The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Tetragrammaton

Why does everybody call God by four letters? The Hebrews by the four vowels "he ho ha hi"; the Egyptians by "Theuth"; the Persians by "Syre"; the Magi by "Orsi"; whence "Oromasis"; the Greeks by "Theos"; ourselves by "Deus"; the Arabs by "Alla"; Mahomet by "Abgdi." Again, we accept "Jesu" from Gabriel... Surely, such diverse races would not otherwise have agreed on the one name of the unknown God, unless they were divinely inspired? And if they received it from Adam, it was by divine inspiration they received that name rather than others.

The Hebrews say that, if pronounced correctly, all miracles can be wrought in that name- which is the most difficult thing of all to do; it takes a miracle alone to pronounce it.... God puts all things in order by means of four: essence, being, power, action. Celestial things He orders by means of four sets of three, sub-celestial things by means of the four elements. Accordingly, He wanted to be represented by four letters.

-Marsilio Ficino. The Philebus Commentary. translated by Michael J.B. Allen.


At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is also interesting to note that many words for God (some in very distant cultures) have or could have similiar sounds.
If I am wrong--please respond and explain:

1. Greek: THEOS
2. Latin: DEO or DIO
3. Nuahtl(Mexican preColumbian): transliterated TEO
4. Of course any Latin derivative
5. Tao--Chinese

so at least Greek, Latin, Latin derivatives and preColumbian Mexico's predominant dialect

Of course the Slavs use Bog
The Germans Gott

Some have particular names for God, or analagous words for Father, Creator, even Nature (like TAO which is not a Christian sense God per se in Taoism as translated by the Jesuits)

At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find some of the Chabad/Lubavitcher websites interesting (and even some of the actual people--actual people practicing religions do exist outside the internet)--although am disturbed by some of the exclusivisim and even perhaps racism that could be perceived by Orthodox Jews. The Chabad seem truly orthodox (as Jews) but more open to gentiles and certainly to non practicing Jews.

The Chabad certainly have a traditional/"conservative" morality and culture and many religious beliefs such as Creation ex nilhio, angels, miracles, Providence, liturgy, etc
BUT also seem to be pantheistic and believe in reincarnation.
The Kabbalah practices do not seem at all explicit in the Torah and may have roots in Babylonia or even other non Christian religions of the region (Gnostic or Babylonian as well as Egyptian or other Mystery religions) which seem to include divining and astrology.

The meditations on the Divine Name (the Essential Tetraggamaton) are interesting at:

At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the ancient Jews could not pronounce the name of God except some in the Temple--
How did we get the names
Yaweh or is it Ywh

Some of these Jews call G-d the
"Name" Hashem.

I thought the name as pronounced (without the full pronunciation) is HAVAYAH.

What is the power of the name of God?
Does our society disrespect the name of God too much?
Does it matter?
Are the Muslims good role models on this singular question (respect for the name of God)?

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Thank you for those rather interesting responses. And thank you for your readership.

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God's Essential Name Havayah is spelled in Hebrew: yud-kei-vav-kei. According to the Jewish law, we are forbidden to pronounce the Name Havayah as it is written. Therefore, throughout out web site when spelling out the Name Havayah we have replaced the Hebrew letter hei with kei, as accustomed. Even during prayer it must be pronounced: Adonay ("my Master"). Here though, when meditating (without pronouncing) one may and should meditate on its four letters in Hebrew as they are truly written: yud-hei-vav-hei

God's essential Name Havayah is the Eternal Being, the Divine power that continuously brings all of reality into being

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Jeff D said...


What is that a picture of?

At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Adonay was Adonai transliterated and meant Lord--and a permutation of that meant the devil or at least a demon

At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The One is THE One, containing all and uncontained. Two, from the One, is a line. Three is a surface. Four is a solid, the incarnation of the One. The pre-incarnate Lord of the Old, whom Moses saw, is the incarnate Lord of the New.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Picture: Diagram of the names of God in Athanasius Kircher’s Oedipus Aegyptiacus

Here is a better look. (Scroll down to the middle of the page.)

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