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palestra (pa·LES·tra). A porticoed enclosure for sport and exercise; the exercise yard of a Roman bathhouse.

palynology (paly·NOL·ogy). A branch of science dealing with pollen and spores.

pantheon (PAN·the·on). The gods of a particular mythology considered collectively as well as a temple for all the gods.

Papyrus Anastasi ().

paracleton (par·a·CLE·ton). See Holy Spirit.

paradigm (PAR·a·digm). A cognitive frame of reference consisting of a set of beliefs, assumptions, techniques, ideals, and research strategies that influences one’s observations, findings, conclusions, and interpretations.

Passover (PASS·O·ver). From Hebrew pesah, pecach, pesach (PEH·sakh). Anciently Passover was Abib, or Nisan, 14 in the Hebrew calendar and immediately followed by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. By the first-century Passover could also refer to the festival as well (Luke 22:1 cf., Ezekiel 45:21). Observed at home, rather than at the central sanctuary or in the synagogue, this family banquet commemorated the deliverance of ancient Israel from its bondage in Egypt (Exodus 12). Anciently the seating was oriental style with the host and guests seated on pillows. As a festival celebrating freedom from slavery and captivity Jews kept the Passover annually as "a night to be observed for the LORD" (Exodus 12:42 NASB).

pastoralists (PAS·tor·al·ists). Groups whose subsistence activities center on the care of domesticated animals.

patriarchal (PA·tri·AR·chal). The family form in which the father (or oldest male relative) is the authority figure. Male-dominated societies.

Pax Romana (pax RO·man·a). The peace kept throughout the Roman empire by the Roman legions.

peasantry (PEAS·ant·ry). A class of agriculture workers, including small tenant farmers, arising from the surfs of Dark Age Europe. Peasant and peasantry are not adequate descriptors for agricultural workers in Levantine culture during the biblical period.

peasants (PEA·sants). People who cultivate land in rural areas for their basic subsistence and pay tribute to elite groups. Peasant and peasantry are not adequate descriptors for agricultural workers in Levantine culture during the biblical period.

penance (penance). Generally an act of self-abasement, shame, or devoutness performed to demonstrate sorrow or repentance for sin. In the orthodoxy of the Roman, Eastern, and some Anglican churches a means of repairing a sin committed, and obtaining pardon for it, consisting partly in the performance of expiatory rites and partly in the voluntary submission to a punishment corresponding to the transgression.

Pentecost (PEN·te·cost). Literally meaning count fifty. This is the anniversary of the receipt of the Holy Spirit by the early church (Acts 2).

perigee (PER·i·gee). The point in the orbit of a heavenly body or satellite at which it is nearest to the earth's center.

period (PE·ri·od). The general historical division of cultural domination on an ancient site. Identified by name, e.g., Iron Age, Hellenistic, Roman, etc. These period divisions may correspond to the strata and phases of this and any other particular site, but such correspondence is not automatic.

peristyle (PER·i·style). A peristyle is a row of columns forming an enclosure or supporting a roof.

petrography (pe·TROG·ra·phy). The description and systematic classification of rocks.

petrology (pe·TROL·o·gy). A branch of geological science which deals with the study of the origin, history, occurrence, structure, chemical composition, and classification of rocks.

Pharisees (PHAR·i·sees). The religious fundamentalists, the ultra-orthodox cult, of first-century Judaism noted for their strict observance of rites and ceremonies of the written law, and for insistence on the validity of the traditions of the elders. More Information.

phenomena (phe·NOM·e·na) sing. phenomena (phe·NOM·e·NON). In a more or less scientific sense phenomena are events or occurrences observable in ways that researchers can collect and quantify salient information about them for study. There are phenomena that are not scientific.

phenotype (PHE·no·TYPE). The physical and physiological traits of an organism.

phylactery (phy·LAC·ter·y). A small leather box containing Hebrew text, on vellum, used in prayer.

