the claim of grammatical errors in Revelation

Steven Avery

Administrator
Textus Receptus Academy
Will Kinney
https://www.facebook.com/groups/467217787457422/permalink/836854807160383/
https://brandplucked.webs.com/errorsingreek.htm

Someone asked about grammatical errors in the Greek.

Are There Grammatical Errors in the Greek Text of Revelation?

A fellow King James Bible believer writes:

Hey, Will Kinney. I encountered someone online who claims that the grammar of Revelation is corrupt. He gave these 10 examples:

In addition to the evidence for Semitic grammar imbedded in the Greek New Testament, the fact that serious grammatical errors are found in the Greek New Testament books may be added. Speaking of the Greek of Revelation, Charles Cutler Torrey states that it
"...swarms with major offenses against Greek grammar."
He calls it
"linguistic anarchy", and says,
"The grammatical monstrosities of the book, in their number and variety and especially in their startling character, stand alone in the history of literature."

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SA:

The Apocalypse of John (1958)
Charles Cutler Torrey
http://books.google.com/books?id=lQ7ZAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA13

Documents of the Primitive Church (1941)
Charles Cutler Torrey

Charles Cutler Torrey (1863-1956)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Cutler_Torrey
"Apocalypse of John (1958) argues that Revelation was a translation of an Aramaic original written in AD 68."

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Torrey gives ten examples listed below:

1. Rev. 1:4 "Grace to you, and peace, from he who is and who was and who is to come" (all nom. case)
2. Rev. 1:15 "His legs were like burnished brass (neut. gender dative case) as in a furnace purified" (Fem. gender sing. no., gen. case)
3. Rev. 11:3 "My witness (nom.) shall prophesy for many days clothed (accus.) in sackcloth."
4. Rev. 14:14 "I saw on the cloud one seated like unto a Son of Man (accus.) having (nom.) upon his head a golden crown."
5. Rev. 14:19 "He harvested the vintage of the earth, and cast it into the winepress (fem), the great [winepress] (mas.) of the wrath of God”
6. Rev. 17:4 "A golden cup filled with abominations (gen.) and with unclean things" (accus.)
7. Rev. 19:20 "The lake of blazing (fem.) fire (neut.)
8. Rev. 20:2 "And he seized the dragon (accus.), the old serpent (nom.) who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him."
9. Rev. 21:9 "Seven angels holding seven bowls (accus.) filled (gen.) with the seven last plagues."
10. Rev. 22:5 "They have no need of lamplight (gen.) nor of sunlight (accus.)."
(Documents of the Primitive Church; Charles Cutler Torey; Harper and Bothers, New York; 1941; p. 156-158)


Have you encountered this before brother? How would you answer this? This makes me confused.
God bless Robert

Hi Robert.
The answer to this is pretty simple and it may surprise you. It is the Nestle-Aland, UBS, Vatican supervised Greek text that is the basis of the ESV, NIV, NASB, modern Catholic versions and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation that is GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT, whereas the Textus Receptus that underlies the King James Bible and other Reformation Bibles that is grammatically CORRECT.

Undeniable Proof the ESV, NIV, NASB, Holman Standard, NET, Jehovah Witness NWT etc. are the new "Vatican Versions" Part One - the Documentation
http://brandplucked.webs.com/realcatholicbibles.htm

Undeniable Proof the ESV, NIV, Holman Standard, NET, NASBs, Jehovah Witness NWT are the new "Vatican Versions" Part TWO, which shows the whole verses, phrases and word omissions common to them all.
http://brandplucked.webs.com/esvcatholicpart2.htm

Let’s look at these examples. WH stands for the Westcott-Hort, Nestle-Aland Critical text.
TR stands for the Textus Receptus readings of Scrivener that underly the King James Bible.

Also notice that Mr. Torrey does not quote from the King James Bible. The man is just another confused and misinformed Bible agnostic, and he really should have known better than to publish something this misguided.

1. Rev. 1:4 "Grace to you, and peace, from he who is and who was and who is to come" (all nom. case)
WH - χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη απο ο ων και ο ην και ο ερχομενος
TR - χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη απο του ο ων και ο ην και ο ερχομενος
KJB - Grace be unto you, and peace, from HIM WHICH IS, AND WHICH WAS, AND WHICH IS TO COME…
The TR has that little word του in it that makes it grammatically correct with the genitive following the word “from” - απο του, which means from the source of

2. Rev. 1:15 "His legs were like burnished brass (neut. gender dative case) as in a furnace purified" (Fem. gender sing. no., gen. case)
WH - και οι ποδες αυτου ομοιοι χαλκολιβανω ως εν καμινω πεπυρωμενης και η φωνη αυτου ως φωνη υδατων πολλων
TR - και οι ποδες αυτου ομοιοι χαλκολιβανω ως εν καμινω πεπυρωμενοι και η φωνη αυτου ως φωνη υδατων πολλων
KJB - And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
The TR is correct. It has the nominative (subject) which agrees with “his feet”. The Critical texts πεπυρωμενης doesn’t agree with anything.

3. Rev. 11:3 "My witness (nom.) shall prophesy for many days clothed (accus.) in sackcloth."
WH - και δωσω τοις δυσιν μαρτυσιν μου και προφητευσουσιν ημερας χιλιας διακοσιας εξηκοντα περιβεβλημενους σακκους
TR - και δωσω τοις δυσιν μαρτυσιν μου και προφητευσουσιν ημερας χιλιας διακοσιας εξηκοντα περιβεβλημενοι σακκους
KJB - my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Here it is Mr. Torrey who is wrong both in his quote of the verse and in the grammatical points he brings up. “witnesses” is NOT in the nominative case. It is the dative, as it should be. And the word “sackcloth” in the phrase “clothed in sackcloth” is correct.
If the verb “to clothe” (periballo) is used without the word “en”, then it is followed by the accusative. See Mark 16:5; Luke 23:11; John 19:2 and Revelation 7:9 and 13 “arrayed in white robes”; Rev. 12:1 “a woman clothes with the sun”; Rev. 17:4; 18:16 and 19:8 “she should be arrayed in fine linen.”

4. Rev. 14:14 "I saw on the cloud one seated like unto a Son of Man (accus.) having (nom.) upon his head a golden crown."
WH - και ειδον και ιδου νεφελη λευκη και επι την νεφελην καθημενον ομοιον υιον ανθρωπου εχων επι της κεφαλης αυτου στεφανον χρυσουν και εν τη χειρι αυτου δρεπανον οξυ
TR - και ειδον και ιδου νεφελη λευκη και επι την νεφελην καθημενος ομοιος υιω ανθρωπου εχων επι της κεφαλης αυτου στεφανον χρυσουν και εν τη χειρι αυτου δρεπανον οξυ
KJB - And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
There IS a textual difference here, but again the TR is correct, and Mr. Torrey is wrong. “Son of man” is NOT in the accusative case. “Son” is correctly in the dative because of the word “like” ομοιος and “man” is correctly in the genitive case. And the TR is correct with “one like TO the Son (dative)” and the verb “having” agrees with the subject which is “one sat (sitting)”

5. Rev. 14:19 "He harvested the vintage of the earth, and cast it into the winepress (fem), the great [winepress] (mas.) of the wrath of God.
WH - και εβαλεν ο αγγελος το δρεπανον αυτου εις την γην και ετρυγησεν την αμπελον της γης και εβαλεν εις την ληνον του θυμου του θεου τον μεγαν
TR - και εβαλεν ο αγγελος το δρεπανον αυτου εις την γην και ετρυγησεν την αμπελον της γης και εβαλεν εις την ληνον του θυμου του θεου την μεγαλην
KJB - And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
Here again it is the KJB and the TR that is grammatically correct. All the nouns “the great winepress” are feminine and in agreement. It is the UBS, Westcott-Hort text that is in error.

