Transmigration of Words in Religion: an essay
In the beginning was the Word. Was that word simply to reveal as with the logos of Philo, to communicate, or was that Word to reveal by concealing, as with the Jewish Targum, "Memra", to not say the fact that it was God, but mean the fact that it was God, as the Aramaic Jews would say that Adam and Eve heard the Memra (Word) of the sound of the Lord walking in the Garden rather than dare say, as the Hebrew text has it, that they heard the sound of the Lord Himself walking in the Garden (rustling the leaves and bushes and thus implying "corporality").
In the Hebrew Scriptures, a man was set apart, different than the others, to be the officient, to be the "Kohen". This word is translated "priest" in English, usually understood as different than the laity. But " "priest" in English, "prete" in French, was a linguistic "corruption" (that is a common mispronunciation) of the Greek word "Presbyteros" (from which the Presbyterian church took its name (the church run by elders), to distinguish it from the Episcopal church (the church run by bishops, "bishops" being the germanic linguistic corruption of the New Testament "epi-scopos" meaning "over- seer"), which translated, or rather, a funtioning of the Hebrew "Zaken", which meant "elder"from the Hebrew word for "beard"- zakan.
The elders may have been older but not always, as Timothy was not, and were one with the common people rather than different, whereas the Greek New Testament word that translates the Hebrew "Kohen" is "Hieros" (priest), as in "hieratical" which is used in the New Testament exclusively for Christ Himself, and for the whole Church together, but never for the office of elder of the New Testament or of an individual elder (thus in the New Testament, Christ is the Priest and all the people together, the priestly people).
The closest to the "Zaken" is the Arabic "Sheikh" meaning Old Man, as in Sheikh al Jabal, the Old Man of the Mountain, who had his maurading bandits take "Hashish", the intoxicationg weed, and then did their work of 'ASSAS-ination derived from the word of the weed they took. We know it as a stronger form of Mary Jane, which Spanish speakers called Marihuana, having become Anglicized.
The Aramaic bishops of the Church in Turkey are sometimes pictured, photographed with their flock around them, while seated wearing a cartridge bandalier criss crossing their chest. For them to be a leader of their people also meant to protect their flock, the babies, the little children, the women, from murderous bands of Muslims let loose to slaughter. In America, bishops do not have to make decisions what to do and what if. They have other things to do. The Arabic Sheikh and the Jewish Rabbi, have this in common, vulgarly, that is commonly (the Latin "Vulgate" is just the Bible in the common Latin of the day)- they both are not considered Hiero-sically, (though they are in a certain sense hierarchically considered being singular and looked up to leading men of their communities) -the Rabbi through learning and leading, and the Sheikh through leading and courage. Not necessarily a Sheikh, nor a Mufti, who pronounces a "fatwa", or community influencing decision, nor a Kasha, which is a priest of the Aramaic church, "Kasha" being the Aramic Jewish Christian and Gentile Aramaic word for Elder, and Priest, having as its Hebrew cognate, "Kashish" (not Hashish), meaning elder or presbyteros, is the "Imam" (from the Arabic "'amama" meaning in front of) who leads his people in prayer, kneeling head down, in front of the people, facing in the same direction as they toward Mecca, which is the Kibla, or direction of prayer, named Kibla, as "Kabla" in Arabic means before or in front of. Mecca is the Kibla of Muslims, Jerusalem being the original Kibla of Muhammad, when things were going well connecting with the Jewish Aramaic tribes of Arabia, and Mecca only becoming Kibla when things were not going so well, whereas sandwiched between the Kibla toward Jerusalem (because its in the Bible) of the Jews and the Kibla of the Muslims toward Mecca was the Kibla of the Christian - eastward toward the sun.
The reason for this was not because the Christians were taking advantage of Sun worship of Mithra in the Roman Empire, as many say, but because Jesus will come back from the east on the Mount of Olives and because of the Sun of Righteousness rising with Healing in His wings (or rays) of the prophet Malachi, the Sun that Christians believed to be speaking of the Son. ("Keren" in Hebrew means both "rays" and "horns" and this is why Michelangelo was led astray by the faulty knowledge of Hebrew, in sculpting horns on the head of Moses instead of rays of resplendent glory around him, which he could not do anyway. Maybe, he really did know Hebrew and sculpted with his tongue in his cheek!).
