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A. Notes on Hebrew Versions
1. יהוה is not found in J3.
2. The original J19 is identical to J18.
3. The DuTillet version of Matthew: J1.
4. יהוה does not appear in J1.
5. Additional uses of יהוה in J-documents.
6. The new J-Documents may not be Hebrew.
7. J25 is a translation of Romans into English.
8. More "J" Documents in which יהוה appears in reference to Jesus.
9. 1 Peter 2:3 in J13, J14.
B. Notes on other language versions
C. Others' Comments
1. See the Email Debate.
2. See the debate with Greg Stafford.
3. NWT Hides the Divine Name as Found in W&H.
An opposing view from a different writer
4. More comments on 1 Peter 3:15.
5. A comment regarding translation.
6. A Reader's Comments on the Stafford Debate.
7. Another "New Testament" using יהוה.
8. One reader's strong disagreement with our evaluation of "Jehovah" in the NWT Christian Scriptures.
D. Corrections to Our Printed Books
1. The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures
2. A Field Service Encounter
3. The New World Translation and Hebrew Versions
4. The Divine Name in the New World Translation
Despite what the WT asserts, two of the oldest J-Documents do not have the tetragram in them. They have two different substitutes for the name.
(The original) J19 is identical to J18. I suspect that the new J19 may be another edition of the original J19.
Anyway, (the original) J19 is simply The Gospel of John extracted from J18 and "arranged by T.C. Horton." What did Horton do to "arrange" it? First, he reduced the length of the lines from book length (roughly 4.5 inches) to tract length (roughly 2.25 inches) so John could be made into a tract that you could slip in your shirt pocket. Then he underlined certain verses he thought were especially important (3:16, etc.). That's it. The text itself is absolutely identical to J18. So, they are not two independent translations or evidence of anything. They are just different editions (or printings) of the same thing ... one with underline and one without!
On top of that, here's a good one: J19 contains only the Gospel of John "arranged" -- I examined the very same copy they did at the American Bible Society in NYC. Even though it contains only John you will find that it is listed as support for LUKE 4:8, 4:12, 4:18, and 4:19 in the 1950, 1951, 1963 (big fat reference edition) and KIT 1969. Then during the 1970s, some of us started asking how this could be. Especially after I viewed the very same document and saw it had no material from Luke.
Well, the 1985 KIT drops the listing without comment. I don't have a 1984 Reference edition at hand, but I think that's where they started dropping it ... in direct response to outside critics. I think the 1981 edition of Doug Mason's book made this point very strongly.
Subject: [update] Hebrew Matthew Available
Would you like to study the Book of Matthew from the original Hebrew?
The Book of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew not Greek. This fact was attested to by many of the so-called "Church Fathers": Papias (150-170 CE), Ireneus (170 CE), Origen (210 CE), Eusebius (315 CE), Epiphanius (370 CE) and Jerome (382 CE).
The DuTillet version of Matthew is taken from a Hebrew manuscript of Matthew which was confiscated from Jews in Rome in 1553. On August 12th, 1553, at the petition of Pietro, Cardinal Caraffa, the Inquisitor General , Pope Julius III signed a decree banning the Talmud in Rome. The decree was executed on September 9th (Rosh HaShanna) and anything that looked like the Talmud, that is, anything written in Hebrew characters was confiscated as the Jewish homes and synagogues were ravished. Jean DuTillet, Bishop of Brieu, France was visiting Rome at the time. DuTillet was astounded to take notice of a Hebrew manuscript of Mattew among the other Hebrew manuscripts. DuTillet acquired the manuscript and returned to France, depositing it in the Biblioteque Nationale, Paris. It remains there to this day as Hebrew ms. No. 132.
While most scholars have ignored the DuTillet Hebrew version of Matthew. Hugh Schonfield stated his opinion that this Hebrew text underlies our current Greek text. Schonfield writes:
..certain linguistic proofs... seem to show that the Hebrew text [DuTillet] underlies the Greek, and that certain renderings in the Greek may be due to a misread Hebrew original. (An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew's Gospel, Hugh Schonfield; 1927, p. 17)
This is one of the primary Hebrew texts I am using for the Semitic New Testament Project.
SANJ has just published this text in Hebrew and English. The Hebrew and English are each typset on facing pages. The English is on the left page facing the typeset Hebrew on the right. In the front of the book is an introduction giving a short history of the manuscript as well as internal evidence that this Hebrew text underlies Greek Matthew.
There is also included a number of quotes from "Church Fathers" which testify to the Hebrew origin of Matthew.
SANJ is pleased to make this text available to the public. This is the first time this Hebrew text has been published typeset with an English translation, and it is the first printing of the typset Hebrew text since 1879! This is a must for your research library.
You may obtain this book from SANJ for a tax deductible contribution of $35.00 or more.
Please add $2.00 for postage and handling or $3.20 for priority mail.
Please make check or money order payable to SANJ and mail to: SANJ, PO Box 471, Hurst, TX 76053, USA
This message brought to you by SANJ and its affiliates: http://www.nazarene.net SANJ is a non-profit organization
How's that for a "translation" of יהוה?
Here are some things I've thought about lately but not checked.
(1) I don't think the later 1985 KIT simply expanded the list of J-documents -- I think it reworked some of the earlier listings. I have not verified this.
(2) I am very sure the earlier lists of justification in the footnotes differ. That is to say, at some verses the J lists are not the same in earlier and later NWT. They were shuffled.