6. Rev. 17:4 "A golden cup filled with abominations (gen.) and with unclean things" (accus.)
WH - εχουσα ποτηριον χρυσουν εν τη χειρι αυτης γεμον βδελυγματων και τα ακαθαρτα της πορνειας αυτης
TR - εχουσα χρυσουν ποτηριον εν τη χειρι αυτης γεμον βδελυγματων και ακαθαρτητος πορνειας αυτης
KJB - having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
Again, it is the TR and the KJB that are correct. It correctly has the genitive which agrees with “full of abominations”. It is the Nestle-Aland, Critical text that is in error.

7. Rev. 19:20 "The lake of blazing (fem.) fire (neut.)
WH - εβληθησαν οι δυο εις την λιμνην του πυρος της καιομενης εν θειω
TR - εβληθησαν οι δυο εις την λιμνην του πυρος την καιομενην εν τω θειω
KJB - These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
There IS a textual difference here, but it is Mr. Torrey that is mistaken again. The word for “fire” του πυρος IS neuter, but that makes no difference in the text. It’s ALWAYS neuter because it is a noun and not an adjective. It modifies “lake”. The word “fire” is not going to change its gender no matter what word it modifies.
See for example Revelation 2:18 “flame of fire”; Rev. 4:5 “lamps of fire” and Rev. 10:1 “pillars of fire”

8. Rev. 20:2 "And he seized the dragon (accus.), the old serpent (nom.) who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him."
WH - και εκρατησεν τον δρακοντα ο οφις ο αρχαιος ος εστιν διαβολος και ο σατανας και εδησεν αυτον χιλια ετη
TR - και εκρατησεν τον δρακοντα τον οφιν τον αρχαιον ος εστιν διαβολος και σατανας και εδησεν αυτον χιλια ετη
KJB - And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Here again it is the TR of the KJB that is grammatically correct and the Westcott-Hort, Critical text that is wrong.

9. Rev. 21:9 "Seven angels holding seven bowls (accus.) filled (gen.) with the seven last plagues."
WH - και ηλθεν εις εκ των επτα αγγελων των εχοντων τας επτα φιαλας των γεμοντων των επτα πληγων των εσχατων και ελαλησεν μετ εμου λεγων δευρο δειξω σοι την νυμφην την γυναικα του αρνιου
TR - και ηλθεν προς με εις των επτα αγγελων των εχοντων τας επτα φιαλας τας γεμουσας των επτα πληγων των εσχατων και ελαλησεν μετ εμου λεγων δευρο δειξω σοι την νυμφην του αρνιου την γυναικα
KJB - And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
Again, it is the TR that is correct which has the accusative for both words, and the Westcott-Hort text which is grammatically incorrect.

10. Rev. 22:5 "They have no need of lamplight (gen.) nor of sunlight (accus.)."
WH - και νυξ ουκ εσται ετι και ουκ εχουσιν χρειαν φωτος λυχνου και φως ηλιου οτι κυριος ο θεος φωτισει [επ] αυτους και βασιλευσουσιν εις τους αιωνας των αιωνων
TR - και νυξ ουκ εσται εκει και χρειαν ουκ εχουσιν λυχνου και φωτος ηλιου οτι κυριος ο θεος φωτιζει αυτους και βασιλευσουσιν εις τους αιωνας των αιωνων
KJB - And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
And lastly, once again, it is the Textus Receptus of the King James Bible that is grammatically correct and the Vatican supervised Critical text that is grammatically incorrect.

I am not a Greekophile. I believe the English text of the King James Bible is the complete, inspired and 100% true and inerrant words of God. It just so happens that the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts that make up this magnificent translation are the right texts.
All of grace, believing the Book - the King James Holy Bible - 100% correct all the time - Get used to it.

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Will Brinson - Ferguson
https://www.academia.edu/3714259/g00g_Hebrew_Aramaic_not_Greek

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Prolegomena No.180 - given in Twells
John Mill

Bengel

A critical examination of the late new text and version of the New Testament; wherein the editor [D. Mace]'s corrupt text, false version, and fallacious notes are censur'd, Volume 3 (1732) - similar in Latin by Twells in Wolfii Curae
Leonard Twells
https://books.google.com/books?id=Fh4512wR7toC&pg=PA114

The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, Volume 2
By Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768)
https://books.google.com/books?id=u8IrAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA717

Introduction to the New Testament, Volume 4 (c, 1780 in German edition)
On the Greek Style of the Apocalypse
Johann David Michaelis
https://books.google.com/books?id=VbEXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA528
p. 528-536
https://books.google.com/books?id=EWEUAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA528
https://books.google.com/books?id=3lcHAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA528

But when the rules of the Greek grammar are accurately observed in St. John’s Gospel, and are frequently violated in the Apocalypse, we have a difference, which cannot be ascribed to the dissimilitude of the subject : for the same author, who wrote correctly as an historian, would not be guilty of solecisms even in writing prophecies. (Examples from Bengel - quotes from Dionysius of Alexandria, including from Eusebius, Leonard Twells in Wolfii Curae- Lardner offers counterpoint - Revelation 1:7 Zechariah and John 19:37)

The Solecisms of the Apocalypse - (1902)
Thomas Cowden Laughlin (1868-1945)
https://archive.org/details/solecismsofapoca00laugrich
23 pages
The Greek of the Apocalypse is marked by a series of most striking peculiarities which, as has long been recognized, are due in large part to the influence of the Hebrew idiom. They appear in passages imitating the style of the Hebrew Prophets1 (with whose writings the Apocalyptist was so familiar2) or in sentences or phrases transferred directly from the Hebrew of the Old Testament or from its Greek translation—the LXX.3 The following pages present the evidence of this Hebrew influence in sufficient volume and with sufficient discussion of detail to make, it is hoped, a complete demonstration.4 The solecisms will be considered under three heads.

1. Ebrard ...

* Ewald, “Die Johanneischen Scliriften.” Bd. II., S. 52..

3 The LXX translation is more Hebraic than the N. T. and does not represent a type of Greek established and in actual currency at the time it was made, but “ its distinctive character is due rather to the translators’ exaggerated deference to the Hebrew sacred text and their mechanical reproduction of it.” (Thayer on "Language of the New Testament” in Hasting’s “ Dictionary of the Bible,” Vol. Ill, p. 40.) It is not surprising, then, that solecisms are found in the LXX nor in the writings of those who quoted or made use of that translation.

