Re: Theos

From: Stephen C. Carlson (
Date: Mon May 04 1998 - 21:44:58 EDT

At 11:48 5/4/98 -0500, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>This is playing the etymological game in a fast-and-loose, altogether
>off-the-wall speculative fashion. hOROS and hORAW are of strictly
>Indo-European provenance, the PIE root being *WER with the sense "watch,"
>"watch over." While there may very well have been some later Hellenistic
>syncretistic speculation over associations between the Egyptian Horus and
>Greek hOROS, hORAW (comparable to the associations of Thoth with Hermes
>TRISMEGISTOS in the Hermetic literature), I'd think one ought to be quite
>wary of speculating on any ancient primary association of the Greek words
>and the Egyptian divine name.

I second this dose of realism injected into this thread. One should
be very suspicious of etymological connections between members of
different macro-families of languages (e.g. Indo-European and Afro-
Asiatic), especially in basic vocabulary words like hORAW whose well-
accepted proto-forms differ considerably. The most I would be willing
to concede in this instance is that the particular form in which
HORUS was borrowed into Greek may have been influenced by folk etymology,
much like hIEROSOLUMA for Jerusalem (Heb. Yerushala(y)im + Gk. hIEROS),
and "sparrow-grass" for asparagus.

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                   : Poetry speaks of aspirations,              : and songs chant the words. :               -- Shujing 2.35

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