What is “forever”?

I’ve been thinking about two phrases typically glossed in Scripture by the English, “forever”: in Greek, eis aiwnon, and in Hebrew, le olam. Both are prepositional phrases, whose preposition carries a directional sense, as in “to.” The objects in both phrases concern time, but that’s where the ambiguity enters. The Greek aiwn would ordinarily be translated “age,” while the Hebrew olam can take a variety of glosses concerning time: “antiquity,” “futurity,” etc. The parallelism makes me wonder whether the Greek phrase might be an Semitism adopted by Jewish authors writing in Greek, in which case it bears asking whether the appropriate interpretive categories for it might be the “horizontal,” eschatological/apocalyptic scenarios of Jewish creational/covenantal monotheism, rather than the “vertical” categories of Greek thought in the Platonic tradition. E.g., plug in Jenson here.

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This entry was posted in Eschatology, Greek, Hebrew, Robert Jenson, Translation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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