Translation of EKKLHSIA

Marc Pembroke maplaw at
Tue Aug 22 19:51:56 EDT 2000

I suppose my problem is that I'm not certain how easy it is to delineate a
"religious context" from a "nonreligious context." Even in the modern
post-Christian western societies, much of language, culture, and behavior
are steeped in religious references and implications. The American President
puts his hand on the Bible as he takes the oath of office. Is that
"religious?" Does that mean that presidential political authority is
considered derivative of Divine authority?
Similarly, the  Vice President traditionally tosses the first pitch of the
baseball season. Does that make baseball "political?"  The fact is that
depending on the ambient culture and religion, all gatherings may have a
religious overtone. Graduation ceremonies, football and hockey games, and
dozens of other "assemblies" frequently include an invocation. Even many
"secular" corporate banquets start with an invocation or grace before a

My contention is that in many other contemporary societies (Islamic,
Japanese Shinto, Indian Hindu, and many others) it's nearly impossible to
speak of a truly "non religious" event. My guess is that the problem is no
less complex in the ancient world. People may not have agreed on theology,
but everything, from politics to meat slaughtering, was done in the name of
one religion or deity or another.
So, just how much of the Bible can be properly called "non religious?"

Marc A. Pembroke
P.O. Box 882
Jackman, ME 04945
(207) 668-4160
maplaw at

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at>
To: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at>
Cc: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at>
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2000 7:17 PM
Subject: [b-greek] Re: Translation of EKKLHSIA

> At 12:26 PM -0500 8/22/00, Lynn Trapp wrote:
> >I'm interested in getting your thoughts on the best translation for
> >EKKLHSIA. I would particularly like to know what effect the members of
> >list think the use of this word in a religious context (referring to
> >people) may have had on the development of the meaning of the word in the
> >language as a whole.
> I've seen the answers by others; it seems to me dubious that the word has
> always the same sense throughout the GNT, but I think it more often than
> not refers to a "house church," and I wonder whether the most neutral and
> still meaningful way to convert it to English might not be: "meeting."
> That's not necessarily political more than social, and it's traditional
> enough even through the centuries in English for a religious gathering. "I
> went to meeting on the Lord's Day."
> --
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics/Washington University
> One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
> Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
> cwconrad at
> WWW:
> ---
> B-Greek home page:
> You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: maplaw at
> To unsubscribe, forward this message to
> To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek at

More information about the B-Greek mailing list