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I was reading Revelation 13:1 and compared how it was translated in the NASB ("And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore") and how it was translated in the KJV ("And I stood on the sand of the sea"). There is quite a difference in translation between "the dragon stood" and "I stood." I am wondering which is a more accurate translation and how great the difference in meaning is between the two differing translations.

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One issue is that some Greek manuscripts take the Greek phrase και εσταθην επι την αμμον της θαλασσης ("and I stood upon the sand of the sea") and number it as Rev. 12:18, whereas other make it as the beginning of Rev. 13:1.

The Greek text produced by Robert I Estienne (1550) states,

12:18 και εσταθην επι την αμμον της θαλασσης 13:1 και ειδον εκ της θαλασσης θηριον αναβαινον εχον κεφαλας επτα και κερατα δεκα και επι των κερατων αυτου δεκα διαδηματα και επι τας κεφαλας αυτου ονομα βλασφημιας

The Greek text produced by the Elzevirs (1624) states,

13:1 και εσταθην επι την αμμον της θαλασσης και ειδον εκ της θαλασσης θηριον αναβαινον εχον κεφαλας επτα και κερατα δεκα και επι των κερατων αυτου δεκα διαδηματα και επι τας κεφαλας αυτου ονομα βλασφημιας

The Greek text of the modern Nestle-Aland 28th edition (NA28) states,

12:18 Καὶ ἐστάθη ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον τῆς θαλάσσης. 13:1 Καὶ εἶδον ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης θηρίον ἀναβαῖνον, ἔχον κέρατα δέκα καὶ κεφαλὰς ἑπτὰ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν κεράτων αὐτοῦ δέκα διαδήματα καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτοῦ ὀνόμα [τα] βλασφημίας.

The NA28 is based largely on the previous NA26 edition. Regarding the NASB, it is written, "Consideration was given to the latest available manuscripts with a view to determining the best Greek text. In most instances the 26th edition of Eberhard Nestle's NOVUM TESTAMENTUM GRAECE was followed." The NASB has "dragon" as the subject of "stood" because it numbers «Καὶ ἐστάθη ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον τῆς θαλάσσης» as Rev. 12:18 and uses the subject of Rev. 12:17, ὁ δράκων ("the dragon"), as the subject of ἐστάθη ("he/ it stood") in Rev. 12:18.

The other issue is that some manuscripts (e.g., NA28) have ἐστάθη, meaning "and he/ it stood," rather than ἐστάθην (e.g., Estienne, Elzevir), meaning "and I stood."

Ultimately, this is a textual criticism matter. I don't believe I myself could make an unequivocal assertion as to which reading is correct. I would simply recommend analyzing the context, analyzing the weight of the witnesses (you'll need a critical apparatus/ text of the Greek NT for this), and looking for any parallels from the Tanakh that John may have used when he wrote this particular verse.

The Vulgate appears to agree with the NASB's translation, with the Vulgate reading stetit ("he/ she/ it stood"). Although some say the Syriac agrees, I'm not sure why it reads ܘܩܡܬܼ (wakamat), meaning "and she/ it stood," the verb being conjugated in the feminine-gender rather than masculine-gender. Someone correct me if I am wrong on the Syriac.

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