The ‘Pinnacle’ of the Temple (Matt. 4:5; Luke 4:9)

Joachim Jeremias[*]

The meaning of πτερύγιον (pterūgion), when used as an architectural term—which in the New Testament occurs only in the temptation narrative—has not yet been determined with certainty. The interpretations exegetes have proposed differ widely: “pinnacle of the Temple,”[1] “corner of the sanctuary,”[2] “the wing of the sanctuary” (viz., the southern aisle of the basilica in the south of the outer forecourt),[3] “the porch of the Temple,”[4] “the balcony on the outer wall [196] of the Temple,”[5] “the high wall encompassing the Temple Mount,”[6] “the outermost edge of the wall enclosing the whole sanctuary,”[7] “the edge of the Temple,”[8] “a promontory of the Temple roof,”[9] “the projecting extreme end of the Temple’s gabled roof with a parapet,”[10] “the temple roof.”[11]

The reason for this diversity of opinions is the fact that until now we have had very little evidence of the use of πτερύγιον[12] as an architectural term. What little has been said in critical scholarship is either worthless (below, section A) or else quite uncertain (as sections B-D prove). The present work examines a rabbinic reference to which Schlatter pointed (section E), and will to draw attention to a hitherto neglected text that uses πτερύγιον as an architectural term and which provides information on the meaning of the word in this usage (F).

[197]

A. Theodotion varia lectio to Dan. 9:27

Eberhard Nestle drew attention to the Old Testament passage, which is the “only” parallel to our expression: Dan. 9:27 in Theodotion’s recension of the LXX.[13] In fact, the LXX knew the word πτερύγιον, but there it designates “tip” (8xx; = כָּנָף); “fins” (5xx; =סְנַפִּיר), “wing” (4xx; =כָּנָף), “end” (1x; = קָצָה).[14] The same applies to Aquila,[15] so it is necessary to examine whether the variant of the Theodotion text mentioned by Nestle in Dan. 9:27 fills the void.

Masoretic Text: וְעַל כְּנַף שִׁקּוּצִים מְשֹׁמֵם (“and on the wing of abominations [plur.!] a devastator”). The text is corrupt.

LXX and Theodotion (B): καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερὸν βδέλυγμα τῶν ἐρημώσεων [LXX + ἔσται] (“and in the Temple there will be an abomination of desolations”).

Theodotion (AQetc): καὶ ἕως πτερυγίον ἀπὸ ἀφανισμοῦ (“and until a wing from vanishing”).

The variant of the Theodotion text (AQetc) is completely worthless: instead of עַל (“upon”), עַד (“until” = ἕως) is read; כָּנָף is literally represented by πτερυγίον; שִׁקּוּצִים is not translated at all; מְשֹׁמֵם is translated as if it meant מִשֹׁמֵם (“from destruction”)![16] Thus a meaningless text was born: “until the wing of destruction.” That this meaningless text in Theod. AQetc conceived of πτερυγίον as an architectural term is extremely unlikely. To be sure, Tertullian, who knew the term πτερυγίον (Adv. Jud. VIII: destruere pinnaculum usque ad interitum [“and he will destroy the pinnacle unto ruin”]),[17] conceived of it as a architectural term, but apparently under the influence of Matt. 4:5; Luke 4:9. For the purposes of our inquiry, Theod. v. l. Dan. 9:27 lacks any value.

[198]

B. The Πτερύγιον According to the Local Jerusalem Tradition

1. Itinerary of the Bordeaux Pilgrim (A.D. 333) (ed. Geyer 1:21 §9-18)

Ibi est angulus turris excelsissimae, ubi dominus ascendit, et dixit ei his, qui temptabat eum… Et ait ei dominus: Non temptabis dominum deum tuum, sed illi soli seruies. Ibi est et lapis angularis magnus, de quo dictum est: Lapidem, quem reprobauerunt aedificantes, hie factus est ad capud anguli. Et sub pinna ipsius sunt cubicula plurima, ubi Salomon palatium habebat. Ibi etiam constat cubiculus, in quo sedit et sapientiam descripsit, ipse uero cubiculus uno lapide est tectus.

