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Encyclopedia > Elohim

Elohim (אֱלוֹהִים , אלהים ) is a Hebrew word which expresses concepts of divinity. It is apparently related to the Hebrew word ēl, though morphologically it consists of the Hebrew word Eloah (אלוה) with a plural suffix. Elohim is the third word in the Hebrew text of Genesis and occurs frequently throughout the Hebrew Bible. Its exact significance is often disputed. Elohim can refer to: Elohim, a Hebrew word related to deity Elohim (gods), a Canaanite word meaning pantheon Elohim, an album by the jazz band Aka Moon Elohim, an album by the reggae musician Alpha Blondy Elohim City, a private compound in the United States. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... Ä’l (אל) is a Northwest Semitic word and name translated into English as either god or God or left untranslated as El, depending on the context. ... For other uses, see Morphology. ... Eloah (אלוה) is Hebrew for a god. Its plural Elohim (אלוהים) literally means Gods (plural), but is very often used as a singular as a name of God. ... For other uses, see Genesis (disambiguation). ... Tanakh (‎) (also Tanach, IPA: or , or Tenak) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ...

"And Elohim (God) created Adam"

In some cases (e.g. Exodus 3:4, "... Elohim called unto him out of the midst of the bush ..."), it acts as a singular noun in Hebrew grammar (see next section), and is then generally understood to denote the single God of Israel. In other cases, Elohim acts as an ordinary plural of the word Eloah (אלוה), and refers to the polytheistic notion of multiple gods (for example, Exodus 20:3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."). This may reflect the use of the word "Elohim" found in the late Bronze Age texts of Canaanite Ugarit, where Elohim ('lhm) was found to be a word denoting the entire Canaanite pantheon (the family of El אל, the patriarchal creator god). Image File history File links Size of this preview: 740 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2024 × 1641 pixel, file size: 310 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 740 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2024 × 1641 pixel, file size: 310 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... The Bronze Age is a period in a civilizations development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. ... For other uses, see Canaan (disambiguation). ... Entrance to the Palace of Ugarit Ugarit (modern site Ras Shamra رأس شمرة; meaning top/head/cape of the wild fennel in Arabic) was an ancient cosmopolitan port city, sited on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria a few kilometers north of the modern city of Latakia. ... A pantheon (from Greek Πάνθειον, temple of all gods, from πᾶν, all + θεός, god) is a set of all the gods of a particular religion or mythology, such as the gods of Hinduism, Norse, Egyptian, Shintoism, Greek, vodun, Yoruba Mythology and Roman mythology. ... Look up patriarchy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


In still other cases, the meaning is not clear from the text, but may refer to powerful beings (e.g. Genesis 6:2, "... the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them for wives... ," Exodus 4:16, "He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you [Moses] were Elohim to him [Aaron]... ," Exodus 22:28, "Thou shalt not revile Elohim, or curse a ruler of your people... ," where the parallelism suggests that Elohim may refer to human rulers). See Sons of God for more information. Moses with the Tablets, 1659, by Rembrandt This article is about the Biblical figure. ... The Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicolas Poussin Aaron (Hebrew: , Standard  Tiberian ), or Aaron the Levite (flourished about 1200 B.C.), was, according to biblical accounts, one of two brothers who play a unique part in the history of the Hebrew people. ... In grammar, parallelism is a balance of two or more similar words, phrases, or clauses. ... There are several theories concerning the identity of the sons of God (bnei elohim, בני האלהים, contrasted with daughters of men) identified in the book of Genesis. ...

Contents

Hebrew grammar

Elohim has plural morphological form in Hebrew, but it is used with singular verbs and adjectives in the Hebrew text when the particular meaning of the God of Israel (a singular deity) is traditionally understood. Thus the very first words of the Bible are breshit bara Elohim, where bara ברא is a verb inflected as third person singular masculine perfect. If Elohim were an ordinary plural word, then the plural verb form bar'u בראו would have been used in this sentence instead. Such plural grammatical forms are in fact found in cases where Elohim has semantically plural reference (not referring to the God of Israel). There are a few other words in Hebrew that have a plural ending, but refer to one thing and take singular verbs and adjectives, for example בעלים (be'alim, owner) in Exodus 21:29 and elsewhere. For other uses, see Morphology. ...


In most English translations of the Bible (e.g. the King James Version), the letter G in "god" is capitalized in cases where Elohim refers to the God of Israel, but there is no distinction between upper and lower case in the Hebrew text. This page is about the version of the Bible; for the Harvey Danger album, see King James Version (album). ...


