HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — The God of the three Abrahamic, monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — was understood by its earliest worshippers to be a dual-gendered deity. So argues Mark Sameth in The Name: A History of the Dual-Gendered Hebrew Name for God (Wipf & Stock, May 5, 2020).
It’s an audacious claim. But Sameth is not the first one to make it. A Vatican librarian proposed the same hypothesis in a work banned by the Vatican in the nineteenth century — a story Sameth recounts in a coda to The Name.
Some guessed the divine name YHWH was pronounced Yahweh or Jehovah. But Sameth says it was pronounced Hu-Hi, Hebrew for “He-She.” Women, gender rights activists, progressive religionists, and so-called “nones” (spiritual-but-not-religious) should all find The Name of particular interest.
CCAR Journal (the peer-reviewed quarterly of the Central Conference of American Rabbis) published Sameth’s first essay on the topic, “Who is He? He is She” in 2008. In 2016, The New York Times published his Op-Ed “Is God Transgender?” In 2020, The Name is being praised by some of America’s most influential rabbis: “The Name is traditional and revolutionary, historical and mythical, rational and mystical. I couldn’t put it down.” – Rabbi Naomi Levy, author, most recently of Einstein and the Rabbi. “Has the potential to change our entire understanding of the past” – Rabbi Dr. Kerry Olitzky, author, most-recently with Leonard Kravitz of Book of Job. “May just be the most interesting thing written about God since the Jews figured out there was only One” – Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author, most recently of Kabbalah: A Love Story.
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 God: 48 Famous and Fascinating Minds Talk About God by Berne and Blechman. His essays appear in books published by Jewish Lights, CCAR Press, Jossey Bass, and New Paradigm Matrix; and in Reform Judaism Magazine, Journal of Jewish Education, CCAR Journal, and The New York Times.
The Name: A History of the Dual-Gendered Hebrew Name for God by Mark Sameth | Wipf & Stock, May 5, 2020 | Available for pre-order now | 175 pages | Hardcover $44 ISBN 978-1-5326-9384-7 | Paperback $24 ISBN 978-1-5326-9383-0 | E-book $9.99 ISBN 978-1-5326-9385-4 | For press kit email: [email protected] | For review copy email: [email protected] |