Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Leucius Charinus
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Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by Leucius Charinus » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:14 pm

I would like to start a discussion of ideas about the possible historical origins of the Christian use of "nomina sacra" - the so-called "sacred names" - which proliferate the earliest Greek Bibles, both the LXX and the New Testament. This system of abbreviations is one of the more critical features of the historical evidence in the manuscript tradition. I have provided some preliminary information at the end of this post.

Why is this important? These scribal conventions are quite unusual and deserve an explanation because they are attributed to the earliest scribal habits of Greek literature christian authors of the new testament and the "Christianised" LXX.

When did these first appear? 1st century or 2nd century? What theories are there?

Why are they almost universally deployed during the "early Christian origins" epoch?
What are the variations from universal usage? Why is this?

Did the authors of the New Testament separately use the nomina sacra, or was there a later editor?

IF THERE WAS AN EDITOR who introduced the convention of using "sacred names" .....?

This hypothesis has been proposed by a number of scholars.

If there was a later editor, who was he and when did he introduce these "sacred names"?
Why was this system followed almost universally ??
Why did the heretics also use this system well into 4th century?


Jesus and Joshua in the Series of Books (LXX+NT) have the same encrypted code name.

Image

The multiplicity of Greek "sacred names" mitigates away from a Jewish sect

And the use of Greek "sacred encryptions" begs the question in the 21st century as to who owned and implemented the Greek de-encryption algorithm.

If the Bibles were designed to be read by readers to the illiterate, then I presume that the readers alone would have expanded out these abbreviated "sacred names" such as "Jesus" and "Christ" etc at the time they were reading the text. Would a tabulation of the "sacred abbreviations" and the full names have been maintained somewhere, anywhere? Has any such manuscript ever been found? [To my knowledge the earliest manuscripts always use the "nomina sacra"]




Some preliminary references follow ....

WIKI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomina_sacra
Nomina sacra (singular: nomen sacrum) means "sacred names" in Latin, and can be used to refer to traditions of abbreviated writing of several frequently occurring divine names or titles in early Holy Scripture, used in Greek, Latin, and Coptic manuscripts. Bruce Metzger's book Manuscripts of the Greek Bible lists 15 such expressions from Greek papyri: the Greek counterparts of God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, Son, Spirit, David, cross, Mother, Father, Israel, Savior, Man, Jerusalem, and Heaven. The nomen sacrum for mother did not appear until the 4th century AD,[1] but all other Nomina Sacra have been found in Greek manuscripts from the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. The contractions were indicated with overlines.

There has been a dispute about the nature of Nomina sacra, whether they represent a mere shorthand or these overlined words indeed bear a sacred meaning.[2]

Starting sometime in the 1st century AD (exact date unknown), the nomina sacra were sometimes shortened by contraction in Christian inscriptions, resulting in sequences of Greek letters such as IH (iota-eta), IC (iota-sigma), or IHC (iota-eta-sigma) for Jesus (Greek Iēsous), and XC (chi-sigma), XP (chi-ro) and XPC (chi-rho-sigma) for Christ (Greek χριστος/Christos). Here "C" represents the "lunate" form of Greek sigma; sigma could also be transcribed into the Latin alphabet by sound, giving IHS and XPS

A collation of resource notes on nomina sacra (sacred names)
http://www.mountainman.com.au/essenes/nomina_sacra.htm

•Article 01: Introduction to the subject of sacred names
•Article 02: Joshua and Jesus - the Marcellus of Ancyra Fragment 4
•Article 03: The work of a single redactor
•Article 04: Nomina Sacra in P46
•Article 05: Chi-rho and tau-rho BCE
•Article 06: Fabulating Jesus and the Coptic Nomina Sacra
•Article 07: Discussion of early Jewish and Christian Scriptural Artifacts
•Article 08: Nomina sacra used as indication of Greek numerals
•Article 09: Bruce Manning Metzger introduction to Nomina Sacra
•Article 10: Nomina Sacra: Scribal Practice and Piety in Early Christianity
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

ghost
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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by ghost » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:10 am

Carotta explains IS here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvga-98x6Nk&t=25m36s

Is it plausible?

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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by bcedaifu » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:29 am

ghost wrote:
Carotta explains IS here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvga-98x6Nk&t=25m36s
Thank you very much for that link. I did not know that Julius Caesar was also abbreviated IS, like Iesous of Nazareth.

It was also interesting to learn, his opinion one supposes, but perhaps there is a Roman historical citation too, that Caesar had also been regarded as "soter", i.e. saviour.

Pretty interesting. Well done.

Good topic, thanks for introducing it, Leucius.
Stephan Huller wrote:Imagine the possibilities if the two Imperial conspiracy theorists here had babies together.
Imagine the possibilities if SH understood something about chromosomal inheritance--i.e. "independent assortment".
Here's a middle school lesson for him.
http://quizlet.com/22055730/biology-cha ... ash-cards/

The last time I studied biology, half a century ago, "imperial conspiracy theory" was not inherited.
Here are some chromosomal abnormalities, for his reflection:
https://www.uic.edu/classes/bms/bms655/lesson9.html
Stephan Huller wrote: If you are going to promote a stupid theory expect to be hated by those who want to be fair and serious.

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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by Stephan Huller » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:22 am

Yeah like this nonsense is just too 'high brow' for the rest of us. We're all too stupid to see this as anything other than stupid.

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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by ghost » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:29 am

Stephan Huller wrote:Yeah like this nonsense is just too 'high brow' for the rest of us. We're all too stupid to see this as anything other than stupid.
Please care to explain where the nomen sacrum IS comes from? Thanks.

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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by Leucius Charinus » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:17 pm

ghost wrote:
Stephan Huller wrote:Yeah like this nonsense is just too 'high brow' for the rest of us. We're all too stupid to see this as anything other than stupid.
Please care to explain where the nomen sacrum IS comes from? Thanks.
Huller's answer to all questions is Marcion.
ghost wrote:Carotta explains IS here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvga-98x6Nk&t=25m36s

Is it plausible?
I don't know at the moment. Nobody knows where these codifications originated, but they appear with the earliest evidence.

Do we have any artfacts - coins, inscriptions, etc - where the IS refers to Julius Caesar?

Thanks ghost.
Caesar is considered by many to be one of the greatest military commanders in history.
Last edited by Leucius Charinus on Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by Leucius Charinus » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:28 pm

Philippians 2:9-10

9
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names

10
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Did God instruct his scribes to encrypt the name of Jesus to "IS" or was this the initiative of a human?
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by Leucius Charinus » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:35 pm

http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2010/ ... ng-debate/
Larry Hurtado's Blog: Nomina Sacra: The Continuing Debate
The “nomina sacra“, a set of words given special treatment by copyists in ancient Christian manuscripts, continues to be a subject of debate about what the practice signifies and how it originated. The words in question are written in a unique abbreviated form with a curious horizontal stroke placed over the abbreviation. The earliest and most consistently treated words are the Greek words for “God,” “Lord,” “Jesus,” and “Christ. These words are written as nomina sacra in the earliest clear instances of them in Christian manuscripts, which take us as far back as the second century CE.

Most scholars (this one included) think that (1) they originated in early Christian circles, and (2) they originated as an expression of reverence for the words so treated. A few scholars (e.g., Robert Kraft today) propose that the practice originated among Jews and was taken over and elaborated by Christians.
Also worth a read is Hurtado's "THE “META-DATA” OF EARLIEST CHRISTIAN MANUSCRIPTS" (pdf use google)
There are controversies over the origin of this scribal practice and also over its function or significance.
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by perseusomega9 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:54 am

Can't wait to see how this ties into the post-constantine invention of the bible gnostic apocrypha
The metric to judge if one is a good exegete: the way he/she deals with Barabbas.

Who disagrees with me on this precise point is by definition an idiot.
-Giuseppe

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Re: Greek "nomina sacra" - encryption of the sacred names

Post by Stephan Huller » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:27 am

Its funny how Pete will only cite Hurtado up to a critical point. Can you imagine what Hurtado would think about Pete's mega stupid thesis and how it ties in with this discussion? That somehow gets left out of crazy boy's discussion. Like Charles Manson citing Mother Theresa

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