Significance in the documentary hypothesis

The choice of word or words for God varies in the Hebrew Bible. According to the documentary hypothesis these variations are evidence of different source texts: Elohim is used as the name of God in the Elohist and the Priestly source, while Yahweh is used in the Jahwist source. The difference in names results from the theological point being made in the Elohist and Priestly sources that God only revealed his name, Yahweh, to Moses. A relational diagram describing the various versions postulated by the biblical documentary hypothesis. ... A relational diagram describing the various versions postulated by the biblical documentary hypothesis. ... The Elohist (E) is one of the sources of the Torah postulated by the documentary hypothesis. ... The Priestly Source (P) is one of the sources of the Torah postulated by the documentary hypothesis. ... For other uses, see Yahweh (disambiguation). ... The Jahwist, also referred to as the Jehovist, Yahwist, or simply as J, is one of the sources of the Torah postulated by the documentary hypothesis. ...


Etymology

The etymology of the word Elohim is unknown. There are many theories, however. The most likely derivation comes from the word Elohim ('lhm) found in the Ugarit archives, meaning the family or pantheon associated with the Canaanite father God El. Entrance to the Palace of Ugarit Ugarit (modern site Ras Shamra رأس شمرة; meaning top/head/cape of the wild fennel in Arabic) was an ancient cosmopolitan port city, sited on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria a few kilometers north of the modern city of Latakia. ... Ēl (אל) is a Northwest Semitic word and name translated into English as either god or God or left untranslated as El, depending on the context. ...

  • Joel HoffmanJoel M. Hoffman derives the word from the common Canaanite word elim, with the mater lectionis heh inserted to distinguish the Israelite God from other gods. He argues that elohim thus patterns with Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah.[1] (See also Yahweh.)
  • Karel van der Toorn repeats the common claim that elohim is the plural of eloah, but D. Pardee notes the lack of any clear etymology for eloah.[2]
  • Some trace its origin in el or ul which may mean ("to be strong") or possibly ("to be in front"), from which also are derived ayil ("ram", the one in front of the flock) and elah (the prominent "terebinth"); Elohim would then be an expanded plural form of El. (However, Semitic etymologies are generally based on triconsonantal roots, which this proposal completely ignores.)
  • Others relate the word (and Eloah, "a god") to alah ("to terrify") or alih ("to be perplexed, afraid; to seek refuge because of fear"). Eloah and Elohim, therefore, would be "He who is the object of fear or reverence," or "He with whom one who is afraid takes refuge".

The form of the word Elohim, with the ending -im, is plural and masculine, but the construction is usually singular, i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective when referring to the Hebrew god, but reverts to its normal plural when used of heathen divinities (Psalms 96:5; 97:7). There are many theories as to why the word is plural: Matres lectionis (singular form: mater lectionis) are an early manner of indicating vowels in the Hebrew alphabet. ... “The Twelve Tribes” redirects here. ... “Abram” redirects here. ... Engraving of Sarah by Hans Collaert from c. ... For other uses, see Yahweh (disambiguation). ... Eloah (אלוה) is Hebrew for a god. Its plural Elohim (אלוהים) literally means Gods (plural), but is very often used as a singular as a name of God. ... In the terminology used to discuss the grammar of the Semitic and some other Afro-Asiatic languages, a triliteral (Arabic: جذر ثلاثي, ǧaḏr thalathi) is a root containing a sequence of three consonants (so also known as a triconsonantal root). ...

  • In one view, predominant among monotheists, the word is plural in order to augment its meaning and form an abstraction meaning "Divine majesty".
  • Among orthodox Trinitarian Christian writers it is sometimes used as evidence for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. This is regarded as fanciful by secular linguists and biblical scholars.
  • In another view that is more common among a range of secular scholars, heterodox Christian and Jewish theologians and polytheists, the word's plurality reflects early Judaic polytheism. They argue it originally meant "the gods", or the "sons of El," the supreme being. They claim the word may have been singularized by later monotheist priests who sought to replace worship of the many gods of the Judean pantheon with their own singular patron god YHWH alone.

A plural noun governing a singular verb may be according to oldest usage. The gods form a heavenly assembly where they act as one. In this context, the Elohim may be a collective plural when the gods act in concert. Compare this to English headquarters, which is plural but governs a singular verb: there are many rooms or quarters, but they all serve one purpose. Thus, it is argued, the meaning of Elohim therefore can mean one god, with many attributes. For the Celtic Frost album, see Monotheist (album) In theology, monotheism (from Greek one and god) is the belief in the existence of one deity or God, or in the oneness of God. ... Separate articles treat Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Orthodox Judaism. ... The adjective trinitarian is used in several senses: Ideas or things pertaining to the Holy Trinity A person or group adhering to the doctrine of Trinitarianism, which holds God to subsist in the form of the Holy Trinity The Trinitarian Order is a Catholic monastic order founded in 1198 by... This article concerns the holy Trinity of Christianity. ... Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. ... For the Celtic Frost album, see Monotheist (album) In theology, monotheism (from Greek one and god) is the belief in the existence of one deity or God, or in the oneness of God. ... It has been suggested that Yahweh be merged into this article or section. ...


