Friday, October 10, 2008

The Name

It has always struck me as interesting that neither the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament -- which the NT authors often used for OT quotations) nor the New Testament attempted to translate or transliterate the Hebrew personal Name for the LORD God by which the LORD revealed himself to Moses [(Exo 3:14 NIV)  God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"]. The Jews would not utter the Name. When they came across it in their readings they would say either "Adonai" ("Lord") or "the Name." The Septuagint consistently translated it with KURIOS (Greek for "Lord"). The NT consistently followed suit. 

My question is, Why? Why did not the Septuagint and the NT transliterate the Name? It could easily have been done. Perhaps the Jews were/are right and we ought not to utter the Name. Perhaps it is too holy for us to speak. Likely it is good that our translations use "the LORD" when translating the Name. Likely it is best to follow the lead of the Septuagint and the NT (and possibly the Jews of old) and not utter the holy Name.