Jesus' Corpse

porson porson at
Wed Mar 6 17:22:37 EST 2002

Carl wrote:

>I think this is really more of a translation question than a question about
>the Greek. My sense is that PTWMA and SWMA, while not completely
>synonymous, do overlap; PTWMA is only used of a dead body; SWMA may be (the
>main square of Alexandria, where Alexander's sarcophagus was publicly
>entombed (like Lenin's centuries later on Red Square in Moscow) was termed
>SWMA for that very reason. Pythagoreans and Plantonists were fond of citing
>the symbolic formula SWMA SHMA: "the body is a tomb," pointing to the
>paradox of the living body as an essentially dead vessel containing the
>living spirit.

Possibly there is more to this than merely the choice of the translator. 
PTWMA seems to be related to PIPTW, and appears to be used fairly 
consistently to refer to a dead body, a fall, a misfortune, a ruined 
building, etc.

SWMA, on the other hand, with the exception of Homer, seems to refer for 
the most part, but not exclusively, to a living body or to the body as 
opposed to spirit (hence the Pyhtagorean example cited by Carl), or 
idiomatically, to various states of health.


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