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There are many names given to the divine. Some of the names are used in approximately the same sense (e.g., when a Catholic uses both "God" and "the Holy Trinity"), but for the most part, the names mark important differences in meaning. Positivists (e.g., advocates of LogicalEmpiricism?) should take note that a robust theory of the meaning of ReligiousLanguage?, however dismissive, ought to be able to account, in some fashion, for these differences in meaning. Among the names used, or ways to refer to the divine, are the following; there are both generic words given for the divine being(s), as well as specific names (used by analogy to names for particular individuals or things) for the divine used in particular religions.

Generic names for the divine being(s): GoD (GodCapitalized?), god (i.e., GodUncapitalized?), GodDess?, GodS?, DeIty?, deities

Names for specific conceptions of god: YahWeh?, JeHovah?, JesusChrist?, the HolyTrinity, TheGodhead?, Him, He who is called "I am," AllAh?, KrishNa?, BuddHa; then there are the many names for the many different gods of polytheistic religions, e.g., ZeuS, JupiTer?, OdIn?, and SiVa. In old persia the name of the sun god was shamash (or sha.mash). According to the old sources his sister "Ishtar" (AKA "Ianna") represented the goddess of the moon. In some narrations the both of them were mixed up, so Ishtar was the goddess of the sun and shamash was the god of the moon. Shamash -being the sun god- was the first to be pictured with a sort of corona. In a later time the christian religion adapted this kind of image when the holy saints got their gloriole.

[Please add to this list, and if you feel ambitious, give a brief gloss on each. Although, this could be dangerous. There's an old SuPerstition? that the world will end if ever all the names of G-d are written down.]

The name of God is very important in Judaism; some Jewish believers hold that the name of God is not to be used except in certain special circumstances. (Anyone know more about this? Do tell.) They generally write "G-d" to avoid blasphemy. I think this stems from the Third Commandment in Exodus 20: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain." This basically means unless you are actually adressing Him, you should not say His name.

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Last edited February 11, 2001 2:13 pm by TormodMacDomhnall (diff)