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The complete book: The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures
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Chapter 4: A Greek Interlinear Study (Part 2)

    In Chapter 3, we introduced a study of the word Kyrios (Κύριος) from the Christian Greek Scriptures. The study specifically evaluates the 237 instances in which the New World Translation renders Kyrios as Jehovah.

    In this chapter we will complete the study with particular attention to the "J" footnote nomenclature given in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation.

The "J" reference footnotes

    The Kingdom Interlinear Translation gives interesting reference and footnote material for each occurrence of the divine name. We are particularly interested in the footnote form and references for two types of information: first, specific ancient Greek manuscript sources and, secondly, later Hebrew versions. For example, the interlinear portion at Matthew 1:24 reads:

In the right hand margin, the New World Translation reads:

    24 Then Joseph woke up from his sleep and did as the angel of Jehovah* had directed him, and he took his wife home.

    Because the divine name is used, footnote "24*" is added at the bottom of the page.[1] The footnote reads:

    24* Jehovah, J1-4,7-14,16-18,22-24; Lord, ÅB.

[1] The center column of the New World Translation Reference Edition refers the reader to Appendix 1D which gives only the Hebrew version information. In Appendix 1D, the Hebrew translations J1-4,7-14,16-18,22-24 are cited though the Greek manuscripts ÅB are not.

    A description of all Greek manuscript and "J" symbols is included under the heading EXPLANATION OF THE SYMBOLS USED in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation. The approximate date in which the Greek manuscripts were written and the publication date of the Hebrew translations are given. For the sake of brevity within the recorded information for the study itself, we only cite the earliest or most concise textual references.[2] That is, in the case of the Hebrew translations, we will cite the publication date of the earliest entry given. In the case of the Greek manuscripts cited, we will give the date range of only the oldest manuscript identified in the footnote. (The complete list of Greek manuscripts and Hebrew translations cited within the Kingdom Interlinear Translation is summarized in Appendix A.)

[2] The earliest "J" document used in this verse is J2 which bears a date of 1385. Because J2, J3, and J4 are all related documents, it is clearer to use J7 for this illustration. (J7 is the earliest complete Hebrew version.) In the main study, however, the date from the earliest manuscript is always the date given.

    The Matthew 1:24 footnote cites 18 Hebrew translations and two Greek manuscripts. For the sake of illustration, we will look at two of these entries. The Hebrew translation J7 and the Greek manuscript Å (Aleph) Sinaitic MS are explained on pages 26 and 29 of the Kingdom Interlinear Translation, 1969 edition, as follows:[3]

Greek Scriptures in Hebrew. In 1599 Elias Hutter of Nuremberg, Germany, published his translation of all the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew. This was the first complete Hebrew version of all the canonical Christian Greek Scriptures, forming a part of Hutter's Polyglott New Testament of 1599. (A copy is found at the New York Public Library.)
Å (Aleph)
Sinaitic MS. An uncial Greek manuscript of the 4th century in codex form. Originally it evidently contained the whole Bible, including all the Christian Greek Scriptures. It is at present possessed by the British Museum, London, England.

[3] The same entries within the 1985 edition read as:
J7 Christian Greek Scriptures in 12 languages, including Heb., by Elias Hutter, Nuremberg, 1599.
Å ('A'leph) Codex Sinaiticus, Gr., fourth cent. C.E., British Museum, H.S., G.S.

    The footnotes in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation are concise and easy to read, though a basic understanding of their format is first necessary. The footnote reading "24* Jehovah, J1-4,7-14,16-18,22-24; Lord, ÅB." contains the following information. The "24*" refers to the asterisk after Jehovah in verse 24. Following the verse identification, the word Jehovah indicates the list of documents which support the use of the divine name in the New World Translation. The documents are given as J1 4,7-14,16-18,22-24. This tells us that the Hebrew translations J1, J2, J3, J4, and each of J7 to J14, J16 to J18, and J22 to J24 all contain the Tetragrammaton in this verse. The footnote then cites two Greek manuscripts identified by the Kingdom Interlinear Translation which substantiate Kyrios (Lord) for this same verse. The Greek manuscripts are Å (Aleph) Sinaitic MS and B (Vatican Manuscript No. 1209).

