Saturday, October 09, 2010

Tetragrammaton and "Your Name" in John 17:11b?

Crucified Jesus
and the
Photo by P. Vasiliadis
(Image from Wikipedia)

If the text of the Greek New Testament critically edited under the direction of Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland (3rd edition, 1983) has the correct reading, then the Greek of John 17:11b is as follows:
Πάτερ ἅγιε, τήρησον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι, ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς.

Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, which You have given me, that they may be one as We are.
The dative case of the neuter singular relative pronoun, (), should be accusative, (ho), but this relative pronoun has been attracted to the dative of "Name," ὀνόματί (onomati), according to Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1981, page 336).

Anyway, the thought suddenly struck me yesterday that the Fourth Evangelist meant that Jesus has received from the Father the Name of the Father, i.e., "LORD," which in Greek is κύριος (Kyrios) and in Hebrew is יְהוָה (Yahweh). The Gospel of John is written in Greek, of course, and Jesus is often called Kyrios (cf. GJn 1.23; 4.49; 6.23; 34, 69; 9.38; 11.2, 3, 12, 21, 27, 32, 34, 39; 13.6, 9, 13, 14, 25, 36; 14.5, 8, 22; [cf. 15.15]; 20.2, 13, 18, 20, 25, 28; 21.7, 12, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21), though Jesus is routinely called Kyrios in the New Testament.

By bearing the Divine Name, Jesus would be presented by the Fourth Evangelist as bearing the stamp of God's approved authority and therefore as able to speak authoritatively in the Name of God (cf. GJn 12:13).

Undoubtedly, some clever hermeneut has already noted this interpretive possibility and speculated at lengh upon the point.

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At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Tom Ball said...

I can't remember ever hearing that "Lord" was the Name of the Deity. Nor was it my impression that Kyrios was a translation of the Tetragrammaton, but rather of the Hebrew "Adonai"...Lord. It was my understanding that "Lord" was a convenient term subsituted for the Name, for instance when reading the scriptures aloud a careful Jew would say "Adonai" when the Tetragrammaton appeared, because it was taboo to speak the Name aloud.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Tom, you're right to put things more precisely. Specifically, "Yahweh" would be the Name of God. My basic point was that the Fourth Evangelist was hinting that the Son bore the Father's Name, i.e., "Yahweh." But I'd need to be more exact in my wording if I were to follow this up.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:40 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

Hallelujah, Jeff!
This interpetation of yours was suggested by me several years ago when I studied theology--- but the professor rejected it *sigh*

As for "Lord", in the Greek Bibles (both Ancient Testament in the koiné translation, and New Testament) it simply means YHWH.

At 2:47 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

By bearing the Divine Name, Jesus would be presented by the Fourth Evangelist as bearing the stamp of God's approved authority

... and much MORE than that! YHWH in fact was the "Nomen incommunicabile", the Name that could not be communicated to anything else than God.

It gets clearer, too, why the Jews wanted to kill Jesus. From their standpoint, he was blasphemous. And we all know what usually happens when a man identifies himself with God...

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Dario, I figured that somebody had gotten there first . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:13 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

Right, but I find it important that YOU got there.
I generally like the way your brains work.

Anyway, as far as I know, in no NT translation that interpretation can be found (yet).

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

to hell with alzheimer!

The JDF (Jeffery-dhr-favorite) version has been used in the newest (2008) official Catholic version in Italy: "Padre santo, custodiscili nel tuo nome, quello che mi hai dato...", Keep them in Your name, the one You gave me...

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Then assuming that your idea is nowhere written down in a datable fashion, I might be 'first'.

As you might say, "Hallelujah!"

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:24 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The 'difficult' reading is often the correct one . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:32 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

yeah. here's my top impudence, I even dared present this translation to an audience, many years ago:

τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει
(Romans 1.4)

"... the Son of God as a concentrate of energy"

see Salvador Dali's Nuclear Mystics

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Impudent and imprudent . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:27 AM, Anonymous dhr said...

oh sure, but less strange then it can seem at a first sight. in fact:

ὁρισθέντος = circumscribed;
ἐν δυνάμει = as far as energy is concerned (ἐν has a wide range of meanings referring to relationship).

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I suppose that a particular reading depends on whether one is engaged in bringing a text into a new setting or in setting a text in its context.

I approach differently in the two cases.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:27 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

whether one is engaged in bringing a text into a new setting or in setting a text in its context

In my philosophy, this distinction is ultimately impossibile, since the only existing time is the Present. Of course the distinction can be done, on a practical everyday level, in given cases. E.g. I would never ask the Catholic bishops in Italy to publish a version of the Letter to Romans where verse 1.4 is translated that way.


At 5:02 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Now, we're getting into the metaphysics of time, e.g., does the past exist?

But let's not go there -- if it doesn't exist, we'll be goners!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

metaphysics of time oh sorry didnt see that time part. egg on my face
Oops I dont think my 1st comment went through either so what am I talking about huh.
Oh you guys are funny. Thanks for the scripture with the tetragram I feel your meaning. I also feel as the words "the name that you have given me" in connection with, and "you shall call him, Jesus" and "you shall call him, John" also Saul changed to Paul, and so on.
IS 49:1 The Lord called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
Here too in Isaiha God given name, authority to speak, and kept by God

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, thanks for the comment. I suppose one can always find more parallels.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose in a book full of them. How do you suppose one experiance a name change as such, Aname being as powerful as it is.


At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will make no more comments to you after the last one. Exuse my silliness before I am tired, and I think I am funnier than I am


At 10:12 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jacki, don't worry. I can always delete doublets.

How does one "experience" a name change? That depends on the individual, I suppose -- and on the authority of the one bestowing the new name.

But I don't know that the Gospel of John is referring to a name change, rather a revelation of the name originally given.

Jeffery Hodges

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