IAW Kurios Pantokrator = Jehovah/YHWH?

From: Rolf Furuli (furuli@online.no)
Date: Mon Aug 11 1997 - 05:07:33 EDT

Dear David,

Thank you for your comments addressing all my points. You wrote:

<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.

My interest for the subject arose when I wrote a thesis about it as a part
of an intermediate exam in Hebrew. Since then I have followed the
discussion. What I saw then and still see, is that many of those discussing
the subject use the same presuppositions as was done in the first part of
the century when the strongest argument against the Christian use of the
teragrammaton was that it was not found inthe LXX. When I call for "hard
evidence" I call for a reevaluation of the situation because there simply
is no compelling evidence showing that Jesus and his followers ( and all
other groups) did not use T.

Most of your comments to my quotes indicating pronunciation, is that they
need not be interpreted this way. And this is correct, but my
interpretation, which I base on modern Jewish commentaries such as L
Finkelstein, 1969, New Lights on the Prophets" is the most natural one. To
doubt that the quote with the Morning-bathers meant pronunciation is not
more logical than for me to claim that the words of the Mischna that T "in
the provinces" was substituted by another word only refers to its use in
the synagogues. This is possible but not the most likely interpretation.
The evidence is conflicting.

<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.

Agree. I for one also believe that many, perhaps most in Palestine in the
time of Jesus did not pronounce T, but where is the evidence that Jesus
did not, and that those writing the NT did not?

>>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.

I think that most scholars would say that the phonetic transcription IAW
should be construed as indicating pronunciation if evidence for the
opposite is not produced. From the 3rd.2nd.and 1st centuries BC there is
evidence from Qumran (c 200-BC) and from the Job Targum (c 100 BC) for
non-pronunciation (the case with Simon the Just is ambiguous) but this does
not show any general tendency. Even in Qumran there are 110 occurrences of
T in thirty (imported?) manuscripts indicating different viewpoints. We
even find an argument clearly in favour of pronunciation in the Greek text
of 8HEVXIIgr form the Dead Sea. In the Hebrew text we find 'adonai YHWH.
The Masoretes usually pointed T as Yehwah (sometimes Yehowah)to signal that
' adonay should be read, but when it was preceded by 'adonay it was pointed
Jehwih to prevent the reading 'adonay 'adonai, but rather 'adonay ' elohim.
The Greek text has KURIOS followed by T in old Hebrew characters. Emanuel
Tov concluded (Discoveries in the Judean Desert VIII, 85) that the scribe
"probably distinguished between the tetragrammaton and ' adonay (KURIOS)."

David, three questions to you:

(1) Do you deny that the phonetic transcription IAW means pronunciation?
(2) Do you accept that the lack of pronunciation of T among Jewish groups
was due to superstition based on Greek and other foreign influence, and
that this was contrary to the OT?
(3) Why should Jesus who was against teachings of men accept a custom
contrary to the Holy Scriptures which he called truth? Or had Jesus other
reasons for not using T?


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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