Epiousios

Welcome to my third blog. It’s been at least 5 years since my last blog post. The goal this time is to post every day, no matter how short. Let’s get started. (No, this opener will not regale you with what this blog will try to be, besides daily. Who knows what it will be. Expectations unformed cannot be disappointed.)

ldsprayergreek

“Epiousios” is a classical Greek word that has fascinated me for a long time. I even own espiousios.me (.com was too expensive for my taste) and it re-directs right here.

For the full background, check out this site and the wikipedia page. Here’s why I love it:

  1. It is a hapax legomenon, meaning it only appears once in the bible or in the entirety of Classical Greek literature. This makes translation difficult.
  2. It is found in the Matthew and Luke Gospel versions of the Lord’s Prayer (see picture above), and that’s it.
  3. Thanks to translation into Latin and then subsequently into other languages, it has been rendered as “daily” for centuries now. “Give us this day ou daily bread …” This blog is supposed to be a daily exercise, so I like the symmetry and opening connection.
  4. The use of “daily” as the proper translation is highly suspect. The Greek word for daily is used throughout the Bible, and it’s not “epiousios.”
  5. Breaking the word apart, it seems more likely that the word is meant to convey the concept of being “supersubstantial,” thus suggesting the we are not talking about physical sustenance here but rather the religious and spiritual concept of the Eucharist.
  6. But, says history and 2,000 years of Church wrangling, we’ll stick with “daily” because, well, you know, because.

So I love it because of its uniqueness and because its an example of how history and institutions really work. The Lord’s Prayer, one of the most important pieces of literature in Western history, said over and over again DAILY all over the world, includes a word which is almost certainly “wrong” from its original meaning. But everyone’s cool with it. Because that’s what we do.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s