Category Archives: lord’s day

A Christian Neologism?

The Greek word κυριακος::kuriakos only appears two times in the canonical Christian literature. It’s an adjective derived from the Greek word for “lord” (κυριος). Thus kuriakos would be akin to “lord-like” or “lordly”, used in the same manner that we might use the word “awesome”. One time it is used in 1 Corinthians 11:20 where Paul describes the “lordly” dinner – κυριακον δειπνον (kuriakon deipnon). This is translated in modern bibles as “the lord’s supper”. But the only noun in that phrase in Greek is the word “supper” (δειπνον) which seems somewhat dishonest for bible translators to do. The other time κυριακος is used is in John’s Apocalypse at 1:10 where he describes the “lordly” day – κυριακη ημερα. Again, this is translated as “the day of the lord” in modern bibles.

To contrast that, 1 Cor 5:5 uses “day of the lord” which is written as ημερα του κυριου, which would really be translated as “day of the lord”. In this respect, “the lord’s supper”, if it really was a supper that belonged to “the lord”, then it would be written in Greek as δειπνος του κυριου – supper of the lord.

As for the “lordly day”, the same grammatical form is used for “the third day” (τριτη ημερα) in Matt 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 27:64, Luke 9:22; 13:32; 18:33; 24:7,21; and various other places. We wouldn’t say that the “third” possesses the noun “day” so it seems odd that Rev 1:10 would describe it that way in English – i.e. a day belonging to the lord.

In modern Greek, κυριακος simply means “Sunday”. But this is obviously from years of having Rev 1:10 in mind.

On the Perseus website, I did a search for κυριακος and it shows up various times in what I assume are non-Christian documents. Here are some of the Greek contexts:

From “SB, Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Aegypten”
document 11082: … Ποτά μμωνος [καὶ τοῖς σ]ὺν αὐτῷ πρᾶξον εἰς τὸν κυριακὸν λόγον [ ] τῆς ἐγδείας σὺν διαφόρῳ ἀρτάβας
document 12484: … Φιλοξένου ἀπ[ὸ] τοῦ αὐ τοῦ Μούχεως ἐγὼ δὲ Γεώργιος Κυριακὸν υἱὸν Βίκτορος μητρὸς Κυρίας ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐτοῦ κτήματος Εὐτυχιάδος … Πραοῦν υἱὸν Φιλοξένου] ἀπὸ τοῦ α̣ὐ̣ τοῦ Εὐτυχιάδος καὶ Κυρι[ακὸν υἱὸν Βίκτορος ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐτοῦ Μούχεως ?. ]
document 13049: … δύο [ ] [ πρ]οσθέσθε τῷ κυριακῷ λόγῳ δρα̣[χμὰς ] [ κα]ὶ̣ τὰς λοιπὰς
document 14197: … ἀπ᾽ ἀρταβῶν 149 ½̣ ὡς αἱρεῖν τῷ κυριακῷ λόγ ῳ κατὰ τὸ ½ μέρ ος

Michigan Papyri
document 174: … οὐσιακῷ μισθωτῇ καὶ ἱ κανοὺς φόρους διαγράφοντι εἰς τὸν κυριακὸν λόγον καὶ πρὸς τὴν μίσθωσιν̣ ἱ κανὰ ὑπαλλάξαντι οὐκ
document 423: … τετολμημένων καὶ τῶν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐδαφῶν δημοσίων ἐκφορίων τῷ κυριακῷ λόγῳ λογο διὰ τὸ αὐτοὺς
document 620: … ἔστιν ταμεῖον ταμιον , πρότερον οὖσα ὑπὸ κυριακὸν χόρτον, νυνὶ δὲ ὑπὸ Χρυσᾶν, ἐνοικίου δραχμῶν

Papiri greci e latini
document 953: … ῇ τοῦ ἐνδόξ ου οἴκ ου ἐν τῇ κυριακῇ τῆς ἀναστάς εως ὄξ ους δι πλοῦν

P.Stras., Griechische Papyrus der kaiserlichen Universitäts- un Landesbibliothek zu Strassburg
document 725: … φρόντισον τὸ ὡρισμένον πρόστιμον ἐκπράξας τὸ ἀργύρι[ον] λημματίσαι τῷ κυριακῷ λόγῳ ἢ ἀ[ν]τιλέγοντα ἐπ̣᾽ ἐμὲ ἀπ̣[ο]- στε̣ῖλαι π̣ερὶ το̣ύτου