(3) For sure, page 19 of 1969 KIT (same as 1950, 1951, 1963 intros) says Eph 6:8 and Co 3:13 have no J-document support. -- BUT either 1984 REF or 1985 KIT says that only 1C 7:17 has no J-document support! However in the early editions they have footnotes claiming J7 and J8 support 1C 7:17. I can't help but wonder what's going on here. I did find יהוה at 1C 7:10, 22 (twice), 26 (twice) and not at 7:17 in J7. Obviously, some shuffling took place about these verses with and without J-document support.
(4) A complete concordance of all J-document uses of יהוה needs to be assembled. Dozens (if not hundred's) of references not mentioned in WT writings will show Jesus to be, "born to you today a Savior, who is Christ, יהוה." Luke 2:11 J7, J8, J10. KIT has no footnote on this verse but earlier editions did. The footnote said it was like Luke 2:26 which mentions "the Christ of יהוה." Well, 2:26 does say "יהוה's Christ" or "Christ of יהוה' BUT 2:11 says "Christ who is יהוה." ...The constructions are different.
I don't think most of the new J-Documents are Hebrew, at all. For example, J27 looks like it is a translation into German. But I have not checked it out, yet. And, J24 looks like a translation into English. Still need to verify. I have purchased J25 and it is in the mail (from England). It looks like a translation into English of one book: Romans. What was the point of adding J26? It is a fragment of Matthew that (if it had any weight) would only pertain to seven instances of the name. I have not located the new J19 which may (or may not) just be the old J19 with a different return address on it. I'm hunting J23 right now.
I got J25 today. It's just a translation of Romans into English. It has "Jehovah" at 4:8, 9:28, 11:3, 11:34, 14:11, and 15:11 -- six places out of 19 in Romans. That is 31% agreement and 69% disagreement. Why did they bother to add it? My 1984 NWT is loaned out. Did they add these to the notes? Did they add any other references to J25?
More "J" Documents in which יהוה appears in reference to Jesus.
1 Corinth. 12:3 in J14
"...no one can say "Jesus is Lord (יהוה), except by the Holy Spirit."
1 Thess. 4:16,17 in J7,8,13,14,24
"For the Lord (יהוה) himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord (יהוה) in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (יהוה)."
2 Timothy 1:18 in J7,8,13,14,16,17,18,22,23,24
"The Lord (יהוה) grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord (יהוה) in that day..."
Hebrews 1:10 in J8 in which Jehovah addresses the Son using the Divine Name.
"Thou, Lord (יהוה), in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the works of thy hands."
1 Peter 2:3 in J13, J14
"If you have tasted the kindness of the Lord (יהוה)"
1 Peter 3:15 in J7
"but sanctify Christ as Lord (יהוה) in your hearts..."
J7 and J8 also adds "ha Mashiach" (the Messiah) or (the Christ) making this read: "Jehovah God, who is Christ." The 1985 KIT mentions the "J" versions in a footnote, but not that both J7 and J8 read "Sanctify Jehovah God (who is Christ) in your hearts." This is a quotation from Isaiah 8:12,13. Both the LXX and KIT Greek are nearly identical.
J20 (Concordance to the Greek Testament) cites יהוה at both 1 Peter 2:3 and 1 Peter 3:15.
Revelation 16:5 in J7,8,13,14,16
"Thou art righteous, O Lord (יהוה), which art, and wast, and shalt be,"
Romans 10:9 in J12-14, 16-18, 22
"For if you publicly declare that 'word in your own mouth' that Jesus is (haAdohn), and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved."
These "J" Documents contain the phrase "Ha Adohn" which means the only true God--JEHOVAH. In Appendix 1H - p.1568, the New World Translation Reference Edition states: "The use of the definite article 'ha' before the title 'Adohn' limits the application of this title exclusively to Jehovah God." Yet, without any explanation in the footnote at Romans 10:9, the New World Bible Translation Committee states "Not Jehovah."
Choctaw: I took a brief look at http://hector3000.future.easyspace.com and noticed that Choctaw was listed as one of the New Testaments using a form of "Jehovah." The information is vague, so it is possible that I looked at a different version, but I suspect I had in my hands the same copy (not one like it, the exact same book) mentioned in the 1950 NWT. I visited the American Bible Society (just as they did). I found Bible #22460 (just as they did). And, in it I found Chihowa (just as they did). It was translated in 1949 by Wright and Cyrus Byington. Oh, by the way at Chan 20:28 Toma said to him "My Lord and My Chihowa!" I found this in early March 1977.
(Reproduction of John 1:1 in Choctaw.)
Mohawk: Here is John 1:1 in Mohawk -- "The Logos was with Yehovah. In fact, the Logos was Yehovah."
(Reproduction of John 1:1 in Mohawk.)
Malagasy: The Kingdom Interlinear Translation (1969 edition, pages 22-25) lists 38 missionary translations which use the name Jehovah. The Malagasy translation is used as one such example. (See page 22 of KIT.) The following page is from the Malagasy Bible concordance. Note that either Jehovah or Jehovah occur only 16 times in the entire Christian Greek Scriptures.
Jehovah in the Malagasy New Testament.
See the Email Debate.
See the debate with Greg Stafford.
One of the foremost features of the 1948 Macmillan edition of the W&H Greek text is the careful identification and indication of "Quotations From the Old Testament." In addition to listing these passages and phrases "together with references to the places from which they are derived" on pages 601-618, they are "marked by uncial [ALL CAPITAL] type in the text." So, by observing where W&H used this special "uncial" typeface, readers can easily spot OT quotations and (if they desire) look up the source in the back. This feature of the W&H text is invaluable in "determining where the inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures," yet it does not appear in KIT.
