Original Research

Translating the Hebrew Name יהוה into the Yoruba language of Nigeria in the Yoruba Bible

David T. Adamo
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 1 | a2410 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i1.2410 | © 2019 David T. Adamo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 September 2018 | Published: 30 July 2019

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David T. Adamo, Department of Old Testament and New Testament, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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Scholars are not unanimous about the correct pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, YHWH. The exact origin and meaning of the name have also been a subject of debate among scholars. Since translation is also interpretation, no one can give a correct translation of any word without knowing the actual meaning. While the Septuagint (LXX) translates the Hebrew word יהוה into Kurios, an English translation (New Revised Standard Version – NRSV) translates it as LORD. The translation of יהוה into the Yoruba language in the Yoruba Bible is Oluwa which I consider unacceptable. The purpose of this article is to propose the translation of the Hebrew יהוה to the most appropriate Yoruba name for the supreme God (Olodumare instead of Oluwa) which cannot be misunderstood by any Yoruba reader.


Old Testament; Yahweh; African traditional religion; Olodumare; Oluwa; Translation; Yoruba language


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