Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Part 1 - Gods NAME in the EARLIEST Post-Biblical Writers!


Many say that (all) the Early Post-Biblical Christian writers or as some call them: "the Apostolic Fathers" did not know or use God's personal name "JEHOVAH"!

This is an assumption based upon the comments of later writers beginning with Justin Martyr from the middle of the 2nd Century onwards.


WHY do I say this?

Because, just like the Bible, NONE OF THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS of the Earliest Post-Biblical writers have survived until our day.

But the converse applies to me also!

I cannot prove beyond a doubt myself that their original writings did have the Tetragrammaton ( יהוה) JEHOVAH either!

So what's my point?

What I CAN SHOW BEYOND A DOUBT is that the "NAME OF GOD", was of great importance and was indeed held in very high esteem in some of THE EARLIEST Post-Biblical Christian writers.

More specifically professed Christian writers from BEFORE the era of the Apologists 150 C.E.
"Our Common Era" (which is the equivalent of A.D. for others).
I'm going to focus on three Early Christian writings:

1. Ignatius of Antioch

2. The Didache or "the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" by an anonymous writer.

2. The First Epistle to the Corinthians by Clement of Rome.

IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (? to 115/117 C.E.)

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, Chapter VIII - "For says the prophet, as in the person of God, "Woe to him by whom my name is blasphemed among the Gentiles."

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans, Introduction - "Which I also salute in the name of Almighty God, and of Jesus Christ His Son..."

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, Chapter X - "That he may rejoice along with them when they are met together, and glorify the name of God."

THE DIDACHE ( 100-150 C.E. )

The dating of the Didache, one of the earliest Post-Biblical Christian documents in existence, is shown below in the introductory note from (Roberts & Donaldsons ANF):


"Granting the general authenticity of the Greek work, the time of composition must be at least as early as the fist half of the second century. If the teaching is older than Barnabas, then it cannot be later than A.D. 120. If both are form a common source, the interval of time was probably not very great. The document itself bears many marks of an early date:

(1.) Its simplicity, almost amounting to childishness, not only discountenances all idea of forgery, but points to the sub-apostolic age, during which Christianity manifested this characteristic. [simple monotheism, not trinitarianism] The fact is an important one in the discussion of the canon of the New Testament.

(2.) The undeveloped [they mean trinitarian] Christian thought, as well as the indications of undeveloped heresy, confirms this position. Christianity was at first a life, for which the Apostles furnished a basis of revealed thought. But the Christians of the sub-apostolic age had not consciously assimilated the [trinitarian] thought to any large extent, while their ethical striving was stimulated by the gross sins surrounding them.

(3.) The Church polity indicated in the Teaching is less developed than that of the genuine Ignatian Epistles, and shows the existence of extraordinary traveling teachers (“Apostles” and “Prophets,” chap. xi.). This points to a date not later than the first half of the second century, probably as early as the first quarter." [italics etc added]

This is what some others have had to say about the date of the Didache:

"Hence a date for the Didache in its present form later than the second century must be considered unlikely, and a date before the end of the first century probable." (Jonathan Draper, Gospel Perspectives, v. 5, p. 269) Footnote (op. cit., p. 284), "A new consensus is emerging for a date c. 100 AD." (Jonathan Draper, Gospel Perspectives)

So there is a general opinion that the Didache, (though some disagree), that it dates from the late 1st Century to the early 2nd Century.

Just a caution and clarification here:

There are un-scriptual concepts in the Didache! These are not inspired writings!

I personally do not take the writings, and the traditions of men, the so-called "Apostolic Fathers" as important doctrinally as the Bible.

But I do want to use them to prove the point that the EARLIEST of these writers DID take "GOD'S NAME" very seriously!

Lets have a look a what they had to say about "God's NAME"! Below is several translations for comparison, which is always instructive:

Didache ( 100 c.e. ) Translated By J.B.Lightfoot.Chapter 8:2 “...but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, ‘thus pray ye: ‘Our Father, which art in heaven,‘hallowed be Thy NAME...”

The Didache - A Translation by Rick Brannan 2009 Chapter § 8:2 “...Pray in this way: Our Father who [is] in heaven, may your NAME be holy...”

The Teaching Of The Twelve – Translated by S. Stanhope Orris P.H.D. 1884. Chapter § 8:2 “...Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy NAME...”

The Teaching Of The Twelve Apostles – Translated by Roswell D Hitchcock & Francis Brown. Chapter § 8:2 “...Thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy NAME...”

THE TEACHING OF THE TWELVE copyright 1998 translated by Ivan Lewis from extant Greek manuscripts with consideration given to the Coptic and Latin text CHAPTER 8:2 "...but as commanded in the Gospel in this manner: Our Father in heaven, Sacred is Your NAME..."

THE DIDACHE (The Teaching) with comments by Ben H. Swett 30 January 1998; CHAPTER 8:2 "...but as the Lord commanded in his gospel: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your NAME..."

Specifically the NAME of the Father is to held "holy" or "hallowed" quoting from Matt 6:9; from the Lord's prayer in the Sermon on the Mount.

The Didache - A Translation by Rick Brannan 2009 Chapter § 10:2,3; “We give thanks to you, O Holy Father, for your holy NAME which you caused to dwell in our hearts ... 3 You, All-Powerful Master, you have created all things for the sake of your NAME...”

The Teaching Of The Twelve – Translated by S. Stanhope Orris P.H.D. 1884. Chapter § 10:2,3; “We thank Thee, Holy Father, for Thy holy NAME, which Thou hast caused to dwell in our hearts, … Thou Almighty Sovereign didst create the universe for Thy NAMES sake...”

The Teaching Of The Twelve Apostles – Translated by Roswell D Hitchcock & Francis Brown. Chapter § 10:2,3; “...We thank thee, Holy Father for thy holy NAME, which thou hast caused to dwell in our hearts … Thou Master Almighty, didst create all things for thy NAMES sake...”

Ah! Now we get specific! Yes the FATHER is the one who created the universe, ie., the "CREATOR" and not only that, he is the "ALMIGHTY SOVEREIGN".

You can check the context here, there is nothing to suggest that Jesus or the holy spirit is considered the Creator as-well.

But notice "THY HOLY NAME" is again of top priority in prayer! And a mater of thanks! This also strongly indicates the writer must have known this NAME "to dwell in" their "hearts" indicating they also had a strong love for the NAME of the Father.

Also he "created all things were for THY NAMES sake"

The Didache - A Translation by Rick Brannan 2009 Chapter § 14:3 “For this is what was said by the Lord: “In every place and time, offer me a pure sacrifice because I am a great king,” says the Lord, “and my NAME [is] great among the nations.” [Footnote 68: Mal 1:11, 14]

The Teaching Of The Twelve – Translated by S. Stanhope Orris P.H.D. 1884. Chapter § 14:3 “...For this is the one that was commanded by the Lord: 'At every place and in every place time, offer me a pure sacrifice for I am a great King, and my NAME is wondeful among he nations...”

The Teaching Of The Twelve Apostles – Translated by Roswell D Hitchcock & Francis Brown. Chapter § 14:3 “...For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: 'At every place and time, bring me a pure sacrifice for a great king am I, saith the Lord, and my NAME is marvelous among he nations...”

This is a quotation from Malachi 1:11,14; which in the ORIGINAL HEBREW has the Tetragrammaton:

Malachi 1:11 Hebrew OT: BHS (Consonants & Vowels)
כִּי מִמִּזְרַח־שֶׁמֶשׁ וְעַד־מְבֹואֹו גָּדֹול שְׁמִי בַּגֹּויִם וּבְכָל־מָקֹום מֻקְטָר מֻגָּשׁ לִשְׁמִי וּמִנְחָה טְהֹורָה כִּי־גָדֹול שְׁמִי בַּגֹּויִם אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות׃

Malachi 1:11 Greek OT: Septuagint with Diacritics
διότι ἀπ' ἀνατολῶν ἡλίου ἕως δυσμῶν τὸ ὄνομά μου δεδόξασται ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν καὶ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ θυμίαμα προσάγεται τῷ ὀνόματί μου καὶ θυσία καθαρά διότι μέγα τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν λέγει κύριος παντοκράτωρ

Philippians 2:11: “And every tongue acclaim Jesus Christ as Master, ( to ) the glory of God the Father.- THE AUTHENTIC NEW TESTAMENT by Hugh J. Schonfield, 1955.

CLEMENT OF ROME ( 30 c.e. To 100 c.e. )

Clement of Rome is said by some to possibly be the companion of Paul in Phillipians 4:3.

PHILLIP SCHAFFS HISTORY OF THE CHURCH Vol 2; Chap 13:162. § 162. CLEMENT OF ROME. (I.) "The Epistle of CLEMENS Rom. to the Corinthians. Only the first is genuine, the second so-called Ep. of Cl. is a homily of later date."

Others write:

CLEMENT OF ROME (fl. c.90-100). "Prominent early Roman presbyter-bishop. Perhaps already mentioned in Philippians 4:3 (if from Rome) ...he is most probably the Clement in Hermas’s Shepherd whose duty was to write to other churches, which accords with the traditional authorship of 1 Clement, a letter in the name of the Roman to the Corinthian Church..."

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 43:6: “What think ye, dearly beloved? Did not Moses know beforehand that this would come to pass? Assuredly he knew it. But that disorder might not arise in Israel, he did thus, to the end that the Name of the true and only God might be glorified: to whom he the glory for ever and ever. Amen...”

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 45:7: “Or were Ananias and Azarias and Misael shut up in the furnace of fire by them that professed the excellent and glorious worship of the Most High? Far be this from our thoughts. Who then were they that did these things? Abominable men and full of all wickedness were stirred up to such a pitch of wrath, as to bring cruel suffering upon them that served God in a holy and blameless purpose, not knowing that the Most High is the champion and protector of them that in a pure conscience serve His excellent Name: unto whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 47:7: “And this report hath reached not only us, but them also which differ from us, so that ye even heap blasphemies on the Name of the Lord by reason of your folly, and moreover create peril for yourselves.”

I have given the context here:

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 48:1: “Let us therefore root this out quickly, and let us fall down before the Master and entreat Him with tears, that He may show Himself propitious and be reconciled unto us, and may restore us to the seemly and pure conduct which belongeth to our love of the brethren.”

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 58:1: “Let us therefore be obedient unto His most holy and glorious Name, thereby escaping the threatenings which were spoken of old by the mouth of Wisdom against them which disobey, that we may dwell safely, trusting in the most holy Name of His majesty.”

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 59:2: “...but we shall be guiltless of this sin. And we will ask, with instancy of prayer and supplication, that the Creator of the universe may guard intact unto the end the number that hath been numbered of His elect throughout the whole world, through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, through whom He called us from darkness to light, from ignorance to the full knowledge of the glory of His Name.”

