Original Research - Special Collection: Septuagint

The New Testament κύριος problem and how the Old Testament speeches can help solve it

Peter Nagel
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 4 | a6134 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i4.6134 | © 2020 Peter Nagel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 May 2020 | Published: 30 October 2020

About the author(s)

Peter Nagel, Department of Old and New Testament, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


The New Testament (NT) κύριος problem forms part of a larger interconnected network of challenges, which has the divine name Yhwh as the epicentre. To put it plainly, if the term κύριος is an equivalent for the divine name Yhwh and if the term κύριος in the Yhwh sense is applied to Jesus, the implication is that Jesus is put on par with Yhwh. This problem therefore, forms part of a matrix of interconnected issues in a constant push and pull relation. There is no easy way to address this problem, but one must start somewhere. This study will attempt to introduce, illustrate and explain the complexity of the NT κύριος problem to contribute to a deeper understanding of the problem and to appreciate its intricacies. The aim is therefore to illustrate the intricacy of the problem by showing where the NT κύριος problem might have originated and how it evolved. These intricacies will then be pulled into a singular focus made possible by the explicit κύριος citations. These citations, in turn, will be categorised as Theos, Davidic and Jesus speeches and analysed in an attempt to contribute to a possible solution.

Contribution: This article fits in well with the contestation of ‘historical thought’ and ‘source interpretation’. It deals with significant religious expressions found in the Hebrew Scriptures (in both the Hebrew and Greek vernacular). It not only interprets these sources, but it also aims to show the history of how these expressions were interpreted, thus, contributing to interdisciplinary discourses.


Kyrios; Yhwh; Yahweh; YHWH; Kyrios citations; Name of a Hebrew deity; Divinity of Jesus


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