Re: "Jerusalems" of John 1:19

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Mar 03 1998 - 07:53:48 EST

At 7:35 AM -0500 3/3/98, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>At 10:51 PM 3/2/98 EST, WmHBoyd wrote:
>>Why is "Jerusalem" (IEROSOLUMWN) plural in John 1:19?
>This is quite common - it is plural 61 times in the GNT, and also in
>extra-biblical literature. BAGD and Louw&Nida mention this, but neither
>mentions any particular significance.
>While we're waiting for a real answer....
>I wonder if this has a meaning something like "Jerusalem and the area right
>around it". I also wonder if hOI OURANOI has a similar meaning. No evidence
>or knowledge behind this, just a conjecture.

Let me add a bit more speculation as we wait for the real answer (is that
like "Waiting for Godot"?): "heaven" is plural (or dual) in Hebrew: ha
Shamayyim; that, I think, is why we find the plural hOI OURANOI in NT
Greek, although I think we also find the spaces governed by planetary
powers each called separately an OURANOS in astrological terminology which
governed the language of many in antiquity including those who didn't
really believe in astrology.

Then too, plural place names are plentiful in antiquity, especially in
Greek: QHBAI, AQHENAI, DELFOI,KLAZOMENAI, KTL. That Greek-speakers may have
thought the name hIEROSOLUMA a plural may not in itself be surprising. I'm
wondering too whether this is at all related to the question we've raised
several times onthe list about the plural form SABBATA where there's no
intent for it to be understood as a plural.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(704) 675-4243

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