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  1. Child Sexual Abuse UK

    The time period in which I worked for this particular GB member lasted 5 years, although it was rarely full-time. But it was a very topsy-turvy time at Bethel, and even for this GB member himself. One of the persons who worked on the Aid Book appeared somewhat effeminate in some of his mannerisms and this was sometimes used as a threat against him, not because he was homosexual --I'm sure he was not-- but because the Aid Book itself had stirred up some issues, resulting in elder arrangements, and therefore would cause a re-defined GB arrangement, and the questioning of most of our interpretations of chronology, prophecy, and so-called prophetic dramas, among many other things. Since I considered both of these men to be nearly best friends at the time, the subject of "questionable sexuality" came up. He didn't want me associating too closely with the Aid Book researcher, who was also very good friends with Ray Franz, having both worked on the Aid Book together. I say this because, it wasn't a matter of completely forgetting about Proverbs 11:13, because it wasn't like anyone actually revealed a confidential secret. I lived next door to Greenlees and was one of many who understood why there were rumors of his lapses. Chitty was already known from a long history of his friendship with Percy Chapman, who had been the Branch Servant for many years in Canada, and who was more openly homosexual. Rutherford didn't have a problem with him, but Knorr did. There were hushed rumors about Chitty and a "lover" that had therefore made the gossip rounds for many years. But I would agree with your sentiment about this not being a cause for accusation in Chitty's case. It was my guess, and this particular GB brother's claim, that nothing should be done unless someone acts on his proclivities, or unless the rumors themselves become damaging. He put both Chitty and the Aid Book researcher/writer in the same category (although I would disagree that they belonged in the same category). And, finally, it was only the rumors that finally got Chitty removed from Bethel and removed from the GB, according to this same GB source. Also, in the case of Fred Franz being held in high "a-steam," I went there myself once, against the advice of my roommate who said he had gone twice but it was very, very weird. I went once and I agreed with my roommate. I also agree with you, however, that times have changed. In my high school, we all took our showers together after gym, and in the Bethel factories, they did the same thing. This had a completely different "vibe" to it, however. By the way, I also put child abuse and homosexuality in completely different categories, although I realize that there is a small area of potential overlap, just as there often is with heterosexuality. My own reason for naming persons in such cases I can detail later. I will only name dead people, and only name names when other persons are already aware of it and have also already revealed these same things. The main point, as you can tell, is that even a little exposure can keep us from becoming too self-righteous as an organization, or keep us from thinking that hiding something for a while will keep things hidden forever. I've seen plenty of evidence that exposure actually helps in the long run, while trying to keep all dirty laundry under wraps just makes it worse for all of us, and for potential converts, too.
  2. Because this is now demanded of them by law, and the legal department of the Society gives them strict instructions to carry it out the letter of the law if they have not already done so. Notice that this method of dealing with a person actually increases the trust we have in elders, increases the respect given to Jehovah's Witnesses as a religion that does not tolerate such things, and makes it far less likely that anyone could expand a lawsuit to include liability to this "brother's" congregation or branch. Had this not been immediately exposed to the authorities, a legal liability connection to the Society could be made through claiming bad process and bad training. Had this been an abuse of a child under similar circumstances, the elders should also make sure it is reported according to all current procedures, as I understand them. Using drugs from medical waste to maneuver to abuse someone sexually is a whole other level of abhorrence.
  3. We are in the front line - for peace

    The theme of the covers is about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, at that!
  4. Child Sexual Abuse UK

    My point was an attempt to counter the idea that such terrible things will always, unavoidably get worse due to the implication that this means we give up on trying to do all we can to help. It sounds defeatist. Also, even if we knew absolutely that things would get worse and worse, would this mean that we would not wish to do everything in our power for our brothers and sisters, if not also to even set an example as a light to the world? Sometimes, when humans put some effort toward it, we learn how to counter serious problems. That's why I brought up the huge effects of correcting the common belief that germs didn't cause disease (and corollary beliefs). When these ideas were corrected, most plagues and many other causes of death also became much more manageable. I consider AIDS to be a major plague, the Spanish Influenza, and similar flu strains. There are still deadly ebola outbreaks, cholera, etc. But we as a human race have learned about cause and effect factors. I used 1919 as the last date because I believe this was the year in which the last major big "plague" (the Spanish Influenza), tapered off. Wikipedia says it killed some 50 million to 100 million people worldwide over about a year in 1918 and 1919. I wasn't saying that this can't happen again. I was saying that humans have found ways to minimize the former devastating effects of these to such an extent that the world's population growth rate has been effected. (Also, of course, I don't know why your point about 1855 should serve to modify the remark. For me, it's part of the evidence I was presenting.) For me it wasn't just Ameri/Eurocentric. At the time I was including progress albeit slowly, against female circumcision, female infanticide, child labor, child brides, excessive corporal punishment, and many related issues that slowly progress through exposure of these as international human rights issues. Again, however, it may get worse, but we still want to avoid using the idea as a kind of defeatism against doing what we can to expose the issue wherever we become aware of it. It's a good work to expose it, and especially to help those related to us in the faith.
