As we have seen, the move to the center (both religiously and geographically, since Prague is much closer to the heart of the Hapsburg Empire than the Polish city of Chelm) was a spectacular success. For nearly a quarter of a century after Grimm’s report there is no written record of any specific ecotype of the Golem legend, and one could imagine countless variants circulating orally. But once the tale is fixed in Prague, it quickly becomes the standard reflex and ultimately the authoritative version through Weisel, dominating the next six decades until it is swallowed up by Rosenberg’s more fully developed Prague narratives.26 That the attachment of Grimm’s uprooted Golem to the Maharal is in large part an attempt to emphasize the power of the holy word is evident in one of the main differences between Jewish and Christian accounts of the Golem in this period. All Christian accounts follow Grimm in identifying the utterance of holy words as the key to the animation process. The Jewish versions, on the other hand, emphasize the act of writing the secret name and inserting it into a cavity of the head (usually the mouth), an act which by definition defies pronunciation. It is not a magical spell that brings the Golem to life; it is an act of literacy, that is, an act of reading, studying, and writing, which are all meditations on the nature of God. This act strongly distances itself from the conjuring power of the words used by Grimm’s anonymous ‘‘they,’’ where ‘‘Schemhamphoras’’ is more like abracadabra.27 Moreover this act of literacy is about rewriting or reclaiming the creation in Eden by transferring the divine voice into the written form of the divine name. It would seem, then, that only a rabbi with a specific name can control the Holy Name. Man might not be able to speak for God, but he can quote him on parchment.
I don’t know how necessarily fair it is to say/imply that Christians emphasized the speaking of the word/oral traditions, when it was a Jewish concept in the book of Exodus that names spoken aloud have power (God to Moses).
There’s also likely something to be said about the word “nephesh” but I’m too lazy to get into an argument requiring research right now.