Friday, February 13, 2015


i) This is a postscript to my previous reply to Alan. Both in his post ("Yes, There is a Corpus Fallacy, and It is Committed Frequently") and his podcast ("Why the Bible Teaches a Literal, Physical Temple (Naos) in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Not a Figurative, Spiritual Temple – Ep. 23) he oscillates between what naos means and what it refers to, as if these are interchangeable categories. I find that a bit odd inasmuch as he talks about Bible scholars trained in linguistics, yet–to my knowledge–sense and reference are not equivalent. 
ii) From what I've read, "naos" doesn't mean or denote a "physical temple." That's not the definition or intension of the word. Consulting three standard reference works, it is not defined in those terms by BDAG, L&N, or EDNT.
At best, that's one of the word's extensions. And even that's inaccurate (see below).  
Perhaps "physical temple" represents Alan's interpretive summary. If so, that's apparently based on concrete examples. Problem is, that conflates sense and reference. 
iii) Apropos (ii), Alan seems to be reducing the sense of naos to a generic abstraction. Since the word often refers to physical temples, he generalizes from that fact to the conclusion that naos means a physical temple.
However, the extension of the word doesn't refer to a generic physical temple, but to many particular temples (or shrines). The concrete referent has greater specificity. It can refer to a pagan shrine (e.g. the temple of Artemis), or Solomon's temple, or the inner sanctum of Solomon's temple, or the Second Temple, or the Herodian temple, &c. 
On the one  hand, it's a semantic fallacy to suggest that it means a "physical temple." 
On the other hand, the vast number of documented (and undocumented) referents would be contrary to Alan's particular identification. In the nature of the case, specific examples select, not for a generic physical temple, but a shrine or temple at a particular place and time. 
I think his procedure–no doubt unintentionally–puts a thumb on the scales. Since he's stressing lexical semantics and semantic fallacies, it is not inappropriate, I think, to bring greater linguistic precision to the analysis. 


  1. Not exactly related, but I'm curious what your thoughts are on the "abomination of desolation" from the olivet discourse? Obviously dispensationalists believe it involves some sort of profane offering in a rebuilt Jewish temple, similar to Antiochus Epiphanes. What's the alternative?

  2. I read throughout the three corpus fallacy/naos
    threads and found them very helpful.

    I think a pre-committment to dispensationalism is serving as an interpretive framework for Alan. There's a lot of dispy freight being imported into the passage under consideration.

    One of the strange twists of dispy eschatology, ironically, is that they're often chomping at the bit for Antichrist to arrive on the scene, therefore they're often the most ardent proponents of getting more Jews to return to Israel and the most strenuous supporters of fringe groups like "The Temple Mount Faithful" who are busily fashioning temple implements, sewing priestly garments, and searching for red heifers to slaughter and burn in order to spread its ashes as part of the requirements for cleansing the temple.

    I'm not suggesting Alan holds to any of these convictions, but they're all pretty stands dispy distinctives that fit pretty well within the literal temple narrative being outlined.