YHWH at Patmos: Rev. 1:4 in Its Hellenistic and Early Jewish Setting
In Rev. 1:4, John describes God as the one who is and who was and who is to come. His description grows out of Jewish reflection on the meaning of the name YHWH, and in particular on the enigmatic words of Ex. 3:14 I am who I am. Sean M. McDonough traces the story of the name YHWH in the New Testament era, and its bearing on the interpretation of Rev. 1:4. Who used the name? Was it ever pronounced, and if so, how and by whom? Why did it fall into disuse? Most importantly, what did people believe the name meant? A wide range of early Jewish literature is investigated to answer these questions. Much attention is given to exegetical traditions surrounding Ex. 3:14, especially the Septuagint translation of this verse, where God is called the one who is.The internal Jewish evidence, however, is only part of the story. For both John's formula and the Jewish traditions concerning the name bear a strong resemblance to Hellenistic descriptions of ultimate reality. After a survey of the relevant material, it is argued that the Jewish understanding of the name YHWH was shaped in part as a response to such ideas. Far from being a slavish copy of the Greek formulae, though, the Jewish exegetical traditions are a creative and dynamic response to a changing religious climate. John, in turn, adapts the Jewish tradition to express his own Christian understanding of God. The description of God as the one who is and who was and who is to come thus affords a unique opportunity to explore the interplay of Hellenistic, Jewish, and Christian ideas in the ancient world.
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Adonai Aion appears Aramaic argue Aristotle Baudissin believes biblical blessing book of Revelation Christ Christian cited context creation curses discussion divine name Dreizeitenformel early Judaism eiui eternal etymology evidence existence Exodus fact formula future God's gods Greek heaven Hebrew hellenistic Hengel Hesiod holy icai idea inscription interpretation Israel Jesus Jewish Jews John John's Josephus Judaism Kupioq later Lord magical meaning Memra Mishnah Moses name lao name YHWH notes oaths Oxford parallels Parmenides passage Philo philosophical phrase Plato Plutarch present pronunciation Ps-Jon question Qumran rabbinic refer rendering Revelation rPnX Sabaoth Scrolls Second Temple seems Septuagint Sibylline Oracles similar simply Skehan speak substitute suggests Targums temple Testament tetragrammaton theology things Timaeus timeless tion tradition trans translation University Press Unnik uttered verb Vermes verse Volume Whittaker words worship writes Zeus