Re: IAW Kurios Pantokrator = Jehovah/YHWH?

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Wed Aug 13 1997 - 06:35:16 EDT

 David Moore wrote:

<Taking the instances where the Gospels record Jesus' use of "Lord"
<in reference to God, we find that most of these are in direct quotations
<from the OT. I have included below the results of a Gramcord search of
<KURIOS which was further refined by allowing only the references to God by
<Jesus. All but the verses marked by an asterisk are quotes from the OT.
<You may see that only seven instances in the Gospels fall into the latter
<category. Of these, it is possible that Mat. 21:3, Mk. 11:3 and Lu. 19:34
<should be eliminated, since hO KURIOS AUT[WN] (etc.) XREIAN EXEI may mean
<something other than "The Lord has need of them." It may also be that Mat.
<25:37, 44, although addressing Christ in His exalted glory, KURIOS should be
<translated here in a way that doesn't necessarily imply deity - simply
<sovereignty. In Mark 13:20 there is a contested reading which makes the
<inclusion of KURIOS suspect, i.e. placed before EKOLOBWSEN in A, C, D, and
<fam. 1; place after it in Aleph, B, L, and others; omitted by W and a few
<others; substituted by hO QEOS in Theta, Psi, and fam. 13 among others.
<Mark 5:19 does portray Jesus as using "Lord," but one would need to consider
<the full context to analyze the exact meaning of this instance (cf. Mk.
<5:20). So practically the only references to Jesus referring to God with
<the word "Lord" are in quotes from Scripture. And it is not really possible
<to know how those were quoted.

<Mt 4:7, 10; 5:33; 21:3*, 42; 22:37, 44; 23:39; 25:37*, 44*; 27:10
<Mr 5:19*; 11:3*; 12:11, 29, 36; 13:20*
<Lu 4:8, 12, 18-19; 13:35; 19:34*; 20:37, 42

Dear David,

You have taken a sound philological approach, and the above material
certainly speaks against Jesus using T. However, as in the case of NT
manuscripts (The Majority vs the critical texts), we cannot just count
occurrences, we must evaluate them. Because all the time "the problem of
induction" is lurking in the background. So we have to process the data
somewhat more.

I agree with you that quotes from the OT made by Jesus does not illuminate
our problem. Because even though both the LXX and and the H text had T, if
it was his custom not to read T, he would read a substitute. However, when
people use similar words as the OT in particular situations, this is
something different. The central question is whether the proposed
circumlocutions are substitutes for T, indicating that Jesus did not
pronounce T,or that they represent an address to God which were fitting in
the particular situation. I can find nothing in the Bible forbidding people
to use any kind of honorable designations when addressing God, the bone of
contention is whether one, YHWH, should be excluded because this became the
custom in the first part of the Christian Era. And in this regard your
approach is important.

I suggest the following refinements:

1. How does the NT SITUATION influence Jesus` choice of words used about
God and in prayer to God?

1.1 What was important, was to show that Jesus was the Son of Man, the
Meshiah, the Son of God. In this context it was stressed that God was
"Father". According to my notes (apart from Gramcord), in John, Jesus uses
PATHR about God 77 times and QEOS 16 times. In prayer, Jesus adresses God
as "Father" (Joh 11:4; 17:1,24), as "Holy Father" (17:11) and as "Righteous
Father" (17:24). This was evidently conditioned by the situation, what he
wanted to stress, and does not rule out that he used T, because he mentions
"the name" (12:28; 17:6,12) A study of WHY Jesus used particular
designations is important.

1.2 Are the writers selective? In Mark, Jesus uses PATHR 4 times but QEOS
13 times (very different from John). Jesus evidently used both "the kingdom
of heaven" and "the kingdom of God". Are particular words selected by
different writers for a certain purpose? The proposed circumlocutions, are
they really substitutes for T, or are they simply natural designations used
in the particular situations, to the effect that they could be used
together with T?

1.3 How do different groups speak about God? The ordinary people? The
leaders? The disciples? Jesus? Do we find a pattern? (In Matt 21:9 and Mark
11:10 for example the people seems to use T.)

2. The conclusions we reach by (1), what do they tell when we compare them
with the use of YHWH and `elohim (QEOS) in the OT?

2.1. In Mark 15:34 Jesus uses ELWI, and David uses similar words in Psalm
22:2. This does of course not mean that David did not use T, but do Markęs
words indicate that Jesus did not use T? A Gramcord search revealed 2602
occurrences of `elohim in the OT, and of these are 1829 not preceded by
YHWH. We find several instances of QEOS referring to the Father in the OT.
When this was true in the OT times when T was pronounced, how do we know
that occurrences of QEOS in the NT show that T was no longer pronounced?

3. When Jesus used the word "name" how can we know that it does not refer
to T which it principally does in the OT, but refers to authority or
something similar? (The material above would be nice for a MA thesis)

Could you please elucidate why "it is possible that Mat. 21:3, Mk. 11:3 and
Lu. 19:34 should be eliminated, since hO KURIOS AUT[WN] (etc.) XREIAN EXEI
may mean
something other than "The Lord has need of them."


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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