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Etymological Origins of Spirituality

It is well understood that a great deal, if not most, language consists of words which represent some physical thing in reality: Gertrude Stein's words, "A rose is a rose is a rose" points to this perhaps. I am interested in reading an articulation of the physical phenomena which can be attributed with imbuing phonemes, ideographs, what have you into words represented in religious language. In other words, and perhaps more to the point, given that language is mostly a functional system to communicate concrete aspects of reality, in what physical reality did religious language find their origins? Word examples: spirit, prayer, god, sacrifice, and the like. I think you get the idea. Thanks for your help...

"Spirit" and "breath" draw from the same root in English and Hebrew. It originally meant something like the breath of life.

I think "god" has always been a synonym for something that is not understood. But that's more my opinion.

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Well most of these questions can be answered by Wiktionary:

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Main_Page

Just type in the word, you're looking for, in the main search box and click on "Look up". This should lead you to the practical meaning of each word after a few clicks. After doing this, I discovered that the ancient roots for the words "god" and "prayer" basically have the same meaning: beg, entreat, invoke, call, pour. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.12 (Cygwin)

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Jeff said, "It is well understood that a great deal, if not most, language consists of words which represent some physical thing in reality: Gertrude Stein's words, "A rose is a rose is a rose" points to this perhaps."

Gertrude Stein's writing reflects the impressionism of that time period in Paris. "A rose is a rose is a rose" is actually the use of words as a composition of sounds rather than an exposition of meaning; it's the technique of fusing Impressionist art with her writing style.

Gertrude Stein was describing art's transition from Impressionism into Cubism. Gertrude Stein knew all the bohemian artists and she was an art collector before she became a writer.

There are words that have meaning but are not real words. In the nonsensical poem "Jabberwocky" Lewis Carroll used made-up words and real words in his story of the Jabberwock beast. But in reality there is no Jabberwock beast.

Some words may have a meaning but it's not a reality. Sometimes a made up word will eventually become a part of our language like some of Lewis Carroll's made up words. The word Jabberwocky can be used instead of gibberish or nonsense.

All words do no describe physical things in reality. Some words have no meaning in reality or they have meaning but not in reality, while many words have more than one meaning, most of us have imaginations. However, I think it's a little off the deep end to think that banshee, apparition, or ghost etc. have a physical or objective reality. Words do not always mirror reality.

The word 'god' is difficult to explain out of proto indo-european (PIE). PIE word for "god" was *déiu-os. from which "deus" (Latin), "Zeus" (Greek), "Thywar" (proto germanic) etc. were derived. the most likely derivation would be *gho-ut-óm, from demonstrative particle "*gho" = 'this, these' and particle "ut" (modern English "out") = up, aloft, outside, hence "that one aloft". Most likely though a loanword from non PIE substratum language spoken in northern west Europe.

'Prayer' comes from Latin (precari) through Old French (preier, modern French prier). Latin precari = "ask earnestly, beg," from *prex (plural preces, gen. precis) "prayer, request, entreaty," from PIE root *prek- "to ask, request, entreat". Cognates in almost all PIE derived languages (Germanic, Slavonic, Baltic, Sanskrit, Iranian languages).

'Sacrifice': dervied from old French sacrifise, from Latin sacrificium = from "sacra" (sacred rites) + "fise" (from which English "fix/fixed" was derived), past participle of "facere" = "to do, perform". So "a sacred rite done". Latijn sacer 'heilig' is cognate with: Hittite sakl&#257;i- 'rite, tradition, law'; Tocharian B s&#257;kre- 'happy'; <! PIE *sah2k- 'initiate, install, inaugurate, to conclude a treaty'.

"Holy": probably derived from a substratum language in northern Europe (because it has cognates in Slavonic languages ("cely") and Baltic (old prussian "kails"). It belongs to a group of related words with similar origin, like "whole", "hail!" and "health" and "to heal". Those combination can be found in all germanic languages with the same use and meaning. Thus its original meaning something like "complete, healthy, undivided, in one piece".

"Ghost": this words is in the old, attested languages indissolubly connected to "fright, scare" with cognates with the same of similar meaning in Avestic (Old Iranian) ans Sanskrit (Old East Indian). So its connection to the holy spirit could be something like "the one of the thing that inspire fright" as the old patriarchical believes always imagine fearful, warlike and vengeful gods (as old testament testifies).

Hope this helps you a bit!

