Why Is YHWH Used Regularly In OT and NEVER in NT?

by minimus 43 Replies latest jw friends

  • slimboyfat
    You write that “the earliest copies of the LXX used various forms of YHWH” though you nowagree that the earliest example in the Rylands fragment does not.

    What I am saying (as the scholars have said, and the photograph shows) is that PRylands 458 does not contain either YHWH or KYRIOS because the manuscript is not extant in that part of the text where the divine name appears.

    Jewish fragments of the LXX can be divided into three groups with respect to the divine name:

    1) fragments of the LXX that do not preserve parts of the text with the divine name.

    2) fragments of the LXX that do preserve examples of the divine name in various forms.

    3) fragments of the LXX that preserve KYRIOS in place of the divine name.

    There are many fragments that fall into category 1) and PRylands 458 is one of those. There are around 7 fragments that fall into category 2) including the famous Fouad 266, the Minor Prophets scroll(s) and others. There are no fragments that fall into category 3) because there are no Jewish copies of the LXX that substitute KYRIOS for the divine name.

    I don't know what more to say about your claim that Christian copies of the LXX don't exist. It's not how scholars present the data, including Jewish scholars such as Emanuel Tov and Robert Kraft. For example Robert Kraft's whole website is based on the notion of comparing Jewish and Christian scribal practices in their copies of the LXX. If you were correct that there are no Christian copies of the LXX then his whole project would not make sense. Or the many textbooks that discuss Christian copies of the LXX.


    It is true that Jews translated and circulated the LXX. But the text as it comes down to us was preserved through Christian scribes. The modern text of the LXX and translations of it are based on the Christian copies of the fourth century and later. There are no complete Jewish copies of the LXX extant. There are only fragments, such as PRylands 458 and others we have been discussing.

  • slimboyfat
    From this I gathered you were saying that the PR 458 is the fragment “that leaves spaces...from the third century, probably Christian.” My mistake if I didn’t understand you, but the only copy of the Septuagint “that leaves spaces” for YHWH is PR 458. PR 458 contains only portions of Deuteronomy, not Genesis, and originates from about 200 years before the birth of Christ.

    I was talking about PBerlin 17213 which is a copy of the LXX from the third century CE that leaves spaces where the divine name should appear. There is not agreement among scholars whether this is a fragment of a Jewish or Christian manuscript.



    As far as I know this is the only copy of the LXX that deliberately leaves spaces where the divine name should stand. (And here Tov disputes this example, arguing the space is just a break in the text) I think there are examples of blank spaces instead of the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew of the DSS, but not in the LXX.

  • David_Jay

    I had a philology professor who was fond of reminding us students: "All that is Greek is not Septuagint."

    This was more than just a reminder to avoiding mixing the actual Septuagint created by the Sephardim with Christian translations of the Old Testament into Greek (scholars and academics view these as two different things). His reminder actually meant that " common misconceptions are also popular. "

    Popular misconceptions are popular because people choose them over the facts. And you can complain all you want and argue until you're blue in the face, but you can't stop lemmings from jumping off a ledge by telling them they'll die or stop Jehovah's Witnesses from obeying the next foolish teaching from the Governing Body by pointing out the facts about how incorrect the Governing Body is. People often choose to see things their way because it is popular with them, and facts don't matter.

    Though I am a Jew, I do appreciate Jesus' words: "If they won't believe what is written by Moses or the Prophets, neither is someone rising from the dead going to do much to convince them."

    I can go on to explain that Greek translations of the New Testament by Christians are not considered to be LXX in academia, and demonstrate that even if they were it would not change the end result that JWs are wrong about what they claim (and that is the real point of all I've been saying, and all that really, truly matters in the end). The fact is that when humans tell fellow humans that they are incorrect, that drive to say "No I am not" blinds us to reason and humility.

    It won't be possible for me to convince you that you are or may be mistaken because you are like me. It never feels good to hear that. Forums make stubborn mules of us all. While I am convinced that I am not incorrect, I am equally convinced that you would not let me convince you either. So merely stating more facts is a useless exercise. (I am equally convinced you will reply to this with some statement that tries to further disprove anything I have been saying either here or before or to justify your own words.)

    It doesn't matter that you are incorrect in your details or not. It doesn't matter if I am wrong or right either. The main subject is the failure of the Jehovah's Witnesses and their theology about the Divine Name.

    And guess what? They're not going to be convinced by any evidence either, even if it came in the form of a resurrected man. Facts don't convince people. Only the courage and fortitude to refuse to give into pride and stubbornness can do that.

  • slimboyfat

    I agree with lots of what you say. Just now and again you throw in a comment like "there are no Christian copies of the LXX" which throws me. And certainly there are Greek versions of the OT that are not LXX. Any book of textual criticism makes this clear.

    In particular I agree we shouldn't lose sight of the big picture and the main issue of whether JWs have misrepresented the history and significance of the divine name.

    I only intended to interject two main points in the discussion with my initial post:

    1) I think there is something unique about the Tetragrammaton compared to the other names used of God in the Hebrew Bible. You say unique is not the right word, that it is holy. Okay then it is holy. Whichever word we use there was something special about it, I would suggest.

    2) the earliest fragments of the LXX that survive and preserve parts of the text with the divine name use various forms of the divine name. None of the earliest fragments use KYRIOS. The earliest copies that use KYRIOS (or in fact the nomina sacra form KS) are from the second century CE.

    You might say that, these facts notwithstanding, JWs are still wrong in various ways about the divine name. It's a discussion we could have. Personally I think there is a much stronger claim for the divine name in the original NT than many allow for. But since we can't even agree on the basic facts such as the two I made initially, and repeated above, there's not much point moving on to the wider discussion.

    I respect your faith and your experience and obvious knowledge of the subject.

Share this