Here is also the corner of an exceeding high tower, where our Lord ascended and the tempter said to Him, ‘If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence.’ And the Lord answered, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, but him only shalt thou serve.’ There is a great corner-stone, of which it was said, ‘The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.’ Under the pinnacle (pinna) of the tower are many rooms, and here was Solomon’s palace. There also is the chamber in which he sat and wrote the (Book of) Wisdom; this chamber is covered with a single stone.[18]

2. Barsauma (A.D. 438)[19]

Barsauma, a fifth-century monk, reported that, during his stay in Jerusalem, about twenty brothers went to the ruined Temple of Solomon to see the horn (ḳarnā)[20] of the Temple to which Satan had sent our Redeemer.[21]

3. Prudentius (d. ca. A.D. 450), Dittochaeon, Tetrastichon 31[22]

Excidio templi veteris stat pinna superstes; structus enim lapide ex illo manet angulus usque in seclum secli, quem sprerunt aedificantes. Nunc caput est templi lapidum conpago novorum.

A pinnacle stands surviving the destruction of the old temple; for the corner built with that stone which the builders rejected remains for all time, and now it is the head of the temple and the joint which holds the new stones together.[23]

The temptation account is not explicitly mentioned, but the fact that the Tetrastichon alludes to it is evident from the quotation’s position between the discussion of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan (No. 30) and the Cana miracle (No. 32).[24]

4. Anonymus of Petrus Diaconus, Geyer 108, 24-28

De templo uero, quem Salomon aedificauit, duae tantum pinnae permanent, quarum una, quae altior ualde est, ipsa est, in qua dominus temptatus est a diabolo, reliqua autem destructa sunt.

However, of the Temple which Solomon built, only two pinnacles remain. One of which, being much higher, is the very same in which our Lord was tempted by the devil. The rest of the Temple was destroyed.

[199]

5. Breviarius de Hierosolyma (before A.D. 570), Geyer 155, 9-10

Et inde uenis ad illam pinnam templi, ubi temptauit satanas dominum nostrum Jesus Christ.

And then you come to that pinnacle of the Temple, where Satan tempted our Lord Jesus Christ.[25]

Summary

The local Jerusalem tradition in the first four Christian sources identify the ruins of the southeast corner of the Temple Mount, which rose high above the steep western slope of the Kidron valley, as the πτερύγιον of the temptation narrative. It is the higher (cf. Text 4) of two battlements, which, according to the pilgrim reports, survived as the only remnants of the Temple in Jerusalem.[26]

The pilgrims’ legends, which tend to focus on extant ruins, concern the ruins at the southeast corner of the Temple Mount:

  • a) the πτερύγιον of the temptation story (Texts 1-5)
  • b) the death of James (see below, Section C)[27]
  • c) the stone the builders rejected, cf. Ps. 118:22 (Texts 1 and 3)
  • d) the palace of Solomon and the room in which he wrote the Wisdom of Solomon (Text 1)

It is most improbable that the local identifications of the πτερύγιον stems from historical tradition about the former Jerusalem Temple. More probably it is the product of legend, which has adapted itself to the chance survival of the remaining ruins. In any case, these local Jerusalem traditions must be treated with extreme caution, as long as πτερύγιον does not have the meaning of “pinnacle” elsewhere.

C. The Πτερύγιον in the Report of Hegesippus

In Hegesippus’ account of the martyrdom of the Lord’s brother James, the scribes and Pharisees say to James:

11Στῆθι οὖν ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ, ἵνα ἄνωθεν ᾖς ἐπιφανής, καὶ ᾖ εὐάκουστά σου τὰ ῥήματα παντὶ τῷ λαῷ…. [200] 12Ἔστησαν οὖν οἱ προειρημένοι γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι τὸν Ἰάκωβον ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ, καὶ ἔκραξαν αὐτῷ…. 16Αναβάντες οὖν κατέβαλον τὸν Δίκαιον…. 18Καὶ ἔθαψαν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῷ ναῷ, καὶ ἔτι αὐτοῦ ἡ στήλη μένει παρὰ τῷ τόπῳ (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 2:23 §4-18 [ed. Schwartz, 166ff.])

11Therefore stand on the battlement of the temple [τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ] that you may be clearly visible on high, and that your words may be audible to all the people…. 12So the Scribes and Pharisees mentioned before made James stand on the battlement of the temple [τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ], and they cried out to him…. 16So they went down and threw down the Just…. 18And they buried him on the spot by the temple [τῷ ναῷ], and his gravestone still remains by the temple. (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 2:23 §4-18)[28]

Clement of Alexandria was dependent on Hegesippus when he mentioned in Hypotyposeis VII that James had been thrown from the πτερύγιον (Eus., Hist., Eccl. 2:1 §5; 2:23 §3).

100_1334
The southeast corner of the Temple Mount (right) viewed from the Kidron Valley. To the left is “Absolom’s Pillar.” Photo by Joshua N. Tilton.