P.Ryl., Catalogue of the Greek and Latin Papyri in the John Rylands Library, Manchester
document 427: … βασιλ ικῷ γρα μματεῖ [ γρά]φειν τῷ κυριακῷ. [ ἐπ]ὶ̣ τῷ ἀμείνονα αἵρεσιν διδ[όναι

Chrest.Mitt., Grundzüge und Chrestomathie der Papyruskunde
document 372: … οὗ μὴ ἐπή- ν̣ε̣[γ]κας οἰκογένειαν [ ]ται [ε]ἰς τ̣ὸ̣ν̣ κυριακὸν λόγον τὰ ἄλλα σοι ἀνίημι. ἀξιούσης αὐτῆς ἀποδοθῆναι τάλαντον

P.Münch., Die Papyri der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München
document 11: … βεβαιώ- σεως νόμον πρὸς τῷ σὲ Φλαύι ον Κυριακὸν τὸν πριάμενον ἀπεντεῦθεν κυριεύειν καὶ δεσπόζειν καὶ διοικεῖν καὶ

P.Prag., Papyri Graecae Wessely Pragenses
document 132: … χρηστηρίο[ις πᾶσι καὶ] σκεύεσι ε̣π̣[ ] κυριακὸν λ̣όγ̣[ον ] μέχρι δὲ [ ]

P.Graux, Papyrus Graux
document 30: … 3 χαλκοῦς 4 πρόσθεσθε τῷ κυριακῷ λόγῳ καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς δραχμὰς ἑκατὸν τριάκοντα ἑπτὰ

P.Freer, Greek and Coptic Papyri in the Freer Gallery of Art
document 1+`2: … αστήριον Ἄπα Ζηνοβίου τόπ ου Πιλήμωνος ὑπ ὸ Κυριακὸν Βίκτορος καὶ Βίκτορα Ἀνωμερίδ ου γεωρ γοὺς σπο… μον αστήριον Ἄπα Ζηνοβίου ὑπ ὸ Κυριακὸν Βίκτορος γεωρ γὸν σπο ρίμης γῆς ἄρουρα

PSI Congr.XI, Dai papiri della Societa Italiana: Omaggio all’XI Congresso Internazionale di Papirologia
document 8: … καὶ] ἐνοφειλέσαντος ενωφειλεσαντος εἰς̣ τὸν κυριακὸν λόγον κε̣ [ ] σιτολογοπρακτορείαν

P.Hever, Greek Documentary Texts from Nahal Hever and Other Sites
document 64: … καὶ νααρου σάτα ἕξ, ἧς γείτωνες ἀ- ν̣ατολῶν κῆπον κυριακὸν καλούμενον Γαννα̣θ Αββα̣ιδαια δυσμῶν κληρονό̣μοι Αρετας νότου ὁδὸς

There seems to be a lot of references to “lordly word”

Right now I’m looking up the Nahal Hever scroll or “Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek Documentary Texts from Naḥal Hever and Other Sites” (P. Hever) from the Dead Sea Scrolls or “Discovery in the Judean Desert” (DJD). There’s no English translation available online, and the hardcover version of it is over 200 dollars. I guess if I want to find the specific context for the use of κυριακος there I’d have to learn more Koine Greek. From what I can tell, it mentions “Caesar” a lot and a “most high” “Titus Titianus” (Τιτου Ατιλιου Ρουφου Τιτιανιου), who I’ve gathered was a Prefect in Egypt c. 130 CE.

The section quoted above mentions a “lordly garden” called Gannath Abbaidaia on the road or way (οδος) [belonging to?] the heirs of Aretas from the south. In the actual papyrus, there’s another garden called Gannath Asadaia using an adjective I don’t know (φοικεικωνος).

A summary I’ve read about it suggests that it’s some treatise about an underage girl named Salome co-habitating with a guy ironically enough named Jesus, and that it was some sort of γαμος αγραφος – an unwritten marriage. More than likely this isn’t any sort of document written by a Christian so this would be a non-Christian use of the phrase “lordly”.

So until I get 200 dollars or learn more Koine Greek, this post will have to wait unresolved :). Though I’m thinking that κυριακος might be more along the lines of an adjective like “primary” or “main”. This would mean that Paul is talking about the “primary” or “main supper” and John’s Revelation is talking about the “primary day”; the first day of the week. Meaning that neither have anything to do with Jesus (or even YHWH). On the other hand, it could be something more like a “regal dinner/day” which might be closer in context.

Though I don’t know how likely that is since I’m 2,000 years and a couple of cultures and languages removed from all of these other instances of κυριακος.

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Posted by on September 15, 2010 in lord's day, lord's supper

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