Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The Tetragrammaton in the Early Church Fathers (with bonus material)

In the patristic period (AD 70, upon the destruction of Jerusalem, to AD 749, the death of John Damascene), three fathers, in five places, provided a Greek transliteration of the tetragrammaton.  The term "tetragrammaton," however appears to have been used even before Christ by Philo, in his "Life of Moses."  Philo seems to indicate that the superstitions around saying the holy name of God were already there, and Philo does not offer more explanation.

The early Christian writers include Clement of Alexandria (AD 150-215), Epiphanius (c. 310/320 to 403), and Theodoret (393-457).  There is a human translation of the Theodoret material available, and I will try to provide it when I can.

[Bonus] PHILO JUDAEUS Phil. De vita Mosis (lib. i-ii) {0018.022} (1 B.C.-A.D. 1) Book 2 section 115 line 1

βάσις, ἵνα δύο ἀρετὰς ἀγαλματοφορῇ, δήλωσίν τε καὶ ἀλήθειαν· ὅλον δ’ ἁλυσειδίοις χρυσοῖς ἀνήρτητο πρὸς τὴν ἐπωμίδα, σφιγγόμενον ἐξ αὐτῆς, ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ χαλᾶσθαι. χρυσοῦν δὲ πέταλον ὡσανεὶ στέφανος ἐδημιουργεῖτο τέτταρας ἔχον γλυφὰς ὀνόματος, ὃ μόνοις τοῖς ὦτα καὶ γλῶτταν σοφίᾳ κεκαθαρμένοις θέμις ἀκούειν καὶ λέγειν ἐν ἁγίοις, ἄλλῳ δ’ οὐδενὶ τὸ παράπαν οὐδαμοῦ. τετραγράμματον δὲ τοὔνομά φησιν ὁ θεολόγος εἶναι, τάχα που σύμβολα τιθεὶς αὐτὰ τῶν πρώτων ἀριθμῶν, μονάδος καὶ δυάδος καὶ τριάδος καὶ τετράδος, ἐπειδὴ πάντα ἐν τετράδι, σημεῖον καὶ γραμμὴ καὶ ἐπιφάνεια καὶ στερεόν, τὰ μέτρα τῶν συμπάντων, καὶ αἱ κατὰ μουσικὴν ἄρισται συμφωνίαι, ἥ τε διὰ τεσσάρων ἐν ἐπιτρίτῳ λόγῳ καὶ ἡ διὰ πέντε ἐν ἡμιολίῳ καὶ ἡ διὰ πασῶν ἐν

AI-based translation

"...basis, so that it might bear the statue of two virtues, both indication and truth; and the whole was hung by golden chains towards the shoulder strap, clamped from it, so that it might not slacken. And a golden petal, like a crown, was fashioned bearing four engraved characters of the name, which only those who have purified their ears and tongue with wisdom are allowed to hear and say among the holy, and absolutely no one else anywhere. The theologian says the name is tetragrammaton, perhaps assigning them as symbols of the primary numbers, of the monad, dyad, triad, and tetrad, since everything is in the tetrad, a sign and line and surface and solid, the measures of all things, and the best harmonies in music, both the one through four in the proportion of four to three and the one through five in the proportion of three to two and the one through all in..."

Human translation (source)
that it mighty bear on it, as an image, two virtues, manifestation and truth; and the whole was fastened to the mantle by fine golden chains, and fastened to it so that it might never get loose; (114) and a golden leaf was wrought like a crown, having four names engraved on it which may only be mentioned or heard by holy men having their ears and their tongues purified by wisdom, and by no one else at all in any place whatever. (115) And this holy prophet Moses calls the name, a name of four letters, making them perhaps symbols of the primary numbers, the unit, the number two, the number three, the number four: since all things are comprised in the number four, namely, a point, and a line, and a superficies, and a solid, and the measures of all things, and the most excellent symphonies of music, and the diatessaron in the sesquitertial proportion, and the chord in fifths, in the ratio of one and a half to one, and 

1. CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS Theol. Stromata {0555.004} (A.D. 2nd-3rd) Book 5 chapter 6 section 34 subsection 5 line 2

(3) ὁ καλὸς ἀπόστολος λέγει. ἔνδον μὲν οὖν τοῦ καλύμματος ἱερατικὴ κέκρυπται διακονία καὶ τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ πονουμένους πολὺ τῶν ἔξω

(4) εἴργει. πάλιν τὸ παραπέτασμα τῆς εἰς τὰ ἅγια τῶν ἁγίων παρόδου, κίονες τέτταρες αὐτόθι, ἁγίας μήνυμα τετράδος διαθηκῶν παλαιῶν,

(5) ἀτὰρ καὶ τὸ τετράγραμμον ὄνομα τὸ μυστικόν, ὃ περιέκειντο οἷς μόνοις τὸ ἄδυτον βάσιμον ἦν· λέγεται δὲ Ἰαουε, ὃ μεθερμηνεύεται

(6) ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἐσόμενος. καὶ μὴν καὶ καθ’ Ἕλληνας θεὸς τὸ ὄνομα

(7) τετράδα περιέχει γραμμάτων. εἰς δὲ τὸν νοητὸν κόσμον μόνος ὁ κύριος <ἀρχιερεὺς> γενόμενος εἴσεισι, <διὰ> τῶν παθῶν εἰς τὴν τοῦ ἀρρήτου γνῶσιν παρεισδυόμενος, ὑπὲρ «πᾶν ὄνομα» ἐξαναχωρῶν, ὃ

(8) φωνῇ γνωρίζεται. ναὶ μὴν ἥ τε λυχνία ἐν τοῖς νοτίοις ἔκειτο τοῦ

AI-based translation

(3) The good apostle says. Then, within the veil, a priestly service is hidden and greatly restrains those laboring in it from the outside.

(4) Again, the curtain of the passage into the Holy of Holies, there are four pillars there, a holy message of the quadrilateral of old covenants,

(5) but also the Tetragrammaton, the mystic name, which was accessible only to those who were entitled to enter the sanctuary. It is called YHWH, which is translated

(6) as the one who is and who will be. And indeed, even in Greek, the name of God

(7) contains four letters. But into the intelligible world, only the Lord, having become the High Priest, enters, by suffering, entering into the knowledge of the ineffable, withdrawing above "every name," which

(8) is recognized by voice. Indeed, the lamp was located in the southern part of...

Human translation (source)

... the noble apostle says. Within the veil, then, is concealed the sacerdotal service; and it keeps those engaged in it far from those without.

Again, there is the veil of the entrance into the holy of holies. Four pillars there are, the sign of the sacred tetrad of the ancient covenants. Further, the mystic name of four letters which was affixed to those alone to whom the adytum was accessible, is called Jave, which is interpreted, Who is and shall be. The name of God, too, among the Greeks contains four letters.

Now the Lord, having come alone into the intellectual world, enters by His sufferings, introduced into the knowledge of the Ineffable, ascending above every name which is known by sound. The lamp, too, was placed to the south of ...

2&3. EPIPHANIUS Scr. Eccl. Panarion (= Adversus haereses) {2021.002} (A.D. 4th) Volume 2 page 86 lines 9 and 13

λῆς φασιν αὐτὸν εἶναι τὸν Σαβαὼθ οἱ ἀνόητοι, νομίζοντες ὄνομα εἶναι [τοῦ] θεοῦ τινὸς τὸ Σαβαώθ, ὡς ἤδη καὶ ἐν ταῖς πρότερον αἱρέσεσι διὰ πλάτους ἡμῖν πεπραγμάτευται περὶ ἑρμηνείας τοῦ Σαβαὼθ καὶ ἄλλων ὀνομασιῶν, τοῦ τε Ἠλὶ καὶ τοῦ Ἐλωείμ, τοῦ τε Ἢλ καὶ τοῦ Σαδδαῒ τοῦ τε Ἐλλιὼν τοῦ τε Ῥαββωνὶ τοῦ τε Ἰὰ τοῦ τε Ἀδωναῒ τοῦ τε Ἰαβέ, ὡς ὀνομασίαι εἰσὶ δοξολογιῶν ἅπασαι ἑρμηνευόμεναι καὶ οὐκ ὀνόματά ἐστι θετὰ ὡς εἰπεῖν τῇ θεότητι, ἅτινα καὶ ἐνταυθοῖ σπουδασθήσονται ἑρμηνευθέντα κεῖσθαι· τὸ Ἢλ θεός, τὸ Ἐλωεὶμ θεὸς ἀεί, τὸ Ἠλὶ θεός μου, τὸ Σαδδαῒ ὁ ἱκανός, τὸ Ῥαββωνὶ ὁ κύριος, τὸ Ἰὰ κύριος, τὸ Ἀδωναῒ ὁ ὢν κύριος, τὸ Ἰαβὲ ὃς ἦν καὶ ἔστιν ὁ ἀεὶ ὤν, ὡς ἑρμηνεύει τῷ Μωυσῇ «ὁ ὢν ἀπέσταλκέ με, ἐρεῖς πρὸς αὐτούς», καὶ τὸ Ἐλλιὼν ὕψιστος, καὶ τὸ Σαβαὼθ δυνάμεων ἑρμηνεύεται. κύριος οὖν Σαβαὼθ κύριος τῶν δυνάμεων. πάντῃ γὰρ <κύριος> πρόσκειται ὅπου τοῦ Σαβαὼθ ὄνομα λέγει ἡ γραφή· <ἡ γὰρ γραφὴ> οὐ μόνον ἐκφωνεῖ λέγουσα· «εἶπέ μοι Σαβαὼθ ἢ ἐλάλησε Σα-

AI-based translation

"They say foolishly that he is Sabaoth, believing that Sabaoth is a name of some god, as has already been widely explained to us in the previous heresies about the interpretation of Sabaoth and other names, of both Eli and Elohim, both El and Saddai, both Elyon and Rabboni, both Ya and Adonai, both Yave, as they are interpreted as doxologies and are not names assigned, so to speak, to the deity, which will also be zealously interpreted here; El is God, Elohim is the eternal God, Eli is my God, Saddai is the able one, Rabboni is the lord, Ya is lord, Adonai is the being lord, Yave is who was and is the always being, as he interprets to Moses 'the one who is has sent me, you will say to them', and Elyon is the highest, and Sabaoth is interpreted as of hosts. Therefore, Lord Sabaoth is the Lord of the hosts. For 'Lord' applies everywhere where the scripture speaks the name of Sabaoth; for not only does the scripture express saying: 'Tell me, Sabaoth, or speak, Sa-..."

Human translation (source)

... The fools say, in blasphemy against their own head, that this is Sabaoth himself,

5:8 since they suppose that Sabaoth is a name for some god. Already in the previous Sects I have dealt at length with the translation of Sabaoth and other names—Eli and Elohim, El and Shaddai, Elyon, Rabboni, Jah, Adonai and Jahveh

5:9 since they are all to be translated as terms of praise, and are not as it were given names for the Godhead. Here too I hasten to give them in translation.

5:10 'El' means 'God'; 'Elohim,' 'God forever'; 'Eli,' 'my God'; 'Shaddai,' 'the Sufficient'; 'Rabboni,' 'the Lord'; 'Jah,' 'Lord'; 'Adonai,' 'He who is existent Lord.' 'Jahveh' means, 'He who was and is, He who forever is,' as he translates for Moses, ' 'He who is' hath sent me, shalt thou say unto them.'15 'Elyon' is 'highest.' And 'Sabaoth' means, 'of hosts'; hence 'Lord Sabaoth,' means, 'Lord of Hosts.'

5:11 For wherever scripture uses the expression, 'Sabaoth,' 'Lord' is put next to it. Scripture does not merely cry, 'Sabaoth said to me,' or, 'Sabaoth spoke,' ...

