The Divine Name in the New Testament: Tetragrammaton or Surrogate?
George Howard has proposed a theory with far reaching Christological implications. Howard notes that a few pre-Christian LXX/OG manuscripts have the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew characters or in Greek transliteration. From this Howard argues that the New Testament writers also had access to manuscripts of the LXX/OG with the Divine Name in them and used the Tetragrammaton in their New Testament writings. Howard marshals external and internal evidence to corroborate his theory. The original shape of the LXX/OG has some relevance to Howard’s hypothesis. If the Tetragrammaton is original to the LXX/OG this would have a bearing on the question of whether the New Testament also followed in this pattern. This thesis examines the LXX/OG manuscripts: P. Rylands Gk. 458, P. Fouad Inv. 266, 8ḤevXIIgr, and pap4QLXXLevb. Of these, it is found that only pap4QLXXLevb can be considered a true exemplar of the LXX/OG. The Tetragrammaton appears to be a secondary Hebraizing element in the manuscripts 8ḤevXIIgr and P. Fouad Inv. 266. There is a lacuna in P. Rylands Gk. 458 which could fit the Tetragrammaton or just as likely κύριος. In parallel the testimony of the Greek biblical use of surrogates for the Divine Name in Second Temple literature is examined. A distinctive pattern appears in the works of Philo and other writings contemporaneous with the New Testament. Reverence for the Tetragrammaton in Second Temple Judaism expressed itself in avoidance of the Divine Name in spoken and written form. The surrogate κύριος is regularly used as a substitute for the Tetragrammaton. Howard presents a series of New Testament passages as partial proof that the Tetragrammaton stood in the original manuscripts of the New Testament. According to Howard, with the success of the Gentile mission, understanding of the Tetragrammaton diminished and unknowing second- century scribes replaced the Divine Name with the substitute κύριος. The result was that passages that applied to YHWH could now be applied to Jesus. The Christological implication is that some honors that belonged to the Lord God were mistakenly ascribed to the Lord Jesus. The New Testament use of the surrogate κύριος in Old Testament quotations where the Hebrew has the Tetragrammaton follows largely the pattern found in other biblical Second Temple literature. The emerging picture is not an artificial elevation of Jesus through scribal corruption. The use of κύριος in relation to Jesus is early, deliberate, and involving honors of the highest order. Various New Testament examples demonstrate the deliberate referential and titular overlap between the Lord Jesus and the Lord God. The examples that Howard provides as evidence are proven inadequate to support his theory. This thesis also examines the age and relevance of the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew found in the polemical work Even Bohan (אבן בוחן , “The Touchstone”) by Shem-Tob ben-Isaac ben-Shaprut and its possible contribution to Howard’s theory. In the end, this thesis demonstrates that the Christological importance of using κύριος for the Tetragrammaton in relation to Jesus Christ has far-reaching implications.
- Theology