When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

The main place for discussion the Hebrew Bible, its language and message.
Forum rules
Members will observe the rules for respectful discourse at all times!
Please sign all posts with your first and last (family) name.
User avatar
SteveMiller
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:53 pm
Location: Detroit, MI, USA
Contact:

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:05 pm

S_Walch wrote:
SteveMiller wrote:You mentioned that the earliest NT manuscripts that quote the OT, which are at the end of the 2nd century, used abbreviations for Theos and Kurios in place of YHWH. How many NT manuscripts and verses is this?

Rolf is talking of the Nomina Sacra, which are evident in practically every single Greek mss from the 2nd-9th Centuries CE, mostly for the names/titles Kyrios (Yahweh/Lord), Iesous (Jesus/Joshua), Theos (God), and Christos (Christ/Messiah), although with several more added in.

The Wikipedia page on the Nomina Sacra is good for an overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomina_sacra

Safe to say, most Greek MS quoting from the Tanakh where YHWH would be in the Hebrew, you will find it as a nomen sacrum.

Romans 10:13 for example, which quotes Joel 2:32, is seen in Papyrus 46 (dated 150-250 CE) as such:

πας γαρ ος εαν επικαλεσηται το ονομα κ̅υ̅ σωθησεται

Hopefully it shows up alright, but you should see the nomen sacrum κ̅υ̅ above, which when written out would be the genitive form κυρίου, translated usually as 'of the Lord', but 'of Yahweh' would work fine as well.

Thanks very much, Ste.
This is very interesting, esp. the wikipedia link, where it says the early manuscripts used a nomen sacrum for the word Spirit, when it referred to the Holy Spirit, and left it alone when it referred t to the human spirit. But the later manuscripts used the nomen sacrum for all occurrences of the word "spirit".
There is debate among Christians as to whether "spirit" in verses such as Gal 5:22 refers to the God-created human spirit, which is a human faculty, or to the Holy Spirit.

S_Walch wrote:I would argue however that the use of κύριος for YHWH either predates or at least coincides with the NT era, for the very fact that in Romans 10:13, Paul is using the quote from Joel 2:32 as a reference to Jesus, and not Yahweh (though both not mutually exclusive, IMO, for the NT writers). From them to make this 'conflation' so to speak for κύριος referring to both Yahweh and Jesus, κύριος being used for YHWH either must predate the understanding, or at least coincide with it for them to come to this conclusion.

Yes. Equivalencing Yahweh with Jesus could not have been done before the resurrection. So it would make sense that Yahweh was replaced the nomen sacrum first in the NT.

S_Walch wrote:Notwithstanding, whether it is a Jewish practice that influenced the NT writers, and then subsequently the scribes that copied later LXX manuscripts, is not able to be determined. It might be that all LXX manuscripts after the 2nd Century CE that use the nomina sacra are from the pen of Christian scribes, or from the pen of Jewish ones. Unfortunately the data for what precisely happened between 1st century BCE and 2nd century CE is lost, or yet to be discovered.

I thought that the Jews lost interest in the LXX, because the LXX supported Christian claims so well.
Therefore the Jews came up with the Aquila translation around 126 ad.
So the LXX documents after the 2nd century CE should have been copied by Christians.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

S_Walch
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby S_Walch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:41 am

SteveMiller wrote:This is very interesting, esp. the wikipedia link, where it says the early manuscripts used a nomen sacrum for the word Spirit, when it referred to the Holy Spirit, and left it alone when it referred t to the human spirit. But the later manuscripts used the nomen sacrum for all occurrences of the word "spirit".

Yes, that is the argument of Philip Comfort in Encountering the Manuscripts, though I remain somewhat unconvinced at that.

I've spent many a year looking at the Pre 4th century Greek MSS of the NT, and there's more than a few places where the Spirit is meant, but the nomen sacrum doesn't appear in manuscripts that clearly have occurrences of both, and others where a non-sacral usage is meant, but has the nomen sacrum.

Interestingly we see this in P46 (from which I quoted Rom 10:13 earlier) in Romans 15:13:

ο δε θ̅ς̅ της ελπιδος πληρωσαι υμας πασης η χαρας και ειρηνης εν τω πιστευειν εις το περισσευειν ϋμας εν τη ελπιδιεν δυναμει πνευματος αγιου′

Here we have the nomen sacrum θ̅ς̅ for 'God', yet πνευματος/pneumatos/spirit is written out in full. This πνευματος is clearly a reference to the Holy Spirit, but isn't a nomen sacrum? That's more than odd, especially as P46 uses the nomina sacra's π̅ν̅α̅ , π̅ν̅ι̅ , and π̅ν̅ς̅ quite regularly.

