Saturday, 19 May 2018

Pentateuch Translations of Yahweh

HERE IS HOW the translators of the Septuagint went about their initial task of translating the divine name, Yahweh (and the shortened version, "Yah") into the Greek word, KYRIOS, which of course means "Lord" in English.

In the table below, we can see how often the translators applied the article when they did this. Because I have already done some work elsewhere in Ezekiel and in the Psalms, I have also populated the table with the data I obtained there also. Please see below for some comments, but do also note this post, because as I continue to work on the rest of the Hebrew Bible translation, this table should continue to automatically update.

As stated previously, we are looking here specifically at the cases known as "nominative" and "genitive". The reason for this is that the other three main Greek cases affect whether or not an article is required. This tighter selection provides a tighter and more meaningful methodology than has been previously reported by Septuagint scholars. It shows us that the "anarthrous" rule implemented by the Pentateuch translators was even closer to systematic for the Septuagint than has thus far been reported: the one we like to call "The LORD" was initially and perhaps almost as bizarrely as in English, translated just "LORD" in 99.3% of the 1340 instances where the translators used nominative or genitive forms (kyrios and kyriou). By so conspicuously removing the "the", the name quality of Yahweh seems to have been carefully integrated, perhaps in a similar vein to other important name-titles like "Pharoah".

At the time of writing this post, I have developed a process that has significantly accelerated how I can generate this data, with now nearly 3000 of the Yahweh occurrences in the Hebrew Bible processed. This may seem like nearly half-way, but actually, things should move much quicker now (Psalms has been accessible on this blog as early as October 2016!).

What will take longer to provide is the control data - from a control group of proper names and a control title group of "king".

When the Yahweh translations are complete we will also be able to show diagrammatically any shifts or outliers in the translation practice outside of the Pentateuch.

Remember, a fairly extensive and relevant analysis has recently been completed on how Adonai was translated throughout the canon, integrating the response of lead NETS translator, Dr. Albert Pietersma, here.

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