Arianism Versus Trinitarianism and the History Behind God’s Name – Where Did it All Begin…?

To Further add to the confusion, now as an formerly baptized Ex Jehovah’s Witness (came out of Catholicism my birth religion), who came into the JW religion  (or cult if you wish to call it as such, unbenownst to me then), in 1960,  and who left the Watch Tower and Tract Society Cult well behind by choice in 1968 as I  smartened up and became more discerning in young adulthood, I am on the eternal quest to truths.
Still searching for Truth and Enlightenment within the confines of what we would refer to as Christianity, I hope for those, like me, who would like to see two sides to the argument that this information copied here from the Wikipedia pages will be helpful.   Useful especially to those who are loathe to dig into the vast sections offered by Wikipedia, it may present as a less daunting task to discover more answers by keeping copies of these two very comprehensive Articles on the post A.D. concepts of  what constituted Arianism and what constitutes Trinitarianism,  a core belief within Christianity taught today.   
 Perhaps these articles on this page will make for  easier access  to some of the most comprehensive historical facts ever collated.  If only to offer us all a more informed background on how the contention between religious groups began to exacerbate the ‘differences’ of the two belief systems, and how Christianity as we know and accept it, emerged.  I hope it will shed some light for not only Jehovah’s Witnesses but also Ex Jehovah’s Witnesses, and all Christians belonging to the many denominations that have now gained a foothold within Christendom today.


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Arianism is a nontrinitarian[1] Christological doctrine[1][2][3] which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was begotten by God the Father at a point in time,[1] a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is also God (i.e. God the Son).[1][4] Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius[1][3] (c. AD 256–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt. The term “Arian” is derived from the name Arius; and like “Christian”, it was not a self-chosen designation but bestowed by hostile opponents—and never accepted by those on whom it had been imposed.[5] The nature of Arius’s teaching and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father.[1][4]

There was a dispute between two interpretations of Jesus’ divinity (Homoousianism and Arianism) based upon the theological orthodoxy of the time, one trinitarian and the other non-trinitarian, and both of them attempted to solve its respective theological dilemmas.[6] So there were, initially, two equally orthodox interpretations which initiated a conflict in order to attract adepts and define the new orthodoxy.[4][better source needed] The two interpretations initiated a broader conflict as to which belief was the successor of Christian theology from its inception. The former was formally affirmed by the first two Ecumenical Councils,[6] and in the past several centuries, Arianism has continued to be viewed as “the heresy or sect of Arius”.[7] As such, all mainstream branches of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical.[8] The trinitarianism, or homoousianism viewpoint, was promulgated by Athanasius of Alexandria, who insisted that Homoousianism theology was both the true nature of God and the teaching of Jesus. Arius stated: “If the Father begat the Son, then he who was begotten had a beginning in existence, and from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not.”[6] Nonetheless, the Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325, convened by Emperor Constantine to ensure Church unity, deemed Arianism to be a heresy.”[9] According to Everett Ferguson, “The great majority of Christians had no clear views about the nature of the Trinity and they did not understand what was at stake in the issues that surrounded it.”[9]

Ten years later, however, Constantine the Great, who was himself baptized by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia,[10][11] convened another gathering of Church leaders at the regional First Synod of Tyre in 335 (attended by 310 bishops), to address various charges mounted against Athanasius by his pro-Arius detractors, such as “murder, illegal taxation, sorcery, and treason”, following his refusal to readmit Arius into fellowship.[6] Athanasius was exiled to Trier (in modern Germany) following his conviction at Tyre of conspiracy, and Arius was, effectively, exonerated.[12] Athanasius eventually returned to Alexandria in 346 A.D., two years after the deaths of both Arius and Constantine; though Arianism had spread, Athanasius and other trinitarian Church leaders crusaded against the theology, and Arius was again anathemised and pronounced a heretic once more at the Ecumenical First Council of Constantinople of 381 (attended by 150 bishops).[13][6] The Roman Emperors Constantius II (337–361) and Valens (364–378) were Arians or Semi-Arians, as was the first King of ItalyOdoacer (433?–493), and the Lombards were also Arians or Semi-Arians until the 7th century. Visigothic Spain was Arian until 581. Many Goths when they converted to Christianity adopted Arian beliefs. The Vandal regime in North Africa actively imposed Arianism.

Arianism is also used to refer to other nontrinitarian theological systems of the 4th century, which regarded Jesus Christ—the Son of God, the Logos—as either a begotten creature (as in Arianism proper and Anomoeanism) or as neither uncreated nor created in the sense other beings are created (as in Semi-Arianism).


Portrait of Arius; detail of a Byzantineicon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

Arius had been a pupil of Lucian of Antioch at Lucian’s private academy in Antioch and inherited from him a modified form of the teachings of Paul of Samosata.[14] He taught that God the Father and the Son of God did not always exist together eternally.[15]

Arians taught that the Logos was a divine being begotten by God the Father before the creation of the world, made him a medium through whom everything else was created, and that the Son of God is subordinate to God the Father.[16] A verse from Proverbs was also used: “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work” (Proverbs 8:22–25).[17] Therefore, the Son was rather the very first and the most perfect of God’s creatures, and he was made “God” only by the Father’s permission and power.[18][19]

Controversy over Arianism arose in the late 3rd century and persisted throughout most of the 4th century. It involved most church members—from simple believers, priests, and monks to bishops, emperors, and members of Rome’s imperial family. Two Roman emperors, Constantius IIand Valens, became Arians or Semi-Arians, as did prominent GothicVandal, and Lombard warlords both before and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Such a deep controversy within the Church during this period of its development could not have materialized without significant historical influences providing a basis for the Arian doctrines.[20] Of the roughly three hundred bishops in attendance at the Council of Nicea, two bishops did not sign the Nicene Creed that condemned Arianism.[21] Emperor Constantine also ordered a penalty of death for those who refused to surrender the Arian writings:

In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left even to remind anyone of him. And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, and not to have immediately brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in this offence, he shall be submitted for capital punishment. …

— Edict by Emperor Constantine against the Arians[22]


Reconstructing what Arius actually taught, and why, is a formidable task, both because little of his own work survives except in quotations selected for polemical purposes by his opponents, and also because there is no certainty about what theological and philosophical traditions formed his thought.[23]

Arians do not believe in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity.[24] The letter of Arian Auxentius[25] regarding the Arian missionary Ulfilas gives a picture of Arian beliefs. Arian Ulfilas, who was ordained a bishop by Arian Eusebius of Nicomedia and returned to his people to work as a missionary, believed: God, the Father, (“unbegotten” God; Almighty God) always existing and who is the only true God (John 17:3). The Son of God, Jesus Christ, (“only-begotten God” John 1:18), Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6); begotten before time began (Proverbs 8:22-29Revelation 3:14Colossians 1:15) and who is Lord/Master (1 Corinthians 8:6). The Holy Spirit (the illuminating and sanctifying power, who is neither God the Father nor Lord/Master. 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 was cited as proof text:

Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords/masters—yet for us there is one God (Gk. theos – θεός), the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord/Master (kyrios – κύριος), Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.


The creed of Arian Ulfilas (c. 311–383), which concludes a letter praising him written by Auxentius,[25] distinguishes God the Father (“unbegotten”), who is the only true God from Son of God (“only-begotten”), who is Lord/Master; and the Holy Spirit, the illuminating and sanctifying power, who is neither God the Father nor Lord/Master:

I, Ulfila, bishop and confessor, have always so believed, and in this, the one true faith, I make the journey to my Lord; I believe in only one God the Father, the unbegotten and invisible, and in his only-begotten Son, our Lord/Master and God, the designer and maker of all creation, having none other like him. Therefore, there is one God of all, who is also God of our God; and in one Holy Spirit, the illuminating and sanctifying power, as Christ said after his resurrection to his apostles: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) and again “But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8); Neither God nor Lord/Master, but the faithful minister of Christ; not equal, but subject and obedient in all things to the Son. And I believe the Son to be subject and obedient in all things to God the Father.[26]

A letter from Arius (c. 250–336) to the Arian Eusebius of Nicomedia (died 341) succinctly states the core beliefs of the Arians:

Some of them say that the Son is an eructation, others that he is a production, others that he is also unbegotten. These are impieties to which we cannot listen, even though the heretics threaten us with a thousand deaths. But we say and believe and have taught, and do teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor in any way part of the unbegotten; and that he does not derive his subsistence from any matter; but that by his own will and counsel he has subsisted before time and before ages as perfect as God, only begotten and unchangeable, and that before he was begotten, or created, or purposed, or established, he was not. For he was not unbegotten. We are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning but that God is without beginning.

— Theodoret: Arius’s Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia, translated in Peters’ Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, p. 41

Principally, the dispute between Trinitarianism and Arianism was about:

  • has the Son always existed next to the Father or was the Son begotten at a certain time in eternity past?
  • is the Son equal to the Father or subordinated to the Father?
  • for Constantine, it was minor theological claptrap that stood in the way of uniting the Empire, but for the theologians, it was of huge importance; for them, it was a matter of salvation.[4][6]

Homoian Arianism[edit]

Arianism had several different variants, including Eunomianism and Homoian Arianism. Homoian Arianism is associated with Akakius and Eudoxius. Homoian Arianism avoided the use of the word ousia to describe the relation of Father to Son, and described these as “like” each other.[27] Hanson lists twelve creeds that reflect the Homoian faith:[28]

  1. The Second Sirmian Creed of 357
  2. The Creed of Nice (Constantinople) 360
  3. The creed put forward by Akakius at Seleucia, 359
  4. The Rule of Faith of Ulfilas
  5. The creed uttered by Ulfilas on his deathbed, 383
  6. The creed attributed to Eudoxius
  7. The Creed of Auxentius of Milan, 364
  8. The Creed of Germinius professed in correspondence with Ursacius of Singidunum and Valens of Mursa
  9. Palladius’ rule of faith
  10. Three credal statements found in fragments, subordinating the Son to the Father

Struggles with orthodoxy[edit]

First Council of Nicaea[edit]

Constantine burning Arian books, illustration from a compendium of canon lawc. 825.

In 321, Arius was denounced by a synod at Alexandria for teaching a heterodox view of the relationship of Jesus to God the Father. Because Arius and his followers had great influence in the schools of Alexandria—counterparts to modern universities or seminaries—their theological views spread, especially in the eastern Mediterranean.

By 325, the controversy had become significant enough that the Emperor Constantine called an assembly of bishops, the First Council of Nicaea, which condemned Arius’s doctrine and formulated the original Nicene Creed of 325.[29] The Nicene Creed’s central term, used to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son, is Homoousios (Ancient Greekὁμοούσιος), or Consubstantiality, meaning “of the same substance” or “of one being” (the Athanasian Creed is less often used but is a more overtly anti-Arian statement on the Trinity).

The focus of the Council of Nicaea was the nature of the Son of God and his precise relationship to God the Father (see Paul of Samosata and the Synods of Antioch). Arius taught that Jesus Christ was divine/holy and was sent to earth for the salvation of mankind[24] but that Jesus Christ was not equal to God the Father (infinite, primordial origin) in rank and that God the Father and the Son of God were not equal to the Holy Spirit (power of God the Father).[15] Under Arianism, Christ was instead not consubstantial with God the Father[30] since both the Father and the Son under Arius were made of “like” essence or being (see homoiousia) but not of the same essence or being (see homoousia).[30]

In the Arian view, God the Father is a Deity and is divine and the Son of God is not a Deity but divine (I, the LORD, am Deity alone. Isaiah 46:9).[24] God the Father sent Jesus to earth for salvation of mankind (John 17:3). Ousia is essence or being, in Eastern Christianity, and is the aspect of God that is completely incomprehensible to mankind and human perception. It is all that subsists by itself and which has not its being in another,[31] God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit all being uncreated.[32]

According to the teaching of Arius, the preexistent Logos and thus the incarnate Jesus Christ was a begotten being; only the Son was directly begotten by God the Father, before ages, but was of a distinct, though similar, essence or substance from the Creator. His opponents argued that this would make Jesus less than God and that this was heretical.[30] Much of the distinction between the differing factions was over the phrasing that Christ expressed in the New Testament to express submission to God the Father.[30] The theological term for this submission is kenosis. This Ecumenical council declared that Jesus Christ was a distinct being of God in existence or reality (hypostasis), which the Latin fathers translated as persona. Jesus was God in essence, being and nature (ousia), which the Latin fathers translated as substantia.

Constantine is believed to have exiled those who refused to accept the Nicean creed—Arius himself, the deacon Euzoios, and the Libyan bishops Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais—and also the bishops who signed the creed but refused to join in condemnation of Arius, Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea. The Emperor also ordered all copies of the Thalia, the book in which Arius had expressed his teachings, to be burned. However, there is no evidence that his son and ultimate successor, Constantius II, who was a Semi-Arian Christian, was exiled.

Although he was committed to maintaining what the church had defined at Nicaea, Constantine was also bent on pacifying the situation and eventually became more lenient toward those condemned and exiled at the council. First, he allowed Eusebius of Nicomedia, who was a protégé of his sister, and Theognis to return once they had signed an ambiguous statement of faith. The two, and other friends of Arius, worked for Arius’s rehabilitation.[33]

At the First Synod of Tyre in AD 335, they brought accusations against Athanasius, now bishop of Alexandria, the primary opponent of Arius. After this, Constantine had Athanasius banished since he considered him an impediment to reconciliation. In the same year, the Synod of Jerusalem under Constantine’s direction readmitted Arius to communion in AD 336. Arius died on the way to this event in Constantinople. Some scholars suggest that Arius may have been poisoned by his opponents.[33] Eusebius and Theognis remained in the Emperor’s favor, and when Constantine, who had been a catechumen much of his adult life, accepted baptism on his deathbed, it was from Eusebius of Nicomedia.[10]

Aftermath of Nicaea[edit]

The Council of Nicaea did not end the controversy, as many bishops of the Eastern provinces disputed the homoousios, the central term of the Nicene Creed, as it had been used by Paul of Samosata, who had advocated a monarchianist Christology. Both the man and his teaching, including the term homoousios, had been condemned by the Synods of Antioch in 269.

Hence, after Constantine’s death in 337, open dispute resumed again. Constantine’s son Constantius II, who had become Emperor of the eastern part of the Empire, actually encouraged the Arians and set out to reverse the Nicene Creed. His advisor in these affairs was Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had already at the Council of Nicea been the head of the Arian party, who also was made the bishop of Constantinople.

Constantius used his power to exile bishops adhering to the Nicene Creed, especially St Athanasius of Alexandria, who fled to Rome. In 355 Constantius became the sole Emperor and extended his pro-Arian policy toward the western provinces, frequently using force to push through his creed, even exiling Pope Liberius and installing Antipope Felix II.

The third Council of Sirmium in 357 was the high point of Arianism. The Seventh Arian Confession (Second Sirmium Confession) held that both homoousios (of one substance) and homoiousios (of similar substance) were unbiblical and that the Father is greater than the Son. (This confession was later known as the Blasphemy of Sirmium.)

But since many persons are disturbed by questions concerning what is called in Latin substantia, but in Greek ousia, that is, to make it understood more exactly, as to ‘coessential,’ or what is called, ‘like-in-essence,’ there ought to be no mention of any of these at all, nor exposition of them in the Church, for this reason and for this consideration, that in divine Scripture nothing is written about them, and that they are above men’s knowledge and above men’s understanding;[34]

As debates raged in an attempt to come up with a new formula, three camps evolved among the opponents of the Nicene Creed. The first group mainly opposed the Nicene terminology and preferred the term homoiousios (alike in substance) to the Nicene homoousios, while they rejected Arius and his teaching and accepted the equality and co-eternality of the persons of the Trinity. Because of this centrist position, and despite their rejection of Arius, they were called “semi-Arians” by their opponents. The second group also avoided invoking the name of Arius, but in large part followed Arius’ teachings and, in another attempted compromise wording, described the Son as being like (homoios) the Father. A third group explicitly called upon Arius and described the Son as unlike (anhomoios) the Father. Constantius wavered in his support between the first and the second party, while harshly persecuting the third.

Epiphanius of Salamis labeled the party of Basil of Ancyra in 358 “Semi-Arianism“. This is considered unfair by Kelly who states that some members of the group were virtually orthodox from the start but disliked the adjective homoousios while others had moved in that direction after the out-and-out Arians had come into the open.[35]

The debates among these groups resulted in numerous synods, among them the Council of Sardica in 343, the Council of Sirmium in 358 and the double Council of Rimini and Seleucia in 359, and no fewer than fourteen further creed formulas between 340 and 360, leading the pagan observer Ammianus Marcellinus to comment sarcastically: “The highways were covered with galloping bishops.” None of these attempts were acceptable to the defenders of Nicene orthodoxy: writing about the latter councils, Saint Jerome remarked that the world “awoke with a groan to find itself Arian.”

After Constantius’ death in 361, his successor Julian, a devotee of Rome’s pagan gods, declared that he would no longer attempt to favor one church faction over another, and allowed all exiled bishops to return; this resulted in further increasing dissension among Nicene Christians. The Emperor Valens, however, revived Constantius’ policy and supported the “Homoian” party, exiling bishops and often using force. During this persecution many bishops were exiled to the other ends of the Empire (e.g., St Hilary of Poitiers to the Eastern provinces). These contacts and the common plight subsequently led to a rapprochement between the Western supporters of the Nicene Creed and the homoousios and the Eastern semi-Arians.

