From: Jeffrey B. Gibson (
Date: Sat May 30 1998 - 14:18:29 EDT

Steven Cox wrote:
> Hi Jeffrey
> I wrote:
> >on references to Exodus again. What do you make of the PTERUGION?
> i.e. the PTERUGION in Exodus [36:27]
> Despite Hegesippus' (or Eusebius') testimony to an execution spot,
> I suspect that there is some religious significance to this part
> of the temple, but don't know enough about the architecture of the
> tabernacle to know what. cf Dan 9:27 Theodotion.


Thanks for your question. Part of the difficulty here is not only that
there have been too many proposals advanced about which part of the
temple the "wing" is, but that (in my opinion, at least) the proposals
themselves have been agenda driven. For example, those who say that it
must be the roof of the temple or a lintle of one of it's archways do
not appeal so much to prominent features of the Temple's arcitechture
but to the idea that it *has* to be a place of public exposure since it
is self evident that what Jesus is being urged to do in the episode that
mentions the "little wing" is to *display himself as Messiah to the
crowds within the Temple precincts*. But, as I hope my article on Matt.
4:1-11 shows convincingly, all of the pressupositions upon which this
claim about PTERUGION is based, are highly questionable.

An argument for seeing the "wing" as having religious import has been
put forward by Gerhadsson (_Testing of God's Son_, 56-58, who claims
that the use of the term was meant to call up the idea of safety in God,
since the wings of God meant this, and a reference to God's protection
is terms of "wings" is played out in the very Psalm that the devil
quotes within this episode of testing (Ps. 91). In his eyes the the wing
is portaryed as a place of testing because the testing involves the
issue of divine protection.

All I will say in this regard is that his thesis is not incompatable
with my own. I think he fails to reach the same conclusion as I do
because he does not go far enough taking seriously what he himself
claims is the background of the whole story, namely, the wilderness
testings of Israel.

But in saying that, I think I have moved beyond the bounds of B-Greek.
In any case, a good review of the various proposals for the meaining of
PTERUGION here can be found in D. Hagner's _Matthew 1-13_, 66.



Jeffrey B. Gibson
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626

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