Occam's Razor (OC·cams RA·zor). The principle, also known as Ockhams Razor, that the simpler the explanation that fits the available evidence, the more plausible it is. In philosophy this is the rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily. In other words, highly complicated explanations, or elaborate hermeneutic interpretations, are highly improbable.
occult (oc·CULT). Related to the supposed action or influence of supernatural powers, as alchemy, astrology, fortune telling, necromancy,. and witchcraft.
octagonal memorial church (oc·TAG·o·nal me·MO·ri·al church). The Byzantines utilized the octagonal form for Christian memorial churches, e.g., the churches memorializing the Church of the Apostles, Saint Peter's house in Capernaum, and the Constantinian sanctuary built above the grotto of Jesus' nativity in Bethlehem.
open vessels (O·pen VES·sels). Open vessels are those whose maximum circumference is at the rim. See closed vessels.
Oral Torah (O·ral to·RAH). The unwritten customs, beliefs, practices, rituals, and rules promulgated by the Pharisees as oral law based upon the Pharisaical reasoning and thought of previous generations. See halakah and tradition of the elders. See also Torah.
oral tradition (O·ral tra·DI·tion). Traditions and myths passing as history passed down generation to generation by word of mouth. Such data is highly suspect and unreliable because of its hearsay quality. Outside of the New Testament nearly all other accounts of Jesus and the apostles are merely fiction and legend based on unfounded hearsay.
orthodox (OR·tho·DOX). In accord with established doctrines, teachings, and ideas, or right opinion. The opposite of heterodox. In the context of political economy the deliberate suppression by the controlling group of others ideas, declaring them to be heresy, and the enforcement of its own ideas as orthodox to meet its own ends and objectives. Following the Apostolic Age the Greco-Roman Christianity known as the Byzantines, with Greek and Latin counterparts, sought to become the exclusive Christian religion. It distanced itself from the Church of God and all Jewish Christian sects. At first it characterized these as the old way, later a detrimental way, and finally a heretical one. During the second century Christian Gentiles aspired to not only remain detached from the Church of God but began to consider it heterodox and only themselves orthodox. To further separate themselves from other professing Christian groups and from what they perceived as Jewish Christian sects they began calling themselves catholic meaning universal. Once they obtained political power they sought to destroy and eliminate all other forms Christianity by argumentation, intimidation, sanctions, imprisonment, torture, and execution.
orthostat (OR·tho·stat) or orthostate. An upright slab of stone, particularly those used in ancient Greek construction, to form the lower part of a wall. In Canaanite temples they appear as rectangular polished stone, mainly basalt, used to line the walls.
ossuary (OS·su·ary). An ossuary is a bone box or depository for the bones of the dead, a rectangular box with lid, usually hewn out of limestone. See burial customs.
ostracon (OS·tra·con), plural ostraca. Ancient inscribed potsherd.
overseer (O·ver·SE·er). From èpískopos (ep·IS·ko·pos) derived from epí meaning "upon" and skopos meaning "to look" as one who watches over and directs the work of others. As the apostles did not refer to the qehal'el as a "synagogue" they chose the word èpískopos, lit., "overseer," rather than archisunagogos meaning "synagogue ruler." An archisunagogos was an èpískopos but as used by the apostles the former referred to synagogue leaders of the Jews and the latter to congregational leaders of the Church of God. Both traditional Jews and the ancient church limited these offices to men. The role of women in the ancient church was a purely supportive one.
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