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Q: NAME OF GOD ( Answered 2 out of 5 stars,   11 Comments )
Subject: NAME OF GOD
Category: Relationships and Society > Religion
Asked by: pugwashjw-ga
List Price: $4.50
Posted: 14 Feb 2005 12:16 PST
Expires: 16 Mar 2005 12:16 PST
Question ID: 474483
Considering the scripture at Second Timothy 2;19, ..."let everyone
naming the name of Jehovah...renounce his unrighteousness",  and
Exodus 6;3 separating name and title..WHY has the NAME been removed
from most Bible translations.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
Answered By: siliconsamurai-ga on 14 Feb 2005 13:29 PST
Rated:2 out of 5 stars
Hi, thank you for submitting your question to Answers.Google, I hope I
can provide the information you are seeking.

Pick a religion and I?ll provide an explicit answer.

Not to be facetious, but different religions have various reasons for
not naming the actual name of GOD in print. For example, several
Eastern religions believe that giving the total name of GOD would
signify the final end of the universe.

Well, based on your question as posed, as a semi-lay person I can only
refer to the people who wrote The Bible who, like it or not, were all
Jews -

In Judiasm 101, you will find quite a number of interesting references:

As an armature philologist, one problem I see right at the outset is
that The Bible as you have almost certainly seen it, is a translation
from, for some strange historical reasons, what was originally in
Greek, of all things.

The original documents The Bible were most likely written in Aramaic,
then they were translated into another language (Greek) which had a
totally different alphabet, and human beings decided which parts to
keep and which to throw out.

Just as a simple example, consider the Virgin Mary, who was actually
?A young woman? in what is widely believed to be the original text.

Entire religions have been based almost entirely on that translation
or mis-translation (depending on what you believe.

Finally, it was translated into what you have probably read, that is,
a version of the King James Bible in (relatively) ancient English, and
further translated into modern English.

Ok, background over, the Jews believe that merely speaking the name of
God outloud could be considered blasmephemous. Writing it could also
involve serious religious problems. 

Consider that even saving the Ark of the Covenant from falling to the
ground was considered worthy of death. Let alone naming the Ultimate!

If the differences in beliefs and alphabets aren?t enough to explain
this sort of inconsistency in The Bible, consider that in some Eastern
religions it is thought that merely repeating the true name of God is
enough to confer the ultimate enlightenment,

As for Timothy 2;19
?Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure; having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them that are his.
you can find an extensive analysis at

Thank you again for turning to Answers.Google for more information
relating to your question. Since you have asked a question which, at
its ultimate core, is based on belief, rather than reason, I hope you
will accept these ideas and links as worth the price you have offered.
I have omitted most of the obvious links based on searching for the
actual scriptures you have quoted.

Clarification of Answer by siliconsamurai-ga on 17 Feb 2005 12:00 PST
Hi, thank you for your comments. 

I have no complaint about the rating you gave or your comments, but I
am wondering why you didn't simply place this extensive comment in the
original question as part of the question? You would have probably
gotten a very different answer since that is a very different

You didn't ask any of these things or provide any of this information
in the question so I don't understand why you would expect a
researcher to guess what you "really" meant by your question or
penalism them for their answer. As far as I know there is no
particular limit on the size of your question so why keep it's real
intent and purpose secret then complain when a researcher answers the
question you actually asked?

That question was, "Considering the scripture at Second Timothy
2;19... WHY has the NAME been removed from most Bible translations."

You didn't give your reason for asking, any information about the kind
of response you expected, or quote any of the other scriptural
passages you now bring up.

I am providing this information so you can obtain more useful answers
to any future questions.

I still believe I answered THAT question. 

The biggest problem researchers have with clients is that they NEVER
provide enough information in the original question.

Having explained, I am sorry my answer didn't meet your expectations,
even if they weren't given in the original question.

Perhaps you will repost your comments as a question for some other researcher.
pugwashjw-ga rated this answer:2 out of 5 stars
for siliconsamurai; The question was asked, in all seriousness, to
gain some insight into how people think about God. In all instances,
HE is thought about as a very powerful but vengeful personality. for
example, "say my name without great respect and with proper
pronunciation or I will zap you". The whole thing based on fear. The
Catholic faith has continued this with threats of spending forever
under torture in a fiery hell. Its not the God I know. The one I know
is a happy, loving God, who wishes to be a friend. He wants me to use
His name. If I know a person, but not too well, I call him Mr. or Sir,
each a title. God is a title. When I address a friend, Bob, Jack, or
Jehovah, I use their personal name. No comment was made in your answer
as to what, if any, translations actually did use the name in the 7000
places through the Bible, where the tetragrammaton/YHWH/ appear in the
original. Such as the American Standard Version, and the New World
Translation, as used by the Jehovahs Witnesses. The benchmark as to
how God's name is to be handles must come from Jesus' comments. In
John 17;26, Jesus said when praying to his Father, Jehovah God, in
heaven, " I have made your name known to them, and will make it known,
in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in
union with them".
Acts 15;14 "Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time
turned His attention to the nations TO TAKE OUT OF THEM A PEOPLE FOR
If God himself considers His name to be so holy as to make it
unusable, bu not being even spoken, why did He give instructions to
Moses [ Exodus 3;15.." This is what you are to say to the sons of
Israel, 'Jehovah, the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. THIS IS MY
NAME to time indefinite and this is the MEMORIAL of me to generation
after generation". Through Jesus, Jehovah God wants his name made
manifest. John 17;6. " I have made your name manifest"

Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: shockandawe-ga on 14 Feb 2005 12:24 PST
Its copyrighted. The licensing royalties would be prohibitive.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: overclocked-ga on 14 Feb 2005 20:51 PST
This guy isn't really answering your question. I am a religious
studies major so I think I can offer you a better explanation.

Jews were not allowed to say the name of God, and because this went on
for so long we lost what the pronunciation of the word is. The best we
can translate it from the original Hebrew is "Yahweh". Jehovah is
about as wrong as you can get from a scholarly point of view. The
reason is is because the word "Jehovah" is an English translation of a
word that is basically the switched upside down version of the actual
Hebrew word.  This is because the people who translated the word
"Jehovah" were looking at the Jewish peoples' Hebrew text that
purposely had written put Gods name upside down as to not dishonor His

Throughout Amos, the Hebrew word "Elohim" is used which refers to
"God" but can also be plural for "Gods".

So if you ever see a Jewish commentary writing "G-d" keep in mind this
is because of the ancient tradition of not referring to Him by name.
Once again, scholars today accept "Yahweh" as the closest translation
to the Hebrew name, Jehovah being incorrect.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: overclocked-ga on 14 Feb 2005 21:22 PST
Reading the answer a little more closely, I need to add a couple more things.  

The New Testament writers were Jews of course, and with the tradition
of not using the sacred name they used "Lord", etc. In the Old
Testament words meaning "God" like "Elohim" for example are used many
times as well as "YHWH" or "Yahweh" (Hebrew then didn't have any
vowels only consanants thus the "YHWH").

Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, some of it in
Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek, and the common
language of the time was "Koine" Greek.  The "Septuagint" is the Greek
translation of the Jewish scriptures. The New Testament writers often
quoted right from the Septuagint, they relied a lot on it.

If you're looking for a good Bible translation, the King James Version
or the Good News Bible are about the only ones today that are not
acceptable for study in universities, etc. because it's the furthest
from the original writings.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: rogerwilco-ga on 15 Feb 2005 03:47 PST
Let me echo overclocked here -- the answer siliconsamurai posted has a
number of serious errors (confusing Hebrew and Aramaic, not mentioning
the problem of transliterating from unvocalized Hebrew, confusing the
beliefs and practices of modern, rabbinnic Jews with their Temple-era
counterparts, and so on) and really is not up to the standard one
should expect from this service.

But to your more specific question (which is a good one): why has the
Name been removed from most Biblical translations? A few thoughts:

1) In many cases, it hasn't. Different translations use different
customs for representing the Tetragrammaton (the four-letter proper
Name of God in Hebrew) in English, the all-capital 'THE LORD' being
probably the most common, but also the ones mentioned by
overclocked-ga, and my personal preference, HaShem (Hebrew for 'the
name'). Some of these are more markers than translations, but they're
still a translator's call, just as rendering the Hebrew name Ya'akov
as Jacob and 'Eyov as Job are customs of translation. The J-word
overclocked refered to (which I won't use here -- see below) is an old
German attempt to pronounce the Tetragrammaton using the vowels
usually added to it in rabbinic writings to indicate the word normally
used to replace it in prayer and study: 'Adonai,' which would roughly
translate as 'Lord.' It was traditional to use the letters from one
word (the proper Name) and the vowels from another (Adonai, the
replacement) --- but put them together, and you get the J-word.

2) It's a response to the Third Commandment -- not taking the Name of
the Lord in vain. Because we are sinful beings, it would be wrong for
us to sully the Name by using it for less than purely holy purposes
and with a purely holy intent. And since we can't guarantee that kind
of purity (being weak and sinful), we don't use the Name and replace
it with less holy substitutes. This is why, for instance, many Jews
won't *write* the Name down, or will even use G-d in place of God. Any
paper on which the Name was written would be itself holy and would
need to be treated with the utmost respect. Throwing it away, allowing
it to fall to the ground, and so on would all be profanations of the
Name. Even in a Bible -- you don't know where that book is going to go
once you print it and distribute it. To obey the Third Commandment,
then, substitues are used (and this is why, for instance, I won't use
the J-word -- it's too close.)

3) The Name -- or at least, its proper pronunciation -- are unknown to
us.  This is particularly the case for more mystical strains of
Rabbinic Judaism, who contend that the only time the Name was actually
spoken (after Sinai) was in the Temple, where the High Priest would
purify himself for days and days in preparation for Yom Kippur, the
one day on which the Name would be spoken. If he could speak it in
purity, the sins of the nation would be cleansed for the coming year.
If not, not. Since the destruction of the Temple, the knowledge of the
proper pronunciation of the Name has been lost, and various mystics
have tried (unsuccessfully) to rediscover it.  I know, pugwash, that
this reason may not be too relevant to you from your religious
orientation, but it is a reason that many translations avoid overt
uses of the Name. Personally, I also think that there is something
quite religiously significant in the idea that God's Proper Name --
and thus, the true Divine Essence -- must always be beyond our
knowledge. It's a kind of enforced humbleness. If we could fully name
God, we would fully *know* God, and we can't. Not in this world,
anyway. Pugwash, I know what your response is going to be -- we can
fully know God! in Jesus! -- but I'd take issue with the word 'fully'
and anyway, for those of us who aren't Christians, Jesus just isn't so
applicable in our understanding of God.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 15 Feb 2005 04:21 PST
Of course a really detailed answer would require thousands of volumes.
I tried to provide a $4.50 answer which was necessarily greatly

I think the answer was accurate given the question and price and the
links are highly informative.

Some further details might be gleaned from reading even earlier texts
which appear to have many stories very similar to those found in the
bible but which predate it and come from other religious backgrounds -
one of the better known ones being the Gilgamesh great flood story.
Other ancient stories detail the consequences of appearing to be too
familiar with various gods, but that too seemed beyond the scope of
this question.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 15 Feb 2005 06:52 PST
As I said, the answer was given in relation to the offered price and
my belief that this was mostly asked to generate a discussion, which
it has.

For example, the Aramaic vs Hewbrew debate has been going on for
centuries which means it is far from a cut and dried situation.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: jozef-ga on 15 Feb 2005 19:14 PST
The Zohar (mystical Jewish text) suggests that the name has 72 letters
(which would make pronouncing it be sheer accident a little
difficult).  Each of these letters references three letters, making
the complete name 216 letters long.  The movie Pi explores this notion
in some detail and is a pretty good pop culture take on the Khabbalah.
 The tradition is that the name was only known to the high priest (and
perhaps a few high priests in training). On Yom Kippur the high priest
would have to entone the name to repent for the sins of the Jewish
people.  If the repentance was accepted, the high priest would live
and if refused, he would die.  As only the high priest was allowed
into the inner sanctuary of the temple, they would attach his body to
a rope.  Should he die by falsely uttering the name, they could
thereby retrieve his body.  With the destruction of the temple and the
priesthood, the name has been lost.  But not forever.  For it is
written "my people shall know my name".  So if Isaiah is right, some
day we shall all know God's name and no longer sin or blaspheme by
that knowledge. That would truly be something.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: rogerwilco-ga on 16 Feb 2005 04:21 PST
Hi Jozef -- thanks for the addition. Sure, it's a bit of a pop-culture
simplification, but the film PI sure is a good introduction to certain
strains of Kabbala. (Plus, it's a really fun film.) Just one bit of
clarification: yes, one form of the Name is 72 letters long (or 216),
though there are other lengths given in the tradition (including the
idea that the whole of the Torah -- the first five books of Moses --
is one long Name). In the Kabbala, there isn't necessarily the idea
that there is a *single* Divine Name, though of course, because of
monotheism, all these names are seen as equivalent.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: jozef-ga on 17 Feb 2005 21:06 PST
My previous comments where about the ineffible name YHVH.  Though
monothesism is of course assumed, the names are different.  Adonai
alludes to Malkhut, Elohiem to Binah, etc. Hashem is a good one. 
Hashem just means "the name" and is therefore convenient.  Though
there is a generally impression that the ineffible name is the one
that is truly all encompassing.  Whether it's true, as Pugwash
suggests, that The Name Jesus is truly a complete and manifest
substitute for the ineffible name is, on my view, highly doubtful. 
But it is also true, as Rodger hints, that there are multiple equally
valid divine names, almost the point where if one is careful, one can
construct one's own divine name.  Perhaps that's heracy, I don't know.
 Jesus is a corruption of Joshua, which has the Yod of the ineffible
name.  You can certainly take that and run with it.  But it seems like
a pretty short rope.  But if Jesus just needs to be "Buddy Jesus",
than we might as well call him "Richard" or anything else that we

Oh and by the way, I'm any sort of serious Khabbalah scholar, just
dabbling and picking up bits of scraps.  Before taking anything I say
too seriously, verify it against reputiable sources (which, alas,
generally are not found on the internet)
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: overclocked-ga on 18 Feb 2005 10:55 PST
The Jews are writers of the scripture and the ones editing it and
they're the ones who made the Greek Septuagint not have the name
because they were Jews translating the Hebrew. That's when the name
got "Taken out" if it ever was. It's just the Jewish tradition and
since Jews were the ones writing scripture and translating it
originally, that's just the way things went.
Subject: Re: NAME OF GOD
From: pugwashjw-ga on 18 Feb 2005 22:36 PST
for Jozef.. I do not suggest that Jesus is a substitute for God's
name. They are two separate individuals. Many people do believe that
God came to earth as Jesus, but the scriptures say otherwise. Proverbs
8; 22-30 clearly state the separation. Exodus 6;3 states God's name
and Exodus 3;15 states it is for 'time indefinite'...

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