January 16, 2009

This & That

When I recently learned I have online privileges with my local library card to the Oxford English Dictionary I've been looking for excuses to look up etymologies. I read in "The Secret History of Words" that "wife" was one of the oldest of English words (while, oddly, husband was more of a newcomer):

wife - n. 1. a. A woman: formerly in general sense; in later use restricted to a woman of humble rank or ‘of low employment’ (J.), esp. one engaged in the sale of some commodity. Now dial., exc. with prefixed descriptive word, esp. in compounds such as ALE-WIFE1, APPLE-wife, FISHWIFE, OLD WIFE, OYSTER-wife, etc.
The earliest reference in the OED is from 725, the third oldest is this one from 950 (I assume uif is wife):
c950 Lindisf. Gosp. John iv. 7 Cuom uif of ær byri to ladanne uæter.
....which gives the sense of the John 4:7 verse concerning the Samaritan woman at the well: "Woman, give me to drink."
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I pretty much agree with this guy. How stupid is buying insurance against U.S. Treasury bonds? I think it indicates a deep-seated human need for reassurance even where none exists, apart from God.

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Ah the audacity of Nigerian scammers and business website operators. Spam attempting to disguise itself as other than spam inevitably appeals to intimacy, like the kiss of Judas. A Toronto real estate claims a connection with Fr. Benedict Groeschel's "Good Counsel Homes", which can't be easily verified, but said they added a link to my site on their home page, which can.
Hello,

Recently I visited your website; while visiting your site I noticed that you link to http://www.goodcounselhomes.org at this address: http://poncer.blogspot.com/2004_04_01_poncer_archive.html. As we are closely related to them, I would love to exchange links with your website, currently there are about 5,000 - 7,000 people per day that goto my site and search for information, Therefore I would to link to an excellent site like yours.

I have taken the liberty of adding your site to my home page: [link removed] to determine if it is of any benefit to you, if you have a stats program you can check it and let me know...

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Speaking of Judas, MaryH has a good post here about the subject of Judas and Hell.

I looked up what the Church Fathers said concerning Jesus telling Judas it would be better than he'd never have been born. From Origen:
"Or, [Christ] spoke generally, to prove the nature of each of their hearts, and to evince the wickedness of Judas, who would not believe in One who knew his heart. I suppose that at first he supposed that the thing was hid from Him, deeming Him man, which was of unbelief; but when he saw that his heart was known, he embraced the concealment offered by this general way of speaking, which was shamelessness. This also shows the goodness of the disciples, that they believed Christ's words more than their own consciences, they began each to say, Lord, is it I? For they knew by what Jesus had taught them that human nature is readily turned to evil, and is in continual struggle with the rulers of the darkness of this world; whence they ask as in fear, for by reason of our weakness the future is an object of dread to us."
It's also interesting to see the spin Origen uses: Jesus said not "by whom I have been betrayed" but "through him" - through the Devil, the true instigator of Judas's betrayal. None of my bible translations say through him, so I assume Origen was looking at a different early manuscript.
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I love the Catholic blog search engine, which presumably checks untold numbers of Catholic blogs upon entering a search key. But I'm a bit suprised by how often the subjects/links I'm interested in are uncovered in the Catlick blogosphere. The New Yorker article on Samuel Johnson is one example, but even the Gopnik piece on Chesterton had relatively few mentions ("Gopnik" + "Chesterton" gets only 4 hits).

I'd expected an avalanche of hits concerning Philip Jenkins' latest "The Lost History of Christianity", on the controversial subject of where and why Christianity died out, and yet there was only a thimbleful. (Although the book did just come out...) The best single comment I'd seen was from Western Confucian who said:
I was a bit surprised to read the author of The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice to write, "Over the past 30 years, the Roman Catholic Church has faced repeated battles over this question of Christ's uniqueness, and has cracked down on thinkers who have made daring efforts to accommodate other world religions." The author says that "the church refuses to give up its fundamental belief in the unique role of Christ." Would we expect Buddhists to question Buddha's uniqueness or Muslims Mohammed's?
On amazon.com reviews, one solitary warrior proclaimed:
I started the book and realize that what is in front of me is a not very convincing apologetic for a sort of Christian relativism. I can see why Mr Jenkins is an ex Catholic in his extolling of the heresies of Nestorianism, Gnosticism, Monophysites and the like. It seems that, for Jenkins, anyone who was dissatisfied with proclamations or rulings on the faith vis a vis Church councils is, well, heroic in breaking off and setting up pseudo churches with bishops, priests, monks, etc. that just make up their own dogmas and doctrines.
Predictably, he was heckled by those intolerant of intolerance. But that said, Jenkins' book does look like a fascinating glimpse of a subject well-deserving of study. Of course, studies like this tend to tempt one to trade empiricism for faith. History is always shrouded in mystery since the facts we have are incomplete, while God Himself is infinitely more mysterious than history.

5 comments:

Ellyn said...

I don't mean to imply a commodification of the work of the Church, but I guess I could call myself a ChurchWife. I think it has a nice sound to it. (And it certainly beats being a Nigerian scammer.)

Chris said...

I don't know about Johnson, but I'm positive there would have been more dicussion of the Chesterton New Yorker piece if it had been available online. I think many bloggers won't discuss a piece they can't link to, especially if they want to quote it, 'cuz then they have to type out all those words. Also, the set of orthodox-aspiring Catholics who subscribe to the NYer (or who care to read it in the library) is not quite empty, but it's not overflowing either.

TS said...

ChurchWife certainly beats ale-wife! A fine ring to it...

TS said...

So true Chris, the number of New Yorker subscribers among St. Blogdom is (understandably) limited. Johnson piece wasn't perhaps the best example of where I find Catlick blogdom surprising for its lack of comment. Many movies and books fit the bill too. Perhaps I'm just expecting too much. (I see you just linked to a New Yorker article, ha!)

Ellyn said...

My husband has been known to use the term fishwife when I am projecting my voice to the best of my abilities!

(Hmmm, I wonder if there would be a little species of fish we could name ChurchWives. "Tons of ChurchWives washed up on local shores" Pungent!)