JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES DEFENDED, an Answer to Scholars and Critics, by Greg Stafford.
|Greg Stafford reviewed our book The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures in his book Jehovah's Witnesses Defended, second edition. He gives the following summary of our book on pages 31-36. We have quoted extensively in order to avoid misrepresenting what the author is saying. A more complete quotation also alleviates the need for our own summary statements or commentary, all of which could distort the author's intended meaning. Ellipses (…) are used to indicate omitted portions of the text. Stafford's figure 1.2 was not reproduced. However, we have included the totals given at the bottom of each of figure 1.2's columns in brackets such as [containing x references in the NWT]. Greg Stafford's book can be obtained by contacting www.elihubooks.com.|
However, the NWT does not use the divine name in the NT only when there is a quote or paraphrase of the OT text containing the divine name. And with reference to those instances in the NWT where the divine name is used in the NT apart from the NWBTC's stated principle of "determining where the inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures," then the position taken by Lundquist and others on the issue of 'translating what is in the text' may have some merit to it.
Before we elaborate further on this important point, consider the tabulation in figure 1.2. In this figure Q-P [containing 79 references in the NWT] indicates a direct quotation or paraphrase of an OT text containing the divine name. The category for "YHWH's Actions" [containing 14 references in the NWT] indicates a quotation of an OT text relating to an action on Jehovah's part that is preceded or followed by a reference to "God" or "Lord" in the NT, which reference has been rendered "Jehovah" in the NWT. (In this category the OT quotation does not actually contain the divine name, but, again, relates to the actions or words of Jehovah as spoken of in the OT.) The category labeled "Context=YHWH" [containing 61 references in the NWT] means that NWT has used "Jehovah" apart from any quotation or paraphrase of an OT text by an NT writer, but where the context of the NT passage strongly supports the view that the use of "Lord" or "God" is a reference to Jehovah. The fifth column is labeled "?" [containing 83 references in the NWT] to indicate where NWT uses "Jehovah" in an NT text apart from an OT quote or paraphrase, and where there is some question as to whether the reference is to Jehovah or Jesus.
The significance of the above totals involves the number of times the NWT used the divine name in the NT without the support of an OT quotation or paraphrase. My analysis reveals that there are 79 instances where an NT writer is quoting or paraphrasing an OT text that contains the divine name. These 79 uses of the divine name in NWT's NT are legitimate, for there is no reason to think that the NT writers, all of whom were faithful follower of the God of the OT, would not employ the divine name in their quotation of texts that they viewed as "inspired." (2Ti 3:16) Ultimately this cannot presently be proved, for we lack the original manuscripts necessary to prove this point beyond question. But by the same token it cannot be disproved, either. …
In the 14 instances where reference is made to Jehovah's action or words in the OT, which (in the available NT manuscripts) are accompanied by a reference to the "Lord" who performed those actions or who spoke the words under consideration, it is also legitimate to use the divine name. The reason for this is because it is historically accurate to say that Jehovah is the one who spoke the words or performed the actions attributed to Him in the NT passages. Thus, according to the above considerations there is a total of 93 instances where the divine name has a solid basis for being used in translations of various NT documents.
On the other hand, there are 61 instances where NWT uses the divine name apart from an OT reference, but where the context does favor the interpretation that terms "Lord" or "God" refer to Jehovah. In these instances one could legitimately argue that the best choice would have been to use the terms that are actually in the available NT documents, and then point out in a footnote or a cross-reference that in the translators' view this is a reference to the Lord Jehovah, not the Lord Christ. But since the context points to Jehovah, the God of the OT, as the referent in these NT passages, the translators are justified in making this identification explicit.
The final 83 instances of the divine name in the NT of the NWT are more open to interpretation. Again, since the referent in these 83 instances is uncertain it could be argued that the reader should be the one to decide if the reference is to Jesus Christ or his God and Father. …
The fact that my conclusions on this matter point to fewer uses of the divine name in the NT than we presently find in the NWT, does not mean that the NWT translators did not have their reasons for using the divine name 237 times; they obviously did. The point here is simply this: the basis for using the divine name in the NT should be open to as few questions as possible, since we do not have the original NT manuscripts at our disposal. The fact that there are some 144 (at the very least, 83) instances where NWT used the divine name in the NT simply on the basis of their interpretation of the context, is their prerogative as translators.
However, the argument that the basis for NWT's use of the divine name in the 144 instances listed [in] the last two columns of figure 1.2 (the "J" documents) does not outweigh the testimony of the available NT witnesses, cannot be faulted. But since the NWT translators have gone to great lengths to help their readers understand the basis for their use of the divine name in these 144 instances, providing all the relevant data for the material in footnotes, forewords and appendices, then they cannot rightly be spoken of as having attempted to deceive anyone. At most, it could be said that NWT did not clearly communicate the fact that not all uses of the divine name in the NT were based on OT quotations or paraphrases. Still, in view of the space they have devoted to explaining their use of the divine name in the NT, I am not sure that even this would be a legitimate argument. … (Underlined emphasis ours. Italic emphasis Stafford's.)