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Q1- Is it possible to pronounce the divine name if its genuine vowels are not known ?|
Q2- Is there a trace of the pronunciation of the Name in the Talmud or in the Bible ?
Q3- What is the meaning of the expression "reading according to its letters" ?
Q4- Is it frequent in Hebrew to pronounce names as they are written ?
Q5- Did the name Jehovah come from a wrong reading which mixed together the consonants of the Tetragram with the vowels of the word Adonay ?
Q6- Did some Hebrew Christian scholars read the vowels e,o,a of the Tetragram with its consonants YHWH getting the hybrid form Jehovah (YeHoWaH) ?
Q7- Is Galatino the first who introduced the name Jehovah in 1518 ?
Q8- Was the pronunciation Jehovah widely accepted in the 16th century ?
Q9- Today, is the pronunciation Yahweh widely accepted ?
Q10- Does the meaning "He is" of the Tetragram help us to know its pronunciation ?
Q11- Do the etymologies found in the Bible allow us to find a primeval vocalization ?
Q12- Was the exact pronunciation of the divine name known before Moses, and if yes why did Moses ask it to God ?
Q13- Did the Jews stop pronouncing the Name because of the prohibition of rabbis ?
Q14- Are the two names Yah and Yahu, which are found at the end of some Hebrew proper names, abbreviations of the Tetragram ?
Q15- Did the name Yehowah come from an older form Yahowah or Yahwoh ?
Q16- Is the oldest potential witness for the Tetragram found at Soleb (which is written yhw3 in hieroglyphs) pronounced Yahwe ?
Q17- Did Jesus never pronounce the divine name or did he rather use the title "Lord" (Adonay) ?
Q18- Did early Christians pronounce the divine name ?
Q19- Does the New Testament give us a new teaching because it shows that God has changed his name YHWH to "Lord" for Christians ?
Q20- Is "Lord" (Kyrios) the name of God in the Greek Scriptures ?
Q21- Did the Jews use the name Jehovah in their Bible translations ?
Q22- Do the Jews have some good reasons not to use the Name ?
Q23- Did early Muslims use and pronounce the supreme name ?
Q24- Is the doubt about its pronunciation the main reason which prevents the use of the Name and Is the use of the Tetragram really important, or is it just a question of taste ?
The question of knowing which vowels were with the four consonants of God's name is absurd because the Masoretic vowels, which are the vowel-points, appeared after 500 of our common era. Before this time the only vowels were the matres lectionis. Furthermore, the vowels e,o,a did not play any role to find again the true pronunciation among Hebrew Christian scholars. On the other hand, in order to justify their pronunciation of the Name "according its letters", they quoted the book of Maimonides The Guide of the Perplexed (part 1 chapters 61 to 64) very often. In addition, before 1100, the vowel-points written with the Tetragram were not e,o,a but e,a that is to say the vowels of the Aramaic word Shema’ meaning "The Name".
The present Masoretic vowels are not the genuine vowels because they appeared only after 500 CE. Before this epoch, the Jews used a "mothers of reading" system (some consonants were used as vowels) to pronounce most of the proper names. The writings from Qumrân have shown that before the second century CE even usual words were vocalized owing to these special letters (mothers of reading, that is to say Y for the vowels I and E, W for O and U, and H for an A at the end of words), proving that the "mothers of reading" system was widely used. Judah Halevi wrote in his book The Kuzari (1140), that the letters of the Tetragram are used as vowels for any other words (furthermore Judah Halevi in The Kurazi IV:3 related that Y is used for I, W for O, and H for A). A long time before, in the first century, Flavius Josephus, a Jewish writer, had written that the Tetragram is written with four vowels (and not four consonants).
Flavius Josephus 37-100), who knew the priesthood of this time very well, clarified that, when Romans attacked the Temple, the Jews called upon the fear-inspiring name of God (The Jewish War V:438), but he wrote of his refusal to give it his reader (The Jewish Antiquities II:275). However, he gave some information of primary importance to rediscover the pronunciation he wanted to conceal. One can read indeed in the work The Jewish War the following remark: "The high priest had his head dressed with a tiara of fine linen embroidered with a purple border, and surrounded by another crown in gold which supported into relief the holy letters; these ones are four vowels." (The Jewish War V:235) This description is excellent; moreover, it completes the one found in Exodus 28:36-39. However, as each one knows, there are no vowels in Hebrew, but only consonants. Regrettably, instead of explaining this visible abnormality, certain commentators (influenced by the form Yahweh) mislead the readers of Josephus by indicating in note that this reading was IAUE. Now, it is evident that the "sacred letters" noted the Tetragram wrote in paleo-Hebrew, and not in Greek. Furthermore, in Hebrew these consonants Y, W, H, are exactly used as vowels; they are moreover called matres lectionis "mothers of reading". Qumrân's writings showed that in the first century Y as vowel served only to indicate sounds I and E, W served only for sounds Ô and U, and a H final served for the sound A. Furthermore, the H was use as vowel only at the end of words, and never inside of it (but between two vowels the H is heard as a slight E). So, to read the name YHWH as four vowels, it is to read IHÔA that is IEÔA.
The orthography of the Aramaic portion of the Tell Fekherye Bilingual dated before 9th century BCE(D.N. Freedman A.D. Forbes F.I. Andersen - Studies in Hebrew and Aramaic Orthography in: Biblical and Judaic Studies vol.2 Indiana 1992 Ed. University of California pp. 137-170) proves that for a long time three vowels were used, waw for û, yod for î, and he for final â. For example, numerous words were read “according to their natural reading” in this old inscription:
Complete study, see : A. Abou-Assaf, P. Bordreuil, A. R. Millard - La statue de Tell Fekherye et son inscription bilingue assyro-araméenne. in: Etudes Assyriologiques Cahier n°7, Paris 1982, Editions Recherche sur les civilisations. pp. 13-60
As a general rule the ‘natural reading’ was mainly used to vocalize proper names.
The word YHWH meaning ‘He will [prove to] be’ is found in the Sefire inscription dated 750 BCE. The normal vocalization is probably YiHWaH at this time because the sound -èH comes from an old -aH
A second witness of this period about the pronunciation, is the Talmud itself, because the Tetragram is called the Shem Hamephorash which means "the name distinctly read" or "the name read according to its letters" (Sifre Numbers 6:23-27) Hemephorash means "distinctly [read]" or "separately [read]" in Hebrew. The early sense of "distinctly read" is "word by word" or "letter by letter" (see Gesenius 6567 comment on n°2), the sense "interpreted" or "translated" is a later meaning. In spite of the fact that some cabalists affirmed that the word mephorash meant "hidden" it is easy to check the correct meaning of this word in the Bible itself (Neh 8:8; Ezr 4:18). Furthermore, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 101a 10:1) forbids the use of the divine Name for magical purposes, and the rabbi Abba Shaul (130-160?) adds not to use biblical quotations containing the Tetragram for exorcizing purposes and the pronunciation of the Tetragram according to its letters as a preventive warning that those transgressing this command would forfeit their portion in the future world. The sentence "to pronounce the Name according to its letters" means pronouncing the Name as it is written, or according to the sound of its letters, what is different to spell a name according to its letters. Indeed, it was authorized to spell the name YHWH according to its letters (because the Talmud itself did it), that is in Hebrew Yod, He, Waw, He (or Y, H, W, H in English); on the other hand, it was forbidden to pronounce it according to these same letters.
A third witness, always from this epoch, coming from persons who had access to the priesthood, is that of the translators of the Septuagint. This text had indeed fixed the vocalization of proper nouns just before that was adopted the custom not to use any more the Name outside the Temple. Now, one notices that all the theophoric names beginning in YHW-() in the Hebrew Bible were vocalized Iô-(a) in the Septuagint and ever in Ia-. So, the divine name, constituting the theophoric name par excellence (that is to say YHW-H), to be in agreement with all the other theophoric names should have been vocalized Iô-a in Greek, or, if one restores the mute H (which did not exist in Greek) : IHÔA. Some authors, as Severi of Antioch (465-538), used the form IÔA in a chain of comments on the chapter eight of John's gospel (Jn 8:58), by clarifying that it was God's name in Hebrew. Another book (Eulogy of John the Baptist 129:30) made also allusion to the name IÔA written in Greek iota, omega, alpha. In the codex Coislinianus dated 6th century, several theophoric names are explained owing to the Greek word aoratos meaning "invisible" is found in the LXX in Genesis 1:2) and which is read IÔA. The words aoratos or arretos (meaning "unspeakable") are the equivalents to the Latin word "ineffable".
