Revelation 8:7 Homoioteleuton

A case of homoioteleuton in the Textus Receptus

Will one third of the earth be burned up or not?  Revelation 8:7.  This is a variant between Bible versions based on the Textus Receptus, and all others.  The Textus Receptus and the King James Version omit the first of the three phrases below, which means, “and one third of the earth will be burned up.”

καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῆς γῆς κατεκάη
καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν δένδρων κατεκάη
καὶ πᾶς χόρτος χλωρὸς κατεκάη

Only three late Greek manuscripts (out of 300+-) omit the first phrase, and it is a clear case of “homoioteleuton” that happened in the Greek copying process.  That means, the lines end the same, so a copyist, having left off his work for a break, then resumed doing his work, and he remembers, “I resume, at the line ending with κατεκάη,” but he resumed with the wrong line ending with κατεκάη.  Skipped one line by accident.  Homoioteleuton.

Or, it could have been a case of “homoioarcton,” that is, all three lines BEGIN the same, with καὶ, and the scribe having left off, resumed, thinking, “I resume with the line beginning with καὶ, but he picked the wrong line beginning with καὶ.

Interestingly, the scribe of manuscript 620 wrote the phrase in question two times, which is another kind of parablepsis from homoioteleuton.

As long as I am on this verse, let’s look at a Bible version.  As you can see, the word κατεκάη is used 3 times, the exact same word and same form of the word, and it means “burned up.”

NLT:  One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned.

So why does the New Living Translation render one of the occurrences of κατεκάη as “set on fire”?  This is simply unacceptable.  Just one of thousands of translation errors in the NLT.  I would never recommend the NLT, or the Message.  If you want a paraphrase, the Philips NT is much better, or the NIV.  I consider the NIV a mild paraphrase.

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