Hegesippus first refers to the πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ (2:23 §11), then to the πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ (2:23 §12) and thus apparently leaves it open whether he thought of the pinnacle’s location as being on the Temple shrine or on the outer wall of the Temple Mount; but the progress of his account—especially his use of ναός in the sense of “Temple Mount” in the statement in 2:23 §18—shows that the latter is his opinion; apparently according to Hegesippus James was hurled from the πτερύγιον into the Kidron Valley. The alternation between πτερύγιον τοϋ ίεροϋ and τοϋ ναοϋ reveals a remarkable imprecision in the author’s terminology. In addition, since his report is strongly interspersed with echoes of the Gospels,[29] the conjecture arises that he borrowed the word πτερύγιον, which was not a pre-New Testament architectural term, not from his own vocabulary but from the Gospels’ temptation narrative.[30] It is probable that Hegesippus, who wrote more than a hundred years after the destruction of the Temple, reproduced the local Jerusalem tradition described under section B, identifying both the πτερύγιον of the temptation narrative and site of the killing of James as the mighty ruin at the southeast corner of the Temple Mount. This conclusion is supported by observing that this would explains the wide discrepancies between Josephus’ credible account of the stoning of James (Ant. 20:200) and the legendary version of Hegesippus:[31] the proximity of the tomb of the Lord’s brother in the Kidron Valley, which, according to Hegesippus,[32] was venerated by Jerusalem’s Jewish-Christian community, to the Temple ruins towering above the tomb would have given rise to the legend linking the stoning of James to the pinnacle of the Temple. [201] After all, it seems very questionable whether Hegesippus’ report contains a historical recollection of the πτερύγιον of the former Temple of Jerusalem.

In any case, Hegesippus’ mention of the πτερύγιον remains significant as evidence of the antiquity of the local Jerusalem tradition. For if, as early as the second century, the local tradition had turned its attention to places like the πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ, how much more must it have devoted itself to the crucial sites of the history of Jesus?[33]

D. Hesychius

The 5th century AD lexicographer Hesychius of Alexandria noted πτερύγιον in his lexicon (π No. 4211): ἀκρωτήριον (akrōtērion, “peak,” “pediment”), πτέρυξ (pterūx, “wing”).[34] He thus interprets πτερύγιον as “top,” “gable.”[35] As a reference, however, only Matt. 4:5 is indicated.

E. Jerusalem Talmud (y. Pes. 7:12 [35b]) 28ff

Commenting on Matt. 4:5 (ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ) Schlatter noted at that: “Matthew assumes that the place is known to the readers. A passage in n y. Pes. 35b refers to a wing on the outer Temple wall, הָאֲגוֹף שֶׁל הַר הַבַּיִת. The context suggests that [202] a balcony projecting over the street is what is meant.”[36]

The passage reads:

ר′ בא בשם רב יהודה לא קידשו תחת האגוף שבירושלם. ר′ ירמיה בשם רב שמואל בר רב יצחק כדי שיהו מצורעין מגינין תחתיהן בחמה מפני החמה ובגשמים מפני הגשמים ודכוותה לא קידשו תחת האגוף של הר הבית כדי שיהו זבין מגינין תחתיהן בחמה מפני החמה ובגשמים מפני הגשמים. מצורע אין לו איכן להגן זב יש לו איכן להגן בכל ירושלם. רבי יוחנן בר מדייא בשם רבי פנחס מן מה דאנן חמיי רבנן שלחין סנדליהון תחת האגוף של הר הבית הדא אמר שלא קידשו תחת האגוף של הר הבית

Rabbi Ba in the name of Rab Yehuda said, “The space under the agōf in Jerusalem they have not declared sacred.” Rabbi Yirmeyah in the name of Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzhak: “[This was] so that the people with scale disease could shelter themselves under them (plur.) from the sun summer and from the rains in the winter.”[37]And in the same way, was the area under the agōf of the Temple Mount (תחת האגוף של הר הבית) not declared sacred, so that the people suffering from impure genital discharges[38] could shelter under them (plur.) from the sun in the summer and from the rain in the winter? [Not for this reason!] A scale-diseased person has no other place [in Jerusalem] to take shelter, whereas a person with an impure genital discharge has a place to take shelter anywhere else Jerusalem. [Therefore ​​there was no reason not to declare the area under the agōf of the Temple Mount to be sacred. Nevertheless, it is true that this was profane.] Rabbi Yohanan bar Madaya[39] in the name of Rabbi Pinhas, said, “From the fact that we see that the rabbis taking off their sandals under the agōf of the Temple Mount[40] it is proved that they did not declare the area under the agōf of the Temple Mount to be sacred. (y. Pes. 7:12 [35b])

