“Traditional and revolutionary ... I couldn't put it down.”
- Rabbi Naomi Levy
“Has the potential to change our entire understanding of the past.”
- Rabbi Dr. Kerry Olitzky
“May just be the most interesting thing written about God
since the Jews figured out there was only One.”
- Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
The God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam was understood by its earliest worshippers to be a dual-gendered, male-female deity. So argues Mark Sameth in The Name. Needless to say, this is no small claim. Half the people on the planet are followers of one of the three Abrahamic religions. The author’s evidence, however, is compelling and his case meticulously constructed.
The Hebrew name of God—YHWH—has not been uttered in public for over two thousand years. Some thought the lost pronunciation was “Jehovah” or “Yahweh.” But Sameth traces THE NAME to the late Bronze Age and argues that it was expressed Hu-Hi—Hebrew for “He-She.” Among Jewish mystics, we learn, this has long been an open secret.
What are the implications for us today if “he” was not God?
About The Name
About the Author
Named “one of America’s most inspiring rabbis” by The Forward (inaugural list, 2013), Rabbi Mark Sameth (he/him/his) is featured in Jennifer Berne and R. O. Blechman’s God: 48 Famous and Fascinating Minds Talk about God. His interfaith work was the topic of a story in The New York Times. His essays appear in books published by Jossey Bass, Jewish Lights, CCAR Press, and New Paradigm Matrix, and in Reform Judaism Magazine, Journal of Jewish Education, CCAR Journal, and the New York Times (“Is God Transgender?” Op-Ed, August 12, 2016). He tweets from @fourbreaths.
What people are saying about The Name
“Rabbi Mark Sameth takes us on a thrilling journey shrouded in mystery into the very heart of faith. The Name is traditional and revolutionary, historical and mythical, rational and mystical. I couldn't put it down. This book is a blessing you will want to share with your friends, a work that will open you up to new and healing visions of God, of self, of humanity and of our world.”
– Rabbi Naomi Levy, founder and leader of Nashuva in Los Angeles and the author of three books, including Einstein and the Rabbi.
“This is the freshest thinking that I have come across in nearly forty years as a rabbi. Rabbi Sameth has given us a rare glimpse into what our ancestors considered Gd essentially to be. His work is a great contribution to Jewish rabbinic thinking—and for those practitioners who see Judaism as key to the mystical world. This insight into our understanding the theological worldview of the rabbis is revolutionary. It has the potential to change our entire understanding of the past.”
- Rabbi Dr. Kerry Olitzky, former national Dean of Adult Jewish Learning and Living of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Executive Director of Big Tent Judaism, and the author of over seventy-five books including, with co-author Leonard Kravitz, Book of Job.
“A Jewish Da Vinci Code, except it’s about the meaning of life; and it’s true! Sameth reveals a secret hidden within the very Name of God. He weaves history, Bible, theology, Kabbalah, linguistics into a teaching about the nature of sexuality and the Holy One of Being. Indeed, this may just be the most interesting thing written about God since the Jews figured out there was only One. (After Sameth, the Shema will never be the same!)”
-Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Emanu-El Scholar at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco, and the author of over a dozen books of Kabbalah and Jewish spirituality, and a novel, Kabbalah: A Love Story.
"A fascinating, captivating excursion into the mystical realm; its goal, to bridge religions, is most worthwhile, noble and needed."
- Rabbi Avram Mlotek, Co-Founder and Spiritual Director, Base Hillel
"The Name is riveting, provocative, and intensely thought-provoking.”
- Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, author of Remix Judaism.
Podcasts and Videocasts
Conversations about The Name
"The Rabbi's Neighborhood." Rabbi Sameth in conversation about levels of association and The Name with Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz.
“Containing Multitudes.” Rabbi Sameth in conversation about the invention of vowels and The Name with Professor Joy Ladin.
“Torah Talk.” Rabbi Sameth in conversation about a difficult passage of Torah and The Name with Shmuel Rosner.
rabbisameth at gma il
© 2020 by Mark Sameth