Name of God (not G-d)

The name of God in Hebrew is yod-heh-waw-heh, with no vowel points, i.e. the Tetragrammaton (“four letters”).  Originally, that word would have had vowel points, but we don’t know what they are for sure.  In order to avoid saying the name of God, the Jews of antiquity changed the vowel points and said “adonai” (“Lord”) instead.  Now we have others who simply say “ha-Shem” (“the name”) which makes sense because yod-heh-waw-heh is in fact the name of God.  But the name of “God” for Jews is “yod-heh-waw-heh,” not “God.”  The word for “God” in Hebrew is “Elohim.”   Thus:  “Elohim” = the concept of God; “yod-heh-waw-heh” = the name of God.  Some have started to spell the word, “God” in the form of “G-d,” equating this with the Hebrew.  This is English, however, and “God” is not a Hebrew word.  There is no need to use the spelling, “G-d,” which in fact communicates the misimpression that “God” is also a Jewish name–it’s not.  The name of God is and has always been “yod-heh-waw-heh.”  The word, “God” is not the equivalent of “yod-heh-waw-heh,” but rather “Elohim.”  In my opinion, “G-d” is a misnomer.

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DR. LAURENCE H. KANT (LARRY KANT), MYSTIC SCHOLAR: Engaged Mysticism and Scholarship in the Pursuit of Wisdom; Discovering meaning in every issue and facet of life; Integrating scholarship, spirituality, mysticism, poetry, community, economics, and politics seamlessly. Historian of Religion: Ph.D., Yale University, 1993 (Department of Religious Studies); Exchange Scholar, Harvard University, Rabbinics, 1983-84; M.A., 1982, Yale, 1982 (Department of Religious Studies); M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School, 1981; B.A., Classics (Greek and Latin), Tufts University, 1978; Wayland High School (Wayland, MA), 1974. Served on the faculty of Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), York University (Toronto), and Lexington Theological Seminary (Lexington, KY). Works in many languages: Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, English, French, Italian, German, Modern Greek (some Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish). Holder of numerous honors and awards, including The Rome Prize in Classics (Prix de Rome) and Fellow of the American Academy of Rome.
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