I happily stand corrected!

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After reading my "Jehovah, A Christian Misunderstanding" article, a Jerusalem Perspective Member provided several impressive references, pointed out that the Christian reading "Jehovah" can be traced to Raymond Martin’s Pugeo Fidei (1270 A.D.), and may have originated much earlier, even as early as the ninth century!

Richard Rawe of Soap Lake, Washington, U.S.A. suggested an important correction to my article, “‘Jehovah’: A Christian Misunderstanding.”

I had written:

In accordance with the custom observed since the third century B.C. when reading or reciting Scripture, they [the Masoretes] superimposed the vowel signs of the word אֲדֹנָי (adonai) upon the four consonants of God’s name. This was to remind the reader that he should not attempt to pronounce the unutterable name. Thus יְהוָֹה would be read as adonai.

When Christian scholars in Europe first began to study Hebrew, they misunderstood this warning device. Sometimes lacking even the most elementary knowledge of Jewish culture and custom, their blunder was inevitable. In 1518 A.D. in his De arcanis catholicae veritatis, a monumental work of Christian mysticism, the Italian theologian and Franciscan friar Galatinus, not realizing that the Masoretes had placed the vowel signs of another word with the consonants yhwh, fused the vowels of adonai with the consonants of the divine name and thus gave the Church “Jehovah,” a word that has no meaning in Hebrew.

Rawe, providing several impressive references, pointed out that the Christian reading “Jehovah” can be traced to Raymond Martin’s Pugeo Fidei (1270 A.D.), and may have originated much earlier, even as early as the ninth century!

I have now updated my article accordingly.


Comments 1

  1. This is greatly appreciated. Oftentimes, scholars are not willing to admit to a possible mistake they’ve made. However, David Bivin has shown us an excellent example of how to remain a student as well as a teacher. Bravo!

    Shalom, shalom,
    Adrian

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  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin
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    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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