[lxx] the divine name in the LXX?
- Grant Polle said:
>>Is there any evidence that the divine name once appeared in theSeptuagint? <<
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
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
I remember where I saw the thread I mentioned in the last post. It was in
the B-Greek list, this year.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
I would just like to sincerely thank you for your time and assistance.
May you continue your studies.
Thank you for your help once more. I may just like to add that it was
very interesting about your reference to the Jehovah's Witnesses' Watchtower
and Awake along with the Kingdom Interlinear because I have been one of
Jehovah's Witnesses for 9 years. It's delightful to see someone appreciate
that the literature does indeed hold scholastic credibility. I am 18 years
old and have been studying the bible for the last 9 years even as a young
child. So all my life I've been familiar with the conquest of Jerusalem in
70 AD and many other biblically historical significant events at a very
young age. But I can not take credit b/c many of the Watchtower's articles
have taught me so many things. I hope you do not feel that your e-mail was
in vain since I already had the Kingdom Interlinear. You threw much light
upon the subject whereas before I was unclear of a few things.
On a personal note, thank you for your kind attention to questions that
are ostensibly mediocre. Of course, everyone has a mediocre learning
relative to the field they have just engaged in study.
One thing that captured my attention was when you said you were a
"non-Christian." Please do not think that I am harboring a bias. I'm just
interested by your use of the term. Do you believe in the biblical Jesus?
Do you believe in an historical Jesus? Do you believe in God? My question
is essentially one question. Please do not think that I am "badgering" you
either. I am merely curious and I write with the utmost respect, honor, and
sincerity. I have no hidden agenda. haha Just to reiterate, I am writing
with a genuine disposition.
P.S. thanks for your help on the flood also.
your friend in studies,
- It appears (at least accoridng to the biblio below) that the use of the
tetragrammaton in the LXX is not OG, but is a later development. A couple
good references are:
Skehan, P. W. (1980). The Divine Name at Qumran, in the Masada Scroll, and
in the Septuagint. BIOSCS 13: 14-44.
Pietersma, A. (1984). Kurios or Tetragram: A Renewed Quest for the Original
Septuagint. De Septuaginta. Studies in Honour of John William Wevers on His
Sixty-fifth Birthday. A. Pietersma and C. Cox. Mississauga, ON, Benben
There was also a article in JBL that I can't find the reference to. Hope
Tyler F. Williams
Assistant Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, NABC/EBS
11525 - 23 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6J 4T3
Phone: (780) 431-5217/ Toll Free: 1-800-567-4988/ Fax: (780) 436-9416
Web Page: http://www.nabcebs.ab.ca/~twilliam