Yet another Septuagint manuscript using the divine name found

by slimboyfat 38 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Crazyguy

    The New Testaments says that Jesus name would be exalted above all others why? maybe Jah.,Yah, El, knew that his name had been corrupted and banned etc. so why not just forget about it and Exalt the name of the one you sent in your stead. 'This is the one I approve, listen to him'

  • slimboyfat

    Vidqun, have you got a link to this article or the picture that we used?

  • Vidqun

    No, I'll see whether I can trace it. It was in the late nineties or early in 2000. Here it is. I found it amongst my archives:

    In connection with Tetragrammaton in Origen's Hexapla:

    In the article "ORIGEN How Did His Teaching Affect the Church?" in The Watchtower of July 15, 2001, the author makes the following statement: "the Hexapla retained God's name in its original four-letter Hebrew form, called the Tetragrammaton." The subscript of the picture claims: "Origen's "Hexapla" shows that God's name was used in the Christian Greek Scriptures." This is misleading to say the least. Also strong doubts exist as to whether Origen had used the Tetragrammaton (=yhwh) in his Hexapla (which includes Aquila's version), as the following excerpt will prove:

    In Rabbinical writings the Tetragrammaton is also referred to as shm 'rbh` 'wthywth, “name of four letters”. This is confirmed by Jerome (ca. 400 CE): “The name of God is a tetragram, which they [the Jews] viewed as ineffable. It is written as Yodh, He, Waw, He. Those who did not understand this would pronounce them as PIPI when they read them in Greek books, because of their similarity to Greek letters" (cf. Epistula 25 ad Marcellum (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 54, 1919, p. 219). Afterwards Theodoret informs us that the Jews of his day (ca. 450 CE) refused to pronounce the Tetragrammaton.

    Concerning the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton the Talmud says: “I am pronounced not as I am written. I am written with yodh he (waw he), and I am pronounced as aleph daleth” (waw nun yodh i.e. 'ädhonây: Kid. 71a). Jewish scholars at the time admitted that letters yodh and he only constitute half the Tetragrammaton. Jerome’s written form, yodh he waw he (=yhwh), originates with the Hebrew consonantal text. The Hebrew quadriliteral yodh he yodh he = yhyh (origin of Greek quadriliteral II I II I or pipi) appears in some of the versions (e.g. Aquila’s Greek text). Jerome’s combination, taken from the consonantal text (on which the versions had been based), is by far the more reliable of the two (see article of R. Kittel in The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia (1908-12), vol. XII, p. 471).

    Where did the Hebrew quadriliteral YHYH originate? Here two explanations seem feasible, working in tandem to give rise to the form yhyh: 1) In some of the earlier MSS the Tetragrammaton had been written with archaic Hebrew letters. A clear distinction was made between yodh and waw. In later MSS the Tetragrammaton was written with Hebrew square letters. In some of these no discernable distinction is made between yodh and waw. a) In time, yodh and waw, occurring at the beginning of a word, are used alternatively (cf. primae Yôd of Gesenius-Kautzsch, p. 186); b) Later, according to R. Laird Harris, in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1999, c1980, in MH [ca. 200 BCE] a waw beginning a word or syllable would change to yodh (as in the pe-waw verbs and the verbhaµyaÆitself); c) Bruce M. Metzger, in Manuscripts of the Greek Bible An Introduction to Palaeography (1981), on p. 34, discusses the occurrence of the Tetragrammaton in letters from the "Cave of Horror" at Nahhal Hhever. In footnote 63 he mentions: "As is the case with manuscripts from Qumran, the scribe does not clearly distinguish the shape of yod from that of waw." 2) First century Hebrew scholars could also have been influenced by yâh yâh of Is. 38:11. This is the only occurrence of the duplicated yh (=Jâh) in the Hebrew Bible. The scribe of DSIa would abbreviate this as yh. Later the Hebrew quadriliteral yhyh would be used in Aquila's Greek version (in place of the Tetragrammaton). A similar form, JeJâ, would appear in the Aramaic Targums with Tiberian vocalization.