Council of Constantinople[edit]

It was not until the co-reigns of Gratian and Theodosius that Arianism was effectively wiped out among the ruling class and elite of the Eastern Empire. Theodosius’ wife St Flacilla was instrumental in his campaign to end Arianism. Valens died in the Battle of Adrianople in 378 and was succeeded by Theodosius I, who adhered to the Nicene Creed. This allowed for settling the dispute.

Two days after Theodosius arrived in Constantinople, 24 November 380, he expelled the Homoiousian bishop, Demophilus of Constantinople, and surrendered the churches of that city to Gregory Nazianzus, the leader of the rather small Nicene community there, an act which provoked rioting. Theodosius had just been baptized, by bishop Acholius of Thessalonica, during a severe illness, as was common in the early Christian world. In February he and Gratian had published an edict[36] that all their subjects should profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria (i.e., the Nicene faith), or be handed over for punishment for not doing so.

Although much of the church hierarchy in the East had opposed the Nicene Creed in the decades leading up to Theodosius’ accession, he managed to achieve unity on the basis of the Nicene Creed. In 381, at the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople, a group of mainly Eastern bishops assembled and accepted the Nicene Creed of 381,[37] which was supplemented in regard to the Holy Spirit, as well as some other changes: see Comparison between Creed of 325 and Creed of 381. This is generally considered the end of the dispute about the Trinity and the end of Arianism among the Roman, non-Germanic peoples.

Among medieval Germanic tribes[edit]

The ceiling mosaic of the Arian Baptistery, built in Ravenna by the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great.

During the time of Arianism’s flowering in Constantinople, the Gothic convert and Arian bishop Ulfilas (later the subject of the letter of Auxentius cited above) was sent as a missionary to the Gothic tribes across the Danube, a mission favored for political reasons by the Emperor Constantius IIUlfilas’ translation of the Bible in Gothic language and his initial success in converting the Goths to Arianism was strengthened by later events; the conversion of Goths led to a widespread diffusion of Arianism among other Germanic tribes as well (VandalsLongobardsSvevi and Burgundians).[3] When the Germanic peoples entered the provinces of the Western Roman Empire and began founding their own kingdoms there, most of them were Arian Christians.[3]

Page from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th century illuminated manuscriptof the Gothic Bible

The conflict in the 4th century had seen Arian and Nicene factions struggling for control of Western Europe. In contrast, among the Arian German kingdoms established in the collapsing Western Empire in the 5th century were entirely separate Arian and Nicene Churches with parallel hierarchies, each serving different sets of believers. The Germanic elites were Arians, and the Romance majority population was Nicene.[citation needed] The Arian Germanic tribes were generally tolerant towards Nicene Christians and other religious minorities, including the Jews.[3] However, the Vandals tried for several decades to force their Arian beliefs on their North African Nicene subjects, exiling Nicene clergy, dissolving monasteries, and exercising heavy pressure on non-conforming Nicene Christians.

Arian and Chalcedoniankingdoms in 495

The apparent resurgence of Arianism after Nicaea was more an anti-Nicene reaction exploited by Arian sympathizers than a pro-Arian development.[38] By the end of the 4th century it had surrendered its remaining ground to Trinitarianism.[39] In Western Europe, Arianism, which had been taught by Ulfilas, the Arian missionary to the Germanic tribes, was dominant among the GothsLongobards and Vandals. By the 8th century, it had ceased to be the tribes’ mainstream belief as the tribal rulers gradually came to adopt Nicene orthodoxy. This trend began in 496 with Clovis I of the Franks, then Reccared I of the Visigoths in 587 and Aripert I of the Lombards in 653.

The Franks and the Anglo-Saxons were unlike the other Germanic peoples in that they entered the Western Roman Empire as Pagans and were forcibly converted to Chalcedonian Christianity by their kings, Clovis I[40] and Æthelberht of Kent (see also Christianity in Gaul and Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England). The remaining tribes – the Vandals and the Ostrogoths – did not convert as a people nor did they maintain territorial cohesion. Having been militarily defeated by the armies of Emperor Justinian I, the remnants were dispersed to the fringes of the empire and became lost to history. The Vandalic War of 533–534 dispersed the defeated Vandals.[41] Following their final defeat at the Battle of Mons Lactarius in 553, the Ostrogothswent back north and (re)settled in south Austria.

Once the Orthodox Trinitarians succeeded in defeating Arianism, they censored any signs that the perceived heresy left behind. This mosaic in Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna has had images of the Arian king, Theoderic, and his court removed. On some columns their hands remain.

From the 5th to the 7th century[edit]

Much of south-eastern Europe and central Europe, including many of the Goths and Vandalsrespectively, had embraced Arianism (the Visigoths converted to Arian Christianity in 376), which led to Arianism being a religious factor in various wars in the Roman Empire.[42] In the west, organized Arianism survived in North Africa, in Hispania, and parts of Italy until it was finally suppressed in the 6th and 7th centuries. Visigothic Spain converted to Catholicism at the Third Council of Toledo in 589.[43]GrimwaldKing of the Lombards (662–671), and his young son and successor Garibald (671), were the last Arian kings in Europe.

From the 16th to the 19th century[edit]

Following the Protestant Reformation from 1517, it did not take long for Arian and other nontrinitarian views to resurface. The first recorded English antitrinitarian was John Assheton, who was forced to recant before Thomas Cranmer in 1548. At the Anabaptist Council of Venice 1550, the early Italian instigators of the Radical Reformation committed to the views of Miguel Servetus, who was burned alive by the orders of John Calvin in 1553, and these were promulgated by Giorgio Biandrata and others into Poland and Transylvania.[44]

The antitrinitarian wing of the Polish Reformation separated from the Calvinist ecclesia maior to form the ecclesia minor or Polish Brethren. These were commonly referred to as “Arians” due to their rejection of the Trinity, though in fact the Socinians, as they were later known, went further than Arius to the position of Photinus. The epithet “Arian” was also applied to the early Unitarians such as John Biddle, though in denial of the pre-existence of Christ they were again largely Socinians, not Arians.[45]

In 1683, when Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, lay dying in Amsterdam – driven into exile by his outspoken opposition to King Charles II – he spoke to the minister Robert Ferguson, and professed himself an Arian.

In the 18th century the “dominant trend” in Britain, particularly in Latitudinarianism, was towards Arianism, with which the names of Samuel ClarkeBenjamin HoadlyWilliam Whiston and Isaac Newton are associated.[46] To quote the Encyclopædia Britannica‘s article on Arianism: “In modern times some Unitarians are virtually Arians in that they are unwilling either to reduce Christ to a mere human being or to attribute to him a divine nature identical with that of the Father.”[47] However, their doctrines cannot be considered representative of traditional Arian doctrines or vice versa.[citation needed]

A similar view was held by the ancient anti-Nicene Pneumatomachi (GreekΠνευματομάχοι, “breath” or “spirit” and “fighters”, combining as “fighters against the spirit”), so called because they opposed the deifying of the Nicene Holy Ghost. Although the Pneumatomachi’s beliefs were somewhat reminiscent of Arianism,[48] they were a distinct group.[48]


The teachings of the first two ecumenical councils – which entirely reject Arianism – are held by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East and all churches founded during the Reformation in the 16th century or influenced by it (LutheranReformed/Presbyterian, and Anglican). Also, nearly all Protestant groups (such as MethodistsBaptists, and most Pentecostals) entirely reject the teachings associated with Arianism. Modern groups which currently appear to embrace some of the principles of Arianism include Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although the origins of their beliefs are not necessarily attributed to the teachings of Arius, many of the core beliefs of Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses are very similar to them.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit]

The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) concerning the nature of the Godhead teaches a nontrinitariantheology. The church’s 1st Article of Faith states: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” The Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 states: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” Similarities between LDS doctrines and Arianism were noted as early as 1846.[49]

The LDS Church’s view of the Godhead breaks with Nicene Creed tradition and believes it returns to the teachings taught by Jesus. Similarly, LDS doctrine does not accept the creed’s definition of Trinity that the three are “consubstantial” nor agree with the Athanasian Creed‘s[50]statement that God and Christ are “incomprehensible”.[51] In contrast, the view of the LDS Church view is that it is self-evident in the Bible that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons: three divine beings as illustrated in the farewell prayer of Jesus, his baptism at the hands of John, his transfiguration, and the martyrdom of Stephen.

Jehovah’s Witnesses[edit]

Jehovah’s Witnesses are often referred to as “modern-day Arians” or they are sometimes referred to as “Semi-Arians“,[52][53] usually by their opponents.[54][55][56] While there are some significant similarities in theology and doctrine, the Witnesses differ from Arians by saying that the Son can fully know the Father (something which Arius himself denied), and by their denial of personality to the Holy Spirit. The original Arians also generally prayed directly to Jesus, whereas the Witnesses pray to God, through Jesus as a mediator.[57]


The Church of God (7th day) – Salem Conference, a line of Sabbatarian Adventists hold views similar to Arianism:[non-primary source needed][original research?]

We believe in one true God who is the creator of all. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He sent his son to Earth to be a sacrifice for our sins. He is a separate being from his son, Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the power of God and not a separate being with a separate consciousness. We do not believe in the teaching of the Trinity, in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three parts of a single being who is God. We believe the Father and the Son are separate beings with separate consciousnesses and that the Holy Spirit is not a conscious being but instead the power of God.

— FAQs – Does the Church of God (7th Day) believe in the Trinity?[58]

Other groups which oppose the belief in the Trinity are not necessarily Arian.

  • The Iglesia ni Cristo[59] are “Biblical Unitarians“, not Arian.
  • Other Biblical Unitarians such as the Christadelphians[60] and Church of God General Conference[61] are typically Socinian rather than Arian in their Christology.
  • The Gospel Assemblies, a group of pentecostal, non-denominational churches which believe that the Father only has inherent immortality, but that the Son has received immortality from the Father, and that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person with distinct intelligence, but rather the life and presence of God the Father and His Son. The Godhead consists of two distinct persons.

See also[edit]



  1. Jump up to:abcdef Berndt, Guido M.; Steinacher, Roland (2014). Arianism: Roman Heresy and Barbarian CreedRoutledgeISBN978-14-09-44659-0Arius wanted to emphasise the transcendence and sole divinity of God […]. God alone is, for Arius, without beginning, unbegotten and eternal. In the terminology of negative theology, Arius stresses monotheism with ever-renewed attempts. God can only be understood as creator. He denies the co-eternal state of the Logos with God since otherwise God would be stripped of his absolute uniqueness. God alone is, and thus he was not always Father. […] Following Proverbs8:22–25, Arius is able to argue that the Son was created. For Arius the Logos belongs wholly on the side of the Divine, but he is markedly subordinate to God.
  2. ^ “Arianism”Encyclopædia Britannica.
  3. Jump up to:abcde Kohler, Kaufmann; Krauss, Samuel. “ARIANISM”Jewish EncyclopediaKopelman Foundation. Retrieved 11 May 2018heresy of the Christian Church, started by Arius, bishop of Alexandria (d. 336), who taught that the Son is not equivalent to the Father (όμοούστος = consubstantialis), thereby provoking a serious schism in the Christian Church, which in turn affected the fortunes of the Jews in many countries. In view of the fact that most Germanic peoples—such as the eastern and western Goths, as also the Franks, the Lombards, the Suevi, and the Vandals—were baptized into Arian Christianity, and that these tribes settled in widely spread districts of the old Roman empire, a large number of Jews, already resident in those lands, fell under Arian domination. In contrast with the domination of the orthodox church, the Arian was distinguished by a wise tolerance and a mild treatment of the population of other faiths, conduct mainly attributable to the unsophisticated sense of justice characterizing the children of nature, but also traceable in some degree to certain points of agreement between the Arian doctrine and Judaism, points totally absent in the orthodox confession. The very insistence upon the more subordinate relationship of the Son—that is, the Messiah—to the God-father is much nearer to the Jewish doctrine of the Messiah than to the conception of the full divinity of the Son, as enunciated at Nicaea.
  4. Jump up to:abcd Ehrman, Bart D.“The Controversies about Christ: Arius and Alexander”The Bart Ehrman Blog.
  5. ^ Wiles, Maurice, 1923-2005. (1996). Archetypal heresy : Arianism through the centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 5. ISBN9780191520594OCLC344023364.
  6. Jump up to:abcdef “Athanasius, Five-time exile for fighting ‘orthodoxy. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  7. ^ Johnson, Samuel (1828). A Dictionary of the English Language: In Which the Words are Deduced from their Originals; and Illustrated in their Different Significations by Examples from the Best Writers. Beeves and Turner.
  8. ^ Ben Witherington III, The Living Word of God: Rethinking the Theology of the Bible (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009), p.241.
  9. Jump up to:ab Ferguson, Everett (26 November 2013). Church History, Volume One: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context. Zondervan. p. 267. ISBN978-0-310-51657-6.
  10. Jump up to:ab Gonzalez, Justo (1984). The Story of Christianity Vol.1. Harper Collins. p. 176. ISBN0-06-063315-8.
  11. ^ “Eusebius of Nicomedia”Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18 February 2007.
  12. ^ Socrates of ConstantinopleChurch History, book 1, chapter 33. Anthony F. Beavers, Chronology of the Arian Controversy.
  13. ^ “First Council of Constantinople, Canon 1”.
  14. ^ Leighton Pullan, Early Christian Doctrine, 3rd ed., Oxford Church Text Books (New York: Edwin S. Gorham, 1905), p. 87.
  15. Jump up to:ab Ritchie, Mark S. “The Story of the Church – Part 2, Topics 2 & 3”The Story of the Church.
  16. ^ M’Clintock, John; James Strong. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature7. p. 45.
  17. ^ Francis Schüssler Fiorenza; John P. Galvin (1991). Systematic theology: Roman Catholic perspectives. Fortress Press. pp. 164–. ISBN978-0-8006-2460-6. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  18. ^ Kelly, J N D (29 March 1978). Early Christian Doctrine. Chapter 9. San Francisco: HarperCollins. ISBN978-0-06-064334-8.
  19. ^ Davis, Leo Donald (1983). The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325–787). Collegeville: Liturgical Press. pp. 52–54. ISBN978-0-8146-5616-7.
  20. ^ Hanson, R P C (2007). The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. pp. 127–128. ISBN0-8010-3146-X.
  21. ^ Chadwick, Henry (July 1960). “Faith and Order at the Council of Nicea”. The Harvard Theological Review53 (3): 171–195. doi:10.1017/S0017816000027000JSTOR1508399.
  22. ^ “Emperor Constantine’s Edict against the Arians”. 23 January 2010. Archived from the original on 19 August 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  23. ^ Richard Bauckham, “Review of Arius: Heresy and Tradition by Rowan Williams,” Themelios: Volume 14, No. 2, January/February 1989, 1989, 75.
  24. Jump up to:abc “Newton’s Arian beliefs”. Scotland: School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews.
  25. Jump up to:ab “Auxentius on Wulfila: Translation by Jim Marchand”.
  26. ^ Heather and Matthews. Goths in the Fourth Century. p. 143.
  27. ^ Hanson, R.P.C. (1988). The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. pp. 557–558.
  28. ^ Hanson, R.P.C. (1988). The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. pp. 558–559.
  29. ^ The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Christian Classics Ethereal Library
  30. Jump up to:abcd “The oneness of Essence, the Equality of Divinity, and the Equality of Honor of God the Son with the God the Father.” Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky pp. 92–95
  31. ^ The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, SVS Press, 1997. (ISBN0-913836-31-1) James Clarke & Co Ltd, 1991. (ISBN0-227-67919-9) V Lossky pp. 50–51
  32. ^ Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky p. 57 As quoted by John Damascene:

    God is unoriginate, unending, eternal, constant, uncreated, unchanging, unalterable, simple, incomplex, bodiless, invisible, intangible, indescribable, without bounds, inaccessible to the mind, uncontainable, incomprehensible, good, righteous, that Creator of all creatures, the almighty Pantocrator.

