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Adoptionism — An early christology that believed that Jesus became the son of God by adoption at his baptism.
Aggadah — Haggadah is the ancient Jewish teaching and lore that surrounded the interpretation of the non-legal parts of the OT.
Aggadic — Haggadah is the ancient Jewish teaching and lore that surrounded the interpretation of the non-legal parts of the OT.
Allusion — A veiled or overt reference of one text to another. Intertextuality is a word that describes the pervasive amount of allusion between texts.
Am Ha arets — Hebrew for 'The people of the land'. Used particularly for lower class people. It may have been somewhat derogatory.
Amanuensis — A scribe who writes out what is dictated. e.g. Romans 16:22 where Tertius 'who wrote this letter' greets the readers.
Amoraim — The Rabbi's of the period between 220 CE to the 6th century. They composed the Gemara.
Amphictyony — A tribal league that organized itself around one religious center, sometimes to defend it. It is more pervasive in ancient Greece, but the historical period of the time of Judges is thought to be something similar to amphictyony. The theory of Israel as a true amphictyony was widely held for a time but has since been dismissed.
Anachronism — Projecting a term, definition, or event back into the past. Eg. To assume that Judaism at the time of Jesus and his followers had the same bible as us is somewhat anachronistic, since we cannot prove that only the 39 books of our OT were viewed as inspired.
Anacoluthon — Incoherence or inconsistency in the syntax of a sentence.
Anagogy — The hidden meaning of a text.
Anaphora — The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs. Eg. Ps 150's 'Praise the Lord's.
Ancient Middle East — The region of southwest Asia which includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey on today's map.
Ancient versions — Translations of the Bible dating from the early centuries of this era, like the Latin, Coptic, and Syriac versions.
Androcentric — Male centered. The Bible is often thought of as being androcentric, since God is spoken of in masculine terms, and it was males who wrote the bible, and held the positions of prominence in ancient society.
Anthropomorphism — Attributing human characteristics to non-human things. Eg. The trees arms swayed in the wind. Proverbs is filled with anthropomorphisms about wisdom and folly.
Anthropopathism — when human emotions are attributed to God.
Antinomianism — Belief that the Mosaic Law is no longer binding in any way.
Antiochene text — a later revision of the Greek OT traditionally attributed to Lucian of Antioch. It was used heavily in Syria and the Eastern Church in general in the 4th and 5th centuries CE.
Antithetical parallelism — Parallelism in general is pervasive in Hebrew poetry. Antithetical parallelism is the device in which the first line or verse is contrasted with something opposite in the second. Eg. 'Honey is sweet on the lips, but lemons cause a sour face' {my own creation...brilliant I know}.
Aphorism — A catchy saying or maxim. Jesus said them all the time. Eg. 'Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword'.
Apocalypse — The book of Revelation is an example of an apocalypse. It is a text that is heavily metaphorical and speaks of the past, present, or future in metaphorical ways in such a way as to make them timeless and overarching. Eg. The book of Daniel spoke about the 'abomination of desolation'. This was clearly speaking about Antiochus Epiphanes and his profaning of the Temple. But it's metaphorical nature made it useful again for Jesus to pick up and reuse.
Apocalyptic — A literary attribute in which a revelation is given through symbolism and metaphor. Revelation and Daniel and Enoch are the greatest examples.
Apocalypticism — Closely tied to the literature called apocalyptic, but having to do more with the social forces and social setting in which apocalyptic texts arise. The most obvious is that apocalyptic material is created often during times of crisis or persecution.
Apocrypha — Writings included in the Septuagint, Orthodox canon, Roman Catholic canon, (as well as the Ethiopic canon for some) but not the Jewish or Protestant. Also called deutero-canonical. Many of the newer study bibles that are coming out, especially the NRSV, are beginning to include the Apocrypha. The OT Apocrypha includes Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, 3 & 4 Maccabees, Additions to Daniel, Additions to Esther, Psalm 151. The NT Apocrypha is a much longer list. See http:\\ministries.tliquest.net\theology\apocryphas\nt\.
Apodeictic or Apodictic — The feature of any proposition which is necessary, perfect, or true. The 10 commandments are apodeictic.
Apodosis — the main clause of a conditional sentence.
Apophthegm — In gospel scholarship the word is used, particularly in form criticism, to refer to proverbial sayings of Jesus.
Apparatus — Notes that accompany a text, which give you info on variant readings, etc.
Ar — A mountain.
Aramaic — A Semitic language related to Hebrew. Part of Daniel is written in Aramaic, and Jesus would have probably taught in Aramaic.
Aramaism — a Greek word or idiom borrowed from Aramaic that is used in such a way that it is influenced from the parent language.
Archetype — A common model or pattern. Similar to 'paradigm shift'.
Asyndeton — Clauses linked without conjunctions.
Aural — Listening. In ancient society the written word was reserved for only the most important works, and was costly. People learned through listening.
Aurality — The listening aspect of ancient culture. In ancient society the written word was reserved for only the most important works, and was costly. People learned through listening.
Autograph — The original manuscript of a work.
Babli — The Babylonian Talmud.
Baraita — A Hebrew word meaning 'external', it designates rabbinic writings not included in the Talmud By R.Judah ha-Nasi (The prince).
Berakah — Hebrew for 'blessing', used as a name for a common Jewish prayer of blessing.
BHS — Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia,' the most widely regarded edition of the Hebrew Bible\Old Testament.
Biblical criticism — This is a blanket designation of the many different methodologies used in the study of the bible.
Bibliolatry — Taking too high a view of the bible; i.e. treating the Bible as if it were the 4th member of the trinity.
Canon — This word most often designates a fixed and authoritative list of books to which nothing can be added or taken away. Different religious groups have different canons. However sometimes this term is used simply in the sense of 'authority'. A careful reading of how the author uses the term will help you determine how it is used.
Canonical — Belonging to some established official list. Like the term 'canon' it is sometimes used simply in the sense of 'authoritative'.
Canonical criticism — Study of the Bible as a complete work, rather than a set of separate passages or books. Eg. The prophecy of Isaiah about the virgin conceiving a child in context would not have referred to the future Messiah, since it was to be a sign to King Ahaz. But in canonical context, reading the bible as one coherent whole, it has come to be a prophecy concerning the miraculous birth of Jesus.
Casuistic — The use of ethical principles to resolve moral dilemmas.
Catechesis — Instruction given to candidates of baptism.
Catena — From Latin meaning 'chain', it refers to a group of exegetical comments from ancient writers. These ancient texts are valuable for understanding how early readers interpreted the scriptures, and helpful for text criticism because the catena often quote verses from the bible they were interpreting.
Chiasm — Literary structure like the shape of an X, the shape of the Greek letter chi, hence the name. It often has an A-B-C-B-A type structure. Eg. The boy came ‚ said hello to the girl she laughed at him ‚ the girl left ‚ the boy cried.
