Monday, September 19, 2011

G. Kilpatrick's review
of A. Pietersma "Kyrios or Tetragram" /

Κριτική του G. Kilpatrick
στο "Κύριος ή Τετραγράμματο" του A. Pietersma

A. Pietersma "Kyrios or Tetragram" (85-101) first sets out to reduce the number of instances of the tetragram in Jewish manuscripts of the Greek version. First he argues that we have to allow for the possibility that the tetragram represents an intrusion from the Hebrew wherever the manuscript concerned shows any correction from an Hebrew text. Thus Barthélemy's scroll of the Minor Prophets (8 Hev XII gr) shows corrections from an Hebrew text and so the presence of the tetragram in Hebrew characters may represent a correction from the Hebrew. The same may be argued for P. Fouad 266 (Rahlfs 848).

We may add a footnote here. P.Ox.656, Bodl. Gr. bibl. d.5(P), Rahlfs 905 has some variations where the tetragram is involved. An inspection of the papyrus suggests that 905 was copied from a text that had the tetragram in Hebrew letters. In copying the scribe of 905 left a space for the second scribe to insert the tetragram. Instead of doing this the second scribe inserted the corresponding forms of κύριος. Abbreviated κύριος does not always fit the space left by the first scribe and at least at one place (end of a line?) the second scribe has inserted nothing. If this correctly interprets the evidence of 905, it would support Koenen's view that the scribe of 848 left spaces in his transcript to be filled in by a second scribe.

We may question Pietersma's thesis that as far as 848 is concerned "its status, in general, as a typical exemplar of the LXX is not beyond doubt". This assumes that apart from demonstrable corrections the LXX was transmitted without interference from the Hebrew. We may question this assumption and argue that apart from other variations the LXX was frequently corrected from an Hebrew text whenever opportunity arose. If this is true, we cannot discard texts of the Greek version because they appear to show correction from the Hebrew. If this is so, we shall have to take 848's evidence seriously.

Let us assume that wherever papyri give the tetragram they are reproducing the LXX and that Origen is right in his evidence about the LXX on this point. We may suggest that apart from the Christian texts the LXX gave the tetragram either in archaic Hebrew or in Aramaic lettering. The occasional use of forms like ΙΑΩ or ΠΙΠΙ appear derivative.

Against this we have to set the facts of the Christian tradition. This consistently presents us with κύριος. How are we to explain this? Whatever was written in the manuscripts, we may infer that when the text was read aloud in the synagogue or elsewhere κύριος was used.

We may link this inference with another. In Vigiliae Christianae 36 (1982) 99-106 I reviewed C. H. Roberts, Manuscript, Society and Belief in Early Christian Egypt. Apart from other matters touched upon in Roberts' Schweich Lectures, we have conjectured that the difference between the script of manuscripts of Jewish origin and that of Christian texts may be explained as follows: "Up and down the eastern Mediterranean in the first century A.D. were many Greek-speaking Jewish communities. Each was centred in its synagogue whose congregation often seems to have consisted in a Jewish core and a fringe of interested Gentiles. From this Gentile fringe a number of converts passed into Judaism (Juvenal, Sat.xiv.96-106). When Christianity came upon the scene as in the missionary chapters of Acts it won over Jews and interested Gentiles, but the Jewish authorities controlling the synagogue seem to have remained unconvinced. If we may build on various hints in the Epistles, a minority of Jews and a majority of interested Gentiles seem to have joined the new movement. From this result we can infer that as the Jewish leadership rarely, if ever, became Christian, the resulting Christian community would not as a rule take over the official copies of the Greek Bible in all their calligraphy, but would have a number of private copies in a more or less workmanlike script which derived from the unofficial copies which members of the synagogue possessed." (100)

We may link this conjecture with another. Official manuscripts of the LXX may have had the tetragram, but unofficial and, subsequently, Christian texts, may have had κύριος. If this is true, Origen's statement is correct and the use of κύριος will by and large reflect private usage.

Pietersma later turns to the use of the article with κύριος. The principles followed in the Greek Pentateuch seem similar to those which obtain in large stretches of the New Testament, cf. my paper in P. Hoffmann (ed.), Orientierung an Jesus, Für Josef Schmid (1973) 214-219 "Κύριος Again". Variations in the NT manuscripts and problems in NT interpretation find helpful parallels in the LXX.

If we end by remaining unconvinced by Pietersma's arguments about the tetragram, we must none the less acknowledge that at many points he has made suggestions that are relevant to the NT. The form in which the LXX is quoted in the NT has its problems and Pietersma has indicated some of them in clear and detailed form.

* G.D. Kilpatrick,
Book Review of A. Pietersma's "Kyrios or Tetragram",
in A. Pietersma & C. Cox (edd.), De Septuaginta, Studies in Honour of John William Wevers on his sixj-fifth birthday [pp. xiv(?) + 261, Benben Publications, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, 1984],
Novum Testamentum, Vol./Τόμ. 27, Nο/Αρ. 1-4, 1985, Brill,
pp./σσ. 380-382.

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