"Yahweh" is the proper name of God in the Hebrew Bible, where it is written as four consonants (YHWH), called the tetragrammaton, the actual pronunciation of which is still debated. Jews ceased to use the name in the Greco-Roman period, replacing it with the common noun Elohim, “god”, to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel's God over all others; at the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered, and was replaced in spoken ritual by the word Adonai (“My Lord”), or with haShem (“the Name”) in everyday speech. From about the 6th to the 10th century, it is believed that Jewish scholars used the vowel signs of the Hebrew words Adonai or Elohim as the vowels for YHWH, producing the name Jehovah (YeHoWaH), and this was adopted by Christian scholars after the Renaissance.
In the 19th century the eminent Hebrew scholar Wilhelm Gesenius (1786–1842) suggested "Yahweh" as the most probable vocalization, based on his study of early Greek transcriptions, theophoric names, and the reported pronunciation of the name in the Samaritan tradition. As a result, 19th and 20th centuries biblical scholars began to use the form Yahweh and it became the conventional usage in biblical scholarship.