Mt 3:2, 4:17

Steven Craig Miller scmiller at
Mon Nov 29 16:16:37 EST 1999

To: Ben Crick,

<< But ISTM that  the phrase BASILEIA TWN OURANWN / TOU OURANOU is a 
rendering into Greek of the Hebrew 'Qere Perpetuum': the reverent avoidance 
of pronouncing  the name of God, or even the word God. >>

I think you are headed in the right direction here, although I would nuance 
it slightly differently. Strictly speaking it could not be a Ketib-Qere 
perpetuum (i.e. a continuous Ketib-Qere) since we are referring to a 
written text and not merely to a spoken variant reading. I wonder if what 
you meant was to refer to the avoidance of using the divine name through a 
reverential circumlocution? But I don't think that BASILEIA TWN OURANWN can 
strictly speaking be called a circumlocution, since Matthew was not trying 
to avoid using the Greek term QEOS. After all, Matthew uses the term QEOS 
some 51 times. In fact, Matthew even uses the phrase BASILEIA TOU QEOU (at 
12:28; 19:24; 21:34,43). Rather, what I think we have here (with BASILEIA 
TWN OURANWN) is simply a translation of a semitic circumlocution, which 
simply functions as a synonym to BASILEIA TOU QEOU. What do you think?

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
scmiller at

"O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this" 
(Shakespare, "Much Ado About Nothing", 4.2.60-61).

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