The Tetragrammaton

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Regarding your article “‘Jehovah’—A Christian Misunderstanding” that appeared in the November-December 1991 issue of Jerusalem Perspective, you indicate that Galatinus gave the Church “Jehovah” as a misnomer for the name of God (p. 6). It is my understanding that this happened much earlier.

Comment from Richard Rawe (Soap Lake, Washington, U.S.A.) that was published in the “Readers’ Perspective” column of Jerusalem Perspective 49 (Oct.-Dec. 1995): 7.

Regarding your article “‘Jehovah’—A Christian Misunderstanding” that appeared in the November-December 1991 issue of Jerusalem Perspective, you indicate that Galatinus gave the Church “Jehovah” as a misnomer for the name of God (p. 6). It is my understanding that this happened much earlier. According to The Encyclopedia Americana (Danbury, CN: Grollier, 1929), 16:8-9: “The reading ‘Jehovah’ can be traced to the early Middle Ages and until lately was said to be invented by Peter Gallatin (1518), confessor of Pope Leo X. Recent writers, however, trace it to an earlier date, being found in Raymond Martin’s ‘Pugeo Fidei’ (1270).”

Also, according to Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, “The wrong spelling Jehovah…occurs since about 1100” (Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1958], 1:369). I have information that would indicate the roots go even further back, perhaps to the ninth century A.D.

 

David Bivin responds:

Many thanks to Richard Rawe for his important correction to my article. It seems apparent that on the origins of “Jehovah,” the entry in Encyclopedia Americana is more accurate than the entry in Encyclopaedia Judaica, the source upon which I relied. However, as Rawe suggests, this error in pronouncing the tetragrammaton probably was first made long before Raymond Martin’s time. One thing is probable: this is a Christian mistake, and it occurred due to ignorance of Jewish custom.


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