  5. Child Sexual Abuse UK

    I suspect that it really is much worse in other religions. I have already seen people who take the data that comes out of the Australian studies to try to show that it must be about 10 to 50 times worse, as a ratio, among Jehovah's Witnesses as it is among Catholics. I think this interpretation of the numbers is ludicrous. I found it to be a useful point when you pointed out that the numbers among JWs may refer to both "higher ups" AND the "rank and file," while the numbers from the Catholic Church refer mostly to "higher ups." I was trying to find a way of saying that it was not all four "higher ups" at the London Branch who had been accused. You might have already been aware of the news when three of the persons with the highest responsibilities at the Branch were dismissed at the same time, and I did not want to cast aspersions against all of them. But you have put me in the awkward position of thinking I should defend the truthfulness of what I said. In Australia not only does the list include circuit overseers, and a former district overseer, but the accused included a person who had been a former Australian Branch overseer himself. One of the very cases that we listened to testimony about in the ARC was a case where the accused was one of these at the top of the Australian Branch organization. So I mention the parallels as a way of showing the seriousness, even though all of us have the desire to protect the reputation of the Organization. I think it's just as dangerous to minimize the cases as it is to exaggerate them. With respect to the Interview you mentioned, it's hard to imagine this in any institution, but there really are parallels even if we are not trying to equate our problems with Catholic problems. Although I am not speaking of child abuse, exactly, there have been cases of collusion among some accused of wife-swapping, two or more elders who all committed fornication with the same young sister, and in at least one of these cases, more than one of the accused Witnesses ended up being friends with each other, and supposedly had used this friendship to cover for each other. Something related to this has been claimed for a couple of Australian congregations and three California congregations. I can't claim direct knowledge of those things that I just mentioned in the last paragraph, but I can claim almost direct knowledge, or at least knowledge that came to me from a member of the GB, whom I worked for. At the time there were about 16 active members of the Governing Body, and one had been accused of homosexual tendencies (Chitty), while two others had been accused of multiple child abuse instances (Greenlees and Jaracz). Another was a 80+-year GB member (Fred Franz) who had made it a longstanding practice to meet with more than a dozen naked and semi-naked 19-year olds in the sauna (steam room), who came there to listen to his Bible discussions for up to two hours every Wednesday night. Two of those GB members were dismissed from Bethel, the other two remained at Bethel until they died. I mention all of these because it reflects on 25% of the highest organizational leadership at the time. We know that it's often those with a measure of authority who use their position to manipulate the situation allowing for the crimes and the cover-up of their crimes. So, unfortunately, I cannot accept some of the excuses about needing to slap down those who see problematic parallels. Finding the parallels with other institutions might even be a way to find more solutions that have seemed to work in some of these other institutions. I don't think it matters who is better or worse, it matters that we find more ways to help the situation, help the victims, and keep the organization clean. Making the organization appear cleaner is not the same as truly working to make it clean. I'm a firm believer in facing the issue head on as the fastest way to clean it up.
