Interested one, since both her and I were all over the place, we decided to stick to one subject.
We chose, for the time being, to "study together" about whether or not Jehovah should be used to refer to God, as opposed to Yahweh, or LORD etc, and if that has any bearing on the accuracy of bible translations.
This will probably not be a topic that will lead to her doubting the WTS, or help to get her out, but hopefully it will help me further strengthen the impression I am trying to put across, that I am curious and want to learn.
At best I might be able to get her to realise the NWT is biased translation. Taking baby steps, like I said at the start of this thread, she knows I'm an atheist, so I am trying to make it seem like I'm slowly giving into curiousity.
If anyone has any particularly interesting info on this particular topic, I'm all ears.
Interested one, since both her and I were all over the place, we decided to stick to one subject.
Tuber - I agree with your approach of one topic at a time. As an aside, although it's probably best if you don't tell her you know this, her response about Babylon the Great was quoted directly from WT literature without providing you with a reference. This should give you a clue that she probably doesn't even realize what plagiarism is or how to recognize when the WT does it. The phrases she used are verbatim from the WT booklet "What Does The Bible Really Teach?"
Here is a link to it on the WT Website. She pulled the phrases from paragraphs 4 & 5.
Regarding the name "Jehovah," I will go through their book of canned responses called "Reasoning From The Scriptures" and see if I find any that seem relevant to your current topic of study with her. This is only for your background to get a sense of what she might say. The best thing to do is follow the advice Black Sheep gave in earlier posts. Pay close attention to exactly what he said and make sure you understand what he is getting at.
@Interested: I guess you are referring to Black Sheep's comment about not changing the subject unless it leads towards her shooting herself in the foot?
Also, Yeah, I saw something very similar to that response she gave- on the watchtower website, so I know she was just parroting JW literature.
As for going through that book for me, thanks a lot. I need to get round to obtaining a copy of the watchtower library, scans of the literature they no longer like to circulate etc...
@Interested: Ah- sorry, I read your post with blinding speed (haha), and thought you were talking about her response to the name issue, since she also pulled that straight from the site/ a book. Didn't realise the whole bible teach book was online, that will be a very good resource, thanks for the link.
Here are some excerpts from the WT book "Reasoning From The Scriptures" that JW's use to respond to questions. I included a couple of my own notes.
Definition: The personal name of the only true God. His own self-designation. Jehovah is the Creator and, rightfully, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. “Jehovah” is translated from the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, (Tetragram) , which means “He Causes to Become.” These four Hebrew letters are represented in many languages by the letters JHVH or YHWH.
(My note: It might be worth checking "He Causes to Become." Perhaps it is correct, but I haven't checked. I seem to recall hearing other meanings.)
(. . . skipped first section . . .)
Why do many Bible translations not use the personal name of God or use it only a few times?
The preface of the Revised Standard Version explains: “For two reasons the Committee has returned to the more familiar usage of the King James Version: (1) the word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew; and (2) the use of any proper name for the one and only God, as though there were other gods from whom he had to be distinguished, was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.” (Thus their own view of what is appropriate has been relied on as the basis for removing from the Holy Bible the personal name of its Divine Author, whose name appears in the original Hebrew more often than any other name or any title. They admittedly follow the example of the adherents of Judaism, of whom Jesus said: “You have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition.”—Matt. 15:6.)
Translators who have felt obligated to include the personal name of God at least once or perhaps a few times in the main text, though not doing so every time it appears in Hebrew, have evidently followed the example of William Tyndale, who included the divine name in his translation of the Pentateuch published in 1530, thus breaking with the practice of leaving the name out altogether.
(My note on the next section about the “Christian Greek Scriptures”: JW’s believe the original New Testament writings, although we don’t have them to check, had “Jehovah” where the NWT uses it, although the earliest extant copies do not have it. They believe that the NWT translators have restored the use of the name in places where it was lost by the tampering of apostate Christendom's scribes. This makes me ask what else apostate Christendom's scribes tampered with and why a person should trust the other things in the copies of the New Testament we currently have. Note the statement on the WT website at http://www.watchtower.org/e/na/article_06.htm which reads, “ Did something happen to the text of the Christian Greek Scriptures before the fourth century that resulted in the omission of God's name? The facts prove that something did.”)
Was the name Jehovah used by the inspired writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures?
Jerome, in the fourth century, wrote: “Matthew, who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed.” (De viris inlustribus, chap. III) This Gospel includes 11 direct quotations of portions of the Hebrew Scriptures where the Tetragrammaton is found. There is no reason to believe that Matthew did not quote the passages as they were written in the Hebrew text from which he quoted.
Other inspired writers who contributed to the contents of the Christian Greek Scriptures quoted hundreds of passages from the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Many of these passages included the Hebrew Tetragrammaton right in the Greek text of early copies of the Septuagint. In harmony with Jesus’ own attitude regarding his Father’s name, Jesus’ disciples would have retained that name in those quotations.—Compare John 17:6, 26.
