Re: Luke 2:14: en uyistois qew, en anqrwpois eudokias

Stephen C. Carlson (
Wed, 20 Nov 1996 08:23:33 -0500

At 06:15 11/20/96 -0600, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>At 5:49 AM -0600 11/20/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>>OK, I thought I could parse this, and then someone pointed out that UYISTOIS
>>is plural. Why plural?
>>Any hints?
>Here's a couple stabs at it:
>(1) It's a neuter plural generalizing phrase, of a sort well-exemplified
>elsewhere in the NT: TA EPOURANIA, TA EPIGAIA.

BADG glosses TA hUPSISTA as the "highest heights," so the plural
does not even seem out of place in English. Why is "heights" plural
in English? I suspect the question is just as answerable as it is
for the Greek.

The well known Latin translation of DOKSA EN hUPSISTOIS QEWi is, of
course, GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO. I never really thought about until
this discussion the fact that "excelsis" is indeed ablative plural;
the singular form would be "excelso."

>(2) Semitic (Hebrew at least) has a plural (dual?) for Heaven: ha
>Shamayim,which seems to be represented at some points in the NT with the
>plural hOI OURANOI.

There's also an intriguing reference in 2Co12:2 to a "third heaven."
Any experts here in ancient cosmology?

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                   : Poetry speaks of aspirations,              : and songs chant the words. :               -- Shujing 2.35