Re: Bad Greek

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue May 18 1999 - 19:21:36 EDT

At 5:15 PM -0500 5/18/99, Mitchell Gray wrote:
>Now, I am no scholar in the Greek language, but was not the apostle John
>one of the ones whom the religious learders of his time called "uneducated
>and ordinary men"? (Acts 4:13, NRSV) Would that not have an effect on the
>lack of good grammer? Perhaps the effect of writing all of this down as he
>saw it, he did not think to consentrate on good grammar, but getting it
>written down?
>Just a thought.

Well, the original question was raised about the book of Revelation, and
although that book is called "Johannine," its internal evidence points to a
John who seems quite likely to be other than the son of Zebedee, and some
attribute it to IWANNHS PRESBUTEROS rather than to the apostle. Moreover,
the rich symbolism and allusive imagery of Revelation makes it abundantly
clear that the author was in fact immensely erudite, even if his native
language was not Greek. It seems therefore more reasonable to attribute the
deviations from standard "prescriptive" Greek grammar to the author's use
of a second language than to a want of erudition.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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