4 There are no less than 460 O. T. passages made use of in the Apocalypse. Westcott and Hort give a list of these in their “ N. T. Greek,” pp. 612 ff. and under the heading "Quotations from the O. T.” ; but the Apocalypse contains no quotations proper, although a great part of its language is taken from the O. T. (Toy, “ Quotations in the N. T.,” p. 253, Cp. Sweto, “An Introduction to the O. T. in Greek,” pp. 392 and 404.)
Bib.jpg


The Apocalypse of St John: The Greek Text with Introduction Notes and Indices (1906)
Henry Barclay Swete
http://www.archive.org/details/2apocalypseofstj00swetuoft
https://books.google.com/books?id=Bng9AAAAYAAJ
Dionysius

Studies in the Book of Revelation (1920)
Robert Henry Charles
https://books.google.com/books?id=JM4DIYYhUFkC&pg=PA115

Irregularities in the grammar of the Apocalypse (1943)
Alfred Martin
https://dts.on.worldcat.org/oclc/15035631
Thesis, Dissertation Publication year:1943
Held by DTS Libraries

The Book of Revelation - (1999)
Gregory K. Beale
https://books.google.com/books?id=HjKUiljUwcUC&pg=PA100

The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation (2000)
Vern S. Poythress
https://www.amazon.com/Returning-King-Guide-Book-Revelation/dp/0875524621

All Power to the Lamb (2010)
James R. Johnson
https://books.google.com/books?id=IaeyJNdTXaoC&pg=PR38
Beale Ponthross error (Poythress) Stuart

Morphological and Syntactical Irregularities in the Book of Revelation: A Greek Hypothesis (2015)
Laurențiu Florentin Moț
https://books.google.com/books?id=x369BwAAQBAJ&pg=PA4
1613821396947.png


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b-greek forum discussion

http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2005-January/032899.html
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2005-January/032902.html
https://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2008-August/047355.html
https://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2008-August/047373.html
https://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2008-August/047380.html
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2008-August/047392.html

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Steven Avery

Administrator
Luke Carpenter
People have brought up ακαθαρτητος in Revelation 17:4 in the TR as being an error where it should be τα ακαθαρτα της. The TR form allegedly is not a Greek word and it isn't found in any currently extant Greek mss. I have also seen Will Kinney point out that the CT may be grammatically incorrect because τα ακαθαρτα is nominative neuter plural when it should be genitive. In terms of grammar,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/467...k/836825217163342/?comment_id=837289677116896

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BVDB counterpoint attempt
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/bibleversiondiscussionboard/kjvo-misuse-of-evidence-t5990.html

brandpluckt wastes a ton of time on a genetic fallacy approach. Why did Will Kinney quote Fgerguson and ignore a bunch of other irrelevant stuff from Ferguson? Unrelated to the Charles Cutler Torrey Revelation grammar issues? (If in fact the quotes of the 10 verses have an original source with Ferguson. The minor point is that Will should have given attribution.)

BVDB
TR: ακαθαρτητος

BDAG Lexicon:
ακαθαρτης, ητος, η. uncleanness. τ. πορνειας Rv 17:4 t.r., a reading composed by Erasmus. The word does not otherwise exist.

Just because there is a Strong number G169 for ακαθαρτος does not make this the same word as his G168 ακαθαρτης for Rev 17:4 (which had to be cited due to the Erasmus conjecture in the TR edition that Strong's was based upon, and not because it was any "real" word).

"At the present time this text of Erasmus is still disseminated by tens and even hundreds of thousands by the British and Foreign Bible Society of London. To this day the word ἀκαθάρτητος is printed in their editions at Apoc. 17:4, though there is no such word in the Greek language as ἀκαθάρτης, meaning uncleanness."
Eberhard Nestle, Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament, ed. Allan Menzies, trans. William Edie (London; New York; Edinburgh; Oxford: Williams and Norgate, 1901) p. 4, fn. 1.


Katoog

ἀκαθάρτης, -ητος, ἡ uncleanness
TR G168 ἀκαθάρτης(akathartes) is a third declension noun with a dental stem (τ, δ, θ) and ακαθαρτητος is the genitive singular form.
No to confuse with ακάθαρτης(akáthartis) the genitive singular feminine form of G168 ἀκάθαρτος.
WH G169 ἀκάθαρτος is a second declension adjective and ἀκάθαρτα is the nominative, accusative (and vocative) neuter plural form. But τὰ ἀκάθαρτα is an accusative because it is connected with the accusative article τὰ.
You suggest that all sources said ἀκάθαρτα but in reality based on Hoskier list are there 4 possibilities (minus obvious typos).

1) ακαθαρτητος (genitive)
2) (omit it)
3) τὰ ἀκάθαρτα or ἀκάθαρτα
4) ακαθαρτηιων (that is like the genitive plural ακάθαρτων)

So 1 and 4 are genitives and 2 evade the problem by omitting it; but 3 is NEVER a genitive.
Discrediting TR G169 doesn't change the grammar for τὰ ἀκάθαρτα in Rev 17:4.You still need to prove that τα ακαθαρτα or τὰ ἀκάθαρτα is grammatically correct in Rev 17:4.

It is not because TR G168 ακαθαρτητος or akathartos is only used in Rev 17:4 that the word not exist.
TR G168 is the noun form of the adjective G169 and the antonym (ἀ+καθαρτης) of the noun Cathartes (καθάρτης or purifier) also used as genus for some vultures.
She is an un-purifier or somebody who makes clean things unclean or somebody with dirty hand(s). This is the reason for the nouns "filthiness" or "impurity" or "uncleanness" in some translations: so the claim that the word ακαθαρτητος not exist is nonsense. The only problem is using the correct acute accent if you use a version with diacritics: ἀκαθάρτητος Vs ἀκάθαρτητος but my version of the TR omitted diacritics as the Originals.

And Jerome Latin Vulgate of 405 AD supports ακαθαρτητος with the singular inmunditia (τὰ ἀκάθαρτα is plural).

The point is that there are ZERO grammar errors for Revelation in the 1894 Scrivener Textus Receptus unlike every manuscript that you are supposed to support.
Every example that you or C.C. Torrey have for grammar errors in Revelation is based on corruption in the Critical Text or is an error.
More on 16-17-18-19 -21-22-25

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BVDB mentions on the Aramaic primacist or primacy issues supported by Ferguson:

Our Translated Gospels By Charles Cutler Torrey; Documents of the Primitive Church by Charles Cutler Torrey;
An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts by Matthew Black;
The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel by Charles Fox Burney;
The Aramaic Origin of the Four Gospels by Frank Zimmerman and
Semitisms of the Book of Acts by Max Wilcox.
 
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Steven Avery

Administrator
...the Book of Revelation was written in a Semitic language, and that the Greek translation, is a remarkably close rendering … of the original." -
C. C. Torrey; Documents of the Primitive Church 1941; p. 160

We come to the conclusion therefore, that the Apocalypse as a whole, is a translation from Hebrew or Aramaic.... - R. B. Y. Scott;
The Original Language of the Apocalypse 1928; p. 6

https://www.academia.edu/3714259/g00g_Hebrew_Aramaic_not_Greek

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1616464092117.png


Exegesis and the Synoptics (2012)
Robert Geis
https://books.google.com/books?id=G_V1CgAAQBAJ&pg=PA112

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Steven Avery

Administrator
Charles Cutler Torrey

The relation to the Gospels, and especially to the Gospel of Matthew, is a matter of great importance. It is treated in sufficient detail in the commentaries, and the conclusions are well known; it is unnecessary here to do more than summarize. The Apocalypse makes distinct allusion to the Gospel; there can be no question of dependence in the other direction.

Swete, who treats the matter on pp. clvi ff., thinks the formula "He who has an ear, let him hear" the most remarkable instance (cf. Matt. 11:15) and names the following parallels as "fairly certain": 3:3, derived from Matt. 24:43; 3:5, from Matt. 10:32; 13:10, from Matt. 26:52.

Bousset notes these and other parallels to the Gospels (e.g., p. 241) and on p. 225 terms the borrowing from Matthew in Rev. 3:5 "unverkennbar" ["unmistakable" -JR].

Charles, I, lxxxiv, note 6: "The dependence of 3:3, 16:15, on Matt. 24:42, 43, 46, is obvious." On p. lxvi he says this more emphatically, collects other parallels, and concludes that "our author used Matthew." Concerning 3:5 he agrees with Swete and Bousset that there is a clear reminiscence of Matt. 10:32.

The bearing of this upon the date of the Gospel is plain. Since Revelation was composed in the year 68 (the evidence being overwhelming) the date of Matthew falls in the middle of the century, the time conjectured in The Four Gospels and Our Translated Gospels and supported in Documents [all books authored by Torrey -JR].

The same commentators discuss also the question of Revelation's dependence on Luke and John, and all three express the same confidence as in the case of Matthew. Mark, almost completely superseded by Matthew, would hardly be heard from in Revelation. A strong case for dependence on John could probably be made out, now that it is established that both works were written in Aramaic. Evidence from Greek diction of course disappears, for the most part.

The conventional date assigned to the Apocalypse, the reign of Domitian (81-96) has no valid evidence in its favor, as will appear. The late date seemed absolutely necessary because of the accepted date of the Gospels, especially Matthew) which unquestionably belong to an earlier stage of Christian development. In the search for a historical setting of Revelation near the end of the century, an apparent footing was found in a late outcropping of the Nero redivivus excitement, which in its original form plays a prominent part in the book. A pseudo Nero made his appearance in Parthia in or about the year 79 and raised a considerable commotion. Book IV of the Sibylline Oracles, completed at just this time, predicts his invasion of the Romain domain at the head of a great Parthian army; and the prediction inevitably recalls the passage in Rev., chapter 17, where the beast "whose death-stroke was healed" (13:3, 12, 14) leads an army to capture and destroy Rome. The Parthian pretender appeared, however, long after the rise of the redivivus doctrine, which was in the year 68, and there is very good ground for the belief that Sibylline Book IV made direct use of our Apocalypse in the time of Domitian. Revelation has nothing to do with Parthia, but the Sibylline poet easily made the combination. It is important to note that whenever material connected with Rev. was borrowed, the borrowing was done by the pagan writer. See further, below, in the section dealing with the date of the Apocalypse.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

One other subject may be touched upon before coming to the language of the book. A very striking feature of the Apocalypse is the amount of lyric verse it contains. In chapter after chapter, and often more than once in a single chapter, the vision pauses for a brief chorus sung by angels or other heavenly beings, by the army of martyrs (15:3), or again by all created things (5:13). These doxologies and little songs of triumph are all in strict metrical form. They are generally not printed as poetry in our texts and translations, and thus the reader loses some of the impression originally created. A large part of the Apocalypse is in rhythmical form after the manner of the O.T. prophecies; to what extent the rhythm is in a definite literary mode, or occasionally becomes truly metrical, it may some day be possible to determine. The lyrical outbursts, however, are not patterned on Hebrew prophecy, but are a new feature. We seem to have here a bit of the early Christian hymnology, that of the Jewish-Christian congregations.

The meters employed in the songs are the same as are used in the Hebrew scriptures, but the language here is Aramaic, not Hebrew. Easily recognized are both the line of 3│3 metric accents and that of 3│2, and the manner of their use has in it nothing new. The lyrical interludes were presumably all composed by the Apocalyptist himself for the places which they occupy. Interesting evidence of his close attention to strophic form will be given in the note on 15:3f., the Song of Moses and the Lamb."

The Language

The language of the "Revelation of John" has offered one of the most perplexing problems of biblical study. Its author is, on the one hand, a master of Greek and a man of learning: on the other hand, one who writes in an idiom which is not Greek but Semitic, and whose work swarms with major offenses against Greek grammar.

As for the mastery of Greek, it seems at the outset to be shown by the vocabulary of the book. See the details given in Swete's Apocalypse of St John, pp. cxv ff. It is a large vocabulary containing many unusual words, all handled with certainty: employing a great variety of verbs and verbal compounds, all so used as to give the precise shade of meaning desired in each case. As modern commentators agree, the author of the book was a master of Hebrew and made his own translations for that language in his multitudinous allusions to the Old Testament. These translations, without exception, are the work of a scholar who evidently was at least as thoroughly at home in Greek as in Hebrew. They are as accurate, concise, and skillfully fashioned, word on word, as those of any translator. They are very instructive material inviting special study, even after the admirable work of Charles in his great commentary.*
*This work, The Revelation of St. John by R. H. Charles, two thick volumes published by the International Critical Commentary series in the year 1920, is an inexhaustible mine of information on nearly all matters concerning this apocalypse. Frequent reference will be made to it in the following pages.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

To all appearance, thus far, the Greek of Revelation is the work of a linguist of skill and erudition; why, then, the astonishing "offenses against grammar"? This peculiarity has been a source of great interest and perplexity since the earliest times. The fact is so familiar that it is hardly necessary to quote from the scholars, ancient and modern, who have been nonplused by this "Greek." The present state of critical opinion, however, may be illustrated by a few examples.

The explanation of undue haste on the part of the Greek writer has not infrequently been offered. Under pressure of time, or in agitation, it is said, the man not perfectly at home in the language he was writing put down barbarisms which he would afterward have corrected if he had the opportunity to revise his manuscript. Bousset (p. 160) sees gross carelessness―"grobe Nachlässigheit"―in the syntax of 1:13 and 14:14, for example.

Examination shows this theory to be untenable in the face of such "slips" (!) as those in 1:4, 1:15, 14:19, 17:4, 19:20, and 21:9. There is no sort of carelessness that could possibly produce all those unnatural combinations.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

Norden, Agnostos Theos, p. 382, has a different explanation. The flouting of Greek grammar was deliberately undertaken in contempt of Hellenism: "sichtlich mehr aus Demonstration gegen alles Hellenische als aus Unfähigkeit, da er dieselben Strukturen, die er gelegentlich barbarisiert, an anderen Stellen regulär braucht." [visibly more out of demonstration against all things Hellenistic than from inability since the same structures he occasionally butchers he also uses normally in other places -JR]

It is plain, however, that the author was not an enemy of Hellenism, nor of the Greek language. It was his interest in Hellenism and his wish to see the divine message spread abroad in the Greek tongue that led him to undertake the work. What he actually strove against, as will appear, was the foreign idiom which could hide from view the true text, the inspired words, if in any way these could be kept in sight.
To be continued...




Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

A third explanation, in which the great majority of scholars of the present day have felt compelled to take refuge, sees in the barbarisms of the book neither carelessness nor chauvinism, but rather ignorance. This is the view held by Charles in his commentary. He says of the Apocalyptist, after mentioning "the unbridled license of his Greek constructions," pp. cxliii f.:
... while he writes in Greek, he thinks in Hebrew, and the thought has naturally affected the vehicle of expression. ... But this is not all. He never mastered Greek idiomatically―even the Greek of his own period. To him very many of its particles were apparently unknown, and the multitudinous shades of meaning which they expressed in the various combinations into which they entered were never grasped at all, or only in a very inadequate degree.
In view of the facts already stated, this theory seems quite untenable. In regard to the strange Greek constructions Norden, quoted above, truly says that in every case of a barbarism the correct usage appears elsewhere in the book. There is no lack of knowledge of Greek idiom. As for the Greek particles, the manner of their use or absence is like what we see throughout the Greek Bible. Here also there is no proof of ignorance. Charles' explanation it decidedly less plausible than the others.

There is excellent reason, however, for one conclusion he reaches―expressed in similar words by many before him―namely, that "the linguistic character of the Apocalypse is absolutely unique." The grammatical monstrosities of the book, in their number and variety and especially in their startling character, stand alone in the history of literature. It is only in the Greek that they are apparent, for it is the form, not the sense, that is affected.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

A few of the more striking solecisms are exhibited here in English translation, so that any reader may see their nature.

1:4. "Grace to you, and peace, from he who is and who was and who is to come" (all nom. case).

1:15. "His legs were like burnished brass (neut. gend., dative case) as in a furnace purified (fem. gend., sing. no., gen. case)"

11:3. "My witnesses (nom.) shall prophesy for many days clothed (accus.) in sackcloth."

14:14. "I saw on the cloud one seated like unto a son-of-man (accus.), having (nom.) upon his head a golden crown."

14:19. "He harvested the vintage of the earth, and cast it into the winepress (fem.), the great [winepress] (masc.) of the wrath of God."

17:4. "A golden cup filled with abominations (gen.) and with unclean things (accus.)."

19:20. "The lake of blazing fire ("fire," neut.; "blazing," fem.).

20:2. "And he seized the dragon (accus.), the old serpent (nom.), who is the Devil and Satan and bound him."

21:9. "Seven angels, holding the seven bowls (accus.) filled (gen.) with the seven last plagues."

22:5. "They have no need of lamplight (gen.) nor of sunlight (accus.)."

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

This apparent linguistic anarchy has no explanation on the Greek side. It is hardly surprising that to some readers it should have seemed open defiance of grammar, to others a symptom of mental aberration. Nevertheless there is method to it all. The more grotesque these barbarisms, the more certain it is that they are not due to lack of acquaintance with Greek. Each of the rules broken in the passages here cited is faithfully observed in many other places and shown to be perfectly familiar. Thus in the first of the examples, 1:4, immediately after apò ho ōn kai ho ēn kai ho erchómenos [ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος] follows kaì apò tōn heptà pneumátōn [καì ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων]. There is a reason, which can be shown, why the former of the two phrases was not put in the genitive case.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

It would be ridiculous to conclude from 20:2 (above), and from 1:5 apὸ Iēsoû khristoû, ho mártus ho pistós [ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς, ὁ πιστός] ("from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness"), that the author of this Greek was imperfectly acquainted with the construction called apposition. The method he followed justified him in choosing the construction illustrated in the two passages; while in such instances (in his view not similar) as 3:12, 13:16, 17:7, 20:8, 21:2, and 21:9 (end), he treated the cases of apposition like any Greek author.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

It must not be supposed that any theory of a badly preserved Greek text can help to explain these disturbances. There is too great a degree of uniformity in the solecisms to permit the supposition of mere scribal carelessness. The sins against Greek syntax fall into certain definite classes which are easily recognized. It is certain, and there is general agreement as to the fact, that the Greek text has been well preserved, on the whole. It is quite true that the extant manuscripts and versions show very considerable variation throughout the book, for the impulse to improve the barbarous style must have been strongly felt by both professional scribes and occasional editors. On the other hand, it is plain that the impression of a truly unique composition was very generally recognized from the first.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

Where the reading is particularly bizarre, seemingly quite impossible, as in 1:15 (above), there are sure to be variants, raising the question whether we have before us one of the characteristic barbarisms or the result of a copyist's error. The answer can rarely be doubtful; though the impression of a corrupt text, inevitably produced by these monstrosities, did lead to some careless copying of the Greek and to free conjecture. See, for example, the textual confusion in 11:18, or in 14:14. In general, the Westcott and Hort text appears to be the most reliable.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

The foregoing examples will suffice, at the outset, to show why the Greek of the Apocalypse is looked upon as unique. They are only a small part, however, of a great array of linguistic evidence pointing to a definite conclusion. It is to be remarked, moreover, that these barbarisms are "unique" only in degree, not in essential character. They are extreme examples of the same mixture of languages which is constantly present in the Four Gospels and the first half of Acts (to say nothing of the Old Testament). For the truth is that the Book of Revelation was written in a Semitic language, and the Greek translation which alone has been preserved is a remarkably close rendering of the original.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

Reason for extraordinary faithfulness on the part of a translator is given in 22:18f.:

I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city.

Here is the warning to any interpreter. The last degree of exactness in reproducing both words and idioms is plainly prescribed, and this is what we see attempted in our curious Greek. In fact, underlying all of the amazing solecisms is seen the wording of the Semitic original. The grammatical monstrosities, recognized in their true nature, testify to the execution of a definite purpose carried through with remarkable consistency. When they are examined, they are found to show grammatical appreciation rather than the lack of it. But it is Aramaic grammar!

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

(Nevertheless, the ideal of a thoroughly accurate translation was incapable of realization, as we know to our sorrow. No Greek translator of an unpointed Semitic text of the extent of this apocalypse could possibly come through without his considerable sheath of mistranslations. We have no knowledge of any such faultless―or even nearly faultless―achievement.*)

What the Greek translator of Revelation does, in the effort to be exactly faithful, is merely an exaggeration of what is regularly and constantly done in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The translators rendered as they did because of the conception of their task. They were handing down works of high importance, and would assume no unnecessary responsibility. What they―each and all―aimed at was to produce a text which could be understood by the Greek reader and at the same should mirror faithfully every word and phrase of the sacred original. This, the original, was the all-important thing, and the fact was always kept in view. The style of the translation was of no consequence; it was not Greek, nor ever intended to be.
*See Our Translated Gospels [by Torrey], chapter 1; The Four Gospels [by Torrey], pages 265-74.

