Semitic Influence on Verbal Usage and on the Subordinate Clauses in the Apocalypse

Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Prof. Matthew Black


This thesis offers a consistent explanation for the peculiarities of the Greek syntax of the Apocalypse, namely that where the rules of Greek grammar appear to be broken, it is due to the influence of Hebrew and Aramaic syntax. It advances previous versions of this hypothesis, such as that offered by R.H. Charles, in three ways. First its focus is limited to verbal syntax, and the syntax of selected subordinate clauses. Secondly, by methodically comparing ancient Greek translations of the Old Testament with their Hebrew original, it tabulates and synthesises the Semitic syntactical features and the manner in which the Greek translators typically dealt with them—what may be termed conventions for translating Hebrew and Aramaic into quite literal, Semitised Greek. Thirdly, it argues that the syntax of the Apocalypse was not influenced by the variety of Hebrew and Aramaic current in the first Christian century, but by Old Testament Hebrew and Aramaic. The thesis thus suggests numerous new possibilities for translation and exegesis of Apocalypse passages that give greater attention to the influence of the Old Testament, not only as a source for the symbols and metaphors which have been imported into the Apocalypse, but also for syntactical peculiarities of its very language.


Staff and students of Avondale College may access this thesis via ProQuest Dissertations and Theses here

The final, revised and updated version is published as: Thompson, S. (1985). The apocalypse and semitic syntax. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Staff and students of Avondale College may access the print copy from Avondale College Library (228.048 T37) and online here.

Recommended Citation

Thompson, S. (1975). Semitic influence on verbal usage and on the subordinate clauses in the Apocalypse (Doctoral dissertation, University of St. Andrews). Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com

Please refer to publisher version or contact the library.