Here it is important to note that the Jews everywhere have Jerusalem as the Kibla for prayer, and this can be seen most clearly by Jews praying on El Al, nearly tipping the plane toward the east, and it is important to note, that the Kibla of Jerusalem was also for Gentiles who wanted to pray to the God of Israel and receive His blessings, so in the Old Testament times the Kibla for Jews was in any direction depending where you were in relation to Israel, but for the Jews standing on Mount Scopus or the Mount of Olives, which was east of the Temple mount, the kibla was always westward, toward the Holy City. In some synagogues, there grew up the custom of having portable arks of the covenant containing the Scriptures in scroll form. This was the case in Capernaum on the north shore of the sea of Galilee. For some reason the synagogue was build facing northward, and the people facing northward, but the scrolls were brought to the entrance of the synagogue which was south, so everyone turned around to the south and to Jerusalem and so could do the Kibla rightly and, at the same time, hear the Word of God. What may be the earliest known syngogue of Jews who worshipped Jesus, that is the earliest Church, is identified as such, among other factors, by this synagogue's orientation (Kibla), not eastwards towards the Temple mount (Herod's Temple), which was in plain view and was the expected, but northwards towards Golgatha, the site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. It also can be noted that the ancient Christian Churches' burial direction, and even in recent centuries in Germany, was feet eastwards, as in the resurrection they will stand on their feet facing in the direction of the Coming Son of God.
The Imam facing in the same direction as the people toward the Kibla, howbeit Mecca, was an adaption of the Greek, Latin, and Aramaic Christians facing eastward, and in front of the people in prayer, which is why in America, Old style Roman Catholics, and Old style Syro-Chaldeans faced the Altar which was situated eastwards, and with their backs to the people. This was not a disdain for the people of the church, but rather was it an outward display of their faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in His return to earth from the east.
It is nothing new for Hebrew Scriptures, Judaism, and Early Christianity, to do things (like kissing the mezuzzah, bowing, and the like) and not simply say things in their head. This ancient custom was changed by Vatican ll by the decision that now the priest will have his back toward the East, while he is on the other side of the altar, and the people being able to face their priest.
This new way was really the oldest positioning as the earliest churches continued the Jewish custom of the sitting at the table of Passover, and in this setting having their Eucharist. The "table setting" is carried on by the phrase the "table of the Lord" and the Last Supper, though we could see in the wordings of the Gospels, the meal was no longer eaten "after they had eaten, He took the cup", though in Paul's day which was slightly before the writing of the Gospels, though the Gospels, contain the events prior to the events of Paul's writing, we can see that there was still a meal being eaten at the time of the Eucharist, and Paul did have to caution against gluttony and the disregarding of the fact that they were denigrating the unselfish sacrificial death of Christ for His body, the church, by effectually not recognizing their own brethren as being part the body of Christ by their thoughtless and unloving gluttony, (1Cor. 11:17-33), the care and interdependence of which Paul proceed to expands upon.
In the Roman period, rulers ruled and governors governed in a municipal buildings referred to as "basilica" which is from the Greek word "basileus," meaning king or royal or governmental. Christians originally worship in "houses" though the original house for Jews was the House of the Lord, which was a Temple. You can always know nowadays if a synagogue in Brooklyn is Orthodox or Reformed, because an Orthodox would never call his synagogue (which is Greek for "gathering together) a Temple like the Reforms would, as they, the Orthodox, really believe that the destroyed temple in Jerusalem, which now has a Mosque over it, will one day be rebuilt and used (which Reformed do not believe) The only exception to this is the main Orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem, which is called a temple, but the word for that (heikhal) actually means a temple, and not the Biblical and orthodox word which is everywhere else translated "temple", but actually means "house" - house of the Lord.
Nowadays, the main Christian church is a cathedral, meaning "chair" or "seat" in Greek (kathedros), as in Washington (situated on the river called "river" - Potomic) is the seat of government for the U.S. but was originally brought into the church, from Judaism, and so the "seat of Moses" in the synagogue of Chorazim on the north shore of Galilee, and Jesus telling people to beware of the Pharisees, do as they say but not as they do, for they sit in the "seat of Moses", (Mt. 23:2) and why Jesus sat down on the Mount of Beatitudes before he gave His astounding and wonderful sermon equaling and yes, surpassing Moses, who had gone up a previous mountain, that of Sinai, and brought down also a law which was now being surpassed, and why bishops are usually pictured, also Aramaic bishops, as sitting with their flock around them, not because they were old, but because of the authority of the Word of God. Aside from the Cathedral, the bishop's seat, his church, there is now the basilica, the next important church of the diocese, but no secular ruler sits there.