Hymnals to be edited
In a directive from the Vatican, the Catholic Church was advised that the use of the Tetragrammaton, the four letter sacred and personal name of God in Hebrew, was to be avoided in a liturgical setting, i.e. songs and prayers offered during mass. Catholic hymnals will be edited to avoid the use of the term. Details of the directive are provided on the Catholic News Service.
In so doing, the Catholic Church is reaching out to Judaism and recognizing the sensitivity of this issue. Jewish records claim that the name was only ever vocalized by the High Priest on certain occasions. The New Testament writers were very aware of this sensitivity and show care in avoiding the use of the Name. The Gospel writers portray Jesus Christ in the same manner, using accepted euphemisms instead of the Name.
It may be a surprise to many churchgoers, but most English translations of the Bible since the King James Version, which was published in 1611, have followed the lead of the Vulgate Latin translation produced by Jerome in the early 5th century and recognized this sensitivity. The use of the English term LORD in small caps by most translators harmonizes with the Jewish reading of the Hebrew Adonai whenever the Tetragrammaton is used. Where the term Adonai is naturally used in the Hebrew, it is translated as Lord or lord depending on whether the subject is divine or human respectively. The ASV (Amercan Standard Version) was one major departure from this standard, as it used the pronouncation of the Name as then understood: Jehovah.
Early manuscripts that have come to light from the Dead Sea Scrolls show how the concern was taken into account in the production of Hebrew and even Greek translations of the Scriptures. Hebrew texts normally used the obsolete paleo-Hebraic characters for the Name. Hence someone reading the text out loud would be prompted by the change in style of the letters to avoid reading the names. Some Greek texts even avoided translating the word and represented it in the same way as the Hebrew or used an abbreviation in Greek letters. (Hebrew was originally written in a Phoenician script, known today as paleo-Hebraic. After the Babylonian captivity, the square Aramaic script was used which characterizes Hebrew to this day.)
The earliest manuscript evidence of the writers of the New Testament shows the same level of reverence for the names of Jesus Christ and God. Both were abbreviated to normally first and last characters only with an over strike to show that it was abbreviated word.
Archaeologists rediscover a wall initially uncovered in the 19th Century.
Israeli archaeologists have re-exposed part of the southern wall of Jerusalem which dates from the time of Jesus Christ and the Second Temple, according to a report presented by the BBC. This wall is some 200 meters south of the current wall, which incorporates what is now known as the Old City, with its Jewish, Moslem and Armenian quarters. The wall which encompasses the Old City was built during the time Jerusalem was under the control of the Ottoman Empire.
The section of wall, uncovered and announced on September 3, had been initially discovered in the 19th century by British archaeologists, who then refilled the tunnels leading to their discovery. Artifacts such as bottles, lamps and even shoes discarded by the earlier archaeologists added to the artifacts from the second temple period that were discovered. Photos of the wall together with a Byzantine wall built some 400 years later are available on the BBC News website.
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