  33. Jump up to:ab Edward Gibbons “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, Chapter 21, (1776–88), Jonathan Kirsch, “God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism”, 2004, and Charles FreemanThe Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason, 2002.
  34. ^ “Second Creed of Sirmium or ‘The Blasphemy of Sirmium Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  35. ^ Kelly J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines A&G Black 1965, p. 249
  36. ^ “Sozomen’s Church History VII.4”.
  37. ^ The text of this version of the Nicene Creed is available at “The Holy Creed Which the 150 Holy Fathers Set Forth, Which is Consonant with the Holy and Great Synod of Nice”. Retrieved 27 November2010.
  38. ^ Everett Ferguson, Church History: From Christ to Pre-Reformation, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 200.
  39. ^ Turner, Ryan. “Arianism and its influence today”. CARM. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  40. ^ Frassetto, Michael, Encyclopedia of barbarian Europe, (ABC-Clio, 2003), p. 128.
  41. ^ Procopius, Secret Histories, Chapter 11, 18
  42. ^ Brehaut, Earnest (1916). “Introduction”Gregory of Tours History of the Franks. pp. ix–xxv. The inhibiting and paralyzing force of superstitious beliefs penetrated to every department of life, and the most primary and elementary activities of society were influenced. War, for example, was not a simple matter of a test of strength and courage, but supernatural matters had to be taken carefully into consideration. When Clovis said of the Goths in southern Gaul, ‘I take it hard that these Arians should hold a part of the Gauls; let us go with God’s aid and conquer them and bring the land under our dominion’, [note: see p. 45 (Book II:37)] he was not speaking in a hypocritical or arrogant manner but in real accordance with the religious sentiment of the time. What he meant was that the Goths, being heretics, were at once enemies of the true God and inferior to the orthodox Franks in their supernatural backing. Considerations of duty, strategy, and self-interest all reinforced one another in Clovis’s mind. However, it was not always the orthodox side that won. We hear of a battle fought a few years before Gregory became bishop of Tours between king Sigibert and the Huns, [note: Book IV:29] in which the Huns ‘by the use of magic arts caused various false appearances to arise before their enemies and overcame them decisively.’
  43. ^ Thompson, E. A. (1960). “The Conversion of the Visigoths to Catholicism”. Nottingham Medieval Studies4: 4. doi:10.1484/J.NMS.3.5.
  44. ^ Roland BaintonHunted Heretic. The Life and Death of Michael Servetus
  45. ^ George Huntston WilliamsThe Radical Reformation, 3rd edition. Volume 15 of Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies. Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Brothers, 1992
  46. ^ William Gibson, Robert G. Ingram Religious identities in Britain, 1660–1832 p. 92
  47. ^ “Arianism.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007.
  48. Jump up to:ab Wace, Henry; Piercy, William C., eds. Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century (1911, third edition) London: John Murray.
  49. ^ Mattison, Hiram. A Scriptural Defence of the Doctrine of the Trinity: Or a Check to Modern Arianism as Taught by Campbellites, Hicksites, New Lights, Universalists and Mormons, and Especially by a Sect Calling Themselves “Christians”. L. Colby, 1846.
  50. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia (1913): The Athanasian Creed
  51. ^ Holland, Jeffrey R. (November 2007), “The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent”Ensign: 40
  52. ^ Institute for Metaphysical Studies—The Arian Christian Bible – Metaphysical Institute, 2010. p. 209. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  53. ^ Adam Bourque – Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Michigan Skeptics Association. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  54. ^ Dorsett, Tommy. “Modern Day Arians: Who Are They?”. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  55. ^ “Trinity: Arius and the Nicene Creed”. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  56. ^ Young, Alexey. “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  57. ^ “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”Awake!: 12–13. August 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  58. ^ “FAQs”. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  59. ^ Bienvenido Santiago “Is Jesus Christ Called ‘God’ in John 1:1?” in God’s Message magazine July–September 1995
  60. ^ Pearce F. Jesus: God the Son or Son of God? CMPA
  61. ^ Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound


Further reading[edit]

  • Brennecke, Hanns Christof (1999), “Arianism”, in Fahlbusch, Erwin (ed.), Encyclopedia of Christianity1, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, pp. 121–122, ISBN0-8028-2413-7

External links[edit]


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Holy Trinity, depicted by Szymon Czechowicz (1756–1758)

Trinity (from top to bottom God the Father, the Holy Spirit (dove) and the crucified Christ in an illuminated Italian manuscript by Cristoforo Majorana, before 1491.

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (LatinTrinitaslit.‘triad’, from Latintrinus “threefold”)[1] holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons[2] or hypostases[3]—the Father, the Son(Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as “one God in three Divine Persons”. The three Persons are distinct, yet are one “substance, essence or nature” (homoousios).[4] In this context, a “nature” is whatone is, whereas a “person” is who one is.[5] Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism (one deity in two persons, or two deities) and Monarchianism (no plurality of persons within God), of which Modalistic Monarchianism (one deity revealed in three modes) and Unitarianism (one deity in one person) are subsets.

While the developed doctrine of the Trinity is not explicit in the books that constitute the New Testament, the New Testament possesses a “triadic” understanding of God[6] and contains a number of Trinitarian formulas.[7] The doctrine of the Trinity was first formulated among the early Christians and fathers of the Church as early Christians attempted to understand the relationship between Jesus and God in their scriptural documents and prior traditions.[8]


The word trinity is derived from Latin trinitas, meaning “the number three, a triad, tri”. This abstract noun is formed from the adjective trinus (three each, threefold, triple),[9] as the word unitas is the abstract noun formed from unus (one).

The corresponding word in Greek is τριάς, meaning “a set of three” or “the number three”.[10] The first recorded use of this Greek word in Christian theology was by Theophilus of Antioch in about the year 170. He wrote:[11]

In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity [Τριάδος], of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man. (Aut.II.XV)


The earliest known depiction of the Trinity, Dogmatic Sarcophagus, AD 350.Vatican Museums

The Adoration of the Trinity by Albrecht Dürer (1511). From top to bottom: Holy Spirit (dove), God the Father and the crucified Christ.

The “Heavenly Trinity” joined to the “Earthly Trinity” through the Incarnationof the Son, by Murillo, c. 1677.[12]

From the Ante-Nicene Fathers to Nicaea[edit]

While the developed doctrine of the Trinity is not explicit in the books that constitute the New Testament, it was first formulated as early Christians attempted to understand the relationship between Jesus and God in their scriptural documents and prior traditions.[8] The New Testament possesses a “triadic” understanding of God[6] and contains a number of Trinitarian formulas.[7]The Ante-Nicene Fathers asserted Christ’s deity and spoke of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, even though their language is not that of the traditional doctrine as formalized in the fourth century. Trinitarians view these as elements of the codified doctrine. An early Trinitarian formula appears towards the end of the first century, where Clement of Rome rhetorically asks in his epistle as to why corruption exists among some in the Christian community; “Do we not have one God, and one Christ, and one gracious Spirit that has been poured out upon us, and one calling in Christ?”[13] Ignatius of Antioch provides early support for the Trinity around 110, exhorting obedience to “Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit”.[14] The pseudonymous Ascension of Isaiah, written sometime between the end of the first century and the beginning of the third century, possesses a “proto-trinitarian” view, such as in its narrative of how the inhabitants of the sixth heaven sing praises to “the primal Father and his Beloved Christ, and the Holy Spirit”.[15] Justin Martyr (AD 100–c. 165) also writes, “in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit”.[16] The first of the early church fathers to be recorded using the word “Trinity” was Theophilus of Antioch writing in the late 2nd century. He defines the Trinity as God, His Word (Logos) and His Wisdom (Sophia)[17] in the context of a discussion of the first three days of creation, following the early Christian practice of identifying the Holy Spirit as the Wisdom of God.[18] The first defense of the doctrine of the Trinity was in the early 3rd century by the early church father Tertullian. He explicitly defined the Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and defended his theology against “Praxeas“,[19] though he noted that the majority of the believers in his day found issue with his doctrine.[20] St. Justin and Clement of Alexandria used the Trinity in their doxologies and St. Basil likewise, in the evening lighting of lamps.[21] Origen of Alexandria (AD 185-c. 253) has often been interpreted as Subordinationist, but some modern researchers have argued that Origen might have actually been anti-Subordinationist.[22][23]

Although there is much debate as to whether the beliefs of the Apostles were merely articulated and explained in the Trinitarian Creeds, or were corrupted and replaced with new beliefs,[24] all scholars recognize that the Creeds themselves were created in reaction to disagreements over the nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These controversies took some centuries to be resolved.

Of these controversies, the most significant developments were articulated in the first four centuries by the Church Fathers in reaction to AdoptionismSabellianism, and Arianism. Adoptionism was the belief that Jesus was an ordinary man, born of Joseph and Mary, who became the Christ and Son of God at his baptism. In 269, the Synods of Antioch condemned Paul of Samosata for his Adoptionist theology, and also condemned the term homoousios (ὁμοούσιος, “of the same being”) in the modalist sense in which he used it.[25]

Among the Non-Trinitarian beliefs, the Sabellianism taught that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are essentially one and the same, the difference being simply verbal, describing different aspects or roles of a single being.[26] For this view Sabellius was excommunicated for heresy in Rome c. 220.

First seven ecumenical councils[edit]

First Council of Nicaea (325)[edit]

In the fourth century, Arianism, as traditionally understood,[note 1] taught that the Father existed prior to the Son who was not, by nature, God but rather a changeable creature who was granted the dignity of becoming “Son of God”.[27] In 325, the First Council of Nicaea adopted the Nicene Creed which described Christ as “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father”, and the “Holy Ghost” as the one by which was incarnate… of the Virgin Mary“.[28][29] (“the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us”). About the Father and the Son, the creed used the term homoousios (of one substance) to define the relationship between the Father and the Son. After more than fifty years of debate, homoousios was recognised as the hallmark of orthodoxy, and was further developed into the formula of “three persons, one being”.

The Confession of the First Council of Nicaea, the Nicene Creed, said little about the Holy Spirit.[30] At the First Council of Nicea (325) all attention was focused on the relationship between the Father and the Son, without making any similar statement about the Holy Spirit:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; (…) And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. (…). — Nicene Creed

First Council of Constantinople (381)[edit]

Later, at the First Council of Constantinople (381), the Nicene Creed would be expanded, known as Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, by saying that the Holy Spirit is worshiped and glorified together with the Father and the Son (συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον), suggesting that he was also consubstantial with them:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; (…) And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets (…). — Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.[31]

The doctrine of the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit was developed by Athanasius in the last decades of his life.[32] He defended and refined the Nicene formula.[30] By the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of CaesareaGregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (the Cappadocian Fathers), the doctrine had reached substantially its current form.[30]

Council of Ephesus (431)[edit]

Council of Chalcedon (451)[edit]

Second Council of Constantinople (553)[edit]

Third Council of Constantinople (680-681)[edit]

Second Council of Nicaea (787)[edit]

Middle Ages[edit]

In the late 6th century, some Latin-speaking churches added the words “and from the Son” (Filioque) to the description of the procession of the Holy Spirit, words that were not included in the text by either the Council of Nicaea or that of Constantinople.[33] This was incorporated into the liturgical practice of Rome in 1014.[34]Filioque eventually became one of the main causes for the East-West Schism in 1054, and the failures of the repeated union attempts.

Gregory of Nazianzus would say of the Trinity, “No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendour of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Three than I am carried back into the One. When I think of any of the Three, I think of Him as the Whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me. I cannot grasp the greatness of that One so as to attribute a greater greatness to the rest. When I contemplate the Three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure out the undivided light.”[35]

Devotion to the Trinity centered in the French monasteries at Tours and Aniane where Saint Benedict dedicated the abbey church to the Trinity in 872. Feast Days were not instituted until 1091 at Cluny and 1162 at Canterbury and papal resistance continued until 1331.[21]


Trinitarian baptismal formula[edit]

Baptism is generally conferred with the Trinitarian formula, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.[Mt 28:19] Trinitarians identify this name with the Christian faith into which baptism is an initiation, as seen for example in the statement of Basil the Great (330–379): “We are bound to be baptized in the terms we have received, and to profess faith in the terms in which we have been baptized.” The First Council of Constantinople (381) also says, “This is the Faith of our baptism that teaches us to believe in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. According to this Faith there is one Godhead, Power, and Being of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19 may be taken to indicate that baptism was associated with this formula from the earliest decades of the Church’s existence. Other Trinitarian formulas found in the New Testament include in 2 Corinthians 13:13, 1 Corinthians 12:4–6, Ephesians 4:4–6, 1 Peter 1:2 and Revelation 1:4–5.[7][36]

Oneness Pentecostals demur from the Trinitarian view of baptism and emphasize baptism ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’ the original apostolic formula.[37] For this reason, they often focus on the baptisms in Acts. Those who place great emphasis on the baptisms in Acts often likewise question the authenticity of Matthew 28:19 in its present form. Most scholars of New Testament textual criticism accept the authenticity of the passage, since there are no variant manuscripts regarding the formula,[38] and the extant form of the passage is attested in the Didache[39] and other patristic works of the 1st and 2nd centuries: Ignatius,[40] Tertullian,[41] Hippolytus,[42] Cyprian,[43] and Gregory Thaumaturgus.[44]

Commenting on Matthew 28:19, Gerhard Kittel states:

This threefold relation [of Father, Son and Spirit] soon found fixed expression in the triadic formulae in 2 Cor. 13:14 and in 1 Cor. 12:4–6. The form is first found in the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19; Did., 7. 1 and 3….[I]t is self-evident that Father, Son and Spirit are here linked in an indissoluble threefold relationship.[45]

One God in Three Persons[edit]

The image above contains clickable links

The “Shield of the Trinity” or Scutum Fideidiagram of traditional medieval Western Christian symbolism

In Trinitarian doctrine, God exists as three persons or hypostases, but is one being, having a single divine nature.[46] The members of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will. As stated in the Athanasian Creed, the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated, and all three are eternal without beginning.[47] “The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” are not names for different parts of God, but one name for God[48] because three persons exist in God as one entity.[49] They cannot be separate from one another. Each person is understood as having the identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures.[50]

According to the Eleventh Council of Toledo (675) “For, when we say: He who is the Father is not the Son, we refer to the distinction of persons; but when we say: the Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, and the Holy Spirit that which the Father is and the Son is, this clearly refers to the nature or substance”[51]

The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) adds: “In God there is only a Trinity since each of the three persons is that reality — that is to say substance, essence or divine nature. This reality neither begets nor is begotten nor proceeds; the Father begets, the Son is begotten and the holy Spirit proceeds. Thus there is a distinction of persons but a unity of nature. Although therefore the Father is one person, the Son another person and the holy Spirit another person, they are not different realities, but rather that which is the Father is the Son and the holy Spirit, altogether the same; thus according to the orthodox and catholic faith they are believed to be consubstantial.”[52]


A depiction of the Council of Nicaeain AD 325, at which the Deity of Christ was declared orthodox and Arianismcondemned

Perichoresis (from Greek, “going around”, “envelopment”) is a term used by some scholars to describe the relationship among the members of the Trinity. The Latin equivalent for this term is circumincessio. This concept refers for its basis to John 14–17, where Jesus is instructing the disciples concerning the meaning of his departure. His going to the Father, he says, is for their sake; so that he might come to them when the “other comforter” is given to them. Then, he says, his disciples will dwell in him, as he dwells in the Father, and the Father dwells in him, and the Father will dwell in them. This is so, according to the theory of perichoresis, because the persons of the Trinity “reciprocally contain one another, so that one permanently envelopes and is permanently enveloped by, the other whom he yet envelopes”. (Hilary of PoitiersConcerning the Trinity 3:1).[53]

Perichoresis effectively excludes the idea that God has parts, but rather is a simple being. It also harmonizes well with the doctrine that the Christian’s union with the Son in his humanity brings him into union with one who contains in himself, in the Apostle Paul‘s words, “all the fullness of deity” and not a part. (See also: Divinization (Christian)). Perichoresis provides an intuitive figure of what this might mean. The Son, the eternal Word, is from all eternity the dwelling place of God; he is the “Father’s house”, just as the Son dwells in the Father and the Spirit; so that, when the Spirit is “given”, then it happens as Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; for I will come to you.”[John 14:18]

Economic and immanent Trinity[edit]

The term “immanent Trinity” focuses on who God is; the term “economic Trinity” focuses on what God does. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,

The Fathers of the Church distinguish between theology (theologia) and economy (oikonomia). “Theology” refers to the mystery of God’s inmost life within the Blessed Trinity and “economy” to all the works by which God reveals himself and communicates his life. Through the oikonomia the theologia is revealed to us; but conversely, the theologia illuminates the whole oikonomia. God’s works reveal who he is in himself; the mystery of his inmost being enlightens our understanding of all his works. So it is, analogously, among human persons. A person discloses himself in his actions, and the better we know a person, the better we understand his actions.[54]

The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine persons. For as the Trinity has only one and the same natures so too does it have only one and the same operation: “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation but one principle.” However, each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. Thus the Church confesses, following the New Testament, “one God and Father from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are”. It is above all the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit that show forth the properties of the divine persons.[55]

The ancient Nicene theologians argued that everything the Trinity does is done by Father, Son, and Spirit working in unity with one will. The three persons of the Trinity always work inseparably, for their work is always the work of the one God. The Son’s will cannot be different from the Father’s because it is the Father’s. They have but one will as they have but one being. Otherwise they would not be one God. On this point St. Basil said:

When then He says, ‘I have not spoken of myself’, and again, ‘As the Father said unto me, so I speak’, and ‘The word which ye hear is not mine, but [the Father’s] which sent me’, and in another place, ‘As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do’, it is not because He lacks deliberate purpose or power of initiation, nor yet because He has to wait for the preconcerted key-note, that he employs language of this kind. His object is to make it plain that His own will is connected in indissoluble union with the Father. Do not then let us understand by what is called a ‘commandment’ a peremptory mandate delivered by organs of speech, and giving orders to the Son, as to a subordinate, concerning what He ought to do. Let us rather, in a sense befitting the Godhead, perceive a transmission of will, like the reflexion of an object in a mirror, passing without note of time from Father to Son.[56]

According to Thomas Aquinas the Son prayed to the Father, became a minor to the angels, became incarnate, obeyed the Father as to his human nature, as to his divine nature the Son remained God: “Thus, then, the fact that the Father glorifies, raises up, and exalts the Son does not show that the Son is less than the Father, except in His human nature. For, in the divine nature by which He is equal to the Father, the power of the Father and the Son is the same and their operation is the same.”[57]

A Greek fresco of Athanasius of Alexandria, the chief architect of the Nicene Creed, formulated at Nicaea.