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 59:3: “[Grant unto us, Lord,] [ ἐλπίζειν ἐπὶ τὸ ἀρχεγόνον πάσης κτίσεως ὄνομά σου,] that we may set our hope on Thy Name which is the primal source of all creation, and open the eyes of our hearts, that we may know Thee, who alone abidest Highest in the lofty, Holy in the holy; who layest low in the insolence of the proud, who settest the lowly on high, and bringest the lofty low; who makest rich and makest poor; who killest and makest alive; who alone art the Benefactor of spirits and the God of all flesh; who lookest into the abysses, who scanest the works of man; the Succor of them that are in peril, the Savior of them that are in despair; The Creator and Overseer of every spirit; who multipliest the nations upon earth, and hast chosen out from all men those that love Thee through Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, through whom Thou didst instruct us, didst sanctify us, didst honor us. [Footnote from Greek text [* There appears to be a lacuna in the Greek: Lightfoot supplies Δὸς ἡμῖν, κύριε.]]

Translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb in Berkeley, California 2006; - 1st Clement Chapter 59:3: [ Δὸς ἡμῖν, κύριε ἐλπίζειν ἐπὶ τὸ ἀρχεγόνον πάσης κτίσεως ὄνομά σου,] “Grant us, Lord, to hope in the Author of all creation,Your Name opening the eyes of our heart, in order to know You alone: “resting in the Height among Heights, the Holy among Holies,” “humbling the hubris of the proud,” “the Breaker of the reasoning of the nations,” “lifting high the humble” and “humbling the high,” “making rich and making poor,” “killing and making alive,” the only Discoverer of spirits and God of all flesh, “looking into the depths,” the Observer of human works, the Helper of the endangered, the Savior of the despairing, the Creator and Overseer [episkopon] of every spirit, multiplying the nations upon the earth, choosing from all those who love You through Jesus Christ Your beloved Child, through Whom You have disciplined, sanctified, and honored us.”

Translation by Rick Brannan 2005; - 1st Clement Chapter 59:3: [ Δὸς ἡμῖν, κύριε ἐλπίζειν ἐπὶ τὸ ἀρχεγόνον πάσης κτίσεως ὄνομά σου,] “Grant us, Lord, to hope in the ultimate source of all creation, your name,...”

(ἀρχεγόνον) Variously translated as: “Arch-begotten, Primal-source, Author, First-of,” in the translations I've looked at so far.

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS translated by Charles H. Hoole, 1885 - Chapter 59:3: [ ἐλπίζειν ἐπὶ τὸ ἀρχεγόνον πάσης κτίσεως ὄνομά σου,] “That we may hope in thy name, which is the first of all things, open the eyes of our heart to know thee, who art alone highest among the highest, holy among the holy, who puttest down the haughtiness of the proud, who scatterest the reasonings of the Gentiles, who exaltest the humble on high, and lowerest the lofty, who makest rich and makest poor, who killest and makest to live, the only benefactor of spirits, and God of all flesh, who lookest into the abysses, who beholdest the works of men, who art the helper of those in danger, the saviour of those who have lost hope, who art the maker and bishop of every soul, who makest the nations to multiply upon earth, and out of all hast chosen those that love thee through Jesus Christ thy beloved Son, through whom thou hast taught us, hast sanctified us, hast honoured us.”

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 60:4: “Give concord and peace to us and to all that dwell on the earth, as Thou gavest to our fathers, when they called on Thee in faith and truth with holiness, [that we may be saved,] while we render obedience to Thine almighty and most excellent Name, and to our rulers and governors upon the earth.”

Translated by J. B. Lightfoot - 1Clem Chapter 64:1: “Finally may the All seeing God and Master of spirits and Lord of all flesh, who chose the Lord Jesus Christ, and us through Him for a peculiar people, grant unto every soul that is called after His excellent and holy Name faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, temperance, chastity and soberness, that they may be well pleasing unto His Name through our High priest and Guardian Jesus Christ, through whom unto Him be glory and majesty, might and honor, both now and for ever and ever. Amen.”

It's interesting that Clement reportedly one, if not the earliest of the so-called "Apostolic Father's", and the Didache, dating I guess – very early 2nd Century, that God's NAME or ( יהוה ) still had high importance, but from around about the middle of the 2nd Century things start to change. Plato's "nameless ONE and GOOD" philosophy had a big influence on many 2nd Century Christian writers. But as mentioned before the removal of ( יהוה ) the (τετραγράμματον) was far more influential.

Philippians 2:11: “And every tongue acclaim Jesus Christ as Master, ( to ) the glory of God the Father.” - THE AUTHENTIC NEW TESTAMENT by Hugh J. Schonfield, 1955.

Going by memory, what survives of Polycarp and Papias had little to say on God's name. Ignatius, well, what can you say, which recension (LONG Greek, MIDDLE Latin/Greek, SHORT Syriac) hasn't been tampered with! I'll have another look at these authors and what they had to say about God's name ( יהוה ) when I get time.

Barnabas and the Shepard of Hermas talk about the name of God quite a bit aswell. Barnabas (which some consider to be early-to-middle 2nd Century) in particular. If I get time I'll post what he had to say.

You could say that this is one more line of evidence to (particuarly when coupled with other evidence) show that the tetragrammaton ( יהוה ) was originally in the Christian Greek Scriptures and used by the EARLIEST CHRISTIANS.

I've been focusing and working more on a project about what the Post-Biblical Christian writers, translating their texts and what they had to say about the "Trinity", which of course is ZILCH!

IRENAEUS (c. 130-200 C.E.): "...uttered the word IAO (JEHOVAH); from which THE HOLY NAME, JEHOVAH, they say, had its origin..." — (Against Heresies, Book 1, chapter 4:1; A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church anterior to the division of east and west translated by Members of the English Church; The Five Books of S. Irenaeus Bishop of Lyons translated by the Rev. John Keble, M. A. 1872)

JUSTIN MARTYR (c. 160 C.E.): “...And your most renowned historian Diodorus, who employed thirty whole years in epitomizing the libraries, and who, as he himself wrote, ... For he spoke in these words: “Among the Jews they say that Moses ascribed his laws to THAT GOD WHO IS CALLED JEHOVAH, whether because they judged it a marvellous and quite divine conception which promised to benefit a multitude of men..." - (Justins Horatory Address to the Greeks Chapter 9. ANF R&D.)

