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Divine Name, The


In Jewish mysticism great importance is attributed to the Divine Name. Originally it consisted of forty-two letters; not, as Moses Maimoides points out, comprised in one word, but in a phrase of several words, which conveyed the exact concept of the essence of God. Coinciding with the priestly decadence of the final days of the Temple, a name of twelve letters was substituted for the Divine Name, and with the continuance of time even this secondary name was not told to every priest, but only to a few. Occasionally the longer name was said to contain forty-five or seventy-two letters. The tenth Sephroth are also supposed, in a mystical sense, to be the names of the Deity (see Kabbalah). The Divine Name Jahveh is greater than "I am that I am," since the latter signifies God as He was before the creation, the Absolute, the Unknowable, and the Hidden One; but the former denotes the Supreme Manifestation, the immanence of God in the Cosmos. A.G.H.


Sources: 81, 128.

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