Pavlos D. Vasileiadis. The Pronunciation of the Sacred Tetragrammaton: An Overview of a Nomen Revelatus that Became a Nomen Absconditus

The Pronunciation of the Sacred Tetragrammaton: An Overview of a Nomen Revelatus that Became a Nomen Absconditus

By Pavlos D. Vasileiadis

(Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 2 (2013): 5–20

Publication date: December 1, 2013

Publication type: article

Language: English

Full text:



The Biblical name of God has a long history of use by the Israelites of Moses’ day that extends even back to the days of the patriarchs and, according to the biblical record, even to the early days of humanity. Although it was known by peoples in lands outside Israel — as in Egypt probably since the late 15th century BCE (list at the temple of Soleb at Nubia written during Amenhotep III) and the land of Moab since the 9th century BCE (Mesha Stele) — it seems that it became more widely known during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Greek philosophical trends influenced decisively Jewish theology. The name of God was gradually silenced inside of Judaism. At the same time, the name proper was translated and diffused in new directions across Europe and America. Renaissance humanism and the development of Hebrew linguistics contributed to the use of the sacred name to an unprecented degree. Starting from the Second Temple period (200 BCE — 70 CE) down to the present time, this is an attempted overview of the thrilling story of the pronunciation of the Biblical name of the Supreme Being.

Keywords: Nomen Revelatus, Nomen Absconditus, Biblical Studies, Jewish theology, Hebrew Studies, the Sacred Tetragrammaton



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