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (c. 153-217 C.E.): “...That mystic name which is called the Tetragrammaton, by which alone they who had access to the Holy of Holies were protected, is pronounced JEHOVAH, which means, “Who is, and who shall be.”...” - Fragments: Translated by William Wilson: (Collection XI: Fragment 9).

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (c. 153-217 C.E.): “...That mystic name which is called the Tetragrammaton, by which alone they who had access to the Holy of Holies were protected, is pronounced JEHOVAH (Iehovah), which means, Who is, and who shall be..." - NICETAS, Bishop of Heraclea, Quoting CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, From The Catena On The Pentateuch, Published In Latin By Francis Zephyrus, P 146.

Proof the name JEHOVAH was in the 1st Century Septuagint LXX

Was God's personal name JEHOVAH in the first Century Septuagint?

Swete's Intro to the OT in Greek, chapter 2.6.5:
"The Tetragrammaton is not transliterated, but written in Hebrew letters, and the characters are of the archaic type , not יהזה cf. Orig. in Ps. ii., καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀκριβεστάτοις δὲ τῶν ἀντιγράφων Ἐβραίοις χαρακτῆρσιν κεῖται τὸ ὄνομα, Ἐβραικοῖς δὲ οὐ τοῖς νῦν ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἀρχαιοτάτοις —where the 'most exact copies' are doubtless those of Aquila's version, for there is no reason to suppose that any copyists of the Alexandrian version hesitated to write Ο ΚΣ or ΚΕ for (יהזה)”

Foead 266

1st century B.C.

The Foead-papyrus collection (Foead; inv. n° 266) is in possession of the Société Egyptienne de Papyrologie in Caïro. This collection is dated from the 1st century B.C.
The collection was discovered in Egypt in 1939 and includes parts from the Bible books of Genesis and Deuteronomy. The Name cannot be found in the Genesis fragments, because the text is incomplete. But, in the book of Deuteronomy, in the midst of the Greek text, it is written 49 times in Hebrew characters. The Tetragrammaton can be found three more times in fragments that are not identified (fragments 116, 117 and 123).
IIn a commentary on this papyrus collection Paul Kahle wrote in 'Studia Evangelica', edited by Kurt Aland, F. L. Cross, Jean Danielou, Harald Riesenfeld and W. C. van Unnik, Berlin 1959, page 614:
“A distinguishing characteristic of the papyrus is the fact that the name of God is written as the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew square-shape [(יהזה)]. Upon my request made for an examination by father Vaccari in regards to the published fragments of the papyrus, he came to the conclusion that the papyrus must be written 400 years before the codex B, probably the most perfect text of the Septuagint that has reached us".
Facsimile made by B. Bonte

Facsimile made by B. Bonte

Leviticus Fragment

1st century B.C.

It was world news indeed when, by accident, the Death Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947! Local Bedouins and archaeologists started with fierce digging, searching for old manuscripts. An old man remembered an incident from his youth. He was chasing a partridge and accidentally found a cave with potsherds and an old oil lamp. Proof that people had lived in this cave. The man had good memory. He still remembered the exact rock cracks where he had entered the cave. They started digging in the ground and 1 meter deep they found pieces of. In total, they found 40.000 pieces, which came from about 400 handwritings. About 400 were Bible manuscripts. All the books of the Old Testament were represented, with the exception of Esther.
Ancient manuscripts are still of great importance because they reveal much about our human history. Many fragments ware made of papyrus. Papyrus was used from 2000 B.C. as material to write on. It is made from the stem of a water plant called papyrus, which grows along the waterside of the river Nile in Egypt. The word "paper" comes from the word "papyrus".
A few papyrus fragments of the Greek Septuagint that were found were written in the 1st century B.C. One fragment, with verses from Leviticus, does not use 'ΚΎΡΙΟΣ' or 'Lord', but the Tetragrammaton IAW (or IAO) - a Greek transliteration of the Divine Name. Thus distinguishing the use of the Divine Name.
The shown fragment contains Leviticus 3:12 and 4:27. The size is approximately 9 cm wide and 5 cm high.
Facsimile made by B. Bonte

The Minor Prophet Scroll

50 B.C. - 50 A.D.

In 1961 a group of experts started to explore the caves of Nahal Hever in the barren wilderness of the Dead Sea. They risked their lives descending from steel cables into a cavern, 80 meters below. What they found was so horrible that they gave this cave the nickname 'Cave of Horror'. The explorers discovered 40 skeletons of adults and children, who had hidden themselves in this place. They were followers of the Jewish leader Bar Kochba. During their stay in the cave, the Romans were quartered on top of the rock. They were literally trapped and probably died of hunger and thirst.
The explorers also made another important discovery relating to the Name of God - they found old manuscripts in the caves. Nine fragments must have been part of an old scroll of leather, containing the Bible books of Hosea through Malachi. That is why this is now called the 'Minor Prophet Scroll'. The text is written in Greek, the common language of that time, and is dated 50 B.C. - 50 A.D. So it includes the period of time Jesus lived on earth. What did they know in that time about the name of God?
Because the Septuagint, commonly used in Jesus' time, had replaced the Tetragrammaton with Kurios (which means 'Lord'), the presumption was that the first Christians did not use the Divine Name. But, the fragments they found put an end to the theological discussion of whether Jesus and his apostles used the Divine Name or not. The fragments, written in Greek, contain the Divine Name in an ancient Hebrew script, showing that the Name was still used by the Jews in those days. Verses like Mathew 6:9 and John 17:6 are proof that Jesus used and hallowed the Name of his father.
What you see shown are 2 fragments found in the cave. The first and largest fragment contains parts of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 2:15-20 and 3:9-14). We can see the Tetragrammaton written twice, in another font – paleo Hebrew. The second fragment contains parts of Zechariah (Zechariah 8:20 and 9:1,4). Here also we can see the Tetragrammaton twice, in a first century Hebrew font.
Facsimile made by B. Bonte

Oxyrhynchus 3522

1st century A.D.