  6. Does the Human DNA include The Name of God Inside?

    The caption below the picture in the link says approximately the following in Portuguese: A new line of research, known as intelligent design, believes that the complexity of life and the perfection of nature proves the existence of a higher being. At the core of research in science, faith and society, newly opened by one of the largest universities in São Paulo, in partnership with American institutions, scholars discard the creation of the world by mere chance and analyze genetic codes as a kind of 'signature of God '. Of course, "intelligent design" is actually an old line of research, not a new one. And everything else said about intelligent design here in the above quote is correct. However, these attempts to make it seem like a science are extremely flawed and nearly always end up embarrassing themselves by joining with "young earth" enthusiasts who claim the earth (and sun, for that matter) are no more than 6,000 years old. They often either deny the existence of dinosaurs, or say the fossils were placed here by God or Satan as a test of our faith, or claim that dinosaurs were alive when Adam named them, but died in the Flood. The idea that DNA is a kind of signature of God is a good way to put it. But throwing in the idea that the NAME of God might be found in DNA is completely fake. By whatever methods anyone can tell you that the name YHWH is in DNA, those same methods will also be able to prove that the name Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebul, Devil, Hezekiah, Lincoln, Trump, Hitler, Jesus, Putin, Petunia, Sally, etc., are found just as easily -- because anything can be done with numbers. People will see what they want to see. (A little like 99% of all the so-called Biblical chronology predictions that have gone on for the last 1,000 years.)
  7. Child Sexual Abuse UK

    Not every problem needs to get worse as the system goes down. Plagues and flu that have killed millions of people may have seen their worst days from the Middle Ages until about 1919. Soap and a better understanding of germs and cleanliness (clean water, etc) has likely been the reason that the population of the world has grown so rapidly especially in the last two or three generations since 1919. The Watch Tower publications were not the only sources of bad (false) information about germs, up until as recently as 1931. Note:
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    Of course, we have had multiple plagues in the world from the even before Jesus predicted that these things would continue to occur. And we could be hit with something unexpected and terrible in the near future, but plagues are no longer the kind of worry they were during the days of exploration from the 13th to the 17th centuries. Lack of plagues results in rising populations and therefore food shortages, however. Child abuse might actually be another matter that gets better, not worse, as the system heads towards the end. More public awareness (including families of course), and more education, and more alert institutions (religious, educational/academic, health, government services) can make a huge difference, especially as children are made aware of the potential problem at younger ages. Although there is still scrutiny and a lot of news about the problem, I think the situation might already be improving. The circuit overseer in my parent's congregation, Kent K*rr*s., in private conversation, claims that the problem is much rarer in the past few years than it was 10 years ago. I suspect the same is, or will soon be true with better vetting in the Catholic churches, too. My aunt is a lapsed Witness who attended a funeral for a friend in a Catholic Church about 4 years ago, and picked up a letter from the archbishop to all members in the back "foyer" of the church that announced that their new priest was on leave for an investigation into such a scandal, and that this was especially difficult on all church members since their bishop had just been removed indefinitely although he claimed innocence of similar charges. The archbishop promises that great care will be taken to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. I understand your point about bringing the incest problem from 1 Cor 5 into the mix, although that was not at all about child abuse. The idea that even the world might have handled this particular problem better than the Corinthian congregation was handling it is an interesting point. I hadn't thought of that. But the real point I wanted to make was that it seems like a real non sequitur when you add this: Of course Jehovah's way is best! But your logic is hard to follow here. What does Jehovah doing things in certain unusual ways have to do with child abuse? And how is handling child abuse in any way akin to telling Jehovah he was wrong in Genesis 22? It comes across as a kind of defense of the long-standing way in which the Organization has handled child abuse cases just because, for example, we were trying to make excessive(?) use of the two-witness rule (which had the supposed advantage of keeping most of these cases quiet from both the rest of the congregation and the press). Even now there are very few Witnesses who know the identity of more than just a few of the 1,003 child abusers in Australia, for example. I happen to know for an absolute fact that just a very few of these were men that were regularly seen by tens of thousands of fellow Australian Witnesses due to their high positions. There had been an unofficial move-them-around policy similar to what happened in some Catholic dioceses. Something very similar came up in the UK Branch Office so that a few people at the very top lost their positions (a couple years ago) so that the branch in the UK would be in a better position to save their threatened status as a charitable organization. By the way, if you happen to know the three or four top persons who lost their positions, I am not referring to whether or not any or some had been personally accused of crimes, I'm also referring to a claim of undeniable knowledge of crimes that were not handled correctly, ethically, or even according to law in some cases. Also, I should mention that it is now the Governing Body's position that certain things must be done by the law of the land even if we know that the Bible itself recommended a different process under the nation of Israel. This is why Brother Jackson refused to admit that the Bible supports corporal punishment of children and focused on only one scripture in that regard that could be said to have a non-literal meaning. The rights that Jehovah has to create a prophetic drama by having a specific situation played out is not relevant at all to how we handle matters of abuse today. (When Jehovah asks a prophet marry a prostitute, or cook his food with excrement, or even see just how far a person will go when asked to kill their son: none of these have anything to do with how we should handle child abuse or defend processes just because Jehovah may do certain things in unusual ways.)
  8. You can always start another thread if one gets enormous. I doubt you caused any real angst for anyone. Anyone who shares an internet forum or even responds to a youtube video will be well prepared for just about anything. I had hoped you would share what caused you to make such a big decision about religion recently. I've seen several who decide to leave the Witnesses and not to come back. They take various paths, often immersing themselves in a lot of study and research to be sure they made the right decision. Sometimes, depending on their motives, they are able to offer something valuable in a kind of "exit interview." I think people would be surprised at all the things that were changed for the better, specifically because an "infamous GB apostate" once decided to write a book about his experiences. So if you have any constructive criticism, I think it would be welcomed. From what I could gather from these last several posts, it was a lot of different things that piled up at once and crowded out the ability to see light at the end of the tunnel, as it were. The reason I put it this way to you is not because I think my way of looking at doctrines is so much better, but because I think you showed exactly the right motive when your frustration with doctrinal discussion led you to see Christianity more in terms of 'what sort of persons we ought to be.' As you might have gathered from other posts, I believe we have the Trinity right, hell/soul/torment right, new heavens and new paradise earth right, neutrality/war right, preaching activity, etc., etc., etc. And I've seen many dozens of positive adjustments in my lifetime. But I also think we have several things wrong, and probably need more adjustments even on the things we have right. I could list all the things I think we might have wrong in one single place, and this might seem overwhelming, but I prefer to deal with the evidence for one thing at a time. And this is easier on others, too. I hope you feel welcome if you continue to contribute here, or wherever else you decide.
  9. Early Christians Believed in the Trinity

    I will try to remember that for conversations with you. I have a tendency to respond with too many words, so I'm usually guessing that most people look at what I have written and just don't bother. ("too-long-didn't-read" -- tldr.) I rarely edit things down to a better size, which means that putting all my posts together would create "tldr times three" or "tldr times four." Of course, it doesn't bother me at all if no one reads what I've said, because writing out my responses in detail serves to make me think through an idea more completely, for myself, and then produces a "paper trail" for others to correct or to see if it still makes sense after I learn more. And if it's "tldr" then only those who WANT to go to the time and trouble to correct my errors will engage. homoousia People can pick and choose from more than one teacher. Paul of Samosata followed Origen in several ways. I see no misunderstanding. That's one of the evidences that Rufinus sincerely thought he was doing the right thing. If he misunderstood what Origen meant in one place and it made him edit what Origen said in another place then it means we have lost out on being able to determine for ourselves the full range of Origen's ideas, or we may have lost out on our ability to see where Origen may have contradicted himself. Also, if Origen said "A" in one place and "B" in another, how do we know whether Rufinus picked the correct places to edit. Perhaps Origen would have preferred all his A's to be corrected as B's and Rufinus corrected all his B's and made them A's. God helps us and communicates to us through the Word, his only-begotten Son, and God helps and communicates to us through the holy spirit, which was especially manifested through the work of the apostles and first-century disciples in laying the foundation of the first-century congregations. That work of the holy spirit has come down to us in the form of the inspired Bible which added the inspired Greek Scriptures to the canon of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures. The holy spirit also works in the lives of individuals so that we can give faith, love and hope a priority in our lives and conquer in our war over sin and the works of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16-26) Therefore we do have equal faith in God, his Son, and his holy spirit. We can't have real faith in God without equal faith in all his means of help and all his means of communicating his purpose and character to us. It should therefore have been quite natural for all Christian writers to link God, his Son, and his holy spirit. It should be natural for them to be linked together in the Greek Scriptures, too. If that "and" argument were necessarily so, he would not have needed to add "lives" before Jesus, either. To the question as to what Clement likely meant, I would merely repeat the last two paragraphs I wrote above. They should be linked because our faith and hope is dependent on God and his direct means of working with us. Our faith and hope is not dependent on angels, organizations, material support, or even our fellow believers. Perhaps not intentionally. His goal is to tie the current official faith of the Church to the faith handed down by the apostles. You are referring to a more formal Binitarian belief. I am referring to a time shortly after the writings of the apostles, especially John's gospel, when the primary goal was to resolve the meaning of Christ's divinity. There were several potential solutions offered, some which congealed in religions that are hardly recognizable as "Christianity" today, such as various heresies and forms of gnosticism. Perhaps. There are two ways to look at this issue. One is that the wheat and weeds grow together throughout the history of believers. But it might never mean that there was a time when the majority of believers held correct beliefs. Jehovah's Witnesses have long held that there were believers holding to a true belief system throughout history. Only near the end, towards the time of the harvest, would the wheat and weeds become distinguishable. So JWs believe that God and Jesus have always had "Witnesses" throughout history, and that the true belief system has not ceased. Another way to look at this is that the congregation that Jesus identifies as his Witnesses is not strictly identified throughout all of history by the sum total of their belief system. It may be that it refers to all those who are motivated to allow Jesus teachings about love for God and neighbor to guide their lives, doing unto others as they would have done to themselves, and therefore they are allowing the fruits of the holy spirit to guide their lives. Outside of that, all these other doctrines are of a much lower priority. I have already described a sense in which the three entities should be spoken of together, and I have no problem linking them in many of the ways that the ANF linked them.
