a1 Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is argued that ἐκκλησία was first used by the Hellenists, probably in Jerusalem, and that it was chosen because of its strong background in the lxx. This raises the issue of why ἐκκλησία was chosen rather than συναγωγή, which occurs over twice as often in the lxx. The case is put that ἐκκλησία was chosen because συναγωγή was already in use by Jewish communities as a designation for their groups and their buildings. This view has not been argued for in detail, and the implications of this choice have not been fully explored. Through the use of ἐκκλησία the Hellenists could express their continuity with the OT ‘assembly’ of the people of God and could also distinguish themselves from other Jewish communities, without making the claim that they alone were the heirs of that people.
(Online publication June 08 2011)