Re: Mt 3:2, 4:17

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Mon Nov 29 1999 - 16:16:37 EST

<x-flowed>To: Ben Crick,

<< But ISTM that the phrase BASILEIA TWN OURANWN / TOU OURANOU is a
rendering into Greek of the Hebrew 'Qere Perpetuum': the reverent avoidance
of pronouncing the name of God, or even the word God. >>

I think you are headed in the right direction here, although I would nuance
it slightly differently. Strictly speaking it could not be a Ketib-Qere
perpetuum (i.e. a continuous Ketib-Qere) since we are referring to a
written text and not merely to a spoken variant reading. I wonder if what
you meant was to refer to the avoidance of using the divine name through a
reverential circumlocution? But I don't think that BASILEIA TWN OURANWN can
strictly speaking be called a circumlocution, since Matthew was not trying
to avoid using the Greek term QEOS. After all, Matthew uses the term QEOS
some 51 times. In fact, Matthew even uses the phrase BASILEIA TOU QEOU (at
12:28; 19:24; 21:34,43). Rather, what I think we have here (with BASILEIA
TWN OURANWN) is simply a translation of a semitic circumlocution, which
simply functions as a synonym to BASILEIA TOU QEOU. What do you think?

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this"
(Shakespare, "Much Ado About Nothing", 4.2.60-61).

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