    Norman Walker, in his article entitled “The Writing of the Divine Name in Aquila and the Ben Asher Text” in the quarterly Vetus Testamentum, volume III, No. 1, of January, 1953, pp. 103, 104, wrote: “Aquila’s version, made round about 130 A.D., is remarkable for its Old Hebrew lettering of the Divine Name in the midst of the Greek text. Put into square character, what Aquila wrote was yhyh, Jâh-Jâh, the popular substitute for yhwh “Jahweh”, the ineffable Name, the very naming of which was regarded as blasphemy as far back as the third century B.C., if the LXX at Lev. xxiv 16 represents current public opinion. For one can imagine that, as a Gentile convert to Judaism, Aquila was careful not to trap his Greek-speaking Jewish readers into uttering the Name “according to its letters”. By the time the Mishna was compiled (c. 190 A.D.) the pronunciation had become practically JeJâ as the form yeyâ shows. The later Greek form II I II I [PIPI] was used to transcribe Aquila’s Old Hebrew form of yhyh, and, in the opinion of CERIANI [CERIANI, Monumenta sacra et profana, II, p. 106 ff., quoted in SWETE, O.T. in Greek, p. 39, n. 4.], this was first done either by Origen or Eusebius. II I II I does not represent the Tetragrammaton, as is generally held, but yhyh, so that there is no justification for supposing that any identity of form of square character yodh and waw in the first century was involved. Actually, apart from stone inscriptions at Dura and on a Galilean synagogue (NSI, No. 148B), Manuscript evidence of their identical form is lacking. They are quite well differentiated in the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah (DSIa), and whoever was responsible for the present LXX reading of Dan. ix 2, to wit THGH [tei gei], apparently noticed the stroke to the left characteristic of yodh and pictured it by T as against waw. Had Aquila written the Name exactly as spelt in the text before him, those who transcribed his text would surely have written II Y II I, for as has been pointed out consonantal waw was consistently rendered by upsilon in the transliteration of Hebrew personal names in the LXX [See N. Walker, The Meaning of Moses (1948), pp. 8 – 11]." (See also "Appendix" of New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1963 bound volume, p. 3578). [Cursive script added.]

    It would be an oversimplification to state that Origen's Hexapla, including Aquila's Greek version, "shows that God's name was used in the Christian Greek Scriptures". Such a statement would not be in complete harmony with the facts. Did Origen use Hebrew quadriliteral yhyh or the Tetragrammaton (=yhwh)? How did he pronounce it? These questions remain open.

  • jwfacts

    Thanks Vidqun for the interesting information.

  • mP


    Its intereting that Origen who was supposedly a Christian has a theophoric name that includes Horus. Why would his christian parents name him after Horus ? Dont belive me look it up on wiki.

    That tells you christianity back then was completely different from todays religion. Christianity was another flavour of the other fertility religions of the ancient world.

  • Vidqun

    Ah, yes, this brings back memories. At the time I believed it was an honest mistake. Nothing honest about it. When they didn't fix it, doubts crept in as to their sincerity and truthfulness. The seeds were planted, but only started sprouting recently. Today I know the real reason, fixing the mistake would not accord with their propaganda purposes.

    Mp, interesting. Origen is one of my favorites. I see his parents were Christians and his father was martyred. He was trained in Greek philosophy amongst other things, a far cry from JWs that discourage secular education. In my mind that was one of the reasons for his success. As a theologian he could think out of the box.

  • EntirelyPossible

    but the fact remains that all the earliest copies of the Septuagint that have survived use some form of the divine name and none use Lord (kurios) as a substitute

    That's pretty normal. All of my driver's licenses have my address. Both things are normal.....

    Is there somethining I am missing, other than YHWH is not partucularly divine? At least no more so than the kabobs I made tonight?

  • slimboyfat

    Is yhyh perhaps a Jewish equivalent of a nomen sacrum? As has been suggested of the double yodh.

