Full Text for Syntactical Peculiarities in Revelation (Text)

Qtnurnr~ta m~tnlngtrnl :llnl11lJly Continuing LEHRE UNO VVEHRE MAGAZIN FUER Ev.-Lu TH. HOMILETIK THEOLOGICAL Q UARTERLY-THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. XVI February, 1945 No. 2 CONTENTS Page The Mal'burg Colloquy of 1529: A Textual Study. George John Beto 73 Syntactical Peculiarities in Revelation. Paul M. Bretscher ___ __ 95 Outlines on Gospels Adopted by Synodical Conference __ 106 Miscellanea __ _ _ ____________ __________________________ ____________ . _____ _ ... _ 113 Theological Observer Book Review ___________ _ Ein Prediger muss n leht allein wei- den, also dass er die Schafe unter- weise. wle sie reehte Christen sollen sein. sondern aueh daneben den Woel- fen w eh7'en . dass sie die Schafe nicht angreifen und mit falscher Lehr e ver- fuehren und Irrtum einfuehren. Luther 129 _ _____________________ ._ _ 139 Es 1st kein Ding, das die Leute mehr bel der Kirche behaelt denn die gu te Predigt. - A pologie, Art, 24 If t he trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the bat tle? -1 C07'.14 :8 Published for the Ev. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States CONCORDIA PUBLlSIDNG HOUSE, St. Louis 18, Mo. PRlNl'KD IN U. S. A. BCHl Syntactical Peculiarities III Revelation 96 :"rntadicaJ ....,ecl~· trW : in f'evE" 'jOlL "1 see his dialect and langl'age not accurately conforming to GI o.~. I see hi mal' g uSe of idioms of foreign tum ld 1 and there even tending to solecism." So wrote Dionysius Magmls.1) Since the days of Dionysius Magnus, the style and language employed by the author of Revelation has been variously assessed. Among modem writers on the subject the opinions of Moulton, Swete, Benson, Debrunner, Charles, Howard, Robertson, Rader- macher, and Lohr are particularly noteworthy. Moulton 2) writes, "Even the Greek of the Apocalypse does not seem to owe any of its blunders to Hebraism. . .. The author's uncertain use of cases is obvious to the most casual reader .... We find him perpetually indifferent to concord. But the less edu- cated papyri give us plentiful parallels from a field where Semitism cannot be suspected.. .. Apart from places where he may be definitely translating a Semitic document, there is no reason to believe that his gran>..mar would have been materially different had he been a native of Oxyrhynchus, assuming the extent of Greek ;education the same." In a footnote on page nine of the same work, Moulton 1"""'>, "!+ 'vill not do to appeal to ~am:::~: to prove t th uthu< ",as Ci ,/ ew; as far as that goes, he might just as well have been a farmer of the Fayum. Thought and ma- terial must exclusively determine that question." Swete 3) does not agree with Moulton. He allows for the pos- sibility that the early years of thinking in a Semitic language were responsible for some of John's stylistic eccentricities in Revelation. His final summary is: "From whatever cause or concurrence of causes, it cannot be denied that the Apocalypse of John stands alone among Greek literary writings in its disregard of the or- dinary rules of syntax and the success with which syntax is set aside without loss of perspicuity or even of literary power. The book seems openly and deliberately to defy the grammarian, and yet, even as literature, it is in its own field unsurpassed. No judge who compared it with any other Greek apocalyptic work would hesitate to give the palm to the canonical Apocalypse." Benson 4) allows for only a few solecisms in Revelation and at- tempts to show that the author wrote largely K(na O'U'VEClL'J (according to the reader's comprehension of truth). 1) Eusebius, Ecclesiastical HistoTY, VII, 25. 2) J. H. Moulton, PTolegomena, 8 f. 3) H. B. Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John, 115-125. 