The Wikipedia article on 'Chinese names for the God of Abrahamic religions' claims that:

Protestants originally rendered [the Tetragrammaton] as Yéhuǒhuá (爺火華, literally "(old) Gentleman of Fiery Magnificence," cf. English "Jehovah").

I would love to know if this were true, because it sounds quite strange and funny at the same time. However, there are no specific citations for this claim, and I can't find from basic googling any English language information backing up this claim. (I don't speak a word of Chinese, so it's possible there's ample evidence on the Sinophone internet that I haven't seen) Is this actually true?

1 Answer 1


In the Chinese translation of the Bible, L-RD is called “耶和華”, pronounced from "Ye He Hua", it's directly derived from the Hebrew word יהוה"YHWH" Just the literal meaning of characters, 耶 has not much meaning, while 和 means peace, 華 means Chinese.

But most of the time when a foreign word is translated to Chinese, the characters don't have significant meanings. While negative characters are avoided, neutral characters are popular in the translation of names. In the translation of Hebrew and Greek Bible to Chinese, as much as I know, the Chinese version of names are preferably transliterated from Hebrew.

For example,

  • Moses - 摩西 "mo shi" - משה "moshe"
  • Jesus - 耶穌 "ye su" - ישוע "yeshua"
  • John - 約翰 "yue han" - יוחנן "yokhanan"
  • Joshua - 約書亞 "yue shu ya" = יהושע "yohushua"

The "J" in Biblical English names are usually "׳" (yod) in Hebrew, pronounced as "i".

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