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Book I
A study of the divine name in the Hebrew Versions
J 17 and J 18 which are used as “J” references in the
New World Translation Greek Scriptures.
J 17 and J 18 are frequently cited as “J” references in the New
World Translation. According to their title pages, both of
these Hebrew versions were produced by T HE S OCIETY FOR
further identified as being published by T HE T RINITARIAN
B IBLE S OCIETY . Both groups are based in London, England and
apparently work cooperatively.
This book asks two questions: The first is a rhetorical
question, "Why did the New World Bible Translation
Committee choose Hebrew versions produced by a Trinitarian
Bible publisher as support for their New World Translation ?”
It is a question that increasingly comes to mind when we study
these Hebrew versions. However, it cannot be answered
because the Translation Committee did not tell us why they
made that choice. On the other hand, this book can answer
the second question, “What translation bias will we find in a
'New Testament' published by a Trinitarian Bible publisher?"
because we can readily examine the Hebrew vocabulary used
in these two Hebrew versions.
Chapter 1: The New World Translation
Chapter 2: "J" References From Hebrew Versions
Chapter 3: Th e NWT's Use of Trinitarian
Hebrew Versions
Chapter 4: The Hebrew Versions' Translation
Chapter 5: Saul on the Road to Damascus
Chapter 6: A Brief Summary
Appendix: HaAdohn in J 17 —First Corinthians
This and other books are available for free downloading from
First printing, 2001 — 25,000 copies
Release for worldwide internet distribution, 2001
This book is not copyrighted.
Material that is quoted from other sources belongs solely to the
copyright owner of that work.
All general Scripture quotations are from the
New World Translation
published by the
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society
of New York
n October, 1946, Watch Tower Society president Nathan H. Knorr
proposed that the Watch Tower Society produce a translation of
the Christian Greek Scriptures. The work began in December, 1947.
The Christian Greek Scripture portion of the New World
Translation was released for general use on August 2, 1950 before an
assembly of 82,075 of Jehovah's Witnesses in New York's Yankee
Stadium. 1
The foremost feature of the New World Translation
On page 6 of the New World Translation Reference Edition, 1984,
the New World Bible Translation Committee states,
The foremost feature of this translation is the restoration of the
divine name to its rightful place in the English text. It has been
done, using the commonly accepted English form "Jehovah"
6,973 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 237 times in the
Christian Greek Scriptures.
As we would therefore expect, a unique feature of the Christian
Greek Scriptures within the New World Translation is the use of t h e
divine name Jehovah 237 times.
Hebrew versions
As most readers know, an important basis for reinstating Jehovah
into the Christian Greek Scriptures is the presence of t h e
Tetragrammaton in 25 2 Hebrew versions.
In Appendix 1D of the New World Translation, Reference Edition,
pages 1564-1565, the Translation Committee states,
To know where the divine name was replaced by the Greek
words Kuvrio" [Lord] and Qeov" [God], we have determined where
the inspired Christian writers have quoted verses, passages and
expressions from the Hebrew Scriptures and then we have
referred back to the Hebrew text to ascertain whether the divine
1 See "All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial," 1990, page 324.
2 A total of 27 "J" references are listed. Two, however, are not Hebrew
versions: J 20 is a concordance, and J 21 The Emphatic Diaglott is a Greek-
English interlinear translation.
The New World Translation and Hebrew Versions
name appears there. In this way we determined the identity to
give Kuvrio" [Lord] and Qeov" [God] and the personality with which
to clothe them.
To avoid overstepping the bounds of a translator into the field
of exegesis, we have been most cautious about rendering the
divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, always carefully
considering the Hebrew Scriptures as a background. We have
looked for agreement from the Hebrew versions to confirm our
In the quotation above, the reader must note that t h e
"agreement...which confirms our rendering," does not come from t h e
Hebrew Scriptures, but rather from Hebrew versions (translations). 3
Certainly this brief introduction suggests that these Hebrew
versions should be of interest to us as readers of the New World
Translation. The purpose of this short book is to evaluate selections
from the Hebrew version identified as J 18 with brief reference to
selections from J 17 .
When we look at the title page of certain of these Hebrew versions
we see they are either produced by—or are published in cooperation
with—an organization in England identified as T HE T RINITARIAN
B IBLE S OCIETY . Why is a Trinitarian Society publishing Hebrew
language "New Testaments"? Orthodox Jews who deny that Jesus i s
their Messiah certainly do not publish “New Testaments”! On t h e
other hand, what common ground does a Messianic 4 Jewish translator
have with a Trinitarian Bible Society? One does not need to probe
deeply to realize that the Jewish convert has adopted a view of Jesus
that meets with extreme animosity among Orthodox Jews. Jewry does
not deny the historic events of Jesus' life, nor the influence he had on
his own society and subsequent history. Orthodox Jewry simply denies
that Jesus was their promised Messiah. Messianic Jews generally
accept that Messiah came being in nature, Jehovah God himself.
So why is a Jewish translator producing a "New Testament" which
is published by a Trinitarian Society? We may well surmise that this
3 This information is developed more clearly in the book The Tetragrammaton in
Hebrew Versions where is it shown that only 112 of the 237 Jehovah
references come from Hebrew Scripture passages. This downloadable book
is available at www.tetragrammaton.org and other web sites.
4 A Messianic Jew is one who has acknowledged that Jesus is Messiah. We
use this term rather than "Christian" recognizing that the Jewish believer does
not need to leave his cultural heritage and adopt institutional Christianity in
order to acknowledge Jesus as Israel's Messiah.
The New World Translation
Jewish translator is attempting to provide a "New Testament" which
will convince his fellow Jews that Jesus is Messiah. This he would
undoubtedly attempt by closely identifying Jesus with titles and
characteristics attributed to Jehovah because that to many Messianic
Jews is who Messiah is foretold to be.
Though we cannot automatically assume all of the above, we must
cautiously evaluate any Hebrew version to see if there is a translation
bias that closely identifies Jesus with Jehovah.
That is what we will attempt to do in this book. We want to
examine two Hebrew versions to see whether or not they use
terminology that either unites Jesus with Jehovah or differentiates
between Jesus and Jehovah.
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