[b-hebrew] Septuagint vs Hebrew, effect on Christianity

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Mon Sep 25 01:36:38 EDT 2006

Dear Bryant,

When my students read the Masoretic text aloud, I  teach them to read  YHWH 
as )DNY and )LHYM, depending on the Masoretic vowels. In translations of the 
text I tell them to choose the form they like. The question is how old this 
custom of substituting YHWH with other words is. My point was that the 
traditional viewpoints that this happened long before the C.E. have several 
weaknesses. Some groups ceased to use the name and others continued to use 

When you refer to the translation KURIOS in the LXX, please remember that 
this is based on LXX manuscripts from the second century C.E. and later. The 
fact is that all the oldest fragments of the LXX (or LXX-like texts) that we 
have do not use KURIOS. Therefore, the evidence suggests that the original 
LXX did not substitute YHWH with KURIOS.

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bryant J. Williams III" <bjwvmw at com-pair.net>
To: "Rolf Furuli" <furuli at online.no>; <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, September 24, 2006 11:12 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Septuagint vs Hebrew, effect on Christianity

> Dear Rolf,
> When taking beginning Hebrew classes in seminary, we were told that when 
> one
> came across YHWH in the reading of the text one was to "say" "adonai." 
> This
> was done because the Jews, in not pronouncing the name, just substituted
> "orally" with adonai. Thus, the substitution of adonai for YHWH was 
> supposed
> to be from early on according to the Masoretic pointing.
> Second, comparing the text of Exodus 3:15 has the LXX, translating QEOS 
> for
> ELOHIM and KURIOS for YHWH. In fact the text says, "KURIOS hO QEOS" for
> "YHWH Elohey."See NIV Triglot Old Testament, Introduction by John R.
> Kohlenberger III, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981.
> Where Kurios for YHWH is found I would also take a look at Exodus 4:4, 6,
> 10, 11 (KURIE for ADONAI also). There are other examples, but I think that
> the texts speak clearly that KURIOS translated both ADONAI and YHWH; QEOS
> translated EL, ELOHEY, ELOHIM, etc. It is also interesting to see Ezekiel
> use ADONAI YHWH being translated by KURIOS. It is not possible to say
> whether KURIOS  is translating ADONAI or YHWH or both. In 4:14, the 
> vocative
> is used KURIE QEE for ADONAI YHWH.
> There is much that we do not know about the transmission of the LXX text
> other than it is extremely mixed. We do know that the Law of Moses was
> translated by the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus and was well done, but it
> became progressively mixed or worse when the rest of the Tanakh was
> translated (though it does seem to have been finished by the middle of the
> 2nd century BCE). I would be very hesitant to postulate anything about how
> provenance of the text before or early into the Christian era. In fact, 
> for
> its 22 pages of text, Kohlenberger's Introduction of the NIV Triglot Old
> Testament is very good. Beyond that we do not have enough information.
> En Xristwi,
> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III

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