Saturday, 26 November 2016

A NOTE on ELIJAH AND ELIAS

An acquaintance is currently in Wagga attending a Greek Orthodox family baptism party for young Eliana. This name derived ultimately from #Elijah an Old Testament prophet.

So some observations linguistic cultural and NT related.

The original #Hebrew from is Eliyahu My God is Yah transliterated into English.
However Hellenistic Greek had no J/Y sound so Greek speaking Jews pronounced and wrote this as EELIA(S) and the long EE over the centuries changed to I or shortened to a E in many Romance languages so we have Ilyaa in Arabic and the name getting confused and fused with the similar modern forms of Helen(a) and Helenos.

Some scholars also claim St. Elias replaced Zeus and that is why monasteries and churches dedicated are up on mountains. However an equally simple explanation is that Elijah spent part of his life as a hermit and that the Christian sites started out as hermitages or shrines maintained by hermits.

Then again perhaps those monasteries and churches are on top on ancient altars to Zeus?

Getting back to Bible Study why are there over a dozen references in the NT which would also explain why this Old Testament Prophet is still revered by Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Greek Orthodox or others.

The Jews of the first century and later centuries  had a folk belief based in a prophecy in Malachi and legends that Elijah although having ascended alive to heaven returned for visits helping people and advising rabbis.

People were wondering and saying that possibly Jesus and John before him was Elijah returned and Jesus also asks his own disciples about this? Did they believe he or John was Elijah?

Then of course there is the drama of the Transfiguration a popular scene for paintings!

With the frequent mentions of Luke and Matthew of Elijah is it any wonder he became Elias and one of the best known OT prophets after Isaiah Jeremiah and Samuel?