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SAGU alumnus and staff member featured in Dallas Theological Seminary's Bibliotheca Sacra
Manguno began research for the article "Accident or Acronomy: The Tetragrammaton in the Masoretic Text of Esther" in 2012 and submitted it to Bibliotecha Sacra in the beginning of 2013. It was evaluated through peer review until September of 2013, when Manguno was notified that the article had been approved. The final version of his work will be published this October.
"I decided to write this article because a friend of mine brought up the idea that there were acronyms spelling out the Hebrew name of God hidden in the text of Esther," Manguno said. "Through my research, I discovered that there was a gap in the scholarly literature about this topic, and I realized that this was a subject that was extremely interesting to me."
Manguno's article explains that the Book of Esther is the only text in the Hebrew Bible that does not directly contain "YHWH," the Hebrew spelling for Yahweh, the personal name for God, or one of its abbreviations. That fact has troubled many Bible scholars and translators throughout the centuries, causing some to question the book's divine inspiration.
However, in an effort to prove the texts’ divine origin, commentators over time have highlighted that when looking at the first or last letters of consecutive words in the Hebrew text, they have found that those letters spell out “YHWH.” The most widely recognized of these instances in Esther is Chapter 4, verse 5: "Yavo Hamelech V'Haman Hayom" -- Hebrew for "Let the king and Haman come today." Manguno set out to answer the question of whether or not these acrostics, like the one above, were deliberately placed.
"It would seem to defeat the author’s purpose of hinting that God is working behind the scenes if the author were to put such an obscure encryption into the written text." Manguno continued, "In addition, I argue that these occurrences are unintentional since the same 'acrostics' appear elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible where Yahweh is explicitly mentioned, and because this type of 'encoding' is not an officially recognized form of Hebrew wordplay."
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.