  10. When I realized I didn't know nearly enough about this subject, I decided to look into 4 questions that came up from reading the NWT Appendixes: Point A. Did the Tetragrammaton appear in all the Hebrew manuscripts of the OT in the first century? Point B. What was the general history of the appearance and use of the Divine Name and at what point did it begin to fall out of general use among Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek-speaking Jews? Point C. Did some (many? most?) of the LXX texts available to the first-century Christians already contain replacements for the Divine Name? Point D. [Based on the new claim in the NWT Appendix 2013-2017, not the old claim from 1984] Primary Question: Is there any evidence showing that it was sometime during the second or early third century C.E., when a practice had developed where those copying the manuscripts among those copying the manuscripts to replace the Tetragrammaton with a title such as Lord or God? Secondary Question: Is there any evidence showing that those same copyists just mentioned (in the 2nd and early 3rd century) may have copied from manuscripts where this had already been done? More questions have come up since, but these are still basic questions I'm interested in. So far I have either skimmed or read the following articles, papers, and other research that make points relative to these questions. If anyone is really interested in some of these I can summarize them and make fair-use quotes from them, but my access to them does not give me the right to quote long portions without permission. Some or several of them might be publicly accessible. The Divine Name Yahweh Author(s): Raymond Abba Source: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 80, No. 4 (Dec., 1961), pp. 320-328 Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature YHWH, THE INEFFABLE NAME: AVOIDANCE, ALTERNATIONS AND CIRCUMVENTIONS IN THE NON-BIBLICAL MANUSCRIPTS AT QUMRAN by JOËLLE ALHADEF-LAKE.
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    [187 pg pdf, very detailed and useful, imo] Concerning Exod 34:6 Author(s): Norman Walker Source: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 79, No. 3 (Sep., 1960), p. 277 Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature The God Yahweh-Elohim Author(s): Raphael Patai Source: American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 75, No. 4 (Aug., 1973), pp. 1181-1184 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Reviewed Work(s): Yahweh: The Divine Name in the Bible by G. H. Parke-Taylor Review by: Herbert B. Huffmon Source: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 96, No. 4 (Dec., 1977), pp. 580-581 [This work is often quoted in the most relevant research by others scholars, I haven't obtained the original work yet, but intend to obtain it, even if I have to pay for it.] Reviewed Work(s): De Septuaginta, Studies in Honour of John William Wevers on His Sixty-Fifth Birthday by A. Pietersma and C. Cox Review by: G. D. Kilpatrick Source: Novum Testamentum, Vol. 27, Fasc. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 380-382 [The Review of Pietersma's contribution covers the major points on the topic "Kyrios or Tetragram" {in the LXX and NT mss} is long enough and very relevant to this topic] Septuagint Research: A Plea for a Return to Basic Issues Author(s): Albert Pietersma Source: Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 35, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 1985), pp. 296-311 Published by: Brill [not as relevant as his work on "Kyrios or Tetragram" in the LXX, but gives a detailed background to what we know about the LXX variations.] The Origin of the Nomina Sacra: A Proposal Author(s): L. W. Hurtado Source: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 117, No. 4 (Winter, 1998), pp. 655-673 Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature [very relevant] The Gnostics Speak Again: The "Gospel of Truth" Author(s): Virginia Corwin Source: The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Winter, 1960), pp. 218-228 Published by: The Massachusetts Review, Inc. [Gnostic studies are surprisingly helpful due to the number of references to the Divine Name(s)] “The god Iao and his connection with the Biblical God with special emphasis on the manuscript 4QpapLXXLevb” («Ο θεός Ιαώ και η σχέση του με τον Βιβλικό Θεό, με ιδιαίτερη εστίαση στο χειρόγραφο 4QpapLXXLevb»), Vetus Testamentum et Hellas, Vol. 4 (2017), pp. xx.
