The Holy Name Bible is the first of a half dozen or so Sacred Name bibles. It is the work of one man, Angelo B. Traina. He claims to have worked twenty years on this translation/revision project. Traina’s publishing company, The Scripture Research Association, published the New Testament in 1950. The complete work, The Holy Name Bible, came thirteen years later.
Traina, pastor of Kingdom Truth Assembly in Irvington, New Jersey between 1933 to 1936, eventually wielded a great deal of influence among Sacred Name ministers. The 1938 Feast of Tabernacles Camp Meeting featured him as a speaker. This camp meeting is considered by some to have been the first Sacred Name Movement gathering. A number of former ministers of The Church of God, Seventh Day sponsored and attended it.
Clarence O. Dodd, one time secretary/treasurer of The Church of God, Seventh Day, promoted the camp meeting in his magazine, The Faith. Dodd began publication of The Faith, the first Sacred Name magazine, in 1937. He used one and then another form of the Sacred Name in The Faith beginning as early as 1938.
Traina, never a member of the Church Of God, Seventh Day, was a sometime writer for The Faith. The camp meeting began October 9, 1938, near Warrior, Alabama. Traina spoke on "The Name" for four to six hours each day. Consequently, he became a major force in launching the Sacred Name Movement. His Bible remains a force in perpetuating it.
At that time, Traina used Jahovah and Jah-oshuah for the Sacred Names. After discarding these less popular and more difficult spellings and pronunciations of the Sacred Names, he used Yahweh and Yahshua in his Bible.
The Holy Name Bible is simply a reworked King James Version. A quick perusal of HNB will reveal what the reviser freely admitted. He retained "...much of the text of the King James Version."
Traina, as other Sacred Name leaders, believed that he needed to make "corrections" of the Scriptures. He claimed to have corrected "mistranslations" and "distortions" of vital importance. He further said that none were made without "excellent reasons." HNB has A. B. Traina’s choice of the Sacred Names put in. Various other "Hellenized proper names" have "most of the original forms restored."
HNB’s Old Testament has no translations, only transliterations, of the Hebrew words usually translated God. These are Elohim, Eloah, and El. It avoids any use of the English word God for the true God. This Traina regarded as the name of pagan gods that had somehow crept into the text of the Bible.
In addition, Traina did not believe the words Adon and Adonai (Lord) were in the original Hebrew Old Testament. HNB has other words substituted for them. In spite of hundreds of references by these words to our Creator in the Hebrew text, HNB does not acknowledge even one. Our reviser said Adonai is "the Canaanitish deity of the Phoenicians" and permitted no translation or transliteration of it in his bible.
Where the text has Adon or Adonai, Traina found words more acceptable to him. Sometimes he put in Yahweh where the Hebrew text has Adonai. When the Hebrew text has Adonai Yahweh, he thought Yahweh Elohim fit better. Whether to substitute Yahweh or Elohim for Adonai in a given place, seems to have been a matter of Traina’s personal preference. He makes no mention in his introduction of how he made these differences.
Traina’s work in the New Testament is comparable to his work in the Old Testament. Here also, his doctrinal bent overrode any scholarly approach he may have had. He followed the necessary Sacred Name position that the New Testament was written in Hebrew, not Greek. Without the pretension of an original Hebrew New Testament, there could be no Sacred Name Movement. Of course, he substituted his favored transliterations for words and names in place of the Greek of the original.
Traina lived up to what we have come to expect of Sacred Name revisers. He substituted Yahweh for Kurios (Lord in Greek texts) in New Testament quotations from the Old Testament.
In addition, because of his aversion for the word God (Theos in Greek texts), he could not keep himself from inserting Yahweh and sometimes Elohim where Theos occurs in the New Testament text. Here too, he absolutely had no reason, based on any kind of bible scholarship, for inserting Elohim into the text of the New Testament.
His "excellent reasons" for "corrections" of this kind can only be reasons stemming from his Sacred Name biases. These reasons do not appear excellent to one with impartial judgment.
Traina disparaged "other translators" for substituting words into the Bible text. Yet, in the final analysis, he became guilty of the offense for which he looked down on others. The substitutions throughout his bible have no justification except in the mind of someone set on promoting his own agenda. In Traina’s case, the agenda is obviously ridding the Scriptures of any words for God except those titles and versions of the Sacred Names he endorses.
While it is not a part of HNB per se, a reference to "Jesus" in the preface demands a word or two. "The name of the Son, Yahshua, has been substituted by Jesus, Iesus, and Ea-zeus (Healing Zeus)." This statement is nothing more than a mendacious perpetuation of the Sacred Name Movement myth that the name of Jesus is Zeus’s name substituted in Greek New Testament manuscripts for the true name of our Savior. This is a lie. It continues to propagate the falsification that the name "Jesus" is a form of the name of the Greek god Zeus. It is not.
If Sacred Name Movement doctrine is the truth, there would be no need to prop it up with lies. Some of the more astute Sacred Name people, realizing the falseness of this myth and desiring to be honest, have forsaken it as one of their points of teaching.
So then, we conclude that The Holy Name Bible is neither Holy nor a Bible in the sense that we normally use to define these terms. It is a cut and paste Bible. What the reviser did not want, he cut out. What he thought, assumed, imagined, and supposed, would and should have been in the original, he pasted in.
This revision is not based on serious biblical scholarship. It is the work of a man, albeit an earnest and sincere man, who did not likely realize that he is not an honest scholar. He was involved in a form of pseudo scholarship. This is likely to happen when a Bible revision is based on doctrinal point of view
He no doubt, as he claimed in his preface, did a great deal of research for his revision. This certainly lends an air of credibility to The Holy Name Bible.
However, a critical examination shows that this Bible, the research behind it, and the claims made for it are based on false intellectualism and high sounding nonsense.
From its conception, Traina’s Bible was a misbegotten project. Gestating in pursuit of its single minded Sacred Name goal, it was born of its mother, false doctrine. The Holy Name Bible, like a number of other revisions and translations, should have been aborted.
1. Traina, Angelo B., reviser, The Holy Name Bible, (Maryland, The Scripture Research Association, 1974) text and preface
2. Snow, L. D., "A Brief History of the Name Movement in America," The World Today Analyzed Formerly The Eliyah Messenger, (September 1975)
3. Melton, J. Gordon, ed., Encyclopedia of American Religions, fourth edition, (Detroit, Gale Research, Inc., 1993)