Two scientists from Oxford, Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, were sent to explore Egypt towards the end of the 19th century. A place called Behnesa sounded promising to Grenfell because of the old Greek name that it bore - Oxyrhynchus. This city was the centre of Egyptian Christianity in the 4th and 5th centuries. The explorers were hoping to find Christian literature, but their exploration of churchyards and ruined houses yielded nothing. Only the mountains of waste remained to be examined and some of them where nine meters high! Despite little hope, they tried. In January 1897 they did some exploratory drilling and within the hour they found old papyrus material. In just over 3 months, they had found almost 2 tons of papyri and in the years to come - they found much more.
Most documents were written by what would be considered the common people. This proves that the Koine-Greek, the common language, was used by ordinary men on the street. They also found fragments of Bible manuscripts without much decoration and of very poor quality - the Bible of the common man.
Facsimile made by B. Bonte
This fragment, Oxyrhynchus 3522, is dated from the first century A.D. The measures are 7 cm by 10,5 cm. The text is a portion from Job 42:11,12. It is interesting to note the use of the Divine Name. A long time held common opinion was that the name was not written in the Greek Septuagint, but fragments like this prove the opposite.

The translation of Symmachus

3rd or 4th century A. D.

There are still preserved manuscripts written on parchment from the beginning of our era. Included are many fragments of the Holy Scriptures. They were often bound around two sticks, one at each end – these were known as scrolls. - Luke 4:17 (to v.21).
Writings on parchment have the advantage of being stronger and more permanent than writings on papyrus. In Latin, parchment is called 'pergamena'. The process used to make parchment was developed in the old city of Pergamon. They took the skin of goats, sheep or calves and treated the leather in such a way that writing on both sides was possible. The writer used a pen made of reed and the ink was made of gum, soot and water.
In the National Library of Vienna, Austria, we can see a certain fragment dated from the 3rd or 4th century. The fragment contains a Greek text, but what is remarkable is that the Name of God is written in Old Hebrew. The fragment contains verses from Psalm 69, specifically verses 13, 30 and 31. The parchment is supposed to have been made by Symmachus, someone considered to be a Jew converted to Christianity. He was a translator of the Old Testament, from Hebrew writing to Greek. In his translation, made around 200 A.D., he tried to give the Greek text the right meaning like it is found in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Facsimile made by B. Bonte

The translation of Aquila

End of 5th century – beginning of the 6th century

What did the early Jews do with old Bible manuscripts that could not be used anymore? Because of their respect for the holy Name of God, they did not throw them away or destroy them. They stowed the old documents away in a room belonging to the synagogue, called geniza. When there was no more room in the geniza, they took the material to sacred ground and buried it ceremoniously. Time decomposed the material.
In the year 1890 Solomon Schechter discovered such a geniza in Cairo, Egypt. He found a tremendous amount of manuscripts, including Bible fragments. This geniza was found intact because the documents were placed in brickwork - in this way hidden for centuries. Superstition may have played a part in this. A poisonous snake was presumed to be at the entrance of the geniza, ready to kill thieves.
In between the old documents was a very important one, written about 128 A.D. by a Jew proselyte named Aquila. The document was a palimpsest, a manuscript, which was re-used - in most instances the parchment would be washed and/or scraped and resurfaced, then written on again. In this case, the letters were scraped from the original scroll, but the new text was still visible under the old one. The parchment contains parts from the Psalms in Greek, translated by Aquila. In various places the Divine Name is written in Old-Hebrew.
Facsimile made by B. Bonte
It is interesting to know that the 3rd century theologian, Origines used Aquila’s translation in his famous Hexapla. In this enormous work he placed 6 columns besides each other, containing Hebrew Scriptures.

Column 1: the Hebrew and Aramaic text
Column 2: the Greek transliteration from column 1
Column 3: Aquila's Greek translation
Column 4: Symmachus' Greek translation
Column 5: the Greek Septuagint, reviewed by Origen
Column 6: Theodotion's Greek translation
By presenting these translations together Origen hoped to shed more light on the original text.

Throughout history there have been many different ways of writing God's name.
Ancient script
800 B.C.
Kuntillet Ajurud
625 B.C.
Ketef Hinnom - silver
+- 600 B.C.
Letters of Lachis - Ostraka of Arad
514-398 B.C.
Aramaic papyri
100-50 B.C
Papyrus Foead 266
30-50 A.D.
Dead Sea scrolls - Psalms
50 B.C. - 50 A.D. Nachal Hever
50 B.C - 50 A.D. Nachal Hever
30-50 A.D. Dead Sea - Psalms
2nd Century Syracuse
3rd Century Symmachus
3rd Century Oxyrynchus
5th Century Aquila
from 800 A.D. Codexes

NOTE: (18/10/10) Sorry folks the pictures are not displaying properly at present. I will endevour to fix them when I get time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Part 5 - Defending the WT 1956 August 15th Page 504

Lets take an even closer look at Photius statements about Clement of Alexandria:
"Read three volumes of the works of Clement, presbyter of Alexandria, entitled Outlines, The Miscellanies, The Tutor. The Outlines contain a brief explanation and interpretation of certain passages in the Old and New Testaments. Although in some cases what he says appears orthodox, in others he indulges in impious and legendary fables. For he is of opinion that matter is eternal and that ideas are introduced by certain fixed conditions; he also reduces the Son to something created..." - 109 Clement Of Alexandria, "Outlines" PHOTIUS BIBLIOTHECA OR MYRIOBIBLON.

