Answer : The answer to this question is clearly no, since the passage (in Luke 4:18 ) records Jesus reading “Lord”, in accordance with Jewish custom from the Maccabean period onward and then states “all spoke well of him” (v22). So evidently Jesus did nothing in his reading of Isaiah to upset the synagogue. The Greek Bible text of Luke says has KYRIOS, which clearly indicates “Lord”, Hebrew ADONAI, was read by Jesus, as was customary throughout this period.

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. (Luke 4:22)

What upset the synagogue was not breaking the Maccabean and later taboo by reading Yahweh out loud instead of Adonai (for YHWH in the Isaiah text), but Jesus’ next comments in 24-27 about God calling Gentiles. This is what led them to try and throw him off the cliff.

The taboo on the pronunciation of the sacred name – or the mention that it could in the late Second Temple period only be uttered by the high priest on the Day of Atonement in the Holy of Holies – is found in writings attributed to various rabbis contemporary with Jesus. Independent confirmation of this comes from the two famous Jewish authors writing in Greek contemporary with the New Testament, Philo and Josephus.

  • First Philo records “a name which only those whose ears and tongues are purified may hear or speak in the holy place, and no other person, nor in any other place at all.” (Life of Moses 2:23/114). And later Philo writes “But if anyone, I will not say blasphemes the lord of deities and men, but even ventures to utter his name unseasonably, let him suffer the penalty of death.” (Life of Moses 2:23/206)
  • Secondly Josephus writes of Moses “Whereupon God declared to him, his holy name, which had never been discovered to men before; concerning which it is not lawful for me to say any more.” (Antiquities II.12.4/28)
  • Thirdly another 1st Century Jewish Greek text Pseudo-Callisthenes, documents “We serve one Elohim, who created heaven and earth, but no man is able to tell his name”. (Ps-Cal 2:24)

These are the three Jewish Greek confirmations of the taboo. Most of the documentation is in Hebrew rabbinical records.



There is a related question here:

Should we use God’s name, Yahweh, when talking about or to him?

Answered by Bible Q · 30 August 2013

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