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Archive for the ‘Bible Versions’ Category

Some Atheists, as well as some Messianic Jews (Jewish Christians) believe that the name “Jesus” was derived from the name “Zeus.” That’s one reason why many Messianics think we should call Jesus only by his Jewish name “Yeshua,” rather than an English transliteration of the New Testament Greek name “Iesous.”

Actually, there is evidence that the name “Iesous,” predates the mythology connected with the name “Zeus.” “Iesous” is a very old Greek transliteration of the name “Yehoshua” (Joshua), though the Jews consider it incorrect. The ancient Greek “Septuagint” name for the book of Joshua is “Iesous.” This is important evidence in favor of the Bible.

Atheists have also suggested a connection between “Zeus,” and “YHWH,” the personal name of God in the Hebrew Old Testament. Here again, evidence shows the name “YHWH” to be the oldest. Much of the following information may be difficult to find in print, but I suspect that many have been aware of it, and have rejected it without thinking it through. This may be one underlying reason for much of the argument over the name of Jesus.

My last post mentioned the difficulty of representing the Hebrew name for Jesus in the Greek language. That post is very important to the understanding of this one. The ancient Greeks would have had a similar problem with “YHWH,” the namesake of Jesus. To keep this short and simple, I’ll say that they lacked a proper “y,” as well as a proper “h.” The use of a “u” to represent the Hebrew “w” is fairly accurate.

A strange thing occurs if the transliteration process (from Hebrew, through Greek, to English) used in our old English versions of the Bible (Ref. King James version) is applied to “YHWH.” I have not been able to find such a transliteration of “YHWH,” or “Yah” (Jah), the shortened form of the name, anywhere (note; it’s possible that our word “God,” came from the pronunciation of “yod,” the “Y” of “YHWH”).

Perhaps we do have the transliteration, but we haven’t recognized it because it isn’t what we would expect. When I’ve attempted an internet search, what I find instead is psychological warfare against the name of Jesus. We do have another interesting Greek transliteration of “YHWH” which I intend to write about shortly.

The name “Jehovah,” is sometimes called a transliteration, but it does not follow the same pattern as Old Testament names which recur in the New Testament. It is only “JHVH” with vowels added to suggest a pronunciation, and has not come to our English Bible through the Greek language of the New Testament. That is because of the ancient tradition of always translating “YHWH,” as the word “Lord” instead, and not attempting to write, or pronounce the actual name (Ref. Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, The Secret of YHWH, in my November 2011 archives). The name “YHWH” would appear, in some form, in many places in the New Testament if not for that tradition.

There are many examples in older versions of the Bible, such as the King James version, where an “h,” at the end of Old Testament names, becomes an “s,” in the New Testament. This has happened because the names were first adopted into the Greek language before coming to us. For example “Judas,” in Matthew 1:3, is “Judah” in the Old Testament.

Modern versions of the Bible, attempting to make the Bible easier to read, sometimes drop this information by spelling the names alike in both Testaments. This type of thing sometimes occurs even in older versions such as the King James.

In the transition from Hebrew to Greek, an “h” usually becomes an “e,” (eta) except at the end of a word. This is a general rule often followed in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament from the pre-Christian era. Many variations in spellings exist, and other Hebrew letters sometimes become an “e” so caution must be used in this study. The name Jehu (in Hebrew spelled Yhw ending with an “aleph”) isn’t found in the New Testament, but in 1st Chronicles 2:38 in the Septuagint, it becomes “Jeu.” The silent “aleph” may have been added to this name to distinguish it from “YHWH.”

The English “J” in “Jeu” was a “Y” in the Hebrew, and an “I” in the Greek. The “h” in the Hebrew name became an “e” (eta) in the Greek, remaining the same in the English translation of the Septuagint. The Hebrew “w” became “u” in the Greek, and was carried over to English. If there had actually been an “h” at the end, that final “h” would have become an “s” in a Greek transliteration. Following this procedure, a transliteration of “YHWH” through the Greek language into King James English could have given us the name “Jeus.”

That begins to look a bit mysterious because “Djeus,” or “Dyeus,” is considered to be the Proto-Indo-European origin of the name “Zeus.” This appears to also be the origin of “Deus,” the Latin word for God, as well as the Greek word “Theos.” The evidence suggests that “Zeus,” is a very ancient transliteration of the Hebrew name “YHWH.”

The use of a “Z” in the name “Zeus,” probably originated with the way some languages combine a “d” with other sounds, as in “Djeus,” or “Dyeus.” The Greek “Z” (Zeta) is pronounced “dzay’-tah.” “Z” is also often combined with other sounds. According to the Wikipedia article, “Jesus (name),” “Jesus” in Limburgish is “Zjezus.”

A “Y” in Middle Paleo-Hebrew is shaped like a “Z” with the addition of a short horizontal bar. That is another possible origin for the “Z” in “Zeus.” I intend to supply more details later.

