Revelation resources -- The Language of Revelation

Most recent revision May 26th, 2002

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Description: This page treats the language of Revelation, including the discussion whether Revelation was dependent on or used the Greek or Hebrew Old Testament. There are, of course, many philological or linguistic analyses in quite many studies on Revelation, but to qualify for inclusion on this page, the works must concentrate on these topics, not only include them as arguments in a study on other themes or problems. (30 Dec 1996)


See also

Laughlin, T. Cowden: The Solecisms of the Apocalypse. Princeton: C.S. Robinson, 1902.

Laughlin's booklet is a very short analysis of the peculiar language of Revelation. (7 Oct 1997)

Moyise, Steve: "The Language ... ", JSNT (??), 2000, pp. ???-???.

The most recent issue of JSNT has an excellent article by Dr. Moyise. Combining the evidence of, among others, R. H. Charles and H. B. Swete, in their commentaries, he argues that John was acquainted not only with the Hebrew OT, but also with Greek OT versions. More precise comments to be added shortly. See also concerning the use of the OT (July 6th, 2000).

Ozanne, C.G.: The Influence of the Text and Language of the Old Testament on the Book of Revelation. Unpublished Ph.D.-dissertation, Manchester University, 1964.
-: ”The Language of the Apocalypse” in: Tyndale Bulletin 16 (1965) 3-9.

Ozanne argues that John imitated the language of the Hebraic Old Testament for theological purposes. The dissertation is full of splendid analyses. (7 Oct 1997)

Porter, Stanley E.: ”The Language of the Apocalypse in Recent Discussion” in: NTS 35 (1989) 582-603.
-: “Another Look at the Language of the Apocalypse” in: Abstracts AAR & SBL Annual Meeting 1987 (Scholars Press, Atlanta 1987), pp. 217-218.

Porter discusses some recent discussions including Thompson's and argues that the John's language is not perfect, but that we know too little about the social registers etc. Porter analyses some semantic and syntactical pecularities in Revelation and concludes that John's Greek is Greek indeed, but that the distribution of some linguistic features is found more often than in ordinary Greek because of his Semitic background (i.e. linguistic enhancement, but not any really new syntactical constructions). The exception is the change of meaning of a number of words found in the Septuagint as well. (7 Oct 1997)

Scott, Robert Balgarnie Young: The Original Language of the Apocalypse. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1928.

Not seen yet ... (7 Oct 1997)

Thompson, Steven: The Apocalypse and Semitic Syntax. Cambridge: CUP, 1985.

Thompson argues that some semantic and syntactical problems may be solved if the Aramaic background is taken into consideration. Thompson's book is reviewed by M. Wilcox in: JTS 38 (1987) 510-512. (7 Oct 1997)


See also: Aune' commentary on Rev 1-5 (1997).
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© 1996-2001 Georg S. Adamsen Opdateret d. 26.5.2002