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    Pavlos D. Vasileiadis Aspects of rendering the sacred Tetragrammaton in Greek Open Theology 2014; Volume 1: 56–88 THE NAME OF GOD, A STUDY IN RABBINIC THEOLOGY Author(s): SAMUEL S. COHON Source: Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 23, No. 1, Hebrew Union College Seventy-fifthAnniversary Publication 1875-1950 (1950-1951), pp. 579-604 The "Horned Hunter" on a Lost Gnostic Gem Author(s): Roy Kotansky and Jeffrey Spier Source: The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 88, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), pp. 315-337 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity School [relevant to pronunciation of YHWH] Gaulish Tau and Gnostic Names on the Lamella from Baudecet Author(s): Bernard Mees Source: Latomus, T. 66, Fasc. 4 (OCTOBRE-DÉCEMBRE 2007), pp. 919-928 Published by: Société d'Études Latines de Bruxelles [Again, a surprising find related to spelling and pronunciation of YHWH] Gnosticism and the New Testament Author(s): G. Quispel Source: Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Jun., 1965), pp. 65-85 Published by: Brill A HYMN AGAINST HERETICS IN THE NEWLY DISCOVERED SCROLLS Author(s): ISAIAH SONNE Source: Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 23, No. 1, Hebrew Union College Seventy-fifthAnniversary Publication 1875-1950 (1950-1951), pp. 275-313 Published by: Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion Jewish Gnosticism? Author(s): Joseph Dan Source: Jewish Studies Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 4 (1995), pp. 309-328 Published by: Mohr Siebeck GmbH & Co. KG Once Again: The Minim Author(s): Harris Hirschberg Source: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 67, No. 4 (Dec., 1948), pp. 305-318 Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature [References to the Minim in Jewish Talmud, etc, sometimes considered to be Christians] Philo and the Names of God Author(s): A. Marmorstein Source: The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Jan., 1932), pp. 295-306 Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press NOTES ON A PHOENICIAN DRACHM BEARING THE NAME IAHVE Author(s): A. W. Hands Source: The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, FourthSeries, Vol. 9 (1909), pp. 121-131 Published by: Royal Numismatic Society Speaking with Angels: Jewish and Greco-Egyptian Revelatory Adjurations Author(s): Rebecca Lesses Source: The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 89, No. 1 (Jan., 1996), pp. 41-60 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity School [More on IAO and YHWH] The Origin and Interpretation of the Tetragrammaton Author(s): Hans H. Spoer Source: The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Oct.,1901), pp. 9-35 Published by: The University of Chicago Press [Includes info on whether IAO was a transliteration of YHWH] These are in no particular order, and of course there are many more to list. In case some appear unrelated or completely worthless, well, it's true. Some are nearly worthless, anyway. But some points might still be useful to compare or reference. For example, take this little "gem," mentioned above: The "Horned Hunter" on a Lost Gnostic Gem. Here is a quote from it attached as an image (so I don't have to reproduce the Hebrew/Greek/phonetics). Note that it discusses an early pronunciation of "Jehovah" close to the first century:
  11. Child Sexual Abuse UK

    I think your general sentiment is right, of course, but this idea reminds me that a couple weeks ago, I was sent a few newspaper articles from Australia (via Facebook) that were supposedly from a follow-up on the ARC cases. The majority of them had no religious affiliation so I had to take his word for it. I did a search on a few of the names, and was able to figure out that at least one of the accused abusers had been identified as a Witness. It made me think that this probably happens a lot more often than I had thought, where a newspaper writer will often leave off the religious identity unless they think it's an important part of the story. That made me think that what happens on forums like this is that there are always some persons, both for and against us, who have their news feeds set up to find any mention of Jehovah, Jehovah's Witnesses, Watchtower, Kingdom Hall, Watchtower, etc., as key words for their searches. So naturally, the news that gets talked about here is news where a Witness has been identified in the news article.
