Re: Fw: Concepts and Words

From: Peter Phillips (
Date: Wed Jul 01 1998 - 03:53:26 EDT

I always understood the root of KUNEW being "cone" or "wedge-shape" - the
same as "cuneiform" writing being writing made of wedge shapes. Hence the
person in "proskunates" herself makes a wedge shape with her body - head
down, 'posterior' up as a sign of obeisance. I thought that LSJ says that
the earliest time that this word is used as "kiss" is in reference to some
priest kissing a bishops ring in about 300-400CE. Again it is not a sign
of intimacy but obeisance. You would harldy consider the kind of act of
homage paid to some ancient kings as "kissing up to" the king!!! My life,
can you imagine what a turn around we would need to have in translating
Thucydides and Herodotus et al. if everytime someone "proskunated"
themselves before a despot, we were to translate it "and he kissed up to
the king"...and presumably had his lips sugically removed very swiftly!!!

Pete Phillips,
NT Tutor
Cliff College, Sheffield, UK

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