Athanasius of Alexandria explained that the Son is eternally one in being with the Father, temporally and voluntarily subordinate in his incarnate ministry.[58] Such human traits, he argued, were not to be read back into the eternal Trinity. Likewise, the Cappadocian Fathers also insisted there was no economic inequality present within the Trinity. As Basil wrote: “We perceive the operation of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be one and the same, in no respect showing differences or variation; from this identity of operation we necessarily infer the unity of nature.”[59]

The traditional theory of “appropriation” consists in attributing certain names, qualities, or operations to one of the Persons of the Trinity, not, however, to the exclusion of the others, but in preference to the others. This theory was established by the Latin Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries, especially by Hilary of PoitiersAugustine, and Leo the Great. In the Middle Ages, the theory was systematically taught by the Schoolmen such as Bonaventure.[60]

Trinity and love[edit]

Augustine “coupled the doctrine of the Trinity with anthropology. Proceeding from the idea that humans are created by God according to the divine image, he attempted to explain the mystery of the Trinity by uncovering traces of the Trinity in the human personality”.[61] The first key of his exegesis is an interpersonal analogy of mutual love. In De trinitate (399 — 419) he wrote,

“We are now eager to see whether that most excellent love is proper to the Holy Spirit, and if it is not so, whether the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Trinity itself is love, since we cannot contradict the most certain faith and the most weighty authority of Scripture which says: ‘God is love'”.[62][63]

The Bible reveals it although only in the two neighboring verses 1 John 4:8;16, therefore one must ask if love itself is triune. Augustine found that it is, and consists of “three: the lover, the beloved, and the love.”[64][65]

Reaffirming the theopaschite formula unus de trinitate passus est carne (meaning “One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh”),[66] Thomas Aquinas wrote that Jesus suffered and died as to his human nature, as to his divine nature he could not suffer or die. “But the commandment to suffer clearly pertains to the Son only in His human nature. (…) “And the way in which Christ was raised up is like the way He suffered and died, that is, in the flesh. For it says in 1 Peter (4:1): “Christ having suffered in the flesh” (…) then, the fact that the Father glorifies, raises up, and exalts the Son does not show that the Son is less than the Father, except in His human nature. For, in the divine nature by which He is equal to the Father.”[67]

In the 1900s the recovery of a substantially different formula of theopaschism took place: at least unus de Trinitate passus est (meaning “…not only in the flesh”).[68] Deeply affected by the atomic bombs event,[69] as early as 1946 the Lutheran theologian Kazoh Kitamori published Theology of the Pain of God,[70] a theology of the Cross pushed up to the immanent Trinity. This concept was later taken by both Reformed and Catholic theology: in 1971 by Jürgen Moltmann‘s The Crucified God; in the 1972 “Preface to the Second Edition” of his 1970 German book Theologie der Drei Tage (English translation: Mysterium Paschale) by Hans Urs von Balthasar, who took a cue from Revelation 13:8(Vulgateagni qui occisus est ab origine mundiNIV: “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world”) to explore the “God is love” idea as an “eternal super-kenosis“.[71] In the words of von Balthasar: “At this point, where the subject undergoing the ‘hour’ is the Son speaking with the Father, the controversial ‘Theopaschist formula’ has its proper place: ‘One of the Trinity has suffered.’ The formula can already be found in Gregory Nazianzen: ‘We needed a…crucified God’.”[72]

The underlying question is if the three Persons of the Trinity can live a self-love (amor sui), as well as if for them, with the conciliar dogmatic formulation in terms that today we would call ontotheological, it is possible that the aseity (causa sui) is valid. If the Father is not the Son or the Spirit since the generator/begetter is not the generated/begotten nor the generation/generative process and vice versa, and since the lover is neither the beloved nor the love dynamic between them and vice versa, Christianity has provided as a response a concept of divine ontology and love different from common sense (omnipotenceomnibenevolenceimpassibility, etc.):[73] a sacrificial, martyring, crucifying, precisely kenotic concept.

Trinity and will[edit]

Benjamin B. Warfield saw a principle of subordination in the “modes of operation” of the Trinity, but was also hesitant to ascribe the same to the “modes of subsistence” in relation of one to another. While noting that it is natural to see a subordination in function as reflecting a similar subordination in substance, he suggests that this might be the result of “…an agreement by Persons of the Trinity – a “Covenant” as it is technically called – by virtue of which a distinct function in the work of redemption is assumed by each”.[74]

Political aspect[edit]

According to Eusebius, Constantine suggested the term homoousios at the Council of Nicaea, though most scholars have doubted that Constantine had such knowledge and have thought that most likely Hosius had suggested the term to him.[75] Constantine later changed his view about the Arians, who opposed the Nicene formula, and supported the bishops who rejected the formula,[76] as did several of his successors, the first emperor to be baptized in the Nicene faith being Theodosius the Great, emperor from 379 to 395.[77]

Biblical background[edit]

The New Testament does not use the word Τριάς (Trinity)[78] nor explicitly teach the Nicene Trinitarian doctrine, but it contains several Trinitarian formulas. Trinitarian formulas found in the New Testament include Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:13, 1 Corinthians 12:4-5, Ephesians 4:4-6, 1 Peter 1:2 and Revelation 1:4-5.[7][36] These passages provided the material with which Christians would develop doctrines of the Trinity.[79] Reflection by early Christians on passages such as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”[Matt 28:19] and Paul the Apostle‘s blessing: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”,[2 Cor. 13:14] while at the same time the Jewish Shema Yisrael: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.”[Deuteronomy 6:4][80] has led some Christians to question how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are “one”. Eventually, the diverse references to God, Jesus, and the Spirit found in the New Testament were brought together to form the doctrine of the Trinity—one God subsisting in three persons and one substance. The doctrine of the Trinity was used to combat heretical tendencies of how the three are related and to defend the church against charges of worshiping two or three gods.[81]

The Comma Johanneum1 John 5:7, is a disputed text which states: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” However, this passage is not considered to be part of the genuine text,[82] and most scholars agree that the phrase was a gloss.[83]

Jesus as God[edit]

God in the person of the Son confronts Adam and Eve, by Master Bertram (d. c.1415)

In the New Testament[edit]

In the letters of Paul, the public, corporate devotional patterns towards Jesus in the early Christian community are reflective of Paul’s perspective on the divine status of Jesus in what scholars have termed a “binitarian” pattern of devotion. For Paul, Jesus receives prayer (1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 12:8-9; 1 Thess. 3:11), the presence of Jesus is confessionally invoked by believers (1 Cor. 16:22; Romans 10:9-13; Phil. 2:10-11), people are baptized in Jesus’ name (1 Cor. 6:11; Rom. 6:3), Jesus is the reference in Christian fellowship for a religious ritual meal (the Lord’s Supper; 1 Cor. 11:17-34 – in pagan cults, the reference for ritual meals is always to a deity), and Jesus is the source of continuing prophetic oracles to believers (1 Thess. 4:15-17).[84]

In the four Gospels, Jesus often receives προσκύνησις, a Greek term that either expresses the contemporary social gesture of bowing to a superior, either on one’s knees or in full prostration (in Matthew 18:26 a slave performs προσκύνησις to his master so that he would not be sold after being unable to pay his debts). The term can also refer to the religious act of devotion towards a deity. While Jesus receives προσκύνησις a number of times in the Synoptic Gospels, only a few can be said to refer to divine worship.[85] This includes Matthew 28:16-20, an account of the resurrected Jesus receiving worship from his disciples after proclaiming he has been given authority over the cosmos and his ever-continuing presence with the disciples (forming an inclusio with the beginning of the Gospel, where Jesus is given the name Emmanuel/”God with us”, a name that alludes to the God of Israel’s continuing presence with his followers throughout the Old Testament (Gen. 28:15; Deut 20:1) and used in reference to Jesus in the resurrection account).[86][87] Jesus receiving divine worship in the post-resurrection accounts is further mirrored in Luke 25:42.[88][89]

The Gospel of John has been seen as especially aimed at emphasizing Jesus’ divinity, presenting Jesus as the Logos, pre-existent and divine, from its first words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.[John 1:1][90] The Gospel of John ends with Thomas’s declaration that he believed Jesus was God, “My Lord and my God!”[John 20:28][81] There is no significant tendency among modern scholars to deny that John 1:1 and John 20:28 identify Jesus with God.[91] John also portrays Jesus as the agent of creation of the universe.[92]

In later Christian theology[edit]

Some have suggested that John presents a hierarchy[citation needed] when he quotes Jesus as saying, “The Father is greater than I”,[14:28] a statement which was appealed to by nontrinitarian groups such as Arianism.[93] However, Church Fathers such as Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas argued this statement was to be understood as Jesus speaking about his human nature.[94][95]

Holy Spirit as God[edit]

In the New Testament[edit]

Prior Jewish theology held that the Spirit is merely the divine presence of God himself,[96] whereas orthodox Christian theology holds that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person of God himself. This development begins early in the New Testament, as the Spirit of God receives much more emphasis and description comparably than it had in earlier Jewish writing. Whereas there are 75 references to the Spirit within the Old Testament and 35 identified in the non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament, despite its significantly shorter length, mentions the Spirit 275 times. In addition to its larger emphasis and importance placed on the Spirit in the New Testament, the Spirit is also described in much more personalized and individualized terms than earlier.[97] Larry Hurtado writes;

Moreover, the New Testament references often portray actions that seem to give the Spirit an intensely personal quality, probably more so than in Old Testament or ancient Jewish texts. So, for example, the Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness (Mk 1:12; compare “led” in Mt. 4:1/Lk 4:1), and Paul refers to the Spirit interceding for believers (Rom 8:26–27) and witnessing to believers about their filial status with God (Rom 8:14–16). To cite other examples of this, in Acts the Spirit alerts Peter to the arrival of visitors from Cornelius (10:19), directs the church in Antioch to send forth Barnabas and Saul (13:2–4), guides the Jerusalem council to a decision about Gentile converts (15:28), at one point forbids Paul to missionize in Asia (16:6), and at another point warns Paul (via prophetic oracles) of trouble ahead in Jerusalem (21:11).[97]

In the New Testament, the Spirit is not a recipient of devotion or worship as can be found in the Nicene Creed, though there are aspects of the New Testament which describe the Spirit as the subject of religious ritual in Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:13.[98]

In later Christian theology[edit]

As the Arian controversy was dissipating, the debate moved from the deity of Jesus Christ to the equality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and Son. On one hand, the Pneumatomachi sect declared that the Holy Spirit was an inferior person to the Father and Son. On the other hand, the Cappadocian Fathers argued that the Holy Spirit was equal to the Father and Son in nature or substance.

Although the main text used in defense of the deity of the Holy Spirit was Matthew 28:19, Cappadocian Fathers such as Basil the Great argued from other verses such as “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'”[Acts 5:3–4][99]

Another passage the Cappadocian Fathers quoted from was “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”[Psalm 33:6] According to their understanding, because “breath” and “spirit” in Hebrew are both “רוּחַ” (“ruach”), Psalm 33:6 is revealing the roles of the Son and Holy Spirit as co-creators. And since, according to them,[99] because only the holy God can create holy beings such as the angels, the Son and Holy Spirit must be God.

Yet another argument from the Cappadocian Fathers to prove that the Holy Spirit is of the same nature as the Father and Son comes from “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”[1Cor. 2:11] They reasoned that this passage proves that the Holy Spirit has the same relationship to God as the spirit within us has to us.[99]

The Cappadocian Fathers also quoted, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”[1Cor. 3:16] and reasoned that it would be blasphemous for an inferior being to take up residence in a temple of God, thus proving that the Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son.[100]

They also combined “the servant does not know what his master is doing”[John 15:15] with 1 Corinthians 2:11 in an attempt to show that the Holy Spirit is not the slave of God, and therefore his equal.[101]

The Pneumatomachi contradicted the Cappadocian Fathers by quoting, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”[Hebrews 1:14] in effect arguing that the Holy Spirit is no different from other created angelic spirits.[102] The Church Fathers disagreed, saying that the Holy Spirit is greater than the angels, since the Holy Spirit is the one who grants the foreknowledge for prophecy[1Cor. 12:8–10] so that the angels could announce events to come.[99]

Old Testament parallels[edit]

In addition, the Old Testament has also been interpreted as foreshadowing the Trinity, by referring to God’s word,[Ps 33:6] his spirit,[Isa 61:1] and Wisdom,[Prov 9:1] as well as narratives such as the appearance of the three men to Abraham.[Gen 18][103] However, it is generally agreed among Trinitarian Christian scholars that it would go beyond the intention and spirit of the Old Testament to correlate these notions directly with later Trinitarian doctrine.[104]

Some Church Fathers believed that a knowledge of the mystery was granted to the prophets and saints of the Old Testament, and that they identified the divine messenger of Genesis 16:7,21:1731:11Exodus 3:2 and Wisdom of the sapiential books with the Son, and “the spirit of the Lord” with the Holy Spirit.[104] Other Church Fathers, such as Gregory Nazianzen, argued in his Orations that the revelation was gradual, claiming that the Father was proclaimed in the Old Testament openly, but the Son only obscurely, because “it was not safe, when the Godhead of the Father was not yet acknowledged, plainly to proclaim the Son”.[105]

Genesis 18–19 has been interpreted by Christians as a Trinitarian text. The narrative has the Lord appearing to Abraham, who was visited by three men.[Gen 18:1–2] Then in Genesis 19, “the two angels” visited Lot at Sodom. The interplay between Abraham on the one hand and the Lord/three men/the two angels on the other was an intriguing text for those who believed in a single God in three persons. Justin Martyr, and John Calvin similarly, interpreted it such that Abraham was visited by God, who was accompanied by two angels.[106] Justin supposed that the God who visited Abraham was distinguishable from the God who remains in the heavens, but was nevertheless identified as the (monotheistic) God. Justin appropriated the God who visited Abraham to Jesus, the second person of the Trinity.

Augustine, in contrast, held that the three visitors to Abraham were the three persons of the Trinity.[106] He saw no indication that the visitors were unequal, as would be the case in Justin’s reading. Then in Genesis 19, two of the visitors were addressed by Lot in the singular: “Lot said to them, ‘Not so, my lord.'”[Gen 19:18 KJV][106] Augustine saw that Lot could address them as one because they had a single substance, despite the plurality of persons.[note 2]

Some Christians interpret the theophanies or appearances of the Angel of the Lord as revelations of a person distinct from God, who is nonetheless called God. This interpretation is found in Christianity as early as Justin Martyr and Melito of Sardis, and reflects ideas that were already present in Philo.[107] The Old Testament theophanies were thus seen as Christophanies, each a “preincarnate appearance of the Messiah”.[108]

Artistic depictions[edit]

The Trinity is most commonly seen in Christian art with the Spirit represented by a dove, as specified in the Gospel accounts of the Baptism of Christ; he is nearly always shown with wings outspread. However depictions using three human figures appear occasionally in most periods of art.[109]

The Father and the Son are usually differentiated by age, and later by dress, but this too is not always the case. The usual depiction of the Father as an older man with a white beard may derive from the biblical Ancient of Days, which is often cited in defense of this sometimes controversial representation. However, in Eastern Orthodoxy the Ancient of Days is usually understood to be God the Son, not God the Father (see below)—early Byzantine images show Christ as the Ancient of Days,[110] but this iconography became rare. When the Father is depicted in art, he is sometimes shown with a halo shaped like an equilateral triangle, instead of a circle. The Son is often shown at the Father’s right hand.[Acts 7:56] He may be represented by a symbol—typically the Lamb (agnus dei) or a cross—or on a crucifix, so that the Father is the only human figure shown at full size. In early medieval art, the Father may be represented by a hand appearing from a cloud in a blessing gesture, for example in scenes of the Baptism of Christ. Later, in the West, the Throne of Mercy (or “Throne of Grace”) became a common depiction. In this style, the Father (sometimes seated on a throne) is shown supporting either a crucifix[111] or, later, a slumped crucified Son, similar to the Pietà (this type is distinguished in German as the Not Gottes),[112] in his outstretched arms, while the Dove hovers above or in between them. This subject continued to be popular until the 18th century at least.

By the end of the 15th century, larger representations, other than the Throne of Mercy, became effectively standardised, showing an older figure in plain robes for the Father, Christ with his torso partly bare to display the wounds of his Passion, and the dove above or around them. In earlier representations both Father, especially, and Son often wear elaborate robes and crowns. Sometimes the Father alone wears a crown, or even a papal tiara.

In the later part of the Christian Era, in Renaissance European iconography, the Eye of Providence began to be used as an explicit image of the Christian Trinity and associated with the concept of Divine Providence. Seventeenth-century depictions of the Eye of Providence sometimes show it surrounded by clouds or sunbursts.[113]

Image gallery[edit]


Nontrinitarianism (or antitrinitarianism) refers to Christian belief systems that reject the doctrine of the Trinity as found in the Nicene Creed as not having a scriptural origin. Nontrinitarian views differ widely on the nature of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Various nontrinitarian views, such as AdoptionismMonarchianism, and Arianism existed prior to the formal definition of the Trinity doctrine in AD 325, 360, and 431, at the Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus, respectively.[114] Following the final victory of orthodoxy at Constantinople in 381, Arianismwas driven from the Empire, retaining a foothold amongst the Teutonic tribes. When the Franks converted to Catholicism in 496, however, it gradually faded out.[115] Nontrinitarianism was later renewed in the Gnosticism of the Cathars in the 11th through 13th centuries, in the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, and in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century. Also binitarianism.

Arianism was condemned as heretical by the First Council of Nicaea and, lastly, with Sabellianism by the Second Ecumenical Council(Costantinople, 381 BCE).[116] Adoptionism was declared as heretical by the Ecumenical Council of Frakfurt, convened by the Emperor Charlesmagne in 794 for the Latin West Church.[117]

Modern nontrinitarian groups or denominations include ChristadelphiansChristian ScientistsThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsDawn Bible StudentsIglesia ni CristoJehovah’s WitnessesLiving Church of GodOneness Pentecostals, the Seventh Day Church of GodUnitarian Universalist ChristiansUnited Church of GodThe Shepherd’s Chapel, and Spiritism.



Islam considers Jesus to be a prophet, but not divine,[118] and Allah to be absolutely indivisible (a concept known as tawhid).[119] Several verses of the Quran state that the doctrine of the Trinity is blasphemous.

