Re: onomata

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Mar 06 1996 - 11:06:36 EST

On 3/6/96, Frank Vander Plaetse wrote:

> Onomata anqrwpwn (Apoc.11:13) is frequently reduced to'anqrwpoi' in
> translations except e.g. 'nomina hominum'(Vulgata)and 'nom d'hommes'
> (Chouraqui).A same situation can be found in Apoc.3:4 with exceptions:
> 'pauca nomina'(Vulgata),'quelques noms'(Chouraqui) and 'a few names'(KJV).
> What 's the correct translation and sense of onomata(rev.11:13 & rev.3:4)
> if I distrust those reductions ?

This is a Hebraism or Semitism, a usage not native to classical Attic
Greek, where Heb. L'SHEM corresponds roughly to English "under the heading
of," "in the category of." So what's the correct translation? It depends on
whether you want a woodenly literal translation of the Greek, in which case
it is "names of people"--or whether you prefer the normal equivalent in the
modern vernacular, in which case "people" or "hommes" is quite appropriate:
Rev. 3:4: "You have a few people in Sardis, who have not ..."; Rev. 11:13:
"... and there were killed in the earthquake 17,000 persons."

I note that Louw-Nida (Lex/semantic categories) suggests the sense "unit"
for this usage of ONOMA. That explains the usage, but of course doesn't
provide the appropriate equivalent in the modern vernacular.

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

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