[b-greek] Re: hUSTERA and hUSTEREW

From: Alex / Ali (alexali@surf.net.au)
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 06:30:38 EST


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<DIV><FONT face=arial,helvetica><FONT size=2></FONT></FONT><FONT color=#000000
size=2>James Wilk wrote:</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=arial,helvetica><FONT size=2>&gt;As a physician, my first
exposure to ancient greek was through medical words; <BR>specifically the greek
hUSTERA, meaning womb/uterus as in hysterectomy and <BR>hysteria (a mental
condition originally thought to be limited to women and <BR>caused by the womb
wandering through the abdomen).&nbsp; When I began to learn <BR>biblical greek,
I was struck by the similarity of forms of hUSTEREW, meaning <BR>to lack
<BR>IHSOU...)&nbsp; and hUSTERHMA, meaning poverty (used to describe the state
of the <BR>widow in Luke 21:4, ...hAUTH DE EK TOU hUSTERHMATOS AUTHS PANTA TON
BION hON <BR>EICEN EBALEN).&nbsp; Does anyone know if somehow the words for
uterus and for <BR>poverty/lacking share some distant derivative?&nbsp; If so,
what is the connection <BR>between them and how did a uterus become associated
with poverty? <BR><BR></FONT></FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>hUSTEREW means 'be behind or later' and hence
'fall behind' and this gives rise to the sense 'come later than, come too late
for' and to 'lack' ('the early bird catches the worm' but the late bird goes
without, so to speak), and, of things, 'fail' (as the wine running out); hUSTERA
is a feminine noun derived from the adjective hUSTEROS, meaning (of place)
'coming after, behind', of time 'next', 'later than, after', etc.; the hUSTERA
was 'behind' whatever the physicians of the time understood to be in front. So
there was, apparently, a tenuous connection of ideas.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>I can only say that when (some years ago) I
mentioned these things to my wife (who is a scientific officer for a pathology
program here in Australia) she was not amused that hysteria was limited to
women; but if memory serves aright, it was only late in the 19th century that
that idea was over-turned. Is that right?</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Alex Hopkins</FONT></DIV>
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