In Revelation 11:15, a loud voice from heaven says something which the HCSB translates as "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever!" The other translations I had handy (NKJV, NIV, NASB, KJV, RSV) were all very similar. The agreement of the translations makes me wonder if I'm missing something, because it appears to me that there is another reading, which actually seems to me to deal with the grammar better. I would translate this reading as: "The Kingdom of the Universe, [the Kingdom] of our Lord and of His Christ, has begun, and he will reign throughout the ages of ages." (Note: I heard the translation "unto the ages of ages" for eis tous aionas ton aionon in the liturgy of an English-speaking Greek Orthodox Church and liked it; it's more literal than the standard translations.)
In terms of interpretation, there is one reason, I think, for favoring the standard translation over mine: namely, that the world (kosmos) is normally seen as opposed to the Kingdom of God in the New Testament. However, this usage is not constant throughout the NT, and in the Johannine literature I don't think it's even very common (though it is certainly used that way in 1 John 2:15-17, and I haven't done a comprehensive study). Furthermore, the style of the Revelation is supposed to be substantially differen than that of the undisputed Johannine literature (I haven't done a comprehensive study of this either), and in the Revelation the word is used only three times and the other two (13:8 and 17:8) both use it in the phrase apo tes kataboles tou kosmo - "from the foundation of the world" - so there is no usage of this word in the Revelation which clearly has a sense of a world system opposed to the Kingdom of God, the way the word is often used in other NT literature. So this interpretive consideration doesn't seem to be that strong.
Grammatically, I think my translation has a stronger basis than the standard translation, for two reasons: (1) egeneto is placed at the beginning of the sentence. This construction is parallel to the existential use of esti(n) ("there is an x" as opp. "x is y"). Again, it is similar to the idiomatic use of the word without a subject to mean "it came about" (see, e.g., Luke 1:5). To say what the translations interpret it as saying, we would expect egeneto to come in between "of the universe" and "of our Lord and Christ," rather than at the beginning. (2) There is no explicit nominative in the predicate (you'll note that translations that mark such things will have the second usage of "the kingdom" marked as not existing in the Greek). This is not problematic in and of itself, but it is needed to make my translation possible, and it also seems unlikely that this series of genitives with nothing separating them should belong one half in the subject and the other half in the predicate. Rather, "of our Lord and of his Christ" should be interpreted as an appositive.
While none of the translations say this, the Majority Text does have it punctuated as an appositive (that is, a comma is inserted after tou kosmou). NA27 does not. It is curious that the Hodges and Farstad should punctuate it this way, since Farstad worked on both the NKJV and the HCSB (both of which were done after the Majority Text), neither of which translate the phrase as an appositive.
Am I missing anything here? Are there any considerations in favor of the standard translation that I'm missing? Do others think my translation is plausible?Posted by Kenny at April 11, 2007 3:22 PM
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