A web site reader asked, "I've read the following text on the web site link, and would like to ask if Lundquist agrees with this part:

'...the available evidence supports the belief that the Hebrew and Greek OT texts used by the NT writers contained the divine name...'" (Three Dissertations..., Greg Stafford, endnote 33, page 226.)

My Answer

    We must divide the answer into two parts because Greg Stafford identifies both "the Hebrew and Greek OT texts." Both of these text families contain only the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). The Hebrew OT text refers to the Masoretic text which is the Hebrew Scriptures as they were written in the Hebrew language. (There are several short portions of the Hebrew Scriptures which were originally written in Aramaic. They appear in Aramaic in the Masoretic text.) For practical purposes, the Masoretic text is a single text. On the other hand, the Greek OT texts are referring to the Septuagint and related translations of the Masoretic text into Greek. The Greek OT texts represent a number of editions of the Septuagint as well as translations into Greek by Aquila and others. As a whole, the Greek OT texts are not uniform in their translation style nor vocabulary, including their use of the divine name. The actual Septuagint was produced first, and was the Hebrew Scripture version used during Jesus' day. Most of the remaining Greek language Hebrew Scripture versions were produced from the late first century CE and later.

Concerning the Hebrew OT text. I fully endorse the first part of Greg Stafford's statement in which he is talking about the Old Testament (OT) texts written in the Hebrew language. He is entirely correct when he says, "...the available evidence supports the belief that the Hebrew ... OT texts used by the NT writers contained the divine name..." I don't know of any evidence that suggests that the divine name was removed from the Hebrew Scriptures which were written in Hebrew.[*] Both Jesus and the disciples were familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures in the synagogues which were written in Hebrew, and must have had occasion to read them elsewhere as well. They most certainly read the Tetragrammaton in the copies they were using. So yes, when the Christian Scripture writers read a Hebrew language text when they quoted a Hebrew Scripture reference, they most certainly saw the Tetragrammaton.

[*] This statement is made concerning the 6,827 confirmed uses of the Tetragrammaton. The book Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 885 says, "The Tetragrammaton occurs 6,961 times in the original-language text of the Hebrew Scriptures (this includes 134 times where the Masoretic text shows that ancient copyists [Sopherim] had changed the primitive Hebrew text to read 'Adho.nay' or 'Elo.him' instead of Yehowah')."

    However, the disciples infrequently translated directly from the Hebrew Scriptures when they were writing the Christian Scriptures. In almost all cases, they copied the verses from the Septuagint. This can be determined by a simple comparison of the Greek text of the Kingdom Interlinear Translation with the Greek text of the Septuagint. In most cases, the two Greek texts are identical or very nearly so, indicating that the passage was copied from the Septuagint. In some cases, however, they are not similar and the vocabulary and word order can be compared with the Hebrew (Masoretic) text for evidence of direct translation. (At first, this will sound confusing to you if you have not studied the difference between a verse which was translated from the Masoretic text and one that was copied directly from the Septuagint. For more information on this subject, see the link The Septuagint in the New Testament. You will probably also want to look at two additional tables. The first is Occasions where a Masoretic Reading Is Quoted in the New Testament. The second table is Occasions where The Septuagint Is Quoted in the New Testament.)

Concerning the Greek OT texts. This is where an evaluation of Greg Stafford's statement becomes much more difficult when he said, "...Greek OT texts used by the NT writers contained the divine name." By far the largest number of extant (remaining) copies of the Septuagint contain the word Kurios (Lord) rather than the Tetragrammaton.  However, very few of these copies come from the first century CE or earlier.  Nonetheless, there are some first century CE (and earlier) copies of the Septuagint which contain one or the other of the Tetragrammaton or Kurios.  See the Manuscript Photo Album link for reproductions of selected manuscripts. However, you must carefully note the date of the manuscript, and the version if it is identified.