Chiastic parallelism — Exhibiting the literary structure of chiasm, especially in the actual narrative structure. The gospel of Mark is constructed with a type of geographical chiasm.
Chilism — Chilism refers to a type of eschatology that built itself around the seven days of creation. The world is viewed as only lasting for 7,000 years from the traditional date of creation (4004 BCE), with the last thousand years being the millenium, as understood my premillenialists. It is the precursor to premillenialism.
Chreia — A greek rhetoric term for short, pithy sayings or stories.
Christophany
— A Christophany would be the manifestation of Christ, like Paul's encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.
Codex — A bound book made up of folded leaves or pages. It replaced scrolls for scribal activity.
Codices — A bound book made up of folded leaves or pages. It replaced scrolls for scribal activity.
Cognitive dissonance — This refers to a psychological phenomenon that takes place when what you believe counters what you experience. For instance, the Israelites what have went through cognitive dissonance when they were exiled, because they believed that God would not allow Jerusalem and his Temple to be overtaken. Cognitive dissonance would be a factor in the creation of theodicy and apocalyptic literature.
Collation — doing a critical comparison of two manuscripts in order to identify the differences and drawing inferences.
Collocation — a noticeable pattern or patterns in word arrangement or other linguistic elements.
Colophon — a note placed at the end of a manuscript often by the scribe, giving information about its date or production.
Consubstantial — Of one substance. Often used to speak of the persons of the Trinity.
Coptic — Coptic is an ancient language that has 4 primary dialects, focused primarily in Egypt. There are many important Coptic manuscripts of the Bible.
Covenantal nomism — A relatively recent designation of the type of covenant the Jews are described as having by Paul which is on the basis of Grace, not law. Related to the 'New Perspective' on Paul.
Cult — This is one of those unfortunate terms that have an assumed meaning to the common reader, and yet carries a different technical meaning. For instance, if a scholar says 'the Temple Cult' when referring to the priests of the Temple in antiquity, he is not implying that they held false beliefs like the Moonies. Calling the priests and Levites a cult, meant that they worked together as an established organization with the duty of running the Temple and its sacrifices.
Cuneiform — A type of script that has wedge-shaped characters.
Dead Sea Scrolls — Ancient manuscripts written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, found in 1947-56 at Qumran. The Dead Sea Scrolls date from around the time of Jesus and the early Church.
Deconstruction — Literary theory popularized by Jacques Derrida, based in its view of 'textuality,' which considers language not only in its written form but in speech, history, culture, and the world itself. As the word implies, deconstructionists seem always to be 'taking things apart' — the 'things' being texts. Deconstructionist methodology involves exposing the philosophical and linguistic assumptions implicit in a text. (definition from http:\\www.read-the-bible.org\Glossary.html).
Deconstructionism — Literary theory originally formulated by Jacques Derrida, based in its view of 'textuality,' which considers language not only in its written form but in speech, history, culture, and the world itself. As the word implies, deconstructionists seem always to be 'taking things apart' — the 'things' being texts. Deconstructionist methodology involves exposing the philosophical and linguistic assumptions implicit in a text. (definition from http:\\www.read-the-bible.org\Glossary.html).
Deism — Deism is the belief system of deists, which became popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. Deism believes in the existence of God, but denies revelations, coming to the belief in God through logic and reason. Using the popular example of God as a clockmaker, Deism sees God as winding up the clock and then leaving it alone to do its own ticking.
Demiurge — The Gnostic name for the creator, who is a distinct deity from the unknown god of Jesus.
Derash — The Derash in Hebrew means the applied meaning for a Text, like a homily. It is applied or pastoral exegesis, answering the question 'how does this apply to one's life'.
Deuteronomic history — This is having to do with particular works of the OT, especially Deuteronomy and the Former prophets (josh, judg, Sam, Kings) that have a particular theology (Deut 5-7) that asserts that if God's laws are upheld he bless the Israelites, if they disobey he will punish them. It is thought that these books originally comprised one work.
Deuteronomic theology — This is having to do with particular works of the OT, especially Deuteronomy and the Former prophets (josh, judg, Sam, Kings) that have a particular theology (Deut 5-7) that asserts that if God's laws are upheld he bless the Israelites, if they disobey he will punish them. It is thought that these books originally comprised one work.
Deuteronomistic — This is having to do with particular works of the OT, especially Deuteronomy and the Former prophets (josh, judg, Sam, Kings) that have a particular theology (Deut 5-7) that asserts that if God's laws are upheld he bless the Israelites, if they disobey he will punish them. It is thought that these books originally comprised one work.
Diachronic — Dealing with a text or with a phenomenon as it happened through time. Used especially in language studies, where the evolution of the language (its grammar, definitions, etc) is seen as a whole. The flip side would be synchronic, where a snapshot of the language at one particular time is viewed apart from where it stands in the development over time.
Diadoche or Diadochi — The term in its simplest form means succession, but in biblical studies it more often refers to the 4 generals that split up and took control over the empire of Alexander the Great after his death.
Diaspora — Greek for 'scattered', it is used to designate the Jews living outside of Palestine.
Didache — This term can refer broadly to the teaching ministry of the early church, or more specifically to a late 1st century writing which is part of the NT apocrypha.
Didactic — Text or discourse which provides instruction, information, or teaching.
Dittography — A scribal mistake in which a letter or group of letters or words are repeated when they should appear only once. Even scribes made mistakes too.
Documentary Hypothesis — Theory that the Pentateuch was originally formed from four separate documents, known as J, E, D, and P; 'J' stands for the Yahwist who used the name YHWH to refer to God in the narrative material; 'E' stands for the Elohist who used Elohim to refer to God in the narrative material; 'D' stands for the Deuteronomist which refers to the material that has deuteronomistic theology (mainly deuteronomy in the books of Moses); and 'P' stands for the Priestly material which has to do with the legal material, especially Leviticus and parts of Exodus.
Dynamic equivalent translation — This type of translation is more loose in terms of sticking to the original texts, such as the Message, or the Living Bible. The aim is cultural coherence, making the language and idioms more like the speaking style of today.
Eighteen Benedictions — A group of Jewish prayers used in the synagogue and personal prayers. The 12th Benediction says, 'let the Nazarenes and heretics perish', which is probably a referral to the early Christians.
Eisegesis — This term denotes interpretation of the Bible that has been put into by the interpreter. This term and concept is highly subjective, since one person's exegesis is another person's eisegesis.
Encratite — Greek for 'self-controlled'. Used to refer to the ascetic branches of the early church like the Ebionites and Docetics.
Enlightenment — A time of unsurpassed intellectual growth centered in Europe in the 18th century. It was based upon rationalism and empiricism, often seen as trying to supplant religion with science and secular philosophy. Also known as the Age of Reason.
