From: Wes C. Williams (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Mar 11 1996 - 09:02:50 EST
Summary: The LXX copies in pre-Christian times retained the divine name.
The evidence is that the substitution of YHWH for Kyrios in LXX copies began
after the first century C.E. (or perhaps late first century).
>> Thanks for your posting on the tetragramaton. I had just finished teaching a
course on it at the Lay Acadamy of Theology at University Lutheran Chaple in
Minneapolis when I read your posting. You mentioned other examples of the
tetragramaton in various LXX fragments and papyri. I would much appriciate any
info. you would care to send.
Also, I found the following internet site of interest. It has a digitized photo
of a papyrus document (in Hebrew) dated in the Herodian period (1st cent BCE -
1st cent CE) containing the tetragrammaton. You can plainly see how they wrote
the tetragrammaton in the ancient characters.
Over the past several decades many fragments of ancient Greek versions of the
Hebrew Scriptures have been discovered wherein the divine name was found
written, usually in Hebrew letters. This indicates that the divine name was used
in Greek versions until well into the ninth century C.E. Here are ten
manuscripts that contain the divine name, along with pertinent information.
(I put the original post at the end...)
(2) LXXVTS 10a renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient
Hebrew characters in the following places: Jon 4:2; Mic 1:1, 3; Mic 4:4, 5, 7;
Mic 5:4, 4; Hab 2:14, 16, 20; Hab 3:9; Zep 1:3, 14; Zep 2:10; Zec 1:3, 3, 4; Zec
3:5, 6, 7. This leather scroll, found in the Judean desert in a cave in Na hal
Hever, was dated to the end of the first century C.E. The fragments of this
scroll were published in Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Vol. X, Leiden, 1963,
(3) LXXIEJ 12 renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient
Hebrew characters in Jon 3:3. This shred of parchment, found in the Judean
desert in a cave in Nahal Hever, was dated to the end of the first century C.E.
It was published in Israel Exploration Journal, Vol. 12, 1962, p. 203.
(4) LXXVTS 10b renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient
Hebrew characters (</0>) in the following places: Zec 8:20; 9:1, 1, 4. This
parchment scroll, found in the Judean desert in a cave in Na hal Hever, was
dated to the middle of the first century C.E. It was published in Supplements to
Vetus Testamentum, Vol. X, 1963, p. 178.
(5) 4Q LXX Levb renders the divine name in Greek letters <1> (IAO) in Le 3:12;
4:27. This papyrus manuscript, found in Qumran Cave 4, was dated to the first
century B.C.E. A preliminary report of this manuscript was presented in
Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Vol. IV, 1957, p. 157.
(6) LXXP. Oxy. VII.1007 renders the divine name by abbreviating the
Tetragrammaton in the form of a double Yohdh in Ge 2:8, 18. This vellum leaf,
dated to the third century C.E., was published in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part
VII, edited with translations and notes by Arthur S. Hunt, London, 1910, pp. 1,
(7) AqBurkitt renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient
Hebrew characters (<45>) in the following places: 1Ki 20:13, 13, 14; 2Ki 23:12,
16, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27. These fragments of the Greek text of the version of
Aquila were published by F. Crawford Burkitt in his work Fragments of the Books
of Kings According to the Translation of Aquila, Cambridge, 1898, pp. 3-8. These
palimpsest fragments of the books of Kings were found in the synagogue genizah
in Cairo, Egypt. They were dated to the end of the fifth century or the
beginning of the sixth century C.E.
(8) AqTaylor renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in ancient
Hebrew characters in the following places: Ps 91:2, 9; Ps 92:1, 4, 5, 8, 9; Ps
96:7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13; Ps 97:1, 5, 9, 10, 12; Ps 102:15, 16, 19, 21; Ps 103:1,
2, 6, 8. These fragments of the Greek text of the version of Aquila were
published by C. Taylor in his work Hebrew-Greek Cairo Genizah Palimpsests,
Cambridge, 1900, pp. 54-65. These fragments were dated after the middle of the
fifth century C.E., but not later than the beginning of the sixth century C.E.
(9) SymP. Vindob. G. 39777 renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written
in archaic Hebrew characters (<89> or <:;>) in the following places: Ps 69:13,
30, 31. This fragment of a parchment roll with part of Ps 69 in Symmachus (68 in
LXX), kept in the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, was dated to the
third or fourth century C.E. It was published by Dr. Carl Wessely in Studien zur
Palaeographie und Papyruskunde, Vol. XI., Leipzig, 1911, p. 171.
(10) Ambrosian O 39 sup. renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written
in square Hebrew characters in all five columns in the following places: Ps
18:30, 31, 41, 46; Ps 28:6, 7, 8; Ps 29:1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3; Ps 30:1, 2, 4, 7, 8,
10, 10, 12; Ps 31:1, 5, 6, 9, 21, 23, 23, 24; Ps 32:10, 11; Ps 35:1, 22, 24, 27;
Ps 36:Sup, 5; Ps 46:7, 8, 11; Ps 89:49 (in columns 1, 2 and 4), Ps 89: 51, 52.
