Carlton Winbery winberyc at popalex1.linknet.net
Sun Jul 25 14:02:29 EDT 1999

Carl Conrad wrote;

>(a) in classical Greek, EKKLHSIA is the regular term for the (political)
>assembly of citizens, corresponding to an older Homeric AGORA. Of course,
>the etymology of EKKLHSIA points to the "summoning" (EKKALEW) of the
>citizens to come to the meeting place, whether that be the AGORA, which was
>the Homeric word for assembly of citizens, or the Pnyx as in Athens.
>(b) The LXX used this word to convey QAHAL, the "congregation" or
>"assembly" of the people of Israel, and although the New Testament EKKLHSIA
>seems in most of the earlier instances chronologically (i.e. in the Pauline
>letters, which I assume do antedate the gospels) to mean "house church" or
>gathering of believers in a household of some patron offering that house as
>a meeting place, the term is probably simply carried over from LXX usage.
>(c) I do think that too much is sometimes made of the etymology from
>EKKALEW, although the gospels do use KALEW of Jesus' "call" or "invitation"
>to persons whom he accosts to join or follow him. I think that the NT usage
>most probably derives from LXX usage for "congregation." And, as has been
>noted by prior respondents, there are meanings of the modern word "church"
>that are very misleading if we try to translate EKKLHSIA with English
>"church." I think "congregation" really does better represent the sense--at
>least in the Pauline letters: a gathering of believers.
I agree with Carl that the LXX usage is probably most influencial on Paul
and that we have to be careful of making too much of etymology. Another
source of definition would be other terms and metaphors used to depict the
church in the NT. Paul Minear's old book (88 diff. words and metaphors I
think) is most helpful. One reference to the church that ought to help us
emphasize that the church is people is in Galatians hOI TOU CRISTOU - the
of Christ ones, probably possessive - Christ's own.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
winbery at andria.lacollege.edu
winberyc at popalex1.linknet.net
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

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