4) E. W. Benson, The Apocalypse, Essay V; A Grammar of Un- grU1nmar. 96 Syntactical Peculiarities in Revelation Debrunner 5) writes, "Of all New Testament authors, the writer of Revelation writes the most commonplace style" ("am vulgaersten schreibt der Verfasser der Apokalypse") . "Revelation, as compared with the other New Testament books and the other writings of John, shows a number of very conspicuous solecisms which rest chiefly on neglect of concord." With respect to the possibility of Semitic influence on Revelation, Debrunner believes that trans- lation Greek is to be found 1) in the LXX and therefore in quota- tions from the LXX occurring in Revelation; 2) in those writings of the New Testament which probably rest on an Aramaic original (parts of the synoptic Gospels and of Revelation) . Charles 6) devotes ten pages to a discussion of the Hebraic style of the Apocalypse. His position is: "While the author writes in Greek, he thinks in Hebrew, and the thought has naturally affected the vehicle of expression." Charles then proceeds to make out a strong case for the contention that the Hebrew idiom lies behind the Greek of Revelation. Howard 7) agrees substantially with Charles, but poses the question: "The writer's familiarity with Hebrew seems to lie be- yond question, but why should not Aramaic be his mother tongue, the language in which his thoughts would first frame themselves?" He believes that the solution of the linguistic problem in Revela- tion lies in the combinat ion of the following factors : 1. a mind that thought in Aramaic and found in the Greek vernacular of his world many idioms sufficiently close to his mother tongue for his purpose; 2. sources in translated Greek and Hebrew, which he worked into his book in Hebraic Greek; 3. a knowledge of the LXX and of various apocalypses already current in a Greek form, which supplied him with a vocabulary and often suggested an idiom. His statement: "More importance should be allowed to the in- fluence of the LXX" (484) seems particularly pertinent. Robertson 8) takes the position: "The syntactical peculiarities are due partly to constructio ad sensum and variatio structu1·ae. The solecisms in the Apocalypse are chiefly cases of anacolutha . . . . Moulton denies that the Apocalypse has any Hebraisms. That is possibly going too far the other way, for the book is saturated with the apocalyptic images and phrases of Ezekiel and Daniel 5) Blass-Debrunner, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch, sixth edition (1931) , 83,84. 6) R. H. Charles, The Revelation of St. John, I, 142-152. 7) Moulton and Howard, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, II, 484 f. 8) A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, fourth edition (1923), 135-36; 413-16. Syni.dcLlca! reculiarities }n li,8velation 97 and is very much like the other Jewish apocalypses. It is not so much particular Hebraisms that meet us in the Apocalypse as the flavor of the LXX, whose words are interwoven in the text at every turn." nacher 9) observe;: "No lY . 'festament writer: .. ~ards hi fficiently free to despise w .. :....~ i~ grammatically permis- sible. Revelation only is an exception, inasmuch as it totally dis- regards all rules of concord ("indem sie sich ueber aUe Regeln der Kongruenz einfach hinwegsetzt"). Following a brief discussion of Rev. 1: 4, 5, in which he points out syntactical peculiarities in these two verses, Radermacher says, "This style is not bound to gram- matical rules. But its hardness is of a monumental character, and it is not proper to compare with it crudities in the papyri letters" ("seine Starrheit ist monumental, und es empfiehlt sich nicht, damit die Stuempereien der Papyrusbriefe zu vergleichen"). Rohr 10) concludes, "Revelation speaks the common language of the first century with a pronounced touch of the later Koine . ... The style reflects here and there a certain degree of poveTi;y but also a richness which is