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The Greek noun aphedron is a term for latrine.

The word occurs twice in the New Testament (Matthew 15:17, Mark 7:19) and was unknown in classical texts. The Vulgate rendered the term secessus, latrine.[1] Wycliffe avoided the reference to a privy with "and beneath it goeth out," while Martin Luther translated the word as natürliche Gang ("natural course"),[2] though Tyndale's "and goeth out into the draught" is more clear. Perhaps due in part to Luther's "natural course," various 18th and 19th Century scholars assumed it was a euphemism for the human bowel.[3] However the discovery and publication of an inscription at Pergamon confirmed that the word does, as per Latin secessus, in fact mean latrine.[4] [5]

Further the Mark 7:19 verse says "out into the afedron, cleaning all meats" which makes no sense if the meat is still lodged in the lower intestine.[6]


The following is a transcription and translation of the relevant text from Lex de astynomis Pergamenorum ("Law of the town clerks of Pergamon") following the Greek text as published by Klaffenbach (1954).[7][8]

483.220 ΑΦΕΔΡΩΝΩΝ = Concerning privies.
ΟΙ ΑΣΤΥΝΟΜΟΙ = the town clerks ΕΠΙΜΕΛΕΙΑΝ = care (f.acc.) ΠΟΙΕΙΣΘΩΣΑΝ = shall make ΤΩΝ ΤΕ = of the ΔΗΜΟΣΙΩΝ = public ΑΦΕΔΡΩΝΩΝ = privies, ΚΑΙ ΤΩΝ = and of ΕΞ ΑΥΤΩΝ = out of them ΥΠΟΝΟΜΩΝ = sewers pl. ΚΑΙ ΕΑΝ = and if ΤΙΝΕΣ = some ΜΗ ΣΤΕΓΝΟΙ = not covers/lids pl. ΥΠΑΡΧΩΣΙΝ = already in existence ΚΑΙ ΤΩΝ.... = and of.... (text broken)

Translation: Concerning WCs. The town clerks shall maintain the public WCs and their outpipes. And if some of them are not covered and of them... (text broken).


  1. ^ Vulgate 7:19 "quia non intrat in cor ejus, sed in ventrum vadit, et in secessum exit, purgans omnes escas?"
  2. ^ Markus 7:19 Denn es gehet nicht in sein Herz, sondern in den Bauch und gehet aus durch den natürlichen Gang, der alle Speise ausfeget. 1545
  3. ^ Robley Dunglison, Medical lexicon: a dictionary of medical science 1855, page 88.
  4. ^ "Perseus database". Archived from the original on 2009-12-02. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  5. ^ Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, ed. W. Dittenberger, Leipzig 1903-5 p.105
  6. ^ James Hope Moulton and George Milligan The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament
  7. ^ G. Klaffenbach, Lex de astynomis Pergamenorum (1954).
  8. ^ The nature and function of water, baths, bathing, and hygiene from ... - Page 252 Cynthia Kosso, Anne Scott - 2009 "Günther Klaffenbach, “Die Astynomeninschrift von Pergamon,” Abhandlungen der Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. Klasse für Sprachen, Literatur und Kunst 6 (1953), 3–25 took charge of providing a full, yet strictly philological, commentary. "