[b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Jul 21 06:01:34 EDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Read, James C" <K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk>
> I read somewhere that while yhwh was unique to the el shadai that the
> term el was used for many gods both false and true. That while el merely
> describes a title of divinity the name yhwh indentifies that divinity as
> the one and only god of the hebrew. e.g. 'yhwh god of hosts'

This is correct. "El", "Eloah", "Elohim", like Aramaic "Elah", Arabic
"Allah", Akkadian "Illu" etc. is the generic term for "god(s)". In a
multi-theistic world, specific gods had specific names: Hadad, Dagan,
Chemosh, Marduk, Ashur, Amun and also YHWH. "El Shaddai" is a title, not a
proper name. In the Bible, it is used of YHWH.

Here's food for thought: in 1 Sam. 17:43, Goliath "cursed David by his
elohim". Every translation that I've seen has "cursed David by his gods",
meaning that Goliath cursed by his own gods (hence the lowercase g). But the
Hebrew could just as easily be read "cursed David by his God" since the pl.
Elohim is also used as the title of the single God of Israel.


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