[B-Greek] On BHMA

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue Sep 4 17:00:02 EDT 2007

On Sep 4, 2007, at 2:51 PM, Mitch Larramore wrote:

> A friend of mine has asked if anyone on the B-Greek
> list can confirm the following statement:
> "This word was taken from Isthmian games where the
> contestants would compete for the prize under the
> careful scrutiny of judges who would make sure that
> every rule of the contest was obeyed (cf. 2 Tim. 2:5).
> The victor of a given event who participated according
> to the rules was led by the judge to the platform
> called the Bema. There the laurel wreath was placed on
> his head as a symbol of victory..."
> S. Hoyt in a 1980 Bibsac article states something
> close to this, but provides no support. Numerous other
> commentaries say something similar, but those who do
> reference some source, usually reference the
> unsubstantiated claim of Hoyt. Apparently, though
> again unconfirmed, Strabo is the origin of this
> Isthmian usage of BHMA.

I've read this claim before and have always thought it dubious. BHMA  
means "platform for standing" -- its' the object-noun formed from  
BAINW "stride, step." It's used in the courtroom for the stand upon  
which anyone testifying stands and used generally for a platform on  
which one stands to be seen by others more readily.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Ret)

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