2018-02Forum
An Explanation of the Plural Form of God’s Name

Abstract:

God’s name “Elohim,” common in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition, is always used with verbs in the singular even though it is in the plural form. It is shown here that the ungrammatical usage can be seen as the best solution to a natural problem. Namely, tradition assumes that it should be impossible to talk about a general category of gods within which the one God could be located. The best and perhaps the only way to prevent the implicit pluralization of the unique God is to put his name in plural even though it is intended to be used as if it were singular. One cannot form the plural form of the name that is already grammatically plural! Surprisingly, this explanation seems to have been considered by neither classical nor modern commentators.

Keywords:

Elohim, God’s name, Hebrew Bible, Judaism, Biblical criticism, Jewish philosophy

How to cite:

Krajewski, Stanisław. “An Explanation of the Plural Form of God’s Name.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 2, no. 2(4) (2018): 115–121. https://doi.org/10.26319/4720.

Author:

Stanisław Krajewski
Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw

References:

Cohen, Hermann. Religion of Reason Out of the Sources of Judaism. Translated by Simon Kaplan. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995.

Hertz, Joseph H. Pentateuch and Haftorahs. London: Soncino Press, 1981.

Maimonides, Moses. The Guide for the Perplexed. Translated by Michael Friedlander. 1904. “en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Guide_for_the_Perplexed_(Friedlander).”

Meir, Ephraim. Interreligious Theology: Its Value and Mooring in Modern Jewish Philosophy. Berlin/Boston, Jerusalem: De Gruyter, Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2015.

Meir, Ephraim. Becoming Interreligious: Towards a Dialogical Theology from a Jewish Vantage Point. Münster: Waxmann Verlag, 2017.

Schwarzschild, Steven. “The Title of Herman Cohen’s ‘Religion of Reason Out of the Sources of Judaism.” In Hermann Cohen Religion of Reason Out of the Sources of Judaism.

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