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! God is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto God, for him God hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! God is the third of three; when there is no Lord save the One Lord. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather turn unto God and seek forgiveness of Him ? For God is Forgiving, Merciful. The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how We make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away! (Quran 5:72-75)

Interpretation of these verses by modern scholars has been varied. Verse 5:73 has been interpreted as a potential criticism of Syriac literature that references Jesus as “the third of three” and thus an attack on the view that Christ was divine.[120] Some scholar suggest that verse 5:73 is a reference to the Collyridians, a small heretical group of Christians composed of women that venerated Mary above usual standards by other sects of Christianity. The existence of this group and their presence in Arabia in the Islamic period is not clear.[121] Another interpretation is that this passage should be studied from a rhetorical perspective; so as not to be an error, but an intentional misrepresentation of the doctrine of the Trinity in order to demonstrate its absurdity from an Islamic perspective.[122]


Judaism traditionally maintains a tradition of monotheism to the exclusion of the possibility of a Trinity.[118] In Judaism, God is understood to be the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being who is the ultimate cause of all existence. The idea of God as a duality or trinity is heretical — it is even considered by some to be polytheistic.

See also[edit]

Extended notes[edit]

  1. ^ Very little of Arius‘ own writings have survived. We depend largely on quotations made by opponents which reflect what they thought he was saying. Furthermore, there was no single Arian party or agenda but rather various critics of the Nicene formula working from distinct perspectives.(see Williams, Rowan. Arius SPCK (2nd edn, 2001) p.95ff & pp.247ff)
  2. ^ Augustine had poor knowledge of the Greek language, and no knowledge of Hebrew. So he trusted the LXX Septuagint, which differentiates between κύριοι[Gen 19:2] (‘lords’, vocative plural) andκύριε[Gen 19:18] (‘lord’, vocative singular), even if the Hebrew verbal form,נא-אדני (na-adoni), is exactly the same in both cases.

Endnotes and references[edit]

  1. ^ “Definition of trinity in English”Oxford Dictionaries – English.
  2. ^ The Family Bible Encyclopedia (1972). p. 3790.
  3. ^ See Geddes, Leonard (1911). “Person”. In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
  4. ^ Definition of the Fourth Lateran Council quoted in Catechism of the Catholic Church§253Latinsubstantia, essentia seu natura divina(DS804).
  5. ^ “Frank Sheed, Theology and Sanity. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  6. Jump up to:ab Hurtado 2010, pp. 99-110.
  7. Jump up to:abcd Januariy 2013, p. 99.
  8. Jump up to:ab Hurtado 2005, pp. 644-648.
  9. ^ “Lewis and Short: trinus. Retrieved 2 January2012.
  10. ^ Liddell & Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon.entry for Τριάς, retrieved 19 December 2006
  11. ^ W.Fulton in the “Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics
  12. ^ The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities on the site of the National Gallery in London.
  13. ^ Ehrman, Bart D. The Apostolic Fathers. Vol. 1. Loeb Classical Library, 2003, 119. Ehrman further notes (fn. 97) Clement is alluding to the Trinitarian formula in Ephesians 4:4-6. Also see 1 Clement 58:2.
  14. ^ Ignatius’s Letter to the Magnesians, Ch. XIII
  15. ^ Hurtado 2005, pp. 595-599.
  16. ^ “First Apology, LXI”. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 3 November2013.
  17. ^ Theophilus, Apologia ad Autolycum, Book II, Chapter 15
  18. ^ Theophilus, To Autolycus, 1.7 Cf. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4.20.1, 3; Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 5
  19. ^ Tertullian Against Praxeas
  20. ^ “Against Praxeas, chapter 3”. 1 June 2005. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  21. Jump up to:ab Mulhern, Philip. “Trinity, Holy, Devotion To,” in (eds. Bealmear et al.) New Catholic Encyclopedia. McGraw Hill, 1967, 205.
  22. ^ Ramelli, Ilaria LE. “Origen’s anti-subordinationism and its heritage in the Nicene and Cappadocian line.” Vigiliae Christianae 65.1 (2011): 21-49.
  23. ^ Barnard, L. W. “The Antecedents of Arius.” Vigiliae Christianae (1970): 172-188.
  24. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana (1956), Vol. XXVII, p. 294L
  25. ^ “Catholic Encyclopedia: article:Paul of Samosata. 1 February 1911. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  26. ^ Chadwick, Henry. The Early Church Pelican/Penguin (1967) p.87
  27. ^ “Arianism” in Cross, F.L. & Livingstone, E.A. (eds) The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1974)
  28. ^ “Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes. Volume I. The History of Creeds. – Christian Classics Ethereal Library”
  29. ^ Anderson, Michael. “The Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed”
  30. Jump up to:abc “Trinity”. Britannica Encyclopaedia of World Religions. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006.
  31. ^ See Creeds of Christendom.
  32. ^ On Athanasius, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Edited by Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. Third edition. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  33. ^ For a different view, see e.g. Excursus on the Words πίστιν ἑτέραν
  34. ^ Greek and Latin Traditions on Holy Spirit. Retrieved 18 January2019.
  35. ^ Gregory of Nazianzus, Orations 40.41
  36. Jump up to:ab Fee 2002, p. 52.
  37. ^ Wolfgang Vondey, Pentecostalism, A Guide for the Perplexed (London; New Delhi; New York; Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2013), 78.
  38. ^ Ferguson 2009, pp. 134-135.
  39. ^ 7:1, 3 online
  40. ^ Epistle to the Philippians, 2:13 online
  41. ^ On Baptism 8:6 onlineAgainst Praxeas, 26:2 online
  42. ^ Against Noetus, 1:14 online
  43. ^ Seventh Council of Carthageonline
  44. ^ A Sectional Confession of Faith, 13:2 online
  45. ^ Kittel, 3:108.
  46. ^ Grudem, Wayne A. 1994. Systematic theology an introduction to biblical doctrine. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press. Page 226.
  47. ^ “Athanasian Creed”. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  48. ^ Barth, Karl, and Geoffrey William Bromiley. 1975. The doctrine of the word of God prolegomena to church dogmatics, being volume I, 1. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. Pages 348–9.
  49. ^ Pegis 1997, p. 307-309.
  50. ^ For ‘person’, see Richard De SmetA Short History of the Person, available in Brahman and Person: Essays by Richard De Smet, ed. Ivo Coelho (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2010).
  51. ^ Toledo-11. THE ELEVENTH COUNCIL OF TOLEDO (675). Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  52. ^ FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL (1215) List of Constitutions: 2. On the error of abbot Joachim. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  53. ^ “NPNF2-09. Hilary of Poitiers, John of Damascus | Christian Classics Ethereal Library”. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  54. ^ CCC §236.
  55. ^ CCC §258.
  56. ^ “Basil the Great, De Spiritu Sancto, NPNF, Vol 8”. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  57. ^ Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Contra Gentiles Book Four Chapter 8. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  58. ^ Athanasius, 3.29 (p. 409)
  59. ^ Basil “Letters”, NPNF, Vol 8, 189.7 (p. 32)
  60. ^ Sauvage, George. “Appropriation.” The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 20 October 2016
  61. ^ Stefon, Matt (10 December 2015). “Christianity – The Holy Trinity | Attempts to define the Trinity”Encyclopædia Britannica.
  62. ^ Augustine (2002). “9.1.1”. In Matthews, Gareth B. (ed.). On the Trinity. Books 8—15. Translated by Stephen McKenna. Cambridge University PressISBN978-0-5217-9665-1.
  63. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Latin)Veluti nunc cupimus videre utrum illa excellentissima caritas proprie Spiritus Sanctus sit. Quod si non est, aut Pater est caritas, aut Filius, aut ipsa Trinitas, quoniam resistere non possumus certissimae fidei, et validissimae auctoritati Scripturae dicentis: ‘Deus caritas est’.
  64. ^ Augustine (2002). 9.2.2.
  65. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Latin)Tria ergo sunt: amans, et quod amatur, et amor.
  66. ^ Pool, Jeff B. (2011) [2009]. God’s Wounds. Evil and Divine Suffering, Volume 2HavertownPhiladelphiaCasemate Publishers. p. 398ISBN978-0-22717360-2.
  67. ^ Aquinas, Thomas (1975). Summa Contra Gentiles: Book 4: Salvation Chapter 4. University of Notre Dame Pess. ISBN9780268074821Quote.
  68. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Latin)DS401 (Pope John II, letter Olim quidemaddressed to the senators of Constantinople, March 534).
  69. ^ Yewangoe 1987, p. 273.
  70. ^ Kitamori, Kazoh (2005). Theology of the Pain of God. Translated by Graham Harrison from the Japanese Kami no itami no shingaku, revised edition 1958, first edition 1946. Eugene, OregonWipf and StockISBN978-1-59752256-4.
  71. ^ von Balthasar, Hans Urs (2000) [1990]. “Preface to the Second Edition”Mysterium Paschale. The Mystery of Easter. Translated with an Introduction by Aidan NicholsO.P. (2nd ed.). San FranciscoIgnatius PressISBN978-1-68149348-0.
  72. ^ Hans 1992, p. quote.
  73. ^ Carson, Donald Arthur (2010) [2000]. The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (reprint, revised ed.). London: Inter-Varsity Press. p. 10. ISBN978-1-84474427-5. Quoted in Mabry, Adam (2014). Life and Doctrine. How the Truth and Grace of the Christian Story Change EverythingMorrisville, North CarolinaLulu.comISBN978-1-31224685-0If people believe in God at all today, the overwhelming majority hold that this God…is a loving being…this widely disseminated belief in the love of God is set with increasing frequency in some matrix other than biblical theology. The result is that when informed Christians talk about the love of God, they mean something very different from what is meant in the surrounding culture. (p. 68).
  74. ^ Warfield, Benjamin B., “Trinity”, § 20, The Question of Subordination,The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Vol. 5, (James Orr, ed.), Howard-Severance Company, 1915, pp.3020-3021.
  75. ^ Harvey, Susan Ashbrook; Hunter, David G. (4 September 2008). The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies. OUP Oxford. ISBN9780199271566 – via Google Books.
  76. ^ “What Was Debated at the Council of Nicea?”.
  77. ^ Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church. Volume III. Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity, fifth edition revised, §27
  78. ^ “Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament … the New Testament established the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity”(Encyclopædia Britannica Online: article Trinity).
  79. ^ Rusch, William G. (1980). “Introduction”. In Rusch, William G. (ed.). The Trinitarian Controversy. Minneapolis: Fortress Press(subscription required). p. 2.
  80. ^ “Trinity” Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  81. Jump up to:ab The Oxford Companion to the Bible (ed. Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan) 1993, p. 782–3.
  82. ^ See, for instance, the note in 1 Jn 5:7–8.
  83. ^ Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 2d ed. Oxford University, 1968 p.101
  84. ^ Hurtado 2005, pp. 134-152.
  85. ^ Kupp, David D. Matthew’s Emmanuel: Divine presence and God’s people in the first gospel. Vol. 90. Cambridge University Press, 2005, 226.
  86. ^ Hays, Richard. Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness. Baylor University Press, 2014, 44-45.
  87. ^ Hurtado 2005, pp. 337-338.
  88. ^ Hurtado 2005.
  89. ^ “Is “High Human Christology” Sufficient? A Critical Response to JR Daniel Kirk’s A Man Attested by God.” Bulletin for Biblical Research 27.4 (2017): 516-519. Also see Hurtado’s Lord Jesus Christ, pg. 345.
  90. ^ “The Presentation of Jesus in John’s Gospel”. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  91. ^ Brown, Raymond E. The Anchor Bible: The Gospel According to John (XIII–XXI), pp. 1026, 1032
  92. ^ Hoskyns, Edwyn Clement (ed Davey F.N.) The Fourth Gospel Faber & Faber, 1947 p.142 commenting on “without him was not any thing made that was made.”[John 1:3]
  93. ^ Simonetti, Manlio. “Matthew 14–28.” New Testament Volume 1b, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Intervarsity Press, 2002. ISBN978-0-8308-1469-5
  94. ^ St. Augustine of Hippo,De Trinitate, Book I, Chapter 3.
  95. ^ Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Contra Gentiles Book Four Chapter 8. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  96. ^ Goodman, Roberta and Blumberg, Sherry. Teaching about God and Spirituality: A Resource for Jewish Settings. Behrman House, 1990, 36.
  97. Jump up to:ab Hurtado, 2018 & 62.
  98. ^ Hurtado, 2018 & 64.
  99. Jump up to:abcd St. Basil the Great,On the Holy Spirit Chapter 16.
  100. ^ St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit Chapter 19.
  101. ^ St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit Chapter 21.
  102. ^ “Catholic Encyclopedia: article Pneumatomachi. 1 June 1911. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  103. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press, 2005 ISBN978-0-19-280290-3), article Trinity, doctrine of the
  104. Jump up to:ab “Catholic Encyclopedia: article The Blessed Trinity. 1 October 1912. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  105. ^ Gregory Nazianzen, Orations, 31.26
  106. Jump up to:abc Watson, Francis. Abraham’s Visitors: Prolegomena to a Christian Theological Exegesis of Genesis 18-19
  107. ^ Hurtado 2005, p. 573-578.
  108. ^ “Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Angel of the Lord. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  109. ^ See below and G Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, Vol. I, 1971, Vol II, 1972, (English trans from German), Lund Humphries, London, figs I;5–16 & passim, ISBN0-85331-270-2 and ISBN0-85331-324-5
  110. ^ Cartlidge, David R., and Elliott, J.K.. Art and the Christian Apocrypha, pp. 69–72 (illustrating examples), Routledge, 2001, ISBN0-415-23392-5ISBN978-0-415-23392-7Google books
  111. ^ G Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, Vol. II, 1972, (English trans from German), Lund Humphries, London, figs I;5–16 & passim, ISBN0-85331-270-2 and ISBN0-85331-324-5, pp. 122–124 and figs 409–414
  112. ^ G Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, Vol. II, 1972, (English trans from German), Lund Humphries, London, figs I;5–16 & passim, ISBN0-85331-270-2 and ISBN0-85331-324-5, pp. 219–224 and figs 768–804
  113. ^ Potts, Albert M. (1982). The World’s EyeUniversity Press of Kentucky. pp. 68–78. ISBN978-0813131306.
  114. ^ von Harnack, Adolf (1 March 1894). “History of Dogma”. Retrieved 15 June 2007[In the 2nd century,] Jesus was either regarded as the man whom God hath chosen, in whom the Deity or the Spirit of God dwelt, and who, after being tested, was adopted by God and invested with dominion, (Adoptionist Christology); or Jesus was regarded as a heavenly spiritual being (the highest after God) who took flesh, and again returned to heaven after the completion of his work on earth (pneumatic Christology)
  115. ^ Cross, F.L. (1958). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. London: OUP, p. 81.
  116. ^ Olson 1999, p. 173.
  117. ^ Meens 2016, p. 64.
  118. Jump up to:ab Glassé, Cyril; Smith, Huston (2003). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Rowman Altamira. pp. 239–241. ISBN978-0759101906.
  119. ^ Encyclopedia of the Qur’an. Thomas, David. 2006. Volume V: Trinity.
  120. ^ S. Griffith: Christians and Christianity.
  121. ^ Sirry 2014, p. 47.
  122. ^ Zebiri 2006, p. 274.

Other references[edit]

  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, Trinity


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]




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“Jehovah” at Exodus 6:3
(1611 King James Version)

Jehovah (/ɪˈhvə/) is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, one vocalization of the Tetragrammatonיהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible[1] and one of the seven names of God in Judaism.

The consensus among scholars is that the historical vocalization of the Tetragrammaton at the time of the redaction of the Torah (6th century BCE) is most likely Yahweh. The historical vocalization was lost because in Second Temple Judaism, during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton came to be avoided, being substituted with Adonai (“my Lord”). The Hebrew vowel points of Adonai were added to the Tetragrammaton by the Masoretes, and the resulting form was transliterated around the 12th century as Yehowah.[2] The derived forms Iehouah and Jehovah first appeared in the 16th century.

“Jehovah” was popularized in the English-speaking world by William Tyndale and other pioneer English Protestant translations such as the Geneva Bible and the King James Version.[3] The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops states that in order to pronounce the Tetragrammaton “it is necessary to introduce vowels that alter the written and spoken forms of the name”, resulting in “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”.[4]It also remains in use by the Watchtower Society translators of the New World Translation, and appears in the still-popular translations of the American Standard Version (1901) and the Young’s Literal Translation (1862, 1899), but it does not appear in current mainstream English translations, some of which use Yahweh but most continue to use “Lord” or “LORD” to represent same.[5][6]


The name Iehova at a Lutheranchurch in Norway.[7]

Most scholars believe “Jehovah” (also transliterated as “Yehowah”[8]) to be a hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai. Some hold that there is evidence that a form of the Tetragrammaton similar to Jehovah may have been in use in Semitic and Greek phonetic texts and artifacts from Late Antiquity.[9] Others say that it is the pronunciation Yahweh that is testified in both Christian and pagan texts of the early Christian era.[9][10][11][12]

Some Karaite Jews,[13] as proponents of the rendering Jehovah, state that although the original pronunciation of יהוה has been obscured by disuse of the spoken name according to oral Rabbinic law, well-established English transliterations of other Hebrew personal names are accepted in normal usage, such as JoshuaJeremiahIsaiah or Jesus, for which the original pronunciations may be unknown.[13][14] They also point out that “the English form Jehovah is quite simply an Anglicized form of Yehovah,”[13] and preserves the four Hebrew consonants “YHVH” (with the introduction of the “J” sound in English).[13][15][16] Some argue that Jehovah is preferable to Yahweh, based on their conclusion that the Tetragrammaton was likely tri-syllabic originally, and that modern forms should therefore also have three syllables.[17]

Biblical scholar Francis B. Dennio, in an article he wrote, in the Journal of Biblical Literature, said: “Jehovah misrepresents Yahweh no more than Jeremiah misrepresents Yirmeyahu. The settled connotations of Isaiah and Jeremiah forbid questioning their right.” Dennio argued that the form “Jehovah” is not a barbarism, but is the best English form available, being that it has for centuries gathered the necessary connotations and associations for valid use in English.[14]

According to a Jewish tradition developed during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the Tetragrammaton is written but not pronounced. When read, substitute terms replace the divine name where יְהֹוָה appears in the text. It is widely assumed, as proposed by the 19th-century Hebrew scholar Gesenius, that the vowels of the substitutes of the name—Adonai (Lord) and Elohim (God)—were inserted by the Masoretes to indicate that these substitutes were to be used.[18] When יהוה precedes or follows Adonai, the Masoretes placed the vowel points of Elohim into the Tetragrammaton, producing a different vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יֱהֹוִה, which was read as Elohim.[19] Based on this reasoning, the form יְהֹוָה (Jehovah) has been characterized by some as a “hybrid form”,[9][20] and even “a philological impossibility”.[21]

Early modern translators disregarded the practice of reading Adonai (or its equivalents in Greek and Latin, Κύριος and Dominus)[22] in place of the Tetragrammaton and instead combined the four Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton with the vowel points that, except in synagogue scrolls, accompanied them, resulting in the form Jehovah.[23] This form, which first took effect in works dated 1278 and 1303, was adopted in Tyndale’s and some other Protestant translations of the Bible.[24] In the 1560 Geneva Bible, the Tetragrammaton is translated as Jehovah six times, four as the proper name, and two as place-names.[25] In the 1611 King James VersionJehovah occurred seven times.[26] In the 1885 English Revised Version, the form Jehovah occurs twelve times. In the 1901 American Standard Version the form “Je-ho’vah” became the regular English rendering of the Hebrew יהוה, all throughout, in preference to the previously dominant “the LORD“, which is generally used in the King James Version.[27] It is also used in Christian hymns such as the 1771 hymn, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”.[28]


The most widespread theory is that the Hebrew term יְהֹוָה has the vowel points of אֲדֹנָי (adonai).[29] Using the vowels of adonai, the composite hataf patah ֲ under the guttural alef א becomes a sheva ְ under the yod י, the holam ֹ is placed over the first he ה, and the qamats ָ is placed under the vav ו, giving יְהֹוָה (Jehovah). When the two names, יהוה and אדני, occur together, the former is pointed with a hataf segol ֱ under the yod י and a hiriq ִ under the second he ה, giving יֱהֹוִה, to indicate that it is to be read as (elohim) in order to avoid adonai being repeated.[29][30]

Taking the spellings at face value may have been as a result of not knowing about the Q’re perpetuum, resulting in the transliteration Yehowahand derived variants.[2][31][23] Emil G. Hirsch was among the modern scholars that recognized “Jehovah” to be “grammatically impossible”.[30]

A 1552 Latin translation of the Sefer Yetzirah, using the form Iehouah for the “magnum Nomen tetragrammatum“.

יְהֹוָה appears 6,518 times in the traditional Masoretic Text, in addition to 305 instances of יֱהֹוִה(Jehovih).[32] The pronunciation Jehovah is believed to have arisen through the introduction of vowels of the qere—the marginal notation used by the Masoretes. In places where the consonants of the text to be read (the qere) differed from the consonants of the written text (the kethib), they wrote the qere in the margin to indicate that the kethib was read using the vowels of the qere. For a few very frequent words the marginal note was omitted, referred to as q’re perpetuum.[21] One of these frequent cases was God’s name, which was not to be pronounced in fear of profaning the “ineffable name”. Instead, wherever יהוה (YHWH) appears in the kethib of the biblical and liturgical books, it was to be read as אֲדֹנָי (adonai, “My Lord [plural of majesty]”), or as אֱלֹהִים (elohim, “God”) if adonai appears next to it.[33][unreliable source?][34] This combination produces יְהֹוָה (yehovah) and יֱהֹוִה (yehovih) respectively.[33]יהוה is also written ה’, or even ד’, and read ha-Shem (“the name”).[30]

Scholars are not in total agreement as to why יְהֹוָה does not have precisely the same vowel points as adonai.[33] The use of the composite hataf segol ֱ in cases where the name is to be read, “elohim“, has led to the opinion that the composite hataf patah ֲ ought to have been used to indicate the reading, “adonai“. It has been argued conversely that the disuse of the patah is consistent with the Babylonian system, in which the composite is uncommon.[21]

Vowel points of יְהֹוָה and אֲדֹנָי

The spelling of the Tetragrammaton and connected forms in the Hebrew Masoretic text of the Bible, with vowel points shown in red.

The table below shows the vowel points of Yehovah and Adonay, indicating the simple sheva in Yehovah in contrast to the hataf patah in Adonay. As indicated to the right, the vowel points used when YHWH is intended to be pronounced as Adonai are slightly different to those used in Adonai itself.

Hebrew (Strong’s #3068)
Hebrew (Strong’s #136)
י Yod Y א Aleph glottal stop
ְ Simple sheva E ֲ Hataf patah A
ה He H ד Dalet D
ֹ Holam O ֹ Holam O
ו Vav V נ Nun N
ָ Qamats A ָ Qamats A
ה He H י Yod Y

The difference between the vowel points of ’ǎdônây and YHWH is explained by the rules of Hebrew morphology and phoneticsSheva and hataf-patah were allophones of the same phoneme used in different situations: hataf-patah on glottal consonants including aleph (such as the first letter in Adonai), and simple sheva on other consonants (such as the Y in YHWH).[30]

Introduction into English

The “peculiar, special, honorable and most blessed name of God” Iehoua,
an older English form of Jehovah
(Roger Hutchinson, The image of God, 1550)

The earliest available Latin text to use a vocalization similar to Jehovah dates from the 13th century.[35]The Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon suggested that the pronunciation Jehovah was unknown until 1520 when it was introduced by Galatinus, who defended its use.

In English it appeared in William Tyndale‘s translation of the Pentateuch (“The Five Books of Moses”) published in 1530 in Germany, where Tyndale had studied since 1524, possibly in one or more of the universities at WittenbergWorms and Marburg, where Hebrew was taught.[36] The spelling used by Tyndale was “Iehouah”; at that time, “I” was not distinguished from J, and U was not distinguished from V.[37] The original 1611 printing of the Authorized King James Version used “Iehovah”. Tyndale wrote about the divine name: “IEHOUAH [Jehovah], is God’s name; neither is any creature so called; and it is as much to say as, One that is of himself, and dependeth of nothing. Moreover, as oft as thou seest LORD in great letters (except there be any error in the printing), it is in Hebrew Iehouah, Thou that art; or, He that is.”[38] The name is also found in a 1651 edition of Ramón Martí‘s Pugio fidei.[39]

The name Jehovah appeared in all early Protestant Bibles in English, except Coverdale‘s translation in 1535.[3] The Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible used “the Lord”, corresponding to the Latin Vulgate‘s use of “Dominus” (Latin for “Adonai”, “Lord”) to represent the Tetragrammaton. The Authorized King James Version, which used “Jehovah” in a few places, most frequently gave “the LORD” as the equivalent of the Tetragrammaton. The name Jehovah appeared in John Rogers’ Matthew Bible in 1537, the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560, Bishop’s Bible of 1568 and the King James Version of 1611. More recently, it has been used in the Revised Version of 1885, the American Standard Version in 1901, and the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1961.

At Exodus 6:3–6, where the King James Version has Jehovah, the Revised Standard Version (1952),[40] the New American Standard Bible(1971), the New International Version (1978), the New King James Version (1982), the New Revised Standard Version (1989), the New Century Version (1991), and the Contemporary English Version (1995) give “LORD” or “Lord” as their rendering of the Tetragrammaton, while the New Jerusalem Bible (1985), the Amplified Bible (1987), the New Living Translation (1996, revised 2007), the English Standard Version(2001), and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004) use the form Yahweh.

Hebrew vowel points

Modern guides to biblical Hebrew grammar, such as Duane A Garrett’s A Modern Grammar for Classical Hebrew[41] state that the Hebrew vowel points now found in printed Hebrew Bibles were invented in the second half of the first millennium AD, long after the texts were written. This is indicated in the authoritative Hebrew Grammar of Gesenius,[42][43]

“Jehovist” scholars, largely earlier than the 20th century, who believe /əˈhvə/ to be the original pronunciation of the divine name, argue that the Hebraic vowel-points and accents were known to writers of the scriptures in antiquity and that both Scripture and history argue in favor of their ab origine status to the Hebrew language. Some members of Karaite Judaism, such as Nehemia Gordon, hold this view.[13] The antiquity of the vowel points and of the rendering Jehovah was defended by various scholars, including Michaelis,[44] Drach,[44] Stier,[44] William Fulke(1583), Johannes Buxtorf,[45] his son Johannes Buxtorf II,[46] and John Owen [47] (17th century); Peter Whitfield[48][49] and John Gill[50] (18th century), John Moncrieff [51] (19th century), Johann Friedrich von Meyer (1832)[52] Thomas D. Ross has given an account of the controversy on this matter in England down to 1833.[53] G. A. Riplinger,[54] John Hinton,[55] Thomas M. Strouse,[56] are more recent defenders of the authenticity of the vowel points.

Jehovist writers such as Nehemia Gordon, who helped make a translation of the “Dead Sea Scrolls”, have acknowledged the general agreement among scholars that the original pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was probably Yahweh, and that the vowel points now attached to the Tetragrammaton were added to indicate that Adonai was to be read instead, as seen in the alteration of those points after prefixes. He wrote: “There is a virtual scholarly consensus concerning this name” and “this is presented as fact in every introduction to Biblical Hebrew and every scholarly discussion of the name.”[57] Gordon, disputing this consensus, wrote, “However, this consensus is not based on decisive proof. We have seen that the scholarly consensus concerning Yahweh is really just a wild guess,” and went on to say that the vowel points of Adonai are not correct.[58] He argued that “the name is really pronounced Ye-ho-vah with the emphasis on ‘vah’. Pronouncing the name Yehovah with the emphasis on ‘ho’ (as in English Jehovah) would quite simply be a mistake.”[59]

Proponents of pre-Christian origin

18th-century theologian John Gill puts forward the arguments of 17th-century Johannes Buxtorf II and others in his writing, A Dissertation Concerning the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, Letters, Vowel-Points and Accents.[60] He argued for an extreme antiquity of their use,[61]rejecting the idea that the vowel points were invented by the Masoretes. Gill presented writings, including passages of scripture, that he interpreted as supportive of his “Jehovist” viewpoint that the Old Testament must have included vowel-points and accents.[62] He claimed that the use of Hebrew vowel points of יְהֹוָה, and therefore of the name Jehovah /jəˈhvə/, is documented from before 200 BCE, and even back to Adam, citing Jewish tradition that Hebrew was the first language. He argued that throughout this history the Masoretes did not invent the vowel points and accents, but that they were delivered to Moses by God at Sinai, citing[63] Karaite authorities[64][65] Mordechai ben Nisan Kukizov (1699) and his associates, who stated that “all our wise men with one mouth affirm and profess that the whole law was pointed and accented, as it came out of the hands of Moses, the man of God.”[44] The argument between Karaite and Rabbinic Judaism on whether it was lawful to pronounce the name represented by the Tetragrammaton[63] is claimed to show that some copies have always been pointed (voweled)[55] and that some copies were not pointed with the vowels because of “oral law“, for control of interpretation by some Judeo sects, including non-pointed copies in synagogues.[66] Gill claimed that the pronunciation /jəˈhvə/ can be traced back to early historical sources which indicate that vowel points and/or accents were used in their time.[67] Sources Gill claimed supported his view include:

Gill quoted Elia Levita, who said, “There is no syllable without a point, and there is no word without an accent,” as showing that the vowel points and the accents found in printed Hebrew Bibles have a dependence on each other, and so Gill attributed the same antiquity to the accents as to the vowel points.[76] Gill acknowledged that Levita, “first asserted the vowel points were invented by “the men of Tiberias“, but made reference to his condition that “if anyone could convince him that his opinion was contrary to the book of Zohar, he should be content to have it rejected.” Gill then alludes to the book of Zohar, stating that rabbis declared it older than the Masoretes, and that it attests to the vowel-points and accents.[72]

William Fulke, John Gill, John Owen, and others held that Jesus Christ referred to a Hebrew vowel point or accent at Matthew 5:18, indicated in the King James Version by the word tittle.[77][78][79][80]

The 1602 Spanish Bible (Reina-Valera/Cipriano de Valera) used the name Iehova and gave a lengthy defense of the pronunciation Jehovah in its preface.[44]

Proponents of later origin

Despite Jehovist claims that vowel signs are necessary for reading and understanding Hebrew, modern Hebrew (apart from young children’s books, some formal poetry and Hebrew primers for new immigrants), is written without vowel points.[81] The Torah scrolls do not include vowel points, and ancient Hebrew was written without vowel signs.[82][83]

The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1946 and dated from 400 BC to 70 AD,[84] include texts from the Torah or Pentateuch and from other parts of the Hebrew Bible,[85][86] and have provided documentary evidence that, in spite of claims to the contrary, the original Hebrew texts were in fact written without vowel points.[87][88] Menahem Mansoor’s The Dead Sea Scrolls: A College Textbook and a Study Guide claims the vowel points found in printed Hebrew Bibles were devised in the 9th and 10th centuries.[89]

Gill’s view that the Hebrew vowel points were in use at the time of Ezra or even since the origin of the Hebrew language is stated in an early 19th-century study in opposition to “the opinion of most learned men in modern times”, according to whom the vowel points had been “invented since the time of Christ”.[90] The study presented the following considerations:

  • The argument that vowel points are necessary for learning to read Hebrew is refuted by the fact that the Samaritan text of the Bible is read without them and that several other Semitic languages, kindred to Hebrew, are written without any indications of the vowels.
  • The books used in synagogue worship have always been without vowel points, which, unlike the letters, have thus never been treated as sacred.
  • The Qere Kethib marginal notes give variant readings only of the letters, never of the points, an indication either that these were added later or that, if they already existed, they were seen as not so important.
  • The Kabbalists drew their mysteries only from the letters and completely disregarded the points, if there were any.
  • In several cases, ancient translations from the Hebrew Bible (SeptuagintTargumAquila of SinopeSymmachusTheodotionJerome) read the letters with vowels different from those indicated by the points, an indication that the texts from which they were translating were without points. The same holds for Origen‘s transliteration of the Hebrew text into Greek letters. Jerome expressly speaks of a word in Habakkuk 3:5, which in the present Masoretic Text has three consonant letters and two vowel points, as being of three letters and no vowel whatever.
  • Neither the Jerusalem Talmud nor the Babylonian Talmud (in all their recounting of Rabbinical disputes about the meaning of words), nor Philo nor Josephus, nor any Christian writer for several centuries after Christ make any reference to vowel points.[91][92][93]

Early modern arguments

In the 16th and 17th centuries, various arguments were presented for and against the transcription of the form Jehovah.

Discourses rejecting Jehovah

Author Discourse Comments
John Drusius (Johannes Van den Driesche) (1550–1616) Tetragrammaton, sive de Nomine Die proprio, quod Tetragrammaton vocant (1604) Drusius stated “Galatinus first led us to this mistake … I know [of] nobody who read [it] thus earlier..”).[4]
An editor of Drusius in 1698 knows of an earlier reading in Porchetus de Salvaticis however.[clarification needed][5]
John Drusius wrote that neither יְהֹוָה nor יֱהֹוִה accurately represented God’s name.
Sixtinus Amama(1593–1659)[94] De nomine tetragrammato(1628) [6] Sixtinus Amama, was a Professor of Hebrew in the University of Franeker. A pupil of Drusius. [7]
Louis Cappel(1585–1658) De nomine tetragrammato(1624) Lewis Cappel reached the conclusion that Hebrew vowel points were not part of the original Hebrew language. This view was strongly contested by John Buxtorff the elder and his son.
James Altingius(1618–1679) Exercitatio grammatica de punctis ac pronunciatione tetragrammati James Altingius was a learned German divine[clarification needed][8]|

Discourses defending Jehovah

Author Discourse Comments
Nicholas Fuller(1557–1626) Dissertatio de nomine יהוה Nicholas was a Hebraist and a theologian. [9]
John Buxtorf(1564–1629) Disserto de nomine JHVH(1620); Tiberias, sive Commentarius Masoreticus(1664) John Buxtorf the elder [10] opposed the views of Elia Levita regarding the late origin (invention by the Masoretes) of the Hebrew vowel points, a subject which gave rise to the controversy between Louis Cappel and his (e.g. John Buxtorf the elder’s) son, Johannes Buxtorf II the younger.
Johannes Buxtorf II (1599–1664) Tractatus de punctorum origine, antiquitate, et authoritate, oppositus Arcano puntationis revelato Ludovici Cappelli(1648) Continued his father’s arguments that the pronunciation and therefore the Hebrew vowel points resulting in the name Jehovah have divine inspiration.
Thomas Gataker(1574–1654)[11] De Nomine Tetragrammato Dissertaio (1645) [12] See Memoirs of the Puritans Thomas Gataker.
John Leusden(1624–1699) Dissertationes tres, de vera lectione nominis Jehova John Leusden wrote three discourses in defense of the name Jehovah. [13]

Summary of discourses

In A Dictionary of the Bible (1863), William Robertson Smith summarized these discourses, concluding that “whatever, therefore, be the true pronunciation of the word, there can be little doubt that it is not Jehovah“.[95] Despite this, he consistently uses the name Jehovah throughout his dictionary and when translating Hebrew names. Some examples include Isaiah [Jehovah’s help or salvation], Jehoshua [Jehovah a helper], Jehu [Jehovah is He]. In the entry, Jehovah, Smith writes: “JEHOVAH (יְהֹוָה, usually with the vowel points of אֲדֹנָי; but when the two occur together, the former is pointed יֱהֹוִה, that is with the vowels of אֱלֹהִים, as in Obad. i. 1, Hab. iii. 19:”[96] This practice is also observed in many modern publications, such as the New Compact Bible Dictionary (Special Crusade Edition) of 1967 and Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary of 1947.