pictograph (PIC·to·graph). A pictorial symbol.

pilaster (pi·LAS·ter). A pilaster is a rectangular support or pier treated architecturally as a column, with a base, shaft, and capital.

pilgrim festivals (PIL·grim FES·ti·vals). The three annual religious festivals, namely the Days of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits, and the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16), at which time all males presenting themselves before the Lord at the Temple in Jerusalem for the feasts or the celebrations of the Eternal were to appear with offerings.

pithos (PI·thos), pl. pithoi (PI·tho·i). A very large ceramic storage jar about three feet high. Due to its shape it can't stand erect on its own.

polis (po·lis). A Greco-Roman free-state generally consisting of a city built around an acropolis and surrounded by agricultural land. Necessary elements included "a public town center and marketplace (the square agora); a hall for the city council (the bouleterion); baths; temples to the Greek (later Roman) gods; a theater; a gymnasium (a combined higher school and sports training ground); preferably a library and a sports stadium; and if a big city, also a hippodrome" (Skarsaune 2002:31).

political economy (po·LIT·i·cal e·CON·o·my). In social science the specialty that deals with the production and distribution and consumption of goods and services and their management.

polygamy (po-LYG-a-my). Marriage to more than one spouse at a time.

polygyny (po-LYG-y-ny). Marriage between one male and two or more females.

polytheism (POL·i·the·ism). From the Greek polytheos (of many gods); the doctrine of, belief in, or worship of, many gods, a plurality of gods, or more than one god as opposed to monotheism.

portico (POR·ti·co). A covered porch or walkway, supported by columns, often leading to the entrance of a building.

potsherd (POT·sherd). Fragment of a ceramic vessel also called a sherd.

pottery (POT·ter·y). From a petrologist point of view, ceramics, an essentially man-made (or in a special sense, a metamorphic) rock, is practically indestructible after its primary use is met. From a more anthropological view, pottery is one of the most important sources of information for the archaeologist because it is a very sensitive product of human inventive power. Although it forms part of the needs of everyday life, it reflects cultural changes, political events and artistic trends in the progress of humanity.

praxis (PRAX·sis). A reference to customary practice or conduct as opposed to theory, convention, habit, or custom.

precept (PRE·cept), plural pre·cepts. From the Latin præcipere (to direct) is a commandment, instruction, or order intended as an authoritative rule of action; principle: rule of personal conduct; teaching: a doctrine that is taught.

prehistory (pre·HIS·to·ry). Before recorded history, that is, the period of time of human existence prior to written records or the account thereof.

priest (priest). A religious practitioner, usually full-time, who officiates at rituals. Priest usually refers to a man and a priestess to a woman.

primary balks (PRI·mar·y balks). These are the balks bounding the four sides of an Area or a square.

primogeniture (PRI·mo·GEN·i·TURE). An inheritance pattern in which land or other wealth passes from generation to generation through the first-born child, usually the eldest male, of the same parents.

procurator (PROC·u·ra·tor). An official who managed the affairs of a Roman province or acted as governor of a territory, such as Judea, not having the status of a province.

prophet (PROPH·et). A person who claims to have dreams or visions in which he or she received a message from a supernatural power.

proselyte (PROS·e·ly·te). From proselutos (pros·AY·loo·tos) "one who came over". In contemporary usage a reference to a convert from one religion to another. Anciently a designation for a Gentile convert to first-century Judaism who became a Jew by ritual circumcision. A person who was a proselyte was no longer a Gentile but a Jew. Similarly when a Jew or a Greek became a Christian, a citizen of the new Israel of God, he or she was no longer a Jew or a Greek but rather a part of a new humanity—the Church of God (I Corinthians 10:32).

provenience (pro·VE·nience). The three-dimensional position of an archaeological find in time and space and recorded three-dimensionally from a known central origin at an archaeological site.

Psalter (PSAL·ter). The book of Psalms in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Page last edited: 02/12/09 07:11 AM

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