Yep, it’s October 17th again!
Go read about Jupiter Hammon, born on this day in 1711.
Do you know what a knop is? How about a snoffet ? A habergeon ? The kall of a calf? The lap of the ear? What is a besom ?
If you answered No, you would have a hard time reading the Bible in English—the Geneva Bible of 1562, anyway. It uses all these words in Exodus 25 ff. where God gives instructions for the Tabernacle, its accoutrements, and the priestly garments.
I had no idea what any of these were, so I looked them up.
* knop = a knob
* snoffet = something you snuff out a candle with or in
* habergeon = “A sleeveless coat or jacket of mail or scale armour, originally smaller and lighter than a HAUBERK, but sometimes app. the same as that.” (OED) —Exodus 28:32 says the the priestly garment should have a hole for the head which is designed “as the coller of an habergeon that it rent not.”)
* kall = modern-day “caul” . . . “The fatty membrane investing the intestines; the epiploön or omentum” (OED)
* lap = lobe
And a besom is a bundle of twigs bound around a handle and used as a sweeping implement. We call these things “brooms” but broom was just one of many plants used to make besoms.
But today, through the constant evolution of language and its usage, we use this specific word “broom” for the general concept of “sweeping implement.” Pehaps people got tired of saying “where’s the broom besom?” and started abbreviating. The reverse logic applies to the shortening of “motor car” to just “car”—in this case, the general term is preferred over the specific type. Unless you’re really hoity-toity.
Who knows what we’ll call brooms in the year 2462?
From Terry Eagleton’s review of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion.
Jesus, who pace Dawkins did indeed ‘derive his ethics from the Scriptures’ (he was a devout Jew, not the founder of a fancy new set-up), was a joke of a Messiah. He was a carnivalesque parody of a leader who understood, so it would appear, that any regime not founded on solidarity with frailty and failure is bound to collapse under its own hubris.
If God chose to dignify not only humanity, but weak, suffering, and despised humanity, by allowing Jesus to go experience it, that is a sign of the way we ought to treat the weak, suffering, and despised. Not by trying to stamp them out, but by practicing “solidarity with frailty and failure.”
suffragan: An assistant or subsidiary bishop, performing episcopal functions in a certain diocese but having no jurisdiction; in the Church of England, since the passing of Act 26 Hen. VIII, c. 14, a bishop appointed to assist a diocesan bishop in a particular part of his diocese.
suffragette: A female supporter of the cause of women’s political enfranchisement, esp. one of a violent or ‘militant’ type.
Both come from suffrage, which comes from the Latin suffragium, which means literally “a ballot” or “voting tablet,” but by extension of sense it means “the right to vote” or “approbation, applause”. In English, suffrage for a long time meant “intercessory prayers,” especially for the dead.