From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Sep 22 1997 - 19:33:27 EDT
At 5:49 PM -0500 9/22/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>I'm having problems understanding how the phrase TAIS PROSEUCAIS is used in
>Rev 8:3 ...hINA DWSEI *TAIS* *PROSEUCAIS* TWN hAGIWN PANTWN EPI TO
>QUSIASTHRION TO CRUSOUN TO ENWPION TOU QRONOU (4) KAI ANEBH hO KAPNOS TWN
>QUMIAMATWN *TAIS* *PROSEUCAIS* TWN hAGIWN EK CEIROS TOU AGGELOU ENOPION TOU
>Here is the context: this angel is standing before the altar with a golden
>censor, and he is given a lot of frankincense. Now our text tells us *why*
>he was given the frankincense.
>Some translations say that DWSEI TAIS PROSEUCAIS TWN hAGIWN PANTWN in verse
>three means "so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints" on
>the golden altar before the throne. Another translation says "so that he
>might offer it with the prayers of all the saints" on the golden altar
>before the throne. But doesn't TAIS PROSEUCAIS merely indicate what is being
>offered on the altar, using the dative to mark the indirect object? Wouldn't
>it be better to say "so that he might offer the prayers of all the saints"
>on the golden altar before the throne? Where do these other translations
>come from? And how exactly is TAIS PROSEUCAIS used in verse four?
>Am I missing something obvious?
Perhaps not altogether obvious, but the incense is the implicit but
elliptical object of DWSEI, while the PROSEUCAI in the dative constitute an
indirect object. In vs. 4 the dative evidently indicates the prayers that
the uprising smoke accompanies. It is a bit strange, I guess, unless your
cult culture really is heavily into using incense as part of the liturgy,
as is the case here. One could argue that it's a real dative-- "the smoke
of the incense went up FOR the prayers of the saints"--or one might avail
oneself of that wonderful category of dative I saw described last spring as
"Dativ von Ziel oder Richtung"--the smoke was rising TOWARD the prayers of
the saints." It does seem a bit peculiar, but perhaps no more peculiar than
"giving" incense to the prayers--maybe one should say "adding incense to
Hmm, yesterday an EAN + future indicative where a subjunctive would be
expected; and now hINA + future indicative where a subjunctive would be
expected. But then, nobody ever accused the author of Rev of following a
standard Greek syntax.
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
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