Posts Tagged ‘Word of the Day’

Theology Word of the Day – Homoioteleuton

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

And the word of the day is: Homoioteleuton (ho-mee-oh-te-loot’-on)

Roughly, “same ending”.  A homoioteleuton is two lines of text in which the ending is the same. For example:

1  The very tall man was walking
2  down the well-lit city street
3  where the woman was talking
4  to a little girl.

During the copying of manuscripts, this can result in recognizable kind of copying error: Skipping a section of the text.

In this example, if you’re copying the text, it would be easy to skip lines 2 & 3.  You copy line 1, and when your eyes go back to the page, you accidentally go back to the end of line 3 instead of the end of line 1.  You end up with “The very tall man was walking to a little girl.”

This can be very useful to textual critics, trying to figure out which manuscript has the original reading.  If you have two manuscripts (A and B), and A reads 1,4 while B reads 1,2,3,4, you can be pretty sure what happened.  “Oh,” you say, “the scribe skipped those lines because of the similar ending homoioteleuton.”

Theology Word of the Day – Prolegomenon

Friday, September 12th, 2008

There are lots of words used in theology that are somewhat obscure but very fun.  I would like to share one:

Prolegomenon” — Roughly, “first things”

It’s pronounced like it’s spelled.  Which will take you a second to figure out.  Pro-leh-gah-meh-non. (The plural is prolegomena.)

The prolegomona of a topic are the things you have to talk about first, before you get into anything else.  For instance, “This systematic theology text will begin with the prolegomena of  theology: How we come to know anything, where we should get our theology, and how we can go about learning theology from the Scripture.”  Your initial training for a new job could be called the prolegomenon, too.

It’s a great word.  I’m sure you’ll start using it in every-day conversation.