When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

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R.J. Furuli
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:22 am

Dear Karl,

In order to move our discussion about the scientific method applied to ancient history and wrong traditional views back to Hebrew, I raise the question in the heading. I am close to completing a study of all the extant original documents from the first and second centuries BCE and down to 70 CE (= the DSS) in connection with this issue. So, I am able to throw some light on the situation on the basis of these original documents.

The almost universal view at present is that in the last centuries BCE the view arose that yhwh was too holy to be pronounced. Therefore, the word 'adonai was used as a substitute. The writers of the New Testament books followed this custom, and they used kurios, the Greek equivalent to 'adonai, in their books, even in quotations from the OT where yhwh occurs in the Hebrew text.

This view is nothing but fiction; in other words, there is no evidence in the original documents for this view, as I show below.

1) The divine designations in the DSS occur with the following numbers: 'adonai: 73, yhwh: 323, 'elohim: 268, and 'el: 647.

2) The Qumran community used 'el as a substitute for yhwh, and there is no evidence that any of the 73 occurrences of 'adonay was used as a substitute. So, the evidence from all the original documents from the mentioned three centuries is that 'adonay was not used as a substitute for yhwh.

3) A number of the DSS were written by scribes outside Qumran, and they were imported to Qumran. The 323 occurrences of yhwh occur in 81 different documents. The existence of all these documents show that groups in Judah outside Qumran continued to use yhwh during the mentioned centuries.

4) The first evidence of which I am aware of a replacement of yhwh by 'adonay come from Masada fragments of the book of Ben Sirach from the second part of the first century CE. So, the evidence is that yhwh was in general use during the time of the second temple.

5) The view that kurios was written in the NT autographs instead of yhwh in quotes from the OT is fiction—there is no evidence for it. The oldest NT manuscript with kurios is dated in the fourth century CE, and it does not tell us which word that was used in the autographs.

6) The oldest NT manuscripts containing passages with quotes from the OT are dated at the end of the first century CE. These manuscripts contain the socalled nomina sacra—abbreviations ks and ths and several other abbreviations.

7) These abbreviations could not have been in the original NT autographs, som their existence shows that someone changed parts of the text of the NT (the divine designations) between the writing of the autographs and the end of the first century CE.

8) I all the extant fragments of the LXX from the second and first century BCE and down to 50 CE, God's name is written with Old Hebrew or Aramaic letters, or with the Greek letters iao. In the LXX manuscripts from the end of the first century CE, the nomina sacra occur. This shows that also the divine designations of the LXX was changed between 50 CE and the end of the first century CE.

9) I we follow the pattern of the LXX—yhwh/iao was changed to ks and ths, the natural conclusion is that the nomina sacra ks and ths in the NT manuscripts from the end of the first century CE goes back to yhwh/iao and not to kurios. But of course, as long as we do not have the NT autographs, we do not know which divine designations that were used.

The reason why I present these points, is to show that there are so many old tradinal views out there, that have been repeated from generation to generation, but that are not based on real evidence. Therefore, we need to use the right scientific methodology in our study of ancient history and ancient lamnguages. And first of all—we must study the original documents.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:42 am

Dear Karl,

I need to make a correction. I wrote "the end of the first century CE" when I meant "the end of the second century CE." The oldest NT and LXX manuscripts, except for a few very small frgments, are dated at the end of the second century CE. In these meanuscripts we for the first time see nomina sacra.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

kwrandolph
Posts: 854
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby kwrandolph » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:44 am

Dear Rolf:

There are certain issues with this thread:

1) It’s post-Biblical Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew.

2) We’re dealing with an oral issue that may not be reflected in writing. To give a modern example—when reading Tanakh and coming across יהוה some people pronounce it as “Ha Shem”, others “Adonai”, still others as “Yahweh”, and I as “Ya-ho-wa-he” because that pronunciation fits best with poetry. But that’s all the same spelling in Hebrew. There’s indication that something similar was happening in the first century, but no proof. κς in the LXX may indicate that the people were pronouncing κυριος while knowing that יהוה was in the Hebrew. The ιαω pronunciation that you mention is a clue that people were substituting יה for pronunciation where the text has יהוה.

