[B-Greek] Singular Rel-pro in Rev 13:8; the plural Rel-pro in Rev 17:8

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Nov 7 14:07:28 EST 2005

On Nov 7, 2005, at 1:36 PM, virgil newkirk wrote:

> Carl,
> I wasn't thinking or suggesting that the phrasing in 17:8 was actually
> "derived from" 13:8; what was in my mind was, here is the author  
> essentially
> writing again about all the people living on the earth and their  
> attention
> to the beast ( I guess I am assuming it's the same subject..should  
> I not?)
> and yet he writes EPI TO BIBLION where before he wrote in a similar
> description of things EPI TWi BIBLIWi; should I think that his  
> Greek went
> from good to bad in this short span ? (Please, I am not being  
> sarcastic..I
> just don't understand) Or am I distorting what you've suggested  
> about the
> flux of Greek ? If it is a case of solecism or bad Greek it puzzles  
> me why
> it occurred so close together in two different manifestations ?

Virgil, you're asking questions that I'm not prepared to answer. It  
may very well be that the author had in mind the phrasing or the idea  
from 13:8 when composing 17:8, but if so, he phrased it differently  
although probably with the same intent. I don't think it's all that  
unusual for an author to use somewhat different phrasing when he/she  
expresses the same idea within a single document as here: EN TWi  
BIBLIWi in 13:9, EPI TO BIBLION in 17:8, pretty clearly with the same  
intended sense; EN TWi BIBLIWi is a construction we might expect with  
GEGRAPTAI while EPI TO BIBLION is not what we might expect; that's  
why I said it might be a solecism, with which this book of Revelation  
is replete, or it might even be an instance of use of the accusative  
as the standard object-of-prepositon case used with any preposition  
-- as in Greek of later periods.

> Since he used hWN in 17:8 could there be another reason he used hOU  
> in 13:8,
> other than what you've suggested ? You did say:
> "
> What "might" be noted in the clause "hOU OU GEGRAPTAI TO ONOMA
> AUTOU" is the Semitizing construction wherein hOU is repeated in
> AUTOU as is common with ASHER clauses in Hebrew."
> This for me is another one of those cases where the words.."might be,"
> "could be," "possibly," lead to not being able to be sure about the  
> accuracy
> and clarity contained in the grammar.

What I meant was that the construction of the clause 'hOU OU  
GEGRAPTAI TO ONOMA AUTOU" is rather like such common Semitizing,  
"translation-Greek" phrases as we read in the LXX, e.g. Gen. 1:12 KAI  
EN AUTWi represents the Hebrew exactly in that AUTOU repeats the  
substance of hOU, so that if one translated it literally into English  
it would be: "fruiting tree producing fruit OF WHICH the seed OF IT  
is in it."

All I meant by using my "might be" was to suggest that the phrasing  
was odd but it might be accounted for by the author carrying over a  
Semitic expression into his Greek composition. I don't know for sure  
if that's what the author did, but it is at least plausible.

> I probably won’t use the word "mystical" in the future, although it  
> is a
> word for me that simply refers to what is "real." BTW..I did not  
> use the
> phrase "mystical reality."

I think you WOULD do well to avoid the word "mystical" in the future  
in reference to grammatical constructions in B-Greek discussion,  
ESPECIALLY if you mean "mystical" to refer to "what is real."

> In view of that allow me to ask simply:
> "
> Couldn't we take APO KATABOLHS KOSMOU as modifying both the book's  
> existence
> found in 17:8, and the one who has become as slain in 13:8 ?"

I guess that's a possibility, at least theoretically, but I think (as  
did the editors of NET) that it's more likely that APO KATABOLHS  
KOSMOU in 13:8 was intended to be construed with GEGRAPTAI.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at ioa.com>
> To: "virgil newkirk" <virgilsalvage1 at msn.com>
> Cc: "B-Greek B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 3:52 AM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Singular Rel-pro in Rev 13:8; the plural Rel- 
> pro in
> Rev 17:8
> On Nov 7, 2005, at 1:28 AM, virgil newkirk wrote:
>> Carl,
>> I've read how the singular relative pronoun may sometimes have a
>> plural antecedent; it seems though, that it's quite a stretch for
>> "all" the people living on the earth to be reduced to or
>> represented by a singular "hOU OU GEGRAPTAI TO ONOMA AUTOU"; I
>> don't understand. Why the change to the plural hWN in Rev 17:8
> I would not assume that the phrasing of Rev 17:8 is derived from that
> of 13:8. What might be noted in the clause "hOU OU GEGRAPTAI TO ONOMA
> AUTOU" is the Semitizing construction wherein hOU is repeated in
> AUTOU as is common with ASHER clauses in Hebrew. Although BDAG lists
> a number of anomalous varieties of pronominal non-agreement with
> antecedent, this doesn't really seem to fall into it. I'd be more
> inclined to think this is one of those not-at-all-uncommon
> "solecisms" of Revelation.
>> Another thing that puzzles:
>> In Rev 13:8 John writes the dative prepositional phrase EN TWi
>> BIBLIWi to describe (I presume) the place in which TO ONOMA AUTOU
>> did not become written; then in Rev 17:8 John writes the accusative
>> prepositional phrase EPI TO BIBLION; again, I don't understand.
> While others might understand it differently, I'd say simply that EPI
> TO BIBLION is a solecism (from the perspective of school grammar) --
> it's just bad Greek. On the other hand, as I keep noting, Koine Greek
> is a language in flux: one of the currents in its movement away from
> classical toward modern usage is increasing usage of the accusative
> forms of nouns as objects of all prepositions. And -- as I said
> above, I wouldn't necessarily assume that the phraseology of 17:8
> depends directly upon the phrasing of 13:8.
>> Also, couldn’t TO BIBLION THS ZWHS and TOU ESQAGMENOU in a mystical
>> (read reality) kind of way have existed APO KATABOLHS KOSMOU. That
>> is to say, couldn't we take APO KATABOLHS KOSMOU as modifying both
>> the book's existence found in 17:8, and the one who has become as
>> slain in 13:8 ?
> This gets into speculation that goes beyond what the Greek text as a
> Greek text says; I'd prefer not to talk about "mystical reality."
> /

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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