how the tetragrammaton was supposed to be pronounced, but we can be pretty certain that it wasn't Jehovah (a combination of the consonants of the Tetragrammaton with the vowels of adonai).
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
When singing the Psalms I find it helpful to remember that "LORD" is the covenant personal name of God revealed to the Old Covenant people, as precious as the name "Jesus" is to the New Covenant people.

All Christians should have this pointed out to them, so that they appreciate the Psalms better.
 

PointyHaired Calvinist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I prefer using God's name as a name. I don't think "Lord" is wrong, but why not translate the divine name as a name? Calvin did in his Latin translation of the Bible.

Jehovah, Yahweh, Yahveh all signify a name, so that would be my preference. (Though I do believe Yahweh to be most preferable.)

Incidentally, this is one of the good things about the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). In the OT it translates YHWH as "Lord" (more traditional and convenient), but where it is referred to as a "Name", they opt for "Yahweh" - as in "I am the LORD" but "My Name is Yahweh." In my humble opinion this is a good compromise.

And yes, the ASV is great.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Yes, it is silly when seminary profs ask you to pronounce it in rabbinic fashion as "Adonai" or even worse "HaSheym" (The Name). Had that a lot at a Dispensational seminary, since the OT and Bible classes held an overly high opinion of all things Jewish.

I agree with the pronunciation of YHWH as Lord, for the reasons already given above by others.

Also, being of Western European descent, and I like having the biblical names translated in a Western manner. We certainly have precedent for that by having the NT translate OT names into their Grecian counterparts. When people (messianic Jews, in particular) try and push that we return to Jewish pronunciations in rendering NT names they miss the fact that Christianity is not at its root a "Jewish religion", but that God has made it in Christ a "universal religion" in the best sense of that term.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Serious question here.

Since the perpetual Qere was to pronounce YHWH as Adonai, how would Paul have read it in synagogue? To pronounce it as Yahweh would have surely offended his audience. Now Paul was not above offending his audience, but would he have chosen this as the hill to get kicked out on?

I ask because my PhD work was done at a Jewish seminary. Now it was of the Reform persuasion (Reform Judaism, NOT Reformed Christianity), which is liberal. They wouldn't have been quite as offended, but usually people just stuck with the Qere.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I only disagree with the Jehovah thing (and the cheers for the ASV) :) We may not know how the tetragrammaton was supposed to be pronounced, but we can be pretty certain that it wasn't Jehovah (a combination of the consonants of the Tetragrammaton with the vowels of adonai).
Perhaps, perhaps not. My point about Anglicized names, however, isn't really affected. "Jehovah" is how WE pronounce that Name in our English tongue.

If you can find it, you might read a paper by Dr. Laird Harris (in someone's forgotten Festschrift, maybe from Covenant Seminary) on the probable pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. If what he wrote has stood up to time and further analysis, then "Yahowehu" or something like it might be a pretty close approximation.

And as far as I'm concerned, that makes Jehovah a fair Anglicization.




The rest of my rant isn't directed against any views I'm imputing to you, Clark.
I just don't agree that the "proper" pronunciation of Paris is "Paree" for an English speaker. Deutschland instead of Germany? Sorry, but that affectation isn't "respect" for foreigners, except in some politically-correct version. El Kouherah instead of Cairo? Can we get the guttural in there? It's just a silly attempt at "authenticity" and faux empathy. It isn't colonial pride that makes us Anglicize foreign names, but an humble acceptance of our limitations, a recognition that we are who, what, and where we are. That's reality, over against the pride some feel in being more "cultured" than the rubes who choke on alien pronunciation. :2cents:
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Fair enough. I wasn't ranting, either, by the way. As I said, I was pretty much in agreement with you. And I don't mind using Jehovah, so long as it isn't insisted that it is the appropriate pronunciation -- which you aren't doing.
 

VilnaGaon

Puritan Board Sophomore
I would be comfortable with either Yahweh or Jehovah. The original pronounciation seems to have been lost but why exact pronounciation should be an issue, I do not know. After all the name Jesus is the greek form of the Hebrew Yeshua, so we do not pronounce His Name exactly. The Church Father Epiphanius who was nearer to NT times than we, gave the pronounciation of the Tetragrammaton as IAVE. The Jewish superstition with correct pronounciation of the Tetragrammaton seems to be linked to Kabbalistic notions of magical powers linked to the Divine Name.
 
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