Jeff said, "it is well understood that a great deal, if not most, language consists of words which represent some *physical thing* in reality: gertrude stein's words, "a rose is a rose is a rose" points to this perhaps.

Jeff is clearly saying words represent some *physical thing* in reality. Then Jeff used "A rose is a rose is a rose" and says this "points to this perhaps."

As I explained - it doesn't. "A rose is a rose is a rose" is not about a physical thing in reality or a word representing a thing - it's about sounds. Gertrude Stein's writing reflects the impressionism of that time period in Paris. "A rose is a rose is a rose" is actually the use of words as a composition of sounds rather than an exposition of meaning; it's the technique of fusing Impressionist art with her writing style, that certainly was not proof that some physical reality is the origin of words.

Then Jeff said, "I am interested in reading an articulation of the "physical phenomena" (that means something that is physically a reality) which can be attributed with imbuing phonemes, ideographs, what have you into words represented in religious language."

The Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia thrived until approximately 2000 BCE when it was overwhelmed by Babylonian power. The Sumerians developed a civilization and were the first people in history to record their literature and beliefs in writing. They set down age-old legends of great floods and of warring gods that survived through the ages and stories based on these myths can be found in the Old Testament.

The Sumerian's writing that started out as Pictograms on clay tablets represented things in the world animals, houses, mountains often in a simplified outline form. Ideograms that represented concepts, such as numbers one I two II etc. The early writing systems of Sumer, Egypt and China were mostly in the picture-based group, which deals directly in meanings and not in sounds. In other words this was before there was a written language.

Jeff said, "In other words, and perhaps more to the point, given that language is mostly a functional system to communicate concrete aspects of reality, in what physical reality did religious language find their origins? Word examples: spirit, prayer, god, sacrifice, and the like. I think you get the idea. Thanks for your help..."

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term god is pre-Christian. And as I have said the story of Creation, the great flood, Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden have there origin in the ancient Sumerian's literature over 5,500 years ago.

Good and evil spirits, gods and demons, were fully believed in by the Babylonians and Assyrians, and many texts referring to them exist. the Babylonians imagined that spirits resided everywhere, and some were good and some were bad.

Sumer and Akkad, brought about a unity of their gods. A triad of heavenly bodies appeared as Sin, the moon god, Shamash, the sun god, and Ishtar, the morning and evening star. Goddesses have been worshiped from earliest times. Evidence of female figurines placed in sacred settings in circles of stones found on floors of caves date as far back as ca. 25,000 B.C.E.

Ishtar was worshiped for thousands of years and by many different peoples, so that she is sometimes referred to as the generic goddess (like Christos is a generic name - it's not the last name of any - Jesus).

In many parts of Mesopotamis Temples were built in honor of Ishtar the name Ishtar is etymologically identical with that of the West Semitic goddess Astarte, the South Arabian god 'Athtar, or Astar, who in Ethiopia was the god of heaven and who also appears in the Ugaritic and Canaanite myths as both the female Athtart and the male 'Athtar 'Ariz. Perhaps her most significant designation is as the Semitic version of Inanna, "queen of heaven," the most enduring and powerful of the Sumerian goddesses. The goddess Inanna was worshiped in Sumer from the beginnings of the third millenium B.C.E. to the beginning of the first millenium B.C.E., and in the form of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, until near the end of the first millenium B.C.E. During this period Inanna (Ishtar) enjoyed great popularity and had a major role in Sumerian mythology, theology, and ritual.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, has a mortal father and a divine mother. Only the eleventh and last tablet, which gives Utnapishtim's account of the great flood and Gilgamesh's departure and return to Uruk, is almost complete, consisting of over three hundred verses.

Mesopotamian diseases are often blamed on old existing spirits: gods, ghosts, etc. However, each spirit was held responsible for only one disease in any one part of the body. Gods could also be blamed for causing malfunctioning of organs. Plants were used to treat illness and were used as sacrifices. Presumably specific offerings were made to a particular god or ghost when it was considered to be a causative factor, but these offerings were not found in the medical texts, it was found in other texts.

Jeff's originally said, "it is well understood that a great deal, if not most, language consists of words which represent some *physical thing* in reality."

All words do no describe physical things in reality. Some words have no meaning in reality or they have meaning but not in reality, while many words have more than one meaning, most of us have imaginations. However, I think it's a little off the deep end to think that banshee, apparition, or ghost etc. have a physical or objective reality. Words do not always mirror reality.

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