Grammatical case in the text of Revelation 4 and 5

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    English: It is generally assumed that the Greek case system does not function in the usual way in the book of Revelation. Using the distinction between abstract Case and morpho-phonological case one can reconsider the use of case in Revelation in the light of the development in case markings, including new morpho-phonological realisations of certain participles. The Greek grammar of Revelation is generally considered as very remarkable, peculiar and foreign to the language system itself (cf. Swete [1908] 1968: cxxv; Charles 1915:79; Thompson 1985:2-7, 106-108; Dougherty 1992:1- 33 and Musser 1992:1). The use of cases is typical of this remarkable language usage (cf. Bousset [1906] 1966:159, 163; Swete [1908] 1968:cxxiii; Charles 1915:83-4, 86, 89-90; [1920] 1971:clii-iv; Mussies 1980:167; Dougherty 1992:7, 10). If the so-called “foreign” usage of morphological case in Revelation were considered in the framework of the Case sub-theory of the Government- Binding (GB) Theory of Chomsky, one would have a better mechanism whereby to decide whether the “foreign” usage is truly “foreign”. The Government- Binding Theory propagates the view that the totality of the formulated rules and principles regarding language comprises the grammar of a language (Chomsky 1991:417). The grammar as an interdependent system of rules and principles provides the basis for the grammatical sentences of a language. One should therefore be able to distinguish between sentences and non-sentences, as well as between well-constructed sentences and nonwell- constructed sentences. One should therefore be able to obtain an observationally adequate description (Radford 1981:25,26; 1988:27-30, cf. Botha 1982:26-7; Haegeman 1991:5). There is, however, one aspect that restricts our search for a descriptive adequate formulation, namely the lack of mother-tongue intuitions that could give us guidance regarding the grammaticality and acceptability of constructions in the Greek text (cf. Riekert 1985:26; Haegeman 1991:6-8).