Many translators, such as William F. Beck (The New Testament in the Language of Today: An American Translation), have incorporated this feature into their English translations. Why didn't the NWT?
Could it be that KIT omits the special uncial typeface in order to omit or hide the unique, divine name of the Sovereign LORD of the universe? In the W&H text this name is identifiable in quotations by a special type. Ancient Hebrew scribes also identified this name using special typefaces in the manuscripts they produced. Modern readers of English translations such as Beck's can also easily locate this name in the OT quotations in the NT. Readers of the NWT, however, are unaware that some uses of the distinctive name of the Supreme Deity are obscured in the translation they use.
Why was W&H not listed as a J-Document? Surely, it qualifies far more than some of those listed. The special typeface employed by W&H (but omitted in KIT) makes it easy for anyone to "determine the identity to give to kyrios and theos, and make appropriate use of the personal name." Consider the following quotations from the LXX:
2Th 1:9 "...from before the LORD and from the glory of his strength, at the time he comes..."
He 1:10 (the Father to the Son) "You, at the beginning, O LORD, laid the foundations..."
1P 2:3 (speaking of the rejected Stone) "you have tasted that the LORD is kind."
1P 3:15 "But the LORD (who is Christ) you must sanctify..."
The W&H text makes it clear that these are OT quotations and that LORD appears in them. ...the WT translator(s) [did not follow] the "Jehovah" translation rule and [translate] these quotations using "Jehovah," ...they removed the W&H special uncial (ALL CAPITAL) typeface that identified quotations containing the divine name, thus effectively hiding the divine name from those claiming to stand for it.
Taken from www.jehovahs-witness.com/10/74993/1.ashx
An opposing view from a different writer.
Point 1. First, I should point out that I have a copy of the 1917 Macmillan edition of the Westcott & Hort Greek text. What the writer of this web page [www.jehovahs-witness.com/10/74993/1.ashx] did not inform his readers is that Westcott and Hort make no distinction with their use of uncials whether it is a direct quote or an allusion. They apparently use uncials for both and we have already had this conversation about 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Peter 2:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 being allusions according to the UBS Greet Text 3rd edition.
Point 2. Why didn't the KIT or NWT use a different font type to show Old Testament Quotes? First, as we have already seen between the UBS Greek Text and the "J" documents, they are not in agreement as to what is a direct quote or not. Therefore, in a lot of these cases it is the translators opinion as to what is a direct quote or allusion based on other scholars work in the area. The NWT & KIT translators used their own opinions as translators to decide this information. What is going on here is that you and the writer of this web page want the KIT to reproduce the Westcott & Hort text exactly how it appears in their book. In the KIT's use of the Westcott & Hort Text, they were under obligation to reproduce only the actual Greek text, not the quotations or the variant readings provided by Westcott & Hort, these are the Scholars' opinions and speculations regarding the text. The translators of the NWT & KIT have the right to use their own opinions and speculations on these matters with the use of newer Biblical resources since Westcott & Hort's time.
Point 3. If someone had done a little research on the matter, they would have found out that the Old Testament quotations used in the Greek New Testament of Westcott & Hort were basically provided by W. F. Moulton. Interestingly, He is one of the producers of "J20", "A Concordance to the Greek Testament" (1897). On page 600, "The New Testament In the Original Greek" by Westcott & Hort says; "The list [of OT quotations] has had the benefit of a careful and thorough examination by Dr Moulton. We are much indebted to him for the labour which he has bestowed upon it, and also for many excellent suggestions." I do not own a copy of this concordance, but we can be sure they are very similar since the same person worked on both.
Point 4. In the case of Hebrews 1:10, this is a quote from Psalm 102:25. However, we also have a problem. The quotation used in the NT is from the LXX and it used the word Kyrios. However, the Masoretic Text does not use Adonay or the Divine Name in Psalm 102:25. Therefore, the uninspired and altered translation of the LXX added the word Kyrios to this verse. Therefore, you have no sound basis for arguing for a use of the Divine Name in this verse.
Your fourth Scripture, 1 Peter 3:14-15, needs to be viewed in the context of 1 Peter as a whole. Get out your W&H -- the real one, not the KIT. Look at 1 Peter 2:3 where W&H clearly marks this OT quotation from Psalm 34:8. They also list it in the back. Likewise you can check J20 which is Moulton's concordance available at a library near you. It will have both the Hebrew MT and the Greek LXX (numbering is 33:9 in LXX). Another interesting source is Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament: A Complete Survey by Gleason L. Archer & C.C. Chirichigno (Moody Bible Institute: Chicago, 1983) ISBN: 0-8024-0236-4, which on page 66-67 lists this as quotation #150 giving the MT, LXX, Gk NT, and English comments in a handy form for comparison. The WT relies on W&H and J20 all the time. So, if they agree this is a quotation and they are further supported by another book specializing in just that one thing, it's very likely a quotation. Even WT champion, Furuli admits, "[I]t is indisputable that the one referred to in 1 Peter 2:3 and 3:15 is Jesus Christ" page 197.
