Original Research

Rendering the Divine Name in Romans 10:13

A. Tim Span, Stuart T. Rochester, Fika J. van Rensburg
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2560 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2560 | © 2020 A. Tim Span, Stuart T. Rochester, Fika J. van Rensburg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 November 2019 | Published: 27 August 2020

About the author(s)

A. Tim Span, Research Focus area Bibliological and Hermeneutical Perspectives, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Stuart T. Rochester, Research Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Bibliological Perspectives, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Fika J. van Rensburg, Research Focus area Ancient Texts: Text, Context and Reception, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

The Tetragrammaton has great significance in Judaism and Christianity. Hebraist George Howard has proposed a theory of New Testament documentary origins. On the basis of early Septuagint/Old Greek (LXX/OG) manuscript findings, Howard has suggested that the Tetragrammaton has played a part in the transmission history of the New Testament. The New Testament writers, according to Howard, would have retained the Tetragrammaton in their Old Testament citations. With the success of the Gentile mission, uninformed copyists replaced the Tetragrammaton with the Greek word κύριος [Lord]. The result was that passages that applied only to YHWH were now applied in error to both the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ so that the high Christology of the New Testament was, in part, artificially elevated through scribal corruption. A detailed response is in order to evaluate the validity of Howard’s thesis. As a test case, the LXX/OG quotation from Joel 2:32 (3:5) in Romans 10:13 is examined to determine the proper referent of the linked word Lord. Contextual and grammatical indicators point to Jesus as the ‘Lord’ in the passage. Combined with documentary evidence, the Tetragrammaton thesis fails to convince. The final section of research applies the findings to two Divine Name Bibles, and the suitability of the Tetragrammaton in anglicised or Hebrew characters, as a translation option, is evaluated.

Keywords

Romans 10:13; Joel 2:32 (3:5); George Howard; Divine Name; Tetragrammaton; Yahweh, Jehovah; Lord; κύριος, kurios, kyrios; New World Translation (NWT); Institute for Scripture Research.

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