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Steven Avery

Administrator
Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

The "Greek" of the Four Gospels was written by four different men, each with his own background, literary habit, and immediate purpose; they are also commonly supposed to have done their work in places rather widely distant from one another. Yet each of the four writes the very same curious mixture, Greek words and omnipresent Semitic style: the phenomenon so familiar in every part of the Septuagint. Characteristically Greek idioms are not to be found, excepting such as have their Semitic equivalents; but the use of Greek words is uniformly perfect in each Gospel, as it is in the Apocalypse. Greek was the native tongue of each of the translators, as would be expected, and in both Old Testament and New Testament their method is essentially the same. Any solecism which in verbal form could represent the original text might be allowed, in spite of Greek usage. Thus Aquila renders Eccles. 12:9, éti* edidaxen gnôsin sùn (!) ánthrōpon, "He still taught the people knowledge." No barbarism in Revelation is worse than the kairôi in Luke 20:10. It is not Greek, but it reproduces exactly the Aramaic adverbial compound, lizəman, and for that reason it was coined by Luke, who is the most slavishly literal of the Gospel translators. See Our Translated Gospels, p. 77, note.
*Our Greek has hóti, the same false reading which (as I believe) is found in John 8:25, as well as in several O.T. passages. The Four Gospels, p. 323.
Here is the comment on John 8:25 on page 323 of The Four Gospels referenced in the footnote above:
8:25. I think that the original reading of the Greek text was ἔτι instead of ὅτι. The two words are often confused; and in several O.T. passages the wrong word has maintained itself in the manuscript tradition; see Is. 56:8, Eccles. 12:9, and Sirach 51:24. Notice also Jer. 22:11 f. in Cod. Q.
Here is the footnote on page 77 of Our Translated Gospels, referenced at the end of the comment above:
Concerning the curious καιρῷ in 20:10, Wellhausen, Comm., remarks, that it "cannot mean, and yet must mean, 'at the the proper time'." How could Luke, who certainly knew how to write Greek, make such a blunder? It is no blunder (though it is not Greek at all), but is merely his usual proceeding. Like the many other specimens of hybrid and inelegant Greek written by him, it is the result of strictly accurate translation according to his norm. The explanation is perfect here, as it generally is. The above mentioned Greek word renders exactly the Aramaic adverbial compound, li-zman, which stood in his text. The same word, in a precisely similar context, occurs in Gen. 18:14, Targ. Onk.: "At the set time I will return."
To be continued...

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

Greek readings which make nonsense, the result of mistranslation or of rendering a text which had become corrupt in the process of transmission, are a matter of course. They abound in the LXX, where as a rule their origin is easily seen. In the O.T. Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha they are often of great value as guides to the original Semitic text. Thus also in the Gospels; see the outstanding examples of nonsense, some two dozen in number, in The Four Gospels, pp. 272 f. [see below -JR]. In our Apocalypse the following may be mentioned: 4:8; 8:3 f., 12b; 11:1; 13:11; 14:19b; 15:2 (end); 16:10 f.; 19:16. The translator was bound to render what he saw before him, asking no questions.
From The Four Gospels, pages 272-274:
The following plainly unacceptable readings, due to mistranslation (which often is merely too literal translation), are from the Greek in the Gospels.

Unless they wash their hands with the fist, they eat not. Mk. 7:3.

Very early in the morning, after the sun had risen. Mk. 16:2

Be perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect. Mt 5:48.

There met him a man from the city; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and abode not in any house, but in the tombs. Lk. 8:27.

An uninhabited place, namely the city Bethsaida. Lk. 9:10, 12.

Every man enters violently into the kingdom of heaven. Lk. 16:16.

Henceforth you shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Jn. 1:51.

Hosanna to the son of David. Mt. 21:9.

Behold, your house is left to you. Mt. 23:38; Lk. 13:35.

Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Jn 7:38.

They wished to receive Jesus into the boat (but did not thus receive him?). Jn. 6:21.

It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath began to dawn. Lk. 23:54.

Late on the sabbath, at the dawning of the first day of the week. Mt. 28:1.

If it were not so, would I have told you? etc. Jn. 14:2

What has happened, that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world? Jn. 14:22

I neither know, nor understand, what you are saying. Mk. 14:68.

You have no need that anyone should ask you. Jn. 16:30.

Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Jn. 20:17.

The master of that servant will cut him in two, and appoint him his portion with the unfaithful. Mt. 24:51; Lk. 12:46 (Slight corruption of the original Aramaic text.)

Every one shall be salted with fire. Mk. 9:49. Mk. 9:49.

No man, when he has lighted a lamp, puts it in a cellar. Lk. 11:33.

He who came down from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. (Said by the Son of Man himself, to Nicodemus.)

This was he of whom I said, etc., although Jesus was still living. Jn. 1:15.

Salute no man on the way. Lk. 10:4.

His master commended the unfaithful steward, because he acted shrewdly (in continuing to defraud his master to his own advantage). Lk. 16:8.

And I say to you, gain friends by means of money, so that when it is gone they may receive you into heaven. Lk. 16:9.

Of these specimens of mere nonsense, or of incredible utterance, Lk. has the largest number, with Jn. a close second. In point of quality, Mt. comes off best. Other examples, equally striking, could be given. In all these cases the reason for the mistake in translation―usually a very good reason―can be plainly seen.

Each of the four translators has his own habits of rendering, which form an interesting study, but cannot be described here. The native tongue of each of them, as has been said, was Greek. They all were masters of Aramaic; and yet Mk. could be led astray, in 7:3, by the unusual position of an adverb. His translation is evidently somewhat hasty, occasionally rough and disjointed, as though a first draft which was not revised. Greek Mt. is a prince among Biblical translators, and his work is universally admirable. Probably no scholar of his time, holding to the principles then recognized as essential, could have produced a finer result, worthy of its original. Luke, who easily surpassed the others in his collection, arrangement, and scholarly treatment of the available material, is the one whose work is most readily recognized as a translation. His manner of rendering is meticulously faithful, and the result is very often a painfully literal phraseology. He shows remarkable skill and ingenuity in fitting the Greek to the Semitic original. His lack of acquaintance with usage peculiar to Palestinian Hebrew and Aramaic is very striking and instructive. The translator of the Fourth Gospel had the most difficult task. He probably was remote in place from the date of its composition; yet it is not in these circumstances that the main difficulty lay. The close, sometimes obscure, reasoning of its author, who deals not only in theological subtleties but also in verbal conceits, would make trouble for any translator. The Aramaic text, moreover, contained a few slight but troublesome faults. Nevertheless Jn. wrote his Greek with more freedom than Mk. or Lk., and his work is a masterpiece.
To be continued...

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

In the Journal of Biblical Literature, 48 (1929), 119, Professor Millar Burrows, in a brief article entitled "Mark's Transitions and the Translation Hypothesis," makes the acute observation that no one of the principle sections of the Gospel begins with any Greek idiom that could be called elegant, and he adds: "This is not surprising; we knew to begin with that the Gospel was not written by an academic rhetorician." Have we, in fact, this knowledge? The testimony of "Mark's" literary style has been misunderstood ever since the subapostolic age, and it has been felt necessary to apologize for the bad Greek. We have good evidence, nevertheless, that its author was a learned man and really a master of the language; and it has now been shown (The Four Gospels, 1933) that his uncouth idiom is the result of literal translation from Aramaic, the language in which the Gospel was composed. Beyond this, we are ignorant. He may or may not have been a zealous rhetorician. His being so would not in the least affect the style of the Gospel; this would be determined only by the conception of his task as a translator.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

It is possible to illustrate this fact with an example from our own century. Professor F. C. Burkitt added to his edition of the Old Syriac Gospels (Evangelion da-Mepharesche; Cambridge University Press, 1904) an English version. Text and translation are printed on opposite pages so that facing each Syriac verse is its English rendering, the latter being as literal as possible. The purpose of this was to enable the student who is ignorant of Syriac to know just what it says in each verse. I will give here examples of this translation-English in sufficient number to form a true picture of the method and to include a sufficient variety of the foreign idioms.

Matt. 5:13. If salt lose its savor and become foolish, wherewith shall it be salted?

6:27. Which of you can add unto his stature one cubit, that about clothing you are anxious? (This, to be sure, is mistranslation of the Syriac, though verbally exact.)

