Re: Metaphors in Greek

From: Jack Kilmon (
Date: Tue Feb 23 1999 - 11:28:26 EST

james m smith wrote:
> On 02/07/99, ""Carl W. Conrad" <>" wrote:
> > At 4:34 PM -0600 2/6/99, William B. Steidtmann wrote:
> > >In "Figures of Speech Used in the Bible" by E.W. Bullinger (Baker Book
> > >House, Grand Rapids, Michigan) a disscussion of the phrase "this is my
> > >body" from Matthew 26:26 is taken up (pp. 738-739) as it relates to a
> > >"simple law of figurative language". The argument is as follows: the
> > >pronoun "this" in the Greek is TOUTO and the gender is neuter. If the
> > >statement "this is my body" were meant to be taken in a literal sense the
> > >pronoun would have taken the gender of the noun it replaces which in this
> > >case is "bread", in the Greek ARTOS, and is masculine. But the pronoun
> > >TOUTO is not masculine, rather it has taken the neuter gender of the noun
> > >"body" (SOMA) to which the meaning is "carried across" the verb. This "at
> > >once shows us that a figure is employed" and is not meant to be taken
> > >literally; it is a metaphor.
> > > Being a person who is but a "Little Greek" can anyone cite
> > >references/examples that would confirm/deny this law?
> >
> > I'd like to see evidence for such a law, too? I really doubt seriously
> > there is any such "law" --or that the reader is given any sort of
> > self-explanatory code to determine where the sense is literal and where it
> > is metaphorical.

> Is it reasonable to assume that no such "law" exists? Would it not be more
> profitable to exhibit obvious cases that would show its failure? Many
> clear examples can be given to support this "law" but clear examples to
> disprove it are elusive. Can anyone debunk this "law" citing unambiguous
> cases? Please.

If "This is my body" is historical to Jesus (although the JS
votes it black), the Aramaic "den hu guFI" can have a number
of idiomatic and metaphorical interpretations not present in
the Greek. In the Aramaic idiom, lahMA (bread) was a metaphor
for wisdom or teaching and "eating bread" for learning. This
same Aramaic sense may be present in another aphorism at
ANQRWPON, "It is not the thing entering the mouth that defiles
a man but the thing going out from the mouth that defiles the
man." (which the JS votes "possible.")
Could Jesus have been saying "This is my teaching which I have
distributed among you" with the bread/body (lahma/gufi=ARTON/SOMA)



taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

Jack Kilmon

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