There are several places in the Talmud where it is written not to pronounce the Name "as it is written" or "according to its letters". Maimonides, a good Talmudist, quoting these remarks in his book The Guide of the Perplexed (1190) conclude that this Name was pronounced with no difficulty (without giving any vocalization). He said to his readers that knowing the meaning of this name was more important than knowing its pronunciation, because the meaning alone can incite to action.
There are several hundreds of theophoric names in the Bible, which retain the vocalization of the Tetragram. For example, the usual name "John" comes from the Hebrew name Yehôhanan, which means "Yehow[ah] has been gracious". In the Septuagint the name Yehôha-nan (YHWH-NN) became Iôa-nan in Greek, therefore, if the part Yehoha (YHWH) has been vocalized IÔA (or IOOA), this last vocalization is a good approximation for the Tetragram.
The Septuagint (usually) used an epsilon when there was a shewa (e) in Hebrew, for example Yerûshalem became Ierousalem, Debôrâ became Debbôra, Yeroham became Ieroam, Qetûra became Kettoura, etc. However the Septuagint used Zakaria instead of Zekaria because at this time (before the third century BCE) the first vowel was an "a", which fall after this period, becoming a shewa. Numerous linguists postulate that, even though YHWH was pronounced Yehouah in the first century, this pronunciation in fact would result from an "archaic" Yahowah or Yahwoh with a classic fall (because of the stressed accent) of the initial vowel, so the first syllable Ya- became Ye-. Now, although change is witnessed in numerous names (although the influence of the Aramaic language on the Hebrew could also explain this modification), there is no trace of this phenomenon for the divine name. If, according to the hypothesis of the previously mentioned linguists, theophoric names were still pronounced Yaho- (in Hebrew) at the beginning of third century BCE, the translators of the LXX should have kept these names as Iaô-. Now, among the thousands of theophoric names in the Greek (or Hebraic) Bible, none remained as Iaô- or even simply as Ia-. So, linguistic laws cannot be used to explain why the Septuagint did not retain any trace of this term Iaô-, which should nevertheless have been very common if the Name had been Yahwoh. Additionally, if the Name had been Yahwoh, the "archaic" pronunciation of the usual name Yôtam (which is found 25 times in the Hebrew Bible) might logically have been Yawtam (Yahwoh being likely to be abbreviated into Yaw-). Unfortunately, its Greek transcription is never Iaôtam (like Nékaô instead of Nekô) or Iautam (like Nabau instead of Nabû), but always Iôatam. In a same manner the transcription of the name Yôqîm is Iôakim (1Ch 4:22), the name Yôah is transcribed Iôaa (1Ch 26:4), the name Yûkal is transcribed Iôakal (Jr 38:1), etc. Thus, according to the Septuagint the "archaic" pronunciation of the name Yô was Iôa, not Iaô or Iau. Furthermore, the name John is written YHWHNN in Hebrew, making the first part of the name, YHWH, very similar to the Tetragram YHWH. If the name Yehowah is rendered as Iaô it would be logical to render the name Yehoha-nan similarly as Iaô-nan, but that is not the case.
In order to contend with cabalistic influences Maimonides, a Jewish scholar and famous talmudist, gave a whole new definition of Judaism. The central point of his reasoning was about the Name of God, the Tetragram, which was explained in his book entitled The Guide of the Perplexed, written in 1190, where he exposed the powerful following reasoning: Maimonides noted that the God of philosophers didn't involve any worship because it is impossible to establish relations with a nameless God (Elohim), then he proved that the Tetragram YHWH is the personal name of God, that is to say the name distinctly read (Shem hamephorash), which is different from all the other names like: Adonay, Shadday, Elohim (such ones are only divine titles with an etymology), and so forth, because the Tetragram has no etymology. However, Maimonides knew the problem about the pronunciation, because the Jewish tradition stated it had been lost. On the other hand, he also knew that some Jews believed in an almost magical influence of letters or a precise pronunciation of the divine names, but he informed his reader against such practices as pure invention or madness. The remarkable aspect of his argumentation lies in the fact of which he managed to avoid controversy on a subject so ticklish. He asserted indeed that in fact it was only the real cult that had been lost, and not the authentic pronunciation of the Tetragram, because this one was always possible according to its letters. To support this basic idea (real cult is more important than real pronunciation), he quoted Sota 38a to prove this name is the essence of God and that is the reason not to abuse it, then he quoted Zechariah 14:9 to prove the oneness of this name, he also quoted Numbers 6:23-27 to show that the priests were obliged to bless by this name only.
