writing G_d

Forum rules
Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up. This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.

writing G_d

Postby Alan Patterson » January 31st, 2012, 7:55 am

I'm hoping someone can enlighten me on a question I was recently asked.

In the
1) Hebrew OT, is the name elohim, or other names of God, written with a letter or two missing, as we might english it "G_d" to illustrate the Hebrew custom?
And, is this the same in the
2) LXX? In the LXX, do we have something like TH_OS?
χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη,
Alan Patterson
Alan Patterson
 
Posts: 142
Joined: September 3rd, 2011, 7:21 pm
Location: Emory University

Re: writing G_d

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 31st, 2012, 8:24 am

Alan Patterson wrote:2) LXX? In the LXX, do we have something like TH_OS?


In most (all?) manuscripts of the LXX, Christian scribes used the "nomina sacra" for writing God, which is just the first and last letters of the word (θς, θυ, θω, θν), depending on which case it is. They also wrote a line over the nomen sacra, but I don't know how to reproduce it here.

In NT manuscripts, the nomina sacra convention is also used for Lord, Jesus, Christ, etc.

Stephen
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
Stephen Carlson
 
Posts: 1853
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Uppsala University

Re: writing G_d

Postby Ken M. Penner » January 31st, 2012, 9:11 am

Alan Patterson wrote:In the 1) Hebrew OT, is the name elohim, or other names of God, written with a letter or two missing, as we might english it "G_d" to illustrate the Hebrew custom?
And, is this the same in the
LXX? In the LXX, do we have something like TH_OS?


Regarding the LXX: In Codex Sinaiticus, Scribe B (who copied the Isaiah portion) abbreviates the following words regularly by means of an overbar: θεός (ΘΣ, ΘΥ, etc.), κύριος (ΚΣ), πνεῦμα, Ἰσραήλ, Ἰερουσαλήμ, Δαυίδ (ΔΑΔ), ἄνθρωπος (ΑΝΟΣ), πατήρ, μητήρ, πᾶς, βασιλεία. These abbreviations (and those of Christ and Jesus in the New Testament) are distinctively Christian scribal habits, from the oldest Christian manuscripts. The reason for these so-called nomina sacra is unclear. Some of these words might have been abbreviated because they refer to divinity (God, Lord, Spirit, Jesus, Christ, Father, Son), but others such as μητήρ, πᾶς, and βασιλεία do not fit this pattern. Even when these words are not used to refer to God (e.g., some instances of κύριος, ἄνθρωπος, πατήρ), they are still abbreviated.
See http://books.google.ca/books?id=5PbDoZS ... &q&f=false

Regarding the Hebrew manuscripts, the Masoretic tradition does not abbreviate the divine name, but see Emanuel Tov on the various practices in the Dead Sea Scrolls, beginning on page 205 of http://www.emanueltov.info/docs/books/s ... .books.pdf
The divine names were written in a special way in many Hebrew Qumran texts:
(a) Paleo-Hebrew characters in texts written in the square script; ...
(b) Four dots ...
(c) A dicolon ( : ), followed by a space...
(d) a different color of ink ...

Tov ends this section of his book with a discussion special treatments of the divine name in manuscripts of Greek Scripture (page 208).
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University
Ken M. Penner
 
Posts: 617
Joined: May 12th, 2011, 7:50 am
Location: Antigonish, NS, Canada

Re: writing G_d

Postby David Lim » February 1st, 2012, 9:28 am

Alan Patterson wrote:I'm hoping someone can enlighten me on a question I was recently asked.

In the
1) Hebrew OT, is the name elohim, or other names of God, written with a letter or two missing, as we might english it "G_d" to illustrate the Hebrew custom?
And, is this the same in the
2) LXX? In the LXX, do we have something like TH_OS?


As far as I know, in Hebrew vowels were originally not written, but were certainly pronounced, just like we memorise the pronunciation for each of our English words because the spelling hardly tells us how to. Later marks were added over and under the Hebrew consonants to denote the vowels. But if I am not wrong that has nothing to do with the omission of "o" in "God" that some people do in English, because the word for "God" is "Elohim". Rather it is apparently related to the fact that some Jews thought that it was improper to write the vowels for "YHWH" and left them out even when they wrote the vowels for all other words including "Elohim", because "YHWH" is the personal name for the God of Israel. "Elohim" is not a proper name, but "God" in English has somewhat become considered as a proper name, hence I think those people omitted the vowel for similar reason. But as others have pointed out, "ΘΣ" in Greek with the line above is simply an abbreviation and has no discernible connection with the omission of vowels for the Hebrew "YHWH" (which is actually a transliteration of "יהוה"). Jewish scribes almost never altered their text in any way and did not even correct mistakes that they found, instead noting them in the margin, not to say use abbreviations.
δαυιδ λιμ
David Lim
 
Posts: 885
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: writing G_d

Postby S Walch » February 3rd, 2012, 11:11 am

In the Nahal Hever Greek manuscript of the Minor Prophets (8HevXIIgr) found among the DSS, the manuscript doesn't use the Nomina Sacra for Θεος but instead has it written out in full (Θεος, Θεω, Θεον etc.), and where we'd usually see the Nomina Sacra for Κυριος, this DSS Greek manuscript uses the Tetragrammaton in Paleo-Hebrew letters.

The rest of the Greek manuscripts found among the DSS are too fragmentary to determine what was used in them (4Q119 (4QLXXLeva), 4Q121 (4QLXXNum), 4Q122 (4QLXXDeut) - although the reconstruction of 4Q119/4QLXXLeva on Logos shows that there was definitely space for Θεος to be written out in full), bar one final one of Leviticus - 4Q120/pap4QLXXLevb. Whilst it's too fragmentary to see how it used Θεος, we can quite easily see that rather than what we'd usually expect for the Tetragrammaton (either Paleo-Hebrew letters or the Nomina Sacra), this manuscript has it transliterated as Ιαω.

So there really isn't a single manuscript in existence (that I know of) that omits any letters from within Θεος or Κυριος that corresponds with the idea of omitting the 'o' from 'God', for as Mr. Lim has pointed out, 'God' is Elohim in the Tanakh, and isn't used as a proper name, although God is (wrongly) used as a proper name in English by quite a few people.

The Nomina Sacra are probably one of the most universal, yet completely uncommented upon Christian scribal habits in History, for we really don't know all that much about them; when they first appeared; who started the trend off; whether it really was just a Christian scribal habit or whether they adopted it extremely quickly. But I don't think the Nomina Sacra correspond at all to the current trend of writing 'God' as 'G-d'. The most universal ones that appear in all Christian Greek manuscripts (those for Χριστος, Θεος, Κυριος, Ιησους) are all certainly considered 'Divine' names/titles, which would account for their special status as being singled out in the text.

Plus, whilst there did end up being 15 main used Nomen Sacrum (as Mr. Penner has pointed out), their use in pre-fourth century Greek manuscripts are quite sporadic, with several manuscripts using the Nomina Sacra for one word, and then in the next sentence not using the Nomina Sacra for the other instances of the word. I'd see the list of Nomina Sacra in pre-fourth Century Greek manuscripts of the NT over on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomina_sacra

It should be noted that the Nomen Sacrum for Ιησους also appears in Septuagint Greek Manuscripts, as the following link to ms2648 shows (it looks like IHC with an overline): http://www.schoyencollection.com/GreekN ... ms2648.jpg
S Walch
 
Posts: 22
Joined: June 13th, 2011, 4:27 pm
Location: Manchester, UK


Return to Septuagint and Pseudepigrapha

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron