References to YHWH in ancient documents

by Doug Mason 110 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Page 15 of Awake! no. 6. 2017 provides an image that shows Hebrew writing with the statement: “The personal name of God written in ancient Hebrew characters appears abundantly in early manuscripts of the Bible”.

    Alongside that image, the Awake! provides a listing to show “the rendering of ‘God’s Name’ in various languages”.

    The facts do not support either assertion that the Watchtower Society makes:


  • BluesBrother

    Interesting stuff Doug.

    I enjoy your "deeper" posts. They counterbalance the more conversational nature of the board these days. We need variety.

  • Drearyweather

    Thanks Doug, Thats really good research. I am not that much into this stuff, however had a few questions:

    1. Is it true that the tetragrammaton in multiple forms of hebrew does appear in the early manuscripts more than 6000 times?

    2. Isn't Yahweh a generally accepted vocal pronunciation of YHWH and Jehovah is an anglicized pronunciation? If Jehovah shouldn't be used, then what is the justification of using Jeremiah, Jesus, Joshua, etc, which are also not the actual pronunciations?

  • venus

    1) The Aleppo Codex (written around 930 C.E.) is oldest OT copy.

    2) The very fact that God permitted the multiple destruction of Jerusalem Temple where scrolls were safeguarded and the destruction of Alexandrian library shows that Scriptures do not belong to Him.

    We read in the Bible that revealing the name, Jehovah, is connected with God's miraculous saving of Israelites from Egypt which culminated in parting of Red Sea. This story does not meet the standard of realism because after seeing such a great miracle no one would turn into calf worship telling a single calf "you are our gods who saved us from Egypt." (Ex 32:4, 8, 31)

    Yet inventing of God’s name as Jehovah (He Causes to Become) is in agreement with the overall theme of the Bible and human experiences. We see what is new becoming old and decadent as the time passes by. What has become old can be renewed by God Almighty. This means history starts with perfect conditions and remains as one world family for some time, and gradually becomes imperfect when people become egoistic; and a measure of disorder sets in many avenues of life—some of the humans and animals becoming eaters of flesh of other beings and some of the micro organisms turning malevolent and migrating into human bodies causing illness…etc. Each experience teaches us something, and pain-mechanism tells us how to avoid further/future pain, which makes God’s intervention and communication unnecessary on every choice each individual makes. If humans make onward progress taking lessons from pain, God doesn’t have to intervene. But if humans repeat their wasteful acts and situation becomes the worst, then God has to intervene, and “renew” the provisions for life’s enjoyment whenever they deplete/destroy them. (Mathew 19:28) It means God ‘causes himself to become’ the savior of mankind. Hence there is no exaggeration in those writers of OT coining the name Jehovah.

  • slimboyfat

    Have you read "The Earliest Non-Mystical Jewish Use of Iao", by Frank Shaw?

    In light of the evidence presented in the book, including the Leviticus fragment, onomastica, Roman and Jewish sources, for the widespread use of Iao, I think this statement is difficult to maintain:

    Toward the end of the Hellenistic period and during the Roman period, Jews, especially Jews of the Diaspora but probably also Jews living in Judea, avoided pronouncing the name YHWH".
  • myelaine
  • eyeuse2badub

    My question to all those that seem to just gush over at the slightest findings to support to yhwh is the name of god and should be in the bible is;

    If God could perform so many miracles to miraculously make sure that the bible got preserved and compiled properly and that it is still available and that the basic purpose of the bible is to make sure that HIS NAME is sanctified, Then why did he not miraculously make sure that HIS NAME remained in the bible? All other main bible characters have their names preserved without a problem but god cannot preserve his own name?

    just saying!

  • Giordano

    Perhaps this is why prayers are not answered....... just as I don't answer a greeting if someone calls out a name that is not Giordano. Hey Joe! Hey Pete! George? Bob?? I figure they are not talking to me. I also hold the notion that being a splendid fellow I deserve to be known.

    But in greeting and meeting the responsibility is on me to make it known what I prefer to be called.

  • Earnest

    Thanks for your study of References to YHWH in ancient Hebrew documents, Doug. As in much else of what you write it shows a lot of research and you present your arguments clearly.

    Doug Mason : To claim [that the personal name of God written in ancient Hebrew characters appears abundantly in early manuscripts of the Bible] requires justification with the use of statistical evidence.

    I haven't come across a statistical analysis of the number of times the tetragrammaton is presented in square characters, in Aramaic, in palaeo-Hebrew, etc but even so I think the claim in the Awake! is true.

    The tetragrammaton in palaeo-Hebrew occurs in six or seven biblical manuscripts recovered from four of the eleven Dead Sea caves. These are 4QExod_j, 4QLev_g, 11QLev_b, 4QDeut_k2, 4QIsa_c, and 3QLam. 1QPs_b is probably biblical (Ps.127:3) but it is very fragmentary so uncertain. In addition, 2QExod_b is probably a rewritten Bible manuscript and the composition of 3Q14 is unclear. The most developed use is noticeable in 4QIsa_c where all the divine names, as well as their prefixes and suffixes, are written in palaeo-Hebrew.

    In addition to these there are fragments of twelve biblical manuscripts which are completely written in palaeo-Hebrew. These are 1QpaleoLev, 1QpaleoNum, 2QpaleoLev, 4QpaleoGen-Exod_l, 4QpaleoGen_m, 4QpaleoExod_m, 4QpaleoDeut_r, 4QpaleoDeut_s, 4QpaleoJob_c, 6QpaleoGen, 6QpaleoLev and 11QpaleoLev_a.

    The tetragrammaton is also represented in palaeo-Hebrew in a number of Greek papyri. These include 8HevXIIgr, P.Oxy. 50.3522, P.Oxy. 7.1007, P.Vindob. Gr. 39777 and the Aquila fragments of Kings and Psalms.

    I obtained much of this information from the monograph Scribal Practices and Approaches Reflected in the Texts Found in the Judean Desert, by Emanuel Tov, especially pp.238-248 on Writing in the paleo-Hebrew script and its background if you are interested in further details.

  • Ruby456
    I second slim and Earnest after checking Oxford ref.

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