BDAG, unlike a flâneur, cannot walk or observe. It is a book--a lexicon. It is the standard lexicon for scholars interested in the literature of the New Testament. Its full title is A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. It is based in the work of Walter Bauer, but its present revised edition is edited by Frederick William Danker. Put the initials of the two names together and you get BDAG.
If you are a student or scholar in Biblical studies or in the history of Christianity or Second Temple Judaism, you save your pennies to buy this one-thousand-page tome. And you are encouraged to use it. But, at least in my case, I forget to do so. The entries are dense, and I don't have it in electronic form so I have to be with it to use it--no click and it appears a la Logos. Yet, BDAG has been on my mind of late, and I have hit upon an idea.
What if I adopted the relaxed-yet-observant curiosity of the flâneur and go strolling among its pages? Entries would be like stands in a marketplace and shops along a boulevard. What curiosities and sidewalk insights are hidden among its citations? Time, then, to don my shoes, coat, and hat and walk out of doors and into the streets.
Α, α, τό first letter of the Gk. alphabet alpha Even at this, the very first entry, there are goods to be had. Already we discover letters used as numbers: α' = 1. β' = 2. Perhaps there was no separate system of counting, though mathematics was already well established in the world. The earliest mathematician is Thales of Miletus in fifth century BCE. But math itself goes much further back into time, to the Babylonians and Sumerians. And before them, to the hunter gatherers of the ancient world as evidence by the marks along the Ishango bone.
Civilizations which use letters as numbers, such as the pre-modern Hebrews, limited themselves greatly, as such systems are not given to advanced arithmatic. What such a scheme is good for, however, is gematria where words mean numbers and numbers words. Gematria is a hot bed for kabbalistic mysticism. It is, therefore, no surprise to discover that alpha and omega signify the beginning and the end and everything in between. "The two came to designate the universe and every kind of divine and superhuman power." The alphabet became a secret bag of spells, a master incantation. To know the true name of anything is to know its secrets and its power, and isn't the alphabet the very storehouse of all true names. It is a metaphysical loom joining life, breath, and sound into a technology of infinite combination.
The last gift of this entry is the first Christian use of alpha in the Sartor Square: a five-line palindrome, rendered in Latin, of five words:
Archaeologists and anthropologists have found Sartor squares all over Europe. The earliest example is from the house of Publius Paquius Proculus at Pompeii. And many have been found in overtly Christian locations. The square is found engraved on the facade of the door in the 752 CE Abbey of St.Peter Ad Oratorium near Capestrano, Italy. It is copied in an 822 Carolingian Bible. And in the 1100s, it was inscribed on the masonry of the Church of St. Laurent near Ardeche, France and in the Keep of the Castle of Loches, France. Locations like these had scholars believing that it was a kind of secret symbol for the Christian community, as its letters can be arranged to spell out Pater Noster. But scholars today believe the square comes from earlier in history and was assumed into Christian praxis. There is nothing distinctively Christian in the anagram itself after all. People have arranged its letters to form many other things, including prayers to Satan and formulas for exorcism.
Ἀβαδδών, ὀ The name of the ruling angel in hell. The relevant material is from Revelation 9.11 "ἔχουσιν ἐπ’ αὐτῶν βασιλέα τὸν ἄγγελον τῆς ἀβύσσου· ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἑβραϊστὶ Ἀβαδδών καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ ὄνομα ἔχει Ἀπολλύων." Abbadon is from the Hebrew, as it says, and Apollyon, the Greek, a derivation, says BDAG, from Apollo, source of plagues. One question I have is about the reference to Psalm 87:11. This presents a mystery to me, as Psalm 87 only has seven verses. Now, the Douay-Rheims (1899) has nineteen verses. So, there must be some kind of text critical thing going on. Yet, Calvin and Matthew Henry only comment on seven, and even Google does not know.
 Lots of stealing from Wikipedia going on in this paragraph.