3) Concerning New Testament practice, the Byzantine / Majority Text tradition preserves clues to the Galilean accent that set Peter apart in the court of Caiaphas, what is the probability that it would have preserved a practice other than the pronunciation of κυριος had that been the practice?

Bottom line, we’re dealing with something that is unknown and unknowable. Until someone invents a time machine so we can go back and make observations, all we can do is to look at the clues that have survived and speculate.

All the best, Karl W. Randolph.

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:51 am

Dear Karl,


1) It’s post-Biblical Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew
.

Several scholars include DSS Hebrew into the slot "Late Biblical Hebrew." I disagree with that, but the views of these scholars justify the discussion of DSS Hebrew on b-hebrew.

2) We’re dealing with an oral issue that may not be reflected in writing. To give a modern example—when reading Tanakh and coming across יהוה some people pronounce it as “Ha Shem”, others “Adonai”, still others as “Yahweh”, and I as “Ya-ho-wa-he” because that pronunciation fits best with poetry. But that’s all the same spelling in Hebrew. There’s indication that something similar was happening in the first century, but no proof. κς in the LXX may indicate that the people were pronouncing κυριος while knowing that יהוה was in the Hebrew. The ιαω pronunciation that you mention is a clue that people were substituting יה for pronunciation where the text has יהוה.


I am not sure that you have grasped the purpose of my post. You have said that you do not trust historians, and my post goes along your lines. I will not say that I do not trust historians. But I will not take their words and their conclusions as truth before I have checked the conclusions. Here we have such a situation, where the almost universal scholarly view is that 'adonai was used instead of yhwh in the last centuries BCE. But the primary evidence contradicts this view. There are some sayings in the rabbinic literature which suggests that at some point in BCE there were restrictions regarding the use of yhwh—for example in the days of the high priest Simon the Just. But the data in the rabbinic literature are secondary or even tertiary.

In the quote above you are guessing, and that is legitimate, as long as we realize that our words represent a guess. On the basis of Origen's Greek transcriptions of Hebrew words it is possible to demonstrate that the form iao which were used all over the Middle east and Rome in the second and first centuries BCE and the first and second centuries CE was based of ther three hebrew consonants yhw in the name of God—the last he is a vowel.

Some questions: Do you believe that those who used the form iao in the ancient world, including those who read the LXX, pronounced it a kurios? And was it because of this pronunciation that the scribes tampered with the LXX text at the end of the second century CE and wrote the nomen sacrum ks or ths instead of God's name?

And similarly with the tetragrams is old Hebrew and Aramaic script in LXX manuscripts: Were they pronounced as kurios, and that is the reason why they were deleted and they were replaces by ks and ths?

We should keep in mind that to change the text in a manusript viewed as holy is rather dramatic. The Masoretes would, for example, not dream of changing the consonant text of the Tanach. From the study of Greek NT manuscripts we know that changing the text was done for doctrinal reasons. And my working hypothesis regarding the nomina sacra is that both the NT text and the LXX text was changed for doctrinal reasons. What is absolutely clear, is that those who copied the LXX manuscripts at the end of the second century CE rejected the use of the name of God and used ks and ths istead. This is a doctrinal standpoint. Because the text of the NT was changed in a way similar to the text of the LXX, and because there are no traces of 'adonai as a substitute for yhwh during the second temple, there is absolutely no philological reason to believe that NT quotations from the OT used kurios instead of yhwh.

3) Concerning New Testament practice, the Byzantine / Majority Text tradition preserves clues to the Galilean accent that set Peter apart in the court of Caiaphas, what is the probability that it would have preserved a practice other than the pronunciation of κυριος had that been the practice?

Bottom line, we’re dealing with something that is unknown and unknowable. Until someone invents a time machine so we can go back and make observations, all we can do is to look at the clues that have survived and speculate.


