Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

The forum for those who still struggle with morphology, syntax, and idiom, or who wish to discuss basic questions about the meaning of Greek texts, syntax, or words.
Forum rules
This is not a place for students to ask for the answers to their homework assignments. Users who do that may be banned.
Post Reply
Jacob Rhoden
Posts: 146
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am
Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Contact:

Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by Jacob Rhoden » January 23rd, 2015, 10:58 pm

Matthew 13:45:
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like..."
"παλιν ομοια εστιν η βασιλεια των ουρανων εμπορω ζητουντι καλους μαργαριτας"
I thought ουρανων would parse as "Masculine, Plural Genitive"? Why does it get translated to be "Heaven" not "Heavens"?
0 x



timothy_p_mcmahon
Posts: 250
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:47 pm

Re: Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » January 23rd, 2015, 11:49 pm

You're correct; the form is plural.

The plural ουρανοι is often rendered by the singular heaven; ditto for Hebrew שמים.

It's a theological choice.
0 x

Jacob Rhoden
Posts: 146
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am
Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Contact:

Re: Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by Jacob Rhoden » January 24th, 2015, 4:19 am

Thanks Timothy, much appreciated. I guessed it would be something like that, but I'm still a beginner so this type of thing makes me wonder.
0 x

Eeli Kaikkonen
Posts: 424
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 7:49 am
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » January 24th, 2015, 8:58 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:You're correct; the form is plural.

The plural ουρανοι is often rendered by the singular heaven; ditto for Hebrew שמים.
Yes, but...
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote: It's a theological choice.
is not well said. "Theological" choice may imply that if you have different (modern, systematic, dogmatic) theological framework than some Bible translator, you would translate it differently. But that's not the case. The choice is linguistic/exegetical. The Hebrew word is plural but doesn't necessarily mean "many, several heavens" but just "heaven". What that "heaven" is belongs to the area of historical exegesis and exegetical-biblical theology (or cultural history or something like that). For example, post-OT Judaism speculated about several heavens. But when the plural word is used it may be used for just one "heaven". It depends on the context. The translators don't translate it as singular because of their theology but because of the original writer's meaning.
0 x

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 931
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 24th, 2015, 1:35 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote: What that "heaven" is belongs to the area of historical exegesis and exegetical-biblical theology (or cultural history or something like that). For example, post-OT Judaism speculated about several heavens. But when the plural word is used it may be used for just one "heaven". It depends on the context. The translators don't translate it as singular because of their theology but because of the original writer's meaning.
Yes and I might add that η βασιλεια των ουρανων appears to be Matthew's preferred expression for ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ which Matthew also uses. The discussion of this in the secondary literature is voluminous.

Matt. 6:33 ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν [τοῦ θεοῦ] καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.

Matt. 12:28 εἰ δὲ ἐν πνεύματι θεοῦ ἐγὼ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια, ἄρα ἔφθασεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ.

Matt. 19:24 πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρυπήματος ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ.

Matt. 21:31 τίς ἐκ τῶν δύο ἐποίησεν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός; λέγουσιν· ὁ πρῶτος. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι προάγουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ.

Matt. 21:43 διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀρθήσεται ἀφ᾿ ὑμῶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ δοθήσεται ἔθνει ποιοῦντι τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτῆς.
0 x
C. Stirling Bartholomew

ed krentz
Posts: 64
Joined: February 22nd, 2012, 5:34 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by ed krentz » January 25th, 2015, 12:11 pm

Years ago Adolf Schlatter in Die Theologie des Judentums nach dem Bericht des Josephus held that in Josephus ouranos in the plural denoted heaven in opposition to the earth, the proper place of God, while heaven in the singular was the correlate to earth, the two denoting the totality of the created universe. Note that in the Matthean Lord's Prayer, the plural is used in the intro, while the singular is used in the third petition. Makes sense to me in the phrase the Kingdom of the ouranoi..
0 x
Edgar Krentz
Prof. Emeritus of NT
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Jacob Rhoden
Posts: 146
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am
Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Contact:

Re: Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by Jacob Rhoden » January 25th, 2015, 8:27 pm

Who would have thought such as simple question could turn out to be so interesting. Looks like I've got some reading to do :geek: :geek:
0 x

cwconrad
Posts: 2110
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by cwconrad » January 26th, 2015, 9:40 am

Jacob Rhoden wrote:Who would have thought such as simple question could turn out to be so interesting. Looks like I've got some reading to do :geek: :geek:
You never know. Keep asking questions; some of them may have simple answers; some may lead you on a wild good chase; someday your "idle" curiosity may lead you to an earthshaking discovery, or perhaps to an intellectual exploration that will make a worthwhile research topic and launch an academic career ...
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Jacob Rhoden
Posts: 146
Joined: February 15th, 2013, 8:16 am
Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Contact:

Re: Matthew 13:45 ουρανων = heaven or heavens

Post by Jacob Rhoden » February 3rd, 2015, 6:52 am

cwconrad wrote:
Jacob Rhoden wrote:Who would have thought such as simple question could turn out to be so interesting. Looks like I've got some reading to do :geek: :geek:
You never know. Keep asking questions; some of them may have simple answers; some may lead you on a wild good chase; someday your "idle" curiosity may lead you to an earthshaking discovery, or perhaps to an intellectual exploration that will make a worthwhile research topic and launch an academic career ...
Thanks for the encouragement. I've just started an intensive study of greek at a college near where I live and am finding it quite enjoyable, I do hope to see it through to fluency of sorts.
0 x

Post Reply

Return to “Beginners Forum”