The Divine Name in Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament)

The Divine Name in the New Testament (Christian Greek Scriptures)

(An excerpt taken from the Watchtower site)

God’s Name and the “New Testament”
The name Jehovah
Jehovah’s name as it appears in a monastery in Bordesholm, Germany and over a church door in Fehmarn, Germany
The name Jehovah

THE position of God’s name is unshakable in the Hebrew Scriptures, the “Old Testament.” Although the Jews eventually stopped pronouncing it, their religious beliefs prevented them from removing the name when they made copies of older manuscripts of the Bible. Hence, the Hebrew Scriptures contain God’s name more often than any other name.

With the Christian Greek Scriptures, the “New Testament,” the situation is different. Manuscripts of the book of Revelation (the last book of the Bible) have God’s name in its abbreviated form, “Jah,” (in the word “Hallelujah”). But apart from that, no ancient Greek manuscript that we possess today of the books from Matthew to Revelation contains God’s name in full. Does that mean that the name should not be there? That would be surprising in view of the fact that Jesus’ followers recognized the importance of God’s name, and Jesus taught us to pray for God’s name to be sanctified. So what happened?

To understand this, remember that the manuscripts of the Christian Greek Scriptures that we possess today are not the originals. The actual books written by Matthew, Luke and the other Bible writers were well used and quickly wore out. Hence, copies were made, and when those wore out, further copies were made of those copies. This is what we would expect, since the copies were usually made to be used, not preserved.

There are thousands of copies of the Christian Greek Scriptures in existence today, but most of them were made during or after the fourth century of our Common Era. This suggests a possibility: Did something happen to the text of the Christian Greek Scriptures before the fourth century that resulted in the omission of God’s name? The facts prove that something did.
The Name Was There

We can be sure that the apostle Matthew included God’s name in his Gospel. Why? Because he wrote it originally in Hebrew. In the fourth century, Jerome, who translated the Latin Vulgate, reported: “Matthew, who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language . . . Who translated it after that in Greek is not sufficiently ascertained. Moreover, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea.”

Since Matthew wrote in Hebrew, it is inconceivable that he did not use God’s name, especially when quoting from parts of the “Old Testament” that contained the name. However, other writers of the second part of the Bible wrote for a worldwide audience in the international language of that time, Greek. Hence, they did not quote from the original Hebrew writings but from the Septuagint Greek version. And even Matthew’s Gospel was eventually translated into Greek. Would God’s name have appeared in these Greek writings?

Well, some very old fragments of the Septuagint Version that actually existed in Jesus’ day have survived down to our day, and it is noteworthy that the personal name of God appeared in them. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Volume 2, page 512) says: “Recent textual discoveries cast doubt on the idea that the compilers of the LXX [Septuagint] translated the tetragrammaton YHWH by kyrios. The oldest LXX MSS (fragments) now available to us have the tetragrammaton written in Heb[rew] characters in the G[ree]k text. This custom was retained by later Jewish translators of the O[ld] T[estament] in the first centuries A.D.” Therefore, whether Jesus and his disciples read the Scriptures in Hebrew or Greek, they would come across the divine name.

The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures properly uses God’s name 237 times

Thus, Professor George Howard, of the University of Georgia, U.S.A., made this comment: “When the Septuagint which the New Testament church used and quoted contained the Hebrew form of the divine name, the New Testament writers no doubt included the Tetragrammaton in their quotations.” (Biblical Archaeology Review, March 1978, page 14) What authority would they have had to do otherwise?

God’s name remained in Greek translations of the “Old Testament” for a while longer. In the first half of the second century C.E., the Jewish proselyte Aquila made a new translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, and in this he represented God’s name by the Tetragrammaton in ancient Hebrew characters. In the third century, Origen wrote: “And in the most accurate manuscripts THE NAME occurs in Hebrew characters, yet not in today’s Hebrew [characters], but in the most ancient ones.”

Even in the fourth century, Jerome writes in his prologue to the books of Samuel and Kings: “And we find the name of God, the Tetragrammaton [Four Hebrew letters], in certain Greek volumes even to this day expressed in ancient letters.”

The Removal of the Name

By this time, however, the apostasy foretold by Jesus had taken shape, and the name, although appearing in manuscripts, was used less and less. (Matthew 13:24-30; Acts 20:29, 30) Eventually, many readers did not even recognize what it was and Jerome reports that in his time “certain ignorant ones, because of the similarity of the characters, when they would find [the Tetragrammaton] in Greek books, were accustomed to read Greek letters PIPI.”

In later copies of the Septuagint, God’s name was removed and words like “God” (The·os’) and “Lord” (Ky’ri·os) were substituted. We know that this happened because we have early fragments of the Septuagint where God’s name was included and later copies of those same parts of the Septuagint where God’s name has been removed.

The same thing occurred in the “New Testament,” or Christian Greek Scriptures. Professor George Howard goes on to say: “When the Hebrew form for the divine name was eliminated in favor of Greek substitutes in the Septuagint, it was eliminated also from the New Testament quotations of the Septuagint. . . . Before long the divine name was lost to the Gentile church except insofar as it was reflected in the contracted surrogates or remembered by scholars.”

Hence, while Jews refused to pronounce God’s name, the apostate Christian church managed to remove it completely from Greek language manuscripts of both parts of the Bible, as well as from other language versions.

(Quoted from the articles of Watchtower)

Please see the link below that discusses the claims of the Ante-Nicene Fathers about Jehovah and Jesus and the other proofs that says Trinity is not a biblical doctrine and the other one for further explanations.

http://www.watchtower.org/e/ti/article_03.htm

http://www.thoughts.com/letusreason/blog/gods-name-inside-and-outside-of-the-nt-353447/

http://www.thoughts.com/letusreason/blog/the-tetragrammaton-and-the-christian-greek-scriptu-215563/

http://www.thoughts.com/letusreason/blog/the-septuagint-and-gods-name-yhwh-jhvh-169019/

http://www.thoughts.com/letusreason/blog/yhwh-and-the-nt-syrohexapla-and-other-syriac-mss-165107/




Advertisements

One response to this post.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: