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Biblical Archaeology Review 4:1, March 1978

The Name of God in the New Testament

Did the earliest Gospels use Hebrew letters for the Tetragrammaton?

By George Howard

Many early copies of the New Testament abbreviate sacred words (nomina sacra). The earliest of these abbreviations stand for “God,” “Lord,” “Christ,” and “Jesus.” Abbreviations of these words were formed by writing their first and last letters and placing a line over them. Thus, using English to illustrate, “God” would appear as G÷D÷ and “Lord” as L÷D÷.

The attempt to differentiate and dignify the sacred name of God goes back to pre-Christian times; it was done first by Jews.

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