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Maurice Robinson on Rev. 5:9

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  • David Robert Palmer
    I have with his permission added Dr. Maurice Robinson s comments on the Rev. 5:9 variant where the NA27 follows Codex A and the Ethiopic against all other
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 20, 2006
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      I have with his permission added Dr. Maurice Robinson's comments on the
      Rev. 5:9 variant where the NA27 follows Codex A and the Ethiopic against
      all other witnesses. It is in an endnote in this Word document:
      http://www.bibletranslation.ws/trans/revwgrk.zip
    • Daniel Buck
      ... email I received from him on Tue, 29 Aug 2006: While certainly the NA/UBS reading is problematic from my perspective due to its limited (singular)
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 20, 2006
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        David Robert Palmer referenced the following footnote:
        >> Dr. Maurice Robinson offered his take on these variants in an
        email I received from him on Tue, 29 Aug 2006:

        "While certainly the NA/UBS reading is problematic from my
        perspective due to its limited (singular) support, so also the TR
        reading is problematic due to its slim support and what appears to
        be an obvious attempt to smooth out the presumed difficulty. The
        problem, however, from my "reasoned transmissional" perspective, is
        why the great mass of Byzantine MSS (both Andreas and Q groups
        united here) would join and maintain throughout transmissional
        history a reading which, if not original, otherwise should have
        been "corrected" on the large scale in order to eliminate the
        apparent difficulty of interpretation. Since such did not occur on
        the grand scale, then within the Byzantine-priority perspective it
        would appear that there must have been some reason why the scribes
        did not balk en masse.

        So, just for the record, here is my take regarding one possible
        explanation (not necessarily the only one that could be provided):

        Context: (5:8) the four living creatures and the 24 elders fall upon
        their faces and (5:9) "they sing" a new song.

        Does "they" include both parties (i.e. the living creatures *and*
        the elders together? Or might the "they" only involve those
        comprising one or the other group at any given point?

        My suspicion is that the referent of "they" fluctuates according to
        the nature of the portion of the song cited; what one then finds is
        something in the manner of an antiphonic chorus, with each group
        taking its own proper part. Thus:

        (5:9) And they [the 24 elders] sang a new song, saying, "You are
        worthy to take the book and to open its seals, because you were
        slain, and you redeemed _us_ to God by your blood, out of every
        tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation."

        (5:10) [Antiphonic response by the four living creatures, perhaps
        joined by the great multitude of angels surrounding the throne
        mentioned in 5:10]: "And you made _them_ kings and priests to our
        God, and _they_ shall reign upon the earth."

        (5:11) [now discussing the entire mixed multitude]: And I saw and I
        heard, as a voice/sound of many angels surrounding the throne, also
        the living creatures, also the elders....[these all then continue
        (5:12-14) with the song/statement in unison, following which two
        separate reactions occur: *only* the four living creatures
        say "Amen", while the 24 elders fall down and worship, thus
        reflecting once again a separation of function and statement between
        the two groups].

        This certainly would seem to work and provide some plausible
        explanation for the Byzantine reading. It would also help explain
        why the vast majority of scribes appeared to have little or no
        problem in perpetuating that particular sequence of text.

        Others may differ in their evaluation or interpretation, but I think
        it incumbent upon whatever text anyone favors that its supporters
        offer a reasonable explanation not only for their favored reading in
        context, but also in order to reasonably explain the rise and
        dominance of the Byzantine reading (which too often is not done, and
        more so in a complex book such as Revelation). There seems to be
        enough other referent shifts within Revelation or the Johannine
        writings (e.g. Rev 16:15; 22:6-7, 11-12; cf. Jn 8:31, 44) so that
        the explanation give would find support; however, those other cases
        are not essential to the interpretation suggested above.

        Maurice A Robinson, PhD"<<

        I might add to the above that such shifts of person are quite common
        in the poetic passages of Scripture, and no further explanation is
        really necessary.

        For example, in Psalm 2 David begins by speaking of God, Christ, and
        the heathen in the third person; then shifts to the first person
        quoting the heathen referring to God; back to the third person; then
        to the first person quoting God referring to His King; then the
        first person quoting the Christ referring to God; back to the first
        person quoting God referring to the Christ; then to the second
        person referring to the heathen.

        Many of these shifts are subtle and can be determined only by
        context. But this Psalm was quoted four times in the NT with no
        question as to who was saying what in reference to whom.

        Daniel Buck
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