9 November 2023

The LORD be with you [1]

When, um, did you last read the Book of Ruth? " ... and his name was Boos". Very 'Lucan' in style, isn't it? ... See Luke 1:26-27. ""And behold, Boos came from Bethlehem; and he said to the reapers 'The Lord be with you'". Clearly, a man of substance. 

Except that if you have a Bible translated in the tradition of Anglican bibles deriving from the Authorised (or 'King James') version, it will read 'Boaz', because that is how the Septuagint, the standard Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, gives his name.

And, additionally, your Anglican-based Bible will read 'The LORD be with you'. 

Does that make any difference? It most certainly does.

In the written Hebrew, the Name of the Hebrew God, or rather, its consonants, is given without any fuss. YHWH (or, if you prefer, HWHY). But the Jews got into the habit of never uttering the Name, because of its extreme holiness. So, when the Biblical text was being read aloud, and the reader got to YHWH, what he actually vocalised ... said ... was 'the Lord'. So 'the Lord' became a regular stand-in for YHWH. And when the Old Testament was translated into other languages, from Greek onwards, the words for 'Lord', in those languages, were substituted for YHWH.

And the Anglican translators had the brilliant idea of printing the word in capital letters: LORD. This is brilliant because it gives valuable information. "The LORD" means that, at this point, the Hebrew text gives the Name YHWH which is too sacred for us to utter without disrespect.

So what Boos said to his reapers was "YHWH be with you".

Apologies to those of you who knew all that.

One of the many excellent reasons why we Clerks in Holy Orders are canonically obliged to say the Divine Office is to ensure that our Mass is situated in a thoroughly Jewish, Hebrew, setting and culture. The God we worship is the Jewish God. No ifs, no buts. As a great pope once said, we are spiritually Semites. Our religion is ... The Genuine Judaism. Hence, all those psalms we recite with all those references to "Thy Name". (Generations of intelligent Anglicans must have wondered how we can glorify His Name when we are not given that Name in most of our texts.)

And, just as, in the Canon of the Mass of the Authentic Roman Rite, we give a daily central mention to "our" Patriarch Abraham, so, in the majestic climaxes of the Divine Office, we mention Abraham in the Gospel Canticles, the Benedictus and the Magnificat at Lauds and Vespers. And we talk incessantly about Sion and going there and worshipping in the Temple of the LORD. Why, we even do it as clergy when we stand at the foot of the Altar, morning after morning after morning, Sacrificing Priests preparing to climb up ad Sancta Sanctorum and to immolate the Lamb. S John Henry reminded us that, day by day, we offer up the Immaculate Lamb. And apparently, in hushed horror at their scandalised tea parties, the clerical wives of Oxford remarked that, every morning, Dr Pusey ("Did you know this, my dear?") slaughtered a lamb in the Cathedral. 

Somebody had got something across!


Albertus said...

The "Name" (also a hebrew reverential substitute for JHWH) in reality refers to the Being, and not to a mere name of human speach, as God has no need of a name, being that He is the only God. So that when Our Blessed Lord in the Gospel says " I have glorified Thy Name" "I have made Thy Name known", He is indeed saying "I have made Thee known": "Name" is another way of saying "Thy Person". Likewise in the trinitarian formula, "Name" refers to God's one Being in Three Persons, Who are then named, as relationships to One Another. The various names of God in the hebrew old Testament are used for our benefit, to point out some aspects of the Godhead, such as his Everlastingness, His Beingness, His Holiness. Nora bene: these "names" refer to the whole Godhead, not just to God the Father. So that Jezus is also Yahweh, and Adonai, and all the other wondrous hebrew Divine titles found in the Old Testament.

David said...

I have long wondered how to pronounce "Boos." Is it one or two syllables? Boose? Booze? Boe-oss?

El Codo said...

Father..what exactly are you driving at? You are wandering around like the People of Israel in the wilderness. Say it man!

Michael said...

I took Father to mean, at least in part, "Long live the Jewish people."