Enuma Elish — An ancient Babylonian\Sumerian creation story, which has many parallels with the opening chapters of Genesis. Some scholar's think that the Genesis account was created while the Jews were in Babylon, and relies on the Enuma Elish.
Epigraphy — The study of ancient inscriptions.
Epiphany — The manifestation of a deity.
Epistemology — The philosophical study of or theory of how we know things.
Eschatology — The theological study of the end times, or more specifically the direction and purpose of history.
Eschaton
— The climax of history. In a Christian context, it more specifically refers to the return of Christ at the end of the age.
Ethnarch
— A governor appointed over a province or nation.
Ethos — A set of moral or ideological principles that guides a person or community.
Etiological — A story whose purpose is to explain the origin of a custom, place, name, etc. For example, Genesis 3:14-19 explains why serpents creep on their bellies rather than having legs like other animals, why women have so much pain in childbirth, and why agriculture is so much work. A Bible passage that says something is a certain way 'to this day' (e.g. 2 Samuel 6:8) is often signaling etiological intent. (definition from http:\\www.read-the-bible.org\Glossary.html)
Etymology — The origin and subsequent use and evolution of a word and its meaning.
Exegesis — The interpretation of a text.
Exemplar — the 'master' copy from which other copies are made.
Expiation — Latin meaning 'to appease'; atonement.
Feminist criticism — Biblical criticism that looks at gender relations and the issues and roles of women, and often engages in critique of biblical support or points out and works around biblical support for patriarchy.
Florilegium — Latin for 'a gathering of flowers'. Early Christian apologists had collections of proof texts that were used when confronting skeptics. Florilegium is also the name of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Form criticism — This is a method of analysing the genres of oral units of text and how it developed and became a part of a particular biblical book. For instance, the gospel writers made use of many sayings and stories which circulated in different forms (poetic, narrative, wisdom sayings) of Jesus that circulated orally in small self-contained units. The gospel writers incorporated these units into their story of Jesus.
Fourfold Interpretation — This was a popular method of interpretation, especially in the early Church Fathers. It contained the peshat (literal sense), remez (allegorical sense), derash (moral exhortation, homily), and sod (hidden meaning).
Gattung — German for Genre.
Gemara — Gemara is the middle section of the Talmud that contains a close reading of the Mishnah passage in question, and the discussion surrounding the aspects of the Mishnah.
Gematria — A method of interpreting the numbers in ancient texts. Eg. The number 7 in Revelation usually denotes perfection or fullness.
Geniza — A Geniza were ancient library stashes, where the Jews stashed old copies of books that were no longer useful, often because they've deteriorated. Books of this nature were not burned because they contained the divine name, and burning it would constitute blasphemy.
Genre — A category of oral or written literature that is defined by style and content. Eg. Revelation is an apocalypse, Romans is an epistle, Acts is a narrative, Spiderman is a comic book, Vanilla Ice is crappy rap.
Geschichte — German for 'history'. It is usually used more specifically to denote the significance of an historical event as opposed to the event itself.
Gilgamesh — The Gilgamesh Epic is narrative from the ancient Near East that has many interesting parallels with Genesis. Some scholars see some sort of interdependence between the two.
Glossolalia — Glossolalia is used to refer to the phenomenon of speaking in tongues.
Gnosticism — Religious belief system which was closely tied to the early church from about the 1st century BCE through the 3rd century CE, which claimed secret knowledge that ensured salvation. Some of the NT letters seem to be combating an emerging form of gnosticism.
Greco-Roman — The period from the 1st to 5th century when Roman dominated and Greek culture flourished.
Haggadah or Haggadic — Haggadah is the ancient Jewish teaching and lore that surrounded the interpretation of the non-legal parts of the OT.
Hagiographa — This is the third categorization of biblical books in the Hebrew Bible also called 'The Writings' or Ketubim. The books in the hagiographa were Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and 1-2 Chronicles.
Halakah — This was the accompanying corpus of Jewish law that was created through the Israelites coming to understand and try to keep the Law. It was a corpus of material that accompanied especially the legal parts of the Torah and is found in the Talmud especially.
Hapax legomena — This is a word that occurs only once in the entire existing body of literature that we possess. However, when used by biblical scholars, it often limits the corpus of literature to a specific author, or the biblical corpus.
Haplography — This is a scribal textual error where the same word or letter ends two lines that are close together. When the scribe looks away or dips his pen, his eye catches the last word or letter, and sometimes his eyes go back to the wrong line, so he skips several words or lines.
Har — A mountain.
Hauptbriefe — German for the 'Principal Letters' of Paul, those books which are definitely from Paul; Romans, I & II Corinthians, and Galatians.
Haustafel — German for 'Household list'. A list like the one found at Ephesian 5:22 f.f. that catalogued the responsibilities of members of a household.
Hebraism — a Greek word or idiom borrowed from Hebrew that is used in such a way that it is influenced from the parent language.
Heilsgeschichte — German for 'Salvation History'.
Hellenistic — The period from the 4th centurcy BCE, after Alexander's conquests, when Greek culture and language spread throughout the Ancient Near East. It lasted into the 4th century CE.
Hellenistic age — The period when Greece controlled the ancient Near East, from the death of Alexander to the beginning of the Roman rule (323-30 BCE.).
Hendiadys — Using a conjunction to connect to adjectives that do not necessarily need a conjunction. For instance, if my wife were to call me a 'big and fuzzy bear' instead of just a 'big fuzzy bear', that would be a hendiadys.
Henotheism — The belief and worship of one God without excluding the idea of other gods.
Hermeneutics — Study of the methods of interpretation of texts. A study of how we do exegesis.
Hermeneutics of Suspicion — This designation was popularized by Paul Ricouer, which sees the plain meaning of a text as concealing a subtext or deeper meaning that is often politically motivated. Ideological\Ideology criticism is similar in meaning.
Heterodox — Not orthodox, heretical.
Hexateuch — The Hexateuch is used to refer to the 5 books of Moses plus Joshua as a unit. The reasoning for having this delineation is that the Pentateuch does not end the story, since the Pentateuch never actually has the entrance into the Promised Land.
Historical-critical method — A way of reading Scripture that makes use of historical research, literary analysis and the findings of anthropology, archaeology and other sciences. It is historical inasmuch as scholars seek to discover the social, economic, political and cultural setting of biblical times. It is critical in that experts judge and evaluate the text and its narrative in light of literary analysis and scientific information. Through this kind of scholarly detective work, modern Bible readers are interpreting what the ancient Bible writers had to say. (definition from http:\\www.disciplesnow.com\catholic\html\article240.html)
Historie — German for 'history'. Used to refer to the actual event as opposed to its significance.
