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88[lxx] Re: the divine name in the LXX?

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  • David C. Hindley
    Mar 4 5:32 AM
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      Grant Polle said:

      >>Is there any evidence that the divine name once appeared in the
      Septuagint? <<

      Yes. This will, of course, open up a can of worms.

      The Jehovah's Witnesses, for whom the Divine Name is of special interest,
      point out that there are numerous examples of extant ancient Greek
      translations of the Jewish scriptures (which is generally, although not
      correct in a technical sense, lumped together under the label "LXX") which
      indicate the Divine Name in a distinct manner (_The Kingdom Interlinear
      Translation of the Greek Scriptures_, Brooklyn: WTBTS, 1969, pp.11-15).

      I presume that you are thinking cases where the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) in
      the original Hebrew script was used in copies of the LXX? The _Kingdom
      Interlinear_ cites P. Fouad 266 (LXX Deuteronomy, ca. 2nd century BCE); a
      Cairo LXX palimpsest (LXX 3 & 4 Kings, C. Taylor, _Hebrew-Greek Cairo
      Ginezah Palimpsests_, 1900); and the column of Origin's hexapla which
      transliterated the Hebrew text into Greek characters (presumably as
      described by later writers, although citations are lacking), as examples
      where the Hebrew box script was employed to represent the Divine Name.

      In my own reading I have noted that the literature relating to Biblical
      and non-Biblical texts discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls (this
      includes more than the Qumran finds, BTW, such as Masada and the Bar
      Kosiba era finds) gives additional examples of the archaic paleo-Hebrew
      script being employed to represent the Tetragrammaton in texts which were
      otherwise written in the box script. I am not sure if the DSS LXX
      fragments yield any examples of the Divine Name being rendered in one of
      the Hebrew scripts.

      In addition to the above, the _Kingdom Interlinear_ quotes Origin,
      commenting on Psalm 2:2, to the effect that "in the most faithful
      manuscripts THE NAME is written in Hebrew characters, that is, not in
      modern <box script>, but in archaic <paleo> Hebrew" (location of citation
      not provided, and the bracketed comments are mine). Similarly, Jerome is
      quoted as saying "[w]e find the four-lettered name of GOD (i.e., YHWH) in
      certain Greek volumes even to this day expressed in the ancient letters"
      (citation not provided).

      Alternatively to using Hebrew scripts, they provide examples where other
      representations were employed.

      The columns of the Hexapla containing the Greek translations of Aquila,
      Symmachus and the old LXX, "represented the Tetragrammaton by the similar
      Greek characters" (I presume they mean similar looking, i.e., Pi and Iota,
      see below); Jerome is quoted as saying "[t]he ninth [name of God] is a
      tetragrammaton ... which is written with the letters Iod, He, Vau, He.
      Which certain ignorant ones, because of the similarity of the characters,
      when they would find then in Greek books, were accustomed to pronounce Pi
      Pi" (Epistola 25 Ad Marcellam, 384 CE).

      Finally, they give the example of P. Oxyrhynchus vii.1007 (LXX Genesis,
      3rd century CE, ed. A. S. Hunt, 1910), which abbreviated the
      Tetragrammaton by a double Yod, in a shape resembling a pair of the
      English letter "Z", with a single horizontal line drawn through both Yods.
      In other words, this was a form of Nomina Sacra. Nomina Sacra were
      commonly used by Christian Scribes copying the NT. I am not sure whether
      there are other examples of Christian (or any other) Scribes employing
      Nomina Sacra for certain names or titles in the LXX.

      It is traditional to discount the JW's as authorities, but they summarize
      what is published elsewhere, so I don't have any problem with using their
      literature. It likely represents the sum total of examples known to the
      WBTS as of the date of publication.

      There are, as far as I know, no examples of any NT text which employs the
      Tetragrammaton in either a Hebrew script or as an abbreviation (like the
      Nomina Sacra mentioned above). If there were, I'm sure the WTBTS would
      have been quick to point it out.

      In the epistles of Paul, I have noted, whenever the word KURIOS does *not*
      take the definite article, it always seems safe to take it as a
      circumlocution for God's Name (the exceptions are quotations from the LXX,
      which sometimes employs a definite article before KURIOS when representing
      God's Name). If KURIOS *does* take the definite article, then it almost
      always (as in about 95% of the time) refers to a title for Jesus/Christ.

      However, FWIW, the WTBTS does not agree with me on this. They base their
      determinations of which instances of KURIOS represent God's Name on the
      authority of 19 Hebrew translations of NT books ranging in date between
      the 14th and 20th centuries, and the example of _The Emphatic Diaglott_
      (tr. Benjamin Wilson, New York: Fowler & Wells, 1865), which apparently
      was the first American NT translation to introduce the convention of using
      "Jehovah" for some instances of Greek KURIOS. Yet in checking their
      citations, I find so much variance between these sources that they are
      able to pick and choose the citations as necessary to confirm the choices
      they made in their _New World Translation_. Chances are that the choices
      made by the Hebrew translations, _The Emphatic Diaglott_, and the NWT were
      affected by theological considerations.

      You might check the archives for threads I seem to recall seeing in this
      list last year (although it *could* have been TC-list, Synoptic-L, or


      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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