Curious abut "G-d"

Ken Smith kens at
Thu Jan 17 20:55:17 EST 2002

I have a newcomer's question.  I've noticed that some of our
participants -- presumably those of a Jewish background -- use "G-d" in
their emails, instead of spelling it out completely.  This may not be on
topic, so please let me know if it isn't, but I'm a bit curious about
this usage, as I've seen it before, but never quite understood what it
was about.  I'm obviously familiar with the traditional circumlocutions
regarding "hashem", but I'm wondering what the motivation and
understanding is for "G-d".  
For instance, I'm not aware that the Massoretes engaged in anything with
regard to )LHYM similar to what they did with the tetragrammaton.  Is
this a purely modern adaptation?  How do those who adopt this convention
refer to the deity in conversation?  Or in more formal (say, academic)
writing?  Do Jewish speakers of other languages -- say, French -- have
any similar conventions?  And perhaps to the point, is there any
objection if, as a Christian, I spell "God" out?
I'm certainly not trying to criticize -- I'm just curious.
Ken Smith
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