Re: Rev 4:8 Trisagion

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Fri Nov 26 1999 - 14:24:46 EST

<x-flowed>To: Tony Costa,

<< I had a question re: the 'trisagion' found in Rev 4:8. It appears 3
times, "holy, holy, holy". This comes from Isaiah 6:3 which in both the LXX
and MT also have "holy" 3 times. However, there is another MS or MSS which
have "hAGIOS" appearing 9 times at Rev 4:8. This does not appear as a
textual variant, but seems to have been added for emphasis. Any thoughts on
why this is the case? >>

R. H. Charles (ICC commentary) cites a number of MSS and versions with 3
holies including A 02 (5th century) and 025 (9th century); he cites a
"Scholia of Origen" with only 1 holy; 2 MSS with 2 holies; 2 MSS with 6
holies; 1 MS with 8 holies, namely Codex Sinaiticus, but it was corrected
to 3 holies; finally a number of MSS with 9 holies, including 046 (10th

I checked three commentaries: Charles, Beale, and Roloff; none of them
comment on the variant reading of nine holies. The most obvious explanation
is that nine is merely three sets of three, and thus nine merely adds
rhetorical emphasis.

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"... it is widely agreed that the sociological condition that most
distinguishes modern Western societies from others (those considered
premodern or traditional, and those of Asia, Africa, and the Latin American
forests and highlands) is that modern ones are organized around the
expectation of continuous change and growth" (Charles Lemert, "Social
Things: An Introduction to the Sociological Life," 1997:67).

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