    The reader should be aware that the Greek manuscripts used as footnote references in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation are merely representative of a select few early examples. We have already referred to the statement on page 319 of "All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial," which tells us that over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the Christian Scriptures exist. The Watch Tower Society does not document any of these Greek texts as using the Tetragrammaton rather than Kyrios.[4]

[4] The Watch Tower Society documents occurrences of the Tetragrammaton in only the Septuagint. See Appendix 1c, New World Translation Reference Edition.

    A brief comment regarding version citations is in order. The Kingdom Interlinear Translation footnotes also include citations of ancient versions (Christian Scripture translations into Latin, Syriac or other early languages) in support of Lord. This is a common and useful practice within ancient textual studies. Even though the version is not a Greek text, it can be a valuable resource in determining the original wording of the Greek text. The case for the Tetragrammaton as against Kyrios serves as a useful illustration.

    The Latin Vulgate by Jerome is one of the citations frequently used in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation in support of Lord. (It is identified as Vg.) The Latin word used by Jerome gives an indication of the reading of the Greek text he used for his translation. Since Jerome originally published his Vulgate in 400 C.E., his Greek text was from this date or earlier. Had the Greek text contained the Tetragrammaton, Jerome would have either transcribed the Hebrew letters or translated the divine name into Latin. On the other hand, if the Greek text used the word Kyrios, Jerome would have translated it as Dominus. In either case, an early version gives strong indication-though not proof-of the Greek words used in early manuscripts.

Manuscript dates in the Jehovah footnotes

    The Jehovah footnotes also direct us to meaningful information regarding manuscript dates.

    By this point in the book, the reader must be aware that the age of a manuscript is of great importance. The axiom, "Older is better" is seldom more appropriate than in biblical manuscript studies. This is true because older manuscripts are closer in time to the original inspired Scriptures than more recent manuscripts.[5]

[5] However, this statement recognizes the qualifications made in Chapter 2 under the heading "Inspiration and a correct text."

    A careful review of any given Jehovah footnote reveals an interesting comparison of textual dates. Revelation 4:11 is one of the important Jehovah verses. Later in this book, we will return to this verse. For now, however, it will give us an important illustration of the manuscript writing (or publication) date available from the footnotes.

    The verse appears in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation as follows:

    The New World Translation quoted in the right hand margin translates the verse:

    11 "You are worthy, Jehovah,* even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created."

    At the bottom of the page, the Jehovah footnote is given:

    11* Jehovah, J7,8,13,14,16,18; Lord, ÅAVgSyh.

    The "11*" verse footnote lists six Hebrew versions (J7,8,13,14,16,18) which substantiate Jehovah, and two early Greek manuscripts (A Sinaitic MS and A Alexandrine MS) and two versions (the Latin Vulgate and a Syriac version) which substantiate Lord. Though the dates of the various versions and manuscripts are not given in the footnote itself, we can acquire this information from the section entitled EXPLANATION OF THE SYMBOLS USED in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation where the publication dates of 1599, 1661, 1838, 1846, 1866, and 1885 C.E. respectively are given for these Hebrew versions. The early Greek manuscripts are dated from the fourth and fifth centuries (300 to 499 C.E.) and the two versions are given dates of 405 and 464 C.E. respectively.

    As a further illustration of the information given in the footnotes, it will be helpful to identify each of the references given for both the Tetragrammaton and Lord in this verse. They are listed by reference symbol, identification of the version or Greek manuscript, and by date as listed in the introductory material in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation. In Table 1, we start with the information listed for various versions of the Greek Scriptures translated into Hebrew, each of which uses the Tetragrammaton.

  J7   Christian Greek Scriptures in Hebrew; Elias Hutter.   1599
  J8   Christian Greek Scriptures in Hebrew; William Robertson.   1661
  J13   Christian Greek Scriptures in Hebrew; A. McCaul and others.   1838
  J14   Christian Greek Scriptures in Hebrew; John Christian Reichardt.   1846
  J16   Christian Greek Scriptures in Hebrew; John Christian Reichardt and Joachim H. R. Blesenthal.   1866
  J18   Christian Greek Scriptures in Hebrew; Isaac Salkinson.   1885

Table 1. The Hebrew versions substantiating Jehovah at Revelation 4:11.

