Jason BeDuhn rips to shreds the NWT methodology of inserting Jehovah

Steven Avery


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Barry Hofstetter
BeDuhn may not be a buffoon, but he sure blundered mightily here.

Yep. Good analysis.


To be fair, at times the book is honest The best example is the section on Jehovah in the New Testament, an Appendix p. 169-181. BeDuhn does not justify the "conjectural emendation" of inserting Jehovah 237 times in the New Testament.

Also, he points out the crass inconsistency of the NWT, places where they did not follow their supposed methodology, due to their translation bias of not wanting Jesus identified too closely with Jehovah.

But in five of the verses in the list above, the NW has "God" rather than either "Jehovah" or "Lord" (Romans 11:2; 11:8; Galatians 1:15; Hebrews 9:20; 1 Peter 4:14).16 I cannot say why the NW editors abandoned their principle of conjectural emendation in these five cases; it makes no difference in the meaning of the text.17 Then there are three more verses where, by the principles applied by the NW editors, "Jehovah" should be used, and yet is not: 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Peter 2:3; and 1 Peter 3:15. These three passages present a serious problem for the NW translators and their principle of using "Jehovah" based on Old Testament passages with YHWH. The fact that they do not, and apparently cannot, have "Jehovah" in these three passages underscores the problem with the whole idea of using "Jehovah" in the New Testament.

Take 2 Thessalonians 1:9, for example. Here Paul quotes Isaiah 2:21, which includes YHWH in the Hebrew version and "Lord" in the Septuagint. There is no reason for the NW not to have "Jehovah" here according to its own principles. But in the context of 2 Thessalonians 1, Jesus is the primary subject. "Lord" in verse 9 could be taken as a reference to Jesus (not necessarily so, but it is usually read that way). This may be an instance of a New Testament author reapplying an Old Testament passage about YHWH to Jesus because the word "Lord" is ambiguous in its reference. In such a circumstance, the NW editors shy away from using "Jehovah."

Likewise, in 1 Peter 2:3 and 3:15, the NW translators have deviated from the principles by which they would normally use "Jehovah," and they have done so quite obviously because of bias.18 In both passages, by taking advantage of the ambiguity of the Greek kurios ("Lord"), Peter reapplies to Jesus an Old Testament statement that was originally about YHWH.

The inconsistency of the NW translators in not using "Jehovah" in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, 1 Peter 2:3, and 1 Peter 3:15 shows that interpretation rather than a principle of translation is involved in deciding where to use "Jehovah." If the NW translators stick consistently to using "Jehovah" whenever an Old Testament passage containing God's personal name is quoted in the New Testament, that is a translation principle of a sort (whether one agrees with it or not). But if in such cases they sometimes use "Jehovah" and sometimes revert to "Lord," then they are interpreting the reference of the biblical author. Once we recognize that interpretation is involved, and see three examples where this interpretation has led the translators not to use "Jehovah," we must wonder if they have been correct to use it in all seventy of those other occurrences. Couldn't there be other passages among them where, as apparently in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, 1 Peter 2:3, and 1 Peter 3:15, the reference of the verse has been redirected to Jesus? By moving beyond translation of the Greek to an interpretation, the translator ventures from the bedrock of the text to the shifting sands of opinion -- and that's a risky move to make.

For that very reason, interpretation is best left to commentaries on the Bible, or to notes in a Bible translation. It is certainly right and proper for a note to inform the reader that the original Hebrew of the verse being quoted has YHWH; and the Jehovah's Witnesses are perfectly entitled to believe what they do about the importance of God's name among Jesus and his disciples. But "restoring" that name in the New Testament itself is unnecessary for either purpose. For the NW to gain wider acceptance and prove its worth over its competitors, its translators will have to rethink the handling of these verses, and they may find that that rethinking needs to extend to the use of "Jehovah" in the New Testament at all. p, 174-176
16. Countess has an accurate treatment of the problem of these verses on pages 34- 37 of his book.

17. “Lord” is used quite frequently in reference to others beside God and Jesus, for example twenty-nine times in Matthew alone: Mt. 6:24; 10:24-25; 13:27;
15:27 (plural); 18:25-27,31 -32, 34; 20:8; 21:30; 21:40; 24:45-46, 48, 50; 25:18- 24, 26; 27:63. For comparison, “Lord” is used nineteen times for God and thirty-
one times for Jesus in Matthew.

Truth in Translation (2003)
Jason BeDuhn
Appendix -The Use of "Jehovah" in the NW - p. 169-181

note: I am using two BeDuhn sources, slightly different in Footnote numbering.

And I'll plan on checking my notes later, to see my list of these Jesus texts.
Also add the verses from the AV.

2 Thessalonians 1:9 (AV)
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord,
and from the glory of his power;

1 Peter 2:3 (AV)
If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

1 Peter 3:15 (AV)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer to every man
that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Also helpful will be, from above

"the NWT has "God" rather than either "Jehovah" or "Lord" ( Romans 11:2; ll:8; Galatians 1:15; Hebrews 9:20; 1 Peter 4:14 ). I 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Peter 2:3; and 1 Peter 3:15."

And I have notes to check John 21:7 and Revelation 1:8. My posts on this were years back, and I would have to check my email archive for more value-added,

And the various defenders of BeDuhn and the NWT rarely quote the section above.:)


Can also add the Lynn Lundquist material.
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Steven Avery

Schmuel - Steven Avery - 2005 to Rolf Furuli (maybe more too)

The Translation of the Tetragrammaton (2011)
Michael Marlowe

[Messianic_Apologetic] Jehovah-in-NT NWT redaction
(from email archives)

The Translation QEOS In The New World Translation (1967)
Robert H. Countess (his one writing online fully)

Lynn Lundquist - Review of DeBuhn

JW Facts - Jehovah in the New Testament

"Jehovah" in The New Testament (2009)

Jehovah" 50 or 237 places in the New Testament? (Examining Countess' list) (2013)

The New World Translation and the Restoration of God's Name 237 Times in the New Testament (2012)

Should the Name Jehovah Appear in the New Testament?
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—2008

“Transmission of the Tetragrammaton in Judeo-Greek and Christian Sources” («Η Μεταβίβαση του Τετραγράμματου στις Ιουδαιο-Ελληνικές και Χριστιανικές Πηγές»), Cahiers Accademia: Revue de la Société Marsile Ficin, Vol. 18 (2021), pp. 85–126. [Forthcoming publication] (2021)
Pavlos D Vasileiadis
Nehemia Gordon
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