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Monday, June 25, 2012

Word of the Day

So here I am minding my own business, reading a short Bible dictionary entry on "Aaron." Here I make a startling discovery: “In addition to being Moses’ spokesman he also fulfilled a thaumaturgic role . . .” I sat back in my chair, stunned, splashing about in the shallow end of the pool of Biblical knowledge. I confess: I did not know this about Aaron. Did you know this about the brother of Moses?

I fast-forwarded to the end of the article to seek out this eloquent scribe. I read, “R de Vaux.” Having studied de Vaux through a course in Biblical Archaeology, I remain impressed by his scholarship.  A most intriguing scholar, this de Vaux.

Thaumaturgic.
Now here is where my love for my Granny increasingly deepens. She taught me when to reach for the dictionary and here this word blackens the page across my eyesight and I hear her sweet voice, “Now. It is time.” I reach for the dictionary: thumb, thumb, thumb. Nothin’. What kind of dictionary does not have “thaumaturgic” as an entry? What word is this that defies the cold calculations of the great Webster? I love you Granny. I tried.

Hope is not lost, though. I Google “thaumaturgic” in all its glory wondering in what case I might use it casually in a sentence.
The word is a compound of two Greek words. I begin to feel ashamed.
  • “thauma” means “miracle” or "a wonder"
  • “ergon” means “work”
I wish de Vaux were alive today because I have a new question for him: what were you thinking to decide on THAT word of all words? Yes, he could have said Aaron was a “miracle worker” but as I think about it, perhaps life-long learners like me would be just a little less smart.

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