Homily — A reading or exegesis of scripture that finds the moral exhortation and application for the reader and\or believers.
Hortatory — Language or literature or the literary attribute of exhortation. Something that urges the readers or listeners to a particular course of action.
Hyperbole — An Exaggeration. Eg. A Camel passing through the eye of a needle.
Hypostasis — used by early theologians to refer to the three persons of the trinity.
Hypotaxis — the joining of clauses with a subordinating conjunction.
Idealism — The word may be used by an author simply to refer to what is most preferred, ie. Truth and justice in society. Or it may be used to refer to a philosophical model like Platonism and other Enlightenment philosophers that saw the physical world as a shadow or representation of the ideal world.
Ideology — A belief system of an individual or group that motivates and causes one to interpret and act a certain way. Ie. Political ideologies, religious ideologies, etc. Closely tied to the idea of worldview.
Ideology criticism — A Method of study which focuses on the motives for which a text was written.
Imprimatur — An official permission to print or announce something, with the assumption that the authority has assured the content's accuracy.
Inclusio — A literary sandwich. Often the inclusio is not as apparent in English, because the inclusio is word sandwich in the original language. The word or words will both begin and end a sentence or paragraph.
Indo-European — A language family that includes all Hellenic, Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Iranian, and Indic languages.
Inflection — Inflection is the way many languages add tense or gender or plurality to a word. Like the 'ed' on 'loved', which places the love in the past tense. The biblical languages have much more elaborate inflection than english.
Interpretive Community — A group that has a collective ideology or hermeneutic that influences the way the individuals interpret the biblical text. For example, the Qumran community believed that they were the chosen people and living in the end times, and interpreted the bible acordingly.
Intertextuality — Intertextuality refers to the relationship between texts and how they refer to or use one another. For instance, you can not read and fully appreciate the book of Revelation unless you know and see its endless allusion and use of the OT.
Ipsissima Verba — Latin for 'The very words themselves'. Refers to the sayings in the gospels and the agrapha that can be attributed to the historical Jesus.
Ipsissima Vox — Latin for 'the very voice'. A teaching that probably originates with the Historical Jesus, even if the exact wording cannot be recovered.
Iron Age — The classification of human technological and cultural developments which are understood in sequential ages; Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. The Iron Age began around 1200 BCE, when Iron use began to replace Bronze use for technology and weaponry especially.
JEDP — Theory that the Pentateuch was originally formed from four separate documents, known as J, E, D, and P; 'J' stands for the Yahwist who used the name YHWH to refer to God in the narrative material; 'E' stands for the Elohist who used Elohim to refer to God in the narrative material; 'D' stands for the Deuteronomist which refers to the material that has deuteronomistic theology (mainly Deuteronomy in the books of Moses); and 'P' stands for the Priestly material which has to do with the legal material, especially Leviticus and parts of Exodus.
Judaizers — The early Jewish Christians who sought to impose circumcision and other aspects of the Mosaic Law upon Gentile Christians.
Kaige — This is a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures that always translated the Hebrew Gam with Kaige. The translation was often more precise than other translations, and if a word was not known or the meaning was unsure, then the Hebrew word was transliterated into Greek. The kaige translation used to be associated with Theodotion (post-Christ) but a kaige translation has been identified at Qumran.
Kerygma — Kerygma refers to what the substance of the early Christain preaching was. Kerygma means proclamation.
Ketubim or Ketuvim — This is the third categorization of biblical books in the Hebrew Bible also called 'The Writings' or Ketubim. The books in the hagiographa were Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and 1-2 Chronicles.
Khirbet — A khirbet is an archaeological term for a small hill which covers the remains of a once occupied site. Often the site was only occupied once or at most a few times. When a place had been destroyed and occupied several time through history, the mound is larger and called a Tell.
Koine — The common form of the Greek dialect that developed from Attic Greek.
Koinonia — Greek for 'fellowship'. Usually refers to the early gatherings of the church in which they practiced the Lord's Supper.
k.t.l (κ.τ.λ) — Stands for και τα λοιπα, which is Greek for et cetera (etc.)
L, Luke's source — The source material that is unique to the gospel of Luke. Luke used Q and Mark and his own material in composing his gospel, If one were to follow the 4-source hypothesis to solve the synoptic problem.
Lacuna — In text criticism, a gap or discontinuity in the original language text. The name is from the Latin word meaning pool or pit. A famous example occurs at Genesis 4:8, where the Hebrew includes a gap which other ancient versions fill in: 'Cain said to his brother Abel ... and when they were in the field, Cain set upon his brother Abel and killed him.' Many modern English translations add, 'Let us go out to the field' to fill the lacuna. (definition from http:\\www.read-the-bible.org\Glossary.html).
Lectionary — A collection of readings from the scriptures used in the liturgy of church services.
Leitwort — German for 'leading word.' Used to describe the repetition or use of a word within a passage that may aim to tie together a theme or plot.
Lemma — In biblical studies it used especially to describe the Pesher commentaries at Qumran. In these works a particular verse or sentence is written out (lemma) followed by the scribes interpretation (pesher).
Levant — The old designation for the geographical region now occupied by Israel\Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
Lexical field — An area of meaning occupied by several words closely related.
lexicography — the means and task of making a dictionary.
Lingua Franca — The Common Language.
Linguistics — The study of language.
Literalist interpretation — Seeks the 'plain sense' of the text, often used to describe the hermeneutics of 'Fundamentalists'. This is a bit of a misnomer, since often Fundamentalist readings actually ignore the 'literary' aspects of the text.
Literary criticism — Study of biblical texts in terms of literary features. Much like the things we learned of in English and language arts back in junior high and high school. Plot, character, and other aspects of literary theory are employed.
Litotes — An understatement for effect. Eg. 'I was not a little mad' is a litotes and means 'I was really mad'.
Locus classicus — A famous, often authoritative, much-quoted passage of literature like Ps 23, or the Lord's Prayer.
Lower Criticism — The foundational criticism's that are used to establish the ancient text of the Bible.
LXX or Septuagint — LXX is the Roman numeral for seventy, and stands for the Septuagint (Greek Translation of the Hebrew scriptures). It is called 'seventy' because of the tradition found in The Letter of Aristeas that 70 rabbi's translated the Books of Moses in 70 days separately, and all of their translations were the same. The other books of the OT were not translated until later, so be careful to see how the writer is using LXX. He\She may be referring to A Greek translation of any OT book, or just the translation of the Torah. It has been a common assumption that the LXX was a translation of the MT, but scholars increasingly agree that the LXX represents a valid text-type of the Hebrew (its Vorlage). The findings of Qumran have confirmed this, and at some points in the OT, the LXX is a more reliable reading than the MT.
M, Matthew's source — The source material that is unique to the gospel of Matthew. Matthew used Q and Mark and his own material in composing his gospel (if one is to follow the 4-source hypothesis to solve the synoptic problem).
