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orion IOU: Genizah, Genesis and Gnosis
Thanks, David, for the forethought, and for the patience and labor to search
through the Aruch HaShalem. This is one instance I am glad I stayed on with
the question, even if imposing a bit on dear Martin Jaffee. The hypotheses,
that have led to the questioning, are to my mind confirmed.
David Jonathan Justman wrote, on 2 Dec 1997 ,
among other things,
>At the root g-n-z, Rabbi Kohut lists cognates for the verb from Syriac
>and Arabic, i.e., late, and at least at a quick glance, only one of his
>references seems earlier than the Gemara, the Targum to II Kings 20;17,
>if it is indeed earlier. [...]
Other than being late, Rabbi Kohut's listings of a presumed Syriac and
Arabic origins for the verb may as well attest to its widespread usage,
and so of its cultural "import-ance," signifying, too, that's being a
*borrowing,* and the depth of its origins, and so the "communality"
of its cognition.
For some years now g-n-z has appeared to me to be among those Hebraic
principal words that are cognate to Greek, if not Greek: <genos> is obviously
here a homonym, and so, too, is <genesis>; the root being g-n-s," a
primordial word it seems of the Greek *genealogy,* and met as early,
in Homer and Hesiod, as any. <Ganos> too, may be cognate; "gladness", and
"brightness" ("glisten-ing") and, with a pinch of "frolicity" to it, "joy."
Esoteric etymologizing perhaps here aside, he common use of g-n-z
appears to me akin to the usage, itself, of the term "GeNe(alo)Zy",
the common "pool" and the "depository" of, both, "genes" and "genius"
(gr > eng). And of a community's "stored memory", "stored knowledge,"
"secret memory," "culture". The genizah, of genos, i.e. of Genesis.
The "knowledge" reference has brought another Greek homonym to mind,
one that's closer to the aparemphatic form of the verb "li-gnoz": "gnosis" (!).
The "safekeeping" of whatever is most sacred, most important; the most
central and valuable aspect(s) of the cultus. "Sacred-secret GkNowledge".
The same "gnosis" of the... "gnostics," i.e. "those in the know," and so, too,
synonymous to the "esoteric."
As you may have noticed, I 've capitalized "n," so as not to merely connote
the morphological and the semantic homonymic relateness involved here,
as "knowledge" itself is a development of the Greek, gnosis, but so as to
signify my belief that "(g)N" is a "qualifying" emphatic to the original,
the root meaning. A point on which I ought to think more at present
before commenting further. Should only like to add re this, that, <gnosis>
as "("inside," sa/ecret) knowledge (in one's up-keep)" and <genizah> as
"sacred storehouse," and so "secret-ed tradition," though juxtaposed, are
in such a manner related that, besides the linguistic evidence, logically
the latter necessarily assumes the existence, and precedence, of the former.
The "storing" is about the "storying." "Gnosis" existed before its becoming
a tradition that's "stored."
Well, this is getting long. I have a great deal more in mind, as the
implications to this are for me vast and wi(l)de, and then I should have
a few words more on David's enticing post. If there is logos for all it.
Thanks David. As, gratitude, too, to Rabbi Kohut!!
The Ionioc Centre, Athens
Ioudaikoi, sorry for the lapse and late in responding, but been mostly out.
CC'ing to Orion, and B-Hebrew, as might be of interest there to some
colleagues; these terms have been discussed there, too.