As then evidenced by 1 Cor 5:3-5 in P46:

3εγω μεν γαρ απων τω σωματι παρων δε τω π̅ν̅ι̅ ηδη κεκρικα ως παρων τον ουτως τουτο κατεργασαμενον 4εν τω ονοματι του κ̅υ̅ ημων ι̅η̅υ̅ χ̅ρ̅υ̅ συναχθεντων ϋμων και του εμου π̅ν̅ς̅ συν τη δυναμει του κ̅υ̅ ι̅η̅υ̅ 5παραδουναι τον τοιουτον τω σατανα εις ολεθρον της σαρκος ϊνα το π̅ν̅α̅ σωθη εν τη ημερα του κ̅υ̅

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to the Adversary for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. (ESV, with slight changes.)

Here we actually have, IMO, three uses of the nomina sacra for πνευμα and it's forms for completely non-sacral uses, referring to either Paul's 'spirit', or the man of whom he is chastising.

Here P46 is clearly evidence of a development in the usage of the nomina sacra for πνευμα/spirit, with the scribe not being quite sure of what's meant to be sacral, and what's not.

As for the manuscripts that have the nomina sacra for πνευμα all the time, Codex Sinaiticus is a prime example for the NT (not necessarily the OT portions). Codex Vaticanus, on the other side of the spectrum, only rarely has the nomen sacrum for Spirit (Peter Malik in the recent article The Nomina Sacra in the Marcan Portion of Codex Vaticanus: A Note on the Scribal Habits - link - counts only 11 occurrences of a nomen sacrum for πνευμα; the remaining 352 it occurs in the NT it is written out plene.)

There is debate among Christians as to whether "spirit" in verses such as Gal 5:22 refers to the God-created human spirit, which is a human faculty, or to the Holy Spirit.

The earliest (and only) manuscript with Gal 5:22 before the 4th century CE is again P46, which has:

ο δε καρπος του π̅ν̅ς̅ εστιν αγαπη χαρα ειρηνη μακροθυμια χρηστοτης αγαθωσυνη πιστις

But see above.

Yes. Equivalencing Yahweh with Jesus could not have been done before the resurrection. So it would make sense that Yahweh was replaced the nomen sacrum first in the NT.

Agreed.

What is written in a manuscript, is not necessarily how it was read or pronounced. Are we to think that Jews who's main language was Aramaic referred to Jesus as Ιησους/Iesous rather than Yeshua? If someone was reading a manuscript out for someone to understand, whether he pronounced names as they saw them, or as they knew them to represent, is not something that can be determined with any sort of certainty.

I thought that the Jews lost interest in the LXX, because the LXX supported Christian claims so well.
Therefore the Jews came up with the Aquila translation around 126 ad.
So the LXX documents after the 2nd century CE should have been copied by Christians.

I don't think it's quite been proven that this is the case. It may be that in certain areas Jews didn't like the LXX because of Christian usage; but we've got to remember that 'Christianity' was still a smallish sect (compared to other religions/sects) even in the 2nd Century CE. The rather large area of the Roman Empire doesn't mean that all Jews everywhere would've been against the LXX, so it really all depends on the hallmarks of the manuscript in question.

Though I would certainly suggest that a manuscript of the LXX that has both the nomina sacra, and is written in a codex rather than on a roll, is indeed a Christian production (though not necessarily 100% guaranteed). A roll on the other hand? Well, could be either way.

More data is needed to come to a good enough conclusion.
Ste Walch

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:56 am

Dear Isaac,

Isaac Fried wrote:

Also the theophoric name אביהוא ABYHWA (AB-YHWA) of Ex. 6:23 vocalized as אֲבִיהוּ. Consider also the theophoric name אליהוא ELYHWA (EL-YHWA) of 1Sam. 1:1 vocalized as


I am not sure what you want me to look for. The original question was the nature of the consonants in the tetragram. My view is that yhw are consonants and the last h represents a long vowel. How can the passages you mention throw light on this issue?


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:22 am

Dear Steve,

Steve Miller wrote:

Could the evidence indicate that the LXX was changed to use kurios in place of yhwh after the NT was written, to align with the NT?

You mentioned that the earliest NT manuscripts that quote the OT, which are at the end of the 2nd century, used abbreviations for Theos and Kurios in place of YHWH. How many NT manuscripts and verses is this?


S. Walch has given some information regarding the manuscript issue.

The few LXX fragments from the last two centuries BCE and until 50 CE have the tetragram in the Greek text in old Hebrew or Aramaic script, or in Greek letters as iao. These were changed to ks and ths after 50 CE and before 150 CE. The nomina sacra in Latin letters also occur in the Old Latin version.

There is a widespread view among scholars that in the last centuries BCE the tetragram was no longer pronounced, but 'adonay was used as a substitute. I will stress that there is absolutely no evidence in the extant documents (DSS) from BCE and the 1st century CE for this. The only evidence for substitution is that the Qumran community used 'el as a substitute for yhwh. When the NT writers wrote their books and quoted from the Hebrew Scribtures, there were, as far as the evidence shows, no 'adonays either in writing nor pronunciation that could cause them to write kurios in their books. Moreover, Because the Hebrew Bible says that the name of God should continue to be used to time indefinite, there was no reason for the writers to delete this name and use kurios as subtitute in their quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures.

This means that we have no reason to believe that those who deleted God's name from the LXX manuscripts did so because the NT used kurios for God's name.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:49 pm

Dear S. Welch,

S. Welch wrote:

Romans 10:13 for example, which quotes Joel 2:32, is seen in Papyrus 46 (dated 150-250 CE) as such:

πας γαρ ος εαν επικαλεσηται το ονομα κ̅υ̅ σωθησεται

Hopefully it shows up alright, but you should see the nomen sacrum κ̅υ̅ above, which when written out would be the genitive form κυρίου, translated usually as 'of the Lord', but 'of Yahweh' would work fine as well.

I would argue however that the use of κύριος for YHWH either predates or at least coincides with the NT era, for the very fact that in Romans 10:13, Paul is using the quote from Joel 2:32 as a reference to Jesus, and not Yahweh (though both not mutually exclusive, IMO, for the NT writers). From them to make this 'conflation' so to speak for κύριος referring to both Yahweh and Jesus, κύριος being used for YHWH either must predate the understanding, or at least coincide with it for them to come to this conclusion.


There are about one hundred passages in the NT (I have counted them) where it is not possible to know whether kurios in the NT master-text refers to Jesus or to yhwh. There is a basic semantic principle that is used in the interpretation of texts, namely, that we must assume that the writer wrote in order to be understood. This is not the case with these one hundred passages, and this makes the use of kurios suspect. And remember: the view that Jesus is "the same" as yhwh was introduced more than 150 years after the NT was completed. So it cannot be used in a linguistic or philological discussion. That would be an anachronistic application.

Then, what about Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13? Is ks in 2nd century manuscripts of 10:13 really a reference to Jesus? The words of Joel 2:32 are also quoted in Acts 2:21. Peter was evidently speaking in Hebrew. (There is strong evidence in favor of the main language of Jesus and the Jewish people being Hebrew and not Aramaic; only 17% of the DSS are written in Aramaic.) Peter spoke in Hebrew to Jewish proselytes who had not heard about Jesus, and when he quoted Joel 2:32, the reference must have been to the one whom Joel referred to, namely to yhwh. Is the referent different in Romans 10:13?

It is true that Jesus is called ks. But in the two quotations from Isaiah in Romans 9:28 (Isaiah 10:23) and 9: 29 (Isaiah 1:9), the reference of ks is clearly to yhwh. In Romans 10:16 (Is 53:1) and 11:3 (1 Kings 19:14) ks again refers to yhwh. In Romans 11:34 there is no quation, but the context shows that ks refers to God. Because yhwh is referred to as ks both before and after Romans 10:13, the most likely conclusion is that ks in Romans 10:13 refers to the same individual that Joel referred to, namely to yhwh. To claim that the reference is to another individual than Joel referred to is more like metaphysics than like basic linguistics and philology.

So, I return to my main point. By using ks both in reference to yhwh and to Jesus, utter confusion is the result. I do not think that those who wrote the NT books wanted to confuse their readers. If the personal name of God was used, as well as kurios in references to Jesus, the texts would be clear and understandable.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

S_Walch
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby S_Walch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:42 pm

Hi Rolf,

I'm just going to pick on a few of things you've said in this quote, and the rest in a further posting when I have time.