Magi — Greek for 'wise men'. The people who sought out the baby Jesus in Matthew. They were probably astrologers.
Majuscule — A manuscript that is written in UPPER CASE SCRIPT. Majuscule also refers to the capitalization type of script itself.
Maranatha — Aramaic for 'Our Lord Come!'. An early Christian expression of the desire for Christ to return.
Marges de manoeuvre — French phrase that means, 'room for movement or flexibility'.
Markan priority — Commonly accepted theory that Mark was the first of the Synoptics to be written, and that Matthew and Luke used Mark as one of their sources.
Mashal — Memorable phrases (like a proverb) or story (like a parable).
Masoretic Text, or MT — Text of the Hebrew Bible produced by the Masoretes, Jewish scholars of the 5th to 10th century that added vowel pointings to the Hebrew (which was only consanants) in order for the readers to remember the pronunciation of the Hebrew.
Mathnitha — Aramaic for 'Mishna'. The Mishna was collected and codified as a collection at around 200 CE. The tradition surrounding it is that it contains the 'Oral Torah', extra legal laws given to Moses at Sinai that passed through the generations in Oral form and helped understand and supplant the Torah. It contains mostly Legal material, and later became the principal part of the Talmud. The Mishna came together under the editing and guidance of Judah HaNasi (the Prince).
Matrix — Besides being a great movie (and two less great but still cool sequels) Matrix is used to describe the cross section of meanings and ideas etc. that shape something like a text. Merriam Webster says 'something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form.' So for instance, the writer of the Gospel of Mark wrote in a time and place dominated by Rome and Graeco-Roman values, He was a Christian, influenced possibly by Peter, Influenced by the Judaism of his time, etc. All of these elements contributed to his writing, all those things comprise his matrix of influence.
Megillot — Megillot (singular Megilla) simply means scrolls, but the word commonly refers to the books of Esther, Song of Songs, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations. Each of these books were read in their entirety on certain festival days (except Lamentations).
Messianic secret — Used when speaking of the synoptic gospels, especially of Mark, where throughout the narrative Jesus is hiding his identity as the Son of God. Whenever a demon knows who he is, he commands him to stay silent. It is a significant aspect to understanding the Gospel of Mark in particular.
Metaphor — A figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (merriam-webster definition).
Meter — A recurring rhythm in writing, especially poetry. Shakespeare always wrote in particular meters. Not as pervasive in Hebrew poetry, but still present.
Metonymy — This is a popular literary way of writing that describes something or someone using a recurring metaphorical type language. This is best explained with an example. Ps 23 uses a metonymy of Shepherding (more broadly, Animal Husbandry) where God is spoken of as a shepherd, and we his sheep. Some characteristics of a shepherd and sheep are present in God and us, but we are not actually shepherd and sheep. Another example is the numerous times in the Prophets where God is spoken of as a husband and Israel as his (adulterous) wife. The metonymy is one of marriage, although he is not literally our husband nor we his bride, but there are characteristics of a marriage relationship that apply to us.
Midrash — Midrash means explanation, and is so used to describe the exegesis of Rabbi's of the scriptures. The midrash of the Rabbi's often had an identifiable hermeneutic or method, hence the designation 'midrashic interpretation'. Midrash is also used to describe a corpus of literature or a single book, like Genesis Rabbah which is a collection of midrash on the book of Genesis. So the word has several uses, so you need to figure out how the author is using it.
Midrash — Hebrew for interpretation. When capitalized, it refers to rabbinic commentaries of the Bible.
Midrashic interpretation — Midrash means explanation, and is so used to describe the exegesis of Rabbi's of the scriptures. The midrash of the Rabbi's often had an identifiable hermeneutic or method, hence the designation 'midrashic interpretation'. Midrash is also used to describe a corpus of literature or a single book, like Genesis Rabbah which is a collection of midrash on the book of Genesis. So the word has several uses, so you need to figure out how the author is using it.
Mikra — Mikra means scripture. It may have a more specialized meaning for an author, referring to a particular set of scriptures that have similar characteristics. It may also just mean the Torah.
Minuscule — A cursive writing style (small letters). Used to refer to the manuscripts written in this style.
Mishna — The Mishna was collected and codified as a collection at around 200 CE. The tradition surrounding it is that it contains the 'Oral Torah', extra legal laws given to Moses at Sinai that passed through the generations in Oral form and helped understand and supplant the Torah. It contains mostly Legal material, and later became the principal part of the Talmud. The Mishna came together under the editing and guidance of Judah HaNasi (the Prince).
Mnemonic — A literary sound device that aids in memorization. Jewish mystics believed that the hidden meaning was sometimes in the mnemonic aspect of a text.
Modern — The term modern may just be used in the sense of 'new' or 'innovative'. More often it is talked about in the sense of an ideology that has pervaded the developed world since the Enlightenment, which takes science as the supreme proof, and holds highly skeptical anything that cannot be proved by science. Important also was the belief that one could surpass his\her bias' if science and sound logic were applied. Modernity is still pervasive, but is being supplanted more by a post-modern ideology. Modernism affected everything from literature to science to architecture.
Modernity — The term modern may just be used in the sense of 'new' or 'innovative'. More often it is talked about in the sense of an ideology that has pervaded the developed world since the Enlightenment, which takes science as the supreme proof, and holds highly skeptical anything that cannot be proved by science. Important also was the belief that one could surpass his or her bias' if science and sound logic were applied. Modernity is still pervasive, but is being supplanted more by a post-modern ideology. Modernism affected everything from literature to science to architecture.
Monotheism — The belief that there is only one God.
Morpheme — The smallest unit of language that still contains meaning. A morpheme cannot be divided anymore. Eg. 'ism' at the end of a word still contains identifiable meaning, but cannot be made any smaller.
Morphology — A branch of linguistics which studies the units of language and how they work together to form meaning (how morphemes work together).
Mutatis Mutandis — This phrase can either be used to mean 'the necessary corrections have been made' or 'Having considered the alternative opinions and differences.'
Myth — A 'worldly' way in which to speak about the 'other-worldly' activity of God.
Nag Hammadi — A site in Egypt with a large and important deposit of early coptic texts that are primarily gnostic in origin were discocered. The Gospel of Thomas was the most famous of the findings.
Nag Hammadi Library — A site in Egypt with a large and important deposit of early coptic texts that are primarily gnostic in origin were discocered. The Gospel of Thomas was the most famous of the findings.
Nebiim — This is Hebrew for 'The Prophets', and refers to the second collection of scriptures of the Hebrew Bible. The collection is different than what Protestant Christians understand as prophets, which is important, because the early Israelites saw books we consider 'historical' to be 'prophetic'. The Nebiim consists of Joshua, Judges, Samuel (1-2), Kings (1-2), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 (minor prophets).
