ABOUT-WORDS-L ArchivesArchiver > ABOUT-WORDS > 2004-03 > 1080368844
From: "Israel \"izzy\" Cohen" <>
Subject: [ABOUT WORDS] More under god - IIa
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 08:27:24 +0200
Dear Robert, Dale, Bruce, Fred, Bob, et al. --
> Izzy please jump right on this one.
(Almost) needless to say, an essential element of Judaism is the belief
in the Oneness of God. This is expressed in the "Shema" which is usually
translated as "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One."
In Hebrew this is a 5-7-5 haiku:
The eL-o-Hei-Nu in this affirmation is based on a plural form: eLoHiM.
The usage of this plural form is usually explained as analogous to the
"royal we", or as GrampsQ might prefer, the "editorial we".
The meaning(s) of the words used to refer to God is one of the
most-written-about topics on the web. It will be interesting to see if
the US Supreme Court contributes to this corpus/body of literature.
I'll end with my own (unique) contribution, an etymological insight into
the "meaning" of the tetragrammaton yod-heh-vav-heh YHVH or YHWH.
Today the yod is a partial velar pronounced as Y, but it is often found
in words whose cognates contain a full velar G/K-sound... and sometimes
a CR sound as in CReDit < yod-dalet YoD = hand (let's give him a big
hand) and CReaTor < (are you sitting down?) yod-heh = GoD (as explained
The vav is today usually sounded as a vowel oh or oo and sometimes as a
consonantal V. Compare the Latin V-shape. However, the consonantal vav
is found as a cognate of words with an F-sound, e.g., Hebrew (from
Greek) VeSeT = phase (of moon), regulator (faucet). With a het-W
parallel, Hebrew het-vav-heh XaVaH = Eve, the WiFe of Adam.
Finally, it seems the Hebrew heh originally had a DH sound, a
combination of dalet+heh. When it lost that sound to become a H
breathing sound, many Hebrew words were re-spelled with a dalet (pure
D). That makes Hebrew DaG = fish a reversed cognate of Greek ichth(os).
In Greek, the same sound-change usually resulted in words that now have
an H breathing sound. So we have the following cognates:
Hebrew DaM = blood Greek HeMo-
?aDaM = man HoMo
mDaMem = bleed HyMen (which bleeds the first time)
?aDaMah = ground, earth Latin HuMus
Using all of the above sound-changes, YH+VH would have sounded somewhat
like G/K Dh + F Dh, that is, a Father-God (creator). Compare JuH-PiTer.
(Almost) needless to say, the concept of the Jewish God has evolved over
time so, in this sense, one can say that the God of Adam did not have
exactly the same "meaning" as the God of Abraham or the God of Moses or
the God of the later prophets or (as Reconstructionist Judaism would
say) the Jewish God of today.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the US Supreme Court has to
say about the God of today. As my first boss was fond of saying
"Tomorrow is another day."
Voltaire said: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent
him." and in "The Social Contract", Jean Rousseau wrote: "If God did not
exist, we humans would have to invent him." For a contrary (militant ?)
viewpoint, the author of http://www.mrlizard.com/evolution.html
says: "If God did exist -- we would have to destroy him."
Dosh kham = warm regards,
Israel "izzy" Cohen
The thought that "creator" is cognate with Hebrew yod-heh YaH first
occurred to me while I was composing this email. IMHO this is not a
completely trivial insight.
I had previously determined that Latin cred- as in credit was cognate
with Greek kudos and Hebrew yod-dalet YoD = hand. The Hebrew term is
often used in the name of memorials in honor of whoever. But I had never
previously realized that creator was cognate with yod-heh anciently YoDh
= God. So, thanks to you guys for giving me this insight.
|[ABOUT WORDS] More under god - IIa by "Israel \"izzy\" Cohen" <>|