Not only is 1 Peter 2:3 a quotation, I, myself, with my own eyes, saw the tetragram in this verse in J7, J8, J13, J14, and J20.(As a rule J9 agrees with J7 and J8, but I didn't list it because I neglected to consult it.) For sure, five J-Documents have a tetragram here. Interestingly, the marvelous research staff from the WTS missed each and every one of them. No hint of any footnote appears at 1 Peter 2:3. Why? You know why! This is but another of the many NT verses that call Jesus Christ LORD (or if you prefer, "Jehovah"). The LORD of 2:3 is the Stone of 2:4 which is Jesus Christ. In an attempt at obfuscation, the WT introduced a paragraph break here which does not occur in W&H (of course, in KIT it does!) or any of the dozen English translations I spot checked (some enterprising young JW may be able to locate one if they look hard enough). In W&H, UBS, and NA Greek texts and most English translations no paragraph break appears and the thought flows from 2:3 to 2:4 -- the LORD is the Stone.
In 1 Peter 2:7 the Stone metaphor continues with more OT quotations: "the Stone that the builders rejected has become the head of the corner." To use Furuli's language, "it is indisputable" that this Stone is Jesus Christ. Yet, in 2:8 this "identical Stone" is "a Stone of stumbling and a rock-mass of offense" -- a quotation speaking of none other than the LORD of the OT in Isaiah 8:12-14 but spoken of the LORD Jesus Christ twice in 1 Peter. (See W&H page 607.) So, the LORD is the Stone and the Stone is the LORD.
Twice? Twice! Now look at 1 Peter 3:14-15. Again Peter quotes from Isaiah 8:12-14 to call Jesus Christ LORD (or "Jehovah").
Taken from www.jehovahs-witness.com/10/74798/1.ashx.
I have read some of your posts regarding errors in translation of words such as Lord, Jehovah, etc. What I find missing is the context of "mindset" based upon the language of origin.
For example, an approximate is not exact and therefore does not convey true intentions of the statement (word or word in context of the statement). If you were to apply an approximate to a word that is restrictive, it creates ambiguity of terms and therefore a false sense of truth or understanding. Further, the definition of terms can only be applied within the meaning of such term at the time of writing... not the current understanding of the term. That is why today there are statements such as "it depends upon what your definition of [is] is." In a document proclaimed to be "infallible," there is [no] room for interpretation as it must stand upon its wording as absolute.
The point to be made is that we were commanded not to make worthless (ambiguous) the name YHVH. We have indeed accomplished this as you have amply demonstrated through your discourse.
Regarding the use of translated words, the reviewer says, "If you were to apply an approximate to a word that is restrictive, it creates ambiguity of terms and therefore a false sense of truth or understanding." However, the corollary is equally true, "If you restrict a word which is approximate, it creates ambiguity of terms and therefore produces a false sense of truth or understanding." So we must agree among ourselves that a translator is not allowed to either add a broader meaning to a restricted word, or restrict a word which has a broader meaning. In either case, the result is "ambiguity of terms [which] produces a false sense of truth or understanding."
Consequently, we are taken directly back to the fundamental question asked in our books and website. "What did the original authors of the Christian Greek Scriptures write? Did they write יהוה or did they write Κύριος (Lord)?" From the vantage point of the reviewer, we would agree that יהוה is a more restrictive word than Κύριος.
Again, we must go back to the topic of our books and website. We gave ample evidence that there is no manuscript evidence of any kind suggesting that the original writers used יהוה even once in the entire Christian Scriptures.
Then we are driven to the question, "Can Textual Criticism be trusted?" We are confronted with the simple reality that the same textual criticism methods which established the text of the Christian Scriptures (including the Westcott and Hort text found in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation) is not greater—or less—than the textual criticism methods which determined that יהוה was never used in the Greek manuscripts used to produce those texts. The statement that textual critics cannot account for יהוה because of their own shortsightedness or lack of skill, would be a statement that we have a Christian Greek Scripture which is entirely untrustworthy in all its other parts.
Therefore, we must demand of our translators that they convey the exact intention of the original Scripture writers. They may neither add ambiguity and remove restriction, nor may they add restriction and remove ambiguity.
It is strange that we deal with this entire topic as though the Christian Scripture writers themselves were unaware of the ambiguity inherent in using the single word Κύριος (Kurios—Lord). Yet, there is no manuscript evidence of any kind that they added precision by making a distinction between יהוה and Κύριος (Kurios—Lord). After all, these men lived in the language and religious culture of their day. They certainly understood the ambiguity. It was, at the very least, permissible to them—if it was not intentional on their part.
The reviewer closes this section by saying, "We were commanded not to make worthless (ambiguous) the name YHVH." Does ambiguous mean worthless? I hardly think so. Jesus said many things that were ambiguous—at least at the time they were said. Those things were certainly not "worthless." But more to the point, ambiguity is frequently used in common speech to broaden meaning. In the Hebrew Scriptures Jehovah often lead His Hebrew Scripture authors to write about current events which—because of their ambiguity—were then applied by Jesus or the Christian Scripture writers to future events. The Witness reader must understand that Jehovah could have used the ambiguity of Κύριος (Kurios—Lord) to convey a very important message regarding the person of Jesus. But neither the Witness reader, nor those believing in the so called "Deity of Jesus," are permitted to alter the Christian Scriptures in order to accommodate their theology. Only the best manuscript evidence can be used to determine what the original author said.
I have a friend who's first language is Mohawk. He has difficulty in translating specific meanings of Mohawk words as there are no English equivalent words, or [thought processes]. The best is an approximation to which causes great concern when the true meaning is ambiguous. Such can be best stated in that in [his] mindset, no land can be owned by an individual as it is owned by the creator and only rights of usage is what humans have. How then can the grant of a privilege to occupy lands turn into individual ownership. By ambiguity of terms established from a different mindset.