At the outset, ancient history is unknown. Then the research starts, and we can draw conclusions on the basis of the data that are found. The situation I have presented is neither unknown or unknowable. My basic point is that sweeping conclusions have ben drawn without supporting data—conclusions that even contradict the extant data. We know that in Masoretic times 'adonai was used as a substitute for yhwh But the evidence from the DSS shows that yhwh was used during the whole time of the second temple, and there are now traces of 'adonay or the Aramaic mare' during that time.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

Isaac Fried
Posts: 919
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:01 am

The Y and the W were possibly vowels that hardened into consonants by the lack of a nikud. compare: אביו ABIYW, 'his father', which is אביהוּ = אב-היא-הוּא ABIYU.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:14 am

Dear Isaac,


You wrote:

The Y and the W were possibly vowels that hardened into consonants by the lack of a nikud. compare: אביו ABIYW, 'his father', which is אביהוּ = אב-היא-הוּא ABIYU.


We cannot exclude your suggestion. But the data we have seem to show that the name of God consists of three consonants yhw and one final vowel, represented by he.

The oldest example of the name is from the Soleb temple in Sudan during the reign of Amenhopis III in the 14th century BCE. It is written by the consonants yhw. In the old Hebrew inscriptions, the three consonants yhw are either attached at the beginning or at the end of proper names. Because of the phonological rules regrding open and closed syllables and stress, the three consonants become yeho at the beginning of the names and ya or yahu at the end of names.

We also note that the Jews living at Elephantine in Egypt in the fourth century BCE worshipped the God yhw. The educated guess is that these three consonants were pronounced as yahu. But because of all the theophoric names in the Aramaic texts from Elephantine, it is much more likely that the name of God was pronounced by three consonants and three vowels, just as was the case in Israel and Judah.

More than one hundred Jewish names are found in Babylonia, written with cuneiform signs. These signs represent both consonants and vowels, and the way these names are written, suggests three open syllables where the last syllable was wa.

Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway.

kwrandolph
Posts: 854
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby kwrandolph » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:11 pm

Dear Rolf:

R.J. Furuli wrote:
1) It’s post-Biblical Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew
.

Several scholars include DSS Hebrew into the slot "Late Biblical Hebrew." I disagree with that, but the views of these scholars justify the discussion of DSS Hebrew on b-hebrew.


My study of Biblical Hebrew ends with 2 Chronicles. According to Waltke & O’Connor, DSS Hebrew had already exchanged its grammar for one based on an Into-European model instead of the Hebrew grammar of Tanakh. Already by the time of the LXX words had been forgotten and so were translated using Aramaic definitions, guesses or even just skipped. For these reasons those scholars are wrong to include DSS Hebrew as “late Biblical Hebrew”.

R.J. Furuli wrote:
2) We’re dealing with an oral issue that may not be reflected in writing. To give a modern example—when reading Tanakh and coming across יהוה some people pronounce it as “Ha Shem”, others “Adonai”, still others as “Yahweh”, and I as “Ya-ho-wa-he” because that pronunciation fits best with poetry. But that’s all the same spelling in Hebrew. There’s indication that something similar was happening in the first century, but no proof. κς in the LXX may indicate that the people were pronouncing κυριος while knowing that יהוה was in the Hebrew. The ιαω pronunciation that you mention is a clue that people were substituting יה for pronunciation where the text has יהוה.


Did you catch on that the pronunciation of יה could very well have been “Ya-ho”, already a way of avoiding the pronunciation of the name יהוה and transliterated at ιαω? In other words, that the evidence that you presented already shows an avoidance to pronouncing the Tetragrammaton? The lack of the “h” and “w” sounds in Greek muddies the waters.

R.J. Furuli wrote:I am not sure that you have grasped the purpose of my post. You have said that you do not trust historians, and my post goes along your lines. I will not say that I do not trust historians. But I will not take their words and their conclusions as truth before I have checked the conclusions.


