[b-hebrew] YHWH...Was..Is..Will (shall) be

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Aug 3 18:00:49 EDT 2005

On 03/08/2005 19:38, Gene Gardner wrote:

>I am not specifically quoting any text, as I believe
>that hayah  howeh  yihyeh is a rabbinic interpretation
>based on Exodus 3:14. There is no hidden agenda
>Harold, I am just trying to examine every available
>aspect of the YHWH questioning process in an attempt
>to have a clearer understanding of the finer points
>presented by the wide variety of people that post on
>this list.
So, this text is to be understood as Mishnaic rather than biblical 
Hebrew? That makes for a very different meaning. For Mishnaic Hebrew 
already had more or less the tense structure of modern Hebrew.

In that case this sentence is interesting, because it suggests that the 
Rabbis were aware that the Name did not represent a particular tense as 
they understood it, and that the same meaning had to be expressed in 
their own Mishnaic Hebrew with this threefold explanation: "he was, he 
is, he will be".

It reminds me of another self-description of God, in Greek: EGW EIMI ... 
hO WN KAI hO HN KAI hO ERCOMENOS, literally "I am the being and the was 
and the coming", or "I am ... who is and who was and who is to come". 
That is from the New Testament, Revelation 1:8. And I would suggest that 
it represents that author's take on the meaning of the divine name - and 
perhaps one which was already commonplace in the first century CE since 
the Rabbis and the New Testament more or less share it.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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