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Translating "religion" (was: Translating "Imagine" (< Code-switching in music))

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 13:44
Lars Finsen wrote:
> Den 10. okt. 2007 kl. 04.16 skreiv David J. Peterson:
>> Wait, isn't "religion" two open syllables followed by a closed >> one? Oh, wait, I'm rereading... You said the Latin word. What >> is the Latin word? > > "Religio" - if that's the origin of the popular loan-word. I guess, > since it's from ligare,
ligare /liga:re/ "to bind" That is far from certain. AFAIK it was the 4th cent grammarian Servius who first proposed that etymology, which was also taken up by Lactantius & St Augustine. Because of Augustine's influence, the idea of 'binding' was dominant in western Christian thinking, i.e. religio is what bound one to God (or in the case of Servius, to the gods). Cicero and others derived it from _relegere_ /relegere/ (all short vowels) "to go over again, to read through again" - that is religion as a set of customs and observances which are carried out at regular intervals. This was certainly very much characteristic of the old Roman pagan religion. The argument over the etymology of 'religio' has been going on for more than 2000 years and AFAIK opinion is still divided.
> with the root lig-, the syllables are actually > re-lig-i-o.
NO! That may be the _morphemic_ division, but it's not the syllabic division, at least not according the ancient rules of prosody (nor, indeed, to the syllabic division of Vulgar Latin, as vowels in blocked syllables often develop differently from those in closed syllables). The _syllabic_ division is: re-li-gi-o Four syllables with -o being the only long vowel. The ancient poets also used the form _relligio_ , i.e. rel-li-gi-o; but that is likely to be an artificial creation so that the word could be used in dactylic meter, rather than reflecting an actual alternative pronunciation. ------------------------------------- Lars Finsen wrote: [snip] > Religion is a package word and rather a recent concept. I don't understand this as the word has been around for more than 2000 years. It isn't exactly a recent borrowing in English & other languages. It's been used in western Christendom ever since the Roman period. In Classical Latin it meanings were: - reverence for the gods, shown _both_by inward piety _and_ by outward observance of rites and ceremonies; - conscientiousness arising from the practice of religion, religious awe; - scrupulousness in fulfilling an oath; - holiness or sanctity attaching to a sacred place or thing. It seems to me that if one replaces _the gods_ by God (or by "God or gods"), we still have one common modern meaning. I suppose what you possibly mean is that the meaning of "a particular system of rites, worship & beliefs" is a rather a recent concept. I'm not sure. According to the "Online Etymological Dictionary" this use of the word is attested as early as the beginning of the 14th century: {quot}Meaning "particular system of faith" is recorded from c.1300.{/quote} See: -- Ray ================================== ================================== Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitudinem.


Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>