I admit that I don’t really know at this point how to resolve the addition of upper case letters for the name of the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, in a translation of the Hebrew Bible, it certainly seems to have the potential to alienate Jewish readers. On the other hand, in the Christian scriptures, not using upper case might be a shibboleth for many Christians.
I will simply wind up my remarks by pointing out that Bibles do vary considerably in the use of upper case, and this does mark an interpretive feature, even in the most literal and “transparent” Bibles. This kind of feature may, in fact, alter our conception of “transparency” when it comes to translation.
For the fun of it, here, in the first image, is 2 Cor. 6:6 in the Codex Sinaiticus – too bad the LXX portions are not online. Look for the ΠΝΙ in the fourth line from the bottom, three letters in. Then, on the last line at the very end you can see ΘΥ for God in “power of God.” The nomina sacra can be easily entered into a post by cutting and pasting from this entry.
Of course, this seems like very early evidence that this phrase denoted the Holy Spirit. However, we have to remember that we are aware of some corruptions in the Codex Sinaiticus. In the second image we see that the scribes have written the Greek for,
- Salute the brethren that are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in their house. ERV 1885
The KJV has,
- Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
It wasn’t until the RSV that a translation represented what is likely the original, since Nympha is a woman’s name,
- Give my greetings to the brethren at Laodice’a, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
Theologically motivated changes or additions to the text are not unheard of. I don’t know to what extent verses relating to the persons of the trinity have been affected but I suspect that this is something one should look out for in a translation. I am going to think over the implications of upper case letters for a while and maybe come back to them later. I have no further insight into how to resolve these things. We just have to ask ourselves sometimes how our reading of scripture is affected by our determination to find proofs for certain beliefs.