...and why does the movement need so many?
During the twentieth century, Bible revisions and translations have multiplied more and more rapidly. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in 1947, brought empty speculation that the Bible as we know it would pass from the scene. From the 1950s, there has been a flood of new revisions and translations. Scholars, many of whom were not at all scholarly, rushed to be next in print with a new Bible. Publishing houses sought to bring out a Bible more popular and therefore more profitable than their competitors’ versions.
Most of these new revisions are junk. By and large, they are parodies of the Scriptures. All the while, they are eagerly accepted as works of biblical scholarship by the mass of church goers.
A few examples are sufficient to illustrate that the work on some of these bibles was wasted effort. The irreverent sixties brought us The Cotton Patch Version. In this ridiculous version, here is what passes for Luke 2:4. "Joseph too went up from south Georgia from the city of Valdosta, to his home in north Georgia, a place called Gainesville," No further comment is necessary. The seventies gave us The Living Bible , a commentary in the guise of a Bible. That decade also forecast the dumbing down of America by presenting us with a comic book formatted version, The Picture Bible. The eighties were not to be left out and The Readers Digest Bible made its appearance. Of course, it is a condensed version. In the politically correct and feminine movement influenced nineties, we have seen the attempt made to foist off on the public The Inclusive New Testament. In this book, Jesus never refers to the Father. He always says, "Abba God." To let him say Father would be male dominated and exclusive of women. It might even hurt their feelings. Junk is not too strong a word.
Sacred Name teachers saw that anyone could revise and publish a bible. Some of them decided they could do as well or better than was being done. They began to publish their own bibles in 1950. That opened the flood gates for more. More came.
A Sacred Name Bible is a revision of the Bible made by, and in the main for, Sacred Name people. Several Sacred Name teachers have made their own. The distinctive characteristic of a Sacred Name Bible is that the four letter Hebrew word for God's name is transferred into the English revision. Also, the name of Jesus is replaced with a real or supposed Hebrew name. Other names and titles are changed as the revisers prefer. Various passages of the text are changed or left almost entirely as they may be found in other more conventional translations.
When most Christians find out about anyone tampering with the text of the Bible, they see a red flag of danger go up. Certainly, any teacher who thinks he needs a bible version that is unique to his teaching also should sense some degree of alarm. A number of Sacred Name teachers have not seen or at least not heeded any warning against meddling with the Bible. They have found yielding to this sort of egotistical desire easy enough. Perhaps among Sacred Name people, an inverse prestige is connected with having revised one's own bible.
PURPOSE OF SACRED NAME BIBLES
Sacred Name Bibles seem to be published with a twofold purpose. The primary purpose is to insert sanctioned names into the Bible while ridding it of disapproved names. One particularly disapproved name is Jesus. A secondary purpose is to advance any other special doctrinal view held by the reviser/publisher, whom, without fail, is a Sacred Name preacher or teacher.
The transliteration of our Savior's name from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek, made by the writers of the inspired New Testament, is IhsouV . Jesus is the English form of this Greek transliteration.
For Sacred Name Bible revisers, what the New Testament writers did is not good enough. Each Sacred Name reviser will pass over what the writers did in the inspired writings and make his own transliteration of the Lord's name. To him, his own transliteration of the name becomes the original and true name that "should" be in the Scriptures. The SN leader puts this name into his revision of the Bible thinking that he is appointed by God to cleanse the Scriptures of the name of Jesus and otherwise correct the text.
Some Sacred Name Movement teachers and preachers condemn the name of Jesus using the most harsh rhetoric. Such condemnation takes many forms. Some are unwilling to either speak or to write the name of Jesus. They derisively say, "the ‘J’ word" instead. They write the name as "J_sus." Some preach that Jesus is just another name of the Greek god, Zeus. Still others go so far as to contend that the name "Jesus" is the mark of the beast.
THREE REASONS FOR SACRED NAME BIBLE PROLIFERATION
The number of Sacred Name Bible revisions has risen sharply in the last two decades. One might assume this is the result of an increase in the ranks of Sacred Name people. While there has been some increase in the number of Sacred Name people in recent years, this is not a primary cause for the proliferation of Sacred Name Bible versions. It might further be assumed that a giant step has been achieved in scholarship among Sacred Name individuals. It is certainly true that Sacred Name people are better educated than ever before, this is also not a major reason for the increase of SN Bible versions.
At least three forces have combined to bring about these SN Bibles. First, there is the dramatic changes that have taken place in the publishing industry since the advent of the desk top computer. Everything having to do with getting the text of a Sacred Name Bible ready for the printer can be done on a personal computer. Except for printing and binding, the complete job can be done right in one's office or home.
Here is one scenario. A Sacred Name teacher chooses an already published version or translation of the Scriptures upon which to base his revision. This version or translation needs to be in the public domain. In other words, the copyright will have to be expired. By choosing a non copyrighted version, the Sacred Name publisher can use the work of the original publisher without paying royalties for its use.
