[b-hebrew] YHWH Derivation - a dead end
kgraham0938 at comcast.net
kgraham0938 at comcast.net
Thu May 5 09:15:38 EDT 2005
Hey Rolf, I think the reason why many translators as well as myself translate 'EH:YEH 'E$ER 'EH:YEH as I AM who I AM as opposed to I will be who I will be is based upon Moses' statement to YHWH in the previous verse. He says
" And they will say to me what is his name? What do I say to them?"
Moses:[question] What is your name?
YHWH:[answer] I will be who I will be
Then he goes on to say " Tell them I will be sent you."
Does not make any sense. I will be who I will be does not answer the question. And secondly if 'EH:YEH is a 1cs of YHWH (3ms), translated as "I will be" then you'd have to translate YHWH as "He will be."
KGRAHAM0938 at comcast.net
-------------- Original message --------------
> Dear Yigal,
> I agree with you that to discuss the origin of YHWH, or to try to derive
> YHWH from the name/designation of another god is a dead end. We know
> nothing about this, and we even do not have any clues. But there is much
> I have a comment ont Ex. 3:14 though: The two most common English
> glosses for the rendring of HYH is "be" and "become". This means, for
> example, that the meaning of the word is very different from that of the
> Greek EIMI, which basically signifies a state. When a person speaks of
> himself and uses the YIQTOL form of HYH, the force is hardly that the
> person "is"; just his act of speaking proves that he "is," so any
> further statement is not needed. But the force is that he *will become*
> something that is lacking at present. Because of this, all examples of
> YIQTOL HYH, first person singular, save perhaps one or two, have future
> reference (cf. Ex. 3:12), and is translated by future in the Bible
> translations. It is an old tradition to translate Ex. 3:14 with "I am
> what I am". To say that a rendereing in a Bible translation "is wrong"
> is a very strong statement that seldom can be done, because passages can
> legitimately be translated in different ways. But I would say that the
> mentioned rendering of Ex 3:12 is tendentious and strange. Why should
> HYH in this case have a present reference when first person YIQTOLs of
> the root in most other cases are rendered with future?
> As for YHWH, the points above suggest that there need not be any
> relationship between YHWH and HYH, even though this seems to be the case
> in Ex. 3:14. One natural rendering of the verse would be: "I will
> become (or:prove to be) what I will become (or:prove to be)." If this
> was the way the writer understood the words, the clause relates to the
> *acts* of God and not to his existence. It is often shown in the Tanakh
> that YHWH becomes known on the basis of what he does, and when he did
> somewthing great in the past, the people learned to know him in a new
> way. Thus, YHWH is known by his personal name and by his acts. If this
> is the thought behind the account in Ex. 3:13-15, it means that the
> clause ")ehe a$er )hye" is not an explanation of the meaning or origin
> of YHYH, but it points to another way of identifying God than by using
> his name, namely to identify him by his acts. So the similarity between
> YHWH and HYH need not be anything but a play of words, which is a tool
> often used by Hebrew writers.
> The conclusion is that YHWH is the unique personal name of the God that
> the Bible writers worshipped; it cannot be derived from anything, and
> its meaning cannot be known with certainty.
> Best regards
> Rolf Furuli
> University of Oslo
> Yigal Levin wrote:
> >The one answer that I don't think anyone has brought up is the Bible's own:
> >")ehyeh a$er )ehyeh" - "I am that I am" (Ex. 3:14) seems to understand the
> >name YHWH as derived from the root HYH. But in any case, this whole thread
> >seems to be leading to a dead end. Do we know the etymology of most other
> >ANE dieties? Hadad/Adad? Chemosh? Anat? Ashur (yes, that's also a toponym,
> >but which came first?)? Marduk? Qws? I could go on and on....
> >b-hebrew mailing list
> >b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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