Friday, 12 September 2014

Who is Jehovah/ God in the Old Testament - an update

Continuing from:

I was recently reading Blake Ostler, who is my go-to guy on theology - and he argued that it looks as if the term Jehovah, or God in the Old Testament, is not used with consistency. It usually refers to Jesus Christ, in his pre-incarnate form, but not always - sometimes God refers to God the Father. And sometimes this cannot be clearly established.

All of which suggests the matter of distinguishing whether the Father or Son is referenced is not always important.

This is supported by the data cited in FAIR Mormon

SO - despite what I stated here

It seems that the name Jehovah is not always referring to Jesus, but sometimes and often, it is. 

I am pleased about this, it is something of a relief - because sometimes a strictly 100% identification of Jehovah with Jesus - which I thought was theologically insisted upon -  did seem forced



Bookslinger said...

There was also much confusion in early Mormonism, even among leaders, about whether the Jehovah of the OT was the Father or the Son.

James Talmage used, and may have coined, the term "divine investiture". I haven't read Ostler, so I don't know if he also uses/used the term.

As I understand it, the Son was given the authority to speak in the name of the Father.

Joel E. said...

I think that the usage of the NT authors is fairly strict on this, with one or two exceptions. Mostly, references to "God" are separate from references to Jesus. "Lord" is used interchangeably. Prayers always seem to be to the Father, etc.

Now, quotations from the Old Testament in the New are primarily from the Septuagint. Some are not. These may be original translations from the Hebrew, or they be quotations from other Greek translations in circulation, now lost.

The general usage is fairly clear, however. Almost always, when you have a quoted verse that mentions YHWH (Hebrew Jehovah) -> κύριος (translated by the Septuagint as Lord) it refers to the Father in the NT passage context. There are one or two exceptions out of a few hundred quotations.

So NT authors were fairly clear on the distinction between Jehovah and Jesus (with one or two exceptions).

If you don't speak Koine Greek, I'm not sure exactly where to refer you for discussion. There is a rather uneven text by BeDuhn, titled "Truth in Translation" that might serve as an introduction, especially the appendix.