Why Paul never used the word synagogue to describe the movement he inspired and chose ecclesia instead—the Greek word we translate as church.
The short answer is that he couldn’t use the word synagogue for a variety of legal and administrative reasons. Ecclesia was a better fit for their role as a para-synagogue organization within the Jewish umbrella.
There is a second option but not so strong as the first one. Paul thought of ecclesia as defining his concept of Messianic Judaism a restorative movement claiming back to the time of Ezra.
The reasons and impact of Christianity’s separation from its Jewish parent.
Christianity started as a grass-roots Jewish movement that had its origins in the Galilee and Jerusalem regions.
There were two reasons that this offspring of a Jewish parent split: the destruction of Jerusalem, and their excommunication by Rabban Gamaliel II. This separation was distinct by the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt.
One must keep in mind that the separation was a gradual one. There were amicable relations between the two parties for centuries—so close that it caused competing interests.
The influence of Aramaic on ancient Hebrew typography.
As shown throughout this blog, the Hebrew language was heavily influenced, and almost overtaken by Aramaic. In the first century, only in the southern reaches of Israel did the Jewish the population continue to speak in Hebrew (with a few exceptions of course).
This influence is greatly shown in the shift in typography. Although Hebrew was retained in religious texts, the handwriting was changed from ancient Hebrew to an Aramaic style. Not only was the script changed but Aramaic typography also became the formally instituted one. The ancient Hebrew calligraphy was later reserved for the Samaritans and their texts, whom the Jewish peoples historically greatly disliked.
A detailed look at praying in tongues from a historic Jewish perspective. The results may surprise many readers.
When one examines praying in tongues from a Jewish liturgical perspective, the understanding of praying in tongues changes dramatically. The most important finding is that praying in tongues was part of a list of liturgical activities noted by Paul occurring in the Corinthian assembly. A list includes speaking in tongues, hymns, psalms, and the amen construct. These are all found in ancient Jewish traditions.
They all point to the fact that the Corinthian assembly had inherited the liturgical rites of their greater global Jewish community.
Capturing the spirit of first-century Judaism through the window of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament writings.
The Dead Sea Scrolls give an important look into first-century Jewish life from a mainly Jewish-Hebrew perspective; a genre lacking until their advent. Most of our extra-biblical knowledge of Israel during the first-century was previously drawn from Jewish Greek and Aramaic writers.
Nine points Pentecostals and Charismatic families of churches must do to build healthy relationships with the nation of Israel, Jews, and Palestinians.
Pentecostals, traditional Charismatics, and third-wave Charismatics are collectively called Renewalists. They staunchly support the nation of Israel regardless of whatever behaviour this nation exhibits. Is this is a good thing?
No. It is not.
There is a great need within the Renewalist movement to build a fair and balanced relationship with the nation of Israel, Jews, and Palestinians. The current oral tradition is sorely lacking in this regard.
A history of speaking, interpreting, and reading from 500 B.C. to 400 A.D. in Judaism and early Christianity.
An interactive infographic to help you navigate Paul’s world and how these offices later evolved in the Christian Church. Clicking on the image will bring you to the full interactive site.
IMPORTANT! Please note that the interactive file was an experiment in coding and design. The end result is that you have to wait a bit longer before the file is rendered, especially on mobile phones. My apologies in advance.
Paul’s mention of speaking in tongues in I Corinthians is deeply wrapped in the Jewish identity. The same goes for his understanding of speaking, reading, and interpreting of tongues. These rites have a rich history that goes well over 800 years. The initial origins are deeply connected to the times of Ezra.
Current Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Third Wave responses to the Gift of Tongues Project.
A number of readers have asked me lately about the response from the Renewalist communities (Pentecostals, the Charismatic Movement, and affiliations) to the Gift of Tongues Project. Here are a few observations.
An opinion piece
The reader must be aware that the following responses are feelings, opinions, and hunches that are harvested from a very narrow set of data. The results are from personal observations and conversations within the Renewalist communities about speaking in tongues. It is also from data gathered from my website, Facebook ads, and a focus group. Still, even with all these tools at hand, this is speculative and subject to change. Neither do these thoughts align with the standards set out in The Gift of Tongues Project which has a more rigorous objective framework.
A look at the problem tongues of Corinth being an internal linguistic struggle between Doric, Aeolic, and Attic Greeks. This is part 2 of an 7 part series on the mystery tongues of Corinth. Part 1, The Role of Hebrew in the Jewish Aramaic World, covered how Hebrew became the language of religion and worship …
The influence of Aramaic and Hebrew on Jewish life around the first-century.
The goal of any information gleaned from this inquiry is to find a possible connection with Hebrew being a part of the first-century Corinthian liturgy. A subsequent purpose is to confirm or deny an assertion by the fourth-century Bishop of Salamis, Epiphanius, that the mystery tongues of Corinth had its roots in the Hebrew language.
We cannot assume any synagogue outside of Israel, let alone Corinth, used the Hebrew language as part of their religious service. So, it requires digging deeper into the relationship between Hebrew and Aramaic to find answers.