What is meant by the agōf of Jerusalem and the agōf of the Temple Mount? Before we turn to the definition of agōf, we first note what can be inferred about its meaning from the Yerushalmi passage we have just cited. It teaches us the following:

  1. They are places where one could find shelter from the weather. [203]
  2. They were part of the outer walls: under the agōf of Jerusalem, scale-diseased persons could protect themselves without entering Jerusalem; under the agōf of the Temple Mount, those with impure genital discharges could find shelter without entering the Temple Mount. If the rabbis, who were barefoot on the Temple Mount, took off their sandals under the agōf of the Temple Mount, this also confirms the impression that the agōf belonged to its outer wall.

In addition, there is a parallel to the beginning of our passage in the Babylonian Talmud, which mentions the “gates” instead of the agōf:

אמר רבי שמואל בר רב יצחק מפני מה לא נתקדשו שערי ירושלים מפני שמצורעין מגינין תחתיהן בחמה מפני החמה ובגשמים מפני הגשמים

Rabbi Shmuel bar Rabbi Yitzhak[41] said, “Why were the gates of Jerusalem not sanctified? Because scale-diseased persons sheltered under them from the sun in summer from the rain in winter. (b. Pes. 85b)[42]

From the above observations it follows that agōf refers either to the gates themselves or to elevated portions thereof.

Turning to the definition of agōf, we can assume that our passage is part of the Gemara of the Palestinian Talmud to m. Pes. 7:12, which discusses cases of a Passover sacrifice that has partially been taken out of a house (which Exod. 12:46 prohibits). The question arises, Where is the limit of the house? The Mishnah answers:

מִן הַאֶגֶף וְלִפְנִים כְּלִיפִנִים מִן הָאֶגֶף וְלַחוּץ כְּלַחוּץ

From the agōf inward is like the inside, from the agōf outward is like outside. (m. Pes. 7:12)

The אַגָּף (the Kaufmann MS[43] incorrectly[44] pointed this word as אֶגֶף[45] and אָגָף[46], in y. Pes. it is always written as אגוף) is a part of the door; it plays a role in the halakhah because it represents the boundary between inside and outside of the house, not only for the Passover sacrifice (m. Pes. 7:12), but also for the Sabbath (t. Eruv. 8:13 [= 11:14 ed. Zuckermandel, 153, line 21]), [204] the rights of ownership (t. Bab. Μetz. 2:13; [ed. Zuckermandel, 374, line 6]), the liability for damages (t. Bab. Kam. 6:28 [ed. Zuckermandel, 357, line 4]), and certain vows (m. Ned. 7:5). Obadiah Bertinoro, the famous commentator on the Mishnah who died in 1510, (following Rashi) explained the term in m. Pes. 7:12 as follows: “אגף refers to any part of the door frame that rubs and strikes the door when closing it, i.e., from the inner edge of the door frame to the stop”—not “door”[47] or “door lock,”[48], but “doorframe[49]” or “doorpost.”[50] The word is not derived from גוף (“to shut”), but from נגף (“to push,” “to hit”).[51]

Unlike the base text in m. Pes. 7:12 which deals with the space “inside” and “outside” the agōf, in the Yerushalmi passage we have been examining it is the space under the agōf that is decisive. So it is not the doorframe as a whole that is intended, but only its uppermost part, in other words, the lintel,[52] or gate projection. Accordingly elsewhere בית אגוף denotes the lower threshold.[53] The definite article (“the [205] agōf of Jerusalem”, “the agōf of the Temple Mount”) followed by the plural,[54] shows that the phrase is used generically, which is explained by the fact that the doorframe is always referred to in the singular. Thus our conclusion that agōf = “upper threshold,” or “gate projection” is confirmed by the parallel passage (b. Pes. 85b) cited above, which mentions “the gates of Jerusalem,” instead of “the agōf of Jerusalem.”