In other words, I take your statement as a gentle criticism that I’m a little too blunt. I admit that that criticism is true, that I often lack the finesse of high society and academia.

R.J. Furuli wrote: Here we have such a situation, where the almost universal scholarly view is that 'adonai was used instead of yhwh in the last centuries BCE. But the primary evidence contradicts this view. There are some sayings in the rabbinic literature which suggests that at some point in BCE there were restrictions regarding the use of yhwh—for example in the days of the high priest Simon the Just. But the data in the rabbinic literature are secondary or even tertiary.


But does your evidence that you cite really contradict those rabbis? Does not your evidence that apparently readers substituted יה for when they read יהוה not support those rabbis?

Here’s where the lack of vowel indicators in Biblical Hebrew leads to different interpretations of the same data.

R.J. Furuli wrote:In the quote above you are guessing, and that is legitimate, as long as we realize that our words represent a guess. On the basis of Origen's Greek transcriptions of Hebrew words it is possible to demonstrate that the form iao which were used all over the Middle east and Rome in the second and first centuries BCE and the first and second centuries CE was based of ther three hebrew consonants yhw in the name of God—the last he is a vowel.


Yes, my conclusion is a guess, a guess based on transliterations of some names and words from Hebrew as late as the first century AD and before.

R.J. Furuli wrote:Some questions: Do you believe that those who used the form iao in the ancient world, including those who read the LXX, pronounced it a kurios?


The question is, did they pronounce it one way when reading in Hebrew and another way in Greek? Some may have, some may not have. The fact that some of the DSS in Greek have the Tetragrammaton in archaic Hebrew means what as far as pronunciation?

R.J. Furuli wrote: And was it because of this pronunciation that the scribes tampered with the LXX text at the end of the second century CE and wrote the nomen sacrum ks or ths instead of God's name?


I can’t comment here because it raises too many questions.

R.J. Furuli wrote:And similarly with the tetragrams is old Hebrew and Aramaic script in LXX manuscripts: Were they pronounced as kurios, and that is the reason why they were deleted and they were replaces by ks and ths?


Any answer to this question is a guess, because we lack observation.

R.J. Furuli wrote:We should keep in mind that to change the text in a manusript viewed as holy is rather dramatic. The Masoretes would, for example, not dream of changing the consonant text of the Tanach. From the study of Greek NT manuscripts we know that changing the text was done for doctrinal reasons.


Oh? Which texts were changed for doctrinal reasons?

R.J. Furuli wrote: And my working hypothesis regarding the nomina sacra is that both the NT text and the LXX text was changed for doctrinal reasons. What is absolutely clear, is that those who copied the LXX manuscripts at the end of the second century CE rejected the use of the name of God and used ks and ths istead.


Is this with all LXX mms, or did some already have the practice of ΚΣ and ΘΣ much earlier? Was it for doctrinal reasons, or for practical reasons, that so many of the readers, including many diaspora Jews, didn’t recognize the Hebrew characters and were already pronouncing κυριος and θεος?

R.J. Furuli wrote: This is a doctrinal standpoint. Because the text of the NT was changed in a way similar to the text of the LXX, and because there are no traces of 'adonai as a substitute for yhwh during the second temple,


What traces would there be if the practice was oral only?

R.J. Furuli wrote: there is absolutely no philological reason to believe that NT quotations from the OT used kurios instead of yhwh.


Are there any extant Greek mms of the New Testament that has the Hebrew characters in quotations of Tanakh passages that contain the Tetragrammaton? Or have the transliteration of יה as ιαω? The Greek New Testament was written for a mixed audience that contained both Jews, mainly diaspora Jews many of whom knew not Hebrew, and non-Jews who never learned Hebrew, why would the writers of the New Testament not follow a practice that may have been already widespread in the vocalization of Greek?

R.J. Furuli wrote:
3) Concerning New Testament practice, the Byzantine / Majority Text tradition preserves clues to the Galilean accent that set Peter apart in the court of Caiaphas, what is the probability that it would have preserved a practice other than the pronunciation of κυριος had that been the practice?

Bottom line, we’re dealing with something that is unknown and unknowable. Until someone invents a time machine so we can go back and make observations, all we can do is to look at the clues that have survived and speculate.


At the outset, ancient history is unknown.


The bigger problem is not that it’s unknown, but that so much of what is presented as ancient history is not true.

R.J. Furuli wrote: Then the research starts, and we can draw conclusions on the basis of the data that are found. The situation I have presented is neither unknown or unknowable. My basic point is that sweeping conclusions have ben drawn without supporting data—conclusions that even contradict the extant data.


Agree 100%. That’s why I don’t trust the professional historians.

R.J. Furuli wrote: We know that in Masoretic times 'adonai was used as a substitute for yhwh But the evidence from the DSS shows that yhwh was used during the whole time of the second temple,


That’s where I think the evidence that you cite contradicts the conclusion that you reach.

R.J. Furuli wrote: and there are now traces of 'adonay or the Aramaic mare' during that time.


Why isn’t this evidence against your conclusion?

R.J. Furuli wrote:Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway


I think we have reached an impasse here, where it’s best to agree to disagree.

I see your central, most important piece of evidence as not what you claim it to be, as a result I find your argument unconvincing.

There are some who claim that יה is a short form of יהוה, but when I read Tanakh that appears to be a false claim. As a result, the use of יה ιαω “ya-ho” in the place of יהוה already indicates an avoidance of the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton.

Because our understandings of the evidence is so different, I think it best to end this discussion.

All the best, Karl W. Randolph.

Isaac Fried
Posts: 919
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby Isaac Fried » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:27 am

Consider how this pair of personal pronouns "she-he" sounds in Arabic.

هِيَّ ‪-‬ هُوَّ HIYA-HUWA

Isaac Fried, Boston University

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:36 am

Dear Karl,

K.W. Randolph wrote:

Did you catch on that the pronunciation of יה could very well have been “Ya-ho”, already a way of avoiding the pronunciation of the name יהוה and transliterated at ιαω? In other words, that the evidence that you presented already shows an avoidance to pronouncing the Tetragrammaton? The lack of the “h” and “w” sounds in Greek muddies the waters.


The form yah only occurs 49 times in the Tanakh, mostly in poetic texts. it also occurs together with yhwh (Isaiah 26:4) and therefore cannot be a substitute.

Are there any extant Greek mms of the New Testament that has the Hebrew characters in quotations of Tanakh passages that contain the Tetragrammaton? Or have the transliteration of יה as ιαω? The Greek New Testament was written for a mixed audience that contained both Jews, mainly diaspora Jews many of whom knew not Hebrew, and non-Jews who never learned Hebrew, why would the writers of the New Testament not follow a practice that may have been already widespread in the vocalization of Greek?


The oldest manuscript with kurios is from the fourth century CE. The oldest NT and LXX manuscripts are dated in the last part of the second century CE. They have the nomina sacra ks and ths in quotations from the Tanakh. These arepresent emendations of the original texts. We know that the original LXX had tetragrams or iao. But we cannot know which words in the original NT manuscripts tht were emended.

I would like to stress that there is no manuscipt evidence that the original NT manuscripts contained kurios. And there is no manuscript evidence that they contained yhwh or iao. But the pattern of the LXX emendations make the last alternative more likely.

My basic point from the beginning, was that there is no evidence that 'adonai we used as a substitute until the second part of the first century CE. So, the "widespread practice" that you mention is nonexistent.

Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:41 am

Dear Isaac,

Isaac Fried wrote:

Consider how this pair of personal pronouns "she-he" sounds in Arabic.


Because Hebrew and Aramaic have theophoric names, and Jewish names written with Akkadian consonants and vowels exist, these three lamnguages may throw light on the nature of the letters yhwh and their pronunciation. But because Arabic lacks theophoric names similar to the Hebrew ones, I do not think that Arabic can be of any help.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway


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