Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Was the Name 'Simon' (= Simon Magus) Derived from the Aramaic Term Siman (= 'example,' 'sign')

My idea has always been that siman was applied to Christ as a title by his followers and then the Catholics, wishing to distinguish 'the real Christ' from the heretical misrepresentation, demonized 'Simon' as a separate figure. An example of siman as meaning 'example':

The Blessed Holy One said to him, “Adam, you are an example [siman] to your offspring, just as you entered into judgment before Me and I granted you pardon [dimos], so your offspring will enter into judgment before Me and I will grant them pardon (LevR 29:1)

My guess would be that the heretics called their Christ 'siman' because he was the first to undergo the initiation into the divine mysteries.  Indeed the gospel reference to the 'sign of Jonah' might well have been a reference to the 'example of Johnny' (= diminutive form of John):

As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, "This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the example of Johnny.

For some reason I have in the back of my head that some form of yonah (= 'dove') was argued by Jastrow to be a diminutive of Yochanan.  Will have to check on that.  

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