Hebrew Roots/Neglected Commandments/Honouring His Name/Appendix2

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Hebrew, and Aramaic were held in equal esteem, among the Jews, Hebrew being used mainly for the Biblical texts themselves, and Aramaic being used for the Talmud, and other legal treatises. We know from early writings that Matthew's gospel was in Hebrew as may have been some of the others, and then later translated in to first Galilean, and then Assyrian Aramaic, and afterwards, into Greek, Latin, and other European Languages.

The request for Mark to write a gospel was made by Greek speaking people and as he travelled into Greek-speaking areas with the apostles, it could have been originally written in Greek.

HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS[edit | edit source]

Jerome (331-420 C.E.) says that "Matthew first composed a Gospel of Messiah in Judea for the benefit of the Jewish believers, in the Hebrew tongue and character. Today we have several copies come down to us from what is believed to be the original of that gospel.

The 'DuTillet' Hebrew manuscript of Matthew repeats the Hebrew letter YUD two or three times in a circle so as to mark places where the name of YHWH should go.

The 'Shem Tob' Hebrew version of Matthew has the Hebrew letter HEY standing alone (and in one place the word HASHEM spelled out) to mark places where the name of YHWH belongs.

The 'Munster' Hebrew text of Matthew actually contains the name of YHWH spelled out where it belongs.

THE ARAMAIC MANUSCRIPTS[edit | edit source]

The Scriptures in the Church of the East, from the inception of Christianity to the present day, are in Aramaic and have never been tampered with or revised, as attested by the present Patriarch of the Church of the East. The Biblical manuscripts were carefully and zealously handed down from one generation to another and kept in the massive stone walls of the ancient churches and in caves. They were written on parchment and many of them survive to the present day. When these texts were copied by expert scribes, they were carefully examined for accuracy before they were dedicated and permitted to be read in churches. Even one missing letter would render the text void. Easterners still adhere to God's commandment not to add to or omit a word from the Scriptures.

Some of these ancient manuscripts go back to the 5th century A.D. The oldest dated Biblical manuscript in the world is that of the four Books of Moses (Pentateuch), 464 A.D., which now lies in the British Museum. Another one is the Codex Ambrosianus. Some of it goes back to the 7th century, some of it to the 5th century, and some of it might be earlier - possibly created about 150-250 AD. This Codex is not the work of one man. Apparently some portions were written before the vowel system was invented and that would put it prior to the 5th century. The Pentateuch in the British Museum must have been written before the vowel system was invented. Aramaic documents of the 5th century and later use the vowel system, some of them fully and some in part.

It is interesting to know that this vowel system was adopted by the Jews and was begun about the 541 A.D. In some portions of the above texts, the old Aramaic original consonantal spelling without apparatus of vowel points is well preserved. This is also true of some of the Aramaic New Testament texts in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City which attests to their antiquity. Something not achieved in the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts is that all the 'Peshitta' texts in Aramaic in various locations in the east are in agreement. This attests to the accuracy of the copyists and that they came from a common source before they were distributed into the various areas.

The late Mar-Yacob (Jacob) Eugene Manna, Chaldean Roman Catholic Metropolitan of Armenia, a distinguished Aramaic scholar whose writings are in Aramaic, says that the text which is called the 'Peshitta' is without dispute even earlier than the writings which came down from the works of Bar-Dasan, who was living in the latter part of the second century. He also states that the Aramaic speech in Mesopotamia was richer and purer than the Aramaic speech of other regions. The Greek and Latin translators made literal translations of the Scriptures, keeping the Semitic rhythm and sentence structure.

The term 'Peshitta' means straight, simple, sincere and true, that is, the original. This name was given to this ancient and authoritative text to distinguish it from other Bible revisions and translations which were introduced into some of the Churches of the East (Monophysites) after the division at Ephesus and Chalcedon in 431 and 451 A.D., respectively. This ancient Peshitta is still the only authoritative text of the Old and New Testament of all Eastern Christians in the Near East and India, the Church of the East, the Roman Catholic Church in the East, the Monophysites, and Indian Christians. This is because this text was in use for 400 years before the Christian Church was divided into several sects. The Peshitta is the oldest known collection of the New Testament scriptures which at first excluded some of the Pastoral epistles (them not having as yet been collected). Aramaic remained a language of Jews living in the diasporia as proven by copies in the east and in Rome of the Old Testament.