4. THEODORETUS Scr. Eccl. et Theol. Quaestiones in Octateuchum {4089.022} (A.D. 4th-5th) Page 112 line 18

πρὸς αὐτόν, «ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν». τοῦτο δὲ παρ’ ἑβραίοις ἄφραστον ὀνομάζεται· ἀπείρηται γὰρ αὐτοῖς τοῦτο διὰ τῆς γλώττης προφέρειν, γράφεται δὲ διὰ τῶν τεσσάρων στοιχείων· διὸ καὶ τετράγραμμον αὐτὸ λέγουσι. τοῦτο καὶ τῷ πετάλῳ ἐπεγέγραπτο τῷ χρυσῷ, ὃ τῷ μετώπῳ τοῦ ἀρχιερέως ἐπετίθετο τῇ ταινίᾳ τῆς κεφαλῆς προσδεσμούμενον. καλοῦσι δὲ αὐτὸ σαμαρεῖται μὲν Ἰαβέ, ἰουδαῖοι δὲ Ἰά.


Τί δήποτε τῆς τοῦ Ἀαρὼν γυναικός, οὐ τὸν πατέρα μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν δῆλον ἡμῖν πεποίηκεν; Τῆς βασιλικῆς καὶ τῆς ἱερατικῆς φυλῆς τὴν ἐπιμιξίαν διδάσκει. ὁ γὰρ Ναασσῶν υἱὸς τοῦ Ἀμιναδάβ· ὁ δὲ Ἀμιναδὰβ τοῦ Ἀράμ· ὁ δὲ Ἀρὰμ

AI-based translation

"He said to him, "I am the one who is." However, this is unutterable among the Hebrews; for it is forbidden for them to pronounce this with their tongue, but it is written with the four elements; therefore, they also call it the Tetragrammaton. It was also inscribed on the gold plate, which was fastened to the forehead of the high priest with a headband. The Samaritans call it Yave, while the Jews call it Ya.


What, then, has the wife of Aaron made clear to us, not only about the father, but also about the brother? It teaches the mixture of the royal and priestly tribes. For Naasson is the son of Amminadab, and Amminadab is the son of Aram, and Aram..."

[BONUS]. THEODORETUS Scr. Eccl. et Theol. Quaestiones in Octateuchum {4089.022} (A.D. 4-5) Page 143 line 23

μενον. διά τοι τοῦτο καὶ τοῦ ἀέρος ὁ ποδήρης εἶχε τὸ χρῶμα· ὑακίνθινος γὰρ ἦν ὡς ἂν καὶ εἰς τοῦτον ἀφορῶν μετάρσιος γένηται. ἐπέκειτο δὲ τῇ κεφαλῇ κίδαρις τὸν οὐρανὸν μιμουμένη. ἐκάλυπτε δὲ καὶ ταινία τὸ μέτωπον, ἣν «μίτραν» εἶπον οἱ ἑβδομήκοντα. εἶχε δὲ ἐν μέσῳ πέταλον αὕτη χρυσοῦν, ἐγγεγραμμένον ἔχον τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸ ἄφραστον ὄνομα ὃ καλοῦσιν ἑβραῖοι τετράγραμμον. εὐλάβειαν δὲ τὸν λαὸν ἐκπαιδεύων ὁ δεσπότης Θεὸς δι’ αἰνίγματος τοῦτο δεδήλωκεν· «ἐπιγράψεις γὰρ αὐτῷ, φησίν, ἁγίασμα Κυρίου». ἐκέλευσε δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ ἐφεστρίδα γενέσθαι, ἣν οἱ ἑβδομήκοντα «ἐπωμίδα» ἐκάλεσαν· ἐν δὲ ταῖς βασιλείαις εὑρίσκομεν «ἐφοὺδ» αὐτὴν κατὰ τὴν τῶν ἑβραίων γλῶτταν ὠνομασμένην. αὕτη εἶχεν ἐφ’ ἑκατέρου μὲν ὤμου δύο λίθους πολυτελεῖς, ἔχοντας τῶν

AI-based translation

"For this reason, the tunic had the color of air; for it was hyacinth, so that whoever looks at it might be reminded of this element. A turban that imitates the sky lay on the head. It also covered the forehead with a band, which the Seventy called a "mitre". In the middle, this had a golden petal, which had the ineffable name of God engraved on it, which the Hebrews call the tetragrammaton. God, the Lord, educating the people in reverence, indicated this through the riddle: "For you shall engrave on it, he says, the sanctification of the Lord." He also commanded him to have an ephod, which the Seventy called a "shoulder-piece"; in the books of Kings, we find it called "ephod" in the language of the Hebrews. It had on each shoulder two precious stones, carrying the..."