Then, to prove that the pronunciation of the Name did not carry any problem in the past, and did not contain any magic aspect, he quoted at first Qiddushin 71a, which said that this name was passed on by certain rabbis to their sons. Furthermore, according to Yoma 39b, this pronunciation was widely used before the priesthood of Simon the Just, what proves the insignificance of magic conceptions, because in this time if the Name was used it had no supernatural aspect, except the spiritual aspect. Maimonides insisted on the fact that what it was necessary to find was the spirituality connected to this Name, and not the exact pronunciation. Well to demonstrate this major notion, to understand sense and not sound conveyed with this name, he quoted a relevant example. Indeed, in Exodus 6:3 the text indicates that before Moses, the Name was not known; that is the exact meaning of this name, and not of the pronunciation, because how can anybody reasonable believe that a good pronunciation would have been suddenly able to incite the Israelites to action, unless supposing a magic action of this name, what is contradictory to the continuation of events? To conclude his demonstration, Maimonides quoted Exodus 3:14 to show that the expression èhyèh ashèr èhyèh, that one can translate into "I shall be who I shall be", is above all a spiritual teaching. Because the Tetragram had no (linguistic) etymology, this link with the verb "to be (haya)" expressed above all a religious "etymology", that is a teaching on God, who can be defined as "the Being who is the being" or "the necessary Being".
It is interesting to observe that Judah Halevi, another Jewish scholar, gave almost the same arguments in his book The Kuzari published some years before, in 1140. He wrote indeed that the main difference between the God of Abraham and the God of Aristotle was the Tetragram (Kuzari IV:16). He proved also that this name was the personal name of God (idem IV:1) and that it meant "He will be with you". To prove again that was the meaning of this name which was important and not the pronunciation, he quoted Exodus 5:2 where Pharaoh asked to know this Name: no the pronunciation which he used, but the authority of this Name (idem IV:15). He clarified finally that the letters of the Tetragram have the remarkable property to be matres lectionis, that is the vowels associated to the other consonants, as the spirit is associated to the body and let it lives (idem IV:3).
These two scholars gave so convergent information which marked a turning point in the history of the Name. However, the expression "pronounced according to its letters" which Maimonides called back (vowel letters as clarified Judah Halevi) is strictly exact only in Hebrew. Joachim of Flora gave a Greek transliteration of the Tetragram (I-E-U-E) in his work entitled Expositio in Apocalypsim, that he achieved in 1195. He also used the expression "Adonay IEUE Tetragrammaton nomen" in his another book entitled Liber Figurarum. Joachim of Flora gave also the three other names: IE, EV, VE, whom he associated to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!
The vocalization of the Tetragram (IEUE) connected to the name of Jesus (EU) was going to be quickly improved by the pope Innocent III in one of his sermons (Sermo IV, in circumcisione domini) written around 1200. Indeed, he noticed that the Hebraic letters of the Tetragram Ioth, Eth, Vau (that is Y, H, W) were used as vowels, and that so the name IESUS had exactly the same vowels I, E and U as the divine name. As Joachim of Flora, he decomposed the divine name IEUE into IE-EU-UE, what allowed him to suppose that the name IE-SUS contained God's name IE. He drew also a parallel between the name written IEVE but pronounced Adonai and the name written IHS but pronounced IESUS. The link between these two names will play afterward a determining role in the process of vocalization of the Tetragram.