    From this same verse, a similar (though shorter) list[6] is given for the word Kyrios which is generally translated as Lord. This is shown in Table 2.

  (Aleph)   Sinaitic MS; an uncial Greek manuscript.   4th cent.
  A   Alexandrine MS; an uncial Greek manuscript.   5th cent.
  Vg   Latin Vulgate; a revision of Old Latin by Eusebius Jerome.   405 C.E.
  Syh   Syriac Peshitta Version.   464 C.E.

Table 2. The Greek word Κύριος (Kyrios) substantiating Lord at Revelation 4:11.

[6] The number of references to Kyrios (or Lord) passages are fewer in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation only because the editors have chosen to cite so few of the existing Greek manuscripts available today. These manuscripts are uniform in their use of Kyrios (or Theos) rather than the Tetragrammaton. The United Bible Societies' Christian Greek Scripture textual apparatus (see the Bibliography for the Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament), which shows all textual variants in cited Greek manuscripts, was consulted for each of the 237 Jehovah references. This volume lists all major Greek Scripture manuscript variations from which translators must choose. The following tabulation was made for each of the Jehovah references. Seventy one of the 237 references are specifically discussed in this textual apparatus. The presence of the Tetragrammaton is never mentioned for any of these 71 verses, and is therefore not considered as a textual variant in any known Greek manuscript. Further, because the remaining 166 references are not mentioned, we are assured that no basis for textual variants exists in any of the 237 Jehovah references. A discussion of Kyrios (Κύριος) [Lord] and Theos (qevo") [God] as the choice for the specific verse occurs 31 times. The discussion of the textual preference for Kyrios at Revelation 18:8 and 19:6 is particularly noteworthy, and should be consulted.

    The Kingdom Interlinear Translation cites six Hebrew version sources for Revelation 4:11. The date of the earliest version is 1599 C.E., while the latest version is dated 1885 C.E. By way of contrast, two Greek manuscripts of the fourth and fifth centuries (301-400 C.E., and 401-500 C.E. respectively) are cited for this verse in support of the Greek word Kyrios.

A frequent oversight

    It is easy to lose sight of small but significant details when dealing with a research project. For several years in his own research, the author overlooked the importance of the discrepancy in dates between the Hebrew versions and the Greek manuscripts.

    Consider what these dates tell us. The translators of the New World Translation chose to use the divine name in 237 select verses on the basis of supporting evidence from Hebrew translations of 1385 C.E. and later. By way of contrast, the earliest evidence available for the Greek word Kyrios (Lord), referred to in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation's footnotes, was from reliable Greek manuscripts dating as early as 300 C.E.

    The new understanding we now have of textual and historical information which has come to light since the translation of the Christian Scriptures of the New World Translation forces us to ask an important question. Why are Hebrew translations published in 1385 C.E. and later considered to be more reliable textual sources for the Christian Scriptures than the Christian Scriptures themselves which can be verified to the third or fourth century C.E. with approximately 5,000 manuscripts?

A summary of our study

    It is time to summarize the data from our study. This information is taken from the complete study recorded in Appendix B and the summary at its conclusion. Reference is also made to the original study of the 714 Kyrios references reproduced in Appendix C.

    The New World Translation uses the divine name Jehovah 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The summary of each of these instances according to the footnotes in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation is as follows:

  Total occurrences of the name Jehovah in NWT   237
       Occurrences quoted from Hebrew Scriptures   112[7]
       Occurrences without a Hebrew Scripture source   125[8]
       Corresponding Greek word in Kingdom Interlinear Translation
           Kyrios (Κύριος)   223
           Theos (θεός)   13
           Other (James 1:12)   1
       Corresponding English word in Kingdom Interlinear Translation
           For Kyrios (Κύριος)   Lord
           For Theos (θεός)   God
           Other (James 1:12)   he
  Date range of Hebrew Translations supporting יהוה   1385 to 1979 C.E.
  Date range of manuscripts supporting Κύριος   200 to 400 C.E.[9]

[7] This includes 92 quotations in which the divine name is directly found in the Hebrew Scripture verse, and 20 references in which the divine name is clearly used in the context but is not found in the verse itself. (The 92 references include 42 definitive citations from J20.) In all cases, however, the entire number of 112 instances are to be regarded as a proper quotation of the divine name.

