The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-19-2003, 01:42 AM
Stephe96 Stephe96 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Are The 'Pearly Gates' Mentioned In The Bible?

If not, where did this concept originate?

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 11-19-2003, 01:55 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 12,780
Revelation 21 describes a vision of "the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God":
Quote:
It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. . . The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-19-2003, 01:59 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Revelation 21 contains a description of a "New Jerusalem" which includes the following:

"The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl."
(Rev. 21:21)

I believe that's where the image comes from. The chapter says that the gates are guarded by angels, though, not by St. Pete, so I'm not sure where that comes from. It may have something to do with this quote from Matthew:

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
(Matthew 16:18,19)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-19-2003, 02:05 AM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
Revelation 21

Quote:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.......
It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.....
The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-19-2003, 02:12 AM
robo99 robo99 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Is the Giant Clam ever mentioned?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-19-2003, 02:38 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 12,780
Don't you guys preview?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-19-2003, 03:40 AM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
Quote:
Don't you guys preview?
We do, but these days it takes about 4 tries of about 3 minutes each to get a post through. Previewing also takes about 3 minutes to let you know it won't let you through. One preview to check spelling is all that is practical.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-19-2003, 09:04 PM
samclem samclem is offline
graphite is a great moderator
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 21,886
The phrase "Pearly Gates" first appears in print in English in the 1850's.

Took 'em a long time, eh?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-19-2003, 11:13 PM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,207
"But I bet that 'Pearl gates' appears far sooner.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-20-2003, 02:04 AM
KP KP is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
If I recall correctly, the actual Greek (or rather the earliest surviving 'verified' version when I was in college, many many moons ago) uses says the church would be built on 'petra' [bedrock] while Jesus tells Peter "You are Petros", which has two meanins: it's a Greek name (the cognate of 'Peter'] and also means "a rock" - anything from a pebble to a boulder. It was a play on words of the type made throughout history in all major languages. "Yo, Stallone, you may be 'Rocky', but I gotta build my church on bedrock" (no, Stallone, not *in* Bedrock. Sheesh! Try watching something other than Nick at Night and the Cartoon Channel, willya?])

Also, IIRC, the oldest 'verified' Hebrew in Revelations at that time used either 'drowr' or 'dar' [the latter is derived from the former] 'drowr' meant freedom, liberty, "freedom of outflow" and other Similar concepts. It came to mean 'pearl' by analogy, due to the shimmering color of pearl. Its derivative 'dar' was used for 'pearl' but also meant 'mother of pearl' or 'alabaster' (and sometimes simply 'white')

Exact correspondences between the sets of meanings of words in different languages are not as common as we might like. I'm not an expert in Hebrew or Greek, but I have long been interested in the translation of ancient texts. If I have misremembered the original words, I'd welcome correction. Unfortunately the computer I'm on now is not configured to display the Grk/Heb character sets in the same coding as my reference CDs, so I can't check it right now.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11-20-2003, 05:53 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 11,622
In my Ben-Yehuda Hebrew Dictionary, dar means 'mother of pearl', while deror means 'freedom, liberty' (also 'swallow', the bird). They are both derived from the same root (d-r-r), as KP correctly noted. Coincidentally, dar also means 'house', but that's derived from a different root (d-w-r).

The cognates to this root in Arabic shed some light on the meaning.
Arabic durr means 'pearls'.
The basic verb darra means 'to flow copiously; to stream, flow, well; to be abundant, plentiful'.
A similar concept to flowing is darr 'milk', dirrah 'teat, udder', and midrr 'showering abundant rain (sky, cloud); spouting, pouring forth, welling out'.
The active participle drr (similar to and corresponding to the Hebrew word dar) means 'flowing copiously; productive, rich, lucrative, profitable'.

KP, are you saying that the original Greek text of Revelation* incorporated this Hebrew word? It said dar or deror instead of margarits? OK, I'll look it up myself. Here it is:
http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~fish...in/gnt?id=2721

Revelation 21:21
kai oi dwdeka pulwneV dwdeka margaritai, ana eiV ekastoV twn pulwnwn hn ex enoV margaritou.

kai hoi ddeka pylnes ddeka margaritai, ana heis hekastos tn pylnn n ex henos margaritou.

That's definitely the Greek word for pearl (bolding mine). How come you brought up the Hebrew word, which doesn't occur here?

*The name of the last book of the N.T. is Revelation (singular, no s).
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11-20-2003, 06:14 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 11,336
Clam? Oyster! (But, whadda lollapalooza!)

Trinopus
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.