Revelation 21:2:

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband

I wonder why John would need to mention his own name here? In many previous cases whenever he saw something, he would always say "And I saw", but here, toward the end of the book, he seems to want to make sure that the reader still remembers his name. Why? Was it a kind of literary device in ancient Greek for an author to re-state his name when he wants to signal that what is going to be reported now is more important and more magnificent than whatever has been narrated so far (John is about to describe the New Jerusalem at this point, which is, perhaps, the most beautiful vision in the whole book, plus, this is something that, unlike previous things seen by John, will continue in the eternity)? Do we have any evidence of this literary technique in any other non-biblical Greek writings of that time?

  • 1
    The New American Standard Bible, Updated Version, does not include John's name, just "I." Jun 23, 2013 at 17:30
  • 1
    The Nestle-Aland 26th edition does not have it in the main text either.
    – hannes
    Jun 23, 2013 at 19:59
  • The question, however, is still good, but could perhaps be changed to: Why would a copist enter the author's name in Revelation 21:2?
    – hannes
    Jun 23, 2013 at 20:04
  • @hannes - Agreed. Just changed.
    – brilliant
    Jun 23, 2013 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


Clarke (d. 1832) wrote in his Commentary on the Bible:

The writer of this book; whether the evangelist and apostle, or John the Ephesian presbyter, has been long doubted in the Church.

That said, should a reference to εγω ("I") or εγω ιωαννης ("I John") appear in Rev. 21:2?

  • YES according to, among other commentators and texts: Irenaeus, Peshitta, TR 1551 & 1894, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf,* Tregeles, Alford, Wordsworth, Gill, B. W. Johnson (People's NT), Robertson (Word Pictures in the NT), BMT/GMT,* Constable (Expository Notes), but
  • NO according to codices Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus; Tischendorf,* Bullinger (Companion Bible), JFB, Pulpit Commentary, Vincent (Word Studies), W & H, BMT/GMT,* and Nestle-Aland 26-28.

Or perhaps it depends on where and how one places and parses ειδον? Han (Parsing Guide to the GNT) parses ειδον as 1 pers. sing. 2 aor. act. ind, but others parse it either similarly to Han or in the 3 pers. pl.

Note: On of my sources shows εγω ιωαννης in Tischendorf 8th, but another says Tischendorf 8th, like W & H, omits any reference to either the Apostle John or the writer of the Gospel attributed to him. And other sources say BMT/GMT omits similar reference, but BMT/GMT 1904 includes it. Go figure!


It may have been added for reading in public (perhaps first as a marginal note) in order for the audience not to confuse the lecturer with the author (and to save the public reader from the appearance of being selfassuming).

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