NWT inserting Jehovah in the NT (discussing the "J" references)

by AuldSoul 36 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Leolaia

    Citing the "J documents" as part of a textual apparatus, on par with actual textual authorities, is probably the most amateurish aspect of the overall project (which at other times does reflect more responsible methodology), especially when the Society says that they "avoid overstepping the bounds of a translator into the field of exegesis" by only inserting "Jehovah" into the NT where the "Hebrew versions" do so as well. As if that makes it all right!

    As cabasilas indeed points out, the insertion of YHWH in some of the Hebrew translations reflects an aim to identify Jesus with YHWH, which -- while exceeding the text itself which uses kurios -- is rooted in the actual christological application of Yahwistic passages in the OT to Jesus in the NT. The Society however has exactly the opposite motive -- to distinguish Jesus from "Jehovah" as two separate beings. As a result, the insertion of "Jehovah" in the NT actually obscures the actual christological application of OT texts to Jesus in the various NT passages, for the typical Witness will read "Jehovah" as referring to the God the Father only even tho in the original Greek kurios was used with both and NT writers freely applied OT kurios statements to Jesus, even if they originally referred to Yahweh. As a result, a JW can easily miss the whole point of a passage because he or she will think it applies not to Jesus but to someone else. A case in point is Romans 10 which becomes nonsensical when read in a way that does not identify "Jehovah" with Jesus.

    The Society also does not limit themselves to quotations from the OT, as they imply. For instance, Jude 14-15 is not a quotation from the OT but rather from 1 Enoch 1:9, which had no name or title in this passage at all (rather it has the inflection for the pronoun "he").

  • SirNose586

    Good topic. I would be interested in reading up more on the matter so that I have some foundation when/if I argue that putting YHWH into the NT is erroneous.

  • JeffT

    1 Corinthians 12:3

    Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "JesusisLord," except by the Holy Spirit.

    If they had followed there own rules this would read "no one can say that Jesus is Jehovah except by the Holy Spirit."

    Obviously they had to leave that one out.

  • Leolaia

    JeffT....Interestingly, this is what the Society says about that verse:

    *** w60 5/15 p. 320 Questions from Readers ***

    The word ky'rios without the definite article is thus used also in 1 Corinthians 12:3. There in the Greek text the same expression occurs as in Philippians 2:11, namely, KYRIOS YESOUS. In both texts the Greek word ky'rios is a title by which a person of a certain name is to be addressed. Hence it would be wrong, in fact ridiculous, to render that expression KYRIOS YESOUS "Jehovah Jesus." None of the Hebrew translations render it "Jehovah Jesus," but recognize the Greek word ky'rios there as a title and hence use the Hebrew word Adon, meaning Lord, instead of the name Jehovah.

    Remember, the Society uses the "Hebrew translations" as an authority to justify their use of "Jehovah" in the NT. But this claim above is not true. The translation dubbed by the Society J 14 indeed has YHWH in 1 Corinthians 12:3 (i.e. l-yshw` yhwh "Jehovah Jesus"). Oops, must've missed that one!

  • frankiespeakin


    None of the Hebrew translations render it "Jehovah Jesus,"

    I think they are pretty sloppy researchers, leave it to you to find it!

  • Narkissos

    Re: Shem-Tob, the most remarkable fact is that it significantly differs from all the extant forms of the Greek text of Matthew, so it is not a mere middle-ages translation. It is a distinct edition of the text which likely predates the 14th century and, according to some, mightdate to ancient Jewish-Christian tradition. Of course the advocates of an "original" Hebrew or Aramaic Matthew push it in their direction -- which, as ever, implies explaining the Greek Markan substract of Matthew away.

    Anyway, as far as the NWT is concerned, suffice to say that there is no point in using Shem-Tob's Hebrew Matthew to "correct" a considerably different Greek text on just one issue, namely kurios vs. yhwh. If Shem-Tob reflects the "original" then all the Greek tradition leading to Westcott & Hort should be criticised throughout the Gospel, and the NWT of Matthew should be vastly different from what it is. If it does not, it is no authority at all -- it is not relevant to textual criticism of the Greek text which the NWT retains.


  • TheListener

    I believe there are also several instances where the 'j documents' use YHWH where the society doesn't quote them. I'm pretty sure JSchwem (spelling?) posted some about this a year or two ago. I will look for his posts and link the thread, if I can figure it out.

    This is one of those things that blew me away when I first learned it. I went from high and mighty and smarter than thou to embarrassed, duped and foolish.

  • AuldSoul
    Narkissos: If Shem-Tob reflects the "original" then all the Greek tradition leading to Westcott & Hort should be criticised throughout the Gospel, and the NWT of Matthew should be vastly different from what it is. If it does not, it is no authority at all -- it is not relevant to textual criticism of the Greek text which the NWT retains.

    And still, using Shem-Tob as an authoritative basis relative to the NT could only affect the gospel of Matthew. The many other J references are plainly admitting translation from Greek into Hebrew. The translators of the other works interpretively chose when to replace other Greek words with the name YHWH in the text, and only remove the question of why they chose to do so from the WTS to themselves.

    There is no basis for doing so, and such replacements are not translations of the text into Hebrew. So, it basically amounts to using known mistranslation from Greek into Hebrew to justify knowing mistranslation from Greek into English. Except in the case of Shem-Tob, which, as you stated either is or is not a more original authority on the gospel of Matthew. If it is then Matthew should read very differently in English.


  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    I hope the GB is reading this thread. They could learn a little here. I am constantly amazed the number of posters to this board with such a wealth of insight and understanding of issues such as textual translation. I appreciate your efforts and explanations.


  • Narkissos

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