A cup of tea with Unitarian scholar Prof. (Dr.) Sir Anthony Buzzard MA (Oxon.), MATh, Hon. PhD

Psalm 110:1 is a proof text for Unitarian monotheism that refutes the Trinitarian hypostasis: A brief exchange with premiere Unitarian scholar, Professor (Dr.) Sir Anthony F. Buzzard of the Restoration Fellowship, Atlanta Bible College

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Thoughts on Psalm 110:1. Does it say “the Lord (adonai) said to my Lord (l’adoni)” or does it say “the Lord (adonai) said to my Lord (adonai = Jesus)”?
Even at the outset, any novice of the Hebrew language knows that the phraseology in Psalm 110:1 which says “to my Lord” (l’adoni) is curiously an impossible as a phrase to be given to deity. In the Old Testament, this phrase is exclusively used for a human being and it is utterly distinct from the divine epithet ‘adonai’ (which is used as a substitute for the Tetragrammaton YHWH) that is exclusively used for deity. This is supported by the Septuagint rendering of ‘l’adoni’, i.e., ‘tou kuriou mou.’ This Septuagint phraseology is ever used for human beings and never once used for the Divine as Dr. Buzzard points out:
“In fact the Hebrew word for “my lord’ is not adonai but adoni, which is never used of God but often of the king of Israel and other human superiors.” (Buzzard, A. F. & Hunting, C. F. (1998). The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound. Maryland: International Scholars Publications. p. 48 fn. 16)

The following is a question that I posed to Dr. Anthony F. Buzzard on a rather interesting quotation that I found in a German theological treatise on Ps. 110:1 by a notable Christian German theologian.

Dr. Buzzard, what do you think of Roth’s comments below? Do you think they are probative in our quest against Trinitarianism?

German theologian Ulli Roth has some interesting comments on Psalms 110:1 that I’d like to share with Dr. Anthony F. Buzzard and perhaps elicit some thoughts from the good professor on it. The following is the German text, followed by my translation (interpretation) of it and a short discussion of its content.

Bekanntlich gab die Septuaginta das Tetragramm mit dem Wort “Herr” wieder, d. h. genauer die uns uberlieferten christlichen Septuagintahandschriften setzen stets fur den Gottesnamen das Wort Herr.
Fur judische griechische Handschriften, soweit sie uns bewahrt sind, ist dies nicht belegt. Sie lassen das Tetragramm einfach stehen oder ersetzen es in geeigneter Weise. Wenn die lateinischen Ubersetzungen jedoch konsequent das griechische kyrios mit dominum wiedergeben, ist nicht mehr ersichtlich, wo einmal der Gottesname oder etwa das hebraische Aquivalent fur “Herr” stand. Da das Wort “Herr” sowohl fur Gott stehen kann – und so liest man noch heute statt des Gottesnamens das Wort ‘adonai – als auch fur einen irdischen Herrscher, kann es bei der Ubersetzung zu Unklarheiten oder sogar Sinnverschiebungen kommen.
Wenn in Ps 110,1 “der Herr sprach zu meinem Herrn” plotzlich ununterschieden von zwei “Herren” die Rede ist. so konnte dies allein schon als Schriftbeleg fur die Lehre von Gott Vater und Gott Sohn als zweier unterschiedener Personen ein und derselben gottlichen Natur gewertet werden.

(Roth, E. (2003). Die Philologische Freiheit Des Humanisten Johannes Reuchlin: Interpretation und Edition von Reuchlins Ubersetzung der Psalmen 110-115. In Barbara Becker-Cantarino (Ed.), Zeitschrift fur Mittlere Deutsche Literatur und Kultur der Fruhen Neuzeit (1400 – 1750). Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 83)

The author writes that it is known that the Lxx (Septuagint) uses the word ‘Herr’ (Lord) and it is typically used for ‘Gottesnamen’ (the name of God). For Jewish Greek manuscripts, if they are preserved for us, this is not documented, The Tetragrammaton is left to stand as it is or it is replaced appropriately. The Latin translations, however, reflect the Greek ‘kyrios’ with the Latin ‘dominum’ , but it is no longer visible where once God’s name or the equivalent of the Hebrew for ‘Herr’ (Lord) was. Since the word ‘Lord’ can be used for both God — and so you read today instead of God’s name, the word ”adonai — as well as an earthly ruler and this may occur in the translation that confuses or shifts the meaning. In Psalms 11:1 ‘The Lord said to my Lord” is “suddenly indistinguishable from the two gentlemen mentioned”, this alone could be considered a signature document of the doctrine of God, the Father and God, the Son as two Distinguished persons of the divine nature.

I find the above academic source to be very interesting because towards the end, Ulli Roth seems to falter and concedes the point to the standard Trinitarian interpretation “so konnte dies allein schon als Schriftbeleg fur die Lehre von Gott Vater und Gott Sohn als zweier unterschiedener Personen ein und derselben gottlichen Natur gewertet werden.” But a closer reading of this excerpt shows that he is careful not to confound ‘der Herr’ (the Lord) with ‘meinem Herrn’ (my Lord) and says that they are ‘unterschiedener ‘ (distinct or different) from each other. And despite his Trinitarian interpretation of Psalms 110:1, he nevertheless recognises that the word ‘Herr’ (Lord) in the Bible may be used interchangeably for both man and deity (Da das Wort “Herr” sowohl fur Gott stehen kann…als auch fur einen irdischen Herrscher). I believe that what we may discern from the above is that even though Roth seems to agree with the Trinitarian interpretation of Psalm 110:1, he nevertheless maintains a couple of fundamental points held by Dr. Buzzard concerning the verse: Firstly, the term ‘lord’ may be used for either god or man’ and secondly, ‘der Herr’ (the Lord [YHWH]) is a distinct individual (unterschiedener) from ‘meinem Herrn’ (my Lord).

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Responding to the question “What do you think of Roth’s comments below? Do you think they are probative in our quest against Trinitarianism?” that I posed and the discussion that I furnished on the German scholar, Ulli Roth’s comments on Psalm 110:1, Prof. Anthony F. Buzzard wrote:

Thanks, the complication and confusion is amazing!

I read the German and the English But I do not see the word ADONI there!
It is pointless to discuss the verse (110:1) and not read the Hebrew correctly.

As you know that second lord is not ADONAI!! The first Lord is of couse YHVH the one God, very, very simple.

Buzzard, A. F. (27.2.2016). What do you think of Ulli Roth’s comments on Psalm 110:1?. Personal Correspondence.

In reply to the above feedback, I wrote:

I’m glad you found it interesting. I knew that you’re very competent in German, so I thought you might find it fascinating.
i tried to simplify my translation of the German so that my friends could read it easily…I hope I did okay lol.

Prof. Anthony F. Buzzard replied:
Yes, Trinitarianism is a pagan philosophical imposition on Scripture.
God is one Person only as the Shema says.

“The Lord our God is one Person” cp the LXX of DAN. 3:17.

The word is the selfexpression of God and was embodied in Jesus uniquely
People get lost in detail and forget that true God of Scripture and of Jesus.

Buzzard, A. F. (29.2.2016). Ibid.

I replied: indeed, i totally agree with you..it is tritheism disguised as monotheism using convoluted speech or shall I rather say misusing language in a convoluted way to deceive the unwary

~*~ End of Exchange; Die Diskussion ist beendet ~*~

We thank Prof. (Dr.) Sir Anthony F. Buzzard for his succinct and insightful comments on Ulli Roth and Psalm 110:1. We look forward to further discussions and exchanges on a number of interesting theological topics that we may delve into in the future. Danke Professor Buzzard. Sie sind in der Tat ein Gelehrter.

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