Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'ancient judaism'.
Found 1 result
I thought about posting this on the recent thread "Early Christians, the New Testament and the Divine Name," partly because of a question someone posed there on the earliest evidence for Jewish disuse of the name. However, the issue merits its own thread. There is a book published a few years ago on the Greek form of the tetragrammaton, iota-alpha-omega (Ιαω), that is on-topic, yet that seems to have escaped the attention of non-scholars, and for that matter, many scholars as well. It's dense reading to be sure, but worth the effort. It's written by one of the scholars who has penned reviews of Robert Wilkinson's monograph on the tetragrammaton, Frank Shaw. Its title is The Earliest Non-mystical Jewish Use of the Iao (the last word in Greek script Ιαω), volume 70 of Peeters Press's series Biblical Exegesis and Theology (Leuven 2014). In fact, Shaw's expertise on the name is no doubt why the editors of Oxford's Journal of Theological Studies asked him to review Wilkinson's book. Shaw's point of departure is the finding among the Qumran documents of a LXX manuscript of Leviticus that has Iao for the Hebrew text's Yhwh. What he attempts to do is gather together all known evidence for this Greek form of the name not used in magic or among Gnostics. His findings are surprising to most people who know something about the issue, whether a layperson or a scholar. It seems that this form of the divine name, vocalized as "Ya-ho," was the active pronunciation of the divine name when Jesus and the apostles lived. There is considerable evidence for this, a point that had been briefly made some years earlier in Sean McDonough's book, YHWH at Patmos: Rev. 1:4 in its Hellenistic and Early Jewish Setting (Mohr Siebeck 1999). Indeed, Shaw corrects some of McDonough's errors. Among other things addressed is the question of when the name began to be disused by Jews in the BCE period, and how use and non-use coexisted for many centuries until some time into the Christian era when disuse totally won out. Shaw offers a strong rebuttal of some Evangelical scholars, notably Albert Pietersma and Martin Rösel, who continue to contend against the mounting evidence that kyrios was originally used by the LXX's translators instead of a real form of the name. He also brings up a point made at this forum by JW Insider that "a problem with the JW position is that the use of a Hebrew YHWH in the middle of a Greek manuscript is an indication that it was not to be pronou[n]ced." What Shaw proposes is that within the Judaism into which Jesus and the apostles were born, there was diversity among the people regarding using the name. The upper class who provide most of our existing documentation of that society, and who are responsible for the LXX manuscripts that have come down to us that have the Hebrew tetragrammaton amid the Greek text, did not want to vocalize the name for multiple reasons, but the masses, among whom Jesus worked and from whom came the apostles and other disciples of him, freely used the name as Yaho in Aramaic. This then shows up as Iao in the written Greek sources. Shaw also calls out NT textual critics for largely ignoring the findings of, and theory of, George Howard regarding the many textual problems of dozens of NT passages where the Father is referred to. This is also one place where he criticizes McDonough who seems again, like Pietersma and Rösel for the LXX, to have represented Evangelicals who want to downplay these NT textual variants. Shaw modifies Howard's notion that the original NT documents likely did not have mainly Yhwh/יהוה in them, but instances of Iao/Ιαω instead. Another noteworthy thing he does is date just when this Greek form of the name began to appear in mystical sources. Scholarship had never before done this, and there have been very sloppy and erroneous assumptions made regarding this matter, including again McDonough. As it turns out, the evidence points to the use of Iao/Ιαω among magicians and mystics dating to the beginning of the second century CE. Shaw even proposes that these types picked up on this form of the name due to the earliest Christians using it in their preaching work. Later Christians then had reason to remove the name from their documents (LXX and NT) because the "pernicious heretics" and magicians were using it with more and more frequency. There are many other interesting points in the book, but this post has already gotten longer than I'd planned on. For those who have the stamina to work through it, the book is well worth what you will learn from it.