  12. I ran across a document here, that either you or bruceq might find interesting:
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    It appears to be very thorough for what it does. It's title is: YHWH, THE INEFFABLE NAME: AVOIDANCE, ALTERNATIONS AND CIRCUMVENTIONS IN THE NON-BIBLICAL MANUSCRIPTS AT QUMRAN by JOËLLE ALHADEF-LAKE The introduction provides a kind of summary: This thesis studies alternations in the usage of the Tetragrammaton in non-biblical manuscripts at Qumran through an analysis of scriptural quotations from the Torah to the Nevi’im in the Dead Sea Scrolls citing the Tetragrammaton. Thirty-three distinctive divine name alternations were identified. Additionally, a list of alternation types and of scrolls featuring alternations in Qumran were compiled. Distinctive groups of scrolls were identified at Qumran: some featured the Tetragrammaton, with or without alternations, and some circumvented it completely. Our study focuses on the avoidance of the Tetragrammaton, on alternations in square script, and on writing traditions: El, Tetrapuncta and paleo-Hebrew. Two applications were then investigated: the use of alternations in divine names in order to determine the scrolls’ origins and the distribution of names in paleo-Hebrew in these scrolls. For context, the author says that: The scrolls date from about 250 B.C.E. to 68 C.E. Scholars divide the Dead Sea Scrolls into two convenient categories: the “biblical” and the “non-biblical” manuscripts. The term “biblical” is based on the traditional Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). The non-biblical scrolls were previously estimated to approximately 670 scrolls. [out of 1,000+ total manuscripts] The document is 187 pages, but much of it is in tables that describe every example found by type. The author also decided to look at how these documents avoided the divine name or otherwise changed or circumvented the wording of direct quotes from the Bible in these manuscripts. Can't tell yet if that could have any bearing on the way various scribes might have copied NT documents, but it would still be an interesting comparison, if different. Quoting from the document again: THE THESIS QUESTION This thesis will discuss what alternations for the name YHWH appear in Qumran nonbiblical manuscripts when scriptural units are quoted. The term “alternations” refers to lexical and syntactical changes, as well as to alternations in writing traditions, such as the use of paleo-Hebrew script and Tetrapuncta for divine names. The first step of research involved a discovery of scriptural quotations from the Hebrew Bible referring to the Tetragrammaton in Qumran non-biblical manuscript; as a result, a corpus of alternations was established—some scrolls displayed the Tetragrammaton, others exhibited a mix of alternations and a group of scrolls circumvented the use of the Tetragrammaton altogether. These findings led to this thesis question: In the Qumran non-biblical manuscripts circumventing the Tetragrammaton, what alternation patterns predominated and what was the nature of these documents? Two applications of the research were then investigated. Could the information on alternations to the Tetragrammaton be useful in locating the origins of scrolls? Additionally, in scrolls displaying instances of paleo-El (or Elohim), was there a consistent organization in all the scrolls with respect to the combination of El (God) in square script and El in paleo-Hebrew?
  13. I understand this and I agree. I gleaned many points from it that were valuable and were not at all devastating to the positions promoted in our publications. I was speaking about a specific position he posits that would be devastating if it's true. It would be devastating because it would take away the entire point we make about YHWH in the LXX. We would probably stop making use of any argument about the LXX and YHWH. 1. That's because the basic point is that the original LXX may have used IAO instead of YHWH. IAO would have come first because of the pagan and Hellenistic influences that remained in copies of the LXX well into the Christian era, even copied by Christians who made copies of the LXX. Then, he says, it could have been later Hebraist influences that were intended to correct the "pagan" influence, by putting YHWH into the places where IAO had originally been. 2. But another point is that the use of YHWH in the LXX was to keep it from being pronounced, while the use of IAO made a word like Iao (Ya'o, or Yaho), easy to pronounce. In some cases the term YHWH was put not just in Hebrew/Aramaic characters but in 1,000-year-old style archaic Hebrew letters, which would further assure that it was not pronounced. Both these points are devastating to our argument about IAO because we have said it was so that a form of YHWH would be pronounced.