The alternative polytheist theory would seem to explain why there are three words built on the same stem: El, Elohim, and eloah. El, the father god, has many divine sons, who are known by the plural of his name, Elohim, or Els. Eloah, might then be used to differentiate each of the lesser gods from El himself.


While the words El, Elohim, and eloah are clearly related, with the word El being the stem, some have claimed it is uncertain whether the word Elohim is derived from El through eloah. These have suggested that the word Elohim is the masculine plural of a feminine noun, used as a singular. This would imply indeterminacy in both number and gender, although, as mentioned above, from Canaanite texts in Ugarit, this is what appears to be intended in this case. However, to many this is speculative and confusing, although consistent with many other Jewish and Christian views of the nature of the Godhead.


Note that contrary to what is sometimes assumed, the word Eloah (אלוה) is quite definitely not feminine in form in the Hebrew language (and does not have feminine grammatical gender in its occurrences in the Bible). This word ends in a furtivum vowel (i.e. short non-syllabic [a] element which is part of a lowering diphthong) followed by a breathily-pronounced final [h] consonant sound — while feminine Hebrew words which end in "ah" have a fully syllabic [a] vowel which is followed by a silent "h" letter (which changes to a [t] sound in the grammatical "construct state" construction, or if suffixes are added). The pronounced [h] (or he mappiq) of Eloah never alternates with a [t] consonant sound (the way that silent feminine "h" does), and the [a] "furtivum" element in Eloah is actually a late feature of masoretic pronunciation traditions, which wouldn't have existed in the pronunciation of Biblical times. The Masoretic Text (MT) is the Hebrew text of the Tanakh approved for general use in Judaism. ...


The meaning of Elohim is further complicated by the fact that it is used to describe the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel, raised by Saul in 1 Samuel 28:13. The witch of Endor tells Saul that she sees 'gods' (elohim) coming up out of the earth; this seems to indicate that the term was indeed used simply to mean something like 'divine beings' in ancient Israel.


Elohim in Islam

In the context of Islam, some scholars have highlighted that the divine name Allah, used in the Qur'an, has a linguistic cognate relationship with the word "Eloah (אלוה)". See "La ilaha illallah...", the Muslim declaration of faith, where the word for god is Ilah For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: ;, literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... Look up cognate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... There is also a town called Shāhāda, which is now in Nandurbār district (formerly in Dhule district) in the northwest corner of Maharashtra state in India. ... In Islamic context, an Ilah is the concept of a deity, lord or god and does not necessarily refer to Allah. ...


Elohim in the Latter Day Saint movement

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes referred to as the LDS Church or "Mormons") as well as some other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, the term Elohim (also spelled "Eloheim") is often used to distinguish God the Father as a distinct member of the Godhead. For other uses, see Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (disambiguation). ... The term Mormon is a colloquial name, most-often used to refer to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). ... The Latter Day Saint movement (a subset of Restorationism) is a group of religious denominations and adherents who follow at least some of the teachings and revelations of Joseph Smith, Jr. ... In many religions, the supreme God is given the title and attributions of Father. ... Mormonism, depending on era and denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement, has accommodated a diverse range of views of the concept of the Christian Godhead including forms of modalism, binitarianism, tritheism, henotheism, and trinitarianism. ...


The plural sense of "Elohim" is generally recognized by the LDS Church as meaning "the council of the gods" in the creation story. This is particularly evident in chapter 4 of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. The Book of Abraham is a text published as part of the Pearl of Great Price, one of the four canonical scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ... The Pearl of Great Price is part of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church; see also Mormonism) and some other Latter Day Saint denominations. ...


Elohim in anthroposophy

In anthroposophy, based on the teachings by Rudolf Steiner, the Elohim represent the sixth realm of the Christian angelic hierarchy of the Roman Catholic tradition. Using the terminology of Dionysius the Areopagite, this hierarchic level of divine spirits is referred to as Exousiai (Greek) or Potestates (Latin) and is immediately above the three levels comprising the Angels, Archangels and Archai/Principati. The role of the Exousiai/Elohim in spiritual evolution is essential, since the human Self has emanated from them. Having their residence in the spiritual spheres of the Sun, the Exousiai/Elohim are specially devoted to the development of Earth and humanity. Yahweh is one of them, who moved to the Moon spheres for the sake of humanity and took up the task as the divine ruler of the biblical Israelites, destined to receive the incarnation of Christ in the man Jesus. Christ, himself originating from Trinity (which supersedes all hierarchies), is the direct leader of the Exousiai. Anthroposophy, also called spiritual science, is a spiritual philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner,[1] which states that anyone who conscientiously cultivates sense-free thinking can attain experience of and insights into the spiritual world. ... Rudolf Steiner. ... According to medieval Christian theologians, the Angels are organized into several orders, or Angelic Choirs. ... Dionysius the Areopagite was the judge of the Areopagus who, as related in Acts, xvii, 34, was converted to Christianity by the preaching of Saint Paul. ... The Annunciation - the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear Jesus (El Greco, 1575) An angel is an ethereal being found in many religions, whose duties are to assist and serve God. ... An archangel is a supernatural being of Zoroastrian Persian, Judaic, Christian, and Islamic theology, counted among the angels. ... For other uses, see Yahweh (disambiguation). ... An Israelite is a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, descended from the twelve sons of the Biblical patriarch Jacob who was renamed Israel by God in the book of Genesis, 32:28 The Israelites were a group of Hebrews, as described in the Bible. ... Christ is the English term for the Greek word (Christós), which literally means The Anointed One. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... This article or section contains too many quotations for an encyclopedic entry. ...


Raelianism

The Raelian Movement translates 'Elohim' to "Those who come from the heavens" or "Those who come from the sky", keeping with the hypothesis that it is a plural form of 'Eloha', which would in turn mean, "He/She who comes from the heavens/sky". Raels first published book, the basis of the Raelian movement Raëlism is the belief system promoted by the Raëlian Movement, a religious organization which believes that scientifically advanced extraterrestrials known as the Elohim (derived from a Hebrew word appearing in the Torah) created life on Earth through...


Spirit and Truth

Elohim is the title for the communion of individuals of both genders to the Holy Creator by and through His will. The singular verb usage despite the plural noun is symbolic, it emphasizes communion to His will and authority. The spirit of the dead prophet Samuel being titularily referred to in this manner can be regarded as evidence of this. The Holy Creator did give us a Hebraic personal name for Himself which held meaning through linguistic connotations (Y-HW-H).

 -- John 4:24 

See also

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Ilah. ... Allah is the Arabic language word for God. ... This article is about the biblical text. ... A relational diagram describing the various versions postulated by the biblical documentary hypothesis. ... Ēl (אל) is a Northwest Semitic word and name translated into English as either god or God or left untranslated as El, depending on the context. ... Elohim City is a private community in Adair County, Oklahoma founded by Richard G. Millar in 1973. ... In the Levantine pantheon, the Elohim are the sons of El the ancient of days (olam) assembled on the divine holy place, Mount Zephon (Jebel Aqra). ... Ex nihilo is a Latin term meaning out of nothing. It is often used in conjunction with the term creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning creation out of nothing. Due to the nature of this, the term is often used in philosophical or creationistic arguments, as a number of... In Islamic context, an Ilah is the concept of a deity, lord or god and does not necessarily refer to Allah. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... At the bottom of the hands, the two letters on each hand combine to form יהוה (YHVH), the name of God. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Theophory in the Bible. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Hoffman, Joel M.. In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language. ISBN 0-8147-3654-8. 
  2. ^ Both Karel van der Toorn's and D. Pardee's claims are found in "Elohim", in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible ISBN 90-04-11119-0.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Elohim at AllExperts (1623 words)
Elohim is the third word in the Hebrew text of Genesis and occurs frequently throughout the Hebrew Bible.
Elohim has plural morphological form in Hebrew, but it is used with singular verbs and adjectives in the Hebrew text when the particular meaning of the God of Israel (a singular deity) is traditionally understood.
The meaning of Elohim is further complicated by the fact that it is used to describe the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel, raised by Saul in 1 Samuel 28:13.
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Elohim (1183 words)
It is a plural form, but "The usage of the language gives no support to the supposition that we have in the plural form Elohim, applied to the God of Israel, the remains of an early polytheism, or at least a combination with the higher spiritual beings" (Kautzsch).
Elohim is not found among all the Semitic races; the Aramaeans alone seem to have had an analogous form.
If we have recourse to the use of the word Elohim in the study of its meaning, we find that in its proper sense it denotes either the true God or false gods, and metaphorically it is applied to judges, angels, and kings; and even accompanies other nouns, giving them a superlative meaning.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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