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theotherguy

Yahweh-Jove

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I was thinking about Latin a while ago, And noticed that Jove (an alternative name for Jupiter, Roman version of Zeus, king of the gods) sounds more than passingly like Jehovah. But then I realized that it would be pronounced Yo-way, which is very close to Yahweh. Is this coincidence? Cognate? Derivative? In short, did the Hebrew word Yahweh come from Latin?

Or is this common knowledge that I just missed?

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There are no vowels in Hebrew. The word Yahweh/Jehovah is spelt in Hebrew (transliterated into English) "JHVH". That's nothing like the Latin word "Jove". The Latin language is also a much younger language than the original Hebrew in which JHVH is written in. If there is a correlation (and I don't think there is), it would be the Latin that borrowed from the Hebrew, not the other way around.

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Consensus says coincidence. Thanks for the input!

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Yeah, I've kicked this one around too. It does look like a coincidence, but funny how these things line up.

Jove (pronounced Yo-wey), Jupiter, and Zeus all owe their etymology to an Indo-European sky god called Dyaeus Pater, or some such spelling, meaning "shining father" or "sky father". The closest linguistic survivor is the Vedic deity Dyaus Pita.

Dyaeus went through a couple corruptions to shift the initial consonant to a "dZ" and then to a plain "Z" sound to give us Zeus. The Romans reverted it back to the "Dy" and then made it the I/Y sound that "J's" make in most languages outside of English. So the Romans had a deity called something like Iowe, which they combined with their word for "father," the familiar, Indo-European sounding "pater" and syncopated out the syllables that stretched the sound of the word out too long and got Iu-p'ter or Iuppiter.

As to Jehovah: This is actually a nonsense word composed of the Tetragrammaton (God's ineffable, four-letter, personal Name) YHWH/IHVH, with the vowel scheme of the Hebrew word Adonai which means "my Lord". When the Masoretes, the scribes who put the traditional vowels into the Hebrew Bible, came to the Tetragrammaton, they put the vowels of Adonai in as an indication of which word to substitute for the Name during liturgical readings of the Text. Skip forward to Gentiles trying to write a more accurate translation of the Bible, coming across God's Name written plain as day, or so it would seem.

Yahweh is generally agreed upon historical pronunciation of the Name based on the Burning Bush's response to Moses' question of its name, Eyeh asher eyeh, "I will be who I will be," treating the Name as an extension of the Hebrew word for "to be". There is a strong case for a minority report however. For one, Yahweh doesn't have enough syllables to fit the spaces it supposedly leaves. Hebrew is cantillated--lyrically chanted-- and marks one of the oldest traditions of musical notation and recitation that gave rise to Gregorian chanting. Syllables, especially in something so important, aren't left out or added, especially when Adon "Lord" could be used instead of Adonai. There is also the matter that many important epithetical names for God also feature three syllables, like Elohim (God), El Shaddai (Almighty God), El Elyon (Highest God), Tzeva'oth/Saba'oth ([Lord of] Hosts).

The last thing one must consider before accepting Yahweh as the definitive pronunciation is the incorporation of the Lord's Name into theophoric personal names. Names like Isaiah (Yeshayahu) or Elijah (Eliyahu). Or John (Yochanon), Joseph (Yoseph), Joshua (Yoshua), and Jonathan (Yonatan), all taking their "Jo's" from the Tetragrammaton. Last and most important is the name of Christ Himself, Yehoshua, syncopated to Yeshua. Ostensibly a variation of the name Joshua, if you are going to call someone the Son of God and say that an Archangel announced His name to his mother, one would think that measures were taken to ensure links to the original Name.

This is the fun part of etymologies that span across a couple of millennia. Still, for all we know, Jehovah and Jove could have had a measure of influence on each other, the sky-god aspects of Zeus and Jupiter did come via the Middle East. And the true pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton will always be lost to us, barring a modern prophet who starts raising the dead with it or flying or some such business.

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