Why do etymology at all?

David McKay music at fl.net.au
Tue Jul 27 04:05:33 EDT 1999

Carl Conrad said:
> Personally, I think that the etymology of a word or root in Greek as well
as what can be known of its earliest recorded usage is always fascinating
and often illuminating regarding later usage, but I think that it can and
has been readily  shown that etymology often enough is worthless as a key
to usage of a word at a particular time and place and that contextual
factors and information about contemporary usage of the word or root must
be the primary indicator.

Well said. I LOVE etymology, but do bear in mind the caveats above [or try

One etymological gem [for me] is Judas' moneybag, or GLWSSOKOMON, originally
the wind player's tongue or reed bag.

Doesn't tell you anything about the meaning in John 12:6, but it is a
fascinating little tit-bit, all the same.

And, I didn't realise how long people have been putting reeds into musical
instruments. [I only went back as far as the shawm and the crumhorn!]

However, when people say METANOEW **only** means to change your mind, that's
where the problems in etymological study are evident!
David McKay
music at fl.net.au

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