Re: Rev 3:17 - *hO* TALAIPWROS

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Sep 06 1997 - 11:25:33 EDT

At 10:13 PM -0500 9/5/97, Eric Weiss wrote:
>Carl wrote:
>> (1) The article actually governs the whole series, making all the
>> adjectives apply in addition to the one singled out as TALAIPWROS;
>> understood this way, the sentence could be translated: "You are
>> the one who is miserable and pitiful and poor and blind
>> and naked."
>I fully agree, having come across this marvelous verse recently and
>noticing also the "hO." What struck me, though, was the whole verse and
>the Lord's reply, especially with the SU EI - it seemed to me to be much
>more forceful than it is usually translated. It struck me as something
>like: "Because you say [that] 'I am RICH and I have become wealthy and I
>have need of NOTHING" (obviously in comparison to something or someone -
>perhaps "less fortunate" churches or Christians - i.e., those less
>gifted spiritually or having less material wealth - whom the Laodicean
>church considers to be wretched and miserable and poor) - "and you do
>not know that it is YOU [not they] who are [the] wretched and miserable
>and poor and blind and naked [one]."
>Is the hO in Rev. 3:17 like the hO in John 10:10 (hO KLEPTHS), what
>Richard Young calls the generic use of the article to describe a class
>of persons - or like the hO in Luke 18:13 (TWi hAMARTWLWi), what Young
>calls the deictic use - pointing out this individual alone?

I think that the answer to this question really depends upon how we
understand the SU, or more generally, how we understand the addressees of
these seven letters; I suspect that there may be some who would prefer to
understand these seven churches to which the letters are addressed as
concrete, individual, and historical congregations known to the author of
the book, whereas I'm inclined to think that, even if these congregations
may have had an original primary reerence to concrete, individual, and
historical congregations, they have transcended that particularity before
the ink was dry on the papyrus: such similar things are said in different
letters and there seems to be even so an effort to characterize "kinds" of
congregations that one might find in any one diocese or presbytery or
district (whatever one's denominational preference). So I would opt for the
generic use of the article here as being not very far from the intention of
the writer.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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