Names of God

Names of God, or Holy Names, describe a form of addressing God present in liturgy or prayer of various world religions. Prayer involving the Holy Name or the Name of God has become a part of both Western and Eastern spiritual practices. A number of traditions have lists of many names of God, many of which enumerate the various qualities of the Supreme Being.

The English word "God" is used by multiple religions as a noun or name to refer to different deities.

Ancient cognate equivalents for the word "God" include proto-Semitic el, Hebrew elohim (God or/of gods), Arabic 'ilah (a or the God), and Biblical Aramaic 'Elaha (God). The personal or proper name for God in many of these languages may either be distinguished from such attributes, or homonymic. For example, in Judaism the Holy Name is sometimes related to the ancient Hebrew ehyeh (I am). In Hinduism the term Brahman or Parabrahman is often used, while, in other cases, the proper name for a deity is given special significance as a true name of God or incorporated from earlier beliefs, as in the case of the Native American appellation Gitche Manitou.

Correlation between various theories and interpretation of the Name of God, used to signify a monotheistic or ultimate Supreme Being from which all other divine attributes derive, has been a subject of ecumenical discourse between Eastern and Western scholars for over two centuries. In Christian theology the word must be a personal and a proper name of God; hence it cannot be dismissed as mere metaphor. On the other hand, the names of God in a different tradition are sometimes referred to by symbols. The question whether divine names used by different religions are equivalent has been raised and analyzed. See also Taboos below.

Exchange of names held sacred between different religious traditions is typically limited. Other elements of religious practice may be shared, especially when communities of different faiths are living in close proximity (for example, the use of Om and Gayatri within the Indian Christian community) but usage of the names themselves mostly remain within the domain of a particular religion, or even may help define one's religious belief according to practice, as in the case of the recitation of names of God (such as the japa). The Divine Names, the classic treatise by Pseudo-Dionysius, defines the scope of traditional understandings in Western traditions such as Hellenic, Christian, Jewish and Islamic theology on the nature and significance of the names of God. Further historical lists such as The 72 Names of the Lord show parallels in the history and interpretation of the Name of God amongst Kabbalah, Christianity, and Hebrew scholarship in various parts of the Mediterranean world.

One definition of the Name of God was given by Elisha Mulford as "that name which passes into the common forms of thought". The author states that in its derivation, it may have an ethical significance. Other writers suggest that the "name of God represents the nature of God". The attitude as to the transmission of the Name in many cultures was surrounded by secrecy. In Judaism, the pronunciation of the Name of God has always been guarded with great care. It is believed that, in ancient times, the sages communicated the pronunciation only once every seven years; this system was challenged by more recent movements.

The nature of a holy name can be described as either personal or attributive. In many cultures it is often difficult to distinguish between the personal and the attributive names of God, the two divisions necessarily shading into each other.

Read more about Names Of God:  Abrahamic Religions, African Religions, Taboos, Literature and Fiction

Other articles related to "names of god, god, names, name":

God In The Bahá'í Faith - Names of God
... The Bahá'í scriptures often refer to God by various titles and attributes, such as Almighty, All-Powerful, All-Wise, Incomparable, Gracious, Helper ... Baha'is believe the greatest of all the names of God is "All-Glorious" or Bahá in Arabic ... Bahá is the root word of the following names and phrases the greeting Alláh-u-Abhá (God is the All-Glorious), the invocation Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá (O Thou ...
Names Of God - Literature and Fiction
... Names of God in Old English poetry Aigonz is the word for God in the lingua ignota of Hildegard of Bingen ... Eru Ilúvatar (also Ëu), a name of the one, God in Quenya, a fictional language invented by J ... "The Nine Billion Names of God", a short story by Arthur C ...

Famous quotes containing the words names of, god and/or names:

    The pangs of conscience, where are the pangs of conscience? Orestes and Clytemnestra, Reinhold doesn’t even know the names of those fine folk. He simply hopes, heartily and sincerely, that Franz is dead as a doornail and won’t be found.
    Alfred Döblin (1878–1957)

    Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    Bible: New Testament, Philippians 2:9.

    I have known a German Prince with more titles than subjects, and a Spanish nobleman with more names than shirts.
    Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774)