Now Hebrew אֲגַף and Aramaic אֲגַפָּא (also גַּפָּא, Biblical Aramaic גַּף) had yet another meaning, namely “wing”[55] (from Akkadian agappu). This would have been what caused the synoptic tradition to translate the word agōf (Yerushalmi) / aagāf (Mishnah) as πτερύγιον (“wing”). In this way האגרף שׁל הר הבית became τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ. The phrase should therefore owe its origin to popular etymology.[56]

F. Testament Solomon 27:8 (ed. McCown, 66)

22:7 καὶ ἦν Ἱερουσαλὴμ ᾠκοδομωμένη καὶ ὁ ναὸς συνεπληροῦτο. καὶ ἦν λίθος ἀκρογωνιαῖος μέγας ὃν ἐβουλόμην θεῖναι εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας[57] τῆς πληρώσεως τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ. 22:7καὶ πάντες οἱ τεχνῖται καὶ πάντες οἱ δαίμονες οἱ συνυπουργοῦντες ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἀγαγεῖν τὸν λίθον καὶ θεῖναι εἰς τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσαν σαλεῦσαι αὐτόν…. 23:3 καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν ὑπεισῆλθεν ὑποκάτω τοῦ λίθου καὶ ἦρεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνῆλθεν εἰς τὸν (sic!) κλίμακα βαστάζων τὸν λίθον (sic!) καὶ ἔθετο αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν ἄκραν τῆς εἰσόδου τοῦ ναοῦ.

22:7Jerusalem had been built, and the temple was being completed. And there was a great corner stone, that I wanted to put into place as the main corner-stone, to complete the temple of God. 22:8 And all the craftsmen and all the demons that were co-operating with them came together to bring the stone and set it on the pinnacle of the temple [εἰς τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ]; but they were not strong enough to lift it…. 23:3And, saying this he [i.e., the demon from Arabia] slipped in underneath the stone, and he lifted it, and mounted the steps carrying the stone, and placed it at the top of the entrance to the temple [εἰς τὴν ἄκραν τῆς εἰσόδου τοῦ ναοῦ]. (trans. Whittaker, 748-749)

The Testament of Solomon explains the phrase εἰς τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ (“to the wing of the Temple”; T. Sol. 22:8) with εἰς τὴν ἄκραν τῆς εἰσόδου τοῦ ναοῦ (“to the top of the entrance of the Temple”; T. Sol. 23:3). This expression’s lack of precision, which can signify the door lintel or the gable cornice of the door, suggests that the author of the popular fantasy novel possessed meager architectural knowledge. Neverthelss, since [206] the motif of the lintel, which could be put in its place only with supernatural assistance, plays a role in the Temple-building legends, there can be no doubt from the equation ἡ ἄκρα τῆς εἰσόδον τοῦ ναοῦ = τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ that the author of the Testament of Solomon understood this as the lintel of the Temple shrine.

There is much to suggest that we have before us the hitherto missing evidence from secular Greek vocabulary for πτερύγιον that is independent of the New Testament as an architectural term; in particular, the finding that the Testament of Solomon nowhere reveals literary dependence on the NT, but only very poor knowledge of it from hearsay.[58] However, in view of the agreement with the result obtained under section E, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the word πτερύγιον derives from the temptation narrative.

G. Matt. 4:5; Luke 4:9

If we apply the results of our investigation to the Gospels’ temptation narrative, it must first be stated that the definite phrase τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ (Matt. 4:5; Luke 4:9) can scarcely lead one to suppose that the lintel over the door of the Temple shrine was intended, since τὸ ἱερόν never designates the Temple shrine (= ὁ ναός) in the NT, but always the Temple Mount. Rather, the definite phrase is translation Greek.[59] Thus we have before us one of the many cases in the Gospels, dating back to the period when Aramaic was still influential, in which the definite article appears without a definite meaning.[60] Therefore, τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ [207] ought to be translated as “the lintel of a Temple gate.” It should be noted, too, that according to the Mishnah the gates of the Temple Mount were 20 cubits (= 10 meters) high (m. Mid. 2:3). Indeed, according to Josephus, the doors themselves had a height of 30 cubits (Bell. 5:202). Excavations revealing that the lintel of the Barcley Gate was between 8.76 and 9.78 meters above the the gate, shows that the Mishnah did not exaggerate.[61]

In a nutshell, my interpretation of the temptation to leap from the top of a gate of the Temple Mount is that the leap was intended to be a miraculous demonstration, through which Jesus was to authenticate himself as the Messiah. For, on the one hand, according to 4 Ezra 13:35 the Messiah was expected to reveal himself “on the top of Mount Zion”; on the other hand, the repeated warnings in the New Testament against the miracles false messiahs indicates that the performance of miracles was regarded as proof of the Messiah’s identity.[62] This temptation, then, had a messianic character, as did the other two.[63] The repetition of the manna miracle[64] and the leap from the lintel of one of the gates of the Temple Mount, [208] had the same significance: Jesus was tempted to pursue the earthly path of royal glory that bypasses the cross.

Conclusions

  1. The equation πτερύγιον = pinnacle (Jerusalem local tradition) is not confirmed, neither is the equation πτερύγιον = άκρωτήρων (“peak,” “capstone”; Hesyehius, Photius, Suidas).
  2. Probably τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ is a (mis)translation of האגוף של הר הבית “lintel of one of the outer gates of the Temple Mount.”
  3. It is certain that in the Testament of Solomon πτερύγιον refers to the lintel of the Temple proper.

roman-catacomb-fresco-round

Click here to visit the Whole Stones blog.

Notes

[*] This article originally appeared as Joachim Jeremias, “Die ,Zinne‘ des Tempels (Mt. 4,5; Lk. 4,9),” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina 59.3/4 (1936): 195-208. I have marked original page numbers at approximate breaking points in brackets like this: [195].

[1] Eberhard Nestle, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliehe Wissenschaft 15 (1914): 91; E. Klostermann, Das Matthäusevangelium2 (1927), 28 “Perhaps the pinnacle is the στοὰ βασιλική (“royal stoa”) on the south side [of the Temple Mount]”; W. Bauer, Wörterbuch3 (1986), 1213; J. Schniewind, Das NT Deutsch (1934), 227, 229.

[2] Gustaf Dalman, Orte und Wege Jesu2 (1924), 311f. (= Sacred Sites and Ways, 296f.) Earlier so also A. Schlatter, Erläuterungen zum NT I3 (1922), 25, but see below note 5.

[3] O. Holtzmann, Das NT (1926), 1:89f.

[4] J. Weiss and R. Knopf, Das Urchristentum (1917), 554 n. 1.

[5] A. Schlatter, Die Geschichte der ersten Christenheit (1926), 313.

[6] Th. Zahn, Das Evangelium des Lk.3.4 (1920), 225.

[7] P. Dausch, Die drei ältesten Evangelien (1923), 94.

[8] J. Weiss-W. Bousbet, Die Schriften des NT3 (1917), 1:242.

[9] H. J. Holtzmann, Handkommentar zum NT (1901), 1:199. Similarly C. G. Montefiore, The Synoptic Gospels2 (1927), 2:21: “some well-known jutting-out spot upon the roof of the Temple.”

[10] B. Weiss in H. A. W. Meyer’s krit.-exeget. Komm, über das NT, Evang. des Matthäus7 (1883), 106.

[11] F. Hauck, Das Evangelium des Lukas (1934), 61. —In addition, there are older bizarre interpretations such as a weathervane, etc. Cf. P. Ketter, Die Versuchung Jesu nach dem Berichte der Synoptiker (Neuteet. Abhandlungen herausg. von M. Meinertz 6.3 [1918]), 125f.

[12] The noun πτερύγιον is the diminutive of πτέρυξ (pterūx, “wing,” “feather”) and, therefore means in the first place “winglet,” but it is questionable whether the diminutive force was still in effect in the New Testament period. In the second place πτερύγιον denotes “wing-like,” that is, anything that looks like a wing, or that moves, covers, protects, hangs or protrudes like a wing (such as a fin, the end of the buoy, the lower part of a tank, the tips of the lungs, the overgrowth of the flesh over toenails and fingernails). As an architectural term πτερύγιον is not proven in secular Greek (but cf. section F in this article), however Pollux 7:121 (ed. E. Bethe II [1931], 85) is noted as supporting an architectural use of the term πτέρυξ. Liddell-Scott-Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon (1934), 1547b reads: “point of a building, Poll. 7,121”; but the context of the Pollux citation is related to δόμοι, πτέρυγες, φάρση, which makes it questionable whether this statement is correct.

[13] Nestle, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliehe Wissenschaft 15 (1914): 91 under the heading “The Pinnacle of the Temple.”

[14] See Edwin Hatch and Henry A. Redpath, A Concordance to the Septuagint and the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the Apocryphal Books) (3 vols.; Oxford: Clarendon, 1897; repr., 2 vols.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983), 2:1238.

[15] In Aquila Deut. 22:30 [= Deut. 23:1 MT] and Aquila Ezek. 5:3 πτερύγιον denotes “tip”. In Aquila Job 39:13 πτερύγιον refers to the “wing” (probably of the ostrich). The Hebrew equivalent in all three places is כָּנָף. In Aquila Ezek. 28:14 כְּרוּב (“cherub”) is rendered πτερύγιον.

[16] J. A. Montgomery, The Book of Daniel (1927), 403.

[17] Tertullian (ed. Öhler, 1854), 2:715-716.

