Re: Bad Greek (used to be "Grammatical errors in Revelation?")

From: Randy Leedy (
Date: Wed May 19 1999 - 09:05:50 EDT

Since Mitchell Gray has raised the point of John's haste in writing,
I'd like to underscore what I consider to be the value of that factor
in this discussion. Of course there are those among us who would take
the Apocalypse as a carefully composed piece in which the scenario of
the author's being instructed to write down visions as they are shown
to him is merely a literary device. But I do not hesitate to affirm
that the scenario can be taken at face value, the visions can be
considered miraculous, and that John the Apostle wrote the best Greek
he was capable of writing under those circumstances. (I have no
difficulty with the hypothesis that the smoother Greek of the other
Johannine writings results from his use of an amanuensis.) If this is
so, given the closing warning not to add to or take away from the
words of the book, I would imagine that John felt no liberty at all to
polish the language. In fact, as I read the book, the awkwardness of
the language at points strikes me as contributing effectively to the
atmosphere of haste and urgency; I don't see that John would have
wished to alter the language if he HAD felt free to do so. Surely the
book would be the poorer for being rewritten in such a style as to
draw the unmitigated approbation of university Greek professors, a
class not unknown for pedantry (as a member of that class I believe I
can say such a thing intending no insult--it's a matter of that
self-awareness I have been stressing).

In closing, I must say that I am puzzled to know what drives Jim West
to continue using the most pejorative possible terms to describe the
grammar of Revelation. What does "horrid" help us to understand more
clearly ABOUT THE TEXT than something like "solecistic" or even
"highly awkward" would? Jim, I hope you don't mind my probing a little
here. Since you continue using such terminology, I don't think I'm out
of place in continuing to seek a clearer explanation.

If this thread is getting outside the B-Greek scope, I'm happy enough
to drop it for that reason.

In Love to God and Neighbor
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC

P.S. Anyone who responds and wishes me to see that response before
tomorrow should CC me, since I get only the list digests.

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