  14. I finished the two papers by Vasieiadis. I have previously read what George Howard said and found him convincing at the time. What I'm trying to do now though is start from scratch, with no bias for or against any position, and just see where the evidence takes us. His research into "IAO" would be rather devastating to the position that the NWT translators have held, and that the Watch Tower publications promote. It has similarities to a lot of the research that AllenSmith has just presented, which would also be devastating to the Watch Tower's currently accepted research if even half of it were true. Recall that the NWT Appendix said: *** nwtsty C1 The Restoration of the Divine Name in the “New Testament” *** The divine name also appeared in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the “Old Testament” that was widely used in the first century C.E. At that time [in the first century C.E.], the divine name was represented in the Septuagint by either the Hebrew characters (YHWH) or the Greek transliteration of those characters (IAO). What is striking about Vasileiadis's research, is that he claims that the original Septuagint [LXX] which came from Egypt, might have never contained YHWH, but initially contained the name of an Egyptian "Almighty God" who went by the name Iao. He says this could have been based on Hellenistic syncretism, especially prevalent among Jews who lived outside of Palestine. This is nearly the opposite of what the NWT Appendix claims above: On the other side, the god named Iao is found in Greek and Latin works of the Hellenistic period already since the 1st century BCE. It mainly appears in writings displaying marks of religious syncretism, used as one of the names designating either the highest God or one of his emanations. In the following the possibility is examined that the use of the name Iao, instead of another form of the Tetragrammaton, in the manuscript 4QpapLXXLevb (4Q120; Rahlfs 802) may be the result of a Hellenizing rather than a re-Hebraizing tendency, a view that tends to prevail in the Septuagint studies. Evidence coming from Christian writers shows that for few centuries CE Bible manuscripts that contained the theonym Iao were circulating among them and even possibly produced by them. He traces the possibility through the large Jewish community at Elephantine since the 6th & 5th century B.C.E. (famous for the second ancient Jewish Temple). These Jews had long used a 3-letter "Tetragrammaton:" YHW (likely pronounced "Yaho"/"Ya'u"). Scholars have said that this Jewish community was syncretic almost to the point of being polytheistic, similar to the common problem that all the prophets continued to warn the Jews in Jerusalem about. But it wasn't about polytheism so much as the idea that various cultures in Hellenistic society had a pantheon of gods, but identified one of those gods as "the Supreme Being" or the "Highest One." He says this would include usually, Zeus, Helios, Sarapis, and Iao. He doesn't mention it, but this may not be so different from how Zeus becomes Dzeus or Deus, which many languages use to refer to the Almighty God of Christianity and Judaism. (Dios, Deity, Divine) Also, his research doesn't mention it, but it seems that it would have been the same as if the LXX had happened 400 years later in a Latin translation and the choice had been to translate YHWH as either "Jupiter" or "Jove," the equivalent of the Supreme, Highest God (Jove=Zeus). Following the logic of his research, they would have likely chosen "Jove" because it was a close compromise to YHW. But, who knows, even Jupiter could have been possible, because its derivation is likely related to changing DZeu-pater or God-the-Father. Easy to rationalize as a good name for any Almighty God. He says that many of the Gnostic influences (also widespread in Egypt) popularized IAO as the name of angels or subordinate deities from the 1st century BCE to the first century CE. (Then again, the Gnostics also subordinated Jehovah as a lesser deity.) On the point of subordinate deities, I found this particular footnote interesting: Sean McDonough, YHWH at Patmos: Rev. 1:4 in Its Hellenistic and Early Jewish Setting, Tübingen 1999, 95–97. For instance, in late Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, Ιαω [IAO] was a prominent name of the lion- headed Sabaoth, the Biblical Creator, who could assume many names and be identified with some gods or heroes. He was Mihos for the Egyptians, Ialdabaoth for the Ophite Gnostics, Judas, Michael or Moses for other Judaizing sects, and also the Greek hero Perseus. He was the god of amulets and was invoked in several magical spells. Also, he was depicted to use the powerful divine snake Chnoubis as his weapon. . . . This is widely observable all over the Mediterranean world in inscriptions of that period. Of course, YHWH is also called Jehovah-Sabaoth in the Bible [Lord of Hosts/Jehovah of Armies], and the name Sabaoth remained intact through Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The mention of the magic amulets and papyri is interesting, because in the magic of the time, the idea was to pronounce the name of a god properly to gain the power or influence of the god. The papyri might even offer several possible pronunciations, and at least two of the magic sources even give us some hints as to how YHWH was to be pronounced. I found another academic source that claims that although "Yahweh" was the more likely Jewish pronunciation of YHWH, it claims that "Yehova/Jehovah" was a pronunciation given in the magical papyri for casting spells, gaining power, etc.