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CORNERSTONE (Heb. pinnâh, Gr. akrogōniaios). A term that has both a literal and figurative use in Scripture but is usually used figuratively (e.g.,
2. זָוִיֹּ֑ת (
Pinnâh is treated by both Jews and Christians as Messianic. Christ is the foundation of the faith of the believer, through which He becomes man’s Deliverer. On the contrary, the lack of faith guarantees that the unbeliever will be separated from God forever.
J. Jeremias, “Κεφαλὴ γωνίας-ἀκρογωνιαι̂ος,” ZNW, 29 (1930); E. E. La Bas, “Was the Cornerstone of Scripture a Pyramidion?” PEQ 78 (1946), 103-115; S. Hooke, “The Corner Stone of Scripture,” in The Siege Perilous (1956), 235-249.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
ston (pinnah, zawith; akrogoniaios): Part of the public or imposing buildings, to which importance has been attached in all ages and in many nations, both on account of its actual service and its figurative meaning. Ordinarily its use in the Bible is figurative, or symbolical. No doubt the original meaning was some important stone, which was laid at the foundation of a building.
(1) With the Canaanites, who preceded Israel in the possession of Palestine, corner-stone laying seems to have been a most sacred and impressive ceremonial. Under this important stone of temples, or other great structures, bodies of children or older persons would be laid, consecrating the building by such human sacrifice (see FORTIFICATION, II, 1). This was one of many hideous rites and practices which Israel was to extirpate. It may throw light on the curse pronounced upon the rebuilding of Jericho (
While all the passages indicate the stone at the corner, there appear to be two conceptions:
(a) the foundation-stone upon which the structure rested (
(b) the topmost or cap-stone, which linked the last tier together (