The quadriliteral name of God, , which is thus referred to in Josephus, in the Church Fathers, in the magic papyri, and in the Palestinian Talmud (Yoma 40a, below), whence it has passed into the modern languages. Other designations for this name, such as "Ha-Shem," "Shem ha-Meforash," and "Shem ha-Meyuḥad," have frequently been discussed by recent scholars (see bibliography in Blau, "Altjüdisches Zauberwesen," p. 128, note 1, and, on the terms, pp. 123-128). The term "Tetragrammaton" apparently arose in contradistinction to the divine names containing respectively twelve and forty-two letters and formed likewise from the letters
The Tetragrammaton is the ancient Israelitish name for God. According to actual count, it occurs 5,410 times in the Bible, being divided among the books as follows: Genesis 153 times, Exodus 364, Leviticus 285, Numbers 387, Deuteronomy 230 (total in Torah 1,419); Joshua 170, Judges 158, Samuel 423, Kings 467, Isaiah 367, Jeremiah 555, Ezekiel 211, Minor Prophets 345 (total in Prophets 2,696); Psalms 645, Proverbs 87, Job 31, Ruth 16, Lamentations 32, Daniel 7, Ezra-Nehemiah 31, Chronicles 446 (total in Hagiographa 1,295).
In connection with the Tetragrammaton is pointed with the vowels of "Elohim" (which beyond doubt was not pronounced in this combination); it occurs 310 times after , and five times before it (Dalman, "Der Gottesname," etc., p. 91), 227 of these occurrences being in Ezekiel alone. The designation "
The avoidance of the original name of God both in speech and, to a certain extent, in the Bible was due, according to Geiger ("Urschrift," p. 262), to a reverence which shrank from the utterance of the Sublime Name; and it may well be that such a reluctance first arose in a foreign, and hence in an "unclean" land, very possibly, therefore, in Babylonia. According to Dalman (l.c. pp. 66 et seq.), the Rabbis forbade the utterance of the Tetragrammaton, to guard against desecration of the Sacred Name; but such an ordinance could not have been effectual unless it had met with popular approval. The reasons assigned by Lagarde ("Psalterium Hicronymi," p. 155) and Halévy ("Recherches Bibliques," i. 65 et seq.) are untenable, and are refuted by Jacob (l.c. pp. 172, 174), who believes that the Divine Name was not pronounced lest it should be desecrated by the heathen. The true name of God was uttered only during worship in the Temple, in which the people were alone; and in the course of the services on the Day of Atonement the high priest pronounced the Sacred Name ten times (Tosef., Yoma, ii. 2; Yoma 39b). This was done as late as the last years of the Temple (Yer. Yoma 40a, 67). If such was the purpose, the means were ineffectual, since the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was known not only in Jewish, but also in non-Jewish circles centuries after the destruction of the Temple, as is clear from the interdictions against uttering it (Sanh. x. 1; Tosef., Sanh. xii. 9; Sifre Zuṭa, in Yalḳ., Gen. 711; 'Ab. Zarah 18a; Midr. Teh. to Ps. xci., end). Raba, a Babylonian amora who flourished about 350, wished to make the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton known publicly (Ḳid. 71b); and a contemporary Palestinian scholar states that the Samaritans uttered it in taking oaths (Yer. Sanh. 28b). The members of the Babylonian academy probably knew the pronunciation as late as 1000 C. E. (Blau, l.c. pp. 132 et seq., 138 et seq.). The physicians, who were half magicians, made special efforts to learn this name, which was believed to possess marvelous powers (of healing, etc.; Yer. Yoma 40a, below).Church Fathers and Magic Papyri.
The cures, or the exorcisms, of demons in the name of Jesus which are mentioned in the New Testament and the Talmud (see Exorcism) imply that Jesus was regarded as a god and that his name was considered as efficacious as the Tetragrammaton itself, for which it was even substituted. It was in connection with magic that the Tetragrammaton was introduced into the magic papyri and, in all probability, into the writings of the Church Fathers, these two sources containing the following forms, written in Greek letters: (1) "Iaoouee," "Iaoue," "Iabe,"; (2) "Iao," "Iaho," "Iae"; (3) "Aia"; (4) "Ia." It is evident that (1) represents , (2) , (3) , and (4) . The three forms quoted under (1) are merely three ways of writing the same word, though "Iabe" is designated as the Samaritan pronunciation. There are external and internal grounds for this assumption; for the very agreement of the Jewish, Christian, heathen, and Gnostic statements proves that they undoubtedly give the actual pronunciation (Stade's "Zeitschrift," iii. 298; Dalman, l.c. p. 41; Deissmann, "Bibelstudien," pp. 1-20; Blau, l.c. p. 133). The "mystic quadriliteral name" (Clement, "Stromata," ed. Dindorf, iii. 25, 27) was well known to the Gnostics, as is shown by the fact that the third of the eight eons of one of their systems of creation was called "the unpronounced," the fourth "the invisible," and the seventh "the unnamed," terms which are merely designations of the Tetragrammaton (Blau, l.c. p. 127). Even the Palestinian Jews had inscribed the letters of the Name on amulets (Shab. 115b; Blau, l.c. pp. 93-96); and, in view of the frequency with which the appellations of foreign deities were employed in magic, it was but natural that heathen magicians should show an especial preference for this "great and holy name," knowing its pronunciation as they knew the names of their own deities.Meaning and Etymology.
It thus becomes possible to determine with a fair degree of certainty the historical pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, the results agreeing with the statement of Ex. iii. 14, in which
Attempts have also been made to explain the Divine Name as Hittite, Persian, Egyptian, and even as Greek; but these assumptions are now absolutely set aside, since the name is at all events Semitic. The question remains, however, whether it is Israelitish or was borrowed. Friedrich Delitzsch, in discussing this question, asserts that the Semitic tribes from whom the family of Hammurabi came, and who entered Babylon 2500
"Yah,"an abbreviated form of the Tetragrammaton, occurs 23 times: 18 times in the Psalms, twice in Exodus, and three times in Isaiah. This form is identical with the final syllable in the word "Hallelujah," which occurs 24 times in the last book of the Psalms (comp. also "be-Yah," Isa. xxvi. 4 and Ps. lxviii. 5). It is transcribed by the Greek "Ia," as "Ehyeh" is represented by "Aia," thus showing that "Yah" was the first syllable of . The form corresponding to the Greek "Iao" does not occur alone in Hebrew, but only as an element in such proper names as Jesaiah ("Yesha'yahu"), Zedekiah ("Ẓidḳiyahu"), and Jehonathan. According to Delitzsch ("Wo Lag das Paradies?" 1881), this form was the original one, and was expanded into ; but since names of divinities are slow in disappearing, it would be strange if the primitive form had not been retained once in the Bible. The elder Delitzsch thought that "Yahu" was used independently as a name of God (Herzog-Plitt, "Real-Encyc." vi. 503); but, according to Kittel, "This could have been the case only in the vernacular, since no trace of it is found in the literary language" (Herzog-Hauck, "Real-Encyc." viii. 26, 533). All the critics have failed to perceive that the name "Yao" was derived from the same source as "Yaoue," namely, from Gnosticism and magic, in which Jews, Christians, and heathen met. "Yahu" was in fact used in magic, as is clear from the "Sefer Yeẓirah," which shows many traces of Gnosticism; in the cosmology of this work the permutation of the letters furnishes the instruments of the Creation.Other Names of God.
With the Tetragrammaton must be included the names of God formed of twelve, forty-two, and seventy-two letters respectively, which are important factors in Jewish mysticism (Ḳid. 71a et passim). They have, according to tradition, a magical effect; for mysticism and magic are everywhere allied. These great names are closely akin to the long series of vowels in the magic papyri, and are obtained by anagrammatic combinations of the effective elements of the Tetragrammaton. The simplest way of determining these three names is to form a magic triangle, whose base is a single Tetragrammaton, and its apex the Tetragrammaton repeated thrice. The four upper lines (12+ 11+ 10+ 9) give the names with forty-two letters; and the entire figure represents the Divine Name of seventy-two letters (Blau, l.c. pp. 144 et seq.). According to the book of Bahir (ed. Amsterdam, 1651, fol. 7a), the Sacred Name of twelve letters was a triple (Dalman, l.c. p. 39; Blau, l.c. p. 144).
In the earliest manuscripts of the Septuagint the Tetragrammaton was given in Hebrew letters, which in Greek circles were supposed to be Greek and were read πιπι (Field, "Origenis Hexaplorum Quæ Supersunt," i. 90, Oxford, 1875; Herzog-Hauck, l.c. viii. 530; Blau, l.c. p. 131). See also Adonai; Aquila; Gnosticism; Jehovah; Names of God; Shem ha-Meforash.
- Hamburger, R. B. T. i. 48-56, 538;
- Hastings, Dict. Bible, ii. 199;
- Herzog-Hauck, Real-Encyc. viii. 529-541;
- Baudissin, Studien zur Semitischen Religionsgeschichte, i. 181-254, Leipsic, 1876;
- S. R. Driver, Recent Theories on the 0rigin and Nature of the Tetragrammaton, in Studia Biblica, i. 1-20, Oxford, 1885;
- Dalman, Der Gattesname Adonaj und Seine, Geschichte, Berlin, 1889;
- Deissmann, Bibelstudien, Marburg, 1895;
- Blau, Das Altjüdische Zauberwesen, Strasburg, 1898;
- M. Jastrow, Jr., in Stade's Zeitschrift, 1896, pp. 1 et seq. (on the proper names combined with Yhwh);
- Schrader, K. A. T. 3d ed., pp. 465-468, Berlin, 1902-3;
- Jacob, Im Namen Gottes, Berlin, 1903. For further material, especially earlier works, see Herzog-Hauck, l.c.