Usage in English Bible translations

The following versions of the Bible render the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah either exclusively or in selected verses:

  • William Tyndale, in his 1530 translation of the first five books of the English Bible, at Exodus 6:3 renders the divine name as Iehovah. In his foreword to this edition he wrote: “Iehovah is God’s name… Moreover, as oft as thou seeist LORD in great letters (except there be any error in the printing) it is in Hebrew Iehovah.”
  • The Great Bible (1539) renders Jehovah in Psalm 33:12 and Psalm 83:18.
  • The Geneva Bible (1560) translates the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, and two other times as place-names, Genesis 22:14 and Exodus 17:15.
  • In the Bishop’s Bible (1568), the word Jehovah occurs in Exodus 6:3 and Psalm 83:18.
  • The Authorized King James Version (1611) renders Jehovah in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah 26:4, and three times in compound place names at Genesis 22:14, Exodus 17:15 and Judges 6:24.
  • Webster’s Bible Translation (1833) by Noah Webster, a revision of the King James Bible, contains the form Jehovah in all cases where it appears in the original King James Version, as well as another seven times in Isaiah 51:21, Jeremiah 16:21; 23:6; 32:18; 33:16, Amos 5:8 and Micah 4:13.
  • Young’s Literal Translation by Robert Young (1862, 1898) renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah 6,831 times.
  • The Julia E. Smith Parker Translation (1876) considered the first complete translation of the Bible into English by a woman. This Bible version was titled The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments; Translated Literally from the Original Tongues. This translation prominently renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah throughout the entire Old Testament.
  • The English Revised Version (1881-1885, published with the Apocrypha in 1894) renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah where it appears in the King James Version, and another eight times in Exodus 6:2,6–8, Psalm 68:20, Isaiah 49:14, Jeremiah 16:21 and Habakkuk 3:19.
  • The Darby Bible (1890) by John Nelson Darby renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah 6,810 times.
  • The American Standard Version (1901) renders the Tetragrammaton as Je-ho’vah in 6,823 places in the Old Testament.
  • The Modern Reader’s Bible (1914) an annotated reference study Bible based on the English Revised Version of 1894 by Richard Moulton, renders Jehovah where it appears in the English Revised Version of 1894.
  • The Holy Scriptures (1936, 1951), Hebrew Publishing Company, revised by Alexander Harkavy, a Hebrew Bible translation in English, contains the form Jehovah where it appears in the King James Version except in Isaiah 26:4.
  • The Modern Language BibleThe New Berkeley Version in Modern English (1969) renders Jehovah in Genesis 22:14, Exodus 3:15, Exodus 6:3 and Isaiah 12:2. This translation was a revision of an earlier translation by Gerrit Verkuyl.
  • The New English Bible (1970) published by Oxford University Press uses Jehovah in Exodus 3:15-16 and 6:3, and in four place names at Genesis 22:14, Exodus 17:15, Judges 6:24 and Ezekiel 48:35. A total of 7 times.[97]
  • The King James II Version (1971) by Jay P. Green, Sr., published by Associated Publishers and Authors, renders Jehovah at Psalms 68:4 in addition to where it appears in the Authorized King James Version, a total of 8 times.
  • The Living Bible (1971) by Kenneth N. Taylor, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Illinois, Jehovah appears 500 times according to the Living Bible Concordance by Jack Atkeson Speer and published by Poolesville Presbyterian Church; 2nd edition (1973).
  • The Bible in Living English (1972) by Steven T. Byington, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, renders the name Jehovahthroughout the Old Testament over 6,800 times.
  • Green’s Literal Translation (1985) by Jay P. Green, published by Sovereign Grace Publishers, renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah6,866 times.
  • The 21st Century King James Version (1994), published by Deuel Enterprises, Inc., renders Jehovah at Psalms 68:4 in addition to where it appears in the Authorized King James Version, a total of 8 times. A revision including the Apocrypha entitled the Third Millennium Bible(1998) also renders Jehovah in the same verses.
  • The American King James Version (1999) by Michael Engelbrite renders Jehovah in all the places where it appears in the Authorized King James Version.
  • The Recovery Version (1999, 2003, 2016) renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah throughout the Old Testament 6,841 times.
  • The New Heart English Translation (Jehovah Edition) (2010) [a Public Domain work with no copyright] uses “Jehovah” 6837 times.

Bible translations with the divine name in the New Testament:

Bible translations with the divine name in both the Old Testament and the New Testament: render the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah either exclusively or in selected verses:

  • In the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1961, 1984, 2013) published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract SocietyJehovahappears 7,199 times in the 1961 edition, 7,210 times in the 1984 revision and 7,216 times in the 2013 revision, comprising 6,979 instances in the Old Testament,[98] and 237 in the New Testament—including 70 of the 78 times where the New Testament quotes an Old Testament passage containing the Tetragrammaton,[99] where the Tetragrammaton does not appear in any extant Greek manuscript.
  • The Original Aramaic Bible in Plain English (2010) by David Bauscher, a self-published English translation of the New Testament, from the Aramaic of The Peshitta New Testament with a translation of the ancient Aramaic Peshitta version of Psalms & Proverbs, contains the word “JEHOVAH” approximately 239 times in the New Testament, where the Peshitta itself does not. In addition, “Jehovah” also appears 695 times in the Psalms and 87 times in Proverbs, totaling 1,021 instances.
  • The Divine Name King James Bible (2011) – Uses JEHOVAH 6,973 times throughout the OT, and LORD with Jehovah in parentheses 128 times in the NT.


The Douay Version of 1609 renders the phrase in Exodus 6:3 as “and my name Adonai”, and in its footnote says: “Adonai is not the name here vttered to Moyses but is redde in place of the vnknowen name”.[100] The Challoner revision (1750) uses ADONAI with a note stating, “some moderns have framed the name Jehovah, unknown to all the ancients, whether Jews or Christians.”[101]

Various Messianic Jewish Bible translations use Adonai (Complete Jewish Bible (1998), Tree of Life Version (2014) or Hashem (Orthodox Jewish Bible (2002)).

A few sacred name Bibles use the Tetragrammaton instead of a generic title (e.g., the LORD) or a conjectural transliteration (e.g., Yahweh or Jehovah):

Most modern translations exclusively use Lord or LORD, generally indicating that the corresponding Hebrew is Yahweh or YHWH (not JHVH), and in some cases saying that this name is “traditionally” transliterated as Jehovah:[5][6]

  • The Revised Standard Version (1952), an authorized revision of the American Standard Version of 1901, replaced all 6,823 usages of Jehovah in the 1901 text with “LORD” or “GOD“, depending on whether the Hebrew of the verse in question is read “Adonai” or “Elohim” in Jewish practice. A footnote on Exodus 3:15 says: “The word LORD when spelled with capital letters, stands for the divine name, YHWH.” The preface states: “The word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the name ever used in Hebrew”.[102]
  • The New American Bible (1970, revised 1986, 1991). Its footnote to Genesis 4:25–26 says: “… men began to call God by his personal name, Yahweh, rendered as “the LORD” in this version of the Bible.”[103]
  • The New American Standard Bible (1971, updated 1995), another revision of the 1901 American Standard Version, followed the example of the Revised Standard Version. Its footnotes to Exodus 3:14 and 6:3 state: “Related to the name of God, YHWH, rendered LORD, which is derived from the verb HAYAH, to be”; “Heb YHWH, usually rendered LORD“. In its preface it says: “It is known that for many years YHWH has been transliterated as Yahweh, however no complete certainty attaches to this pronunciation.”[104]
  • The Bible in Today’s English (Good News Bible), published by the American Bible Society (1976). Its preface states: “the distinctive Hebrew name for God (usually transliterated Jehovah or Yahweh) is in this translation represented by ‘The Lord’.” A footnote to Exodus 3:14states: “I am sounds like the Hebrew name Yahweh traditionally transliterated as Jehovah.”
  • The New International Version (1978, revised 2011). Footnote to Exodus 3:15, “The Hebrew for LORD sounds like and may be related to the Hebrew for I AM in verse 14.”
  • The New King James Version (1982), though based on the King James Version, replaces JEHOVAH wherever it appears in the Authorized King James Version with “LORD“, and adds a note: “Hebrew YHWH, traditionally Jehovah”, except at Psalms 68:4, Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah 26:4 and Isaiah 38:11 where the tetragrammaton is rendered “Yah”.
  • The God’s Word Translation (1985).
  • The New Revised Standard Version (1990), a revision of the Revised Standard Version uses “LORD” and “GOD” exclusively.
  • The New Century Version (1987, revised 1991).
  • The New International Reader’s Version (1995).
  • The Contemporary English Version or CEV (also known as Bible for Today’s Family) (1995).
  • The English Standard Version (2001). Footnote to Exodus 3:15, “The word LORD, when spelled with capital letters, stands for the divine name, YHWH, which is here connected with the verb hayah, ‘to be’.”
  • The Common English Bible (2011).
  • The Modern English Version (2014).

A few translations use titles such as The Eternal:

Some translations use both Yahweh and LORD:

  • The Bible, An American Translation (1939) by J.M. Powis Smith and Edgar J. Goodspeed. Generally uses “LORD” but uses Yahweh and/or “Yah” exactly where Jehovah appears in the King James Version except in Psalms 83:18, “Yahweh” also appears in Exodus 3:15.
  • The Amplified Bible (1965, revised 1987) generally uses Lord, but translates Exodus 6:3 as: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty [El-Shaddai], but by My name the Lord [Yahweh—the redemptive name of God] I did not make Myself known to them [in acts and great miracles].”
  • The New Living Translation (1996), produced by Tyndale House Publishers as a successor to the Living Bible, generally uses LORD, but uses Yahweh in Exodus 3:15 and 6:3.
  • The Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004, revised 2008) mainly uses LORD, but in its second edition increased the number of times it uses Yahweh from 78 to 495 (in 451 verses).[105]

Some translate the Tetragrammaton exclusively as Yahweh:

  • Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible (1902) retains “Yahweh” throughout the Old Testament.
  • The Jerusalem Bible (1966).
  • The New Jerusalem Bible (1985).
  • The Christian Community Bible (1988) is a translation of the Christian Bible in the English language originally produced in the Philippines and uses “Yahweh”.
  • The World English Bible (1997) is based on the 1901 American Standard Version, but uses “Yahweh” instead of “Jehovah”.[106]
  • Hebraic Roots Bible (2009, 2012)[107]
  • The Lexham English Bible (2011) uses “Yahweh” in the Old Testament.
  • Names of God Bible (2011, 2014), edited by Ann Spangler and published by Baker Publishing Group.[108] The core text of the 2011 edition uses the God’s Word translation. The core text of the 2014 edition uses the King James Version, and includes Jehovah next to Yahwehwhere “LORD Jehovah” appears in the source text. The print edition of both versions have divine names printed in brown and includes a commentary. Both editions use “Yahweh” in the Old Testament.
  • The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition (1981) is a Sacred Name Bible which uses the name “Yahweh” in both the Old and New Testaments (Chamberlin p. 51-3). It was produced by the Assemblies of Yahweh elder, the late Jacob O. Meyer, based on the American Standard Version of 1901.

Other usage

The name “Jehovah” on the dome of the Roman Catholic Saint Martin’s Church in OltenSwitzerland, 1521

Following the Middle Ages, some churches and public buildings across Europe, both before and after the Protestant Reformation were decorated with the name Jehovah. For example, the Coat of Arms of Plymouth (UK) City Council bears the Latin inscription, Turris fortissima est nomen Jehova[109] (English, “The name of Jehovah is the strongest tower”), derived from Proverbs 18:10.

Jehovah has been a popular English word for the personal name of God for several centuries. Christian hymns[110] feature the name. The form “Jehovah” also appears in reference books and novels, for example, appearing several times in the novel The Greatest Story Ever Told by Roman Catholic author Fulton Oursler.[111] Some religious groups, notably Jehovah’s Witnesses[112] and proponents of the King-James-Only movement, make prominent use of the name.

In Mormonism, “Jehovah” is thought to be the name by which Jesus was known prior to his birth; references to “the LORD” in the KJV Old Testament are therefore understood to be references to the pre-mortal Jesus. God the Father, who is regarded as a separate individual, is sometimes referred to by the proper name “Elohim“. The Divine Name, “Jehovah” is twice mentioned in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 22:2 and Moroni 10:34.

Similar Greek names


  • Ιουω (Iouō[juɔ]): Pistis Sophia cited by Charles William King, which also gives Ιαω (Iaō[jaɔ][113] (2nd century)
  • Ιεου (Ieou[jeu]): Pistis Sophia[113] (2nd century)
  • ΙΕΗΩΟΥΑ (I-E-Ē-Ō-O-Y-A[ieɛɔoya]), the seven vowels of the Greek alphabet arranged in this order. Charles William King attributes to a work that he calls On Interpretations[114] the statement that this was the Egyptian name of the supreme God. He comments: “This is in fact a very correct representation, if we give each vowel its true Greek sound, of the Hebrew pronunciation of the word Jehovah.”[115] (2nd century)
  • Ιευώ (Ievō): Eusebius, who says that Sanchuniathon received the records of the Jews from Hierombalus, priest of the god Ieuo.[116] (c. 315)
  • Ιεωά (Ieōa): Hellenistic magical text[117] (2nd–3rd centuries), M. Kyriakakes[118] (2000)


Similar Latin and English transcriptions

Excerpts from Raymond Martin‘s Pugio Fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos (1270, p. 559), containing the phrase “Jehova, sive Adonay, qvia Dominus es omnium” (Jehovah, or Adonay, for you are the Lord of all).[123]

Geneva Bible, 1560. (Psalm 83:18)

A Latin rendering of the Tetragrammaton has been the form “Jova”.
(Origenis Hexaplorum, edited by Frederick Field, 1875.)

Transcriptions of יְהֹוָה similar to Jehovah occurred as early as the 12th century.

