I often feel when listening to Jehovah’s Witnesses they seem not to understand the word is actually Latin in origin(it appears in the Douay Rheims version multiple times which presumably means it was probably taken from the Vulgate?). It reminds me of Sean Connery’s quote from “The Last Crusade” where he realizes his son is about to make a common mistake.
The Romans pronounced “I” as ‘y’, tended to drop their o’s and didn’t use W(our “w” is the equivalent of their “v”). As such my belief of the correct pronunciation is “Yeh-o-wah”(with the O being demunative). This seems to be ignored wholesale by JWs and they seem adamant to stick to pronouncing the word as if it was in fact middle-ages English, but we KNOW it is in fact an ancient Latin with the usual English change of their I to our J.
I don’t think the word Jehovah appears in the original Douay-Rheims Bible. It seems to be replaced with Lord in almost all cases, with one or two verses replacing it with Adonai.
As one example, consider the verse Exodus 6:3, where the divine name appears in Hebrew. The original Douai-Rheims translates it this way:
“* appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, in God Almightie: and my name ADONAI I did not shew them.” source
It has a note on the text: “Adonai is not the name here vttered to Moyses, but is read in place of the vnknowen name.” (ibid.)
The Challoner revision translates the passage this way:
“* appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; and my name ADONAI I did not shew them.” source*
It expands the note on the text: “The name, which is in the Hebrew text, is that most proper name of God, which signifieth his eternal, self-existent being, Ex. 3. 14, which the Jews out of reverence never pronounce; but, instead of it, whenever it occurs in the Bible, they read Adonai, which signifies the Lord; and, therefore, they put the points or vowels, which belong to the name Adonai, to the four letters of that other ineffable name Jod, He, Vau, He. Hence some moderns have framed the name Jehovah, unknown to all the ancients, whether Jews or Christians; for the true pronunciation of the name, which is in the Hebrew text, by long disuse, is now quite lost.” (ibid.)*
That’s right, although the prevailing opinion today is that “Jehovah” is a rendering based on an incorrect assumption.
All we know of God’s name is that it has four consonants: yod, he, vav, he. The Hebrew alphabet has no vowels.
By the time the Masoretes developed the niqqud vowel-pointing system, the sacred name was not pronounced; instead, where the sacred name appeared in the Scriptures, they were to substitute the word “adonai” (“Lord”). To help remind people of this, they inserted the vowel points for the word “adonai” in the sacred name, thereby giving it a literal phonetic value of “yehovah”. But this was never intended to be pronounced as such; in fact, due to the lack of vowels, the precise pronounciation of the sacred name has been lost, simply because people ceased uttering it. “Yahweh” is a reasonable reconstruction based partially on the suffixes of Hebrew theophoric names (e.g. names bearing the name of a god, e.g. Jeremi-yahu).
This is all partial and rudimentary stuff; there are entire academic studies that deal in-depth with the tetragrammaton and the vowel points. But the scholarly consensus is that “yAhwEh” is the correct pronounciation.
This is really all Hebrew; Latin has nothing to do with it.
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