Because the text of the King James Version was never copyrighted, it has been used more than once by SN revisers. The American Standard Version of 1901, which had Jehovah for the tetragrammaton, has been chosen. John Darby’s translation has been in public domain for a number of years. It could be used. There are numerous others. As copyrights only last for a set number of years, translations made many years ago will be possible candidates for the distinction of becoming the basis of the next Sacred Name Bible.
After the public domain Bible is chosen, the next step is to put a copy of it on the word processing program of a personal computer. It is then a simple matter to edit the Bible text with the word processor's find and replace feature. Give the program the commands to find all the occurrences of the word "Jesus" in the text and replace it with YHWHSHUA, Yeshua, Yasha, Yahshua, Iahushua, Yahoshua, Yahvahoshua, or whatever "Hebrew" name for Jesus this teacher prefers. It will take scant minutes to accomplish this.
This procedure can be repeated for LORD, Lord, God, Christ, and any other words this particular sacred name teacher may have on his banned word list. In a matter of a few man hours, this word replacement work can be finished. The document can be downloaded to a disk, passed on to a printer, and soon it will be ready for binding. Voila', a Sacred Name Bible.
A second cause for the Sacred Name Bible version increase in recent years is simply affluence. People in the United States and other places, Sacred Name people among them, have more money. It will take only a few thousand dollars to turn our hypothetical Bible project into a tangible Sacred Name Bible. Four or five thousand dollars for paper, four or five thousand for the printer, a couple or so thousand for the binder, and several hundred copies of a Sacred Name Bible can be delivered to your door. You can give them away or sell them at a profit.
Finally, let us consider a third and paramount influence driving the proliferation of the Sacred Name Bible. This factor arises when we answer a very obvious question. Why are so many different Sacred Name Bible versions necessary in one Sacred Name Movement? There is a very simple answer. Disunity!
While it is true that SN people agree with non Sacred Name people on almost nothing, it is just as surely true that SN people agree among themselves about little. Perhaps, they agree least of all on their defining characteristic, the Sacred Name. The major source of any possible unity among them has become a powerful source of their disunity. They have "discovered" more than thirty English spellings and pronunciations for the "Hebrew" Sacred Names.
The use of a different Sacred Name has required a different Sacred Name Bible. Exclusiveness of organization (Think charismatic leader.) has brought about the need of a different Sacred Name Bible. An appeal for unity might even call for a different Sacred Name Bible. The perceived need for a new Sacred Name Bible can grow out of any number of pressures.
The progression of a Sacred Name Bible from concept to completion is easily seen. One SN teacher using certain forms of the Names decides he needs a Bible having those forms. He has the computer on which to create the text. He, or his assembly, has enough money to pay for publication. The need, the technology, and the financial ability all come together. The resulting Bible revision could be considered a foregone conclusion.
Because of these factors, three Sacred Name Bibles have Yahweh and Yahshua. A fourth has Yahvah and both Yahshua and Yahvahshua. A fifth, Yah Veh and Yah Shua. A sixth, probably frustrated with all this division and perhaps wanting to be sold to as many Sacred Name groups as possible, leaves the names in Hebrew, hwhy and hwhy.
The three factors we have considered, technical ability, financial ability, and assumed need, will remain viable for some time. The doctrine of the Sacred Name will also continue to appeal to preachers and teachers who have a bent toward exclusivity. They will "need" Sacred Name Bibles of their own making. The prediction from this office is: there will be more Sacred Name Bibles.
The first Sacred Name Bible revision, The Holy Name Bible, took A. B. Traina twenty years to complete. Then, at least five Sacred Name bibles were published in the eighteen years from 1976 through 1994. The Book of Yahweh, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, The Scriptures, The Sacred Scriptures , and Exegeses are all new players on the field. The Restored Name King James Version of the Scriptures, a Sacred Name electronic bible, is a recent World Wide Web publication. One other SN bible is in the planning and early stages of development. Possibly, it is completed. As one might imagine, information regarding SN Bible publication is not sent first to this office.
All these Bible revisions are in many ways reproachful to the Sacred Name Movement. They point up the inability of the movement's members to come to an agreement about their primary doctrine. The use of various names, each Sacred to those who use it, graphically illustrates the fact that finding the Sacred Name is no easy task. These Bible revisions also demonstrate the divisiveness and exclusiveness within the Movement.
If nothing else, all this is interesting to observe. More to the point, it is heart breaking that anyone, whether a Sacred Name person or someone else, should be set on mangling the Scriptures in such a manner. At least one of these Bibles is nothing short of sheer mutilation. Anyone is pitiable who would need to change the Scriptures in order to feel better about a teaching they have come to believe. Would it not be far better to change the teaching to agree with the Scriptures?
If you have questions, comments, or criticisms about our Sacred Name Bible reviews, please contact us at the e-mail address. If you have a copy, or if you know of a Sacred Name Bible you think we have missed, please let us know. We regularly learn more about the Sacred Name Movement. These web pages are continually updated.