Re: [Fwd: Re: Priority of LXX for NT meaning]

Carl W. Conrad (
Sat, 16 Nov 1996 07:45:26 -0600

At 2:26 AM -0600 11/16/96, Lee R. Martin wrote:
>> Should it have priority over classical usus loquendi. For example,
>> the meaning of KEFALH, head, seems to borrow from the Hebrew metaphor
>> of ROSH as "source" in Eph 4:15. Cervin, in an article in 1989
>> (JAAR) writes "the meaning 'source' is indeed very rare." He sites
>> four examples in the classics (but in the plural, not singular).
>> If the meaning "source" is rare in the classics, it seems the LXX
>> has influenced it's use in the Eph 4:15 especially in the light that
>> the author has just quoted Psalms 68:18 within the context (v.8).
>Please refresh my memory. At the moment, I cannot remember anywhere
>that the Hebrew RoSH means "source." However, since the word is used
>over 600 times, you are probably right, and I could have missed the ones
>that you speak of.

Here's another interesting question, perhaps one that is more easily
answered (which would be gratifying!): Is KEFALH in Eph 4:15 really to be
understood in the sense "source?" Isn't KEFALH here used in the same way as
consistently in Ephesians and Colossians, where Christ is always "head" of
the "body," which is the Church? I'm curious about this and I think there
must be a substantial body of scholarship on the subject: where DOES this
analogy come from? I have the impression that it is altogether unrelated to
the analogy of the body in Romans 12 or the Platonic analogy of parts of
the PSUXH as the governing structure of a living organism. Is it
astrological mysticism? Does it bear any relationship to the Kabbalah's
cosmic man (isn't ROSH used there in a specific sense?)? Somehow it seems
to me that the source of this language more likely lies in the eastern
Hellenistic world, whence it has entered into Hellenistic Judaism and early
Christianity. Can anyone shed light on this?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR