References to YHWH in ancient documents

by Doug Mason 110 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    More than 30 years ago, when we relied on snail mail, I wrote:

    If any original NT writing had contained the tetragram, this would have been limited to direct quotes, not even to allusions. No original exists.

    In the WT's case, they sprinkle their "Jehovah" around wherever it is needed to meet their prejudices. In assessing the WTS's "J" sources, I located their "J20", which is a listing of OT sources. This showed the places where the original -- not the NT -- contained the tetragram.

    Interestingly, there are places in the NT where, if they followed their process consistently, they would have used their word "Jehovah" at inconvenient locations:

    Let me be over-generous to the WTS for just a moment. The "Matthew" Gospel was written in 85 CE by expat Jews for a Jewish readership. The tetragram might have been familiar to them.

    However, when we come to Paul's writings, his readers had no familiarity with the term. However, the word "Lord" (Kyrios) did have great significance, inasmuch as this was one term that was applied to the Roman Emperor. Paul used other titles that were applied to the Emperor, such as "Son of God". One can try to imagine the power of saying that Jesus was the Anointed One" (Christ) in opposition to the supposed anointing of the Emperor.

    But Paul's gentile hearers had no reference to the word "YHWH".

    Further, we have the evidence provided by the Nomina Sacra, which practice owed nothing to the Jews' tetragram.

    On top of all that, the WTS does not ever use the tetragram, whether as ancient or square Hebrew letters, within the body of their articles in English.


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    I see several reasons for the OT writings.

    Firstly, the general populace were not only illiterate, but they would have had no contact with the Temple or with the scribes. So I see one set of Scribes writing their accounts as propaganda against the others, notably the Elohist against the Yahwist (and vice versa), that is the Aaronides against the non-Aaronides, that is the Northerners against the Southerners (read and enjoy "Who Wrote the Bible?", by Richard Elliott Friedman).

    These writings are religious histories, not literal histories as we would know them. Their ideologies determined the narrative. That applies also to the NT Gospels. They were written in order to influence and to manage their own immediate communities. The Deuteronomic History is a prime example. Another example are the symbolisms employed in the Creation Myths, especially the story that begins at Gen 2:4B.

    Each of these writings was addressed to its own immediate community, not to any future generation. They most certainly were not contemplating that they were writing to people living thousands of years later.

    I also see these writings as a means to give these two very minor nations (Judah being the minor party) a sense of self-importance, of endeavouring to provide themselves with an identity while existing in the shadow of really powerful nations.


  • Crazyguy

    Ruby456 I to believe the she and wisdom talked about in proverbs is about Ashurah.

  • truthlover123

    Could'nt get thru all replies so this may or may not have been suggested.... if you take a look at ancient hebrew, each letter of their alphabet is representative of a star constellation...just type in that info and the pages of backup will show

    So when the bible says no dealings with astrology, it appears that this "perfect" language is indeed from the stars....

    this could be a crock but looks legitimate

  • slimboyfat
    Further, we have the evidence provided by the Nomina Sacra, which practice owed nothing to the Jews' tetragram.

    What makes you say that? From what I have read, most scholars do see a connection between the treatment of the Tetragrammaton in Jewish texts and nomina sacra forms in Christian texts. The exact relation and development are much disputed, but most scholars posit some relationship: Traube, Paap, Brown, Roberts. Comfort, even Hurtado accepts there's a connection. See this article on the subject which contains an overview, as well as a proposal:

  • slimboyfat

    Non-JW scholars who have argued for the divine name in the original New Testament: George Howard, David Trobisch, Lloyd Gaston and John McRay. Do you don’t need to be a JW to interpret the evidence that way.

  • Ruby456

    thanks crazyguy. pls check out Leolaia on this site. She has done her homework on Asherah and Yahweh, Ugarit and the Taanach among many many other things relevant to us.

    I plan on revisiting her posts and her sources - she was a very generous poster.

  • Hanged Man
    Hanged Man

    Truthlover....astrology is behind the whole bible...but you are hitting your head off a brick wall. : )

  • jhine
    slimboyfat13 hours ago13 hours ago

    Non-JW scholars who have argued for the divine name in the original New Testament:

    What does that mean ?


  • Ruby456

    what the trinity doctrine does do is that it preserves the father, mother and son trio motif that appears in much archaeological evidence and for which very very ancient evidence survives and and it is these sources that indicate how much proverbs reflects wisdom from Asherah the mother goddess. There are ancient hymns for example that reflect the wording in proverbs 8 and 31 almost word for word and that are older than the book of proverbs.

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