[B-Greek] Rev 21.4 APERCOMAI

Ian W Scott iscott at tyndale.ca
Thu May 14 09:23:27 EDT 2009

This is one case where I think the NET is being overly directive in its 
translation -- making a very ambiguous interpretive decision for readers 
where the ambiguity could very easily be preserved in the English. True, 
the verb can have a strong ontological emphasis. It is equally possible, 
though (perhaps more likely) for it to place less emphasis on ontology 
and more emphasis on the experience of a changed situation. In a book 
like the Apocalypse I find the primarily ontological focus to be 
particularly problematic. But let's remember that this is really not 
about the word's basic meaning. It's about the judgment regarding 
/which/ aspects of meaning are activated by the specific context. I 
wonder how wise it is to use a translation that excludes readers from 
taking part in that judgment, prevents them from considering for 
themselves which semantic components of the metaphor "passing away" are 
activated and which are not. In a more paraphrastic translation I might 
not be concerned. But in a translation that bills itself as the most 
"accurate" (whatever that means as an absolute statement), I find this a 
bit irresponsible.


Mitch Larramore wrote:
> Taken from the NET Bible, Revelation:
> 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had CEASED TO EXIST*,
> 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more – or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have CEASED TO EXIST*.
> * For the translation of ἀπέρχομαι (apercomai; here ἀπῆλθαν [aphlqan]) L&N 13.93 has “to go out of existence – ‘to cease to exist, to pass away, to cease.’”
> I read an article on this word APERCOMAI, and the use of this word, especially in vs 4. The thrust of the argument was that APERCOMAI means for some events of reality to "go out of existence." He then argued that for tears, death, pain, etc. to "go out of existence" would require a divine act whereby the reality behind these tears, death, pain, etc. goes out of existence by some kind of "divine reversal." 
> That seemed strange to me until he gave an analogy that got me thinking. He likened it to our waking up because of a bad dream/nightmare. Once we wake up, we realize that the dream is not part of reality. To make this short, what do you think about the idea that the tragic, evil things that have taken place in our lives will "go out of existence" in a way similar to the apparent reality of a nightmare "going out of existence" when we wake up? We essentially move from one level of reality (mental) to another level of reality (actual). When God removes all tears, death, pain, etc. he simply moves us from one level of reality (actual, sinful world) to another level (supernatural) so that the supernatural level of reality makes the actual, sinful, tragic events of this life "go out of existence" as we move from one level to another.
> Mitch Larramore
> Sugar Land, Texas
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Ian W. Scott

Assistant Professor of New Testament

Tyndale Seminary

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

iscott at tyndale.ca <mailto:iscott at tyndale.ca>



/Paul's Way of Knowing: Story, Experience and the Spirit /(WUNT II.206; 
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008). 


/The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha/ (Atlanta: SBL, 2006-). Online: 

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