You did not make aware if the Author of your writings was a Linguist. Therefore, I will assume that he has rudimentary understandings that language forges a mindset of understandings that can only be fully comprehended from that specific language. Even a dialect shift can alter the meaning of a word or statement to the point of ambiguity. For an example, a simple statement "Fred was looking at a man using binoculars," is open to at least 3 interpretations. Which of the interpretations are correct? The interpretation of the individual initiating the statement is the only correct interpretation, from his personal mindset.
For the record, I have an undergraduate degree in anthropology. I am well acquainted with the Sapir-Worf theory of language influence on thinking patterns. I attended the prestigious SIL linguistic institute. I lived in two foreign cultures for 10 years (one Western European and the other in the third world). I learned two languages (one Indo-European and the other which is classified as Austronesian/Malayo-Polynesian, in which sentence structure and thought patters are very different from Indo-European languages). Finally, I designed and wrote what is now the world's most widely distributed English language course Spoken English Learned Quickly. It is based on linguistic principles rather than modeled after less effective ESL methods.
1) Fred was looking at a man (using binoculars) interpreted as the man was using binoculars
2) Fred was looking at a man (using binoculars) interpreted as Fred was using the binoculars to see the man
3) Fred was looking at a man (using binoculars) interpreted as Using binoculars (the informer) sees Fred looking at a man
Which of the above is the absolute correct statement? All have the same wording but the meaning is skewed by the interpretation. Therefore the context of the statement must be included by a before (preliminary) and after (clarification) statement. The context MUST be established from the perception of the speaker and not from the perspective of the receiver of the information. Therefore, if we were to view the biblical writings from the perspective of the writer, with the intent to impart the knowledge to a reader, then the entire meaning of the bible is drastically altered from the concepts utilized today.
1. Why are we arguing for context as though it is more important than the words actually written by the authors? Yes, context is important. But we do not determine the meaning of an author by context alone. We must determine the meaning primarily by the words he used. It is only after we know the actual words that we can determine their meaning in light of the literary and social context.
2. Yet, the context in which the Christian Scriptures were written now has a jarring reality. Considering the great reverence the Christian Scripture authors had for the divine name, does the discovery that they used only Κύριος—and never יהוה—not tell us something very significant? I certainly agree with the reviewer's statement, "Therefore, if we were to view the biblical writings from the perspective of [either] writer, with the intent to impart the knowledge to a reader, then the entire meaning of the [B]ible is drastically altered from the concepts utilized today." As I suggested by adding "[either]" in brackets, either point of view—if not substantiated by manuscript evidence—would "drastically alter" the meaning of Scripture. Which point of view has the stronger manuscript support?
See A Reader's Comments on the Stafford Debate.
Another "New Testament" using יהוה
I liked the review of the book Truth in Translation. The NWT is not however unique in putting God's Holy name back into the New Testament.
The Scriptures Bible from the Institute for Scripture Research also put God's personal Name back in the New Testament, although they use the Hebrew form of the Tetragrammaton.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. It looks like a great translation, particularly of the "Old Testament" with its restoration of the Divine Name.
I do not have The Scriptures Bible on my shelf yet, but I am sure it will be there soon. In the mean time, the links on the publisher's website are fascinating.
Check the links to Deuteronomy and Matthew. You can also review The Preface to The Scriptures.
I could assume that all who defend the restoration of the Divine Name to the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) will delight in this translation. The translators used the written name יהוה rather than a translation (such a Jehovah) or a transliteration (such as Yahweh). Their reason for doing so, as explained in the Preface, makes good sense to me even though it will require some time before I am able to read it smoothly. They also made a careful attempt to handle all titles of God with equal precision and reverence. What a wonderful change from the mistranslation "LORD" which is found in most of our "Old Testaments."
The Preface is also outstanding. Ones of Jehovah's Witnesses should thrill at reading the two sections entitled THE PURPOSE OF THIS TRANSLATION and THE RESTORATION OF THE NAME. These two sections are so meritorious that I considered reproducing them here. Reluctantly, I decided that it would add too much bulk to an already lengthy page. But please use the link above and read the Preface.
The Scriptures' "New Testament" (which they entitle THE MESSIANIC SCRIPTURES) uses the written Hebrew name of Jesus (יהושע) rather than his Greek name Iesous as written by the Christian Scripture (New Testament) authors. Iesous was a Greek translation of the name, and a somewhat common name at that. However, it is just as reasonable for a translator for Jewish readers to translate Iesous as Yehoshua (though they transcribed the name rather than translating it) as it is for a translator for English readers to translate the name as Jesus. The only difficulty would be if the name Yehoshua was used in an occult sense. That is not the intent of this translation and it would only be the result of misuse by others. We can be reasonably certain that an occult sense is not their intent because throughout the passages available for review, they translated proper names using Hebrew pronunciation. (If in doubt, read the first chapter of Matthew !) More to the point, their Preface tells us why they used יהושע for Jesus' name.
Again, in reference to the translation of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament), The Scriptures translators also use the Tetragrammaton (יהוה) where the Divine Name is clearly understood. In this instance, however, I believe they stumble over their own desire for precision because it is a precision that exceeds that of the original authors. I will not repeat what I have said so often before, except to note that when The Scriptures translators use יהוה rather than Lord—even when the passage is clearly speaking of the Eternal God—they add a precision which the original authors did not. (See the comments in section 5 above.) If Matthew had a reason for using Κύριος (Kurios—Lord) rather than יהוה, a modern translator must not attempt to correct him. (See The Indistinct Meaning of Kyrios for further discussion of Matthew's possible choice.)