    The date of the manuscript is important because there was a reaction against Christians by the Jews in the second century CE.  This reaction was for the very reason that the Christians applied Kurios from the Septuagint to both Jesus and Jehovah.  As a result, a number of editions of the Septuagint and additional translations were produced by reactionary Jews in order to replaced Kurios with the Tetragrammaton in the late first centrury and second century CE.  These include the editions/translations made by the three Jews Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion.  (This is why the version of the manuscript is also important.) As a result, there is no conclusive evidence that either the Tetragrammaton or Kurios was used exclusively in the Septuagint prior to the time of Jesus.  Conversly, it can be shown that both the Tetragrammaton and Kurios (and sometimes other abbreviations) were used in the first century CE, and that in the second century the Tetragrammaton was used in Jewish Hebrew Scripture Greek translations and Kurios was used in Christian Hebrew Scripture Greek translations.

    This is a far more complex subject than a casual reading of material published by the Watch Tower Society leads us to believe.  There is actually more evidence that the Jews changed Kurios to the Tetragrammaton in the second century CE, than there is that the Christians changed the Tetragrammaton to Kurios, though both changes must have occurred. The best I can do is to refer you to the material on this web site such as Appendix J and the large quantity of material on the Septuagint Studies link. Also read the document entitled Greek Scribal Culture in Early Jewish and Early Christian Settings: Continuities and Discontinuities, and its special reference to the Tetragrammaton.[*] It will require significant study with the end result that there is no simple answer that will say that the Tetragrammaton was used exclusively in pre-Christian copies of the Septuagint.

[*] There is an interesting comment in this article regarding Greek-speaking Jews as being the ones who, in some cases, altered the Septuagint Tetragrammaton to Kurios.  The simplest way to find the reference is to enter the phrase "Jewish treatments of the tetragrammaton" in the FIND tool (control F).  You may also want to do a similar search using only the word "tetragrammaton" which will take you to numerous locations in the article where the word is used. You can see the complexity of the problem in determining the change of the Tetragrammaton to Kurios and Kurios back to the Tetragrammaton. The last thing any of us would expect is to learn that a Jewish community altered the Tetragrammaton to Kurios. Yet, prior to the Christian era when the Jews reacted against the Christian's use of the Septuagint, it is consistent with the expatriate Jews linguistic need.

    Greg Stafford's statement "...the available evidence supports the belief that the ... Greek OT texts used by the NT writers contained the divine name..." is certainly not correct if by divine name he means the four Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton.  On the other hand, a non-Hebrew speaking Jew of the first centrury BCE would certainly have read the Septuagint understanding that the word Kurios was a translation of the divine name.  He would read it no other way than as a reference to Jehovah.  (This is no different than ones of Jehovah's Witnesses using the words Tetragrammaton and Jehovah as synonyms.)  If Greg Stafford is using the word divine name in this latter sense, then there is no meaning to his statement because he would merely be saying that the "...Greek OT texts used by the NT writers contained Kurios..."

    Thus, Greg Stafford's statement "...the available evidence supports the belief that the ... Greek OT texts used by the NT writers contained the divine name..." is far from being conclusively supported by available evidence.  Available evidence could at best state that "...the available evidence supports the belief that the ... Greek OT texts used by the NT writers may have contained the divine name..."

    It is important to remember that this entire discussion has been concerned with the presence of the Tetragrammaton in the Greek language translations of the Hebrew Scriptures. This is not a discussion of the presence of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scriptures. There is no evedence of any kind that the Tetragrammaton was ever used in the Christian Scriptures. Of even greater importance, this discussion does not mean that the words of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) are in any doubt.  We cannot determine the correct word in these 237 instances by the word used in the Septuagint.  We must determine it by the word used in the more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the Christian Scriptures themselves.  The only word used in any of these manuscripts is Kurios.  The Tetragrammaton is never used.  (For further reference, see the book The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures.)

            Lynn Lundquist