"The fact that this corruption of scripture took place, and was so widespread, helped me realise that it was quite feasible for the replacement of God's name with kurios to have taken place once the Church became gentile. Other phenomena like the nomina sacra and the universal use of codex instead of scrolls convinced me further that the copying of scripture in the post-Apostolic church was both well organised and controlled."
Now, if it was possible for the "apostate" Church to remove the name of God without any trace... perhaps there is much more in the NT that has been tampered with. Perhaps we just cannot trust the NT at all. Eventually, liberals will argue that. And that's ok. (I'm a liberal myself!) But I do not accept a double standard. Thus, I do not believe that what is in harmony with the teachings of the Watchtower is the genuine Word of God, but what is not, is the result of tampering... See my point? Either we have a reliable NT or we do not. All the "corruptions" mentioned in Ehrman's book are documented. The alleged change from "YHWH" to "kurios" or "theos" is not!
What we do know, based on hard evidence, are:
(1) Some, perhaps all, LXX (or LXX'ish) versions around ca. 50 (B)CE had "YHWH" or "IAW". It is possible that some had "kurios" (cf. the "qere"), which many septuagintalists (like e.g. Pietersma) tink was the original rendering of the Divine Name in (at least some parts of the LXX ).
(2) When Jews quoted from the LXX they could write "kurios" instead of "YHWH" / "IAW".
(3) There is no real trace of "YHWH" / "IAW" in the copies / fragments of the NT known to us. No ancient document mentions that "YHWH" / "IAW" was replaced by "kurios".
(4) At least Rom 10:9-13 demonstrates that Paul originally wrote "kurios" as "YHWH" would not make sense here.
(5) So-called "Nomina sacra" are abbreviations, not new forms. Abbreviations do not prove a change from "YHWH" > "kurios".
I have to conclude that I find little or no real support for Howard's theory. I think it's obvious that the Watchtower has rendered "kurios" as "Jehovah" based on theological bias rather than textual evidence. If the "apostate" Church was able to make alterations in the NT without any trace, then how can we trust the NT?
- Augustin -