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Sabbath (SAB·bath). Generally the seventh day of the week but it also refers to annual holy days. The weekly Sabbath dawns or begins at sunset the end of the sixth day (see Luke 23:54 and Marshall 1986:255). The word Sabbath, in the New Testament, in reference to a day, refers to either the traditional weekly Sabbath or to one of the seven annual Sabbaths of the Hebrew Scriptures. The terms τò σάββατov and τ̀α σάββατα are usually considered as the singular and the plural of the same word and, ordinarily, appear in dictionaries under the same heading but they should be distinguished as set forth below. See Mateos 1990.

  • The plural, [τ̀α] σ̀άββατα, a transliteration of the Aramaic šabta (Hebrew sabbat), denotes the seventh day of the week, the sabbath, connoting its sacred nature.

  • The singular, (τò) σάββατov, is a transliteration of the Hebrew sabbatôn, which denotes in the first place the sacred nature, that is, the preceptual rest which affects a certain day, be it a weekly sabbath or feast. This singular form, as with the Hebrew sabbatón, does not refer to the weekly sabbath day but to the preceptual rest (John 5:9b; 9:14) that affects a weekly sabbath or feast day, or to the precept itself (Matthew 12:5; Mark 2:27-28 par.; John 5:18; 9:16) and sometimes to the precept day without specifying whether it is a weekly sabbath or a feast day (Matthew 24:20; Mark 16:l; Luke 6:7; John 7:23). The word sábbatov means “day of precept” applicable to a sabbath or feast day.

sacrament (SAC·ra·ment). In Christian theology one of the solemn religious ordinances enjoined by Jesus Christ, the head of the Christian church, to be observed by his followers. In general Protestants apply the term sacrament to baptism and the Lord's Supper, especially the latter. The Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches have five other sacraments, e.g., confirmation, penance, holy orders, matrimony, and extreme unction. As sacrament denotes an oath or vow, the word has been applied by way of emphasis to the Lord's Supper, where the most sacred vows are renewed by Christians in commemorating the death of their Redeemer.

Sadducees (SAD·du·cees). The Sadducees, drawing from the upper classes—mainly priestly families and lay families with whom the priests had intermarried—constituted the pro-Roman and pro-Greek establishment of Roman Judea, with reactionary leanings bent on maintaining their control of the vassal Jewish state. More Information.

Sanhedrin (SAN·he·drin). The highest court and supreme council of the ancient Jewish nation in the post-exilic period, having religious and civil functions; it was composed of seventy members, presided over by the high priest, abolished with the destruction of Jerusalem in CE 70.

sarcophagus (Sar·coph·a·gus) From the Greek sarkofa`gos, eating flesh. A stone coffin or chest-shaped tomb of lapis Assius which quickly consumed the flesh of bodies deposited in it. This stone is a species of limestone used among the ancient Greeks for making coffins.

savanna (sa·VAN·na). An environment consisting of open grasslands where food resources tend to be spread out over large areas.

scarab (SCAR·ab). A seal made in the form of the Egyptian beetle Scarabaeus sacer used in ancient Egypt as a talisman, ornament, and symbol of resurrection.

science (SCI·ence). The study of physical phenomena through description, experimentation, identification, investigation, observation, and theoretical explanation.

scientific theory (SCI·en·TIF·ic THE·o·ry). An attempt to explain a set of empirical events, particularly when assumptions exist as to how to bridge gaps in available knowledge about underlying factors. Theories vary widely in their organization and scope, from the simplest of hunches, through testable hypotheses of various sorts that deal with specific empirical predictions, to large-scale systems of deductively related “laws” (statements of reliable relationships between empirical variables). Scientific theory constitutes the attempt to explain the observable of a specific domain of investigation through use of the scientific method.

Scriptures (SCRIP·tures). In the first century CE a reference to the Hebrew Scriptures. In contemporary parlance The Holy Bible or to either of its two major divisions. Writing to the church at Rome ca. CE 56 the apostle Paul, in reference to the Hebrew Scriptures, said "For whatever was written [in the Hebrew Scriptures] in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4 NASB). A decade later he wrote to the evangelist Timothy that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16–17 NASB).

secondary use (SEC·ond·ARY use). A use following the original and primary use.

sect (sect). Unlike today’s disparaging connotation, in its first-century CE Jewish context this meant a faction of the Jews, e.g., Ebionite Judaism, Essene Judaism, Pharisaic Judaism, Sadducean Judaism, and the like.

section (SEC·tion). The two-dimensional face of a balk.

Seder (SE·der). The ceremonial meal eaten on the evening of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Seleucids (se·LEU·cids. A Macedonian dynasty 312-64 BCE, founded by Seleucus I a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great, that ruled much of southwestern Asia.

Septuagint (SEP·tu·a·gint). In the first century CE the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, normally referred to as the LXX, enjoyed wide use by Greek-speaking Jews throughout the Hellenistic world. The LXX came to be utilized extensively in the Greek-speaking congregations of the Church of God. Most of the quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures in the Christian Scriptures, that is, in the New Testament, are from the LXX. A niche, found in all synagogues, whether of Christian or of Jewish origin, provided a location for the Holy Scrolls of Scripture.

seriation (SER·i·A·tion). The ordering of items by morphology—typological sequences of objects, particularly pottery, established by comparative studies of stratified assemblages from various sites in a certain region.

sex (sex). The biological state of being a male or a female.

sexual preference (SEX·u·al PREF·er·ence). An individual's preference for a sexual partner of the same sex (homosexuality), opposite sex (heterosexuality), or bisexual (bisexuality).

Shabbat (shab·BAT). Its primary meaning is the weekly Sabbath but a secondary meaning is to an annual Sabbath..

Shavuoth (sha·VU·oth), Shavuot, or Shabhu’oth (pronounce shaw·BOO·oth). Shavuoth, meaning "weeks," refers to the feast of Pentecost [Greek: pentekoste (pen·tay·kos·TAY) a holyday with particular significance for Jews and the early church. More Information.

sherd (sherd) or shard. Fragment of a ceramic vessel also known as a potsherd.

shofar (SHO·far). Anciently a ram’s horn used to sound the call to worship and to serve as a signaling device by the Hebrews in battle. Now sounded in synagogues on the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. In the New Testament the sound of the shofar, or trumpet, is symbolic of the archangel’s resurrection call of the qehal'el at Jesus Christ’s return (I Thessalonians 4:16; I Corinthians 15:52; cf., Revelation 11:15).

Sion (SI·on). A reference to the Upper City of biblical Jerusalem generally known as Christian Zion. See Zion.

Small Council (small COUN·cil). An elite group of Sadducees that was like an executive committee of the Sanhedrin also referred to as the Council of the Elders.

society (so·CI·e·ty). A highly interactive population, whose subgroups share more or less common patterns of behavior, residing within a specific region.

sociocultural anthropology (SO·ci·o·CUL·tur·al AN·thro·POL·o·gy). A core subfield of anthropology dedicated to the scientific study of human culture and society in contemporary and historically recent human populations or the analytic study of culture and society.

sociocultural system (SO·ci·o·CUL·tur·al SYS·tem). The merging of the concepts of society and culture into a holistic systems view of human populations and their social phenomena. A sociocultural system is a complex cultural structure consisting of a definable population within a more or less determinable locus, or territory, characterized by shared, interrelated ways of life including beliefs, norms, values, and technologies, transmitted to different degrees within the population, through various subgroups, from generation to generation

solar year (SO·lar year). The time it takes the earth to make one orbit about the sun.

special revelation (SPE·cial REV·e·LA·tion). In Christian theology, God's disclosure or manifestation to humans of the knowledge of God's nature and will.

species (SPE·cies). A population of interbreeding organisms that are capable of, and do under natural conditions, reproduce fertile offspring.

square (square). Immediate subdivision unit of an area, regardless of its size and shape. Although squares can vary considerably in size, they are usually five or six meters on a side. Squares are designated by Arabic numbers; thus Square 1, Square 2, and the like.

stele (STE·le), pl. stelae). A monument consisting of a free-standing upright slab, or pillar, usually with an inscription.

stoa (STO·a). A portico in Greek and Roman architecture.

St. Mary of Mt. Sion (saint mary of mount SI·on). In CE 1099, the Crusaders took Jerusalem and set about to restore its Christian holy sites. On Mt. Sion, they found the ruins of the Basilica of Hagia Sion and an ancient Judeo-Christian synagogue. On the south part of the ruins of the basilica, they built a new church. They named their church St. Mary of Mt. Sion in memory of the traditions that Mary had lived on Mt. Sion after the resurrection of her son and that it was the place of her death. The Crusaders made the ancient synagogue part of their Church of St. Mary of Sion by literally incorporating the synagogue into their new church. Above the remaining walls of the synagogue, the Crusaders built a second floor which became known as the Cenacle or Coenaculum which was symbolic of the Upper Room where Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Last Supper. The name Cenacle or Coenaculum for this site has remained to the present day. Today, the first floor of the building, incorporating the partial remains of the ancient synagogue, is still known as the traditional location of David's Tomb (the pseudo-tomb not the actual tomb) memorialized by a small synagogue.

stratification (STRAT·i·fi·CA·tion). The successive or superimposed layers, either natural or the result of human activity, making up the surface of the earth.

stratigraphy (stra·TI·graphy). The study of the arrangement of rock and/or soil layers together with the study of their origin, the order of their deposition, and their functional and chronological relationships to one another.

stratum (STRA·tum), plural, strata. Subdivision of the period, based on stratigraphic evidence of a major cultural break, connected with a series of loci or layers, and supported by ceramic, architectural, and object data. Often radical changes, such as destruction layers, mark a stratum at its beginning and end.

structures (STRUC·tures). Generally buildings such as houses and temples, granaries, city walls, patterns of features such as postholes indicating a larger structure.

subsistence level (sub·SIS·tence LEV·el). The minimum resources, e.g., food, shelter, water, necessary to support human life.

sunset (SUN·set). The point in time that the upper limb of the sun disappears below the horizon.

symbolic language (SYM·bol·ic lan·GUAGE). Language, a capacity known only in humans, is more than simple communication in that it is a communications system characterized by (1) the use of a finite number of symbols, including sounds, to create an infinite number of words, sentences, and ideas; (2) displacement where topics can deal with the past or future and thus are not limited to the present time and space; (3) arbitrary in that the actual symbols utilized need not bear any relationship to reality; and (4) learned behavior.

symbols (SYM·bols). Arbitrary units of meaning that can stand for different concrete or abstract phenomena. Symbols expand language through substitution.

synagogue (SYN·a·GOGUE). A synagogue, in the sense of a meeting house, referred to the place of assembly where the local Jewish community would meet or convene meetings. Jews and Judeo-Christians met in synagogues as gathering places. The sense was a place of assembly not a place of worship. Over the centuries the synagogue became places of worship as a result of the rise of Pharisaic Judaism. More Information.

synchronic (syn·CHRO·nic). Within a set time as opposed to over time (see diachronic).

syncretism (SYN·cret·ism). A blending of indigenous beliefs with those of outside groups. See religious syncretism.

Page last edited: 02/18/07 10:06 PM

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