"...Correct doctrine is held firmly in some places but in other places he is carried away by odd and impious notions. He maintains the eternity of matter, produces a theory of ideas from the words of Holy Scripture, and reduces the Son to a mere creature..." - (As quoted at) The Writings Of St. Clement: 2. Outlines or Sketches (Hypotyposeis):
Now lets look at the Greek text upon which these translations were based:
“...Ἀνεγνώσθη Κλήμεντος Ἀλεξανδρέως πρεσβυτέρου τεύχη βιβλίων τρία, ὧν τὸ μὲν ἐπιγραφὴν ἔλαχεν Ὑποτυπώσεις, τὸ δὲ Στρωματεύς, τὸ δὲ Παιδαγωγός. Αἱ μὲν οὖν Ὑποτυπώσεις διαλαμβάνουσι περὶ ῥητῶν τινῶν τῆς τε παλαιᾶς καὶ νέας γραφῆς, ὧν καὶ κεφαλαιωδῶς ὡς δῆθεν ἐξήγησίν τε καὶ ἑρμηνείαν ποιεῖται. Καὶ ἔν τισι μὲν αὐτῶν ὀρθῶς δοκεῖ λέγειν, ἔν τισι δὲ παντελῶς εἰς ἀσεβεῖς καὶ μυθώδεις λόγους ἐκφέρεται. Ὕλην τε γὰρ ἄχρονον καὶ ἰδέας ὡς ἀπό τινων ῥητῶν εἰσαγομένας δοξάζει, καὶ τὸν Υἱὸν εἰς κτίσμα κατάγει...” - 108.89α [ ̓ΑΠΟΓΡΑΦΗ ΚΑΙ ΣΥΝΑΡΙΘΜΗΣΙΣΤΩΝ ἈΝΕΓΝΩΣΜΕΝΩΝ ἩΜΙΝ ΒΙΒΛΙΩ ὩΝ ἘΙΣ ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΩΔΗ ΔΙΑΓΝΩΣΙΝ Ὁ ἨΓΑΠΗΜΕΝΟΣ ἩΜΩΝ ἈΔΕΛΦΟΣ ΤΑΡΑΣΙΟΣ ΕΞΗΙΤΗΣΑΤΟ ἘΣΤΙ ΔΕ ΤΑΥΤΑ ἘΙΚΟΣΙ ΔΕΟΝΤΩΝ ἘΦ' ἙΝΙ ΤΡΙΑΚΟΣΙΑ] Patrologiae cursus completus. Series graeca. Edidit J.-P. Migne

Now what does this Greek word (κτίσμα) actually mean?
"...(κτίσμα) 1 κτίζω anything created, a creature, NTest. 1 kti/sma, atos, to/..." - Liddell and Scott. An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1889.
Notice the Greek suffix or word ending (-μα). Word endings in Greek are important, let's see what this one means:
"...3. The result of an action is indicated by -μα (3)..." - Lexical Aids For Students of New testament Greek, Third Edition, Fifth Printing September 2002, Page 43.
The action meant here is that of "creation"! Meaning Greek (τὸν Υἱὸν) "the Son" was acted upon by a Creator with the result being the production of a "creature."

So there can be no mistaking what Photius meant!

Compare the following scriptures that point to Jesus being a creature in both the Old Testament and the New Testament:
ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΛΟΣΣΑΕΙΣ (COLOSSIANS) 1:15 Greek NT: Westcott/Hort with Diacritics: "...ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως..."

Literal Translation According to Word Order: "...Who is [an] icon (of) the God (of) the un-seen, first-(one)-born (of) all creation..."

ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ (REVELATION) 3:14 Greek NT: Westcott/Hort with Diacritics: "...
Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· Τάδε λέγει ὁ ἀμήν, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς καὶ [ὁ] ἀληθινός, ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ θεοῦ..."

Literal Translation According to Word Order: "...And (to) the Angel (of) the in Laodicea congregation write: "Thus say's the Amen, the Witness the Faithful and the True, the beginning (of) the creation (of) the God..."

Greek OT: Septuagint with Diacritics; Proverbs 8:22: "...κύριος ἔκτισέν με ἀρχὴν ὁδῶν αὐτοῦ εἰς ἔργα αὐτοῦ..."

1. Literal Translation According to Word Order: "...LORD created me [a] beginning (of) way (of) him into work (of) him..."

2. Literal Translation According to Word Order: "...LORD created me beginning (of) [the] way (of) him first work (of) him..."

Notice in Prov 8:22 LXX the Greek word (ἔκτισέν) for being "created" is the same word used of God creating the universe in Josephus quotation of Genesis 1:1:
Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae (Greek) ed. William Whiston, A.M., Ed. Book 1, section 27: “...Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἔκτισεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν...”

Literal Translation According to Word Order: "...In a beginning created the God the heaven and the earth..."

Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (English) ed. William Whiston, A.M., Ed. Book 1, section 27: “...In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth...”
Significantly, it was because of Photius comments about Clement calling Jesus a "creature" that actually got him removed from being considered a martyr in the Roman Catholic Church:
“Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens), d. c.215, Greek theologian. … He was long venerated as a saint, but Photius, in the 9th cent., regarded Clement as a heretic. Because of Photius's contentions the name of Clement was removed from the Roman martyrology.” - Clement Of Alexandria; The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2007, Columbia University Press.

