Saturday, January 06, 2018

Revelation 17:6-8 and Astonishment/Wonder

καὶ εἶδον τὴν γυναῖκα μεθύουσαν ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος τῶν ἁγίων καὶ ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος τῶν μαρτύρων Ἰησοῦ. Καὶ ἐθαύμασα ἰδὼν αὐτὴν θαῦμα μέγα· (Revelation 17:6)

καὶ εἶπέν μοι ὁ ἄγγελος Διὰ τί ἐθαύμασας; ἐγὼ ἐρῶ σοι τὸ μυστήριον τῆς γυναικὸς καὶ τοῦ θηρίου τοῦ βαστάζοντος αὐτήν, τοῦ ἔχοντος τὰς ἑπτὰ κεφαλὰς καὶ τὰ δέκα κέρατα· (17:7)

τὸ θηρίον ὃ εἶδες ἦν καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν, καὶ μέλλει ἀναβαίνειν ἐκ τῆς ἀβύσσου, καὶ εἰς ἀπώλειαν ὑπάγει· καὶ θαυμασθήσονται οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὧν οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα ἐπὶ τὸ βιβλίον τῆς ζωῆς ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, βλεπόντων τὸ θηρίον ὅτι ἦν καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν καὶ πάρεσται. (17:8)

In the aforementioned verses, I want to emphasize the astonishment/wonder aspect. Why did John use this kind of language? Is it typical of GNT writers? These are questions I would like to explore since the verb θαυμάζω has such an interesting history in secular Greek. For a book like Revelation, the verbs "wonder" or "marvel" are appropriate.


Duncan said...θαυμάζω+john&source=bl&ots=S1wT7cBnjl&sig=pRtSj1nyu18XQlE06lWtDDpIcVw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiD9MGr2sXYAhWILcAKHdQcD64Q6AEIXzAQ#v=onepage&q=%CE%B8%CE%B1%CF%85%CE%BC%CE%AC%CE%B6%CF%89%20john&f=false

Edgar Foster said...

Many good points on this link. Glad to see θαυμάζω through a wider GNT perspective. The Jewish background for the word makes plenty of sense: according to The Englishmen's Concordance, θαυμάζω occurs some 44 times in the GNT. If memory serves me correctly, each time John uses it in Revelation, either BTG or the Beast is involved. That usage seems interesting to me and I also see how context plays an important role for understanding this verb and related words. But I assent with the material you posted--many good points.

From another perspective, Aristotle writes: διὰ γὰρ τὸ θαυμάζειν οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ νῦν καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἤρξαντο φιλοσοφεῖν, ἐξ ἀρχῆς μὲν τὰ πρόχειρα τῶν ἀτόπων θαυμάσαντες, εἶτα κατὰ μικρὸν οὕτω προϊόντες

(Metaphysics 1.982b)

Duncan said...

Something new that touches on your final point:-

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks, Duncan. Paper looks informative and helpful for my questions.

Edgar Foster said...

Not trying to argue for anything substantial, but just thought this example is worth probing further:

μὴ θαυμάζετε τοῦτο, ὅτι ἔρχεται ὥρα ἐν ᾗ πάντες οἱ ἐν τοῖς μνημείοις ἀκούσουσιν τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ (John 5:28)