[18] Translation according to Stewart Palestine Pilgrims Text Society (1887): 20-21.

[19] Date according to Nau, Résumé de Monographies Syriaques (Revue de l’Orient chrétien 1914).

[20] Thus, πτερύγιον is translated by sycur (sysin only Luke 4:9), while sypesch (sysin pal only Matt. 4:5) translates πτερύγιον as kenpā(“wing”).

[21] See Nau, Résumé de Monographies Syriaques, 120: Nach H. Vincent-F. M. Abel, Jérusalem (1926), 2:844.

[22] Ed. A. Dressel (Leipzig, 1860).

[23] Translation according to H. J. Thomson, Prudentius (Loeb; 2 vols.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1949-1953): 2:361.

[24] A. Baumstark, “Frühchristlich-palästinensische Büdkompositionen in abendländischer Spiegelung,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 20 (1911): 181.

[25] Translation according to Claude R. Conder, “Architectural History of Jerusalem,” Survey of Western Palestine: Jerusalem (Charles Warren and Claude Reignier Conder; London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1884), 20.

[26] According to Pseudo-Eucherius (Geyer 126, 17), only this one pinnacle remained (reliquis a fundamentis usque destructis [“the ruins are demolished to their foundations”]). Cf. Text 3 above. The other pinnacle must therefore have been considerably less impressive.

[27] Hegesippus according Eusebius,Hist., Eccl. 2:23 §11ff.; Theodosius, 580 (Geyer 142:8ff.; 143:4); Gregor von Tours, Miraeulorum liber I § 27 (MPL 71:727).

[28] Translation according to Kirsopp Lake, Eusebius Ecclesiastical History (Loeb; 2 vols.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard university press, 1926-1932).

[29] J. Weiss and R. Knopf, Das Urchristentum (1917), 554 n. 1.

[30] Weiss and Knopf, Das Urchristentum, ibid.

[31] Weiss and Knopf, Das Urchristentum, ibid. See also Ε. Hennecke, Neutestamentl. Αpοkryphen2 (1924), 105.

[32] Hegesippus according to Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 2:28 §18; Jerome, De viris inlustribus 2 (ed. C. A. Bernoulli 1895), 8: iuxta templum, ubi et praedpitatus fuerat, sepultus titulum usque ad obsidionem Titi et idtimam Hadriani notissimum habuit (“His tombstone with its inscription was well known until the siege of Titus and the end of Hadrian’s reign”). On the tomb of James, see H. Vincent and F. M. Abel, Jérusalem II (1926), 845.

[33] See Joachim Jeremias, Golgotha (1926), 7ff; K. Kundzins, “Autopsie oder Gemeindeüberlieferung?” Studia Theologica 1 (1935): 101-117.

[34] M. Schmidt, ed., Hesychii Alexandrini Lexicon (1858-1868), 3:404. Both Photius (ed. ß. A. Naber II, 1865) and Suidas (ed. G. Bernhardy II, 1853) explain this similarly; both note πτερύγιον άκρωτήριον.

[35] Cf. Adnot. z. St.: Intellege pinnaculum sive ἀέτωμα (“the pinnacle is considered to be the ἀέτωμα [‘gable’]”).

[36] Schlatter, Der Evangelist Matthäus (1929), 106.

[37] Those afflicted with scale disease (traditionally “lepers”) were forbidden to enter Jerusalem. They were, however, afforded some protection from the weather, because the space under the agōf, which protruded from the city wall, was not considered to belong to the sacred space of the city.

[38] This refers to people with impure genital discharges who were allowed inside Jerusalem, but who were not allowed to enter the Temple Mount.

[39] Some versions read מרייא instead of מדייא.

[40] Probably when they visited the ruins of the Temple Mount.

[41] Note that in y. Pes. 7:12 [35b] Shmuel bar Yitzhak is cited as the tradent of the parallel tradition!

[42] Schlatter overlooked this parallel which challenges his interpretation of agōf as “a balcony projecting over the street.”

[43] See the facsimile by G. Beer (1929).

[44] See the ensuing discussion concerning the derivation of the term.

[45] The pointing אֶגֶף (’egef) occurs in m. Pes. 7:12.

[46] The pointing אָגָף (’āgāf) occurs in m. Ned. 7:5.

[47] See J. Levy, Wörterbuch über die Talmudim und Midraschim I (1876), 23a; S. Krauss, Talmudische Archäologie I (1910), 337 n. 487; H. L. Strack, Pesaḥim (1911), 24; G. Beer, Pesachim (1912), 167.

