Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's in a name? God's name, that is.

joH'a' ghaH wIj DevwI': jIH DIchDaq Hutlh pagh.

Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing.

podcast version

Everyone knows his or her own name, but who knows the name of God? Well, the Hebrew Scriptures present the proper, personal name of God, revealed to Moses, as the four letters YHVH (yod he vav he). Referred to as "the tetragrammaton," this is a name, used over 5000 times in the Bible, which means the self-existent, or eternal one. Pronounced "Yahweh," it was so revered that the Jewish practice was never to say it aloud, but substitute "Adonai," (Hebrew for 'Lord') instead. This practice was carried into English with many translations that use LORD (all caps) to indicate the use of God's name.

When it came time to translate the Bible into Klingon, the question was, how do we present this name? Early in the study of Klingon there was no known word for deities or gods at all (we now know it is Qun). The term most Klingonists decided to use was "joH'a'" (joe-a-ka), from "joH," the Klingon word for "Lord" or "Lady." Adding the 'a' suffix is a way of indicating this is a bigger or greater kind of Lord.

Does this remind you of "Jehovah," another pronunciation used for the name YHVH? Maybe you're more comfortable with saying "Lord," or Father. Certainly He knows our heart, and will be near to all who call on him. However you call out His name, remember,

'Iv DichDaq ja' Daq the pong vo' joH'a' DIchDaq taH toDpu'

whoever will call on the name of Yahweh shall be saved

(repodcast - original date 3/12/05)

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