Re: Temple and New world translation of holy scriptures?

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Tue Jan 04 2000 - 12:47:16 EST

<x-flowed>To: Solomon Landers,

<< But the "authenticity" question is a tricky one. For example, is a
translation that renders "Yahweh" or "Jehovah" at a passage like Matthew
4:4, where Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3 which contains the
tetragrammaton, less "authentic" than one that translates KURIOS/ "The
Lord," here? Even some Greek copies of the LXX have been found with the
tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew letters, if it could be assumed that Jesus
were quoting the LXX version of Deuteronomy in his reply to Satan. So,
which rendition is more "authentic"? That does not appear to be an easy
question to answer, and that is just one of many such. >>

IMO the issue is not as complex as you seem to want to make it. The GOAL of
any translation is to translate a text from one language to another. What
you suggest in the above quotation has nothing to do with translation as
such, but rather is an issue of imaginative historical reconstruction. It
is most likely true that Jesus' "mother tongue" was Aramaic and not Greek.
And so if we are to suppose that Jesus had a conversation, it is more
likely it took place in Aramaic rather than Greek. But one could suppose,
as many mainstream scholars do, that the story about Jesus being tempted by
Satan is nothing more than a fiction created by some of Jesus' early
followers. But in my opinion, issues of historical reconstruction should be
kept separate from issues of translation.

The notion that "some Greek copies of the LXX have been found with the
tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew letters" is simply not relevant for any
translation of Matthew's Greek text.

It would be one thing to put in a footnote for Mt 4:4 a translation of the
Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 8:3 which uses the term "Yahweh" (as the NJB
translates the Hebrew). But to place the term "Yahweh" into Matthew's text
at Mt 4:4 appears unconscionable. One is NO LONGER translating, rather one
is doing very speculative historical reconstruction. Even if we knew for a
fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic or Hebrew and not Greek (which we don't), we
don't even know for a fact that Jesus would have spoken the word "Yahweh"
(or anything similar; as opposed to using "Adonai" or something similar).
Introducing "Yahweh" or "Jehovah" into a translation of the Greek text of
the NT seems to me to be a gross violation of any reasonable norms of

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
Disclaimer: "I'm just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree),
what do I know?"

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