    Even standard reference works like Swete say Aquila used the Tetragrammaton (see 2.6.5):

  • Vidqun

    Slimboy, I believe it was an acceptable substitute for the Tetragrammaton (following its use in the Aramaic Targums with Tiberian vocalization). I have Swete's Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek. It was first printed in 1914 and quite dated, yet still a valuable resource. In a footnote it mentions that according to Ceriani either Origen or Eusebius substituted II I II I for the Tetragrammaton in ancient letters. Prof. Burkitt insisted that the Tetragrammaton in the Greek text was always read as kyrios. Problem with this statement is that there was a difference in use of the Tetragrammaton by religious leaders and scholars and the man in the street, blurring the issue somewhat.

    Here's an article on Jewish use of the Tetragrammaton you might find interesting. One can only understand its use by ancient Jews if you understand the halakah or tradition of the Divine Name, guiding them. Old and worn Biblical MSS including the Divine Name had to be disposed of by ceremonially burying them, e.g., the Cairo Geniza MSS. They were not allowed to burn them.

    YHWH in Nonbiblical Texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls

    In some of the Hebrew scrolls the Tetragrammaton was written in red ink or an easily distinguished older type of Hebrew. J. P. Siegel commented: "When the Qumran manuscripts were first discovered more than twenty years ago, one of their more startling features was the appearance, in a limited group of texts, of the Tetragrammaton written in paleo-Hebrew characters. . . . That this practice signifies a deep reverence for the Divine Name(s) is almost a truism."- Hebrew Union College Annual, 1971.

    Here Rösel reminds us that the Qumran covenanters – as far as such may be judged – did use the divine name in nonbiblical texts as well. We can therefore find the Tetragrammaton particularly often in the Temple Scroll and in noncanonical Psalms (see 4Q380, 381; 11QPsalms a, here in Paleo-Hebrew characters as well). The same usage can be found in other texts based on biblical materials, such as 4QReworked Pentateuch a, c and 2QApochryphon of Moses and David, or in the Sapiental work 4Q411. 4QJubilees a, dating from the second century BCE, proves that YHWH was in use even at that time. Therefore, one cannot claim that the Tetragrammaton was avoided in early Hellenistic times, nor can its use or nonuse be utilized as an isolated piece of evidence for dating or determining the origin of a scroll. It has to be stated that there obviously had not been a general agreement on the presentation and pronunciation of the divine name. [i]

    As seen, the Tetragrammaton (in certain cases also the word ’l [God]) is written in Palaeo-Hebrew characters in the midst of a Square text. It has been suggested that ancient letters were used in this way here out of reverence, the implication being that they were regarded as more holy than the Square script. However, in some of the Qumran MSS we find that the Tetragrammaton (and the word ’l ) are written in Square script. Why was that?

    Can this seeming contradiction be explained by the nature of the MSS themselves? The difference between the groups is self-evident: The use of the Square Palaeo-Hebrew characters in the MSS is restricted to non-Biblical works, while Biblical books are in Square script throughout. Surely, the scribes would not have shown less reverence in Biblical MSS than in the others?

    The explanation that the ancient alphabet was employed by them out of reverence cannot therefore be right. Such an idea would not have entered their heads. They were simply acting in conformity with the hlkh. Except on certain specific sectarian points, their hlkh was the general one. The hlkh concerning the Palaeo-Hebrew script is known to us, and it explains the above-mentioned seeming contradiction. It was Prof. M.H. Segal who first realised this, pointing out that the Palaeo-Hebrew alphabet was used "lest the sacred name in Square script should render the scroll sacred, for the Palaeo-Hebrew script was at that time regarded as a profane script, as it was said in the Mishna" (Yadayim, ch. 4, m. 5): ‘[Palaeo-] Hebrew script does not make the hands levitically impure [does not profane the hands]' i.e., it has no sacredness whatsoever. In other words: the inclusion of the Tetragrammaton in Square letters would give it the status of a Biblical MS, i.e., it would become sacred, and problems of levitical purity would arise for its users. To obviate that, the Palaeo-Hebrew script was employed for the Tetragrammaton. [ii]

    [i] Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, L.H. Schiffman, J.C Van Der Kam, editors in chief, Oxford University Press 2000, volume 2, p. 601.

    [ii] S.A. Birnbaum, The Hebrew Scripts, E.J. Brill, Leiden (1971), Part one: The Text, pp. 63, 64, 73.

Share this