R.J. Furuli wrote:It is true that Jesus is called ks. But in the two quotations from Isaiah in Romans 9:28 (Isaiah 10:23) and 9: 29 (Isaiah 1:9), the reference of ks is clearly to yhwh. In Romans 10:16 (Is 53:1) and 11:3 (1 Kings 19:14) ks again refers to yhwh. In Romans 11:34 there is no quation, but the context shows that ks refers to God. Because yhwh is referred to as ks both before and after Romans 10:13, the most likely conclusion is that ks in Romans 10:13 refers to the same individual that Joel referred to, namely to yhwh. To claim that the reference is to another individual than Joel referred to is more like metaphysics than like basic linguistics and philology.

Quick question: In Romans 10:9 and 10:12, is κυριος in reference to YHWH or Jesus?

My answer is clearly Jesus, and not YHWH.

So yes, a different context can indeed change the referent of the same word, regardless of usage before or after.

I mean the entire context from Romans 10:5-13 is how does one become saved, and Jesus is referred to as both 'Christ' and 'Jesus' and also 'Lord'. Romans 10:9 also makes it quite clear as to what the referent of Romans 10:13 is:

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (ESV)

This coincides very nicely with the quote of Joel 2:32 in Romans 10:13 (exact same verb σωζω used in both, and emphasis on speech), and the pronouns αὐτῷ in v11, and αὐτόν in v12 also refer to Jesus, so with the language of Romans 10:9 & 12 mirroring that of Romans 10:13 (σωζω, επικαλεω), I don't think it's in any doubt in Romans 10:13 that the usage of κυριος is indeed a reference to Jesus. Paul has evidenced the difference between Jesus and YHWH in Romans 10:5-13, by using θεος instead for YHWH, rather than κυριος which is used for Jesus.

There's also the interesting understanding that could be argued for Romans 10:9:

ὅτι ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ἐν τῷ στόματί σου κ̅ν̅ ι̅η̅ν̅ χ̅ρ̅ν̅ καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν, σωθήσῃ·
because if you may confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is YHWH, and trust in your heart that God raised Him out of the dead, you shall be saved. (Translation of P46)

A bit of a stretch, but not one that is too far for what someone reading Romans 10:9 could've understood Paul as saying (especially as, you seem to have argued, the references to κυριος from Romans 9:28 onwards are references to YHWH).

This also applies to Acts 2:21 - this is a different context from Romans 10:13, and the emphasis is on the outpouring of the Spirit, rather than salvation.

Just because Acts has Peter using Joel 2:32 one way, doesn't mean that Paul is using it the same way in Romans 10:13.

So, I return to my main point. By using ks both in reference to yhwh and to Jesus, utter confusion is the result. I do not think that those who wrote the NT books wanted to confuse their readers. If the personal name of God was used, as well as kurios in references to Jesus, the texts would be clear and understandable.

I don't think 'utter' confusion is the result. It does however coincide with what I said regarding the conflation of Jesus and YHWH somewhat :)
Ste Walch

kwrandolph
Posts: 914
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby kwrandolph » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:09 pm

R.J. Furuli wrote:There are about one hundred passages in the NT (I have counted them) where it is not possible to know whether kurios in the NT master-text refers to Jesus or to yhwh. There is a basic semantic principle that is used in the interpretation of texts, namely, that we must assume that the writer wrote in order to be understood.


That’s dependent also on whether or not the audience wants to understand.

R.J. Furuli wrote:This is not the case with these one hundred passages, and this makes the use of kurios suspect. And remember: the view that Jesus is "the same" as yhwh was introduced more than 150 years after the NT was completed. So it cannot be used in a linguistic or philological discussion. That would be an anachronistic application.


This claim is open to dispute, as many understand Paul and the Apostles as teaching that from the beginning.

This comes down to a Jewish understanding of Tanakh. The New 'Testament expresses one understanding of יהוה that he’s not a monolithic oneness, like in Greek philosophy, rather there’s a oneness that is yet a combination of more than one. We see this in the tripartite blessing in Numbers 6:24–6 where the three actions of יהוה is mirrored in the New Testament for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are examples of the מלאך יהוה is a messenger, yet is יהוה himself. And more examples. Therefore, if the New Testament writers took this understanding of יהוה, and there’s every evidence that they did, then Jesus was equated with יהוה from the resurrection.

