Jehovah - CARM discussions with Jason Hare

Steven Avery

Thank you Jason for putting together so much interesting material in one short paper. And offering some original insights, or at least positions and analysis, with value-added, that have been dormant in the superficial and "major in the minors" types of discussions that are standard fare in internet discussions and scholastic writing.

It is interesting that you generally agree with Nehemia Gordon against much of the current scholarship, about vav as a v rather than a w sound.

Jameson;n4840470 said:
I’ve completed writing up my response to the recent discussion about “Jehovah” being the proper pronunciation of the Nomen Tetragrammaton. You can access it here. I’d love to hear back from you. I tried to keep it as non-technical as possible and to teach some Hebrew things as going along, but there are aspects of this question that you must understand Hebrew morphology to put it focus.
While many points could be considered, including the earlier questions unanswered on the previous Trinitarian Bias thread, and some omissions, let us start with the most basic starting point claim from the paper:

"...most scholars today are quick to admit that the “the exact pronunciation [of יהוה] was forgotten and [its] vocalization is uncertain” and that it “was probably pronounced Yahweh” but that we cannot be sure “since the vowels were forgotten in ancient times”...
First, why would this be an admission? (This little slip bewrays a circularity in your approach.)

This could easily be an error of ignorance or convenience on the part of many scholars. One that would increase their importance and position and status as they go about individually conjecturing their various reconstructions. It is rather heady to be claiming to tell God, the Creator of the Universe, his name!

"As we saw before, it is popularly held that the vowels of the Tetragrammaton were lost to history and that we now have mere suggestions in the Greek language of how to pronounce it from momentary mentionings of how people in certain places pronounced it..."
Putting aside the diffuse Greek evidences, clearly the best place to go for the question of whether the name was actually lost would be to review the Hebraics (including various talmudic and rabbinical and karaite references over the years.)

The only direct reference in your paper in this regard seems to be from David Paul Drach, even though a number of additional references were given to you for study. And, with Drach, you were puzzled in our conversations by his assertion that the Jews know the name as Yehovah, stated as a simple fact, having been a rabbi in France in the early 1800s with ultra-solid talmudic and hebraic background. Your experience as a secular Jew in Israel two centuries later is different. Quite understandable. Yet there is no reason to doubt that Drach was in fact relaying his own knowledge and study and background properly.

You did not even include the Zohar references that acknowledge the cholam in the name which has been posted right here on CARM.

As another example, I shared with you from:

Book of the Divine Name, by Eleazar Roke'ach of Worms
Written: 1225 Published: 2004

The book includes a ceremony for transmitting the name, and I gave the English translation of the section as well, from Nehemia.

Y"Y is the unique honorable and terrifying name... It may only be transmitted to the modest... It may only be transmitted over water... Before the rabbi teaches his disciple, they must wash in water and immerse in 40 se'ah [of water], donning white clothes. They must fast on the day they learn it, standing in water up to their ankles. The rabbi will then open his mouth in awe and sat), "Blessed are you Y"Y, our God, king of the universe. Y"Y, God of Israel, you are one and your name is one. You commanded us to hide your great name, for your name is terrifying. Blessed are you Y"Y, and blessed is your glorious name forever, the honorable and terrifying name, Y"Y our God. ...Blessed are you Y"Y who reveals his secret to those who fear him. The rabbi and bis disciple shall place their eyes upon the water and say), "... The sound of Y"Y upon the waters (Psalms 29:3)..."

"The voice of the LORD is upon the waters"
And I also shared with you another point from Nehemia Gordon, that we have an acceptance of this as an actual event by a world-class Hebraic scholar, an expert on these writings, Joseph Dan (b. 1935). the first incumbent of the Gershom Scholem Chair in Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University.

" this description, Rabbi Eleazar presented a tradition that was practiced in his surroundings and family, and that be may have participated in himself, both as a
disciple and a rabbi..."
Joseph Dan, History of Jewish Mysticism and Esotericism, vol. 6. page 561
The obvious question arises
- how could one transmit a name that was, you claim, unknown?

There are many Hebraic references that will affirm the opposite of the "admission". :)
And if that basic, fundamental claim is wrong, then the whole paper must be reconsidered, top to bottom.


Steven Avery


Planned for review and posting on:

"Jehovah" as the Pronunciation of יהוה


Some other points of note:

Review the seven questions on the earlier thread.

(pull out the earlier claim of Nehemia error before p. 11)

p. 2 - KJV does use Jehovah

p. 3 - Jehovist is incorrectly defined, they DO acknowledge that vowels are changed deliberately, and the YeHVaH form is NOT the original.

p.4 - this can be put with the quote above
"As we saw before, it is popularly held that the vowels of the Tetragrammaton were lost to history and that we now have mere suggestions in the Greek language of how to pronounce it from momentary mentionings of how people in certain places pronounced it, all of which look mostly like vowel clusters"

Drach on Jewish Tradition

p. 5 - reasons for acceptance
I would add that Yehvah is a rather poor attempt to mask Yahveh
Scriptural preservation and the Reformation Bible excellence
... (more)

p. 6
Nehemia is showing the "constant and ancient tradition", totally confirming Drach

three tense issue - needs its own special explication, in a sense though this is a secondary matter. Arguments are made by both sides.

p. 7-9
powerful evidence for Jehovah, the conclusion of Jason is absurd, due to the absolute standardization of the names. Demonstrating that something is remotely possible has nothing to do with showing that it happened consistently. Plus, in Jason's theory, he has to say what are the original Bible names and how they morphed.

p. 10 - phonetic reading - what Jason says here is unclear

"the scribe family in Tiberias took it upon themselves to add a consistent and useful vocalization to the text"

The historic evidences shows that they were simply placing down an existing understanding and pronunciations (see quote.)

p. 11
Tiqqune Sopherim

"The letter yod does not naturally hold achataf vowel"
Nehemia points out that qere-ketiv does not nead what is natural, with an example.. ignored by Jason.