Here is a very important fact which many atheists would ignore in an attempt to put their own spin on this information. The evidence shows the Hebrew name is the older, because there would be no need to transliterate “Zeus” to the Hebrew. The Hebrew alphabet could perfectly capture the pronunciation of “Zeus” in several different ways without a change in the sound of the name.

The Greek alphabet, on the other hand, would not permit the name “YHWH” to be written without significant changes. If the ancient Greeks wanted to record something about YHWH, they would have to either change (transliterate) the name, translate it as “Lord,” or use Hebrew letter symbols which would be meaningless to most Greeks.

Evidence shows that the Greeks tried all three methods at different times. That is probably why some stories about Zeus have elements in common with records from the Bible.

Except for pronouncing it, I have no problem with using the Hebrew name “YHWH” for God. I’m not going to use the name “Zeus” for God, because for most people, there is too much myth attached to the name. Only God himself could demythologize the name, but it probably began with an honest attempt by some ancestor of the Greeks to record the name of God.

For the record, some Aramaic Christians believe that Jesus should only be called by the Aramaic name “MarYah (Mar-Yah),” which is usually interpreted to mean “Lord.” I didn’t know that particular fact when I wrote my page “The Messiah.”

I ask any Christians or Jews who happen to read this to please understand that I am not equating ancient myths with the Bible. I think there’s proof that the Bible contains an accurate record of God’s interaction with man, and that some of its writings are the oldest in existence regardless of the age of our copies. If there is any truth in what the atheists are saying about “Jesus” and “Zeus,” then it is actually evidence that supports my statement. Atheists would have a stronger argument if they simply attribute the “zeus” sound in the name “Jesus” to coincidence.

There is much evidence however, that many of the ancient pagan myths are simply distorted, and fanciful, retellings of ancient events reported in the Bible. Likewise, many names of the “gods,” and heroes of the myths appear to have some foundation in the Bible. Biblical events are sometimes the source of information that has devolved into myth, but not the other way around.

The information I’ve given here needs to be studied and further refined, but it is very important. Whether atheist, or theist, whoever is aware of this has kept the secret. That may be because it runs counter to what many atheists would want to believe, and many theists would simply misunderstand it. The usual attitude is, “shout (or shoot) first and ask questions later.”

We need to get over that, if we’re going to get anywhere. The roots of this controversy may go back to the Tower of Babel, and it’s likely that God has preserved evidence of his truth in the design of languages.

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Difficulties arise whenever ancient writings are translated into other languages. Many words may not have an exact equivalent, and the meaning of some words may be unknown. In such cases the original word may be adopted into the new language. The translators will attempt to represent the pronunciation of the word, to whatever degree it is known, using letters of their own alphabet. Even this can be a challenge because of the lack of exact equivalents.

The result is often a variety of spellings. As an example, the name of the river “Pishon,” in Genesis 2:11 of the Bible (ref. Rivers of Eden in my October 2011 archives), comes to us from the Hebrew language. The Hebrew letters Pe (or Phe), Yowd, Siyn (or Shiyn) Vav, and Nuwn, are used in the spelling.

Even the spellings representing pronunciations of foreign letters vary, and sometimes arguments develop over their correctness. Pe may be written “pey,” and yowd may be “yud,” “yod,” or “jod.” Siyn and shiyn become “sin” and “shin,” and vav becomes “vau,” or “waw.” Nuwn becomes “Nun.” Note that we are not using the Hebrew alphabetical symbols here, but an English transliteration of the symbols.

Multiple spellings of Pishon exist; Pison (King James Version), Phisom (Septuagint), Phison (Josephus), and others. All of these are recognizable representations of the original word, and such differences usually aren’t very important. A serious disagreement develops however, over the transliteration of the Lord’s Hebrew name Yahweh, into the English Jehovah. I hope to write something on that subject soon.

Procedures of transliteration used when adopting foreign words vary over periods of time, and also depend upon the languages which the words pass through. Information sometimes reaches us that is a translation of earlier translations, and we may be altering marks of authenticity whenever we attempt to harmonize spellings and content of various records.

Human speech was first given to man by God, though Adam soon began to adapt his language. For instance, God allowed Adam to give names to the animals (Genesis 2:19). At the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), God translated man’s original language into several branches, and Genesis 10:32 tells us that the nations were divided according to their families.

More than simply a monument to man, the tower represented an uprising against God. I also intend to write more on this later. Anyway, the building of the tower ceased when suddenly, the workers could no longer understand each other. God has many ways of performing that which we call miracles, but in the final analysis, he’s using some principle of science in some way that we don’t currently understand. He has created the rules of science, and has the ability to circumvent them. Science is aware of these possibilities.

Keeping the tower of Babel in mind, and the miracle of the second chapter of Acts involving several different languages, it would be interesting to study the human brain searching for a scientific mechanism that might have been involved. Such scientific knowledge would be a very dangerous thing in the hands of man however.

Computers, with access to the right programs and information, can perform either encryption, or translation tasks quickly, so accepting the event of the confusion of languages should not present any great challenge, even to an atheist. Atheists should also easily understand the motives of the designers of the tower. While the confusion of languages ended the futile attempt at building a “tower to heaven,” it also made Bible translation a necessity.

