Thursday, May 8, 2014

Word Odyssey: Hallelujah! The Origins of “God”

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2014 at 2:30 PM

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Hallelujah! Today’s Word Odyssey topic is the origins of God. Well, not really the origins of God, but rather the word God. But even that is a complicated matter.

Let’s start with hallelujah. That means praise be to Yahweh, from Hebrew “hillel”, which is a song of praise, and Yahweh, the name of the god of the Israelites.

In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Yahweh declares: "I am Yahweh, that is My name." Most of the time, Yahweh refers to the Hebrews’ own tribal god, not the god of everyone. He makes his status as numero uno in the pantheon of gods clear in the very first Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Due the various ways of translating and alphabetizing Hebrew, Yahweh is sometimes rendered as Jehovah, such as in the King James version of the Bible. But they’re the same Dude.

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