To argue that “הָוֹהְי does not carry the vowels ofיָנֹדֲא ”
This argument ALSO includes the missing cholem in most all instances, which Jason does not address.

As for the chataf segol I'll leave the response to others, his point may or may not be valid.

Use of Greek Transcriptions

Theodoret of Cyrus from Samaritans
claim of Nehemia error
claims Ἰαβέ is "exactly" Ya-ve
(even if true not sure this is very relevant with 38 Greek forms and the Samarian difficulties and potential paganisms, including their having a Jupiter temple!)

p. 12
claims some other technical Nehemia error
again claims an exact Greek--Hebrew correspondence on two forms

33 Greek transcriptions - this is acknowledged, grouped but glossed over, if the Greek supports widely divergent forms, what value is there on cherry-picking one or two forms?

p. 13
Lack of Cholem (a key spot)
cholem above vav (far less important than the massive number of simply missing)
trope mark - interesting, Nehemia response? - however, if that is above the vav it actually negates the Jason point about the above vav cholem

Here Jason offers the reverse argument, that for some reason they normally did not include the cholem in the qere-ketiv and occasionally slipped and included all the vowels. He does not say why it is normally bypassed. In the Nehemia argument, they simply slipped and included the full name, Jehovah, forgetting to drop the cholem.

"No weight is added to the side of the Jehovists with this argument"
- Jason is assuming that his explanation is more reasonable and true. If it is not, clearly the weight is in tonnage.

p. 13-15

Attachable Prepositions and Vav with יהוה in Hebrew
Since this is included in the papers which were pro-and-con from Reland c. 1700, we probably should look at the earlier papers.
(Hengstenberg mentions this issue.)

Since he has not seen any response from Nehemia or from the earlier debate, his conclusion is obviously premature.

"The position of the Jehovist at this point must be completely lost because there is no explanation available for why attached prepositions and the conjunctivevavshould be pointed this way – exceptfrom the Adonist position."

We know that Jason had somewhat radically misreprented the Jehovist position, and glosses over the missing cholem in the vast majority of words, so that could lead to his jumping to contusions.

p. 16 - Conclusion

Puerile flat earth analogy. Even Christian David Ginsburg, perhaps the leading Masoretic Text scholar of the 1900s, supports Jehovah. The fact that Jason was ignorant of the controversy history is his own problem. In reverse, try to find the real top Hebraic scholars like Emanuel Tov or Lawrence Shiffman supporting Yahweh or dissing Jehovah. I have looked, and seen nothing.

He translated only small portions of Drach. Would love to have a French-fluent Bible person look at it more.

"did have a certain level of persuasive power."

And that is without Jason barely touching the Hebraics, the history that shows that the name was never lost.

" the name יהוה behaves in all cases of vocalic pointing as if it were י ָ נ ֹ ד ֲ א (where is the cholam, still dispute about the first vowel)

p. 18-19
Gesenius uses Jupiter to defend Yahveh - p. 19 col 1
Jason does not seem to realize that the notes of Tregelles are interspersed.

Important and lacking - Jove == Jupiter == Yahweh


Steven Avery

p. 7
Gordon goes so far as to mistakenly say that there is no pi'el or hifil version of the h-y-h root ... Gordon is wrong in claiming that no piel or hifil forms exist for this root.

"two instances in the Talmudic literature ... in modern Hebrew."

Nehemia did write twice that he was talking about Biblical Hebrew.

(emphasis added)
Now the verb HYH, to be, from which the name YHVH derives, only exists in the 1st (piel) and 2nd (nifal) conjugations in Biblical Hebrew. This means
that the scholarly assumption that YHVH is the piel or hifil form of HYH to be is impossible since this verb does not exist in those conjugations. In other words Yahweh is a non-existent verbal form in Biblical Hebrew. So why do modern scholars universally

So really, you could criticize his claiming that such is:

"impossible ... does not exist in those conjugations"
"fictitious verb that defies the rules of Hebrew grammar"
"non-existent pi'el or hifil form"

Are grammatical overstatement conclusions based on the evidence.
Since, as you say, it is possible for some such form to exist, and they do exist outside of Biblical Hebrew (although modern Hebrew is barely relevant.)

However, Nehemia was accurate about the Biblical Hebrew facts on the ground.
There was no factual error, as you accused, twice, simply a difference of opinion on the significance of the Biblical Hebrew context.


p. 11-12

In arguing that "whatever Theodoret of Cyrus heard from the Samaritans, his mission of transcribing the name in Greek was hopeless" (5), Nehemia Gordon makes several errors.

the "errors" tend to be vague here.

"The claim that Hebrew doesn't have non-consonantal heh inside a word is also false"


trope mark


New member
Hello, brother Avery!

Have you written an article or white paper presenting all this information in one place? Or will that be forthcoming?

Steven Avery

Hello, brother Avery!
Have you written an article or white paper presenting all this information in one place? Or will that be forthcoming?
Hi Esaias, for the next week or so, I only plan to work on the issues in the Jason Hare paper.

Notice that on CARM, Nehemia has been very helpful, and I have been able to take his analysis and respond to a lot from Jason (as well as my own responses.)

The CARM thread is ongoing at:

"Jehovah" as the Pronunciation of יהוה

Yes, a whitepaper is needed. However, the last few weeks have been more times of learning. Maybe in November? Also watch the PureBible group in Facebook. I am thinking that a special Jehovah not yahweh group might be a good idea.