One reader's strong disagreement with our evaluation of "Jehovah" in the NWT Christian Scriptures.
I'm not sure if this is an email address monitored by the creator of www.tetragrammaton.org but I have a few comments for the creator of that site.
Firstly, I commend you for your stance regarding the OT and its use of the divine name. More Christians should be aware that YHWH is the proper name of God and preserving it, instead of obscuring it, is necessary to bring out what the text is actually saying.
Thank you. See An Open Letter to Witnesses where I encourage ones of Jehovah's Witnesses to keep reminding us of our need to correct our own "Old Testament" translation error.
But I would like to point out that your entire argument against the Watchtower Society and its inclusion of "Jehovah" in the New Testament has to be one of the biggest straw-man arguments I have ever come across. You are arguing against the Watchtower based on a viewpoint that the Watchtower holds and a policy of translation by which the Watchtower was guided. However that viewpoint and that policy simply do not exist. You have clearly misrepresented the Watchtower Society's stance on this issue. It is very similar to the manner in which Jason BeDuhn misrepresents the Watchtower in the appendix of his book "Truth in Translation".
Is insisting on a correct translation of the words written by the Scripture authors a "straw-man" argument? I don't think so.
All Masoretic Hebrew Scripture manuscripts use the divine name יהוה throughout. The only accurate way to translate the "Old Testament" is to reproduce the same meaning today for an English reader as was conveyed to the first readers by the original author. That can be done with a transcription of the Hebrew letters (יהוה), with a transliteration of the Hebrew letters (YHWH) or with a translation of the Hebrew name into English (Jehovah). But it cannot be done by substituting a word such as LORD for the Divine Name. And it cannot then be legitimatized by explaining that the name would not be understood today, or by pointing to a tradition in which the Jews of Jesus' day did not pronounce the name, or by appealing to the history and tradition of the early King James version in which the word "LORD" was used.
I believe all Witnesses would agree with my statement in the paragraph above. Why, then, is it any different when we come to the Christian Scriptures? Do we not also want to read an English translation which conveys the exact meaning of the Christian Scripture writers? We cannot permit translators to substitute "Jehovah" for "Lord" when the Greek text clearly contains the word Κύριος (Kurios—Lord). Nor can we then permit them to legitimatize their translation contrary to textual evidence by saying that because the original authors honored Jehovah's name, they would have written יהוה. Nor can we permit them to make that substitution because they postulate that the Christians of the second century unanimously consented to the substitution, notwithstanding the absence of any historical verification that the change was ever made.
Consequently, we are taken directly back to the fundamental question asked in our books and website. "What did the original authors of the Christian Greek Scriptures write? Did they write יהוה or did they write Κύριος (Kurios—Lord) ?" We give ample evidence that there is no manuscript evidence of any kind suggesting that the original writers used יהוה even once in the entire Christian Scriptures.
It is strange that we deal with this entire topic as though the Christian Scripture writers themselves were unaware of the ambiguity inherent in using the single word Κύριος (Kurios—Lord). Yet, there is no manuscript evidence of any kind that these Scripture writers added precision by making a distinction between יהוה and Κύριος. After all, these men lived in the language and religious culture of their day. They certainly understood the ambiguity. At the very least, this ambiguity was acceptable to them—if it was not actually used intentionally by them.
However, the primary statement in the paragraph above is, "You are arguing against the Watchtower based on a viewpoint that the Watchtower holds and a policy of translation by which the Watchtower was guided. However that viewpoint and that policy simply do not exist. You have clearly misrepresented the Watchtower Society's stance on this issue." My remaining comments to him address that statement and are built on a single premise. My premise is this: It is the Bible translators' responsibility to produce an English translation which conveys the same message today as it was understood to be saying by a reader of the original Scripture writer's document. The translators may neither add ambiguity and remove restriction, nor may they add restriction and remove ambiguity.
Here is the explanation given by the Watchtower (as you have quoted in your 70-page book [The Divine Name in the New World Translation]) given in the NW Appendix 1D:
"To avoid overstepping the bounds of a translator into the field of exegesis, we have been most cautious about rendering the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, always carefully considering the Hebrew Scriptures as a background. We have looked for agreement from the Hebrew versions to confirm our rendering. Thus, out of the 237 times that we have rendered the divine name in the body of our translation, there is only one instance where we have no agreement from the Hebrew versions. But in this one instance, namely, 1 Cor. 7:17, the context and related texts strongly support rendering the divine name." (bold added for emphasis)
First off, the statement above specifically states that the translators were "considering the Hebrew Scriptures as a background". This is a reference to the "Old Testament". The OT is said to be used as a "background", not as a "strict policy", as you would have your readers believe. Therefore there is nothing wrong with excluding "Jehovah" in 1 Peter 2:3 and 1 Peter 3:15. Those passages obviously borrow OT language, but do not state "it is written" or "Isaiah said" or anything remotely resembling such a phrase to identify an actual "quotation". And since the Watchtower never states that using the OT was "a strict policy", it is incorrect for you to falsely make such a claim regarding their translation process.
Second, the "Hebrew versions" mentioned in the above quote were again, not used in a "strict policy" manner. The statement from the Watchtower above makes it clear that in fact it was certainly not a strict policy, since they specifically show by example (1 Cor. 7:17) that there was one place where they did not have "agreement" from the Hebrew versions.