8:14. He saw his mother-in-law lying down and a fever holding her.

8:23. He went up into a boat and his disciples were coming after him.

11:26. Yea, my Father, that so was the will before thee.

15:22. A certain woman ... was crying out and saith, Have compassion on me.

16:23. Jesus rebuked him, even Simon.

17:19. They drew near and say to him between themselves and him.

19:9. He that leaveth his wife without a word of adultery.

19:12. He that is capable in power to endure, let him endure.

19:19. Be loving to thy neighbor as thyself.

22:19. And they themselves brought near to him a denar.

23:14. Ye eat up the houses of widows in the pretext that ye are lengthening your prayers.

Mark 14:68. I am not acquainted with what thou sayest.

16:8. To no one aught said they, because they had been afraid.

Luke 9:51. He prepared his countenance to go to Jerusalem. Verse 53, "His countenance for Jerusalem was set to go.

13:13. And straightway her stature was stretched out.

15:3. He saith to them himself this similitude.

15:13. He scattered his property on foods which are not fitting.

20:23. And he himself perceived their ill-will.

John 5:35. Ye wished to make your boast for the hour in his light.

7:24. Do not be judging by faces and faces.

8:38. I, that which I have seen by my Father, I do.

9:11. Go, wash they face with a baptism of Shiloah.

10:24. Till when art thou taking up our breath?

14:13. If ye are loving to me, keep my commandments.

Now Professor Burkitt was not a half-trained writer of English, nor was he indifferent to the requirements of grammar and style. He "thought in Syriac," indeed, in the sense that he reproduced faithfully and skillfully the idioms of the original. The expert scholar can see the Syriac, word by word and phrase by phrase, underlying his version. The verbal form was the important thing: exactly as illustrated in the LXX, the Gospels, and the Apocalypse, translations of scripture believed to have been divinely inspired. The more barbarous the idiom and the more improbable the reading, the easier (of course) to discern exactly the original text that was rendered.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

J. H. Moulton, Grammar of New Testament Greek, I, 13, charges Aquila with ignorance; and in characterizing the author of Greek Revelation he says on page 9, using 1:5, ho mártus for illustration, "His grammatical sense is satisfied when the governing work has affected the case of one object." As far as grammatical sense is concerned, the fact―not mentioned by Moulton―is that the writer's chief attention throughout this curious "Greek" document was given to Semitic grammar. It is precisely in the degree of such attention that the peculiarity of Revelation's language consists. But what the translator especially aimed to "satisfy" was his sense of responsibility as the translator of a momentous revelation.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

When Hellenist Jews and Gentile Christians came to such books as this, they were not seeking aesthetic satisfaction: what they desired was to learn what they must do to be saved. The translated writings―law, prophets, psalms, gospels―were cherished and revered as pillars of religious faith, not at all as monuments of literature. The devout readers of that day could enjoy good Greek at will, at any time; the rare opportunity, which they could not in any way afford to miss, was that of finding out just what God's inspired servants had written, or the voice of the Messiah had uttered, and this is what the translator set himself to show them.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

If "translation Greek" were not such an unfamiliar thing, the riddle presented by the language of Revelation might have been solved long ago. New Testament scholars have exhibited in their writings a pretty complete lack of acquaintance with this variety of Greek, and consequent misunderstanding of its nature. The outstanding example of this failure is Moulton's Prolegomena (Grammar, Vol. I), but other examples are plentiful. This is hardly surprising, for until recently the idea that N.T. books might originally have been written in some other language than Greek had scarcely been entertained at all. It was felt that the curious idiom seen in each of the Four Gospels, in a part of Acts, and most noticeable in the Apocalypse must somehow be capable of explanation as a variety of Hellenistic usage. The false hope was cherished that a colloquial dialect having some resemblance to this would be found in the papyri. "Oral tradition" has been ridiculously overworked. Finally, the Graeco-Semitic jargon is in itself not attractive―only when its origin is understood does it become highly interesting; it was easiest simply to record its barbarisms while waiting for some adequate explanation of their presence.

Continuation of Charles C. Torrey's Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958):

Nevertheless, since it was well know that the foreign admixture in this variety of N.T. Greek was Aramaic or Hebrew; since also the entire argument in the Gospels is addressed to men familiar with the Hebrew scriptures, while the atmosphere of every one of these documents is plainly Palestinian; it might have been expected that specialists in New Testament science would begin to pay close attention to the Greek of the Old Testament with its array of Graeco-Semitc barbarisms. If they had done this they would have discovered the very same language mixture as is illustrated in the N.T. writings above named. In the Conybeare and Stock Selections from the Septuagint (1905), page 21, the editors asserted, in a burst of optimism, that there were "signs that scholars are beginning to realize the importance of the study of the Greek Old Testament in its bearing upon the interpretation of the New." What these signs can have been is an interesting question.

Continuation of the posthumously published Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958), by Charles Cutler Torrey (1863-1956), who taught Semitic languages at the Andover Theological Seminary (18921900), was the founding director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (1900-1901), and was Professor of Semitic Languages at Yale University (19001932).

It is perhaps needless to say that the influence of a critical premise firmly held can suffice to blind the eyes of even the best-equipped scholars in either field, Greek studies or Semitics, preventing them from seeing the truth. Thus Wellhausen was effectually debarred by his own theories from recognizing Semitic books rendered into Greek in our New Testament, see Our Translated Gospels, p. liv, note [see below -JR]; and this was also the case with Charles in his commentary on Revelation, as will presently appear.
Below is the note referenced above by Torrey:
Wellhausen, it should be said, was debarred from holding any comprehensive and definite theory of translated gospels by his firmly held view of their late origin. For him, an absolutely fixed point was provided by his identification of the Zachariah of Mt. 23:35f. with the Zachariah who was killed by the Zealots in 67 or 68 A.D. (Jos. Jewish War, iv, 5, 4). This he repeated in many places and insisted upon with some vehemence, not without ridicule of those who hold another view. Luke decidedly later, John later still.

The identification, attractive and proposed long ago, was shown by Whiston (note on the Josephus passage) to be unsound, and was completely refuted by the late G. F. Moore (J.A.O.S., vol. 26, pp. 317-323), whose acquaintance with Jewish literature, and with Jewish Aramaic, was superior to Wellhausens.

Continuation of the posthumously published Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958), by Charles Cutler Torrey (1863-1956), who taught Semitic languages at the Andover Theological Seminary (18921900), was the founding director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (1900-1901), and was Professor of Semitic Languages at Yale University (19001932).

The Language is Aramaic

The original language of Revelation was Aramaic, not Hebrew.
The fact that it was Semitic, not Greek, is convincingly shown by the material collected by Charles in his two volumes. On page after page, from the beginning to the end, he explains the constant succession of barbarisms by referring to the O.T. parallels either in the original or in the LXX version; by retroverting a great many of the troublesome phrases, word by word, into idiomatic Hebrew: and by demonstrating, as others had done, that the O.T . passages of the book are regularly rendered directly and independently from the original text. Semitic idiom in unbroken flow through twenty-two chapters―this is the phenomenon that calls for explanation.
To be continued...