If we can learn a little about the Hebrew and Greek languages of the ancient Bible, and the history of its translation, we’ll have a fuller understanding of it. Actually, I think that would apply to translations in all languages. It could be easier for a particular people, because of their language, to grasp some facet of understanding. Some people are quick to point out to me, that we don’t have to know any of this stuff, but only to have faith. I understand that, but I think that some people also need to understand more about that Bible before they can believe it. Faith and understanding go hand in hand.

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The Script (the Bible), with its foreknowledge of the course of the world, could not have come into being if God did not exist. In the background of its brief histories of notable people and events runs a plan, and there is a plot that comes together over the course of the book. Sprinkled, here and there, are bits of knowledge beyond the capacity of the people of the time to know.

From the beginning of this blog, I have collected evidence to support that viewpoint, and my plan is to continue as I can. As much as possible, I want people to understand the mystery of the Bible’s existence.

Obviously, the pace of my writing has slowed, and I could never begin to cover all the material of the Bible at any rate. As I’ve said before, an army of cooperating experts of all kinds could not do the job. Along with the daily struggle to make ends meet, I’m hindered by my lack of writing skills. There are also other things, seemingly endless, that arise out of nowhere to interfere with my studies.

I often feel defeated, but I intend to continue as long as I can (2nd Corinthians 7:5). Since I can’t cover it all, I plan to skip some chapters in order to focus on things that seem more interesting, or extraordinary. As I’m looking at the tower of Babel, in the eleventh chapter of Genesis, this might be a good time to list some of my resources.

Someone asked about my sources recently, and I didn’t have time to answer. When I use study materials particular to the post that I’m writing, I try to give that information in the post. In matters directly related to science, I often refer to multiple internet sites to compare information and data. I can’t afford the time to list every source that I check, but whether they are secular or not, I try to name the most important ones.

Besides checking secular sites, I frequently study materials from the Answers in Genesis organization. Their science is generally well researched, and though human beings often disagree about details, I have found few areas of disagreement with them. I’m sure there are other Creation Science organizations equally dependable that I’m just not familiar with.

I consult multiple translations of the Bible, but for Bible word studies, I primarily use the King James Version. It is a more basic “word for word” translation than most modern versions which concentrate more on the interpretation of the “thought” of the sentence. It also has a larger vocabulary, which can make it easier to study in depth (some words may be used only once).

Its varied spellings better reflect the original wording which makes the study of word transliteration simpler. For instance, many modern versions homogenize the New Testament Greek spelling of names to match that of the Hebrew Old Testament. In many ways, the King James version of the Bible stands alone. Modern English versions may be easier to read, but original information (evidence) is sometimes obscured by the process of simplification.

The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which I use often, works best with the King James version. Most of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek, and Strong’s includes dictionaries of both languages. Strong’s numbering system of Bible words is used by many later works.

A wonderful example of this is The Interlinear Bible. That version, by Jay P. Green Sr., gives us the Old Testament in the Hebrew language (which is written from right to left) with the corresponding Strong’s dictionary number printed above each Hebrew word. Beneath the Hebrew writing, Green gives a direct English translation for the word. Then, because that direct translation (written backwards) is difficult to read (but wonderful to study), he gives an easier to read English version in a column to the left.

He does the same thing with the Greek New Testament. This makes a large, heavy, book with fine print, but I can’t begin to tell you how I love it. It has never received the attention that it deserves however. I’ve seen a few typographical errors in it, but what is that in such a tremendous work.

I also study a parallel Greek-English (Brenton) version of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament made during the interval of time between the two Testaments. Then, I have Whiston’s translation of the works of Josephus, the ancient historian. William Whiston succeeded Isaac Newton at Cambridge University in 1703, though he later lost the post due to his unorthodox religious views.

Josephus includes a lot of information found in the Bible, and compares it to information given in other ancient histories. Josephus is one of the few secular writers living in New Testament times who mention Jesus. Jesus was not a very widely known person during his short life on earth. I also have a couple of old collegiate level Webster’s dictionaries that are helpful in the study of word origins. I believe that God is my primary source, and resource. Though I strive to be absolutely correct, I believe that he has sometimes made me aware of oversights in my writings before I posted them.

I wish I could promise that I’ve heard him in every case, but 2nd Corinthians 4:7 tells us that “we have this treasure (the light of God) in earthen vessels.” Very often, I don’t know what God’s plan for my writing is until it takes shape. We have plans, and so does God. That may lead us to wonder if things that people do, or neglect to do, ever prompt God to go to another plan. Contrary to what is often preached, there are many examples in the Bible where God seems to have done that very thing. Why would 1st Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit,” be in the Bible if God’s Spirit could not be quenched?

I do believe that God always has a plan, and that he’s working at all times for the greatest good that can be done. At any rate, the fact that it takes me a month to write a few lines doesn’t mean that’s the way I plan it. I don’t blame God for it either. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll have a little more time and energy to write.

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