Note this comment:
“...The Hypotyposes 1 in eight books, have not come down to us. Cassiodorus translated them into Latin, freely altering to suit his own ideas of orthodoxy. Both Eusebius and Photius describe the work. It was a short commentary on all the books of Scripture, including some of the apocryphal works, such as the Epistle of Barnabas and the Revelation of Peter. Photius speaks in strong language of the impiety of some opinions in the book (Bibl. cod. 109, p. 89 a Bekker)...” - Clement of Alexandria (CLASSIC ENCYCLOPEDIA Based on Encyclopedia Brittanica 11th Edition)
This Encyclopedia tells us that despite Cassiodorus "freely altering" Clements writings in the Fifth Century "to suit his own ideas of orthodoxy" that what is left over in Clements writings was still enough for him to be considered a "blasphemous" heretic by Photius in the Ninth Century by calling the Son a "creature"!

Of course this Encyclopedia not wanting to upset the trinitarian's had to go on to argue that Photius was mistaken, of course, or that he had "a corrupt copy" of Clement. For this is unimaginable for our poor old trinitarian's.

Anyway, THE EVIDENCE HAS BEEN MOUNTING, and we haven't even looked at his own writings YET!

To be continued!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Part 4 - Defending the WT 1956 August 15th Page 504

To continue:

“...The work entitled "Outlines" (Hypotyposeis) is likewise believed to be a production of the early activity of Clement. It was translated into Latin by Rufinus under the title "Dispositiones". It was in eight books, but is no longer extant, though numerous fragments have been preserved in Greek by Eusebius, Oecumenius, Maximus Confessor, John Moschos, and Photius. According to Zahn, a Latin fragment, "Adumbrationes Clementis Alexandrini in epistolas canonicas", translated by Cassiodorus and purged of objectionable passages, represents in part the text of Clement. Eusebius represents the "Outlines" as an abridged commentary, with doctrinal and historical remarks on the entire Bible and on the non-canonical "Epistle of Barnabas" and "Apocalypse of Peter". Photius, who had also read it describes it as a series of explanations of Biblical texts especially of Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes and the Pauline and Catholic Epistles. He declares the work sound on some points, but adds that it contains "impieties and fables", such as the eternity of matter, the creatureship of the Word, plurality of words (Logoi), Docetism, metempsychosis, etc...” - (APA citation. Havey, F. (1908). Clement of Alexandria. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved February 15, 2010 from New Advent)

So we gain several things from this article in the New Catholic Encyclopedia:

1. Clements writings were copied by Rufinus and Cassiodorus
2. Photius about Clement calling Jesus "a creature" - see previous posting aswell!

Notice the New Catholic Encyclopedia said that:
"...a Latin fragment, "Adumbrationes Clementis Alexandrini in epistolas canonicas", translated by Cassiodorus and PURGED OF OBJECTIONABLE PASSAGES..."
These "objectionable passages" were no doubt about the "trinity"!

Rufinus is notorious for having done the same thing to Origen of Alexandria's writings, he also purged his works of "objectionable passages" to do with the "trinity", but not only that he ADDED TRINITARIAN PASSAGES to Origen's writings.

We shall learn more about Rufinus & Cassiodorus and their EDITING of Clements writings later.

So in this blog we have more SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE to verify the 1st statement by Dr Alvin Lamson as quoted in the ***WT 1956 August 15th Page 504*** is CORRECT and ACCURATE!

So in the series

1. Photius 9th Century Trinitarian
Christin Classics Ethereal Library
Orthodoxwiki Online Encyclopedia
The New Catholic Encyclopedia

In the next post lets take an even closer look at Photius statements about Clement of Alexandria.

To be continued!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Part 3 - Defending the WT 1956 August 15th Page 504

Here's what a certian "Catholic Theologian" by the name of PHOTIUS who lived in the 9th Century actually had to say about Clement of Alexandria:
“...Although in some cases what he says appears orthodox, in others he indulges in impious and legendary fables. For he is of opinion that matter is eternal and that ideas are introduced by certain fixed conditions; he also reduces the Son to something created. He talks prodigious nonsense...” - Photius, Bibliotheca or Myriobiblion 109. [Clement of Alexandria, Outlines]: (Cod. 1-165, Tr. Freese)

The above is actually PHOTIUS own words about Clement of Alexandria

From an Orthodox Online Encyclopedia:
“...According to Clement, though Christ's goodness operated in the creation of the world, the Son himself was immutable, self-sufficient, and incapable of suffering. According to his interpretation, such are the characteristic qualities of the divine essence. Though the Logos is most closely one with the Father, whose powers he resumes in himself, to Clement both the Son and the Spirit are "first-born powers and first created"; they form the highest stages in the scale of intelligent being, and Clement distinguishes the Son-Logos from the Logos who is immutably immanent in God. Because of this Photius would later charge that he "degraded the Son to the rank of a creature..." - (Clement of Alexandria: Subheading: Charges Of Heresy)

Note both sources go on to argue Clement taught a "Trinity" and was "Orthodox". Both sources of information are TRINITARIAN!

I would like to put a number of things straight here:

1.) I am NOT attempting to represent ANY of the quoted sources from the CONFIRMED trinitarins, above or in blogs to come, as being or believing Jehovah's Witness doctrine!

2.) Another thing, NEITHER am I representing CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA as a JW or believing JW doctrine!

3.) Jehovah's Witnesses do NOT accept the writings of professed "Christian" Post-Biblical writers as inspired or of equal weight doctrinally as the Bible.

Although I will say this, Clement did know God's name JEHOVAH!
"...The mystic name which is called the Tetragrammaton, by which alone they who had access to the Holy of Holies were protected, is pronounced JEHOVAH which means, "Who is, who shall be..." - Clement Of Alexandria (Fragments: Collection XI: Fragment: 9) translated by William Wilson.

Both Photius and the writers of the Orthodoxwiki encyclopedia are or were firm TRINITARIAN believers.

