Chapter

The Lexical and Biblical Evidence

David A. Weir

in The Origins of the Federal Theology in Sixteenth-Century Reformation Thought

Published in print March 1990 | ISBN: 9780198266907
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683107 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198266907.003.0002
The Lexical and Biblical Evidence

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The original Old Testament word for covenant is berith. However, the primary import of the meaning of the word berith was lost as it was translated into various languages, particularly Greek and Latin. In the Septuagint berith was translated by the word diatheke. With the translation of the scriptures into Latin these two words had three possible Latin translation: foedus, pactum, and testamentum. This chapter explores the way the 16th-century student of the Bible perceived and understood these words. Research on the Reformation understanding of covenant has centred mainly upon tracts and treatises of various theologians. The chapter confines itself simply to the lexical evidence and biblical translations of the period. The first printed Hebrew lexicon was produced by Johannes Reuchlin, and the next lexicon of significance is one compiled by Alphonso Zamorensis.

Keywords: covenant; berith; diatheke; foedus; pactum; testamentum; lexical evidence; biblical translations; Hebrew lexicon; Reformation

Chapter.  4575 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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