In the following years, knowledge of the Hebraic language progressed strongly, involving notably the role of matres lectionis. For example, the famous scholar Roger Bacon (1220-1292) wrote in his Hebraic grammar that in Hebrew there are six vowels (aleph, he, vav, heth, iod, ain) near to the usual masoretic vowel-points. The French erudite Fabre d'Olivet also explained in his Hebraic grammar the following equivalence: aleph = â, he = è, heth = é, waw = ô/ u, yod = î, aïn = wo. He said in his work entitled La Langue hébraïque restituée (The Hebrew Tongue Restored) published in 1823, that the best pronunciation of the divine Name according to its letters was Ihôah/ Iôhah/ Jhôah. Moreover, when he began to translate the Bible (Genesis, chapters I to X), he used systematically the name IHÔAH in his translation. Antoine Fabre d'Olivet, renowned polyglot, knew numerous oriental languages, what brought him to privilege the philological choice rather than theological), that is to say he refused to mix the sound with the sense of the word. Moreover, Judah Halevi already clarified in his work that the yod (Y) served as vowel I, the waw (W) served as O, and that the he (H) and the aleph (’) served as A. According to these rudimentary indications, one already could read approximately the name YHWH "according to its letters", as I-H-O-A (because the letter H is never used as vowel inside words; in that exceptional case the use of the letter aleph is preferred.) For example, the name YH is pronounced according to its letters IA in Hebrew, IH in Latin and IE in Greek.
Paul Drach, a rabbi converted to Catholicism, explained in his work De l'harmonie entre l'église et la synagogue (Of the harmony between the church and the synagogue) published in 1842, why it was logical that the pronunciation Yehova, which was in agreement with the beginning of all the theophoric names, was the authentic pronunciation, contrary to the form of Samaritan origin Yahvé. He proved the silly way of criticisms against the form Yehova, as the charge of erroneous reading attributed to Galatino. He quoted Raymond Martin and Porchetus de Salvaticis to reject this assertion. Then he demonstrated the delirious way of the transmutation of vowels a, o, a of the word Adonay into e, o, a, because this hypothetical grammatical rule (and against nature concerning a qere / ketib) was already running down with the word Èlohim which keeps its three vowels è, o, i without needing to change them in e, o, i. In spite of the support of Vatican at this time, these denials had not great effect.
Furthermore, this vocalization has always been considered as the most correct by the Jews themselves. For example, in the first Jewish translation in French (from 1836 to 1852) the Jewish translator Samuel Cahen systematically used the name Iehovah. He defended his choice owing to the work of the famous German grammarian W. Gesenius. The Jewish professor J.H. Levy explained why he preferred the form Y'howah, instead of Yahweh, in his article published in 1903 in The Jewish Quarterly Review. At the present time, it can be seen in a book written for the Jews, prefaced by the French Chief Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, that the name Ye.ho.va (Jéhovah), written with the Hebrew letters Yod, He Vav, He, is considered as the genuine name of God.
In actual fact it is the general case as one can check up on the following board.
In Hebrew, the majority of proper nouns, in full writing, can be read according to their letters. In the first century, one has the equivalence Y = I, W = U, and H = A at the end of words. Furthermore, one has always alternation consonant - vowel in the reading of these names, except in the case of a guttural or of a H in final, which are vocalized a. When a vowel is not indicated in a name, consonants are vocalized with an a. This style of reading is usual in Hebrew, for example with some famous names or a few names with an orthography close to the Tetragram.
One notices in the board above a remarkable agreement with the reading of these names according to the Septuagint and their reading according to their letters (in Hebrew language). The process of reading according to its letters is, on principle, very rudimentary, because it containsonly three sounds I (Y), U (W) and A, while Hebraic language possesses seven (i, é, [e], è, a, o, u). In spite of this intrinsic handicap, this method of reading gives rather good results on the whole.
The two sounds "e" and "o" are not archaic, because the original vowels in Hebrew, as in the other Semitic tongues are only a, i, u, that is to say e and o always arise from an obscuring or contraction of these three pure sounds (A.E. Cowley - Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar,1988 Oxford Clarendon Press p. 35). Furthermore, the Hebrew use of H for word-terminal o was anomalous (F.I. Andersen A. Dean Forbes - Spelling in the Hebrew Bible, 1986 Rome Ed. Biblical Institut p. 324). Many scholars propose to read the H letter as a mater lectionis for the sound ô, but this solution is unlikely, because this abnormal writing resulted from a historical spelling of the pronoun -Hu "him" which became -Ho (see Gn 9:21; 1K 19:23; etc.) that is a defective spelling for -Hô, moreover Gesenius wrote that a large number of proper names ending in -oh or -ô (like Shlomoh and Par'oh) used to be classed as nouns originally formed with the affix -ôn (A.E. Cowley - Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar,1988 Oxford Clarendon Press p.239). To check that the ending -W-H was read -U-A in Old Hebrew, note: 'Alwah / 'Alua (Gn 36:40); Ishwah / Ishua (Gn 46:17); Puwah / Puua (Nb 26:23); Tiqwah / Tiqua (2K 22:14); 'Iwah / 'Iua (2k 19:13) etc. (Very often the Septuagint kept the sound oua).
The modern standard transliterating for vowel /consonant is purely conventional. As professor James Barr wrote "phonetically and acoustically, there is no absolute and objective difference between the sound of the vowel i and that of the consonant y (and similarly with u and w). As Abercrombie puts it, an element like the y in English yet, or the w in English wet, is a semivowel, but phonological function is a consonantal element in a syllable pattern." (J. Barr - The Variable Spelling of the Hebrew Bible, The Oxford University Press 1989 p.147). On the other hand, the y in the name Yehudah is a consonant, but it becomes a vowel i in the expression Wihudah "and Yehudah". "To Israel" is pronounced in Ben Asher's tradition "Le-Yisrael", but "L-Israel" in the Ben Naphtali's tradition (Angel Sàenz-Badillos - A History of the Hebrew language Cambridge 1996 Ed. Cambridge University Press pp. 94-102). Thus, an initial y consonant could have been read as i vowel (P. Joüon T. Muraoka - A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew in: Subsidia Biblica 14/I. Roma 1993 Ed. Pontificio Istituto Biblico p. 94 §26e).
Ambiguities exist only in Masoretical Hebrew, because of (later) contraction of letters, but these ambiguities did not exist in Old Hebrew. When official Hebrew became in time rabbinical Hebrew, the main changes concerned precisely the pronunciation of the letters y and w (ay became e, aw became ô, hû became ô/ w, ehû became aw, etc. - D.N. Freedman -The Massoretic Text and the Qumran Scrolls: A Study in Orthography. Ed. Textus 2, 1962 pp. 88-102; D.N. Freedman K.A. Mathews- The Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus Scroll Ed. A.S.O.R. 1985 pp. 52-54,58,68,79,82; E. Qimron -The Hebrew of the Dead sea Scrolls in: Harvard Semitic studies n°29 Atlanta 1986 Ed. Scholars Press p. 59).
The "e" in I-eH-oU-Ah corresponds to the shewa in the same way the "modern" Shlomoh is pronounced Shelomoh with its shewa. Moreover, the Name Judah is correctly pronounced with its shewa, that is I-eH-U-dAh, not I-U-dAh, even if the first H (which is not a mater lectionis) is very light. One notes that the verbal form yhwh in Qoheleth 11:3 is vocalized Yehou'[a] (instead of Yihweh) and it means "He will be".
The word Yahowah has never been used in any Bibles. The (fanciful) grammatical pattern which involves a change a to e has never existed. In actual fact, before 1100 CE, the Tetragram has been pointed with only the two vowels e, a of the Aramaic word Shema which means "The Name".The vowel o appeared, after 1100 CE, owing to the influence of the reading of the word Adonay.
Paul Drach, a rabbi converted to Catholicism, explained in his work De l'harmonie entre l'église et la synagogue (Of the Harmony between the Church and the Synagogue) published in 1842, why it was logical that the pronunciation Yehova, which was in agreement with the beginning of all the theophoric names, was the authentic pronunciation, contrary to the form of Samaritan origin Yahvé. He also demonstrated the delirious way of the transmutation of vowels a, o, a of the word Adonay into e, o, a, because this hypothetical grammatical rule (and against nature concerning a qere / kethib) was already running down with the word Èlohim which keeps its three vowels è, o, i without needing to change them in e, o, i.
Of course, Hebrew Christians knew the Masoretic pointing YeHoWaH but they rather used the remarks from Maimonides, that they frequently quoted, to vocalize the Tetragram (The variants came from a bad knowledge about the "mothers of reading" system).
1- Period of Discovery (1200-1500). Early on Hebrew scholars, such as Joachim of Flora (1195) and Pope Innocent III (1200), tried to vocalize the name of God and they used the name IEUE. Why such a vocalization ? The starting point came from the book of the famous Maimonides, written in 1190, entitled The Guide of the Perplexed in which he explained that the Tetragram was the true name of God and he asserted that in fact it was only the true worship which had been lost, and not the authentic pronunciation of the Tetragram, because this was still possible according to its letters. That is why Pope Innocent III noticed that the Hebrew letters of the Tetragram Iohdh, He’, Wav (that is Y, H, W) were used as vowels, and that the name IESUS had exactly the same vowels I, E and U as the divine name IEUE. He used the Hebrew/ Greek equivalencies : Y = I, H = E and W = U (In the first century, Josephus explained that the Tetragram was written with four vowels.) Additionally, the French translator Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples, obtained the name IHEUHE, because he preferred using the Hebrew/ Latin equivalencies : Y = I, H = HE and W = U in his comments on the Psalms written in 1509. However, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa explained in one of his sermon (Sermo XLVIII Dies sanctificatus) written in 1445, that God's name is spelled in Hebrew Iohdh, He’, Waw, He’; and these four letters serve as vowels, corresponding to I, E, O, A in Greek, because in this language there is no specific vowel for the sound OU (the letter U in Greek is pronounced as the French Ü). So, in Greek, the transcription IEOUA would be more exact and would better reflect the OU sound of the Hebrew name Ieoua, becoming in Latin Iehova or Ihehova, because the letter H is inaudible and the vowel U serves as a consonant (V). The best equivalencies would be Y = I, H = A (at the end of words) and W = O, as explained the Jewish writer Judah Halevi in his book The Kuzari written in 1140. That is why, the modern scholar Antoine Fabre d'Olivet said in his work entitled La Langue hébraïque restituée (The Hebrew Tongue Restored) published in 1823, that the best pronunciation of the divine Name according to its letters was Ihôah/ Iôhah/ Jhôah. Moreover, when he began to translate the Bible (Genesis, chapters I to X), he used systematically the name IHÔAH in his translation (that is to say Y-H-W-H = I-H-Ô-AH.) Several scholars preferred the equivalencies Y = I, H = A (at the end of words) and W = OU, because the sound OU is older than the sound Ô, for example the name Y-H-W-D-H is read I-H-OU-D-AH, not I-H-Ô-D-AH. They obtained the name I-H-OU-AH or IOUA because the letter H is inaudible. Strangely, many scholars believed that this name JOVA has been kept in the ancient name JOVE (Joue-pater that is Jupiter).
2- Improvements (1500-1600). To set in order the variants of pronunciation of the Tetragram, Pietro Galatino dedicated a good part of his work entitled De arcanis catholice ueritatis (Concerning Secrets of the Universal Truth), published in 1518, to explain the reasons for this pronunciation. First, he quoted the book of Maimonides The Guide of the Perplexed abundantly, specially the chapters 60-64 of the first part, to remind that the Tetragram is the proper noun of God which can be pronounced according to its letters. However, he demonstrated that the pronunciation Ioua, admitted in his time, was too rough and he gave the reasons for this. He explained for example that the name Iuda, written הדוי hdwy (YWDH), was an abbreviation of the name Iehuda written hdwhy (YHWDH). All the Hebrew proper nouns beginning in YHW- [why] are moreover always vocalized Ieh-. Consequently, if the Tetragram was really pronounced Ioua it would have be written hW:y (YWH) in Hebrew, which was never the case. So, because the Tetragram is written hwhy (YHWH), the letter H inside the Name has to be heard. He concluded that, because this name is pronounced according to its letters, that the best transcription was the form I-eh-ou-a (Iehoua), rather than the form I-ou-a used, for example, by Agostino Justiniani, in his polyglot translation of Psalms published in 1516 (if Galatino had directly transcribed the masoretic form, he would have obtained Yehouah and not Iehoua). The French translator Pierre Robert Olivétan also recognized in his Apologie du translateur (Apology of the Translator) written in 1535, that God's name was in Hebrew Iehouah rather than Ioua, because this last form did not express the aspiration of the letter H.
Most of the time these scholars specified that they tried to pronounce the Name "as it is written"; only the cardinal Nicolas of Cusa explained the difficulties to get a good transcription from Hebrew to Greek [I-E-O-A] or to Latin [I-HE-HOU-A].
The cardinal Nicholas of Cusa used this name almost one century before (circa 1428). In actual fact Galatino used this form explaining several important points. All the Hebrew names beginning by YHW- are vocalized Ieh- in Latin. For example the name Juda (YWDH) is pronounced Iouda but its whole form is I-eh-ou-d-a (YHWDH). If the divine name was pronounced Ioua (I-OU-A) the correct writing would be Y-W-H and not Y-H-W-H. Therefore the name Iehoua (I-eH-OU-A) is the best form taking into account the letter H inside the name, besides this name had no link with the name Iouis (Jupiter).
In spite of the remarks of Galatino, numerous Hebrew scholars believed, owing to the work of John Pic della Mirandola, that the name Iehoua had a pagan origin that is to say that it came from a change of the name Ioue (Jupiter) into Ioua then Iehoua. Besides several grammar scholars thought that the Aramaic form "he will be" (yhwh) was pronounced Iehue (or Iahue) and was connected with the Name.
As Michael Servetus noticed in his treatise against the Trinity De Trinitatis erroribus written in 1531, the name Iehouah is very close to the theophoric name Jesus which is Iesua in Hebrew. This link seemed to him more convincing than the grammatical form supposed by some cabalists of his time -a future piel (vocalized YeHaWèH and meaning "He will make to be", "He will constitute" or " He will cause to become"). For example, this Hebrew form yehabe had been used by Abner of Burgos, a converted Spanish Jew, in his work entitled Mostrador de Justicia (1330). Servetus defended the name Iehouah against its supposed grammatical form (a future piel!) yehauue explained as "He will generate" in the book entitled The Epistle of Secrets of the Christian cabalist Paulus de Heredia, published around 1488.
The debate of knowing if it was necessary to use Iehoua or Ioua had been a felted quarrel of Hebraists. However, when the victorious form began to reach the general public, the debate changed to become much more theological and polemical. The first to start hostilities was the archbishop Gilbert Genebrard, in his book written in 1568 to defend the Trinity, in which he dedicated several pages to prove the errors of S. Chateillon, P. Galatin, S. Pagnin, etc. First of all, he attacked the form Ioua used by Chateillon reminding that St Augustine had explained according to the writer Varro that the Jews had worshiped Ioue (Jupiter!), and that the use of Ioua was thus a return to paganism. He even indicated in his foreword to comments on the Psalms that this name Ioua was barbarian, fictitious and atheistic! Concerning the testimonies of Clement of Alexandria (Iaou), Jerome (Iaho), Theodoret (Iabe), he considered that they reflected altered forms of Ioue, and apparently these testimonies appeared to him little reliable, because they were too late and the Jews had not been pronouncing the Name for several centuries. Finally, he reproached P. Galatin (and S. Pagnin), who had used the form Iehoua, for not having taken into account the theological meaning: "He is" to find the right vocalization. Indeed, since the translation of the Septuagint, it was known that the divine name meant essentially "He is". Genebrard tried to confirm this definition due to his knowledge of the Hebraic language. Thus, because God indicates in Exodus 3:14 by the expression "I am", (in Hebrew Ehie), one should say in speaking about God "He is", that is in Hebrew Iihie (a future qal form). Because of linguistic laws, it was likely that this form Iihie came from a more archaic form Iehue suggested in 1550 by Luigi Lippomano, Genebrard pointed out then that the abbot Joachim of Flora had used this more exact form (Ieue) in his book on the Apocalypse. The demonstration of Genebrard, while not convincing, impressed a lot by its learning. Moreover, during the century which followed, biblical commentators often quoted this form Iehue (or Iiheue) near to Iehoua. However, in spite of the brilliant aspect of the demonstration, this remained speculative because of the absence of testimonies (afterward, to mitigate this gap, the Protestant theologians rehabilitated the historic testimonies of the first centuries). Genebrard's major innovation was so to introduce the theological meaning of the Name into the search for its vocalization (which was in fact a cabalistic concept), a process which engendered (the knowledge of the Hebrew language and of its history increasing) a profusion of new vocalized forms.