But they did admit the the things above by way of CONCESSION or GRUDGING ADMISSION.

Opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses have somehow got it into their heads, that EVERY JW thinks that when the WT quotes a source that they believe things that JW's do!


Your average JW understands that these quotations are nothing more than admissions or concessions, and nothing else!
It's a no brainer! When a book is written by someone of ANOTHER RELIGION then it's obviously not going to teach what YOUR RELIGION teaches!

But opposer's, haters, detractors and apostates often resort to desperate and malicious misrepresentations and DISTORTED FACTS, in a vain attempt to make us look as bad as possible to the unwary and uninformed.

So the above quotations give us two basic facts:

1. Photius says Clement "reduced the Son to the rank of a creature"
2. The Orthodox Online Encyclopedia says: "to Clement both the Son and the Spirit are "first-born powers and first created" and repeats what Photius said.

So far we have discovered that there is SOME EVIDENCE TO SUBSTANTIATE the QUOTATION published in the Watchtower by Dr Alvin Lamson!

To be continued!

Part 2 - Defending the WT 1956 August 15th Page 504

The WT article goes on to show some QUOTATIONS from Dr Lamson about some, not all, of the Early Church Fathers.

1. Clement of Alexandria:
"CLEMENT, who died about A.D. 100, was severely castigated by certain Catholic theologians because he termed “the Son of God a creature.” He once stated that “the most perfect, and most holy thing, and most commanding, and most regal, and by far the most beneficent nature, is that of the Son, which is next to the only omnipotent Father.” “If thou wilt be initiated [become a Christian], then shalt thou join in the dance around the uncreated and imperishable and only true God, the Word of God hymning with us.”
The DATE that Clement of Alexandria lived from is actually 155 C.E. = AD to approximately 225 C.E. = AD.

It is quite possible that Dr Lamson got Clement of ALEXANDRIA mixed up with Clement of ROME who did live from the early 2nd quarter or middle of the first Century until about 100 C.E. Or it could have quite simply have been an editorial oversight.

One has to remember this is a QUOTATION from SOMEONE ELSE book!

Haters of Jehovah's Witnesses will, of course, blow this out of proportion, and rant and rave until the cow's come home.

But all one has to do
is look up in a religious dictionary or encyclopedia or go online to get the date.

Lets move past this because this is not the important issue here. Let's examine the next sentence:
"...was severely castigated by certain Catholic theologians because he termed “the Son of God a creature.”
Before we address this, there are a number of questions that need to be resolved:

Is this statement and others in the ***WT 56 August 15th Page 504*** ACCURATE?

Can the Watchtowers statements be SUBSTANTIATED from other sources?

Opposers of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Jehovah's Witnesses claim they were telling DELIBERATE LIES, is this TRUE?

Or are these Opposers actually GROSSLY MISTAKEN and have actually been MISLEAD THEMSELVES?



These questions I hope to give an answer to in the comming series of blogs. And we shall see if the QUOTATIONS from Dr Alvin Lamsons book are indeed accurate and can be substantiated by other sources and by the facts of history.

Getting back to the material above, one of those "certain Catholic theologians" was Photius of the 9th Century.

What did he have to say about Clement of Alexandria?

To be continued!

Part 1 - Defending the WT 1956 August 15th Page 504

A lot of criticism has been leveled at Jehovah's Witnesses for this, now very old, article on the Early Church Fathers. Let us examine the articles purpose and main thrust. Being a Jehovah's Witness myself, I think I am in a good position to give a fair explanation, in my own words, of its meaning.

Lets, over the next few blogs examine this article in detail.
*** w56 8/15 p. 504 Early Church Fathers and the Trinity ***
"ACCORDING to the trinity the Father, the Son and the holy spirit are three persons of one godhead, coequal, cosubstantial and coeternal. Those teaching it claim that the so-called church fathers also taught the trinity, and since they lived so close to the apostles themselves it must be that the apostles also believed and taught the trinity. But did these “church fathers” believe in a trinity as held by Christendom? Note the following quotations from these men as published in The Church of the First Three Centuries, by Dr. A. Lamson."
First it makes a simple statement about the basic "ingredients" that are needed to make up the Churches of Christendoms MODERN DOCTRINE of the "trinity":

1. Three persons: Father + Son + holy spirit = (ONE) godhead
2. Co-equal
3. Co-substantial
4. Co-eternal

I ask what is inaccurate about this statement? As far as I can see nothing! I'm sure Trinitarians would agree, so, lets proceed.

Next it asks:
"Those teaching it claim that the so-called church fathers also taught the trinity, and since they lived so close to the apostles themselves it must be that the apostles also believed and taught the trinity."
What do they mean by "the trinity"?

that was then, in 1956, and now, 2010, taught in the Churches of Christendom.

This is the main thrust of the article!

It has always been the contention of Jehovah's Witnesses that the ORIGINAL DOCTRINE of Christ and the Apostles has CHANGED GRADUALLY from what it was in the very beginning, into something very differen't!

This is made clear by the next sentence:
"But did these “church fathers” believe in a trinity as held by Christendom?"
Then it goes on to say this:
"Note the following quotations from these men as published in The Church of the First Three Centuries, by Dr. A. Lamson."
Theres nothing complicated about this! There's no conspiracy theory in this! It simply say's it's going to QUOTE what "Dr Alvin Lamson" as published in his book "The Church of the First Three Centuries"!

Whats dishonest and deceptive about that? Where's the mystery? It simply was going to QUOTE a book written by someone else who is not a Jehovah's Witness.

In the series of blogs to come we will proceed to the substance of it's quotations and the unfair criticisms leveled at it by HATERS of Jehovah's Witnesses.

To be continued!