[8] The total of 125 instances in which the divine name appears in verses which are not quotations of Hebrew Scripture references includes 58 instances in which the New World Translation Reference Edition cross reference indicates a Hebrew Scripture passage as a subject--or parallel--thought reference and six instances in which the cross reference merely includes other subjects related to the Christian Greek Scripture verse. This leaves a total of 61 instances in which the name Jehovah appears in the Greek Scriptures of the New World Translation in which there is no cross reference source of any kind to a Hebrew Scripture quotation source.

[9] All six instances at the Gospel of John and two instances at Luke are dated by "All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial," (1983 edition, p. 312) as early as circa 200 C.E. Each of the three instances at 1 Peter, the six instances at 2 Peter, the three instances at Jude, and four instances at Revelation are dated--by the same source--between 201 and 300 C.E.

    For the sake of evaluation, it is of interest to compare the above information with the total occurrences of the word Kyrios in the entire Christian Greek Scriptures. The following summary information is derived from the comprehensive study of the word Kyrios found in Appendix C and evaluates the English translation of the Greek word in both the Kingdom Interlinear Translation and the New World Translation.

  Kingdom Interlinear Translation
      Kyrios translated as Lord. 651  
      Kyrios translated as lord or lords. 62  
      Kyrios translated as Lords. 1  
      Total occurrences of Kyrios (Κύριος) in KIT. 714  
  New World Translation
      Kyrios translated as Lord[10]. 406  
      Kyrios translated as Jehovah. 223  
      Kyrios translated as Master, master, or masters. 53  
      Kyrios translated as Sir, sir, or sirs. 17  
      Kyrios translated as lord. 8  
      Kyrios translated as owner or owners. 5  
      Kyrios translated as God. 1  
      Kyrios not translated. 1  
           Total representation of Kyrios (Κύριος) in NWT. 714  

[10] Initial capital letters for "Lord" (in both KIT and NWT) or "Master," and "Sir" (in NWT) do not necessarily indicate reference to Jesus. In a small number of cases, the word occurs at the beginning of a sentence (in English) or the beginning of a direct quotation (in Greek). In these cases, the grammatical structure of the respective sentences requires a capital letter.

    It is particularly interesting to note the variety of English words used by the New World Translation for the 714 occurrences of the word Kyrios throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures. However, since we are primarily concerned with the English words Lord and Jehovah, we will confine our comments to these two words.

    A simple evaluation of the material from Appendix C indicates that Lord is the preferred translation choice for Kyrios in the New World Translation. It appears as Lord 406 times. With only rare exceptions as noted, these 406 occurrences are references to Jesus Christ. The reader is encouraged to carefully study the material in Appendix C, paying particular attention to John's use of the word in the book of Revelation. John uses the Greek word Kyrios 23 times in which the Kingdom Interlinear Translation gives the English translation as Lord 20 times and as lord(s) three times. On the other hand, the New World Translation gives the English translation as Jehovah 12 times, as Lord eight times, and as lord(s) three times.

Making the study personal

    This book is a study of textual and historical information. Consequently, it is appropriate that a synopsis expressing the author's personal conclusions from his own research be given. At this point, however, a misapplication of the information-gathering process often follows.

    Some will read the information just given with a positive bias. Because they are predisposed to agree with the author, they will pronounce the information as trustworthy and will accept its veracity with no further personal study.

    Their response is faulty. An author's conclusions do not make the information true. The conclusions must be verified against the factual foundation of the study. In all probability, neither time nor resources permit the reader to examine every document used in the original research. But a careful study of the information given in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation should be conducted by the reader before endorsing the author's conclusions.

    In this regard, the information in Appendices A, B, and C should be carefully examined by consulting the actual text of the Kingdom Interlinear Translation. When all information has been verified, then the reader may safely form his own conclusions without depending on the author's opinion. With this degree of verification by the reader, the information the author gives merely supplements the information-gathering process of the reader, and the conclusions formed become those of the reader himself.

    On the other hand, others will read this same information with a disapproving bias. Because this second group of readers may have a predisposition to disagree with the author, they will likely pronounce the information as inaccurate and may dismiss its possible merit without further study.

