[B-Greek] Rev. 8:9--what died?

Webb webb at selftest.net
Wed Nov 15 19:08:37 EST 2006

Thanks, Bert. That's useful.

The issue I'm stuck on in relation to Rev. 8:9 is not so much what the Greek
word ECWN YUCHN might mean to non-Jews at some time or another (although
that is potentially interesting and important), but what Jews such as John
would naturally have meant when they used it in relation to non-human life. 

A friend read to me from an orthodox Jewish commentary on Genesis this
morning, and one of the medieval commentators like Nachmanides was saying
that "the swarming things" (as in Gen. 1:20, "let the sea swarm with living
creatures") were taken as things that move close to the ground--typically
reptiles and moles and so on. If the LXX translators use hERPETOS because
that is their understanding of the verse, then that raises anew the question
of whether any of the language in Gen. 1 refers to fish at all IN THE MIND
OF JEWISH INTERPETERS OF THE HEBREW TANACH. Lev. 11:10 seems to make a clear
distinction between the "swarming things" in the waters and fish. I have an
email out to a scholar of Judaism in the Hellenistic period about this. 

Speaking of fish, this whole train of thought may turn out to be a red
herring, but I want to rule out the possibility that Rev. 8:9 has mammalian
and other air-breathing life (such as turtles and frogs) exclusively in

Webb Mealy

-----Original Message-----
From: Bert de Haan [mailto:b_dehaan at sympatico.ca] 
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 3:19 PM
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Cc: webb at selftest.net
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Rev. 8:9--what died?

On Tue, 14 Nov 2006 10:25:15 -0800
  "Webb" <webb at selftest.net>
".....What I need to know now is, were fish considered in first-century 
Jewish thinking to be
"living souls", cf. PASA YUCH ZWHS (Rev. 16:3), as human beings and other
air-breathing animals are (cf. Gen. 1:30 LXX, cf. Gen. 2:7 LXX)? I have a
strong feeling that Jews wouldn't have seen fish and insects and crustaceans
and mollusks and worms and so on as belonging in that category. But I can't
remember where I learned that. "

(BdH)  After comparing the YUCH enties in Cunliffe (Homeric) and Middle 
Liddell I get the impression that YUCH meant "life" before it meant 
Cunliffe is quite a detailed lexicon but breath is not mentioned at all 
under YUCH (athough YUCW is listed as "to breath, blow) but in Middle 
Liddell it is the first thing listed.
Maybe that indicates that ECONTA YUCAS primarily means 'having life' more so

than 'having breath.'
I think this is relevant but maybe the time span between Homer and the NT is

to great to be useful in comparing.
Bert de Haan.

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