capable of providing for every situation and mood the corresponding form, and acquaintance with grammatical rules coupled with a sovereign contempt of these rules. One or the other of the stylistic peculiarities appears here and there in con- temporary profane literature, but never with such deliberate logis. Its peculiarity derives not only from the intimate familiaxi' • the author with the Prophets, for he has taken over from them not only his imagery, but also his mode of expression. And, finally, his native tongue was, like theirs, the Hebrew. Some peculiarities may be explained only as Hebraisms." Lohr then lists ten peculiarities which he regards as Semitisms. Yet, so Lohr believes, the seer was preserved from a one-sided Hebraizing tendency because of the realistic character of his subject matter. In the Gospel we have calm reflection, but in Revelation the excitation and ecstasy of the seer. John continues in this mood, and, as a result of it, his native Aramaic idiom bursts the shackles of his acquired Greek idiom" ("1m Evangelium spricht die ruhige Ueberlegung, in der Apoka- lypse zittert die Erregung del' Ekstase des Sehers und seiner Er- schuetterung durch das Geschaute nach, und in dieser Erregung sprengt das heimisch aramaeische Idiom die Regeln des Angelern- ten, des Griechischen"). From the above analyses of the style and language of Revela- tion it is evident that investigators are by no means in entire agree- ment, the chief contention being the relation of the language of 9) Ludwig Radermacher, Netttesta1nentliche G1'ammatik, 223. 10) Ignaz Rohr, Der Hebraeerbrief tmd die Geheime OlJenbm'ttng des hei,ligen Johannes, 67-69, 7 98 Syntactical Peculiarities in Revelation Revelation to a Semitic idiom. Though Charles and Howard have made careful studies in this field, an exhaustive investigation is still a desideratum. The solution of the problem seems to lie in further researches in the LXX, and, if it were to be discovered, in Aramaic literature of the two centuries before the Christian era. Since I undertook this study with the purpose of gaining a general overview of the syntactical peculiarities in Revelation, I did not devote very much effort to a study of Semitisms in Revela- tion. In this paper I am merely classifying and illustrating various kinds of syntactical irregularities in Revelation, commenting on some, and calling attention here and there to parallels in papyri from the Hellenistic and the early Christian period. Where I be- lieved an irregularity to be due to Semitic influence, I noted it. In presenting my findings I am not following a pattern set by one or more grammarians, one reason being that there still exists some uncertainty as to what constitutes syntax. Another reason is that the varieties of syntactical irregularities in Revelation seem to defy all attempts at classification. I have studiously avoided commenting on cases commonly classified by Germans under "Laut- lehre" and "vVortlehre." 1. Violations of concord (case, gender, number, person). Repeatedly we find in Revelation an apposition in the nomina- tive in place of an oblique case. Such irregularities appear also here and there in other New· Testament books, but only rarely.ll) The participle, in particular, violates accepted standards. "Its range in later times becomes more and more uncertain, and the masculine nominative singular gains complete ascendancy. In modern Greek the participle has only one indeclinable form in -nllC; (nom)." 12) Examples: 1: 5: aJto 'ITjO"oli XQLO".oli, 0 [.to:Q.ue; 0 mO".oc; 2: 20: .11V yuvlltxll 'IE~O:~EA, f] AEY01JO"U EIlU.TJV JtQoQllytllll frEDU l;tOv'to<; 9: 17: elllov 'tou<; LMOU<; EV 'tu !JQnoH xat 'tou<; :w.il111·tEVOU<; EJt' a:ll't(OV £XOV'tIl<; i}roQmtll~ JWQLVOU<; 13: 1: dllov ••• frl1Qiov uvu~ai:vov hov %EQu'tu 11£%11 14: 6: Elllov fJ.A'A.ov U.yyEAOV JtE'tOIlEVOV .