The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

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spin
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The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by spin » Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:38 am

On the subject of the significance of ευαγγελιον I said here regarding...
the term "gospel" we can see having gone through a few evolutionary steps in the Jesus religion,
first literally understood as good news (concerning salvation?),
second, after a fair amount of development, the story of the deeds of Jesus, and
third, a written account of the relevant moments in Jesus' life.

Paul was at phase #1 in his use of "gospel".

A little later I said here,
In the Greek we are observing the change of meaning before our eyes and we are not grasping the significance. The changes need explanation and paying them no heed means we make understanding harder for ourselves. Our received understandings of terms such as ευαγγελιον and εκκλησια are from the period once the language had reached its reflection of orthodoxy, from pre-christian significance to orthodoxy.

With regard to εκκλησια (usually translated as "church" in a christian context), Jewish people were using it as a word to describe their cultic meetings. (See Sirach 15:5, 23:24 et al., and Philo De Virt. 108 & Special Laws 1.324f. Herod called a public meeting in AJ 16.62, 393.) So εκκλησια started its known life as a term for "meeting"/"assembly", a temporary coming together of people for some communicative purpose. I can add that "synagogue" similarly meant a gathering of people. It would be highly important to know when these terms developed into referring to more formal or established practices as a specific group sharing a specific cultic purpose and later again an architectural structure to house that activity. When did εκκλησια become a strictly christian notion for christians and "synagogue" for Jews?

The term "kerygma" eventually derived from κερυξ, "a herald", is a term for the central cultic message of christianity, that which christians preach. It has undergone an evolution in christian thought to go from the message of the herald to the message of christian faith.

(I could briefly mention the term "christ", which originally meant "ointment"/"what is spread on" etc. As a loan translation from Hebrew it gained the meaning "messiah" in Jewish Greek cultic contexts. But it already had cultic use for Paul to continue in his religious efforts.)

Such terms didn't come into existence when the Jesus bang happened. They had to be shaped into the usage we have inherited. This should indicate that we cannot assume to know the significance of such terms as they are used in the earliest christian literature based purely on what they have come to mean.

This may be an old idea. I don't know. But I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere. If you know of such a discussion I'd really like to know about it. Otherwise it would be worthwhile determining which words have been appropriated by christianity, what those words meant before christianity, and how they were used in the earliest christian literature.

At the moment I'm thinking about ευχαριστεω ("to bestow a favor on"/"to be thankful") and related words that give us "eucharist", the sacred meal, apparently derived from the fact that during the last supper Jesus gave thanks over the bread and the cup. What other christian cultic words come to mind, words appropriated from ordinary language to bear special meaning? Any ideas?

Could christian cultic language have hit the ground, running, with a vocabulary already adapted? That possibility seems highly improbable to me. If I'm correct, we should stop using meanings that don't reflect the earliest language usage. We might get closer to understanding the writers better.
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StephenGoranson
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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:28 am

These are discussed in, among other places:
Title Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament. English.
Title Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Translator and editor: Geoffrey W. Bromiley.
Published Grand Rapids, Mich., Eerdmans c1964-c1976.

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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by maryhelena » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:59 am

spin wrote:On the subject of the significance of ευαγγελιον I said here regarding...
the term "gospel" we can see having gone through a few evolutionary steps in the Jesus religion,
first literally understood as good news (concerning salvation?),
second, after a fair amount of development, the story of the deeds of Jesus, and
third, a written account of the relevant moments in Jesus' life.

Paul was at phase #1 in his use of "gospel".

This article by Steve Mason might be of interest:
  • Methods and Categories: Judaism and Gospel

    http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/mason3.shtml


    ''In short, then, a triple movement needs explaining: first, why Paul and Mark seized upon the hitherto unused form to euangelion so energetically and programmatically, almost always without qualification; second, why all of the next-generation texts except for Mark drew back and avoided the term (or qualified it if used); finally, why from the third generation onward does to euangelion become a fundamental term of shared Christian discourse? It seems to me that the best explanation of the evidence is along the following lines.''

    <snip>

    Within this context of substantive diversity, I propose, to euangelion appears to be a term characteristic of Paul’s mission. It was something that he connected only with his own work, often in strikingly proprietary terms. He was eager to associate his own converts and followers with to euangelion as a shared treasure, but he became notably reticent to associate Christ-followers of other persuasions with it—not because they were unworthy, necessarily, but simply because they were different and not part of his mission, which was called to euangelion. This would explain why only Mark, of the second-generation narratives, featured this term in strategic places (at the beginning, middle, and end): Mark is a biography of Jesus with strong Pauline emphases. Matthew, Luke, and John (as Q and Thomas), by contrast, took markedly different perspectives on Jesus and his significance, and so they dropped what they recognized as Pauline language almost entirely. From Acts and Ignatius’ letters onward, however, a movement was underway to fuse the sometimes contentious traditions that had flourished in the first two generations. To euangelion was from then on stripped of its distinctively Pauline connotations and became the common property of all Christians.''
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
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iskander
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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by iskander » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:57 am

The Anointed King as a future saviour .
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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:33 am

But as with anything spin the words we choose to study reinforce or unconsciously guide our research and in turn predetermine our answers. Do we pursue christos or chrestos? Do we say that Christians gathered into 'churches' or 'synagogues'? Do we allow for an Aramaic origin for the terminology or assume that the earliest Christians spoke Greek? There's a lot of work that needs to be done to keep things the results from being pre-determined.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Charles Wilson
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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by Charles Wilson » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:13 am

Secret Alias wrote: Do we allow for an Aramaic origin for the terminology or assume that the earliest Christians spoke Greek?
As in:

" אמּר " - "Lamb"
http://lovewins.us/bible/strongs/H563

" אמּר " - "Immer", the 16th Mishmarot Group from 1 Chronicles 24
http://lovewins.us/bible/strongs/H564

Identical words provide an automatic Word Play.

Revelation 5: 6 (RSV, in part):

[6] And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain

Of course, the entire Story gets lost if the Word Play is "translated" from Hebrew into Greek. "Lamb of God" - " 'mmr-Yah ", Passover Lamb, etc. .

"Golly! I wonder if any of this was, sorta' like, INTENTIONAL and stuff?"
Good point, SA.

CW

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spin
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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by spin » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:16 am

StephenGoranson wrote:These are discussed in, among other places:
Title Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Translator and editor: Geoffrey W. Bromiley.
Published Grand Rapids, Mich., Eerdmans c1964-c1976.
Thanks. I hadn't considered Kittel and there seem to be analyses of useful lexical items that will probably come in handy.

maryhelena wrote:This article by Steve Mason might be of interest:

Methods and Categories: Judaism and Gospel
I'll give Mason a closer look. What you cite seems to be along similar lines to what I have expressed. I'll see where he takes it.

iskander wrote:The Anointed King as a future saviour.
Yes, christians have run their own way with the term "christ". I was noting that it had already gained cultic content before it came into christian hands.

Secret Alias wrote:But as with anything spin the words we choose to study reinforce or unconsciously guide our research and in turn predetermine our answers.
You won't mind if I don't touch the irony of this.
Secret Alias wrote:Do we pursue christos or chrestos?
What does Mt 11:30 say?
Secret Alias wrote:Do we say that Christians gathered into 'churches' or 'synagogues'?
The O.P. hopefully urges caution on the use of these christian-laden terms.
Secret Alias wrote:Do we allow for an Aramaic origin for the terminology or assume that the earliest Christians spoke Greek?
I'm dealing with what I can, ie texts. If you really want to go beyond them, I hope you've got a really good reason to do so.
Secret Alias wrote:There's a lot of work that needs to be done to keep things the results from being pre-determined.
You're right.
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Charles Wilson
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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by Charles Wilson » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:55 am

spin wrote:
Secret Alias wrote:Do we pursue christos or chrestos?
What does Mt 11:30 say?
Matthew 11: 30 (RSV):

[30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

It sez, "Submit to Roman occupation and get used to it. Pay taxes. You'll be better off if you do and dead if you don't".

iskander
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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by iskander » Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:02 pm

spin wrote:
iskander wrote:The Anointed King as a future saviour.
Yes, christians have run their own way with the term "christ". I was noting that it had already gained cultic content before it came into christian hands.
What was a synagogue in first century BC ? A gathering of people in a house for the purpose of worship. Christians will eventually replicate this arrangement under the name ecclesia.
the sacred meal, apparently derived from the fact that during the last supper Jesus gave thanks over the bread and the cup.
Why do humans eat?
Deuteronomy Ekev
8:3
He made life difficult for you, letting you go hungry, and then He fed you the Manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever experienced. This was to teach you that it is not by bread alone that man lives, but by all that comes out of God's mouth.
http://bible.ort.org/books/torahd5.asp? ... portion=46
The bread we eat provides a divine life-force .


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spin
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Re: The evolution of christian cultic vocabulary

Post by spin » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:45 pm

Charles Wilson wrote:
spin wrote:
Secret Alias wrote:Do we pursue christos or chrestos?
What does Mt 11:30 say?
Matthew 11: 30 (RSV):

[30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

It sez, "Submit to Roman occupation and get used to it. Pay taxes. You'll be better off if you do and dead if you don't".
What does that have to do with my question in the context of Secret's question??
Dysexlia lures • ⅔ of what we see is behind our eyes

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