Saturday, December 14, 2013

Philo's Etymology

I'm entering into my final week of the semester and am in the process of finishing two more final papers. One of them is for my Jewish milieu seminar where my teacher has given us a variety of choices for our final exam, which is really a written exam that he gave us about 10 days ago. I've chosen to look at Barrett's The New Testament Background and critique it in a constructive/comprehensive way given all that we have discussed in the semester.

I'm currently on Barrett's section on Philo and I thought his excerpt from De Abrahamo 81-3 was quite interesting:

"What has been said is attested by the alteration and change in his name, for his original name was Abram, but afterwards he was addressed as Abraham [Greek, Abraam]. To the ear there was but the duplication of one letter, alpha, but in fact and in the truth conveyed this duplication showed a change of great importance. Abram is by interpretation 'uplifted father'; Abraham, 'elect father of sound'. The former signifies one called astrologer and meteorologist, one who takes care of the Chaldean tenets as a father would of his children. The latter signifies the Sage, for he uses 'sound' as a figure for spoken thought and 'father' for the ruling mind, since the inward thought is by its nature father of the uttered, being senior to it, the secret begetter of what it has to say. 'Elect' signifies the man of worth, for the worthless character is random and confused, while the good is elect, chosen out of all for his merits."

Fun stuff.

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