Re: Revelation 19:10

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Tue Feb 10 1998 - 12:29:31 EST

Ben Crick wrote:

> ISTM that in TO PNEUMA THS PROFHTEIAS we are dealing with a phrase, not
> with an article+noun. The /phrase/ is definite; THE [Spirit-of Prophecy].
> The Semitism of this phrase is glaringly obvious: RuWaCh-HaNNeBuW'aH was
> the phrase in the writer's mind -- "the Prophecy-Spirit". The definite
> article attaches to the noun in absolute state, not to the noun in constru=
> state (which is where the English puts it).
> Compare also the normal noun+adjective combination TO PHEUMA TO hAGION.
> The Greek requires two definite articles, whereas English only requires on=
> "The Holy Spirit".
> I've said it before; a little knowledge of Classical Hebrew is a practical=
> necessity for the interpretation of the Greek NT, whose writers (barring
> Dr Luke) were of a Semitic mind-set.

While I agree with Ben that NT folks need to have a serious acquaintance
with the OT and Hebrew, and, in addition, Revelation is filled with
Semitisms (indeed, I'm slightly inclined to the view that John is hearing
Hebrew being spoken and he's writing as fast as possible in Greek; there
are other ways to deal with his solecism and rampant semiticisms however),
I don't think the Hebrew phrase Ben has given above helps, since it only
has one article and that with the second noun (as is normal in Hebrew).
As I said in the previous post, this is an Apollonius' canon construction,
and the fact that both nouns have the article tells us grammatically
NOTHING about whether they are definite, indefinite, or qualitative.
This phrase could be translated any one of the following ways (not to
mention many others if one were inclined to nuance the genitive):

spirit of prophecy
a spirit of prophecy
a spirit of the prophecy
a spirit of a prophecy
the spirit of the prophecy
the spirit of a prophecy
the spirit of prophecy

The only way to know is based on contextual clues.

Also, as I said, I think most translations take it as "the spirit of
prophecy", namely, the heart/essence of all prophetic communication is
to testify concerning the Messiah.


Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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