touch-stone, black-stone?

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touch-stone, black-stone?

Post by Ethan »

Plato, Gorgias 486d
If my soul had happened to be made of gold, Callicles, do you not think I should have been delighted to find one of those stones with which they test gold, and the best one; which, if I applied it, and it confirmed to me that my soul had been properly tended, would give me full assurance that I am in a satisfactory state and have no need of other testing

εἰ χρυσῆν ἔχων ἐτύγχανον τὴν ψυχήν, ὦ Καλλίκλεις, οὐκ ἂν οἴει με ἅσμενον εὑρεῖν τούτων τινὰ τῶν λίθων ᾗ βασανίζουσιν τὸν χρυσόν, τὴν ἀρίστην, πρὸς ἥντινα ἔμελλον προσαγαγὼν αὐτήν, εἴ μοι ὁμολογήσειεν ἐκείνη καλῶς τεθεραπεῦσθαι τὴν ψυχήν, εὖ εἴσεσθαι ὅτι ἱκανῶς ἔχω καὶ οὐδέν με δεῖ ἄλλης βασάνου

This particular stone is alluded numerous times in the Old Testament

Zechariah 13:9
I test them as one tests gold [בחנתים כבחן את־הזהב]
βασανίζω αὐτοὺς ὡς βασανίζει τὸ χρυσίον

This is similar to Plato's "τῶν λίθων ᾗ βασανίζουσιν τὸν χρυσόν" that would translate into אבנים אשר בחנו את הזהב "the stones which they test the gold". The stone itself is mentioned in Isaiah.

Isaiah 28:16
a test stone [אבן בחן]
λίθος βάσανος or βασανίτης ; touchstone, lapis lydius (λίθος Λυδία), a dark coloured stone which pure gold leaves a yellow mark.

Psalm 26:2
βάσανιζε με (בחנני) "test me" // βάσινιζη με (נסני) "examine me"

βασανίζω (Middle Liddell) rub gold upon the touch-stone (βάσανος), Plat.: hence, to try the genuineness of a thing, to put to the test, make proof of
II.of persons, to examine closely, cross-question, Hdt., Ar. question by applying torture, to torture, id=Ar.:—Pass. to be put to the torture, for the purpose of extorting confession, Thuc.: to be tormented by disease or storm.

Deuteronomy 6:16
You do not test the Lord, just as you were tested in Bashan (Massah)
"οὐκ βασανίζεσθε κύριον ὥσπερ ἐβασανισάσθε ἐν τῷ Βασάνῳ"

So in Matthew 4:3 ὁ πειράζων is rather ὁ βασανιστής examiner, questioner, torturer, one who tests

1 Peter 2:6
I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious

This copies the Septuagint version of Isaiah 28:16 but changes and rearranges the words, the Septuagint version of Isaiah is very different to the MT

τίθημι ἐν Σιὼν λίθον ἀκρογωνιαῖον ἐκλεκτὸν ἔντιμον (Peter)
θεμέλια Σιων λίθον πολυτελῆ ἐκλεκτὸν ἀκρογωνιαῖον ἔντιμον" (LXX)
יסד בציון אבן אבן בוחן פנת יקרת מוסד (MT)

It would seem the Septuagint is using ἀκρογωνιαῖον for פנת (γωνία?) or with the second מוסד (κτίσμα?)

Ephesians 2:20
ἀκρογωνιαίου "of the cornerstone" (copying the Septuagint)

Herodotus 1.151
ἐπὶ τοῦ προνηίου τῆς γωνίης "at the corner of the forecourt of the temple"

πρόναος "before the temple, forecourt, of gods whose statues stood before the temple"
*This might be what is meant by פנת in Isaiah.

בציון might also mean ἐν κίονι "on a pillar/column",
*κίων/ציון columnar gravestone (2 Kings 23:17, Ezekiel 39:15, Jeremiah 31:21)
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