Palin and Lalia
Theological Terms I
Theological Terms II
Theol. Terms III
Noso and Noce/Nocu
Milton, Book I (PL)
Oo and Ovi
Labors of Hercules I
Oblectation et al.
Dissimulare et al.
Acroama et al.
Tetrous et al.
Commeate et al.
Obsolete et al.
Subtle et al. I
Hesitate et al. (Ovid)
Excoriate et al. I
Excoriate et al. II
The Prefix "apo" II
Bill Long 9/1/08
Beginning with Apopemptic
5. An apopemptic (to send from) is an something that serves a valedictory function. More particularly, it is a farewell hymn. "A popular apopemptic at that church was 'Lord, dismiss us with thy blessings,' sung to the tune of Sicilian Martyrs." Or, how about this: "He was famous for his apopemptic hugs, long and full-bodied, which eventually got him into trouble at the office..."
6. While on the subject of taking leave, an apolytikion is a dismissal hymn in the Greek Orthodox Church. It is derived from the very common Greek verb apoluein, which means "from" and "let go" or "dismiss." The Catholic Encyclopedia gives us a few more words on it and tells us that because it commemorates the subject of a particular feast day, it changes for each feast day of the year. Therefore, these could also be multiplied rather extensively. Here, for example, is a YouTube video entitled "Dormition Apolytikion," viewed exactly 42 times, that sings the glory of the Virgin Mary in preserving virgiity in giving birth. A real stretch of the imagination...
7. Many of the terms have a religious or philosophical origin since those traditions are the oldest we have in the West. Thus, apocalypic has a meaning of "taking the cover from" or "exposing that which was hidden," and, in the first instance, refers to a kind of literature in ancient Judaism and early Christianity, which flourished around 200 BCE to 200 CE and which emphasized the revelatory nature of the work. Usually an ancient worthy (such as Enoch or Adam or Moses) would reveal the nature of what was to come. These men were enabled to do so either because they never died or were granted special insight by God into the universe and the future. We now use the term apocalypse or apocalyptic to describe the end of the world or a catastropic situation that will eventually (or soon) ensue--which is one of the themes of apocalytic literature, even though the word simply means "to reveal" or "to take the cover off."
8. I have talked about aposematic signals here, and only need to repeat that they are "vibes" given off by creatures to "keep away." The word litearally means "sign" (semeion) and "from" or "away" (apo). The most obvious of these is the odor of the porcupine, but I think it is far more interesting to think of people's aposematic signals--i.e, things that say: "Don't touch me, don't come near me, don't even think of approaching me!" What are some of those things?
9. Apocatastasis keeps us in the realm of theology, also. It is derived from apo (from) and kathistanai (to establish), and literally means the "reestablishment" or "full restoration." It is a most delicious doctrine, and its deliciousness ought to be the occasion of its reconsideration today. As this article says, the doctrine teaches that there will be a time when all free creatures share the grace of salvation, even the devil and those who denied Christ. Even though the doctrine may have originated in the Alexandrian theologians of the 3rd century (Clement and Origen), St. Gregory of Nyssa in the late 4th century Syria argued in more than one passage that souls of all, including the devil and impenitent sinners, will be sifted and purified so that eventually they will be saved. The reason for the fire of hell is not to destroy; it is to refine. The pain, however, in the torment is proportional to the guilt one has racked up here on earth. Sort of like the spiritual version of they gym, I suppose. If you eat too many calores and don't exercise in life, you will have one tough trainer in the afterlife who will whip you into shape. Gregory actually uses the word apokatastasis to refer to the completion of the restoration process. Thus, the apokatastisis is the result where a new order is established where God will be, as the Scriptures say, "all in all" (I Cor 15:28). The apocatastasis is not merely a new heavens and new earth; it doesn't point only to a fire or flood which will bring all this about. It refers, in its essence, to the results of a process of purgation and refinement, when everything will be "re-set-up" according to the way that God originally planned it. "It'll all work out," would be the mantra of this school of thought.
Naturally such an optimistic and hopeful picture of the future could not survive unscathed. Some of the leading lights in the history of Christianity, Augustine especially, attacked this point of view with a fury. We can understand the nature of the attack without even reading his work. It would be, 'if you hold out a chance for salvation for the Devil and impenitent people, then in some ways you are cheapening grace.' That is the essence of the argument, even though opponents of apocatastasis will ransack the Scriptures to find arguments for the eternality of punishment--"where their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched"--for example. More modern folk have used the term. From 1867: "No doctrine..contradicts the Holy Scripture in a more unwarrantable manner than that of the so-called Apokatastasis." But I think one can argue from the character of God that all things will be set up as God desires one day. We can't pull it off. Maybe God can. Or, alternatively, maybe the continual existence of hell is an argument against the power of God. Or, alternatively, we can say that we really don't know, and neither do the theologians, and the best we can do is to thank all these people from the past for giving us a word, which lets us enter into their world. Then, after taking the word, examining it, turning it to face the light so to speak, we can put it back where it belongs.
10. Speaking of relevance, let's move to a scientific or medical term, apophysis. This differs from apophasis (pronounced the same) in that apophasis is derived from "talking" (phanai) while the apophysis is derived from "growth" (phyein). Thus an apophysis is something that "grows from" something else. Specifically it refers to an outgrowth of bone that is "a mere projection or protuberence, which has no independent ossific center..." A common use in medicine is a "calaneal apophysis," that is a bone spur or growth immediately behind the heel bone. We also have the term apocrine from medicine, to denote "a gland cell which loses part of it protoplasmic substance when it is secreting. It can also apply to sweat glands which differ from ordinary (eccrine) sweat glands in that they occur only in hairy regions." The verb apocrine comes from apo and krinein (to separate). As mentioned, these glands, chiefly on the face, the armpits and the genital area, produce sweat, sweat that contains organic molecules and pheromones. Ah, pheromones. Isn't that the "in" topic today? Secreting pheromones attracts the opposite sex; no wonder many girls like sweaty guys. An equal number, I have found, just hold their noses and say, "Go take a shower!"
One further note. Though these apocrine glands, which were supposed to slough off some protoplasmic substance, were only identified/named in the 1920s, already the Wikipedia article says that the term is "archaic," because, in fact, no sloughing off actually happens. There is "no net loss" of the plasma membrane. Phew. Glad I know that, as I head to the gym.
11. We have to return to ancient thought because the terms are so rich from religion and philosophy. One more is apostasy, which literally means "to stand off from." An apostate, then is one who stands away from the 'main tradition' of faith, however that is defined. But you are only an apostate from the persective of those drawing the lines or circles. Maybe, in fact, you have drawn a circle that would have included them, but they can't find it in themselves to include you. So we have apostasy, which is usually the precursor of persecution, death, and all kinds of uproar.
One more essay should finish this.
Copyright © 2004-2009 William R. Long