5. THEODORETUS Theol. et Scr. Eccl. Haereticarum fabularum compendium {4089.031} (A.D. 4th-5th) Volume 83 page 460 line 15

καὶ αὐτὸ δηλοῖ τὸν Θεὸν, δασυνόμενον δὲ τὸν ἰσχυρόν·   

τὸ δὲ Ἀδωναῒ, τὸν Κύριον· τὸ δὲ Κύριος Σαβαὼθ, Κύριος τῶν δυνάμεων ἑρμηνεύεται, ἢ Κύριος στρατιῶν. Καὶ γὰρ παρ’ Ἕλλησι τὰ στρατιωτικὰ τάγματα, δυνάμεις καλοῦνται. Τὸ δὲ Σαδδαῒ, τὸν ἱκανὸν καὶ δυνατὸν σημαίνει· τὸ δὲ Ἀϊὰ τὸν ὄντα. Τοῦτο καὶ ἀνεκφώνητον ἦν παρ’ Ἑβραίοις. Σαμαρεῖται δὲ Ἰαβαὶ αὐτὸ λέγουσιν, ἀγνοοῦντες τὴν τοῦ ῥήματος δύναμιν. Ταῦτα μὴ νενοηκότες οἱ παραπλῆγες θεοὺς διαφόρους ἐκάλεσαν. Ἡμεῖς δὲ ἐπὶ τὰ λοιπὰ τοῦ συγγράμματος βαδιούμεθα.

Δʹ. —Περὶ δημιουργίας.

Ἐπιδεῖξαι δὲ χρὴ πρὸ τῶν ἁπάντων, ὡς τῆς κτίσεως ὑπάρχει δημιουργὸς, οὐχ ὁ μορφωθεὶς, κατὰ τὸν Βαλεντίνου μῦθον, ἐκ τοῦ πάθους τῆς Ἀχαμὼθ,

AI-based translation

But Adonai means the Lord; and the Lord Sabaoth is interpreted as the Lord of powers, or the Lord of armies. Indeed, in Greek, military units are called powers. Saddai signifies the sufficient and powerful one, and Aia means the existing one. This too was unpronounceable among the Hebrews. The Samaritans call it Iavai, not understanding the power of the word. Not having understood these things, the paralytics have called various gods. But we will proceed to the rest of the writing.

IV. - On Creation.

First and foremost, it must be demonstrated that there is a creator of the creation, not the one who was formed, according to the myth of Valentinus, from the suffering of Achamoth,..."

Monday, June 12, 2023

Manuscript 2344 at Revelation 16:5

Manuscript 2344 (Coislin 18) may be the only Greek manuscript with "Lord" in Revelation 16:5.  The following is an image of what I think is the relevant portion of the manuscript: 

The transcription (found elsewhere) suggests that 

10και εγενετο αιμα· 5και ηκουσα του αγγε

11λου των υδατων λεγοντος· δικαιος ει

12κε· ο ων και ο ην· ο οσιος· οτι ταυτα ε

13κρινας· 6οτι αιμα ἁγίων και προφητων

14εξεχεαν· και αιμα αυτοις εδωκας πιειν·


I can only guess that the transcription must have come from a higher quality image than is available from BNF. The Muenster website says that there are restrictions on the image they have of this manuscript.

Prof. J. Schmid's collation of Miniscule 2344 has some notes on Revelation 16:5, as shown below:

My expectation is that Prof. Schmid had access to the physical manuscript in the 1930s, when it possibly was in better condition.