Continuation of the posthumously published Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958), by Charles Cutler Torrey
(1863-1956), who taught Semitic languages at the Andover Theological Seminary (18921900), was the founding director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (1900-1901), and was Professor of Semitic Languages at Yale University (19001932):

Charles' own theory has already been set forth in the preceding pages. He thought of the idiom as Hebrew; and he accounted for its Greek dress by supposing that the author of Revelation "thought in Semitic while trying to write in Greek"; the theory to which so many scholars have been driven in the vain attempt to interpret the Four Gospels as Greek compositions.

Continuation of the posthumously published Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958), by Charles Cutler Torrey (1863-1956), who taught Semitic languages at the Andover Theological Seminary (18921900), was the founding director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (1900-1901), and was Professor of Semitic Languages at Yale University (19001932):

Regarding the designation of the idiom as Hebrew: it may in the first place be set down as certain that the native tongue of the supposed Semite was Aramaic. Why the tour de force of writing Hebrew in Greek words instead of thinking in his own language? (It is a somewhat similar case when Luke is seen to "think in Hebrew" in the first two chapters of his Gospel, and then to "think in Aramaic" during all the rest of the book.) Again, it is not true that the unquestionably Semitic idiom of the Apocalypse is specifically Hebrew. Charles does not take Aramaic into account; in fact, it is only very rarely that he mentions it in any connection.

Continuation of the posthumously published Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958), by Charles Cutler Torrey (1863-1956), who taught Semitic languages at the Andover Theological Seminary (18921900), was the founding director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (1900-1901), and was Professor of Semitic Languages at Yale University (19001932):

Now the idiom of the one language is usually identical with that of the other. What is said in Hebrew can ordinarily be said in the same number of words―often with the very same words―in Aramaic; and this is especially the case where Jewish documents are concerned. No one of the Semitisms which Charles has so ably and convincingly demonstrated can be claimed to give support to his contention as to the particular idiom underlying the Greek. In 2, 473, he gives a list of some fifty or more "Hebraisms." Not only are these all equally good Aramaisms, but in a few cases the usage is more characteristically Aramaic than Hebrew. On page cl there are mentioned four passages "which presuppose mistranslation [from Hebrew] or a corrupt Hebrew original," namely 13:3, 11 and 15:5, 6. Since these passages are all discussed in the following pages, it will suffice to mention them here. They will be found to testify to Aramaic rather than to Hebrew. The case of 15:6, where a long-standing problem is correctly solved by Charles, is especially interesting.

Continuation of the posthumously published Introduction to The Apocalypse of John (Yale University Press, 1958), by Charles Cutler Torrey (1863-1956), who taught Semitic languages at the Andover Theological Seminary (18921900), was the founding director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (1900-1901), and was Professor of Semitic Languages at Yale University (19001932):

As for "thinking in Semitic while writing in Greek": this too-familiar theory ought to be buried and never resurrected. As the history of literature sufficiently shows, it is a mere delusion―a desperate attempt to explain what otherwise seemed inexplicable, the hypothesis of translation being ruled out. The proceeding supposed would be impossible in any case, and the supposition itself is utterly absurd in the view of (1) the amount and character of the N.T. material concerned, and (2) the light thrown on the matter by O.T. Greek.

Especially interesting is the testimony of our apocalypse in regard to the Aramaic language. In this present study the Critical Notes [see below -JR] provide abundant illustration that the Apocalypse is Aramaic throughout.

After his 89 page Introduction (we are now on page 29), Torrey concludes his Apocalypse of John with 69 pages of Critical Notes, which I will present after the Introduction is finished.

During the Persian period (sixth to fourth centuries B.C.) Aramaic had taken possession of nearly all western Asia, making this area largely bilingual. With the coming of Alexander and the Greeks this was changed, but not immediately and not everywhere. In some regions Greek took possession, but in others Aramaic persisted. An interesting record from the Persian period is a bilingual inscription from one of the seven churches which later plays a part in our Apocalypse of John. This is the inscription from Sardis―see Enno Littmann's report in Lydian Inscriptions, "Publications of the American Society for the Excavation of Sardis," 6 (Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1916), Part 1, ix-85; and C. C. Torrey, "The Bilingual Inscription from Sardis," ASJL, 34, No. 3 April 1918), 185-98. This inscription in Lydian and some in Aramaic, is dated (line 1) from the tenth year of King Artaxerxes, meaning Artaxerxes I, or 455 B.C. For more than one reason this inscription is of interest. It touches the New Testament in its reference (line 7) to "Artemis of the Ephesians" (Acts 19:28, 35). It also emphasizes the fact that the seven Greek churches of the Apocalypse of John were in the region which had been Aramaic. This region, of course, included Palestine, where Josephus did his work. Josephus wrote the first draft of his History of the Jewish War in what he termed "the language of our country," meaning Aramaic, the most natural medium for him to use. At least in this case the old widespread language held firm. The second draft was written in Greek for the benefit of Greeks and Romans.

It is in connection with this use of Aramaic as a literary language that the Dead Sea Scrolls offer some of their most important testimony. Many students of the Scrolls must have made the observation which Miller Burrows makes on page 324 of his authoritative book, The Dead Sea Scrolls:

The mother tongue of most of the Jews of Palestine at this time was Aramaic. Hebrew may have been used more for religious literature because it was the language of Scripture and the synagogue. It must not be forgotten, however, that a sufficient quantity of Aramaic texts has been found to demonstrate the use of Aramaic also as a literary language. The Aramaic manuscripts of Qumran give us our first literary documents in a form of Aramaic used in Palestine in the time of Christ. Hitherto the only Aramaic documents known from this period were brief inscriptions.

Ever since Gustaf Dalman's Worte Jesu (Leipzig, 1898), followed by his Jesus-Jeschua (Leipzig, 1922), and by Arnold Meyer's Jesu Muttersprache (Freiburg i. B. and Leipzig, 1896), as well as a few later books of the same nature, it was well understood, at least among German scholars, that the language of Jesus and his disciples was Aramaic. What gave Julius Wellhausen his new idea of the part played by translation in the earliest Christian writings, however, was not the work of Dalman and the others, but the publication of the Old Syriac Gospels in 1894. (See article, "Wellhausen's Approach to the Aramaic Gospels" in the DMG, 101 [1951], 123-37.) Wellhausen was the first to see and proclaim that the first Christian writings were Aramaic. This new doctrine was, indeed, eventually repudiated by him. Nevertheless, the honor of perceiving the truth and of giving it brilliant demonstration belongs to him.

Since Wellhausen it has repeatedly been maintained by the present writer that the Greek Gospels and certain other Christian documents were translations from Aramaic. This theory has been stoutly denied, and a matter of controversy. By a strange turn of fortune the question would seem to have been finally settled in favor of the Aramaic by authoritative word from first-century Palestine.

The source of this unexpected testimony is an official document, a circular letter of instruction or bulletin sent out, presumably from Jerusalem, to the Greek churches with instructions as to the right way―the Christian way―of writing (of course in Greek transliteration) the hallowed names of the sacred books. The library in which it is preserved is that of the Greek Patriarchate in Jerusalem. Our little manuscript, which is almost the only surviving specimen of the once important "Letter of Instruction," forms a part of the famous Greek codex from which in 1883 Bishop Bryennios published the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. This codex is a veritable repository of ancient and important Christian documents. Our manuscript, occupying only a small space, stands between the Second Epistle of Clement and the Didakhē. The document not only declares the language of the Christian Church to have been Aramaic, but also makes plain why the use of it is insisted on.
 
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