References to YHWH in ancient documents

by Doug Mason 110 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • slimboyfat

    What does it mean? Earlier you wrote:

    As l said when the NT writers were quoting from the the OT they DELIBERATELY rendered YHWH as Kyrios . l cannot see why there is such a struggle with this , except that most people on the site seem to still see this through JW coloured glasses and cannot or will not even contemplate that this means that the NT writers meant this to mean that they equated Yeshua with YHWH .

    What I am pointing out is that it's not only JWs who have argued that the original New Testament contained the divine name. A number of scholars with no JW background or sympathies have also come to the conclusion that the New Testament originally used the divine name and it was later replaced by kyrios. These scholars include: David Trobisch, George Howard, Lloyd Gaston and John McRay. I can supply more detailed references if you are interested.

  • Phizzy

    I take your point SBF, but at best these scholars can only be expressing their, albeit educated, opinion.

    There simply is no solid proof of this in any Manuscript, that is not to say they are incorrect, just that the JW Org has no basis whatsoever for what it does, based upon its own system, of going by what is in the oldest manuscripts, most of which are fragments by the way.

    The justification they gave in the prologue to the Interlinear Version is disingenuous. I would really love it if a full manuscript, or several, very close in time to the Autographs were found, but I doubt that will happen. If it/they did, it would solve all these problems at a stroke !

  • jhine

    SBF , as Phizzy points out and as l said before there is no evidence of YHWH ever having been in the NT . I did once ask an expert in ancient documents from Birmingham ( UK ) University about this . He pointed out that the fragments that have been found are from various sites long distances apart . If there had been some conspiracy to replace the Divine Name with Kyrios then how was it co-ordinated in all the places where the NT has been found ? Also why would that have been done ? To what purpose ? It would have been a huge logistical nightmare . It suits the WT to perpetuate this apostate conspiracy theory to bolster their particular theology and also to make the r&f members suspicious of Christendom and reinforce the them and us attitude. l cannot think why other scholars agree with this idea . You say that you don't need to be a JW to interpret the evidence in that way . What evidence ? Jan


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    I have correspondence from George Howard complaining about the way the WTS has misrepresented his views. And he only wrote about Shem Tob's Matthew.

    My comment regarding the Nomina Sacra comes from my understanding of Colin Robert's book, "Manuscript, Society and Belief in Early Christian Egypt". If you could please show me where I am misreading his chapter on the Nomina Sacra (pages 26-48), I am quite prepared to change my views. On a quick glance through that chapter (after about 40 years), I failed to pick up his saying there is a link between Hebrew practice and the Nomina Sacra.

    Does anyone need me to temporarily provide a scan of that chapter? Maybe I can be shown to have misunderstood him.


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    I believe that fundamentally, those people produced their documents to support their ideology.

    Much of the OT as we have it is the product of the elites and their descendants who were exiled by Nebuchadnezzar.

    They took their opportunity to represent their minority monotheist ideology by rewriting stories accordingly.


  • johnamos
  • johnamos

    Is there any debate on the following Hebrew name being written as ‘Jeremiah’?


    Is there any debate on the following Hebrew name being written as ‘Jehoshua’?


  • Crazyguy

    Truthlover, are you talking paleo Hebrew or a later version?

  • slimboyfat

    Doug I have got a copy of Manuscript, Society and Belief somewhere, but I don't know where among my books. I cannot say for sure exactly what Roberts says. In general he argues for Christian innovation in scribal practices including the nomina sacra. And like Hurtado, he argues that Jesus was the first nomen sacrum, based on Christian gematria and the word "life". But I would be surprised if he argued there was no connection with the Tetragrammaton and its treatment. In fact I am pretty sure he allows for some connection, as Hurtado and others continue to do. The nomina sacra occur within a context in which reverence for the divine name is important, although the direct relationship between the two is difficult to pin down on the available evidence.

    jhine if we only had access to copies of the LXX from the third century onwards there would be no direct evidence for the divine name in the early LXX either. Somehow Christians managed to remove the divine name from the textual tradition of the LXX at an early stage. So the argument is quite straight forward: if Christians succeeded in removing the divine name from the LXX the same could have happened in the textual transmission of the New Testament. So it is certainly feasible that this happened. That having been conceded, it becomes a matter of looking at the evidence for and against. I would argue that the strongest evidence in favour of the divine name in the original NT is the many passages that make much more sense if it used the divine name. For example the passage in Acts that specifically talks about the divine name in chapter 15, plus the recurring quotation of the phrase "the Lord said to my lord" from the Psalm, which struggles to even make sense without reference to the divine name.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Hi Slim,

    I have now scanned the chapter on the Nomina Sacra from Robert's book. As I wrote, it would be almost 40 years since I read it, so I could quite easily have a false memory of what he says regarding any relationship with the tetragram.

    Because it is such an important subject, I will start another thread where I will make my scan available. I will do this so that it does not get buried in the bowels of this one.

    I too have difficulty keeping track of all my books. I find the facility provided by the "Book Collector" database management program from of great value. It enables me to keep my books in Dewey sequence on the shelves and I can quickly locate them with the catalog printout. It is a subscripotion service - and they do have databases for other collections (music, etc.)


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