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Alpha and Omega

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  • Ariel Alvarez Valdes
    Do you know why John uses in Rev 1,8 the Greek alphabet (“I am the Alpha and Omega”) and not the Hebrew one? Why doesn`t he say Aleph and Tau , as we
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 28, 2003
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      Do you know why John uses in Rev 1,8 the Greek
      alphabet (“I am the Alpha and Omega”) and not the
      Hebrew one? Why doesn`t he say "Aleph and Tau", as we
      would wait from a Semitic author, or “emet” (Aleph,
      Mem, Tau) as the later tradition used to refer to God?

      Bruce Malina (On the Genre and Message) explains the
      origin of this expression detailedly in its helenistic
      context. Also Aune (Revelation 1-5) explains the
      background of this phrase. But I didn't find why Juan
      appealed to the Greek alphabet, when he writes to a
      strongly marked auditory for Semitic symbols. Is it
      only because he writes his book in Greek language?

      Ariel


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    • Ian Paul
      Ariel asked ... Aune gives some very helpful background in his much earlier article The Apocalypse of John and Graeco Roman Magic which I think would answer
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 28, 2003
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        Ariel asked

        >Do you know why John uses in Rev 1,8 the Greek
        >alphabet (“I am the Alpha and Omega”) and not the
        >Hebrew one? Why doesn`t he say "Aleph and Tau", as we
        >would wait from a Semitic author, or “emet” (Aleph,
        >Mem, Tau) as the later tradition used to refer to God?

        Aune gives some very helpful background in his much earlier article 'The
        Apocalypse of John and Graeco Roman Magic' which I think would answer your
        question.

        Sadly, as with many of his other early articles, this valuable stuff does
        not appear to have found its rightful place in the commentary.

        Ian Paul
      • Bob MacDonald
        Hi Ariel I found some explanations in Aune on 1:8, 21:6, 22:13 in the paper copy. He comments also on beginning and end , used in parallel. He says this is
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 28, 2003
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          Hi Ariel

          I found some explanations in Aune on 1:8, 21:6, 22:13 in the paper copy. He
          comments also on 'beginning and end', used in parallel. He says this is
          drawn from Hellenistic religious and philosophical traditions. The comment
          on 21:6 is quite extensive (vol 3 p 1127) quoting Plato alluding to an
          Orphic poem on the Derveni papyrus c 350 BC - Zeus as beginning, middle and
          end. In the comment on 1:8, Aune discusses the Hebrew 'emet, truth, in this
          context and describes the magical nature of the 7 Greek vowels abbreviated
          by A and O (vol 1 p 56-57) including some fanciful transliterations: ieou
          e(stin) A (kai) O. meaning Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, and IAO as a
          substitute for YHWH.

          I trust you can find these on the electronic copy by verse.

          You ask why the writer would not use the Hebrew letters? Surely in a Greek
          ms, Hebrew letters would be out of focus.

          A singer in the choir at the parish church in Patmos who gave us a tour of
          the cave of the apocalypse was proud to say that here God spoke outside the
          Holy Land and in Greek!

          Bob

          mailto::BobMacDonald@...
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          Catch the foxes for us,
          the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards,
          for our vineyards are in flower. (Song 2.15)
          http://bobmacdonald.gx.ca
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