RE:EIS TON AIWNA in class. Gk.?

Date: Sun Sep 28 1997 - 06:00:41 EDT

Hi Rolf,

Your conclusion puzzles me, since I would have thought that "later
rabinnical use" would almost surely have been influenced by the
Greek conception. And, TDNT claims that the NT borrows the doctrine
of the two aeons from Jewish apocalyptic lit., which, because of the
timing, would seem a result of contact with the Greek, Persian, or
some syncretistic influence. Can it be mere coincidence that the
Jews begin writing of a "coming age" just when Greek astrology
reaches them ? Much of the apocalyptic symbolism is astral, and, as
I mentioned, Hellenistic synagogues were often "decorated" with
astrological signs, as are Egyptian temples, e.g. Dendereh. Astrologically,
the "quality" of the age is determined by its ruler, whether it be
Augustus Caesar, Aion, or Jesus. It is interesting that the NT and Jewish
writings tend not to personify AIWN, as do most other Hellenistic
start-up religions, yet one has a kingly Messiah with cosmological
origins (esp. Jn) in the flesh and the other expects one. TDNT seems
more willing to accept Persian influence than Greek on this word.

My point is probably better argued on IOUDAIOS, but I just thought I'd
mention it.

Rolf Furuli writes on 9/28/97:

> (3) While KOSMOS is stable and "local", AIWN is changing, the word being
> applied to different ages characterized by different circumstances and
> things. In many instances in the NT, AIWN has the normal Hebrew and Aramaic
> meaning "eternality" (1 Tim 1:17; 1 Pet 5:10) without any extra stress. In
> other instances, the element of "a shorter indefinite time" is stressed,
> and in these cases, not only is time as an abstract element focussed upon,
> but rather a period of time which has a particular stamp, which is
> characterized by something. The term "age" just covers "time" and is too
> weak. Christians are hardly taken out of "an age" (Gal 1:4) but may be
> taken out of a "wicked age-system" or a "wicked world-age". And similarly,
> Christians will not in the future experience a "new age" (Luke 20:35) but a
> new period characterized by completely different things. So the time
> element is evident in this use of AIWN but the QUALITY of life experienced
> in the particular AIWN is more important. This use of AIWN seems to be
> somewhat different from the biblical use of `olam/Ťalam (Hebrew/Aramaic),
> and more in line with the later rabbinical use of the word.
> The conclusion therefore seems to be that the NT use of AIWN is not rooted
> in the Classical use of the word but rather in the Hebrew/Aramaic use.


Will Wagers "Reality is the best metaphor."

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