Three Dissertations on the Teachings of
Jehovah's Witnesses, by Greg Stafford,
|This quotation from Greg Stafford is endnote 33 on pages 224-227 of Three Dissertations…. In order to allow Greg Stafford to be fully understood, we have quoted his entire footnote. This can be viewed as a comprehensive (yet limited) statement from him inasmuch as this endnote includes the entirety of his comments in Three Dissertations… regarding his debate with the author of The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures.|
See Jehovah's Witnesses Defended, 2d ed., pages 12-53. In my previous discussion of this issue I considered a variety of claims made by Lynn Lundquist in his book, The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures, 2d ed. (Portland, Oregon: Word Resources, 1998). In response, Lundquist added a four-page insert to his second edition. After describing my response to his book as "fair and carefully written," Lundquist proceeds to outline our basic differences. He claims that a fundamental difference between us is that I would likely not allow for the possibility that the New Testament writer could identify Jesus as Jehovah, while Lundquist himself is not bound by any such restriction. But the fact is I have no "restriction" in identifying Jesus as Jehovah. Indeed, in chapter 2 of my second edition I suggested the possibility that Jesus was identified as Jehovah in a sense similar to the manner in which other created spirits were given the divine name or viewed as though they were Jehovah. This practice is found in the Old Testament and in Jewish literature circulating prior to and during the time of the New Testament (Jehovah's Witnesses Defended, 2d ed., pages 84-90, 354).
Biblical monotheists do not have a problem identifying Jesus as Jehovah in a representational, non-ontological sense, for this is consistent with the biblical data concerning Jesus and other spirit representatives for God. For example, I have no problem accepting "the name that is above every name" in Philippians 2:9 as "Jehovah," which is given to Jesus. But the fact that such a name is given to Jesus by God shows that 1) Jesus is not the God who gave him the name nor a "person" of that God, and 2) he is not Jehovah by nature, otherwise there would be no need for him to be given the divine name. But this assumes that the name here given to Jesus is Jehovah, and I am more than willing to grant that assumption and accept it as consistent with the biblical concept of God and Christ. The limitation that Lundquist believes exists in terms of my "frame of reference" concerning the use of the divine name does not in fact exist.
Lundquist also comments on my reply to his claim that the NWT gave more authority to various late Hebrew translation of the New Testament than the Greek New Testament itself. In his new insert, under the heading "The perspective of authority," Lundquist notes that I myself refer to 144 instances in the NWT New Testament where the divine name is used with "no Hebrew Scripture precedent of any kind." But this has nothing to do with my point of criticism about Lundquist's comment concerning NWT's alleged favoring of late Hebrew translations over the Greek New Testament. My point of criticism against Lundquist on this matter was very clearly made at least two times on page 29 of the second edition of my Jehovah's Witnesses Defended, in both the main text and in note 64. The main text reads, "Lundquist seems to thing that the NWT chose various Hebrew translation of the NT (which are referred to in many of the NWT's New Testament footnotes) over the Christian Greek Scriptures in every instance." In note 64 on page 29 of Jehovah's Witnesses Defended, 2d ed., I quoted Lundquist's book, page 54, where he explicitly claimed, "the suitability of the Tetragrammaton for the 237 Jehovah passages is derived only from later Hebrew translations. (the italics are Lundquist's; the underlining is mine). My conclusion was that Lundquist should have known better than to make such a claim with respect to all 237 instances of the divine name in the NWT New Testament (NWTNT), especially since elsewhere in his writing he reveals an awareness of NWT's dependence on OT quotations for its use of the divine name, not merely later Hebrew translations. The fact that I list examples of texts in the NWTNT that do not have "Hebrew Scripture precedent of any kind" is irrelevant to my criticism of Lundquist on this point.
Nowhere in Lundquist's four-page insert does he address what I presented as significantly damaging information to his position, namely:
Obviously, then, my position regarding the use of the divine name in the NT is based on my consideration of the manuscript evidence, particularly the source material for NT quotations of the OT. Yet, in a green insert titled "Jehovah's Witnesses Defended . . . demands a response," that Lundquist mailed to hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, he claims that in [sic] I tried to "justify the 237 occurrences of Jehovah in the New World Translation NT on other than manuscript evidence" (see footnote on the insert). But, again, I do not try to justify all 237 occurrences of the divine name in the NWTTNT and for those occurrences I do attempt to justify I most certainly do argue in part from the available NT and LXX manuscript evidence. However, given the fact that we do not have any NT originals we cannot argue conclusively from NT copies in light of the way the LXX was treated during roughly the same period of time and possibly against the use of the divine name in the NT must be more sophisticated than a simple consultation with various NT manuscript copies.