a reply to: Malak777
At least they don't write G-D instead of God. That is really taking it to another level of self-righteousness and superstition.
Some history concerning that subject:
The Fight Against God’s Name
His name was Hananiah ben Teradion. He was a Jewish scholar of the second century C.E., and he was known for holding open meetings where he taught
from the Sefer Torah, a scroll containing the first five books of the Bible. Ben Teradion was also known for using the personal name of God and
teaching it to others. Considering that the first five books of the Bible contain the name of God more than 1,800 times, how could he teach the Torah
without teaching about God’s name?
Ben Teradion’s day, however, was a dangerous time for Jewish scholars. According to Jewish historians, the Roman emperor had made it illegal under
penalty of death to teach or practice Judaism. Eventually, the Romans arrested Ben Teradion. At his arrest he was holding a copy of the Sefer Torah.
When responding to his accusers, he candidly admitted that in teaching the Bible, he was merely obeying a divine command. Still, he received the death
On the day of his execution, Ben Teradion was wrapped in the very scroll of the Bible that he was holding when arrested. Then he was burned at the
stake. The Encyclopaedia Judaica
says that “in order to prolong his agony tufts of wool soaked in water were placed over his heart so that he
should not die quickly.” As part of his punishment, his wife was also executed and his daughter sold to a brothel.
Although the Romans were responsible for this brutal execution of Ben Teradion, the Talmud* states that “the punishment of being burnt came upon him
because he pronounced the Name in its full spelling.” Yes, to the Jews, pronouncing the personal name of God was indeed a serious transgression. [*:
The Talmud is a compilation of ancient Jewish tradition and is regarded as one of the most sacred and influential written works of the Jewish
The Third Commandment
Evidently, during the first and second centuries C.E., a superstition regarding the use of God’s name took hold among the Jews. The Mishnah (a
collection of rabbinic commentaries that became the foundation of the Talmud) states that “one who pronounces the divine name as it is spelt” has
no portion in the future earthly Paradise promised by God.
What was the origin of such a prohibition? Some claim that the Jews considered the name of God too sacred for imperfect humans to pronounce.
Eventually, there was a hesitancy even to write the name. According to one source, that fear arose because of a concern that the document in which the
name was written might later end up in the trash, resulting in a desecration of the divine name.
The Encyclopaedia Judaica
says that “the avoidance of pronouncing the name YHWH . . . was caused by a misunderstanding of the Third
Commandment.” The third of the Ten Commandments given by God to the Israelites states: “You must not take up the name of Jehovah your God in a
worthless way, for Jehovah will not leave the one unpunished who takes up his name in a worthless way.” (Exodus 20:7) Hence, God’s decree against
use of his name was twisted into a superstition.
Surely, no one today claims that God would have someone burned at the stake for pronouncing the divine name! Yet, Jewish superstitions regarding
God’s personal name still survive. Many continue to refer to the Tetragrammaton as the “Ineffable Name” and the “Unutterable Name.” In some
circles all references to God are intentionally mispronounced to avoid violating the tradition. For example, Jah, or Yah, an abbreviation for God’s
personal name, is pronounced Kah. Hallelujah is pronounced Hallelukah. Some even avoid writing out the term “God,” substituting a dash for one or
more letters. For instance, when they wish to write the English word “God,” they actually write “G-d.”
Further Efforts to Hide the Name
Judaism is by no means the only religion that avoids using the name of God. Consider the case of Jerome, a Catholic priest and secretary to Pope
Damasus I. In the year 405 C.E., Jerome completed his work on a translation of the entire Bible into Latin, which became known as the Latin
. Jerome did not include God’s name in his translation. Rather, following a practice of his time, he substituted the words “Lord”
and “God” for the divine name. The Latin Vulgate
became the first authorized Catholic Bible translation and the basis for many other
translations in several languages.
For instance, the Douay Version
, a 1610 Catholic translation, was basically a Latin Vulgate
translated into English. It is no surprise,
then, that this Bible did not include God’s personal name at all. However, the Douay Version
was not just another Bible translation. It
became the only authorized Bible for English-speaking Catholics until the 1940’s. Yes, for hundreds of years, the name of God was hidden from
millions of devoted Catholics.
Consider also the King James Version
. In 1604 the king of England, James I, commissioned a group of scholars to produce an English version of
the Bible. Some seven years later, they released the King James Version
, also known as the Authorized Version
In this case too, the translators chose to avoid the divine name, using it in just a few verses. In most instances God’s name was replaced by the
word “LORD” or “GOD” to represent the Tetragrammaton. This version became the standard Bible for millions. The World Book Encyclopedia
states that “no important English translations of the Bible appeared for more than 200 years after the publication of the King James Version. During
this time, the King James Version
was the most widely used translation in the English-speaking world.”
The above are just three of the many Bible translations published over the past centuries that omit or downplay the name of God. It is no wonder that
the vast majority of professed Christians today hesitate to use the divine name or do not know it at all. Granted, over the years some Bible
translators have included the personal name of God in their versions. Most of these, however, have been published in more recent times and with
minimal impact on the popular attitudes toward God’s name.
A Practice in Conflict With God’s Will
The widespread failure to use God’s name is based strictly on human tradition and not on Bible teachings. “Nothing in the Torah prohibits a person
from pronouncing the Name of God. Indeed, it is evident from scripture that God’s Name was pronounced routinely,” explains Jewish researcher
Tracey R. Rich, author of the Internet site Judaism 101. Yes, in Bible times God’s worshipers used his name.
Clearly, knowing God’s name and using it brings us closer to the approved way of worshiping him, the way he was worshiped in Bible times. This can
be our first step in establishing a personal relationship with him, which is much better than simply knowing what his name is. Jehovah God actually
invites us to have such a relationship with him. He inspired the warm invitation: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8)
You may ask, however, ‘How could mortal man enjoy such intimacy with Almighty God?’ The following article explains how you can develop a
relationship with Jehovah:
How You Can Know God by Name (Awake!—2004)