Re: Etymology

Luke McNab (
Sun, 05 Jan 1997 16:44:58 -0800

Gary S. Shogren wrote:
> I demonstrate the fallacious use of etymologies in Hermeneutics class
> reference to English examples. This is usually more easily grasped,
> although someone will typically ^^^^^^^^^
With all respect to the above, it seems to me that we are discussing
apples and oranges here. English is a real melange of languages and
really has no connection to languages like Hebrew [and to a lesser
extent Greek] which is absolutely based on etymology and derivatives, as
I said in a previous post! That is to say, insofar as formation of
words are concerned. We all know that English originally was a rather
monosyllabic language probably because of the low uncultivated nature of
the Teutons of the day. Civilization came to England and northern Europe
via the Romans. The uncultivated Romans themselves had borrowed heavily
from Greek [most teachers in Rome were Greeks at the start], hence Latin
is based on Greek. English got "civilized culture" from the Latin; also
via the French; also directly from Greek and Hebrew [this latter mostly
in the religious aspect]. The argument using English as an example does
not really "hold water", IMHO.
> 2. While talking about anger, I point out that the English "wrath" is
> etymologically related to "writhe" - a tidbit I would never have guessed at
> on my own, but one that is spelled out in OED. I find it fascinating that
> although the only real difference between wrath and writhe is the one vowel,
> I still never made the connection.
The word "wrath" or "wroth" is from the OE _wraedhdhu_. The word
"writhe" is from the OE _wridhan_, {cf. ON ridha, OHG ridan}. So what is
the "one vowel" above to which you refer?
> This leads occasionally to "Yeah, but God knew!", circling me back to my
> original point about docetism...
Docetism is "the heresy that Christ's body was not human but
phantasmal or of celestial substances" [from Gk doketai--dokeo seem]. So
what's the connection with etymology and derivation?
With respect to another recent post [which I somehow misplaced] about
this same subject, it was stated that using just Heb. and Greek Biblical
sources was "limiting". I note that some 12 references were previously
given concerning MONOGENHS from the Hebrew OT. I gave 4 from the LXX and
I here give another 6 from the Apocrypha. [To 3:15; 6:10,&14; 8::17; Wi.
7:22; Ba 4:16]. Altogether that makes 22 references. How many can be
given from all the secular writing of all the Greek poets and authors? A
palsy few in Hesiod, Euripides and Hdt. combined! Which system, may I
humbly ask is the more limiting?
Finally according to the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 2:10-16, the
Scriptures [OT & NT] are to be understood by "comparing spiritual things
with spiritual", in this case Scripture with Scripture. In this way only
can the "things of God and His Spirit" be discerned and understood. The
natural man [unconverted] cannot understand or interpret Scripture
because God does not teach by means of the "wisdom of this world".
Luke [McNab, not the Gospel-writer! As if that need to be noted!!]