Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Etymology of Hypocrite

"An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered."  --Proverbs 11:9 KJV

While reading Proverbs 11 yesterday, as I came across verse 9, it struck me how apropos it was.  Just a few days ago,  President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress concerning the health care issue.  When he stated the plan would not insure illegal immigrants, one of the representatives shouted out, "You lie".  Then yesterday morning, I learned that commentators like Glenn Beck were revealing several lies being told by the present administration regarding the president's plan.  Another one is no government funding for abortion.  Interestingly, I understand that some government funds are already being used in both cases.  Many people in our country and even others are making the observation that this present administration is attempting to transform the U.S. into a socialist nation.  Thank God for people like Glenn Beck and media outlets like Fox News who are researching and sharing knowledge of the truth.

As I read verse 9 again this morning, having been a homeschool mom and one who enjoys the study of language, I noticed the prefix hypo- in hypocriteHypo- means "under".  "Under what?" I wondered, so I researched the etymology of hypocrite.  I knew the Greeks used it as a word for actors, but I wanted to know what crites means.  It comes from the Greek krinein , which means "to separate, sift, decide, or judge".  The sense is like an actor, who knows what s(he) is going to say beforehand , but must wait to say it in response to and after sifting or judging what his/her fellow actor or the audience has said.  I find it interesting and a bit scary to consider a double meaning... that hypocrites are 'under judgment'.  Hasn't there been a bit of pretense in all of us at one time or another?

1 comment:

  1. Always working to cleanse that inner vessel! It's a job I have to stay on top of, for sure, doing away with pretenses.

    I love studying words too. In fact, I was just doing that. My husband and I are both giving talks in church next Sunday on the subject of virtue, and I've been picking apart all sorts of wonderful words.