$10 dollar word-Theophany


For the Year of Faith, I’ve committed to reading the Catechism straight through, at least once, and to cycle through the New Testament all year.  As a side note, I’ve started with the New Jerusalem translation, and will finish that before going to a different translation, but I’m really not too happy with the NJB.  Just something about it I don’t like…But one of my favorite parts is to learn new words, and as I do, I’ll share some on this venue.

Ever since I became Catholic and started listening to Fr. Mitch Pacwa (who I’m going to see live this weekend), the priests of EWTN, especially Father of Mercy Fr. Wade Menezes (really, all of the Fathers of Mercy), I’ve come to appreciate the meaning of words, the way they’re broken down.  For example, the roots of “Catholic”, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning “universal”) comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning “on the whole”, “according to the whole” or “in general”, and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning “about” and όλος meaning “whole”.

So the word I came across in my reading today was “theophany”.  The text was speaking of God speaking to Moses in the burning bush as a “theophany”. So the word comes from Late Greek theophaneia : Greek theo-, theo- + Greek phainein, phan-, to show. So, then, we have a similar word, “epiphany”, which means, generally, a revelation.  But the breakdown of epi- means “upon”, and phan- is “to show”, so our Feast of Epiphany literally means to show upon.

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