Re: Revelation 21:9: the use of "one" (_eij_)

Carl W. Conrad (
Wed, 27 Mar 1996 07:47:34 -0600

On 3/27/96, Georg S. Adamsen wrote:

> I am writing on a chapter in my dissertation about Revelation. During
> my analysis of Revelation 21:9 I wonder whether _eis_ (_eij_), the
> cardinal 'one', could possibly mean anything but 'one' (of the seven
> angels ...). Exactly the same phrase occurs in 17:1. John also uses
> the phrase _alloj aggeloj_ in chapters 8 and 14. I therefore wonder
> whether _eij_ here might mean anything than another of the seven
> angels compared to the one in 17:1? Is it possible at all to suggest
> that it is the same angel? In 22:8 John refers to 'the angel who
> showed me these things' which could refer to the previous section
> (21:9ff) or the previsious sections (17:1ff).

No, I do not believe that in either of these instances hEIS EK TWN hEPTA
AGGELWN can mean anything other than "one of the seven angels." It is a
somewhat strange expression wherein we have EK + (ablatival) genitive
instead of a simple partitive genitive. BDF has a nice note (#164): "The
partitive genitive or the genitive of the whole, while not yet extinct, is
being driven out by use of the prepositions EK (APO, EN) ..." While I can't
prove it, I think that Latin grammar's rigid usage of EX + ablative after
UNUS, may even be a factor in the Koine' development. I don't think I've
ever seen a partitive genitive directly following upon UNUS in Latin.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR