RE: IAW Kurios Pantokrator = Jehovah/YHWH?

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Sun Aug 10 1997 - 18:13:22 EDT

Rolf Furuli <> wrote:

>David Moore wrote:
><According to Su:rer's _The History of the Jewish People In the Age
><of Jesus Christ_, the Tetragrammaton was only pronounced by the Jews in the
><priests' activities in the temple worship (Shu:rer, _HJPIAJC_, [1979],
><II:306). He notes, "Outside the Temple, according to the passages cited,
><not even the priests were allowed to pronounce the sacred Name. This fact
><is obviously already presupposed by Ecclus. 50:20. Philo too observes that
><the Name of God may be heard and uttered only in the Sanctuary..." (_Ibid._=
><n. 54).
>Dear David,
>Shurer has two quotes from the Mishna (written in the third century CE)
>saying: "in the Temple they pronounced the Name as it was written, but in
>the provinces by a substituted word". However, the evidence of the Mishnah
>is conflicting. Berakoth 9 5 says "And it was ordained that a man should
>salute his fellow with /the use of/ the Name /of God/. For it is written."
>Then follows a reference to Boaz saluting the reapers with saying the name
>of God. (Danby=B4s translation, his brackets).

        This could easily be a reference to "ha Shem," a circumlocution for
God used by many present-day Jews, and, I would suppose, in use long before
as well.

>Let me also bring two quotes from Tosefta (a collection similar to Mishnah
>with a lower religious status, a little younger than Mishna).

        Written in France and Germany about the 12th or 13th century and, as
I understand, consists mainly of commentary on things stated in the Talmud.
What I have read of it has the character of apologetic presented as wisdom

> Barakot 6:7 says: "One who begins a prayer with yod he /the
>tetragrammaton/ and ends with yod he is a sage, one who begins with aleph
>lamed /`elohim/ and ends with yod he is an average person. One who begins
>with aleph lamed and ends with aleph lamed follows another way."

        Yod he isn't the full tetragrammaton, and one finds these two
letters at the beginning of many of the biblical names; so it doesn't seem
that this is referring to a pronunciation of the name. But I would agree
that it is talking about making *reference* to the name.

>Yeadim 2:20 says: "The Morning-bathers say, "We complain to you O pharisees
>because you pronounce the Name before you bathe". The Pharisees reply, "We
>complain of you, O Morning-bathers because you mention the Name with a body
>which contains defilement."
>The important question with this conflicting evidence is the TIME it refers =
>The only "fixed point" in the above quotes is the reference to the
>Pharisees, which existed as a group from ca 130 BC, and it shows that both
>groups pronounced the name after the Essenes ceased to do so.

        There may be a reference here to the Pharisees pronouncing the
tetragrammaton. The reference seems to have to do with mutual accusations
between two 1st-century religious groups about taking the name of God in
vain. Whether the matter about pronouncing the name should be taken
literally here might be questioned.

>Ecclesiasticus 50:20 (written ca 180 BC) reads according to P W Skehan A A
>Di Lella "The Wisdom of ben Sira (1987:554): "Then coming down he would
>raise his hands over all the congregation of Israel. The blessing of the
>LORD would be upon his lips and the name of the LORD would be his glory."
>Because the tetragrammaton is substituted in a Hebrew copy from ca 100 BC
>the conclusion is drawn that it was not pronounced. However, ibid 554 says
>that "the evidence is conflicting as to when "Yahweh" was no longer
>pronounced in the dayly blsssing; in Ben Sira`s time, however, there is
>solid evidence that the name was still pronounced daily." So Shurer' s
>argument is weak. Filo and Josephus wrote in the second part of the 1
>century CE when many or most no longer pronounced the name.

        After looking over Ecclus. 50:20 in the LXX, I admit it doesn't
appear to support the weight Shu:rer lays on it. Di Lella's reading,
however, may be from the Cairo Geniza Hebrew MS of ben Sirach; and if so,
the presence of the tetragrammaton where Di Lella has translated "LORD"
would make the passage more significant to the matters we are considering.
My "gut feeling" would be to trust, in this case, what Josephus and Philo
say over the Mishna and Tosefta material since the former are endeavoring to
give Greek and Roman readers a picture of the general situation among the
Jews. The Mishna and Tosafot tend to focus on sectarian squabbles, and the
purposes behind the themes treated are often obscure at best - at least to
present-day readers. Regarding Josephus' and Philo's writing in the latter
part of the century, Philo is thought to have been born between 15 and 10
B.C. and Josephus 37/38 AD. So the former lived through the period we are
dealing with, and the latter, if not an eye witness to all 1st-century
events, was, at least, fairly well informed about them.

>Among the sources referred to by Schurer is A Marmorstein, 1927, The Old
>Rabbinic Doctrine of God" (I recommend this book). He shows that a
>principal reason why different groups gradually stopped pronouncing it was
>influence from the namless God of Hellenism and not genuine reverence for
>God. Interesting is also that the principal passage the rabbis used to
>justify that the name should not be pronounced was Ex 3:15, the very
>passage which most strongly testify that it should be used for ever. This
>indicate retrospective argumentation.
>Conclusion: The Jewish nation in the first century consisted of different
>groups in Palestine, Egypt, Babylon and elsewhere. The error often done is
>to look at one sect or group, and then extrapolate their view to encompass
>all Jews. As a matter of fact, there is no hard evidence showing that most
>Jews in the time of Jesus did not pronounce the name, although it is likely
>that the superstition against pronouncing it was very widespread.

        Of course it is true that we can't draw conclusions excluding the
possibility that in certain sectarian groups the name was pronounced outside
of the temple cult in the 1st century. But when you say, "There is no hard
evidence...," I am wondering what sort of evidence you would want.

>David, what do you think of the fact that the name occurs in all LXX
>fragments until the middle of the first century CE even as a phonetic

        That doesn't seem odd, since there never was - as far as I know -
any proscription against *writing* the divine name. I would suppose that
the scribes doing the Greek transcription, if they were Jewish scribes,
probably stopped and cleaned their pens whenever they wrote the name - or is
that just a practice that came up later. It's hard to be sure, isn't it.


David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
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