THE NAMES OF GOD
The Problem: A Preliminary Review
|There is the lexical problem of the meaning and function of the English word name and the Hebrew word that it most often translates, šem. Both words are nouns (names), and both may stand for both common and proper nouns. As common nouns, the words name and šem may be governed by the definite article (or, in Hebrew, be determined by construction); as such, the noun name will be governed by the indefinite article in English and the noun šem will appear without determination in the Hebrew language, which has no indefinite article. The connotations of both common nouns, English and Hebrew, are (a/the) name, label, epithet, title, designation, and so on.|
|A second problem is that there is in Hebrew a declinable noun, èō, which appears both as common noun (connoting god, deity, divinity, numen, divine figurine, an ancestral spirit or ghost, and so on), and as a proper noun, an alternate name for the one-and-only-deity whose most frequently occurring name is the grapheme YHWH. As common noun this noun is treated like all other such, and is|
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Publication information: Book title: The Names of God:Poetic Readings in Biblical Beginnings. Contributors: Herbert Chanan Brichto - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 3.
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