Norwegian version

Porsgrunn east side


(This church is now totally destroyed due to fire)

At the east side church in Porsgrunn (from 1760 CE), the Divine Name is not written the way we usually see it. Behind the altarpiece there are two large statues that represents Aaron and Moses. If you walk right beside the statue of Moses, you can se that he is holding a stone slab with extractions of the ten commandments.

On this slab we can find God's name written with the spelling YeYa (in Hebrew: ). On top of the name it is drawn a symbol that looks like the symbol for infinity.

The spelling YY can be due to a confusion between the Hebrew letters Y and W. God's name was often shortened to YH, YW or just Y, in Hebrew writings. In writings found in Qumran you can see that the Hebrew letters Y and W are easy to confuse. The spelling YY is probably a misreading of the shortened spelling YW. After some time this spelling was also written YYY or YWY, or even YYYY. A papyrus of the Bible, from the third century CE has been found, where the Divine Name is written YY.

(In the syntax YeYa, YY is kethib, while e and a is qere drawn from the Aramaic word SHeMa which means 'the name'.)

(Click on the pictures to enlarge)




It seems like the person who made this slab didn't know the Hebrew language himself, because some places the same letter is written different ways.

For example in the second last line it looks like the line begins with the letters waw-resh-waw-resh, but it shoud read zayin-khaf-waw-resh. The last letter written on the last line, should actually be two letters, yod-khaf.

The following is written on the slab, translated into English:
I YHWH your God... (The first words in the opening of the ten comm.)
You shall not have... (The beginning of the first commandment)
You shall not carry the name YHWH... (The beginning of the third
        commandment, about not carrying the name YHWH in a
        blasphemous way)
Remember the day of the Sabbath... (The beginning of the fourth comm.)
Honor your father... (The beginning the the fifth commandment)

(Notice that they have left out the second commandment with the prohibition of making any picture for worship)