> Hellow TC'ers,
> I'm preparing a History of the use of NS from the earliest fragments
> of the DSS down to the present day, and I'd appreciate any helpful
> criticism due the following.
> * * * *
> As far back as we can go in the production of Scriptures, there seems
> to be a special way of handling certain "holy" words. We can begin
> with the latest Greek New Testament in our local seminary bookstore
> and see that it capitalizes the Theta in Qeos, the Iota in IHSOUS,
> and the Chi in Cristous (but not the p's in pathr) or pneuma). In
> addition, it may give the same treatment to proper nouns such as
> Iwannhs and Asia. This was an innovation that can be traced back at
> least as far as 18th century. Alas, I can't access Erasmus online
> right now, but it appears that the phenomenon may have originated
> with him, being carried over from the Latin manuscript tradition.
> Moving back into the Greek manuscript tradition, we reach a point
> before the introduction of capitals used as forms of nomina sacra.
> What we now see is QEOS abbreviated to QS, IHSOUS to IS, etc. PATHR
> and PNEUMA now rate this treatment (as PR and PA).
> The Greek ms tradition extends back beyond copies of the NT, to the
> LXX. Here we see in some mss a carry-over from the Hebrew manuscript
> tradition, in that the Tetragrammaton in written as a Nomina Sacra in
> LXX mss.
> Moving back into the Hebrew manuscript tradition, we see the same
> Tetragrammaton being written in Paleo-Hebrew letters to set it off
> from the square letters of the manuscripts.
> This is, apparently, as far back as our study can go. As long as the
> Scriptures have been written down in the original languages, special
> treatment has been afforded the Ineffable name, and that has spilled
> over into other Divine names, then to other names and words
> considered holy, and eventually into proper names in general. How
> this practice originated is lost forever in the mists of time, but it
> remains with us in such force that a lexical distiction now exists in
> the cognate European languages, and in the Scriptures as translated
> into the thousands of languages that adopt their common alphabet,
> between the capitalized and uncapitalized translations of QEOS. What
> began as a Semitic act of piety, Hellenized, then Latinized, then
> Anglicized, has now affected the written form of the languages of
> half the world's people.
> Daniel Buck
I think it is important to point out that the use of nomina sacra was a
Christian practice in Christian texts. We see NS in the LXX because other
than a few fragments of Greek Hebrew scriptures (without NS) in the DSS, all
extant LXX codices (such as Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus) are
Christian texts and most NT papyri came from LXX codices. Now..there is
only one example in a DSS of the 1st century BCE of KURIOS in 4Q126 but I do
not consider that a nomina sacra.
I don't know if I would equate the writing of the tetragrammaton in
paleo-Hebrew or in just dots as a nomina sacra. Nomina Sacra, IMO, were
abbreviations while the tetragrammaton in paleohebrew and other
substitutions were surrogates. The practice may have had its emergence when
Christian codices were being penned..er..reeded and the scribes need some
method for YHWH translated to Greek without resorting to Hebrew letters. A
line over QEOS would suffice but some e texts like theHexapla used PIPI
since the Hebrew YHWH read from left to right resembles the Greek PIPI. It
is also a possiility that a text written in Greek by a hellenistic Jew
(among which community the first Jewish Christians moved) left a blank for
YHWH and an abbreviation was later inserted as KYand the race was on.
Of course, you know what happens when Christians get their hands on
something simple...its off to the races and soon SPIRIT, MAN, Father,
Mother, Son, lord, Jesus Christ, savior, David, Israel, Cross, heaven became
abbreviations. Judaism gives Christians an inch and they take a mile. :)
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