See also


  1. ^ The Imperial Bible-Dictionary, Volume 1, p. 856. “Jehovah, on the other hand, the personality of the Supreme is more distinctly expressed. It is every where a proper name, denoting the personal God and him only; whereas Elohim partakes more of the character of a common noun, denoting usually, indeed, but not necessarily nor uniformly, the Supreme. Elohim may be grammatically defined by the article, or by having a suffix attached to it, or by being in construction with a following noun. The Hebrew may say the Elohim, the true God, in opposition to all false gods; but he never says the Jehovah, for Jehovah is the name of the true God only. He says again and again my God; but never my Jehovah, for when he says my God, he means Jehovah. He speaks of the God of Israel, but never of the Jehovah of Israel, for there is no other Jehovah. He speaks of the living God, but never of the living Jehovah, for he cannot conceive of Jehovah as other than living. It is obvious, therefore, that the name Elohim is the name of more general import, seeing that it admits of definition and limitation in these various ways; whereas Jehovah is the more specific and personal name, altogether incapable of limitation.”
  2. Jump up to:a b Schaff, Philip –Yahweh The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge Volume XII, Paper Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1950, page 480.
  3. Jump up to:a b In the 7th paragraph of Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English BibleSir Godfry Driver wrote, “The early translators generally substituted ‘Lord’ for [YHWH]. […] The Reformers preferred Jehovah, which first appeared as Iehouah in 1530 A.D., in Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch (Exodus 6.3), from which it passed into other Protestant Bibles.”
  4. ^ “The Name of God in the Liturgy”United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2008.
  5. Jump up to:a b English Standard Version Translation Oversight Committee Preface to the English Standard Version Quote: “When the vowels of the word adonai are placed with the consonants of YHWH, this results in the familiar word Jehovah that was used in some earlier English Bible translations. As is common among English translations today, the ESV usually renders the personal name of God (YHWH) with the word Lord (printed in small capitals).”
  6. Jump up to:a b Bruce M. Metzger for the New Revised Standard Version Committee. To the Reader, p. 5
  7. ^ Source: The Divine Name in Norway Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine,
  8. ^ GOD, NAMES OF – 5. Yahweh (Yahweh) in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. XII: Trench – ZwingliRetrieved 19 November 2014.
  9. Jump up to:a b c Roy Kotansky, Jeffrey Spier, “The ‘Horned Hunter’ on a Lost Gnostic Gem“, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 88, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), p. 318. Quote: “Although most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai (the traditionally pronounced version of יהוה), many magical texts in Semitic and Greek establish an early pronunciation of the divine name as both Yehovah and Yahweh
  10. ^ Jarl Fossum and Brian Glazer in their article Seth in the Magical Texts (Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphie 100 (1994), p. 86-92, reproduced here [1], give the name “Yahweh” as the source of a number of names found in pagan magical texts: Ἰάβας (p. 88), Iaō (described as “a Greek form of the name of the Biblical God, Yahweh”, on p. 89), Iaba, Iaē, Iaēo, Iaō, Iaēō (p. 89). On page 92, they call “Iaō” “the divine name”.
  11. ^ “Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible”.
  12. ^ Kristin De Troyer The Names of God, Their Pronunciation and Their Translation, – lectio difficilior 2/2005. Quote: “IAO can be seen as a transliteration of YAHU, the three-letter form of the Name of God” (p. 6).
  13. Jump up to:a b c d e The Pronunciation of the Name
  14. Jump up to:a b Dennio, Francis B., “On the Use of the Word Jehovah in Translating the Old Testament”, Journal of Biblical Literature 46, (1927), pages 147–148. Dennio wrote: “Jehovah misrepresents Yahweh no more than Jeremiah misrepresents Yirmeyahu. The settled connotations of Isaiah and Jeremiah forbid questioning their right. Usage has given them the connotation proper for designating the personalities with which these words represent. Much the same is true of Jehovah. It is not a barbarism. It has already many of the connotations needed for the proper name of the Covenant God of Israel. There is no word which can faintly compare with it. For centuries it has been gathering these connotations. No other word approaches this name in the fullness [sic] of associations required. The use of any other word falls far short of the proper ideas that it is a serious blemish in a translation.”
  15. ^ Jones, Scott. “יהוה Jehovah יהוה”. Archived from the original on 4 August 2011.
  16. ^ Carl D. Franklin – Debunking the Myths of Sacred Namers יהוה – Christian Biblical Church of God – December 9, 1997 – Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  17. ^ George Wesley Buchanan, “How God’s Name Was Pronounced,” Biblical Archaeology Review 21.2 (March -April 1995), 31–32
  18. ^ יְהֹוָה Jehovah, pr[oper] name of the supreme God amongst the Hebrews. The later Hebrews, for some centuries before the time of Christ, either misled by a false interpretation of certain laws (Ex. 20:7; Lev. 24:11), or else following some old superstition, regarded this name as so very holy, that it might not even be pronounced (see Philo, Vit. Mosis t.iii. p.519, 529). Whenever, therefore, this nomen tetragrammaton occurred in the sacred text, they were accustomed to substitute for it אֲדֹנָי, and thus the vowels of the noun אֲדֹנָי are in the Masoretic text placed under the four letters יהוה, but with this difference, that the initial Yod receives a simple and not a compound Sh’va (יְהֹוָה [Yehovah], not (יֲהֹוָה [Yahovah]); prefixes, however, receive the same points as if they were followed by אֲדֹנָי […] This custom was already in vogue in the days of the LXX. translators; and thus it is that they every where translated יְהֹוָה by ὁ Κύριος (אֲדֹנָי).” (H. W. F. Gesenius, Gesenius’s Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1979[1847]), p. 337)
  19. ^ For example, Deuteronomy 3:24Deuteronomy 9:26 (second instance), Judges 16:28 (second instance), Genesis 15:2
  20. ^ R. Laird Harris, “The Pronunciation of the Tetragram,” in John H. Skilton (ed.), The Law and the Prophets: Old Testament Studies Prepared in Honor of Oswald Thompson Allis (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1974), 224.
  21. Jump up to:a b c “NAMES OF GOD –”.
  22. ^ The Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome renders the name as Adonai at Exodus 6:3 rather than as Dominus.
  23. Jump up to:a b Moore, George Foot (1911). “Jehovah” . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 311.
  24. ^ In the 7th paragraph of Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English BibleSir Godfrey Driver wrote of the combination of the vowels of Adonai and Elohim with the consonants of the divine name, that it “did not become effective until Yehova or Jehova or Johova appeared in two Latin works dated in A.D. 1278 and A.D. 1303; the shortened Jova (declined like a Latin noun) came into use in the sixteenth century. The Reformers preferred Jehovah, which first appeared as Iehouah in 1530 A.D., in Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch (Exodus 6.3), from which it passed into other Protestant Bibles.”
  25. ^ The Geneva Bible uses the form “Jehovah” in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Jeremiah 16:21, Jeremiah 32:18, Genesis 22:14, and Exodus 17:15.
  26. ^ At Gen.22:14; Ex.6:3; 17:15; Jg.6:24; Ps.83:18, Is.12:2; 26:4. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Iowa Falls: Word, 1994), 722.
  27. ^ According to the preface, this was because the translators felt that the “Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament”.
  28. ^ The original hymn, without “Jehovah”, was composed in Welsh in 1745; the English translation, with “Jehovah”, was composed in 1771 (Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah).
  29. Jump up to:a b Paul Joüon and T. Muraoka. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (Subsidia Biblica). Part One: Orthography and Phonetics. Rome : Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblio, 1996. ISBN 978-8876535956. Quote from Section 16(f)(1)” “The Qre is יְהֹוָה the Lord, whilst the Ktiv is probably(1) יַהְוֶה (according to ancient witnesses).” “Note 1: In our translations, we have used Yahweh, a form widely accepted by scholars, instead of the traditional Jehovah
  30. Jump up to:a b c d “JEHOVAH”Jewish Encyclopedia.
  31. ^ Marvin H. Pope “Job – Introduction, in Job (The Anchor Bible, Vol. 15). February 19, 1965 page XIV ISBN 9780385008945
  32. ^ Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon
  33. Jump up to:a b c The vowel points of Jehovah – Jehovah. Dictionary Definitions. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  34. ^ The Divine Name – New Church Review, Volume 15, page 89. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  35. ^ Pugio fidei by Raymund Martin, written in about 1270
  36. ^ Dahlia M. Karpman “Tyndale’s Response to the Hebraic Tradition” in Studies in the Renaissance, Vol. 14 (1967)), pp. 113, 118, 119. Note: Westcott, in his survey of the English Bible, wrote that Tyndale “felt by a happy instinct the potential affinity between Hebrew and English idioms, and enriched our language and thought for ever with the characteristics of the Semitic mind.”
  37. ^ The first English-language book to make a clear distinction between Iand J was published in 1634. (The Cambridge History of the English Language, Richard M. Hogg, (Cambridge University Press 1992 ISBN 0-521-26476-6, p. 39). It was also only by the mid-1500s that Vwas used to represent the consonant and U the vowel sound, while capital U was not accepted as a distinct letter until many years later (Letter by Letter: An Alphabetical Miscellany, Laurent Pflughaupt, (Princeton Architectural Press ISBN 978-1-56898-737-8) pp. 123–124).
  38. ^ William Tyndale, Doctrinal Treatises, ed. Henry Walter (Cambridge, 1848), p. 408.
  39. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Maas, Anthony John (1910). “Jehovah (Yahweh)” . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia8. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  40. ^ Exodus 6:3–5 RSV
  41. ^ Duane A. Garrett, A Modern Grammar for Classical Hebrew (Broadman & Holman 2002 ISBN 0-8054-2159-9), p. 13
  42. ^ Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (1910 Kautzsch-Cowley edition), p. 38
  43. ^ Christo H. J. Van der Merwe, Jackie A. Naude and Jan H. Kroeze, A Biblical Reference Grammar (Sheffield, England:Sheffield Academic Press, 2002), and Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt, Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publ. House, 2001)
  44. Jump up to:a b c d e (In Awe of Thy Word, G.A. Riplinger-Chapter 11, page 416)Online
  45. ^ Tiberias, sive Commentarius Masoreticus (1620; quarto edition, improved and enlarged by J. Buxtorf the younger, 1665)
  46. ^ Tractatus de punctorum origine, antiquitate, et authoritate, oppositus Arcano puntationis revelato Ludovici Cappelli (1648)
  47. ^ Biblical Theology (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1996 reprint of the 1661 edition), pp. 495–533
  48. ^ A Dissertation on the Hebrew Vowel-Points (PDF 58.6 MB)Archived 2012-03-13 at the Wayback Machine, (Liverpoole: Peter Whitfield, 1748)
  49. ^ A Dissertation on the Hebrew Vowel-Points, (Liverpoole: Peter Whitfield, 1748)
  50. ^ A Dissertation concerning the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, LETTERS, VOWEL POINTS, and ACCENTS (London: n. p., 1767)
  51. ^ An Essay on the Antiquity and Utility of the Hebrew Vowel-Points (Glasgow: John Reid & Co., 1833).
  52. ^ Blätter für höhere Wahrheit vol. 11, 1832, pp. 305, 306.
  53. ^ The Battle Over The Hebrew Vowel Points, Examined Particularly As Waged in England, by Thomas D. Ross
  54. ^ (In Awe of Thy Word, G.A. Riplinger-Chapter 11, page 413-435)Online
  55. Jump up to:a b “Who is Yahweh? – Ridiculous KJV Bible Corrections”. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  56. ^ Whitfield document (PDF)
  57. ^ Nehemia Gordon, The Pronunciation of the Name, pp. 1–2Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine
  58. ^ Nehemia Gordon, The Pronunciation of the Name, p. 8Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine
  59. ^ Nehemia Gordon, The Pronunciation of the Name, p. 11Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  60. ^ Gill 1778
  61. ^ Gill 1778, pp. 499–560
  62. ^ Gill 1778, pp. 549–560
  63. Jump up to:a b c Gill 1778, pp. 538–542
  64. ^ In Awe of Thy Word, G.A. Riplinger-Chapter 11, pp. 422–435
  65. ^ Gill 1778, p. 540
  66. ^ Gill 1778, pp. 548–560
  67. ^ Gill 1778, p. 462
  68. ^ Gill 1778, pp. 461–462
  69. ^ Gill 1778, p. 501
  70. ^ Gill 1778, pp. 512–516
  71. ^ Gill 1778, p. 522
  72. Jump up to:a b Gill 1778, p. 531
  73. ^ Gill 1778, pp. 535–536
  74. ^ Gill 1778, pp. 536–537
  75. ^ Gill 1778, p. 544
  76. ^ Gill 1778, p. 499
  77. ^ One of the definitions of “tittle” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionaryis “a point or small sign used as a diacritical mark in writing or printing”.
  78. ^ pg. 110, Of the Integrity and Purity of the Hebrew and Greek Text of the Scripture; with Considerations on the Prolegomena and Appendix to the Late “Biblia Polyglotta,” in vol. IX, The Works of John Owen, ed. Gould, William H, & Quick, Charles W., Philadelphia, PA: Leighton Publications, 1865)
  79. ^ For the meanings of the word κεραία in the original texts of Matthew 5:18 and Luke 16:17 see Liddell and Scott and for a more modern scholarly view of its meaning in that context see Strong’s Greek Dictionary.
  80. ^ “Search => [word] => tittle :: 1828 Dictionary :: Search the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language (FREE)”. 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  81. ^ Jewish Virtual Library: Vowels and Points
  82. ^ “Torah and Laining (Cantillation)”.
  83. ^ “Biblical Hebrew”.
  84. ^ Old Testament Manuscripts
  85. ^ James C. VanderKam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, p. 30
  86. ^ The Dead Sea Scrolls Biblical Manuscripts Archived 2008-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  87. ^ The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Graphological Investigation Archived2009-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  88. ^ “SBL Publications”.
  89. ^ “The Dead Sea Scrolls”.
  90. ^ Godfrey Higgins, On the Vowel Points of the Hebrew Language, inThe Classical Journal for March and June 1826, p. 145
  91. ^ Higgins, pp. 146–149
  92. ^ Augustin Calmet, Dictionary of the Bible, pp. 618–619
  93. ^ B. Pick, The Vowel-Points Controversy in the XVI. and XVII. Centuries
  94. ^ “Build a Free Website with Web Hosting – Tripod” (PDF).
  95. ^ Smith commented, “In the decade of dissertations collected by Reland, Fuller, Gataker, and Leusden do battle for the pronunciation Jehovah, against such formidable antagonists as Drusius, Amama, Cappellus, Buxtorf, and Altingius, who, it is scarcely necessary to say, fairly beat their opponents out of the field; “the only argument of any weight, which is employed by the advocates of the pronunciation of the word as it is written being that derived from the form in which it appears in proper names, such as Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, &c. […] Their antagonists make a strong point of the fact that, as has been noticed above, two different sets of vowel points are applied to the same consonants under certain circumstances. To this Leusden, of all the champions on his side, but feebly replies. […] The same may be said of the argument derived from the fact that the letters מוכלב, when prefixed to יהוה, take, not the vowels which they would regularly receive were the present pronunciation true, but those with which they would be written if אֲדֹנָיadonai, were the reading; and that the letters ordinarily taking dagesh lene when following יהוה would, according to the rules of the Hebrew points, be written without dagesh, whereas it is uniformly inserted.”
  96. ^ Image of it.
  97. ^ “Introduction to the Old Testament”.
  98. ^ Revised New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Accessed 14 October 2013.
  99. ^ Of the 78 passages where the New Testament, using Κύριος (Lord) for the Tetragrammaton of the Hebrew text, quotes an Old Testament passage, the New World Translation puts “Jehovah” for Κύριος in 70 instances, “God” for Κύριος in 5 (Rom 11:2, 8; Gal 1:15; Heb 9:20; 1 Pet 4:14), and “Lord” for Κύριος in 3 (2 Thes 1:9; 1 Pet 2:3, 3:15) – Jason BeDuhn, Truth in Translation (University Press of America 2003 ISBN 0-7618-2556-8), pp. 174–175
  100. ^ Rheims Douai, 1582–1610: a machine-readable transcript
  101. ^ “Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, Book Of Exodus Chapter 6”.
  102. ^ “Preface to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (1971)”.
  103. ^ New American Bible, Genesis, Chapter 4 Archived 2012-01-28 at the Wayback Machine
  104. ^ “Preface to the New American Standard Bible”. Archived from the original on 2006-12-07.
  105. ^ John W. Gillis, The HCSB 2nd Edition and the Tetragrammaton
  106. ^ “The World English Bible (WEB) FAQ”.
  107. ^ Hebraic Roots Bible by Esposito.
  108. ^ Baker Publishing Group information, accessed 12 December 2015
  109. ^ See -Plymouth and here [2]. Also, Civic Heraldry of the United Kingdom)
  110. ^ e.g. “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” (1771)
  111. ^ Full text of “The Greatest Story Ever Told A Tale Of The Greatest Life Ever Lived” – Internet Archive – Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  112. ^ “How God’s Name Has Been Made Known”Awake!: 20. December 2007. The commonly used form of God’s name in English is Jehovah, translated from the Hebrew [Tetragrammaton], which appears some 7,000 times in the Bible.
  113. Jump up to:a b Charles William King, The Gnostics and their remains: Ancient and Mediaeval (1887), p. 285
  114. ^ He speaks of it as anonymous: “the writer ‘On Interpretations'”. Aristotle’s De Interpretatione does not speak of Egyptians.
  115. ^ Charles William King, The Gnostics and their remains: Ancient and Mediaeval (1887), pp. 199–200.
  116. ^ Praeparatio evangelica 10.9.
  117. ^ The Grecised Hebrew text “εληιε Ιεωα ρουβα” is interpreted as meaning “my God Ieoa is mightier”. (“La prononciation ‘Jehova’ du tétragramme”, O.T.S. vol. 5, 1948, pp. 57, 58. [Greek papyrus CXXI 1.528–540 (3rd century), Library of the British Museum]
  118. ^ Article in the Aster magazine (January 2000), the official periodical of the Greek Evangelical Church.
  119. ^ Greek translation by Ioannes Stanos.
  120. ^ Published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
  121. ^ Exodus 6:3, etc.
  122. ^ Dogmatike tes Orthodoxou Katholikes Ekklesias (Dogmatics of the Orthodox Catholic Church), 3rd ed., 1997 (c. 1958), Vol. 1, p. 229.
  123. Jump up to:a b c Pugio Fidei, in which Martin argued that the vowel points were added to the Hebrew text only in the 10th century (Thomas D. Ross,The Battle over the Hebrew Vowel Points Examined Particularly as Waged in England, p. 5).
  124. ^ Dahlia M. Karpman, “Tyndale’s Response to the Hebraic Tradition” (Studies in the Renaissance, Vol. 14 (1967)), p. 121.
  125. Jump up to:a b See comments at Exodus 6:2, 3 in his Critical Remarks on the Hebrew Scriptures (1800).
  126. ^ Rev. Richard Barrett’s A Synopsis of Criticisms upon Passages of the Old Testament (1847) p. 219.
  127. ^ [3]; George Moore, Notes on the Name YHWH (The American Journal of Theology, Vol. 12, No. 1. (Jan., 1908), pp. 34–52.
  128. ^ Charles IX of Sweden instituted the Royal Order of Jehova in 1606.
  129. Jump up to:a b c Scholia in Vetus Testamentum, vol. 3, part 3, pp. 8, 9, etc.
  130. ^ For example, Gesenius rendered Proverbs 8:22 in Latin as: “Jehova creavit me ab initio creationis”. (Samuel Lee, A lexicon, Hebrew, Chaldee, and English (1840) p. 143)
  131. ^ “Non enim h quatuor liter [yhwh] si, ut punctat sunt, legantur, Ioua reddunt: sed (ut ipse optime nosti) Iehoua efficiunt.” (De Arcanis Catholicæ Veritatis (1518), folio xliii. See Oxford English DictionaryOnline, 1989/2008, Oxford University Press, “Jehovah”). Peter Galatin was Pope Leo X‘s confessor.
  132. ^ Sir Godfrey Driver, Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English Bible.
  133. ^ See Poole’s comments at Exodus 6:2, 3 in his Synopsis criticorum biblicorum.
  134. ^ The State of the printed Hebrew Text of the Old Testament considered: A Dissertation in two parts (1753), pp. 158, 159)
  135. ^ The First Twelve Psalms in Hebrewp. 22.


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