|par'-a-dis ((pardes) pleasure-ground, park,
RELATED: Eden, Forest
Easton's Bible Dictionary
A Persian word (pardes), properly meaning a "pleasure-ground"
or "park" or "king's garden." (See EDEN)
It came in course of time to be used as a name for the world of happiness and
rest hereafter ( Luke 23:43 ; 2 Corinthians 12:4 ; Revelation 2:7 ). For "garden"
in Genesis 2:8 the LXX. has "paradise."
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
This is a word of Persian origin, and is used in the Septuagint
as the translation of Eden. It means "an orchard of pleasure and fruits," a "garden"
or "pleasure ground," something like an English park. It is applied figuratively
to the celestial dwelling of the righteous, in allusion to the garden of Eden.
( 2 Corinthians 12:4 ; Revelation 2:7 ) It has thus come into familiar use to
denote both that garden and the heaven of the just.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
par'-a-dis (pardec; paradeisos):
1. Origin and Meaning:
A word probably of Persian origin meaning a royal park. See GARDEN. The word occurs
in the Hebrew Scriptures but 3 times:
Song of Solomon 4:13, where it is translated "an orchard"; Nehemiah 2:8, where
it is translated "a forest" (the Revised Version margin "park"); Ecclesiastes
2:5, where it is in the plural number (the King James Version "orchards," the
Revised Version (British and American) "parks"). But it was early introduced into
the Greek language, being made specially familiar by Xenophon upon his return
from the expedition of Cyrus the Younger to Babylonia (see Anab. i.2, section
7; 4, section 9; Cyrop. i.3, section 14). In Septuagint the word is of frequent
use in translating other terms of kindred significance. The Garden of Eden became
"the paradise of pleasure or luxury" (Genesis 2:15 ; 3:23 ; Joel 2:3). The valley
of the Jordan became 'the paradise of God' (Genesis 13:10). In Ezekiel 31:8 ,
9 , according to Septuagint, there is no tree in the 'paradise of God' equal to
that which in the prophet's vision symbolizes the glory of Assyria. The figures
in the first 9 verses of this chapter may well have been suggested by what the
prophet had himself seen of parks in the Persian empire.
2. Use in Jewish Literatare:
In the apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature the
word is extensively used in a spiritual and symbolia sense, signalizing the place
of happiness to be inherited by the righteous in contrast to Gehenna, the place
of punishment to which the wicked were to be assigned. In the later Jewish literature
"Sheol" is represented as a place where preliminary rewards and punishments are
bestowed previous to the final judgment (see APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE; ESCHATOLOGY
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; and compare 2 Esdras 2:19 ; 8:52). But the representations
in this literature are often vague and conflicting, some holding that there were
4 divisions in Sheol, one for those who were marryred for righteousness' sake,
one for sinners who on earth had paid the penalty for their sins, one for the
just who had not suffered martyrdom, and one for sinners who had not been punished
on earth (En 102:15). But among the Alexandrian Jews the view prevailed that the
separation of the righteous from the wicked took place immediately after death
(see The Wisdom of Solomon 3:14 ; 4:10 ; 5:5 , 17 ; Josephus, Ant, XVIII, i, 3;
B J, II, viii, 14). This would seem to be the idea underlying the use of the word
in the New Testament where it occurs only 3 times, and then in a sense remarkably
free from sensuous suggestions.
3. Used by Christ:
Christ uses the word but once (Luke 23:43), when He said to the penitent thief,
"Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise" (see ABRAHAM'S BOSOM (compare HADES)).
This was no time to choose words with dialectical precision. The consolation needed
by the penitent thief suffering from thirst and agony and shame was such as was
symbolized by the popular conception of paradise, which, as held by the Essenes,
consisted of "habitations beyond the ocean, in a region that is neither oppressed
with storms of rain, or snow, or with intense heat, but that this place is such
as is refreshed by the gentle breathin of a west wind, that is perpetually blowing
from the ocean" (Josephus, BJ, II, viii, 11).
See ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
4. Other Forms and Uses:
Nowhere in His public teaching did Christ use the word "Paradise." He does indeed,
when speaking in parables, employ the figure of the marriage supper, and of new
wine, and elsewhere of Abraham's bosom, and of houses not made by hands, eternal
in the heavens; but all these references are in striking contrast to the prevailing
sensuous representations of the times (see 2 Esdras 2:19; 8:52), and such as have
been introduced into Mohammedan literature. Likewise Paul (2 Corinthians 12:4)
speaks of having been "caught up into Paradise" where he "heard unspeakable words,
which it is not lawful for a man to utter." See ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
But in 2 Corinthians 12:2 this is referred to more vaguely as "the third heaven."
In Revelation 2:7 it is said to the members of the church at Ephesus who should
overcome, "I (will) give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise
of God," where the Eden of Genesis 2:8 is made the symbol of the abode of the
righteous, more fully described without the words in the last chapter of the book.
The reticence of the sacred writers respecting this subject is in striking contrast
to the profuseness and crudity both of rabbinical writers before Christ and of
apocryphal writers and Christian commentators at a later time. "Where the true
Gospels are most reticent, the mythical are most exuberant" (Perowne). This is
especially noticeable in the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Acta Philippi, the writings
of Tertullian (De Idol. c. 13; De Anim. c. 55; Tertullian's treatise De Paradiso
is lost), Clement of Alexandria (Frag. 51), and John of Damascus (De Orthod. Fid.,
ii, 11). In modern literature the conception of Paradise is effectually sublimated
and spiritualized in Faber's familiar hymn:
|"O Paradise, O Paradise,
I greatly long to see
The special place my dearest Lord
Is destining for me;
Where loyal hearts and true
Stand ever in the light,
All rapture thro' and thro',
In God's most holy sight."
The articles in the great Dicts., especially Herzog, RE; HDB; Alger, Critical
History of the Doctrine of a Future Life; Schodde, Book of Enoch; Lightfoot, Hor.
Heb. on Luke 23:43; Salmond, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality, 346. For a
good account of Jewish and patristic speculation on Paradise, see Professor Plumptre's
article in Smith's D.B, II, 704.
G. F. Wright
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