[48] See G. Dalman, Aramäisch-neuhebräisches Handwörterbuch (1922), 6a.

[49] B. Krupnik and M. Silbermann, A Dictionary of the Talmud (1927) 17a, 8b.

[50] See L. Goldschmidt, Der babylonische Talmud V (1931), 480 n. 60. See also M. Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, etc. (1903), 13b: “the moulding or eminence of the door frame against which the door shuts, doorstop,” also: Bar against which the door strikes.

[51] See E. Baneth, Mischnajoth (ed. A. Sammter II; 1887), 218 n. 71. Also with the dagesh forte!

[52] So M. Schwab, Le Talmud de Jérusalem V (1882), 117, explains the אגוף של הר הבית as “threshold of the Temple Mount.” Cf. E. Baneth, Mischnajoth II (1887ff.), 218 n. 71.

[53] See t. Eruv. 11:14: If a person sat (on the Sabbath) and read in the scroll on the אסקפה (i.e., “threshold,” but in the broader sense, “space in front of the door”), and the scroll rolled from his hand inside (i.e., into a private area) and outward (i.e., into a public area), he must roll them together from both sides and put them אבית אגוף on the lower threshold of the door frame (i.e., in a neutral area).”

[54] “The space under the agōf (singular!) in Jerusalem was not declared sacred…so that the people with scale disease could shelter themselves under them (plural!)…” (y. Pes. 7:12 [35b]).

[55] Additionally: “poultry,” “arm,” “shore,” “side.”

[56] It is, in other words, a mistranslation.

[57] Cf. Joachim Jeremias, “κεφαλὴν γωνίας—ἀκρογωνιαῖος,” ZNW 29 (1930): 264-280).

[58] Cf. McCown, The Testament of Solomon (1922), 68f. As for the temptation narrative, its mention in T. Sol 15:11 is limited to the manuscripts of the recension B and is one of the Christian additions to the B recension. Likewise, the reading of the recension B to T. Sol. 22:8: πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ (cf. Matt. 4:5; Luke 4:9) is a Christian correction.

[59] On the generic meaning of the definite article before the words that only appear in the singular, see the comments on agōf in section E above.

[60] For example, Mark 1:4, 12, 13; 3:13; 4:3ff., 21; 6:46; 10:25; 14:5, 7; Matt. 3:1; 4:1; 5:1, 15; 13,3ff., 50; 14:23; 15:29; 26:10; Luke 4:1; 6:12; 8:5ff.; 9:28; 11:33. Cf. J. Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien2 (1911), 19; G. Dalman, Grammatik des jüdischpalästinischen Aramäisch2 (1905), 188; W. B. Stevenson, Grammar of Palestinian Jewish Aramaic (1924), 23.

[61] See Wilson and Warren, Recovery of Jerusalem (1871), 114.

[62] See Mark 13:22f. par.; 2. Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:13ff.; 19:20. In particular, as proof that a miraculous leap into the depths without sustaining an injury would be regarded as authenticating the Messiah’s identity, cf. the words of Simon Magus in the pseudo-Clement, Recognitions 2:9 (ed. E. G. Gersdorf [1838], 45): si me de monte praecipitem, tanquam subvectus ad terras illaesus deferar (“If I should throw myself headlong from a lofty mountain, I should be borne unhurt to the earth, as if I were held up”). See also, Pseudo-Clement, Recognitions 3:47 (ed. Gersdorf, 101): ego per aerem volavi, igni commixtus unum corpus effectus sumf statuas moveri fed, animavi exanima, lapides panes fedt de monte in montem volavi, transmeavi, manibus angelorum sustentatus ad terras descendi (“I have flown through the air; I have been mixed with fire, and been made one body with it; I have made statues move; I have animated lifeless things; I have made stones bread; I have flown from mountain to mountain; I have moved from place to place, upheld by angel’s hands, and have lighted [safely] on the earth”).

[63] So recently also J. Schniewind, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus (Das Neue Testament Deutsch I [1932ff.]), 28-32; F. Hauck, Das Evangelium des Lukas (1934), 60f. Pace R. Bultmann, Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition2 (1931), 271 ff.

[62] Producing manna is also demanded of Jesus in John 6:30ff. The purpose of the execution of this miracle is revealed in John 6:15. The expectation that the messianic era will bring a repetition of the manna miracle appears in Syr. Bar. 29:8; Sib. 7:149; Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael (on Exod. 12.11); Midrash Ruth Rabbah 2:14; Pesiq 49a; Rev. 2:17.

Would you like to offer a correction or suggest an improved translation? You may do so below: