traditions regarding tetragrammaton?

Rolf Furuli furuli at
Sat Aug 25 02:01:14 EDT 2001

Dear Jay,

In "The Rule of the Community" (VI,27-VII,2) of the Qumran sect, 
there seems to be a prohibition against using the tetragrammaton.The 
text is broken, but a prohibition is the most likely interpretation. 
In some of the DSS texts we find the tetragrammaton in Old Hebrew 
characters, and I suppose this is what you call "Phoenician 
characters". These characters are used, according to the majority 
view, to indicate that the tetragrammaton should not be pronounced.

Many of the DSS manuscripts were written by other groups and were 
imported to Qumran. Some of these have the  tetragrammaton in Aramaic 
characters, and this may suggest that these groups used the name. In 
the Greek Qumran manuscript 8HevXIIgr we find the tetragrammaton in 
Micah 1:2. Before the tetragrammaton the Masoretic text has )A:DONFY 
and this is translated by KURIOS. This suggests that the Greek KURIOS 
was used as a translation of )S.DONFY and was *not* used as a 
substitute of YHWH (See E. Tov "The Greek Minor prophets Scroll from 
Nahal Hever (1990), p 85.



Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>Wait, if the Qumran sect did not use the tetragram, then what are 
>the Phoenician characters I am seeing on some of the DSS in the 
>middle of the Aramaic script?  It's not YHWH?
>  >
>  >
>  >Dear Dan,
>  >
>  >
>  >I once wrote a thesis entitled "The tetragrammaton and its
>  >substitutes in the days of the second temple". Here are some points:
>  >
>  >All the LXX manuscripts from the second and first centuries B.C.E
>  >and
>  >the first century C.E have the tetragrammaton, either in old Hebrew
>  >script, square Aramaic script, or as the phonetic transcription IAW
>  >(
>  >indicating pronunciation). In the Chester Beatty Papyrii from 150
>  >C.E. the tetragrammaton is changed to KURIOS. While the Qumran sect
>  >and other groups did not use the tetragrammaton, other groups did,
>  >and we know nothing to which extent it was used by the people in the
>  >days of Jesus. The numerous claims that it was not used at all in
>  >the
>  >first century C.E. are unsubstantiated.
>  >
>  >In discussions about the tetragrammaton we should differentiate
>  >between "alternative words" and "substitutes". Different titles and
>  >designations are used for God both in the OT and the NT, but they
>  >are
>  >not "substitutes" for YHWH. Only if people were afraid of using YHWH
>  >and used another word instead can we speak of a "substitute". The
>  >use
>  >of "heaven" and "the power" in the NT where we would have expected
>  >YHWH do not necessarily represent a use of substitutes. We find the
>  >word "heaven" referring to God in the book of Daniel, where we also
>  >find the tetrgrammaton. A basic problem for the substitution theory
>  >YHWH -> )A:DONFY -> KURIOS is that the Qumran sect did not use
>  >)A:DONFY as asubstitute for YHWH but they used )EL as a substitute.
>  >It is extremely difficult to correlate the KURIOS of the NT with
>  >)A:DONFY. But a strong case can be made for the view that the KURIOS
>  >of NT is a *translation* of more than one Hebrew word, something
>  >which corroborates with the view that KURIOS was not original in
>  >the
>  >NT.
>  >
>  >George Howard has made quite a good case for the view that the
>  >tetragrammaton originally occurred in the NT (See his article in The
>  >Anchor Bible Dictionary), and that it was replaced by KURIOS just as
>  >was the case in the LXX in the second century C.E.
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >Regards
>  >
>  >Rolf Furuli
>  >
>  >University of Oslo
>  >
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