Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God

From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century


The Christian Reception of the Hebrew name of God has not previously been described in such detail and over such an extended period. This work places that varied reception within the context of early Jewish and Christian texts; Patristic Studies; Jewish-Christian relationships; Mediaeval thought; the Renaissance and Reformation; the History of Printing; and the development of Christian Hebraism.
The contribution of notions of the Tetragrammaton to orthodox doctrines and debates is exposed, as is the contribution its study made to non-orthodox imaginative constructs and theologies. Gnostic, Kabbalistic, Hermetic and magical texts are given equally detailed consideration.
There emerge from this sustained and detailed examination several recurring themes concerning the difficulty of naming God, his being and his providence.

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Robert J. Wilkinson, Ph.D. (2004) in History, U.W.E. was before retirement Research Fellow at Wesley College and Visiting Fellow in Theology in Bristol. He is author of Orientalism, Aramaic and Kabbalah in the Catholic Reformation and The Kabbalistic Scholars of the Antwerp Polyglot Bible. (both Brill 2007).
Tetragrammaton is a wonderful and fascinating book, defined by an expansive scope, judicious illustrations, and clear prose. It is an excellent addition to any library concerned with the early modern period or the history of Jewish-Christian Interaction.”
Benjamin M. Guyer, University of Kansas. In: Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 47. No. 2 (2016), pp. 463-465.
List of Illustrations


Part One: The Eclipse of the Name

Chapter One
The Tetragrammaton in Jewish Pre-Christian Biblical Texts in Greek and Hebrew

Chapter Two
The First Christians and the Tetragrammaton

Chapter Three
The Tetragrammaton among the Orthodox in Late Antiquity

Chapter Four
The Tetragrammaton among Gnostics and Magicians in Late Antiquity

Chapter Five
The Tetragrammaton in Jewish Hebrew Mishnaic, Talmudic, Hekalot, and Biblical Texts in Later Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Part Two: Times of Ignorance

Chapter Six
The Tetragrammaton in Mediaeval Scholarship

Chapter Seven
The Tetragrammaton in Private Devotion and Magic in the Middle Ages

Part Three: The Rediscovery of the Name

Chapter Eight
The Origins of Printing, Hebrew Printing, and the Growth of Christian Hebraism

Chapter Nine
The Early Christian Kabbalists and the Tetragrammaton

Chapter Ten
The Tetragrammaton in Vernacular Bibles, Popular Print, and Illustration

Chapter Eleven
The Tetragrammaton and Scholars at the Time of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations

Chapter Twelve
The Tetragrammaton in Renaissance Magic and among the Later Christian Kabbalists

Chapter Thirteen
The Demystification of Language and the Triumph of Philology

Appendix to Chapter Thirteen
Some University Dissertations and Disputations on the Name of God



All those interested in Christian origins, New Testament and Patristic Studies, Jewish-Christian relations, Christian Hebraism, Gnosticism, magic and the occult, as well as philologists, theologians and Church historians.
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