R.J. Furuli wrote:…Peter was evidently speaking in Hebrew. (There is strong evidence in favor of the main language of Jesus and the Jewish people being Hebrew and not Aramaic; only 17% of the DSS are written in Aramaic.)


If you went to a French monastery in 1400, you would have found that the vast majority of the books in the monastery library were written in Latin. That’s evidence that the people in the villages around the monastery spoke Latin. The same could be said of any European monastery in that era.

The Qumran community was the first century equivalent of a medieval European monastery. Their writings are not a picture of the language spoken on the street in Jerusalem or Galilee.

The evidence from late Biblical Hebrew, i.e. the post-Babylonian exile books in Tanakh, is of a people who learned Hebrew in school, in other words competent in the use of the same, but that they were not native speakers thereof.

R.J. Furuli wrote:It is true that Jesus is called ks. But in the two quotations from Isaiah in Romans 9:28 (Isaiah 10:23) and 9: 29 (Isaiah 1:9), the reference of ks is clearly to yhwh. In Romans 10:16 (Is 53:1) and 11:3 (1 Kings 19:14) ks again refers to yhwh. In Romans 11:34 there is no quation, but the context shows that ks refers to God. Because yhwh is referred to as ks both before and after Romans 10:13, the most likely conclusion is that ks in Romans 10:13 refers to the same individual that Joel referred to, namely to yhwh. To claim that the reference is to another individual than Joel referred to is more like metaphysics than like basic linguistics and philology.

So, I return to my main point. By using ks both in reference to yhwh and to Jesus, utter confusion is the result.


No, it’s evidence that Jesus = יהוה in the minds of the writers.

R.J. Furuli wrote:I do not think that those who wrote the NT books wanted to confuse their readers. If the personal name of God was used, as well as kurios in references to Jesus, the texts would be clear and understandable.


Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway


In closing, some of your claims are more metaphysics than linguistics, and therefore are open to dispute.

All the best, Karl W. Randolph.

R.J. Furuli
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby R.J. Furuli » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:41 am

Dear Karl and Ste Walch,

Since the focus of the list is Biblical Hebrew, we should stick to that. To discuss how the New Testament writers used the Hebrew Scriptures is legitimate, in my view. But christological issues are outside b-hebrew, so I refrain from such discussions. I only want to reiterate one point: When we cannot know whether kurios in one hunmdred passages in our Greek master-texts refers to yhwh or to Jesus, something is wrong with the master-text.



Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway

kwrandolph
Posts: 914
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby kwrandolph » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:24 am

R.J. Furuli wrote:Dear Karl and Ste Walch,

Since the focus of the list is Biblical Hebrew, we should stick to that. To discuss how the New Testament writers used the Hebrew Scriptures is legitimate, in my view. But christological issues are outside b-hebrew, so I refrain from such discussions. I only want to reiterate one point: When we cannot know whether kurios in one hunmdred passages in our Greek master-texts refers to yhwh or to Jesus, something is wrong with the master-text.



Best regards,

Rolf J. Furuli
Stavern
Norway


Dear Rolf:

You brought up the question, and the Christological issue is one answer to your question. Therefore it is valid for this thread. Your one point, “When we cannot know whether kurios in one hunmdred passages in our Greek master-texts refers to yhwh or to Jesus, something is wrong with the master-text.“ is an invalid conclusion, invalid because of the Christological issue.

I’m the one who suggested that this whole question is outside the realm of Biblical Hebrew because:

• Biblical Hebrew terms had been forgotten and some replace by Aramaic terms
• Biblical Hebrew grammar had been replaced by a different one (Waltke & O’Connor)
• This is from an era centuries removed from any Biblical Hebrew writing (other than copying)
• There had been no native speaking of Hebrew for centuries, longer time than since the last writing

Then there’s the issue of rabbinic practices of that era, practices that hint at using alternatives for the pronunciation of יהוה.

The reasons I don’t spell out a pronunciation of יהוה are because:

• We don’t know how Biblical Hebrew language was pronounced, let alone a single name
• “Yahweh” is a modern invention and most likely wrong (within the last couple of centuries is “modern”)

Without evidence, it appears to me that you are speculating on an issue that can’t be answered.

With all the best, Karl W. Randolph.
Last edited by kwrandolph on Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1105
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: When was yhwh replaced by 'adonai?

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:57 pm

"Biblical Hebrew grammar" is a latter-day fabrication.

Isaac Fried, Boston University


Return to “General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest