meaning of "paradeisos" in the New Testament

Don Wilkins dwilkins at
Sun Oct 25 18:26:32 EST 1998

At 9:33 PM -0000 10/24/98, Jim West wrote:
>At 07:38 PM 10/24/98 +0000, you wrote:
>>     Is the above word ever translated as the "grave?"  I know a fellow who
>claims such, but I know of no scholarly work that would translate
>"paradeisos" as the grave.  Any comments appreciated.  Thank you, Bob Marden
>I have never heard anyone suggest such a thing.
>I have in front of me TDNT (which, contrary to the opinion of some- a la
>Barr- is still the most remarkable work of scholarship of this century)...
>The word  is a loan from Persian meaning "an enclosure, a park, an enclosed
>garden".  This article- written by Joachim Jeremias (we all need to take our
>hats of to this one!!!!), spans pages 765-773.
>Take a look. In a very cursory overlook I cannot find any such notion as the
>one presented above (i.e.- paradise = grave).  I suspect that someone has
>simply heard something somewhere (on the radio or TBN perhaps ???) and taken
>it as so.  It isnt.

I completely agree that one cannot translate paradise in this way, but
here's a guess as to the origin of the (mis)concept. Hades (= Heb. Sheol in
this context) had a general reference to death, but also took on the more
limited sense of the place of torment as opposed to that of bliss after
death, which was variously called heaven or paradise (recall Jesus' words
to the thief on the cross). Perhaps the fellow equating paradise with the
grave is confusing the general concept of the afterlife (a la Hades) with
the place of blessing after death.

Don Wilkins

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