In response to my post God's Name in a Gender-Sensitive Jewish Translation, Fencekicker wrote:
Something I don't understand is the decision by nearly all american translators to continue the practice of using "LORD" to translate the tetragramaton. Most Bibles will include a very small explanation in their introductory pages stating that LORD is used in place of the name of Yahweh. Why is it that teaching the name to seminary students is quite simple, but teaching it to laity is viewed as "too difficult?" I think that if scholars and pastors and other spiritual leaders would tell people what the name is they would gladly use it.
I agree with Fencekicker, and that was the whole intent of what I wrote in my post. To hide the real name of God behind Hebrew letters in English Bibles is still an attempt at keeping the name of God a secret.
When Moses posed the question to God, If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them? (Exodus 3:13 ESV), the question came out of the people’s desire to know God’s real name.
God’s answer to Moses was the revelation of his name. Until then, the people only knew God by his title “El Shaddai”: I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them by My name YHWH (Exodus 6:3 TNK). However, from that day on the God of Israel would be known by his name YHWH.
We may not know how the name of God was pronounced in antiquity but however it is pronounced, YHWH is his name and should remain so forever: This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations (Exodus 3:15 ESV).
Those of us who teach and preach should read what Fencekicker has to say. To read Fencekicker’s article, “The Name of Yahweh in Bible Translations,” click here.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Bible Seminary
Tags: Translation, God’s Name, YHWH