The Dyad of Four-Letter Divine Names in Early Kabbalah and Its Sources

Eugene D. Matanky, Adam Afterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyzes the organismic tandem of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) and the divine name Ehyeh as it appeared in the writings of early kabbalists and describes how they developed distinct strands of biblical, rabbinic, and medieval Jewish literature into a unique theosophical formulation of the Godhead in which the names Ehyeh and YHWH are of central importance and the primary expression of the divine. This examination illuminates how the early kabbalists developed a conception of the Godhead that followed the internal logic of central biblical verses as well as phonetic considerations, in contrast to the more arbitrary sefirotic emanation of the Godhead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-250
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Ehyeh
  • Nahmanides
  • Tetragrammaton
  • divine names
  • early Kabbalah
  • kabbalistic exegesis
  • theosophy


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