New Hermeneutic — The New Hermeneutic is not so new anymore. It is grounded in the work of Rudolph Bultmann and his hermeneutics of demythologization. 'the problem centering around the mythological language used in the New Testament concerns the fact that such language distorts the true subject-matter of faith by objectifying it. These objectifying tendencies in mythological language overshadow the understanding of existence as 'eschatological' (i.e., as having no certainty in 'objective' reality, whether of history or of nature), an understanding which seeks to express itself through this terminology. The danger lies in the fact that the mythological means of expressing this understanding of existence tend to obscure that understanding itself, and the content of the Christian faith is then hopelessly distorted' (quote from Paul J. Achtemeier, http:\\theologytoday.ptsem.edu\apr1966\v23-1-article9.htm#2).
New Historicism — A methodology that came flying out of the gate in the early to mid eighties only to trip and fall flat on its face. New Historicism explores the connections between disparate and seemingly unrelated texts. The main form of comparison is the anecdote, chronology and dating are not important as the methodology seeks to find ideological and thematic connections which interrelate and cause new interpretation in their new connections. This methodology took the form of cultural materialism in Europe which is very similar to ideological criticism
Nomina Sacra — In Latin this means the 'Sacred Name' and refers to later scribal tendencies to shorten names deemed sacred like Jesus, Christ, Lord, Spirit, etc.
Old Greek — The initial Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures outside the Pentateuch. LXX and Septuagint is usually reserved only for the Greek Pentateuch.
Old Greek — The designation 'Old Greek' refers to the Oldest Greek copies of the Hebrew scriptures that are known or extant.
Old Latin — A 2nd century Latin translation of the Greek OT.
Omnipotent — All Powerful.
Omnipresent — Present everywhere.
Omniscient — All-knowing.
Onomatopoeia — A word whose sound suggests its meaning, like 'ka-boom', or 'ruff ruff', or 'hiss'.
Ontology — Branch of philosophy (more specifically metaphysics) that studies the nature of being or existence.
Oral Torah — The concept of Oral Torah is the belief that God handed down to Moses additional teaching that Moses did not write down but transmitted orally and was passed down the generations in oral form until it was written down in the Mishna.
Orality — Quality of texts which is transmitted by the spoken word, that is, orally. Orality is an important aspect of the culture of antiquity, since much of what was known or taught was transmitted orally, not by writing and texts (which was expensive and reserved for the privileged and few).
Ossuary — A container which held the bones of the dead.
Ostraca — A fragment of pottery that contains some sort of inscription on it.
Paleography — The study of ancient writings that study the form and handwriting.
Palimpsest — A manuscript that has been erased and written over.
Palistrophe — Literary structure like the shape of an X, the shape of the Greek letter chi, hence the name. It often has an A-B-C-B-A type structure. Eg. The boy came ‚ said hello to the girl ‚ she laughed at him ‚ the girl left ‚ the boy cried.
Parable — An earthly story with a heavenly meaning (I ripped this definition off from someone, thanks whoever you are!!)
Parablepsis — Greek for 'look over'. During scribal copying, the scribes eyes sometimes jumped to a similar expression, or the same word on a different line, resulting in repetition or omission.
Parabolic — Having to do with a parable or parables; or having the same effect of a parable, ie. Being symbolic or allegorical.
Paradigm — A common model or pattern. The more specialized sense is in the sense of a philosophical or scientific framework of understanding. The evolutionary model is a paradigm that shapes the understanding of biology, geology, etc. When the scientific world began to understand the world in terms of evolution (away from a creationist perspective) it underwent a paradigm shift.
Paraenesis — An exhortation or exhortation material.
Parallelism — Literary device in which grammatical or semantic elements repeat. Parallelism is commonly classified as synonymous, antithetical, or synthetic, following the system of Robert Lowth in the 18th century. These categories are not always adequate, but they do offer a starting point. For example, Psalm 18:8 is an example of synonymous parallelism: 'Smoke went up from his nostrils and devouring fire from his mouth glowing coals flamed forth from him' (NRSV). Note that the repeated meanings are not identical, but rather seem to build on one another. Some other types of parallelism include chiastic and staircase. Parallelism is one of the most important features of Hebrew poetry. (definition from http:\\www.read-the-bible.org\Glossary.html).
Parataxis — the joining of independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction.
pars pro toto — Latin for "taking a part for the whole"
Parousia — Also referred to as the Second Advent, parousia refers to the return of Christ at the end of history.
Patriarchy — Term used to describe a cultural element that has males as the dominant sex in society. Most cultures of antiquity saw the man as the absolute head of the household, marriage, society, etc. Matriarchy was when a woman was in this position of prominence.
Patristics — The study of the church fathers and their writings.
Pedagogy — The art of teaching, or the characteristic of a text that is intended to teach.
Pentateuch — The first five books of the Bible, the books of Moses, Torah.
Pericope — A paragraph, or particular section of text.
Peshat — The Plain meaning.
Pesher — Hebrew word meaning explanation or interpretation, used particularly to describe the commentaries and interpretive techniques found at Qumran.
Peshitta — Ancient Syriac version of the OT.
Phenomenology — This method seeks to understand and explain the miraculous aspects of the Bible with natural means.
Philology — The study of language and how it changes over time, as well as comparing languages especially similar languages.
Phoneme — The smallest unit of sound in a language.
Phonology — Study of the sounds of speech in a language, and how the sound changes over time.
Pleonastic — To be redundant or wordy. Everyone knows a preacher or has an uncle who is pleonastic.
Pneumatic — Having to do with the spirit, especially the Holy Spirit.
Polyglot — A scroll or codex that contained the scriptures or scriptural book in several different languages.
Polysemy or polysemous — Having multiple meanings.
Postmodernism — The postmodern movement was a reaction against Modernity's assurance that everything could be figured out and understood through science and reason. Postmodernity questions absolutes, truth claims, and knowledge by logic and science alone. The postmodern movement has also welcomed back traditional forms of religion and religious practice, as well as old art and architecture forms as valid personal expressions of faith and understanding. In a postmodern setting, any claims of prominence of one religion over the other are generally intolerable. In literary studies, the focus shifted from what the original authorial meaning was to the meaning given the text by the reader.
Postmodernity — The postmodern movement was a reaction against Modernity's assurance that everything could be figured out and understood through science and reason. Postmodernity questions absolutes, truth claims, and knowledge by logic and science alone. The postmodern movement has also welcomed back traditional forms of religion and religious practice, as well as old art and architecture forms as valid personal expressions of faith and understanding. In a postmodern setting, any claims of prominence of one religion over the other are generally intolerable. In literary studies, the focus shifted from what the original authorial meaning was to the meaning given the text by the reader.
Praxis — Practice or action. Used especially when talking about theology and its implications on believer's.
Precritical — The categorization of exegesis that did not use the tools of modern research and modern criticisms, especially work before the enlightenment.
Pre-Tannaim — The Rabbis of the period from 200 BCE to 10 CE.
Preterist — One who links a document or the interpretation of a document with past events. For example, scholars who do not believe that Revelation is predicting future events in history would be considered Preterists (p.s. They are right :)
Prolegomenon — Introductory material that needs to be handled or understood before launching into a discussion.
Prophets — Refers to the second collection of scriptures of the Hebrew Bible. The collection is different than what Protestant Christians understand as prophets, which is important, because the early Israelites saw books we consider 'historical' to be 'prophetic'. The Prophets consist of Joshua, Judges, Samuel (1-2), Kings (1-2), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 (minor prophets).
Protasis — the subordinate clause of a conditional sentence.
Protreptic — Exhortatory literature. Texts that are urging the readers to a course of action.
Provenance — The place of origin, or the perceived place of origin for a text.
Pseudepigrapha — The term pseudepigrapha is used properly when referring to the literary aspect of false attribution to an author in order to inject a sense of authority to a writing. However, it is also used as a classification for a body of literature known as the OT pseudepigrapha (see R.H Charles collection, or James Charlesworth's 2 volume set). Be careful to understand how the author is using the term, since different scholars use it in different ways.
pseudonym — A fictitious name used by an author.
Q, Quelle, the Sayings source — Hypothetical source document for Matthew and Luke, which consisted mostly of sayings.
Qoheleth — This is the word translated 'Teacher' at the beginning of Ecclesiastes. Often scholars call the book of Ecclesiastes Qoheleth.
Qumran — Site of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, just northwest of the Dead Sea in the West Bank.
Rabbi — A teacher, particularly Jewish teachers.
Raison d’etre
— A French phrase that means 'reason for existence'.
Reader-response criticism — A hermeneutic which focuses on the meaning which the modern or past reader (but not the original reader) injects into the text based on their own context. This has become especially popular since the rise of post-modernity and relies on deconstruction.
Recension — a systematic revision of an entire text.
Redaction criticism — Redaction means editing, and in the bible we have examples of author's who actually compiled material, rearranged sources, and edited sources to create their own work (read Luke's prologue). Redaction criticism seeks to see and understand how the redactor shaped and used his sources in order to promote his or her particular agenda (agenda in the non-pejorative sense).
Redactor — An editor.
Regula fidei — Latin for 'rule of faith'. Used especially when talking about the early Church's 'creed'.
Remez — The allegorical meaning of a particular text.
Rhetorical criticism — Rhetoric was an important aspect of the ancient world, it is the art of persuasion. Lawyers were skilled in the art of rhetoric, it was a common skill learned by those who could go to school in antiquity. Rhetorical criticism studies the art of persuasion and the impact it had on the author and his message. The book of Philemon is a prime example of the use of rhetoric in the Bible, and Paul in general. The inclusion of 'socio'logical aspects would include the values and beliefs and ideologies of the writer and reader's culture that contributes to meaning. See http:\\www.emory.edu\COLLEGE\RELIGION\faculty\robbins\SRI\index.html for an excellent site on this.
Samaritan Pentateuch — Ancient version of the Pentateuch preserved by the Samaritans, and considered by them to be the whole canon. The Samaritan Pentateuch was thought to be a mutilation of the MT, but the Dead Sea Scrolls has brought to light ancient Hebrew versions of the OT that agree with the SP against the MT.
Sanskrit — An Indo-Aryan language that is the classical language of India.
Second Sophistic — A second wave of philosophical thought during the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE that drew its inspiration from Plato.
Seder — Hebrew for 'order', used to refer to the different divisions in the Mishnah.
Semantic domain — An area of meaning occupied by several words closely related.
Semantic field — An area of meaning occupied by several words closely related.
Semantics — The study of meanings of words.
Semiotics — The study of signs and meanings.
Semitism — a Greek word or idiom borrowed from Aramaic or Hebrew that is used in such a way that it is influenced from the parent language.
Septuagintalism — A Greek word or idiom, usually in the NT, that reflects influence from the LXX.
Sigla — An abbreviation assigned to manuscripts in order to catalogue them.
Sine qua non — Latin for 'without which not'; i.e. that which is absolutely essential.
Sitz im leben — German for 'situation or setting in Life', often used by scholars to describe the historical and sociological setting.
Sole Fide — Latin for 'Faith Alone', Luther's battle cry.
Solipsism — Belief that one can know nothing but self, and following this that nothing but the self is real.
Source criticism — A methodology that studies the source or sources of what came to be the books of the Bible. See 'Documentary Hypothesis' for an OT example and 'Synoptic Problem' for an NT example.
Stela — A commemorative stone pillar or slab that usually has carvings or inscriptions.
Stereotype — the tendency to translate a specific word consistently with the same word, even when different contexts might call for a different translation.
Stichometry — Calculation in the number of letters and syllables per line in ancient manuscripts. Used by textual critics to help reconstruct the text.
Stratigraphy — The archaeological study of the layers (strata) of ancient remains (tells or khirbets) which show the materials used in each layer, which shows the technological progression\regression through the history of the site.
Structuralism — A method of analysis (as of a literary text or a political system) that is related to cultural anthropology and that focuses on recurring patterns of thought and behavior (definition for www.m-w.com).
Sui generis — Latin for 'of its own kind.' Something that has no rival.
Suzerainty Treaty — In the ancient near East, a treaty between political unequals, the suzerain or paramount ruler and the vassal or subservient power. (A treaty between equals is a parity treaty.) The purpose of suzerainty treaties, originating in the Hittite Empire of the Late Bronze Age was to guarantee that a smaller state remained the faithful ally of the empire and did not pursue an independent foreign policy. Starting with Elias Bickerman in 1951, scholars have compared the resemblance of biblical literature to these suzerainty treaties, which share a common structure known as the covenant formulary. (definition from http:\\www-english.tamu.edu\pers\fac\myers\hermeneutical_lexicon.html).
Synchronic — Dealing with phenomena, especially of language, as it existed in a particular moment in time, without regard for its evolution up to or beyond that point.
Syncretism — Mixing various ideas together.
Synoptic Gospels — Matthew, Mark and Luke. So called because of their similarities in how they view and picture Jesus and his ministry, while John is in a class all his own.
Synoptic Problem — The question of the relationship between Matthew, Mark, and Luke; both their similarities and differences, The most common belief is the 2 (or 4) source hypothesis that sees Mark as the earliest gospel, with Matthew and Luke each using Mark as a source. Matthew and Luke also used a hypothetical document called 'Q', which explains the verbatim agreements between the two. Matthew and Luke had their own unique material as well (called 'M' and 'L' respectively) so the 4 sources are Mark, Q, M, and L. Another possible understanding of the synoptic problem is the belief that Matthew was written first, with Mark and Luke using Matthew as a source. ‘)
Syntax — The way words are put together to form clauses or sentences.
Syriac — An Eastern Aramaic language used by many Eastern Churches.
Syro-Hexapla — The Syriac translation of Origen's Hexapla.
Syzygy — Philosophical speculation of the divine world that is made up of opposites. Eg. Good and bad, light and dark, male and female, talent and Britney Spears.
Talmud — The Talmud is an authoritative body of literature for Judaism that was made up of the Mishna and Gemara. The Talmud exists in two distinct forms, Babli and Yerushalmi, and contains interpretation and discussion by many Rabbi's through the early centuries on the Mishna.
Tanakh — An acronym for the Hebrew Bible. TaNaK = Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi'im (the Prophets) and Ketuvim (the Writings).
Tannaim — The Rabbis from the period of 10 CE to 220 CE.
Targum — An ancient Aramaic paraphrase\translation of the Hebrew bible. It is thought that the Targums, especially the ones originating after the time of Jesus, represent the common synagogue translation of the Hebrew into the common Aramaic tongue, which explains the numerous times in which the NT writers seem familiar with the Targum version of the OT, when it had not actually been written down yet.
Tell — A large mound that contains many layers of successive occupations at a particular site. Each layer was built upon the other, leaving behind for archaeologists many layers of occupation to excavate.
Tendenz — A German term used to specify the recognizable bias of text, writer, etc.
Terminus a quo — Latin for 'limit from which.' The earliest limiting point of time. For instance, the terminus a quo for which the gospel of Mark could have been written was after Jesus rose from the dead.
Terminus ad quem — Latin for 'limit to which'. The latest limiting point of time. For instance, the terminus ad quem for many of Paul's letters is before 70CE, because he makes no mention and is unaware of the destruction of the Temple.
Terminus technicus — A technical term that has a specialized meaning within a certain discipline. Eg. 'Dog' in rap music doesn't mean a canine, but anywhere else that's what it would mean.
Tetragrammaton — The Hebrew letters YHWH and sometimes written 'Yahweh' (or improperly Jehovah). The Israelites began not to say the sacred name of God for fear of misuse, and said Adonai instead. When the Masoretic scribes in the 5th-10th centuries CE began adding vowels to the Hebrew to aid pronunciation, they put the letters for Adonai underneath Yahweh so that readers would know to say Adonai and not Yahweh. Martin Luther did not realize this, and so when he made a translation of the scriptures into the common tongue he combined the consonants of Yahweh and the vowels of Adonai and formed the word Jehovah.
Text criticism — A study of the various manuscripts and fragments of the biblical text, with a goal towards creating a text closest to the original.
Text-immanent — An approach to literary interpretation which give little credence to the author's intent of the work and give priority to the text as it exists on its own and how it has been used and interpreted by readers. (see reader-response criticism).
Text-type — Manuscripts that together exhibit distinctive characteristics, apart from other manuscript text-types. The designation 'text-type' is being used less and less, especially in OT text criticism.
Textual variant — A place where manuscripts disagree in their reading. There are thousands of variants in the existing biblical manuscripts, and the Greek or Hebrew manuscripts that we interpret from have a group of scholars who make decisions on which of the variants is closest to the original.
Textual witness — A particular manuscript or group of manuscripts that contain a particular variation in the text.
Textus Receptus — The Greek NT produced by Erasmus in the 16th century and used by the KJV.
Thaumaturgical — The act of working miracles. Jesus would be considered a thaumaturge.
The Three — A term in LXX studies that refers to the later Greek translations of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion.
Theodicy — Coming to terms, through a defense or rationalization, with the goodness and omnipotence of God in view of the existence of suffering and evil.
Theophany — The visible manifestation of a deity. A Christophany would be the manifestation of Christ, like Paul's encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.
Theosophy — The teachings of God based on Mystics teaching. Can also refer to a specific pantheistic movement in the US in the late 19th century.
Tiqqune sopherim — Scribal corrections in the OT manuscripts. They were written above the words or in the margins, because the sacred text should not be changed even if they saw something wrong with it.
Toldah — Biblical geneologies.
Torah — Hebrew for 'teaching.' Usually refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.
Tosefta — The Tosefta is a Jewish work that is a compilation of Oral teaching, which hails from approximately the same time as Mishna. It is less authoritative than Mishna, and viewed as a supplement to it, but is nonetheless an important work. It came together under Rabbis Hiyya and Oshaiah, while Judah the Prince compiled Mishna. This is one of the reasons for its less authoritative status, since Judah the Prince was held in such high regard.
Transliteration — Transliteration is when a word is carried over into another language without being translated, but instead the word is spelled with the new languages letters to sound the same. Often transliteration is used by author's who wish to make their work more readable and accessable to those who don't know the biblical languages.
Trope — A figure of speech.
Typological interpretation — Method of biblical interpretation in which Old Testament persons and events are seen as patterns for or types of New Testament persons and events. For example, Romans 5:14 speaks of 'Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.' Typological interpretation sees Old Testament sacrifice as a 'type' of the sacrifice of Christ, which sacrifice is termed the 'antitype.' (definition from http:\\www.read-the-bible.org\Glossary.html)
Ugaritic — Ancient cuneiform script. Some cuneiform texts hail from Canaan during the time of Joshua's conquest and provide a window into the society and culture at that time.
Uncial — A TERM USED TO REFER TO MANUSCRIPTS WRITTEN USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
Urtext — German for 'original text'.
Ur-Theodotion — A hypothetical revision of the Old Greek that probably served as the basis for Theodotion's work. Most LXX scholars identify this with the Kaige recension.
Vaticinium ex Eventu — Prophecy or prediction after the event has already happened. Most scholars believe that most of Daniel would be ex eventu prophecy (p.s. they are right)
Vaticinium post eventum — Prophecy or prediction after the event has already happened Most scholars believe that most of Daniel would be ex eventu prophecy (p.s. they are right).
Vorlage — This is German for 'forward position'. In biblical studies it refers to the (often hypothetical) text from which a translation was made. For instance, it had been often assumed that the Septuagint made a (sometimes sloppy) translation of the Hebrew Bible we use today. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls have shown us that the Septuagint was an often reliable translation of a Hebrew text family that was different than the MT.
Vulgate — Ancient translation of the Bible into Latin traditionally ascribed to Jerome in the 4th century CE.
Wadi — A Wadi is a dry river bed in a desert that is wet only during the rainy season.
Yerushalmi — The Jerusalem Talmud.
Zeitgeist — German for 'common spirit'. It is used to describe the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.


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