Rev 4:8 Trisagion
ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Fri Nov 26 18:00:26 EST 1999
On Fri 26 Nov 1999 (09:54:36), tmcos at hotmail.com wrote:
> I had a question re: the 'trisagion' found in Rev 4:8. It appears 3
> times, "holy, holy, holy". This comes from Isaiah 6:3 which in both
> the LXX and MT also have "holy" 3 times.
IMHO the reason for the triple 'holy' lies in the Hebrew method of
indicating the superlative of an adjective. The normal way of expressing
'holy' in Hebrew is QaDoW$; for the superlative 'most holy' one would
simply repeat the adjective 'holy holy' = "holiest". Compare "pits pits"
in Genesis 14:10 (='full of pits'); "gold gold ...silver silver" in 2 Kings
25:15 (= purest gold, purest silver).
But uniquely in the MT we have at Isaiah 6:3 QaDoW$ QaDoW$ QaDoW$ YHWH,
a triple superlative. This can be regarded aetiologically as a disguised
highly proleptic reference to the Trinity; but it is better IMHO to regard
it as a "super-superlative". There is a good Greek example in the GNT,
when Paul calls himself "Less than the least" of the saints, EMOI TWi
ELACISTOTERWi PANTWN hAGIWN. If the Apostle Paul can be "less than the
least", surely God must be "holier than the holiest".
Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
<ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
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