•• EXOV't1l EiiUYYEAIOV IlLWVLOV 15: 2: dllov ro<; i}uA(WClUV VUALVl1V , •• xut 'tou,; vl%tOV'ta<; EX 'tou {}l1Q(Ol1 •.. to'ttO'ta<; . • • £XOV'tIl'; 18: 1: E[lIov uA'A.ov lJ:YYEAOV •.. ExoV'ta E1;ouo(uv IlcYUA11V 20: 1: Elllov fJJ.AOV UYYEAOV ••• EXOV't(I 't1JV XAEtv With respect to the participle how, which in some instances does not follow the rule just given, Charles comments "hillV follows an accusative though it is not preceded by the article in 5: 6: UQVLOV eo'tl1%OC; •.• E}GWV (see also 14: 14). In 5: 6 it seems corrupt for EXOV. In 14: 14 l';(mv is correct and %uiI1I1u'Vov ll,WlO\', which precedes, is a slip for the nominative" (1 ?). Whether Charles is right in saying that some violations of con- cord in Revelation are due to the Hebrew idiom, is still debatable. The fact of the matter is that one finds this irregularity very often in the papyri.13) From Mayser I cite the following: Zen. pap. 59443, 12: MEO'tUAXUIlEV 001 YUVaL%U q:>EQWV 001 't1JV EJtLO''tOAllv Zen. pap. 59665: 8: 'tuLvLav IlEAmvuv hwv JtAU'tO'; IIlllt'tuAwv /lUo Zen. pap. 59665, 10: Y.UL XOXAOV VIlU'tI%OV hwv JrAU'tO<; lIa%'t{,),wv OEX(Y. UPZ 78: 12: 11xouoa Toilij; ),8YWV UPZ 78, 25: filE lIE Uq:>E<;, fillou (-\lIou), JtOALU; hwv Similar examples may be found in Kapsomenakis.14) I note the following: Flor I 50, 66: ouv 'tot,; EVOU<1I. q:>O(VI~1 xai q:>U'tOL<; niim XUL OUltIlIlL'VE(t)V O"LffiV PSI VIII 903, 19: 't1]<; EVW'tGJ'tO<; l)1l£QIl<; Deserving special comment are the participles ),iywv and ),syoV'ts,;. These forms are obviously renderings of the Hebrew -jr.;,NS. 13) Cf. Moulton, op. cit., 90; Radermacher, op. cit., 106 f.; Blass- Debrunner, op, cit., § 136, 1; Edwin Mayser, Grammatik der griechischen Papyri aus der Ptolemaeeneit, II, 3, p. 192 fl. For examples from later Greek see A, N. Jannaris, An Historical Greek Grammar, § 1181 b. 14) Stylianos G. Kapsomenakis, Voruntersuchungen zu einer Gram- rnatik de1' Papyri der na,chchristlichen Zeit, 40 f. 100 Syntactical Peculiarities in Revelation and occur in the LXX (d. Gen. 15: 1; 22:20; 38:13; 45:16; 48: 20, etc.). Thus used, they are indeclinable. There is reason to suppose that these forms were perhaps among the first to violate concord and th us set a pattern for other participles which in course of time became indeclinable. Cf. UPZ 78, 12: 1]xouO'a ToiHit; "AEyCJ)V. A few examples from Revelation are the following: 4: 1: it E:n:' au.ov EM'fr'I] alJ"t" 'tijt; ~CJ)ije; 13:12: ou E'frEQaJtEu'fr'l] it :n:iI.'I]yft .oli 'fravu.ou au'tou 17: 9: aL Emu xE VI. T he author of Revelation repeats the article or the preposi- tion before every mem ber of a series for, so it seems, no particular reason. Examples: 9: 20: "{;U E!/)ooA.U "{;U XQucru ltul "{;U uQ,\,uQu ltut "{;U XUA.y"u y,ut "{;U Ulhvu Y..ul "{;U I;UA.LVa 15: 2: "{;ou; vLY..OOna; iY.. "{;ou fu]QLOU Y..al iY.. "{;i'j; dY..ovo; Ulhou Y..al iY.. "{;ou UQL'ltJ.l.OU "tou ov0J.l.a"to; Ulhou 16: 13: i Y.. "tou cr"toJ.l.a"to; "tou /)QaY..ov"to; Y..at iY.. "tou cr"toJ.l.a"to; "tou 'ltT]QLOU Y..at flY.. "tou (J"tOJ.l.u"to; "tou 'IjIw/)oJCQoqJ1]"tou 17: 6: J.l.E'ltUoucrav iY.. "tou aijtu"to; "tOO" &''\'LooV Y..at iY.. "tou atJ.l.a"to; "tOOv J.l.uQ"tUQoov 'I T]crou VII. The author is very fond of the instrumental dative pre- ceded by Ev. A few examples will suffice. 2: 16: EV QOJ.l.lpULQ. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15: iv Qa~/)~ 14: 2: lv "tat; Y..L'ltaQUL; 16:8; 17:16: EV nUQL VIII. The writer of R evelation more so than any other New Testament author favors the transition in a final clause from the subjunctive to the future indicative. While, according to Rader- macher (216), one finds such instances even in Plato and Herodotus, the usage of a future indicative after tva and J.l.i) becomes a very common practice in the Koine .27> Examples from Revelation: 3: 9: tvu ~I;OUcrL" Y..at JCQocrltUvi)croucrLv 6: 4 : Y..at tva uni)A.OU; crlpal;oucrLv 9: 4 : EQQEfu] Ulhot; tva J.l.i) U/)LY..i)crOUcrLV 9: 20: tva J.l.l] nQocrY..uvi)croucrLv 14: 13: vaL, A.E,\,EL "to nVEUJ.l.U, tva uv(lJtmicrov"tUL Note : The rich and varied use of tva in John's Gospel) requires special investigation. large to be discussed here. Revelation (also in The subject is too IX. Peculiar constructions in Revelation which seem to rest on a Hebrew or Aramaic idiom. Charles lists a substantial number of such constructions. I have selected only those which seemed convincing: 26) Mayser, op. cit., II, 2, § 368, 8. 