    Their response is also faulty. In all likelihood, this second group of readers will also have insufficient time or resources to duplicate the entire research done by the author. This group of readers, however, must carefully examine the footnote references in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation. Again, the final conclusion must result from a personal study of the primary data rather than from a hasty response to the author's statements.

    Either group of readers will profit from the empirical content of this study. By design, this study is not based on an interpretation of Scripture. It is based on historical and textual data. (We certainly understand, however, that history and biblical manuscript studies can be distorted.) Ancient Greek manuscripts exist today which can be examined for their content. Do these manuscripts contain יהוה or Κύριος? This is the question each reader must ultimately determine for himself.

    At this point, the reader would profit greatly by temporarily laying this book aside in order to do a careful personal study of each Jehovah footnote in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation. Even better, a complete search of the 714 Kyrios passages including each Jehovah footnote reference would give the reader a valuable insight into the use of this word in the Christian Scriptures. Appendices B and C can be used to obtain verse locations, but the conclusions should be the reader's. With Jehovah God's help, the reader may draw his own conclusions regarding the presence of the Tetragrammaton within the Christian Greek Scriptures.[11]

[11] For some, this may be difficult because of inexperience with personal Bible research. If this is the case, the following suggestion may be helpful. Do a personal study of the footnotes for each of the 237 Jehovah references in the New World Translation, looking for evidence of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Greek Scriptures. You only need the New World Translation Reference Edition and the Kingdom Interlinear Translation. (No knowledge of the Greek language is necessary for this study. You will merely be identifying a form of Κύριος or θεός which is always written over the English world Lord or God.) The Reference Edition gives you the 237 Jehovah references in Appendix 1D (on page 1565) and ample cross reference material for the Hebrew Scripture quotations in the center column. The Kingdom Interlinear Translation gives you the complete "J" footnote and the explanation of the nomenclature and dates for each Greek manuscript and Hebrew version. Be certain to read the foreword material in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation before starting your study. Establish the columns for data which you feel are necessary for your own particular study and enter the material from each of the 237 Jehovah references in the appropriate column. You could duplicate some or all of the 10 headings used in Appendix B. However, you may wish to simplify the information you enter in your personal study. (For example, you may not wish to identify J20 quotations since not all citations of Hebrew quotations are found in the "J" references.) However, once you have started your study, make it your own. Do not merely copy Appendix B. (After you have started your study, do not even consult Appendix B until you are completely finished!) Do not be concerned if your study differs from the results in this book. In many cases such as Hebrew Scripture quotations, there are a number of possible verse references from which you may choose, inasmuch as the verse--or parallel thought--may appear in numerous Hebrew Scripture references. Whatever you do, make it your own personal study.

    On this note we close this chapter, but look ahead to the remainder of the book. Neither accept nor reject the forthcoming information on the basis of what you think the correct answer should be. Whenever possible, directly evaluate the primary sources of information for yourself and then draw your own conclusion regarding the place of the Tetragrammaton in the inspired Christian Greek Scriptures.

Chapter Summary. The footnote information supplied with each Jehovah reference in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation leads to the following conclusions:

  1. In all 237 Jehovah references found in the New World Translation, the Kingdom Interlinear Translation gives two sets of dates. The earliest dates verify that Kyrios ( Lord) was in all Greek manuscripts between 301 and 400 C.E. The later dates support the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew versions dated 1385 C.E. and following.

  2. In most instances outside of the 237 Jehovah references, the Greek word Kyrios (when used as a title) is identified with the person of Jesus Christ by the New World Translation. (Kyrios is translated as Lord 406 times. See Appendix C for further explanation.)

  3. The suitability of the Tetragrammaton for the 237 Jehovah passages is derived only from later Hebrew translations. The earliest supporting evidence comes from 1385 C.E., with the bulk of the evidence coming from 1599 C.E. and later. In fact, no direct textual evidence showing the Tetragrammaton in the original Christian Greek Scriptures is given by the Watch Tower Society.

  4. The translators of the New World Translation used the word Jehovah rather than Lord in 237 selected references. Thus, 26 Hebrew versions dating from 1385 C.E. are given more importance than are the approximately 5,000 Greek manuscripts, dating from the fourth century C.E., which use the word Lord.

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