In Journal of Biblical Literature, George Howard of the University of Georgia wrote: “We know for a fact that Greek-speaking Jews continued to write (Tetragram) within their Greek Scriptures. Moreover, it is most unlikely that early conservative Greek-speaking Jewish Christians varied from this practice. Although in secondary references to God they probably used the words [God] and [Lord], it would have been extremely unusual for them to have dismissed the Tetragram from the biblical text itself. . . . Since the Tetragram was still written in the copies of the Greek Bible which made up the Scriptures of the early church, it is reasonable to believe that the N[ew] T[estament] writers, when quoting from Scripture, preserved the Tetragram within the biblical text. . . . But when it was removed from the Greek O[ld] T[estament], it was also removed from the quotations of the O[ld] T[estament] in the N[ew] T[estament]. Thus somewhere around the beginning of the second century the use of surrogates [substitutes] must have crowded out the Tetragram in both Testaments.”—Vol. 96, No. 1, March 1977, pp. 76, 77.
Which form of the divine name is correct — Jehovah or Yahweh?
No human today can be certain how it was originally pronounced in Hebrew. Why not? Biblical Hebrew was originally written with only consonants, no vowels. When the language was in everyday use, readers easily provided the proper vowels. In time, however, the Jews came to have the superstitious idea that it was wrong to say God’s personal name out loud, so they used substitute expressions. Centuries later, Jewish scholars developed a system of points by which to indicate which vowels to use when reading ancient Hebrew, but they put the vowels for the substitute expressions around the four consonants representing the divine name. Thus the original pronunciation of the divine name was lost.
Many scholars favor the spelling “Yahweh,” but it is uncertain and there is not agreement among them. On the other hand, “Jehovah” is the form of the name that is most readily recognized, because it has been used in English for centuries and preserves, equally with other forms, the four consonants of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton.
J. B. Rotherham, in The Emphasised Bible, used the form Yahweh throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. However, later in his Studies in the Psalms he used the form “Jehovah.” He explained: “JEHOVAH—The employment of this English form of the Memorial name . . . in the present version of the Psalter does not arise from any misgiving as to the more correct pronunciation, as being Yahwéh; but solely from practical evidence personally selected of the desirability of keeping in touch with the public ear and eye in a matter of this kind, in which the principal thing is the easy recognition of the Divine name intended.”—(London, 1911), p. 29.
After discussing various pronunciations, German professor Gustav Friedrich Oehler concluded: “From this point onward I use the word Jehovah, because, as a matter of fact, this name has now become more naturalized in our vocabulary, and cannot be supplanted.”—Theologie des Alten Testaments, second edition (Stuttgart, 1882), p. 143.
Jesuit scholar Paul Joüon states: “In our translations, instead of the (hypothetical) form Yahweh, we have used the form Jéhovah . . . which is the conventional literary form used in French.”—Grammaire de l’hébreu biblique (Rome, 1923), footnote on p. 49.
Most names change to some extent when transferred from one language to another. Jesus was born a Jew, and his name in Hebrew was perhaps pronounced Ye·shu′a?, but the inspired writers of the Christian Scriptures did not hesitate to use the Greek form of the name, I·e·sous′. In most other languages the pronunciation is slightly different, but we freely use the form that is common in our tongue. The same is true of other Bible names. How, then, can we show proper respect for the One to whom the most important name of all belongs? Would it be by never speaking or writing his name because we do not know exactly how it was originally pronounced? Or, rather, would it be by using the pronunciation and spelling that are common in our language, while speaking well of its Owner and conducting ourselves as his worshipers in a manner that honors him?
Why is it important to know and use God’s personal name?
Do you have a close relationship with anyone whose personal name you do not know? For people to whom God is nameless he is often merely an impersonal force, not a real person, not someone that they know and love and to whom they can speak from the heart in prayer. If they do pray, their prayers are merely a ritual, a formalistic repetition of memorized expressions.
True Christians have a commission from Jesus Christ to make disciples of people of all nations. When teaching these people, how would it be possible to identify the true God as different from the false gods of the nations? Only by using His personal name, as the Bible itself does.—Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 8:5, 6.
Ex. 3:15: “God said . . . to Moses: ‘This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel , “Jehovah the God of your forefathers . . . has sent me to you.” This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.’”
Isa. 12:4: “Give thanks to Jehovah, you people! Call upon his name. Make known among the peoples his dealings. Make mention that his name is put on high.”
Ezek. 38:17, 23: “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘ . . . And I shall certainly magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known before the eyes of many nations; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.’”
Mal. 3:16: “Those in fear of Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance began to be written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.”
John 17:26: “[Jesus prayed to his Father:] I have made your name known to them [his followers] and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.”
Acts 15:14 : “Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.”
@ Interested, thanks for that huge post, reading through it now.
BTW, I fixed the lack of spacing in the copy/paste. For some reason, copying from MS Word to this editor results in that spacing problem. Hope it's more readable now.
Hmmm, my browser seems to be bugging out, your post has been replaced with "endif" and some random punctuation, and the bottom of the page refuse to load even on refresh, had to use the "post reply" button at the top just to post this... wonder what's going on.
I'm using Firefox, what are you using?
Are you still having trouble getting that post to display?