Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Jul 26 12:48:24 EDT 1999

At 9:45 AM -0500 7/26/99, Steve Long wrote:
>>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.
>I too agree with Carl about the LXX, but there is something to consider.
>Paul could have used SUNAGOGE to designate a local meeting, the use of
>EKKLHSIA is intended to point to the assembly of the entire nation of
>Israel and so to the entire body of Christ. Paul also probably wanted to
>distinguish the EKKLHSIA XRISTOU from the SUNAGOGE IOUDAIOU, so he used a
>different word with a similar meaning but different history and

My problem with this is that, while I agree that Paul surely is inclusive
in his conception of believers incorporate EN CRISTWi as all belonging to
the SWMA CRISTOU, I have my doubts whether it is ever safe to say that
EKKLHSIA in an authentic letter of Paul (personally I'd exclude 2 Thess,
Eph, Col and the pastorals) refers to more than a local house-church type
of congregation. Certainly Paul does not use SUNAGWGH, and in fact, I think
that word is used exclusively of the Jewish local prayer and study meeting.
In fact, I'm inclined to think that the usage of EKKLHSIA for the entire
body of Christ is restricted to later-composed NT texts, but that's not an
item for discussion in this forum.  I doubt we can find a clear instance in
an authentic Pauline letter of EKKLHSIA in the sense of the universal body.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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