27) See also Debrunner, op. cit., § 369. 104 Syntactical Peculiarities in Reveia.ion a. 12: 7: EYE'VE1;O Jt(\AeJ,to~ £'V -ciii oUQ(l'Viii, 0 MLX(l1]I.. xu:t 01. ayyzi,OL aU'wii 'toil .rcOAEJ,tiiO'(lL J,te'ta. -COU IlQ(x.,eo'V-coc;. Charles translates this verse: "Michael and his angels had to fight with the dragon." Debrunner (§ 400) questions, on good authority, the genuineness of the ,;oU which precedes JrOAqlfjO'aL and ~ _gards .___ _lominL__ _ jj MLxa11A a poetic license, which the writer employed in place of llSing '. e genitive or dative. On p. 315, however, Debrunner agrees with Charles and with Howard (448 f.) that the -coil 3to~,qtiiO'aL is a trans- lation of the Hebrew imperative S followed by the infinitive. Charles and Howard both cite Hos. 9: 13 (LXX). Howard also refers to Ps. 25: 14; 1 Chron. 9: 25; and Eccles. 3: 15. He also quotes Guillemard (Hebraisms in the Greek Testament), who says, p.3, in connection with Matt. 2: 6: "An apt example of the practice almost universal in the LXX, of rendering S with infinitive, after neuter or passive verbs, by -COD with the infinitive; to the loss very often of a.ll intelligibility or sense. . .. The translators appear to have concluded that a Greek idiom, which was the appropriate interpretation of the Hebrew idiom under certain conditions, was always to be employed as its equivalent and so have introduced into their version renderings which are otherwise inexplicable. And to this we owe, in great measure, the strange and startling instances of the -coil with infinitive, occasionally met with D.l the New ':' __ :.jUent." 28) One is inclined to agree with Charles and Howard, because of the few instances in Revelation of -coli with the infinitive the func- tion of none is clearly established.29 ) b. 4: 9, 10: 01:!l(V /)wO'OUO'L'V 1:0. ~iiia • • • JtEO'oilV-CCl.L 01 s'Lx.om . . 3tQEO'~U1:EQOL . • • xaL 3tQoO'x.u'V1]crouow 1:0 ~rovn . • • x.al ~!l(f.ojjO'w -cou£ O'-CECPU.'VOU!;. • .. The future tenses must here be rendered by the present, for they represent the Hebrew imperfect in a frequentative sense. c. 6: 16: xQUtlm1:8 TIJ,ta~ e(lto rtQoO'W3tOU -coli ... , The d.n:o is the rendering for it,:!. The entire phrase (it occurs also 12: 14 and 20: 11) is the rendering for '~~t,:! d. 19: 5: (lLveL-re -c0 itEiii TIJ,tro'V. At'VEL-rE with the dative in 19: 5 is well established in the LXX. There it occurs with the dative for S i1,ii1 and S S~i1 : T : ••• X. Other syntactical peculiarities: 1:13; 14:14: O~OLOV uM" (acc.). Debrunner regards this 0< sole- cism.30) 28) Howard, op. cit., p.449. 29) Radermacher, op. cit., 189. 30) Op. cit., § 182, 4 note. Syntactical Peculiarities in Revelation 105 Ordinarily the writer of Revelation uses the dative with O[tOLO" as in 2:18. 3: 17: oul)Ev XQELa.v EXoo. Though Debrunner regards the construc- tion possible, he does not think it probable.3ll Some important readings have ouIlEvo,. 8: 4: UVEj3TJ (, X(I.1T;VO, 'ta.t, nQocrEuxa.i:,. Perhaps the dative is one of interest, though other interpretations are suggested.32 ) 13: 3: E'fra.u[tum')1j (mLcroo 'tou iI1]QLOU. Debrunner reconstructs this dif- ficult reading as follows: E'frmJJ1a.Ga.v Ent 'to iI1]QL<[l xat EltoQEUfrl'l onLcroo au'tou (§ 196). Howard regards it a Semitism (476) . 8: 13: ouat "tOil, Xa.'tOLxouv'ta, tint 'tii, 'Vii, 12: 12: ouat 't1]V 'Viiv xah