An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A hybrid name for God, resulting from an erroneous combination of other names. In the period after the Exile, the proper name for God, Yahweh, was believed by Jewish people to be too holy to pronounce. The title Adonai, Lord, was spoken instead. In written texts the vowels of Adonai were combined with the consonants YHWH as a reminder to readers that they were to read Adonai rather than Yahweh. In the middle ages, Christians misunderstood this practice and simplistically combined the vowels of Adonai with the consonants of YHWH, which resulted in the erroneous hybrid “Jehovah.” The name Jehovah has been used in a few translations of the Bible and also in some hymns. However, “the Lord” is found in the King James Version, as well as most modern translations.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.