The "basis" for their translation is the very fact that virtually every Greek wordbook dealing with the ancient language acknowledges "Jehovah" as a valid equivalent of "KURIOS" -- combined with the context and whether or not the OT is quoted. The NWT Committee translated the entire New Testament and inserted the word Jehovah based on language, context and Hebrew Scripture quotations. Each of those is a "basis" for translation -- not a "strict policy" as you would have your readers believe.
After they had translated "Jehovah" in 237 places, they then looked to the "Hebrew versions" to 'find agreement' from them. It is blatantly incorrect for you to tell your readers that the Watchtower used the Hebrew versions as a "strict" guideline that superseded the ancient Greek versions. Why? Because, as I've stated above, the Watchtower specifically states that there was one place where they had no agreement from those versions. Since they openly admit that there is one place where no Hebrew version 'agrees' with their rendering, then how can you even begin to argue against their so-called 'strict rule of translation'? The very words of the committee itself acknowledge in the appendix that there was not such a 'strict rule' used, therefore your subsequent arguments amount to nothing but a straw-man.
The Watchtower translated 237 places as Jehovah based on certain "guidelines". After rendering them in that manner, they "looked to the Hebrew versions" for agreement. Basically they were saying "We translate this verse as Jehovah -- and here's someone who agrees with us." Nothing more. In fact, in further support of your misrepresentation, a few years ago the Watchtower added a new "J reference" which does in fact "agree with" the use of the divine name in 1 Cor 7:17, thus again, disproving your claim that following the Hebrew versions constituted some sort of a "strict policy". It is obvious to any objective reader that your statements have largely misrepresented what the Watchtower is saying in its appendix.
The six paragraphs above are primarily concerned with my comments regarding the guidelines which were established (at least in my understanding) in order to produce the New World Translation. The following comments are my response to the statements above.
1. It is the Bible translators' responsibility to translate the text into the receiving language (English, in this case), not to interpret it. The Christian Scripture text uses only Κύριος (Lord) and never יהוה. For example, we all understand that a Jew reading the first two chapters of Matthew's Gospel would understand the six references to Κύριος to mean "Jehovah." An expositor may correctly point that out. A translator, however, must tell us what Matthew wrote. When translated into English, Matthew wrote "Lord" in each of these instances.
2. Please understand that I am neither defending nor arguing against the NWT translator's policy. Yet, notice the responsibility they take on themselves if their statement is not a "strict" policy. If they do not follow the policy to the letter, they then assume the role of expositors (interpreters) in their choice between "Lord" or "Jehovah." If that is the translation policy, then the reader must be forewarned that the NWT has an intentional bias. Thus, in the absence of a "strict" translation policy in regard to the 237 "Jehovah" references, the New World Translation would be based on the theological position of the translators who would be functioning as commentators.
3. However, the translators tell us, "We have looked for agreement from the Hebrew versions to confirm our rendering." Yet, we now know that this was a subjective process and that they did not translate many of the יהוה references in Hebrew versions as "Jehovah." Carefully read Additional uses of יהוה in J-documents, More "J" Documents in which יהוה appears in reference to Jesus, and 1 Peter 2:3 in J13, J14.
4. From paragraph number 3. above, it appears as though the reference to 1 Cor 7:17 in the earlier editions encompasses only those instances in which "Jehovah" was used in the NWT but was not found in Hebrew versions. (As the writer notes, this comment was subsequently changed.) Notice, however, that this statement does not encompass instances in which יהוה is found in Hebrew versions but is not inserted into the NWT.
5. You say, "The 'basis' for their translation is the very fact that virtually every Greek wordbook dealing with the ancient language acknowledges 'Jehovah' as a valid equivalent of 'KURIOS'." That is completely correct. But not only is that known today, but the Greek Scripture writers also understood that definition. Yet, they persisted in using Κύριος (KURIOS—Lord) without once using יהוה. That is extremely significant!
6. If, when you say, "The very words of the committee itself acknowledge in the appendix that there was not such a 'strict rule' used..." then you must concede that the rule which actually governed the translation process was subjective. It seems to me that that puts your argument in extreme jeopardy because it removes the objectivity which is so often claimed for the NWT. It cannot be argued both ways. Either the Translation Committee followed "strict" guidelines, and applied them in each case, or they had the freedom to subjectively evaluate each verse, and made the translation on guidelines which they did not explain.
7. In summary, I am reluctantly forced to agree with you. The Translation Committee apparently did not adopt a "strict" translation policy. This is evident considering the many verses in which Hebrew versions use יהוה, yet the NWT did not insert "Jehovah." Or, in instances when a Hebrew Scripture reference is used by the Greek Scripture writer, but is selectively translated as "Lord" or "Jehovah" (Isaiah 45:21-24 as quoted in Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10-11). The end result seems to be largely based on the subjective response of the New World Translation translators rather than on the verifiable words used in the Greek text by the original Scripture authors.
Unfortunately, many people have resorted to this type of misrepresentation of the Watchtower in order to smear their name. The Watchtower's translation process was done for the sole purpose of bringing honor and glory to Jehovah's great name. It is sad that you can agree with our OT version but blatantly contradict our NT version, even though the Watchtower's motives were exactly the same in both cases, and the end result is the same.
