My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

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MrMacSon
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by MrMacSon » Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:42 am

Here's a webpage saying nomina sacra are a Jewish invention https://www.bible.ca/b-canon-nomina-sacra.htm, though with dodgy commentary -

2. "Nomina sacra" was a Jewish practice that is witnessed in the dead sea scrolls adopted by the Christians.
  1. Dead Sea Scroll (4Q175 or 4QTest) uses "Nomina sacra" and replaces the name of God (tetragrammaton) YHWH for four stars "****".
It notes nomina sacra in the Shephered of Hermas and I think Larry Hurtado has noted them in the Epistle of Barnabas [9:7-8].

According to Hurtado (JBL, 1998), this may well have been the original form of the nomina sacra because it nicely explains the form of the horizontal line which differs from the usual Greek abbreviation mark. It is identical to the mark used to indicate numbers and Barnabas 9:7-8 engages in gematria to draw out numerological significance in the first two letters of Jesus' name. ... Barnabas gives the numerical value of IH as 18, which corresponds to the Hebrew חי "life" (cf. Eusebius, Praep. 10.5 who associates the letter ח with "life"). Although Barnabas does not make this connection, Hurtado theorized that the original function of the horizontal line was numerical in order to engage in isopsephy (equating two separate words which add up to the same number), and then it shifted to being an abbreviation mark once the practice included contracted forms and spread to the other words comprising the nomina sacra.

StephenGoranson
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:59 am

I don’t have a copy at hand but Kim Haines-Eitzen discussed nomina sacra in her dissertation, revised as a book, “Guardians of Letters, 2000.”

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:25 am

StephenGoranson wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:59 am
I don’t have a copy at hand but Kim Haines-Eitzen discussed nomina sacra in her dissertation, revised as a book, “Guardians of Letters, 2000.”
Thanks!
MrMacSon wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:42 am
Here's a webpage saying nomina sacra are a Jewish invention https://www.bible.ca/b-canon-nomina-sacra.htm, though with dodgy commentary -

2. "Nomina sacra" was a Jewish practice that is witnessed in the dead sea scrolls adopted by the Christians.
  1. Dead Sea Scroll (4Q175 or 4QTest) uses "Nomina sacra" and replaces the name of God (tetragrammaton) YHWH for four stars "****".
It goes well beyond the evidence to suggest that the four stars indicating the name of God the Dead Sea scrolls might be the actual origin of the nomina sacra, since the nomina sacra are abbreviations, not cancellations or deletions. But I feel pretty certain that the overall manner in which some Jewish scribes treated the name of God has something to do with the nomina sacra, by way of inspiration or imitation.
MrMacSon wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:42 am
It notes nomina sacra in the Shephered of Hermas and I think Larry Hurtado has noted them in the Epistle of Barnabas [9:7-8].
Well, yes, the epistle of Barnabas evinces the nomina sacra in Sinaiticus, as expected, since Sinaiticus evinces the nomina sacra most of the time throughout all of the books it contains.
According to Hurtado (JBL, 1998), this may well have been the original form of the nomina sacra because it nicely explains the form of the horizontal line which differs from the usual Greek abbreviation mark. It is identical to the mark used to indicate numbers and Barnabas 9:7-8 engages in gematria to draw out numerological significance in the first two letters of Jesus' name. ... Barnabas gives the numerical value of IH as 18, which corresponds to the Hebrew חי "life" (cf. Eusebius, Praep. 10.5 who associates the letter ח with "life"). Although Barnabas does not make this connection, Hurtado theorized that the original function of the horizontal line was numerical in order to engage in isopsephy (equating two separate words which add up to the same number), and then it shifted to being an abbreviation mark once the practice included contracted forms and spread to the other words comprising the nomina sacra.
Right. Hurtado thinks that Ἰησοῦς was the first of the nomina, that it was abbreviated by suspension (the most common kind of Greek abbreviation) to ΙΗ, and then, apparently, that ΙΗ was treated as the number 18 for numerological purposes and thus received an overstroke. However, he does not buy Barnabas' own quirky numerological argument (from Genesis 14.14) as the original meaning of the number 18; thus, he has to propose something else, as you point out: the Hebrew for "life" (חי), which also comes to 18 numerologically. The main if not only issue with this idea is that, while it is certainly possible, it does not enjoy any attestation (as Hurtado himself admits) in this connection from our ancient writers. It thus joins the long list of good guesses — but just guesses — for the ultimate origins of the nomina sacra.

I am not sure that we have enough information to pinpoint the exact origin of this practice. Guesses will continue to be made, and I appreciate them, as they widen the scope of our vision and investigation. But my OP focused more on the broad, cultural origins.

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Secret Alias
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:31 am

I am sure you know this but for those in the forum in Hebrew letters are indicated to be taken as numerals by the geresh and gereshim https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geresh#:~:text=Geresh%20(%D7%B3%20in%20Hebrew%3A%20%D7%92%D6%B6%D6%BC%D7%A8%D6%B6%D7%A9%D7%81,a%20sign%20in%20Hebrew%20writing.

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Secret Alias
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:44 am

Also I looked at the volume in my library. I have Roman Imperial Coinage put out by the British Museum -

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:50 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:31 am
I am sure you know this but for those in the forum in Hebrew letters are indicated to be taken as numerals by the geresh and gereshim https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geresh#:~:text=Geresh%20(%D7%B3%20in%20Hebrew%3A%20%D7%92%D6%B6%D6%BC%D7%A8%D6%B6%D7%A9%D7%81,a%20sign%20in%20Hebrew%20writing.
I have to admit, I had long, long forgotten the name of that mark, which I just call an apostrophe. I also tend to forget the names of some of the more obscure vowel pointings.

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Secret Alias
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:53 am

I don't think the Samaritans use it so the geresh is not absolutely original.

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Secret Alias
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:57 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gershayim (there are apparently TWO articles in Wikipedia on the subject). The term geresh is discussed in the Babylonian Talmud Menachot 64b , 66b , 72a, and Shabbat 105a

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Secret Alias
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:01 am

You might find this article interesting Ben http://www.balashon.com/2006/04/grush.html

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Jax
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Re: My current and still developing view of the nomina sacra.

Post by Jax » Sun Feb 28, 2021 4:54 pm

Interesting reading Ben. Just a few questions if you don't mind.

For simplicity I will just concentrate on the name Iesos.
Does it seem that the nomina sacra for Iesos was first contracted or written by suspension?

In the Hertado link in note 15 he writes "Roberts described exceptions known to him as three prayer texts, three magical
texts, and two amulets, and a ‘medical miscellany written for private use’
(Manuscript, 37–39). Tuckett (‘P52’, 546 n. 11) cites P. Oxy. 407 (erroneously
given by Tuckett as P. Oxy. 405), a ‘prayer text,’ as having no abbreviated forms
of Ιησους, χριστος, or θεος, which appears to be one of those already mentioned
by Roberts. It is worth noting that all of these manuscripts are copies of texts that
do not form part of the emergent canon of Old Testament or New Testament. So,
an actual instance of a copy of such a text in which unabbreviated forms of these
key words were used would be a notable exception."
I am under the impression that these texts are 4th century and up. Do we have any texts from earlier centuries that have Iesos written in full? What about the early church fathers? Did they only use the nomina sacra?

Thanks

Lane

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