[B-Greek] KURIOS hO QEOS hO PANTOKRATWR (Rev. 4:8)

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Thu Nov 9 11:43:03 EST 2006


Dear Al,

I have vaited a little with my answer in order to see if the moderators would give some advice.

I do not intend to participate in a long discussion about this subject, since that could diviate from the purpose of the list, not in a theological direction (which is not the danger), but in a text-critical direction (which is more pertinent for another list). However, B-Greek is a forum for the discussion of the meaning of Greek words and clauses, and of the translation of such. And the question about  KYRIOS vs YHWH has a bearing on this, something previous posts in this thread have shown.

I have a high regard for your scholarship, particularly in areas related to the LXX. Therefore, when the Weaver´s Festschrift was published  in 1984 I read your article with great interest, and I also later discussed some of the issues with Emanuel Tov, who also is an LXX expert. I do not challenge your data, but I disagree with some of your interpretations. 
When  the words "original LXX" are used, they can only be related to LXX-manuscripts from the middle of the second century C.E. onward. But how can we know that they are similar to an "original LXX" before the commen era? Some scholars even doubt that there even was a collection of books that could be termed "the original LXX" at this time.  Because of this uncertainty I used the term "the LXX and LXX-like manuscripts". Here is in my view the basic weakness with your article, namely, that you analyse words and expressions in LXX manuscripts from the second century C.E.  in order to find out whether KURIOS or YHWH occurred in manuscripts several hundred years older. But since we do not know exactly what these much older manuscripts looked like, and because of possible copying errors, I find this approach fraught with problems. Your resonings are fine and your conclusions interesting, but the conclusions are not necessary; they may or may not be true.

I think you are not fair when you say that my "claim about pre-Christian mss that read something other than KURIOS is misleading and in any case is less than half the story". I spoke about what we can *see* and *read* in these manuscripts (a Job mss with YHWH from ca. 50 C.E. has been published since your article),namely, the tetragram or IAW, and that should be *most* of the story. Other scholars disagree with your view regarding the occurrence of KURIOS in pre-Christian Greek mss, for example G Howard (1992) "The Tetragrammaton in the New Testament" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. In "The Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever" p. 85, Emanuel Tow writes in a comment on Mica 1:2 "R probably distinguished between the tetragrammaton /Old Hebrew characters written/ and )DNY (KURIOS)". Since there is scholarly disagreement in connection with the *internal* approach, I think it is much better to present the *external* one, what we can see in the manuscripts.

Another interesting approach that in some respects can be compared with your approach, is that of H. Stegemann (1969) "KURIOS O QEOS  und KURIOS IESOUS Aufkommen und Ausbreitung des Religiösen Gebrauchs von KURIOS  und seine Verwendung im Neuen Testament" (Habil. Masch. dissertation). On the basis of the existence of PIPI and HEHE in the marigin of mss of the Syro-Hexapla he argues that included in the Vorlage of the first Syriac translation was LXX-manuscripts with the tetragram written in Old Hebrew characters (->HEHE) and Aramaic script (-> PIPI) respectively. So he reached a diametrically opposite conclusion of yours on an *internal*.approach combined with some *external* evidence.


Best regards,

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Albert Pietersma 
  To: Rolf Furuli 
  Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 9:51 PM
  Subject: Re: [B-Greek] KURIOS hO QEOS hO PANTOKRATWR (Rev. 4:8)


  Though this topic was aired on this list before but terminated by the moderator because it is rather theologically charged in some quarters, let me reiterate that Rolf's claim about pre-Christian mss that read something other than KURIOS is misleading and in any case is less than half the story. The best way of solving the problem of KURIOS vs YHWH in the original Septuagint is not on the basis of external evidence that points in different directions but on the basis of internal evidence of the Septuagint itself. I made a beginning of doing just that in my Kyrios or Tetragram article now available on my website http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~pietersm/ 
  Al
  On Nov 8, 2006, at 4:29 PM, Rolf Furuli wrote:


    Dear Webb,

    I do not think you are well informed in this case. In all (there are not 
    many) the LXX and LXX-like manuscripts we know from B.C.E. and down to 50 
    C.E. we find YHWH in old Hebrew or Aramaic characters or as the Greek 
    phonetic transcription IAW. There is no clear evidence that YHWH was 
    substituted by KURIOS in Greek texts of this time. In Qumran YHWH was not 
    pronounced, but the substitute the people used was not "ADONAI" but "EL". 
    Both "ADONAI" and YHWH are used in the Hebrew Bible with reference to the 
    creator, but "ADONAI" is not used as a *substitute* for YHWH. I am not aware 
    of any clear evidence from before 50 C.E. that "ADONAI" was used in Hebrew 
    texts as a substitute for YHWH. In the rabbinic literature, some passages 
    say that YHWH was no longer used at an early date; other passages show that 
    it continued to be used down to the second century C.E. So, if we look at 
    the evidence, we cannot even exclude the possibility that YHWH was used by 
    the common people in everyday speech in the days of Jesus. We should 
    remember that the Masoretes who substituted YHWH with "ADONAI" lived in the 
    second half of the first millennium C.E. We should not extrapolate their 
    views back into the last centuries B.C.E. or the first century C.E. But we 
    have to rely on the evidence from this time.

    Best regards,

    Rolf Furuli
    University of Oslo

    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: "Webb" <webb at selftest.net>
    To: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
    Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 7:43 PM
    Subject: Re: [B-Greek] KURIOS hO QEOS hO PANTOKRATWR (Rev. 4:8)



      Dear Doug,



      You've got it backwards. When the LXX translators read YHWH, they 
      translated
      it as KURIOS, which corresponds to ADONAI (Hebrew for "Lord"), the QERE
      ('what is read'), which was always read aloud when YHWH stood in the 
      Hebrew
      text. My understanding is that by the time of the LXX, pronunciation of 
      YHWH
      had already become strictly taboo in orthodox Judaism. It would thus be a
      move peculiar in the extreme to find KURIOS in the text and to render it 
      as
      YHWH.



      Webb Mealy



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  —
  Albert Pietersma
  Professor of Septuagint and Hellenistic Greek
  Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
  University of Toronto
  Home: 21 Cross Street, 
  Weston ON Canada M9N 2B8
  Email: albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
  Homepage: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~pietersm




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