The author of The Jerome Conspiracy, a book defending UR, has come out with another book called The Jesus Secret. He discusses his book in this forum and does a great job defending Ur:
Thanks for pointing this out. He is good on aionios and offers a strong challenge to bible translators and publishers.
I found this segment particularly interesting:
*With this in mind, let’s consider the Greek word aionios. The classical author Plato used aionios exclusively to express eternal. But during the Koine period, the word meant: lasting for an age, enduring. And there is historical evidence it was also a Hebraism when used eschatologically to mean: of the age.
So what’s the big deal?
During the first five hundred years of Christianity there were six mainstream orthodox Christian theological schools. Five of them were native Greek speaking schools (one wasn’t, it was Latin).
Now, all five (100%) of the Greek theological schools taught temporary punisment. None of them taught eternal punishment. None of the schools which shared the same native language as the New Testament taught eternal punishment. And the rediscovery of Koine now explains why.
Today, we have a very different doctrine, and very different Bibles. Most churches teach eternal punishment based on the classical meaning of aionios, and they have classically translated Bibles to support them. But Jesus’ teachings were not recorded in classical Greek, they were recorded in Koine. Yet millions of people today are convinced Jesus taught eternal punishment, and these people will confidently proclaim, “God said…” all the while quoting a book that contains the opposite of what Jesus actually taught.*
I think many of us have heard a form of this information before, but it was always four of the six schools, not five of the six. And I have never heard that this was specifically why the difference was there in what they taught.
Does he credit a source for this info?
I haven’t read the book, but I hear that he documents his stuff pretty well. I was reading the discussion and he would say where he got some of the stuff (perseus, strongs, etc.), while other things that he said he didn’t necessarily document in the online discussion. I love the way he talks about aionian and shows that the Koine definition is, without a doubt, lasting for an age, or lasting.
I’m sure he’s getting it from Hanson. (The fifth school was the other Asia Minor school, which taught annihilationism.) He’s big on the concept that these five schools (two of which were offshoots of Antioch and Alexandria, in Caesarea and Damascus if I recall correctly) were either native Greek speakers or were founded by Greek scholars (in the case of Syria), whereas Carthage was so solidly Latin as to have trouble dealing with Greek at all.
His argument here might be unexpectedly flawed, though, since those schools would in fact have been far more familiar with classic Greek than with the common polyglot street Greek the NT is written in (which features a lot of Aramaicisms in how it uses the Greek.)
On the other hand, when Plato considered “eonian” to mean “everlasting”, he did so in a sense very similar to how a reverent Jew might speak of The Everlasting: as a euphamism for divinity. Which fits my theory that “eonian” in the New Testament (written by Jews, some of whom had exposure to classical Greek thought through their contemporary the Jewish philosopher Philo) is an adjective describing the quality of the object so described as “heavenly” or from the heart of God, or uniquely from God.
I ended up reading through the whole thread, and he credits Schaff-Herzog as one source of this information, but then he also says that he did extensive research into this independently as well. I imagine I’d have to look at the bibliography of his book(s) that deal with this topic in order to find out what all his sources are. He seems very confident of his take on aionios.
The one thing I didn’t like was that he seemed to put all his eggs in the one basket of the word meanings. A stronger case could be made for universalism, but I don’t think that was necessarily his primary goal, which seemed to be more taking issue with the way the NT as a whole was translated.