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Judaism | God /
Yahweh




YHWH, the tetragrammaton

YHWH, the tetragrammaton.

In Judaism and Christianity, the name used for God. Yahweh was a proper name, not the neutral Hebrew name for "God", which is Elohim.
Only the consonants are clearly known, not the vowels. The four consonants, 'YHWH', is known as the tetragrammaton and according to the Bible was revealed for Moses.
Yahweh was made supreme deity of Jerusalem by King David in the 10th century BCE, but lost much of the prominence mainly in the period from the 6th until the 3rd century BCE. Instead, the neutral Elohim as well as Adonai, "My Lord" became the preferred designations for God. Parallel to that developed the concept that "Yahweh" was too sacred to be uttered.
Confusion over which vowels had been between the letters of the tetragrammaton, led to a reconstruction in the Masoretic Hebrew texts: YHWH and a mixture of Adonai and Elohim were combined into "Jehovah" (YeHoWaH). More research in the 19th century, allowed a new reconstruction: Yahweh. This would establish itself as the preferred spelling, as this version of YHWH found its support in sources dating back to the 2nd century CE Clement of Alexandria and old Greek transcriptions.
The actual meaning of Yahweh is believed to be 3rd person singular, imperfect, of the verb hawah (or hajah), signifying "to be".




By Tore Kjeilen