Nehemia Gordon’s book, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence is fact-filled and engaging. I could hardly put it down once I started it. The book is written in a very inviting and personal manner, carrying the reader along for the discovery of a lifetime. The book claims to uncover an ancient conspiracy of silence around pronouncing the name of God. The evidence for a suppression of pronouncing the name is progressively shown and in the process, the true pronunciation is revealed.
From the traditional site of Mount Sinai to the university classroom, to the battlefields where the Yom Kippur War was fought, the reader will feel as if he is part of the re-discovery of a well kept secret. Nehemia explores Rabbinic writings and two of the most cherished copies of the Ancient Hebrew Bible, the Leningrad Codex and the Allepo Codex in his search for textual proof of the pronunciation of what has been referred to as the Shem HaMeforash (the unequivocal name).
The book answers many questions and objections along the way. Advocates of competing pronunciations have presented various arguments for their preferred pronunciation. Each of these points is addressed in Nehemia’s book. For example:
- Is the third letter in the four-lettered name best represented by a “V” of a “W”?
- Were the “vowels” for Adonai inserted producing an impossible word?
- Was the true pronunciation only used by the High Priest on Yom Kippur?
The implications of this evidence are far reaching. When did the suppression begin, and for what purpose? Nehemia writes that as he searched for answers, he “was willing to adjust his assumptions to fit the historical and Scriptural facts.” And his quest led him to do just that.
Central to this book is an ancient Hebrew blessing consisting of 15 words. It is commonly called the Priestly Blessing. Found in the book of Numbers (6:22-27), this three part blessing was to be pronounced over the children of Israel (see also Deuteronomy 21:5). In each part of the blessing the name of God is included. The purpose of the blessing? To place the name upon them! But countless times this blessing has been pronounced over the ages without the name of the God that could bring that blessing – all because of a Conspiracy of Silence. A conspiracy that is shattered in this book, unleashing the power of the priestly blessing.
I highly encourage all students of Scripture to read this powerful story. It is respectful, but unyielding when it comes to sharing the truth. The book is bold and biblical. It holds no punches. In the end it comes down to each of us. Will we be willing to adjust our own assumptions to fit the historical and Scriptural facts or will we be part of the ongoing conspiracy of silence?
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The book is available in Kindle and paperback.
Nehemia Gordon holds a Masters Degree in Biblical Studies and a Bachelors Degree in Archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has worked as a translator on the Dead Sea Scrolls and as a researcher deciphering ancient Hebrew manuscripts. A prominent figure in the Karaite Jewish community, Gordon has written two popular books on the Hebrew origins of Christianity and is active in interfaith dialogue. Gordon speaks at synagogues and churches around the world and leads groups of pilgrims and visitors on tours of biblical sites.