I trust that every reader will see that I painstakingly avoid "smearing" the Watchtower. My single concern on this website is for the fidelity of the translation process. I believe the fidelity of most Protestant Old Testaments to the Masoretic Hebrew Scripture text has been compromised by translating the Divine Name as "LORD." Equally, I believe the fidelity of the New World Translation to the Greek Christian Scripture text has been compromised by translating 223 Κύριος passages as "Jehovah." The NWT's alteration is in stark contrast to what the original writers said. (The remaining 14 of the 237 "Jehovah" passages are translated from Theos or are grammatically implied.)
By some convoluted reasoning, a Protestant Bible translator is not permitted to argue that he is honoring Jesus by substituting יהוה in the Old Testament with "LORD." For the same reason, neither may the NWT translators argue that they are honoring Jehovah's great name by removing that which the Christian Scripture writers wrote while substituting "Jehovah" in its place.
Simply put, the Watchtower does not hold the views that you claim they hold (with regards to their translation process). I hope you will see how you have misrepresented the Watchtower in these matters and post a retraction of some sort on your website. Please review the words of Gamaliel at Acts 5:38, 39 and prayerfully reconsider your stance.
It is impossible to say that I have misrepresented the Watchtower in the area of translation per se. One only needs to consult the Kingdom Interlinear Translation to see that Κύριος (or Theos) is in the Greek text, while "Jehovah" is in the translated (NWT) text. Furthermore, before I first published The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures, I was meticulously careful to eliminate presumption on my part. I pointedly, and repeatedly, asked the Watchtower Society if they had any available information regarding Greek manuscript evidence for the Tetragrammaton's presence in the Christian Scriptures. I was looking for any evidence which I might have inadvertently overlooked in my research. See Appendix N: Correspondence with the Society which reproduces my correspondence with both the Elders of the Kingdom Hall I was attending and with the Service Department Overseer, the District Overseer, and the Circuit Overseer.
But translation per se was not your concern. It was whether or not the Translation Committee bound themselves to "strict" compliance to their own translation guidelines.
It may be an open question as to whether or not these guidelines were "strict," or whether the translators had the latitude to subjectively re-word each passage. Remember, however, that latitude given to the Committee to subjectively re-word each passage is tantamount to saying that the NWT is strongly biased. If that statement is allowable, then you have invited all the outside criticism charging the NWT of being a sectarian translation. (The Translation Committee does, in fact, give us footnotes in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation text explaining their choice for some verses. However, these footnotes are in keeping with "strict" guidelines. Had the Translation Committee been operating under more subjective guidelines, we would expect a far more comprehensive commentary.)
In my writing, I have taken the more conservative position in which the guidelines given by the Translation Committee are "strict" and binding. I have carefully avoided assigning motives to the NWT translators.
However, you are now suggesting that these were not their actual guidelines, but that they followed other criteria which they have not revealed to us. You have just opened the door to the full gale of outside criticism that the NWT is a sectarian translation produced to defend a theological position.
Thank you for writing.
The corrections identified in this section are generally of a substantive nature rather than simple typographical issues. In most cases, the typographical corrections have been made in the downloadable books on this web site.
The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures
A Field Service Encounter Page 19 refers to footnote 12 in the Appendix. Footnote 12 is in error. The verb ending is not "third person [,] singular, masculine, past ..." Nothing indicates 'masculine.' It gets worse. KYRIOU is not in verse 8 -- it is in verse 7. KYRIOU is not the "subject" of anything it is the object of a preposition.
An argument could be made that the antecedent of the implied "he" in the verb is "the Lord" of verse 7 but usually antecedents are spatially closer. Many later manuscripts add "the Lord' "Lord" "the God" and "God" to provide a subject at this point -- after all, who usually makes promises in Scripture?
Some just go with "which he promised."
However, as I said, the verb is not masculine. It could be taken as feminine. Scriptures are feminine. So, it could be taken as "which [the Scriptures] promised to them..." I admit this is quite a stretch, but it is not impossible. Promises are normally recorded in the Scriptures!
A few translations read "which was promised..." and do not supply anything. I like that. If it's vague in Greek it should be vague in English.
The New World Translation and Hebrew Versions On page 29 you offer arguments #1, #2 and #3 followed by #5 on page 30. Was #4 inadvertently lost? Perhaps by the typesetter or printer. Or, was it just overlooked in renumbering during the revision and rewriting process?
Response: I never noticed my numbering mistake before. Thanks for pointing it out. I looked at it carefully, and the prior text suggests that your latter assumption (that it is just a numbering error) is probably correct. I don't think anything is missing between 3 and 5 unless it would have been some comment about Saul on the road to Damascus. But nothing there is a principle needing a summary. It is just an illustration.
The Divine Name and the New World Translation I notice that on page one of 'Divine Name' you say: "The New World Translation is unique in restoring the divine name." That simply is not true. The Holy Name Bible uses Yahweh; the Restoration of the Divine Name Bible uses Yahvah; The Book of Yahweh uses Yahweh; and The Scriptures uses the Tetragrammaton in square Hebrew letter in the English text. I'm pretty sure these are all still in print. They were released after the NWT, but before the NWT a few translators employed a divine name in their NT translations. The WT claims Benjamin Wilson was the first about 1865. As far as I know, that's correct. But, don't bet on it. LeFevre used the name in his 1929 translation. So did WandH in 1944. Also Trainia in the late 1940s. That makes four before the NWT and four after. I forgot the Restored Name King James Version which is available online and inserts the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (not a translation) in more than 1000 places in the NT. Look it up. So, on that count the NWT never was unique ("one of a kind"). It was just "unusual" and still is.