[b-hebrew] ineffable name - Abba

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sun Jul 24 20:27:00 EDT 2005


On 24/07/2005 16:50, Yaacov Yeretz wrote:

>...
>
>If Jews tremble when thinking about uttering the IN,
>should this not teach
>us to think a little deeper than just to the level of
>know-how?
>
>  
>
Yaacov, Shoshanna, Solomon,

As a Christian I tremble before getting involved in an issue which is 
clearly sensitive to some Jews. And I am sure none of us want to give 
offence in how we discuss the Name here.

But what is meant by the Name being ineffable? It surely cannot be that 
if the Name is accidentally pronounced in ignorance "all the mountains 
would tumble, and the world would end in flames". For any word of two or 
three syllables must be a common and regularly pronounced word in some 
of the world's nearly 7000 languages (see 
http://www.ethnologue.com/ethno_docs/contents.asp), and so the world 
could never have survived this long if the Name had such a magical 
effect. And similar objections apply to any thought that it is dangerous 
to represent the true pronunciation in e-mail.

So surely the real point must relate not to the sounds of the Name but 
to its meaning, and to people who misuse what they believe to be the 
divine Name, whether or not they pronounce it in the same way as the 
ancient Hebrews did. And sadly there are many people in every country 
who do regularly misuse their own version of the Name, as a curse and a 
swearword. Well, the world is still here, but maybe this misuse is why 
it is in such a bad state.

Meanwhile, many of us on this list are carrying out what is essentially 
an academic linguistic exercise. Maybe for some the true pronunciation 
of the Name has some religious significance, but this is not true for 
me. In my life I seek to honour the Creator by not abusing any word 
which I understand as his Name. But for me it is not an abuse of the 
Name to study it, for by studying these details we surely honour its Owner.

-- 
Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
http://www.qaya.org/



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