• Our youth minister wants to use a song at Liturgy which includes the name for God, Elohim. (go ahead and snark, I know, it's a Matt Maher song, compromises are a thing that happen sometimes) Looking said song up online, OCP has a disclaimer on it that *due to lyrics using the word Yahweh this song cannot be used in RC liturgy*
    I knew about the Yahweh ban, but I'm unsure in this particular case - can anyone point me in the right direction of writings on Elohim, specifically? I'm not enough of a scripture scholar or etymologist to know what's what here.
  • Elohim isn't related to the tetragrammaton as far as I know, so I don't see why it would be an issue.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,093
    Following the Jewish tradition, the Church does not pronounce the name of God יהוה‎ . The stories of the patriarchs from Abraham on seem to have circulated in two different forms one of which writes יהוה‎ and the other which uses Elohim. We don't of course know whether the Yahwist sources pronounced the name. Or whether the Elohists were just writing a subsitute much as we write The LORD.
    When the stories were edited into one narrative (traditionally by Moses) they were holy texts and so both names were left as written. But it is only יהוה‎ which may not be pronounced, since that is the name God told Moses, when he had the temerity to ask for one to report to the Israelites.
    [Sceptical modern scholars will not accept this account]
    The takeaway is that, unfortunately, you cannot makes this a reason for blocking use of the song
  • davido
    Posts: 311
    Throw the blame on OCP and find something else. Why should we experiment with names for God when we have such good ones to use, like Father Son and Holy Spirit
    Thanked by 2CCooze marymezzo
  • I think Yahweh and Jehovah (which is a transliteration of the former) are the only Divine Names not to be vocalized in Catholic worship; even so, I believe the American novus ordo lectionary has retained Yahweh in some instances in the context of proper names of places or people. Elohim means God. In prayer, Jews will normally substitute Adonai (Lord) for the Tetragrammaton (YHWH), except where the text has Adonai YHWH, in which case they use Elohim. If quoting scripture apart from prayer, many observant Jews will substitute HaShem, which means "the Name." Adoshem is sometimes used instead by cantors and choirs in rehearsal.
  • Recently I have been doing some small research exactly on this subject. It is very dear to my heart for extremely personal reasons. Keeping in mind that the word GOD is a title and not the actual name. It seems that Elohim is the ancient Jewish name for GOD in a plural sense of being. Early Christian Fathers considered this as proof of GOD's Trinitarian nature and so when using this name, referred to GOD -Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Many scholars use to think that Yahweh was more accurate in referring to the Father. However, scholarship is now rethinking the word Yahweh, as this word seems to have serious references to a god of several pagan mid-eastern desert cultures. Recently, a small group of highly respected scholars have given convincing evidence that in fact the real and more true name that Moses gave to Aaron and the Levitical priests, was a version of what we know as Jehova. Of course this name is Latinized. Being a devote soul, I am somewhat reluctant to type what I am going to type, but I am begging GOD's forgiveness should I be committing a sin and hoping his mercy will be upon me. Anyway, according to these Christian and Jewish scholars of considerable knowledge, the name Moses gave was, YAHAVA. Now I am no scholar but I too find this very interesting as they pointed out that in ancient Jewish linguistic circles, Yesuah (Joshua = Jesus|) is in some way, a play on the name YAHAVA; which I am having a hard time understanding. And also according to them there is also a unusual relationship on these two words in relationship to the name Rauch Ha Kodesh which is the word use for the Holy Spirit. As I stated, I am no scholar in this area and still trying to learn; I am very fascinated by all this. This small group of Jewish (orthodox) and Christian scholars found evidence not only in the Dead Sea Scrolls but also in the earliest surviving Jewish scrolls from eastern Europe that were supposedly a legend but now have been found to have once been real and actually been seen by living persons. Moreover, GOD's name, YAHAVA, was written in this unique scroll in a very secretive manner. It was secretly passed on by oral tradition only to the most worthy and devote of Rabbis and strangely enough, it was in plain sight within this scroll, but only for those Rabbis that were given the secret understanding in how to decipher the specific text. Trust me, its complicated, and as I said, I'm no scholar.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 502
    I had no idea. Thanks (to the whole thread) for the fascinating lesson about God's Name.
  • Thanks Ken. That's some really interesting research.
  • I am trying in vain to find the video links I once found on this subject. I will keep looking. One more thing I recall is that GOD's name actual means many things but most centrally, "I AM LOVE." The more ancient version of Jeshua's name related to the name YAHAVA is more accurately reflecting the words, "MY LOVE SAVES" and the other name for the Holy Spirit, which I can't recall accurately other than the one I mentioned earlier, means, "HOLY LIVING LOVE."
  • Many thanks, Ken, for these very enlightening posts.

    For those who like to assert that Jesus never claimed to be God, there is hardly any clearer evidence than when the pharisees were insisting that they had Abraham and the prophets and needed no saviour his response was 'yea, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM'.

    (Not to mention that he forgave sins on his own authority, and the pharisees were quidk to note that only God can forgive sins.)
  • "Elohim" is the plural of "El", the Hebrew for "god". Some say the use of the plural in Genesis is an indication of the Blessed Trinity (I don't know if this is Catholic teaching; I studied Hebrew when I was still a Lutheran.) "Yahweh", as has been pointed out, is the personal name of God, and is related to the verb, to be. "I am Who I am", is a very close rendering of this name and every instance where our Lord said, "I am," also relates to the same.

    "Jehovah" is the mash up of the Hebrew consonants YHWH and the vowels of "adonai". You can see this if you look it up in a Hebrew Bible where the vowel points have been added. It is not the proper name of God but in fact developed to avoid pronouncing the sacred name Yahweh, kind of like writing G-d for God as observant Jews do now.

  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,093
    teachermom24 - As I understand it, Biblical Hebrew verbs treat time in a quite different way from English (and most other Indo-european languages). And in Ex 3:14 there is not enough context to be clear how to recast this into past/present/future unambiguously.
    I see this in something called the Complete Jewish Bible (as placed online here)
    Ex 3:13 Moshe said to God, "Look, when I appear before the people of Isra'el and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you'; and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?"
    14 God said to Moshe, "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be]," and added, "Here is what to say to the people of Isra'el: 'Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.'"
    BibleWorks™© cross references
    Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.
  • Many thanks to all who have commented, this has been very enlightening and engaging discussion! I'm gonna take some of this info to the youth minister and discuss things. Considering that he's a pretty chill and level-headed dude, he might be amenable to simply choosing a new song out of extreme caution and ease.

    I think I might also reach out to OCP in the meantime, see if they would be willing to impart some insight into why they labelled the song thusly.