superstitions regarding tetragrammaton? (was "Hos 4:16")

Daniel Wagner dan.wagner at
Wed Aug 22 22:48:19 EDT 2001

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jay Childs <selectjay at>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 9:06 AM
Subject: Re: Hos 4:16

> Not having the text right in front of me at this point, it's hard to
> compare...but perhaps a more syntactic issue may be involved 
> here.  As we know from Job's wife, a "blessing" might be 
> substituted for a"curse" in the text, particularly if the word 
> "curse" would have appeared next to the tetragram. 

Interesting point, although i've never heard of this notion before. My initial response would be that this kind of superstition would not have existed at the time of the writing of Job or any of the BH literature. It seems that superstitions regarding the vocalization, pronoucing, writing, etc. of the divine name, and other such as the avoiding of ending the liturgical reading of a book with a curse (Mal., Isa., etc.), were all rather late -- some even perhaps after the writing of the NT. Can anyone supply evidence or bibliographic information to the effect that the word(s) for curse or other similar ideas are avoided in close proximity to the name YHWH in BH (in contrast to contexts without the tetragrammaton)?

Dan Wagner

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