Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Names

Right, this's probably one of those rambling posts. Bear with me.

Also, this is all just my opinion. 'Kay?

Names are important, and kind of powerful, in magical terms. Basically, the belief is that if you know the name of an entity, you can call on and control it to a certain extent. The same is true with humans, but you (usually) would also use some of their blood or hair (and/or an object of great personal importance to them, and it helps if you have a picture....and, y'know, y'all don't really need to know all this. I digress.) in the rituals, because they have a physical body as well as a spiritual element. *Anyway*...

In ancient times, all the gods had names. They still do, but most people don't think they do anything (or exist). Funny enough, when an exorcist is casting out a demon, they'll seek it's name - why? Control. If you can name a thing, you gain a measure of control over it. Think back to Adam naming all the animals. Like that. Or...Rumpelstiltskin. The gods had names, and in order to call upon that god, you had to know the name, and the proper ritual, and the right bribes. But, without the name, none of this did any good. You could perform the ritual and the sacrifice until you turned blue, and do it all perfectly, but if you had the wrong name. Zip. Or, worse, the wrong god showed up (or the right one), pissed, and turned you into a little puddle of goo.

Anyway. Not that you can summon God by knowing His name, because, He being God, it just doesn't work that way. Other 'gods' and spirits could be summoned that way and bargained with because they aren't really gods. The point is, I learned (through my partially misspent youth) to be *really* careful with names. (And blood and hair, but again, I digress.)

But God, God isn't a name. God is more like a title. Like Adonai. Lord. I know the Jewish name is Yahweh, or Jehovah, or YHWH, (correct me if I'm wrong), but even these are just supposed to be approximations of His 'unspeakable' or 'unpronounceable' name. Right?

Moses asks Him for His name, and God says, 'I Am Who I Am'. (Exodus 3:13-14) Or, y'know, 'shut up, I'm not telling you.' I'm certain that He does have a name (not one that we'd comprehend, because, who names God? God. And if You're God, and You can name Yourself, what do You call Yourself? Steve? Captain Awesome? He Who Must Not Be Named? He Who Walks Behind the Rows?) Anyway...

So, I personally just call God, God. Or Lord, or whatever, because it's a title, not His actual name, in my mind. And I do my best to be respectful of those who don't want to write out what they see as His name...like the people who write G*d, L*rd, etc. (I can't remember what I've seen them do to Jesus, so I won't try to reproduce it.) I get it, I just don't feel the need for it. It's all the same thing to me.

And, fine, if you feel Yahweh is the way to address God, more power to you! I, personally, don't think God is limited to one language. But you need to be respectful.

*So*, uh...when you're all about the 'proper Hebrew this, and the text that, and I only use the KJV Bible and a Strong's Concordance and the Holy Spirit tells me all!'....and then you refer to God as 'Yah'. Um...what?

Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems...flippant? Disrespectful?

*hand wavy* I could be wrong, I could be. I don't read/speak/anything Hebrew or Greek. I'm one of those terrible people who has to rely on translations*gasp* for biblical texts. I don't even *own* a Strong's Concordance.

But that's the way it reads to me.

So, if ya'll'll excuse me, I'm off to read some more of this blog I've tripped over and shake my head. The disrespect I see up there is only one of the things that drives me nuts about it. And why, you may ask, am I still reading it?

It's like watching a train wreck. I know I should look away, but I *can't*.

16 comments:

  1. I don't imagine God as having a name... And it does make Him so much more powerful somehow that he only has something like a title and not a name-name like people have. I see God, Dieu, Allah as the same thing. Just gotta use it in the way we understand best.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yahweh, which some people consider to be the personal name if God is more like a verbal description of his personal attributes.
    It is taken from the verb haya in Hebrew (hey, yod, hey) which means "to be." Thus, it can be taken to mean "he who causes to be that which comes into being." This is the definition from Wm. F. Albright, who was one of the best Semitic language scholars of all time. I see it more as the total expression of his eternality and role as creator rather than merely a name.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like names so this was especially interesting to me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. What Stacy said, only I also heard that it just means "I am" (same thing as "to be", obviously), so when he says "I am who I am" that's just that name. I don't read Hebrew yet, either, though, so that's just what I've heard and could be wrong. But yeah, it's really not the personal name of God and is one of many ways God is referred to in Judaism.

    Sometimes I will write "G-d", but it's not because that's his name and can't be said, and from my understanding that's not why Jewish people do it either. It's to draw attention to it as we're writing it so that we don't refer to God by ANY name or title in a way that becomes commonplace and disrespectful. When we're mindful to stop and think about how we speak about God, it helps us not to loser our awe of God. (I realize that's probably not what the blog you mentioned is doing, just providing some context for other times you might see it.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Candice,

    See, I just assume He has a name (which He gave Himself) and we just don't know it. Why do I assume this? *shrug* I don't know...it just makes sense to me. :)

    But whatever we call Him, it's just a title, a reference. Like you said. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Stacy,

    Ooohh, interesting. That makes sense. Thanks. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Susanne,

    Names are very interesting.

    Have you ever gotten the reaction, when you've told someone your name, they go, 'but you don't look like an Amber.' I always ask them what an 'Amber' looks like...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sanil,

    Ooohhh...also interesting. I'd always heard that when people were writing God, 'G*d' or 'G-d', and variations thereof, it was out of a belief that they weren't supposed to write out the name of God. I can see the reasoning behind what you're saying though. It makes more sense to me than the other, because, like I said, it's not as though I think His name is God anyway...

    *shrug* I have no idea why the blogger I was reading does anything. It's...kind of fascinating, to try and figure out the logic. But I've stopped. I got to one post that was posted in a point size so big the words were all smushed together, ranting and raving about the pagan origins of *everything* (and I do mean everything) and I had to stop. It was giving me craziness.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are absolutely right the name of person has great importance... it reveals the 'essence' of who that person is...

    G-d has 72 (and more, stuff like 'hero', 'knight in shining armour', listener et al)..

    http://www.hebrew4christians.net/Names_of_G-d/names_of_g-d.html

    might be of interest to you I think.

    Interestingly the word ADONAI is the word the KJV translators used when they came across the Tetragrammaton.

    Indeed even today when the Torah scrolls are read out in Synagogues on Shabbat... the Tetragrammaton will be pronounced ADONAI..

    Language is a fascinating thing isnt it?

    I wonder what Amber means? Do you have a second name to go with that... because understanding of both together will reveal much about your character.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ahavah,

    *nods* That's what I was taught. :)

    Ooohhh...interesting. Thanks. I shall have to go look at that link.

    Amber? Aside from it being a color and a semi-precious stone, I don't know that it has a meaning. My mother says she named me out of a verse of the Bible. *rummages* Ezekiel 1:4 - And I saw, and behold a whirlwind came out of the north: and a great cloud, and a fire infolding it, and brightness was about it: and out of the midst thereof, that is, out of the midst of the fire, as it were the resemblance of amber

    Second name? You mean like a middle name? If so, yes, I have one. 'Dawn-Marie'.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Amber Dawn-Marie.. ohh this is just to divine NOT to have a go at understanding the meaning...

    :0D

    ReplyDelete
  12. hi! My name is Athena,i'm from greece and i'm an orthodox christian. I see that you're making a "research" on orthodoxy and i thought i could drop you a line. The greek translation of this particular verse i think is very enlightening. It goes like this " εγώ είμι ο ων". This would be "i am the one who exists". That i think would be the best way to put it. He is the only true existence as His existence does not depend on anything and has no prior source or time boundaries.
    I hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Athena!

    That's very interesting, thanks. It does make more sense than the other translation. I'm going to have to go back and look it up in my Orthodox Bible and see what they have to say. I'm sure there's a footnote attached to that one. :)

    'He is the only true existence as His existence does not depend on anything and has no prior source or time boundaries.'

    That's such a beautiful way to explain it. Thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Glad that was of help. Try reading books by elder sophrony of Essex, i'm sure there are english translations. Perhaps you will find him a little bit difficult to read but once you get used to the style i'm sure you'll find his writings are treasures. I would also propose Kallistos Ware but i think i read you already know of his books. He's great. There's also a great blog that might be of help http://findingthewaytotheheart.blog
    spot.com/
    This is the address. You'll also find great links there. Sorry if this is too much. Just trying to help out! My email is this: anikitara@yahoo.gr
    use it at any time you would like to ask a question. I'd be more than happy to help.
    God bless

    ReplyDelete
  15. Athena,

    Thanks, I'll look up Elder Sophrony of Essex and add him to my 'wish' list. :)

    Yes, Kallistos Ware's two books were my first. I quite like him and his writing style.

    No, no, not too much. I'm looking for everything that I can get my hands on. :)

    And thank you for your very kind offer. I'll keep it in mind. :)

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...