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Solecisms in the book of Revelation

Discussion in 'Christian Scriptures' started by Achilles6129, May 1, 2017.

  1. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    The book of Revelation has some solecisms and barbarisms in its grammar. Anyone want to draw any conclusions from this?
     
  2. Winken

    Winken Heimat Supporter

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    In which translation?
     
  3. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  4. sfs

    sfs Senior Member

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    The solecisms and barbarisms are in the original Greek. You can find examples here, in sections 2 and 4. They include glaring grammatical errors. The only conclusion I draw from that is that the author was not a native speaker of Greek nor very well trained in the language.
     
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  5. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding Supporter

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    A few thoughts:

    I agree that grammar is not critical for imparting meaning. When my cat scribbles me a note that reads "i can has cheezburger?" I know what she's saying.

    The barbarisms mentioned in the articled smack of redundancy, which is perfectly befitting the Hebrew poetical style. The author could have known what he was doing, and did it anyway.

    Also, Mick Jagger (a native English speaker) wrote (in English):

    I stuck around St. Petersburg
    When I saw it was a time for a change

    Is that a barbarism or no? Should it be "was time" or "was a time"? Barbarisms are in the eye of the beholder.

    Mick also wrote "I can't get no satisfaction". Two thousand years from now experts may say "It was reported that Mick Jagger was born and raised in England, but that cannot be true, because he used a double negative".

    As far as solecisms, Shakespeare used them abundantly, and he arguably knew and used English better than anyone who's ever lived.
     
  6. sfs

    sfs Senior Member

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    Yeah, well, maybe. Anyone with a good familiarity with English can tell that Shakespeare is a master of the language. Few would claim that the author of Revelation is anything of the sort. Exactly what's going on with Revelation's language is a matter of considerable debate, though. See discussion here and here for some perspective. I tend to agree with this one: 'You are welcome to disagree, but if you really want to get anyone to believe in this notion of "intentional solecism," you're going to have to adduce some plausible evidence.'

    For another take, you could consult the book reviewed here.
     
  7. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding Supporter

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    Thanks for the interesting links. Maybe what you say it is true.

    I forgot to mention that Yoda fellow. He's supposed to be all wise and spiritual or something, and I can't hardly make no sense of him no how.
     
  8. sfs

    sfs Senior Member

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    One of those links talked about Revelation's "eccentric" language. Maybe Yoda isn't so far off as a model.
     
  9. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    Or perhaps the author was trying to tell us something with his solecisms. He might be making reference to certain passages in the OT, for example.
     
  10. JohannineScholar

    JohannineScholar Member

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    I think (as many scholars do) that's is a deliberate attempt at effecting a Hebraic style. Perhaps Revelation was written in Hebrew or Aramaic and woodenly and literally translated (that's my thought right now). Dionysius of Alexandria, who argued that the book was full of solecisms, didn't know Hebrew.
     
  11. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    Well, it's interesting, because the book is obviously written with so much care. It doesn't make sense for the author to be haphazard regarding his grammar. This is the reason why I believe the solecisms must mean something. If I had a better knowledge of Greek I would be able to examine them more carefully. Maybe I'll buy a book on it sometime.
     
  12. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

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    I remember that my Lutheran pastor (who could read both Greek and Hebrew) said that Revelation is a Hebrew book written in Greek. One example is the large mention of numbers that are found in other apocalyptic works in Hebrew. Each number has a symbolic meaning, such as threes and sevens representing completeness or perfection, six being a number falling short of completeness so 666 is perfect imperfection.
     
  13. JohannineScholar

    JohannineScholar Member

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    Yes, an interesting point is that the author of Revelation knows Greek grammar, so when the author departs from it, it is for a reason. For example, John knows that the Greek preposition apo is followed by a genitive because in the majority of occurrences, a genitive noun is placed after it. However, when followed by "the one who is (ho wn)" (Rev. 1:4), it is followed by a nominative. This is sometimes used as an example that the author didn't know proper Greek (including by one of my professors in grad school), but if so, why did he manage to place a genitive with the noun in all 38 other places it is used? More likely, it's because he is treating 'the one who is' as an indeclinable noun alluding to the Hebrew YHWH.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  14. JohannineScholar

    JohannineScholar Member

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    Yes, there are a lot of features of Hebrew (or Aramaic) in the text, including the resumptive pronoun. Sometimes the agreement is off in Greek, but when it's translated back into Hebrew or Aramaic, it is perfectly grammatical. Beale notes that these constructions, “are deliberate attempts to express Semitisms and Septuagintalisms in his Greek, the closest analogy being that of the Greek translations, especially that of Aquila.”
     
  15. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    And is the Hebrew YHWH (or "I am that I am") indeclinable?
     
  16. JohannineScholar

    JohannineScholar Member

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    Yes. While semitic nouns did originally have case endings, they are lost by the time of biblical Hebrew. By not declining the noun, the writer could show that he was wasn't simply saying "the one who is and was and is to come," but was alluding to the paraphrase of the divine name found in the Targums (The One Who Is and Was and Is to Come).
     
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  17. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    Very interesting. Thank you.
     
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