The Old Syriac, Peshitta and Crawford Aramaic manuscripts of NT books distinguish between YHWH (Yahweh) and ADON/ADONAI (Lord). These Aramaic manuscripts have Aramaic MARYA for YHWH and Aramaic MAR (MARI or MARAN) for ADON/ADONAI.

The original Greek Canon was based on this and would have included the Name.

THE GREEK MANUSCRIPTS[edit | edit source]

John Trobisch in his research has formulated evidence of an archetypal complete Endredaktion or "Canonical Edition" of the New Testament consisting of the twenty-seven books parallel to the modern editions and translations of the New Testament. This Canonical Edition, written completely in Greek, was the product of a careful and deliberate editorial process and was completed as early as the middle of the second century CE. According to Trobisch, this text became widely accepted among Christians of the day and became the archetype for all subsequent copies of the New Testament throughout the Mediterranean.

The earliest manuscripts do not have "Theos" (God) or "Kurios" (Lord) in them. Instead they have 2-letter codes called "Nomina Sacra", which are abbreviations for those common titles. This bears some resemblance to the handling of the Sacred Name with substitute markers, as has been observed in other OT manuscripts.

One of the most important types of evidence that the Name was in the original text is the extensive presence of 'nomina sacra' (markers for sacred names to replace them), in the New Testament manuscripts. What is obvious is that the usage of these is not consistent and indicates that the notation of sacred names where they had occurred does not appear to have originated with authors of the autograph texts, their presence reflects "a conscious editorial decision made by a specific publisher"

The removal of the Tetragrammaton from the NT and its replacement with the Greek surrogates blurred the original distinction between the Sacred Name and Messiah being referred to as Lord, and in many passages made it impossible to tell which one was meant. This is supported by the fact that in a number of places where the "Old Testament" quotations are cited, there is a confusion in the manuscript tradition whether to read God or Christ in the discussion surrounding the quotation.

The early scribes wrote the divine name in Hebrew in the Greek manuscript. Jewish Christians, however, seem to have rendered the Tetragram with kurioj (Lord). The problem came in when the New Testament writers had to distinguish between YHWH and "Lord", and the usage of the "nomina sacra" was expanded to all the divine names and other sacred theological terms in the New Testament (God, Lord, Christ etc).

Trobisch points out that the original codex was in fact known in the Roman world of the first century CE; Seneca mentions it, and Martial explicitly advertises its use for his own books (Epigrams 1.2) and encourages readers to find codices for other Classical authors. Lawyers and doctors also made use of the codex as a kind of reference notebook designed for consultation. Because of their extensive practice of citing and searching for proof-texts, early Christians found this ease of reference particularly attractive.

This practice of using 'markers' to replace the Sacred Name of Yahweh agrees with the practice of replacing "Marya" in the Syriac and Aramaic Texts. The versions translated from Semitic languages into Greek and Latin were subject to constant revisions. Learned men who copied them introduced changes, trying to simplify obscurities and ambiguities which were due to the work of the first translators. Present translators and Bible revisers do the same when translating the Bible today. The earliest manuscripts that we have are from the fourth century.

Established Grammatical Rules for Restoring the Name From the Greek Text: 1. If there is an Old Testament quote, the Names and Titles will be restored as they appear in the Old Testament. 2. Where 'kurios' (Lord) stands alone in the Greek with no definite article in front of it, it will be translated as Yahweh. 3. Where 'kurios' is preceded by a definite article - i.e. 'the', then it will be translated as "Master" or "Lord". 4. If 'theos' (God) is preceded by a definite article, it is taken as a title i.e. "the Almighty". 5. If 'theos' is not preceded by a definite article, it is taken to be the Name of Yahweh.

To determine this in the English version a literal translation will be necessary. - from research by Michael Banak


Early Nazarenes As attested to by the Talmud, the early Hebrew believers used scriptures that contained the Name.

They used a copy of a gospel written by Matthew in Aramaic. Aquila 128 AD Aquila of Pontus, translated the Old Testament into Greek. He was born in Sinope, Pontus (now Sinop, Turkey). His translation of the Old Testament was so literal that Jews of his time preferred it to the Septuagint version, as did the Judaistic sect of Christians called Ebionites. The remaining fragments of the version may be found in the Hexapla of the Alexandrian theologian Origen. His Greek version contained the Tetragrammaton in archaic Hebrew - i.e. the Paleo script.

Matthew's gospel is generally agreed to have originally been written in Hebrew and contained the Tetragrammaton. (the Divine Name). Copies of this gospel remained among Jewish Christian communities of Israel/Palestine and Syria. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement, Origen, Jerome and Eusebius possessed copies of it and quoted it.

Polycarp of Smyrna early 2nd century made a translation of the Hebrew scriptures now called the Philoxenian. Polycarp was a disciple of the apostle John and therefore would also have used the divine Name.

Origen in AD 245 Produced the 'Hexalpa' using the Hebrew letters for the Tetragrammaton in the Hebrew version and the equivalent letters in the Greek version.

Jerome said that there was an original copy of the "Hebrew" gospel preserved in the library at Caesarea which was collected by the martyr Pamphilus. He copied it and translated into Greek from the Aramaic. He said that ignorant readers mistook the Tetragrammaton (in this text) to be a Greek word "PIPI"

The Jewish Talmud and the Tosefta (ancient Jewish writings - t.Shab. 13:5; b.Shab. 116a; j.Shab. 15c), bore statements that there were Hebrew texts (New Testament) that contained the Divine Name.

The Talmud also accused Yeshua of performing miracles by pronouncing the Divine name, therefore giving evidence of the fact that it was used by Yeshua Himself and therefore by His disciples, the apostles. It is therefore logical that if they used the Name in everyday language, they would also have written as they spoke.


Generally the Name of Yahweh (the Tetragrammaton) has been translated into English in the Old Testament by "LORD" in block capitals by the original translators. Where it is written as "Lord", in the original manuscript it is "Adonai" which literally means "Lord".

However in the following instances the translators took the liberty to alter the way they translated the divine Name from Yahweh to Lord i.e. - "LORD" to "Lord". Those occasions where it appears as 'Lord' instead of 'LORD' are as follows -

  • Genesis 18: 3, 27, 30, 32; 19:18; 20: 4
  • Exodus 4:10, 13; 5:22; 15:17; 34: 9 (twice)
  • Numbers 14:17
  • Joshua 7: 8
  • Judges 6:15; 13: 8
  • 1 Kings 3:10, 15; 22: 6
  • 2 Kings 7: 6; 19:23
  • Ezra 10: 3
  • Nehemiah 1: 11; 4:14
  • Job 28:28
  • Psalm 2: 4; 16: 2; 22:19,30; 30: 8; 35:17, 22; 37:12; 38: 9,15,22; 39: 7; 40:17; 44:23; 51:15; 54: 4; 55: 9; 57: 9; 59:11; 62:12; 66:18; 68:11, 17, 19, 22, 26, 32; 73:20; 77: 2, 7; 78:65; 79:12; 86: 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 15; 89:49, 50; 90: 1,17; 110: 5; 130: 2, 3, 6
  • Isaiah 3:17,18; 4: 4; 6: 1, 8, 11; 7:14, 20; 8: 7; 9: 8, 17; 10:12; 11:11; 21: 6, 8, 16; 28: 2; 29:13; 30:20; 37:24; 38:14, 16; 49:14
  • Lamentations 1:14, 15 (twice); 2: 1, 2, 5, 7, 18, 19, 20; 3:31, 36, 37, 58
  • Ezekiel 18:25, 29; 21:13; 33:17, 29
  • Daniel 1: 2; 9: 3, 4, 7, 9, 15, 16, 17, 19 (three times)
  • Amos 5:16; 7: 7, 8; 9: 1
  • Zechariah 9: 4
  • Micah 1: 2
  • Malachi 1:12, 14
(Massorah 107 -15 Ginsburg edition)

These instances can be corrected to read as "Yahweh" the same as every instance where "LORD" occurs in our present King James Bible. The New King James follows the Old King James version in this regard.