This codex, dated to the end of the ninth century C.E., has five columns. The
first column contains a transliteration of the Hebrew text into Greek, the
second column has the Greek version of Aquila, the third column has the Greek
version of Symmachus, the fourth column contains the LXX and the fifth column
contains the Greek version of Quinta. A facsimile edition of this palimpsest,
together with a transcript of the text, was published in Rome in 1958 by
Giovanni Mercati under the title Psalterii Hexapli Reliquiae . . . Pars prima.
Codex Rescriptus Bybliothecae Ambrosianae O 39 sup. Phototypice Expressus et
These ten manuscript fragments indicate that the translators of the Hebrew text
into Greek used the divine name where it occurred in the Hebrew text. Moreover,
the occurrence of the Tetragrammaton in Zec 9:4 corroborates the claim that the
Jewish Sopherim replaced the Tetragrammaton with 'Adho.nai' (Sovereign Lord) in
the Hebrew text in 134 places.
Here is the original post:
The Fouad 266 papyri (Greek) were prepared in the second or the first century
B.C.E. Over 30 times the copyist putin the midst of the Greek writingthe
Tetragrammaton in Hebrew letters.
Dr. Paul E. Kahle of Oxford explained that these fragments contain "perhaps the
most perfect Septuagint text of Deuteronomy that has come down to us." In Studia
Patristica, he added, "We have here in a papyrus scroll a Greek text which
represents the text of the Septuagint in a more reliable form than Codex
Vaticanus and was written more than 400 years before." And it retained God's
personal name, as did the Greek fragments of the Twelve Prophets from the Judean
desert. Both agreed.
In the Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol. 79, pp. 111-118), Dr. Kahle surveyed
the accumulating evidence regarding the use of the divine name among the Jews
"All Greek translations of the Bible made by Jews for Jews in pre-Christian
times must have used, as the name of God, the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew
characters and not [Kyrios], or abbreviations of it, such as we find in the
Christian" copies of the Septuagint.
George Howard, associate professor of religion at the University of Georgia,
reported in the Journal of Biblical Literature. (Vol. 96, No. 1, 1977, pp.
63-83) His article begins:
"Recent discoveries in Egypt and the Judean Desert allow us to see first hand
the use of God's name in pre-Christian times."
He then discussed some recently (with respect to 1977) published Greek texts
from the pre-Christian period. Regarding the previously accepted view that in
the Septuagint the Greek title Kyrios was always substituted for God's name, we
"From these findings we can now say with almost absolute certainty that the
divine name, YHWH, was not rendered by [Kyrios] in the pre-Christian Greek
Bible, as so often has been thought."
What about the general mass of Dead Sea Scrolls? Professor Howard writes:
"Perhaps the most significant observation we can draw from this pattern of
variegated usage of the divine name is that the Tetragram was held to be very
sacred. . . . In copying the biblical text itself the Tetragram was carefully
guarded. This protection of the Tetragram was extended even to the Greek
translation of the biblical text."
What about the LXX during the time of Christ and the apostles?
Professor Howard explains:
"Since the Tetragram was still written in the copies of the Greek Bible which
made up the Scriptures of the early church, it is reasonable to believe that the
N[ew] T[estament] writers, when quoting from Scripture, preserved the Tetragram
within the biblical text. On the analogy of pre-Christian Jewish practice we can
imagine that the NT text incorporated the Tetragram into its OT quotations."
"Thus somewhere around the beginning of the second century the use of surrogates
[substitutes for God's name] must have crowded out the Tetragram in both
Testaments. Before long the divine name was lost to the Gentile church
altogether except insofar as it was reflected in the contracted surrogates or
occasionally remembered by scholars."
Here are the instances in Deuteronomy where the divine name occurs in the Fouad
LXXP. Fouad Inv. 266 renders the divine name by the Tetragrammaton written in
square Hebrew characters (YHWH) in the following places: De 18:5, 5, 7, 15, 16;
De 19:8, 14; De 20:4, 13, 18; De 21:1, 8; De 23:5; De 24:4, 9; De 25:15, 16; De
26:2, 7, 8, 14; De 27:2, 3, 7, 10, 15; De 28:1, 1, 7, 8, 9, 13, 61, 62, 64, 65;
De 29:4, 10, 20, 29; De 30:9, 20; De 31:3, 26, 27, 29; De 32:3, 6, 19.
Therefore, in this collection the Tetragrammaton occurs 49 times in identified
places in Deuteronomy. In addition, in this collection the Tetragrammaton occurs
three times in unidentified fragments, namely, in fragments 116, 117 and 123.
This papyrus, found in Egypt, was dated to the first century B.C.E.
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