Talk:Iota

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"latin" and "roman"[edit]

I don't know enough to know if these terms are interchangable. At one point the article refers to "latin 'i'" and at another it refers to "Roman 'I'". If these are the same, then it would be better to use either the term "latin" or "roman" exclusively.

When referring to the Trinity, there has been a debate whether they are homoousios, homoiousios, or heteroousios.

Homoousios means same essence, meaning the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of one essence.

Homoiousios means similar essence, meaning Father, Son and Holy Spirit are similar yet three different beings.

Heteroosios means different essence, meaning the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are 3 distinct beings. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.123.201.24 (talk) 14:24, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Homo and homoi[edit]

I have added a brief description of these terms in latin type, though it would help if someone who knew the correct Greek spelling of "homoousios" and "homoiousios" (ousios = substance) would improve upon my effort. Dominic Widdows, Feb 28 2006.

Which one did the Council land on? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.225.92.12 (talk) 00:19, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
The council "landed on" Homoousios - but it didn't decide on such a dichotomy. Homoiousios, Homoios etc. all came decaded later. Homoiousios was never the common belief of the Arian party (without using Arius' name), which when in power opted for Homoios. The Homoiousians eventually joined forces with the Homoousians that adhered to the Council and accepted the Nicene creed.
Could we please do without these Gibbon fairytales that are just figments of inventive imaginations. Str1977 (talk) 09:25, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Redirect from Jot[edit]

Though Jot redirects here, the only reference to the word is in the disambig link to Iota and Jot. --Ihope127 21:11, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Continental i[edit]

What the hell is continental i? I tried finding it online - nothing. Is it short i? is it the same thing is the mentioned "English ee" ? Fresheneesz 10:34, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Re: English usage[edit]

Before discussing the usage in regards to the Trinity, the article currently reads:

The word "yiota" is also used in English to express a very small amount, because iota is the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet.

Really, the Homo-ousios/Homoi-ousios seems a more substantial explanation, so I'm removing this first statement. 65.42.89.232 17:42, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Meaning of Iota[edit]

Iota means small, very small, a speck of. Synonyms icnclude tiny, and teeney. Antonyms inculde big, and huge. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Edwardgirl12 (talkcontribs) 23:49, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

"homo(i)ousios"[edit]

The claim that the English idiom "not one iota" derives from the early Christian homo(i)ousios controversy has been repeatedly removed and reinserted.

  • One (weak) version of the claim was present in this page from its creation in 2006 [1]
  • {{fact}}-tagged in April 2009 by an anon [2]
  • removed by Str1977 (talk · contribs) in July 2009 [3], with explanative edit summary
  • reinserted in strengthened form without explanation by Konfino (talk · contribs) in December 2009 [4], removing also the prior biblical derivation
  • fact-tagged by myself, 16 February 2010 [5]
  • removed and replaced with correct biblical reference by myself, 18 February 2010 [6]
  • reverted with a mechanical "undo", without edit summary, by Konfino, 18 February.

Note that no version of this claim was ever sourced – neither the earlier version that merely claimed that the phrase "became common" after the theological controversy, nor the later version that claimed outright that it "derives" from it (i.e. exclusively). I consider it obvious that if there is an older, biblical attestation, it cannot possibly "derive" exclusively from the later occasion; in any case, it would have to be demonstrated, with sources, that the theological discourse of the 4th century had any indirect impact on English phraseology in this way. Don't restate this claim without very solid sourcing. Fut.Perf. 19:06, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

So the argument here is that sources lack for both (which is patently not true, see below) so we should stick to your quote from the Christian Scriptures? "Since we don't know the source, we'll stick with what I'll say its true".
The argument that you make is that because the Gospel of Matthew is older, it must be the likelier source. In fact, the phrase "not an iota of a difference" occurs in many Indo-European languages, however, in none of them does it occur before the post-Nicaene debate on the nature of the Christian Messiah. So languages in which the Christian bible had existed for a much longer time than in English (much before English itself emerged, ie Latin, Greek) do not register the phrase until after the the homo(i)ousios debate: if the phrase was derived from Christian Scripture, it would have existed already, as the four canonical gospels (Matthew's included) had been around for at least two centuries by the Council of Nicaea. It did not exist before mid-4th century in Greek: therefore the likeliest source is the Arian controversy, and not the Christian scripture, which in fact one of your sources concedes in: http://podictionary.com/?p=661
For the origin, cf. http://polemarchus.net/2009/11/not-an-iota/ in addition to Ostrogorsky's History of the Byzantine State. (try as I might have, couldnt find the online edition of the book). http://www.amazon.com/History-Byzantine-State-George-Ostrogorsky/dp/0813511984
Konfino (talk) 20:45, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Therefore, could you please revert the article to my edit, or are you going to use admin priviledge to make it stick to your (erroneous) version of the origin of the phrase? Konfino (talk) 20:50, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
First, relax. I'm not using admin privileges here; we're having a perfectly normal editorial discussion. So, what do we have now? You seem to have overlooked, I actually did cite a reliable secondary source, the New Heritage Dictionary of Idioms; the google books link is here: [7]. What did you just cite? This, I'm not sure how you think this is "one of my sources"; it is also not a good reliable source (though fairly informative in its way); in any case, it supports my version, not yours. This, again not a reliable source: it's a blog citing other blogs, plus Wiktionary (which we may safely assume will in turn be based on Wikipedia). Circular ref. Then, you cite Ostrogorsky's History of the Byzantine State: so, what exactly does he say, where? And what makes you think a book about Byzantium would be a good source about the development of English phraseology?
As for your content argument above, the claim that the phrase didn't exist is patently false, because obviously it did exist, in Greek, in the gospel. Whether or not it became more frequently quoted or more common in other contexts in other languages before of after Nicea is quite irrelevant here. The only question is, when did it become common in English? When English speakers began using "not one jot", apparently around 1600, they would obviously have been familiar with the King James version of the English bible translation with its version of Mt 5. What makes you think an average English speaker in the 17th century would have been familiar with some obscure piece of 4th century theological literature which might or might not have applied the "one iota" phrase to the Arian debate? We have no indication that any such comment was ever made at the time (like the speculation ventured by one of the commenters in that blog, about "a vague memory (!) that, perhaps (!), the Emperor Constantine was supposed to have (!) said something like he didn’t care for one iota’s worth of difference"). It's in fact quite unlikely, because everybody involved in the debate back then would have seen the difference between the two Greek words as all-important; why would anybody have made ironic or other comments implying the difference was so tiny? (A good comment to that effect is here). Fut.Perf. 21:21, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

The point is still being missed - why SHOULD iota have come to mean an extraordinarily tiny amount? In the homo/homoi controversy, such a meaning is immediately comprehensible. The Matthew reference is not to the second-century text, but to much much later translations into the vulgar - translations made by churchmen who were thoroughly aware of the basis of the Arian controversy. To say that the cited text from Matthew predates Nicaea is somewhat disingenuous. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.67.174.115 (talk) 17:47, 4 November 2011 (UTC)


Should this article still be locked? It looks like the edit war is at least a year old. Or is it one of those things that keeps bubbling up every year or two. -- Solipsist (talk) 20:17, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

It may be worth noting that the "iota of difference" story appears on the following page as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-Arianism. It's unsourced there as well. If the story is a myth, it's a very pervasive and entrenched myth. In general I'd approach such situations by saying "There is a popular story that ...". (See the treatment of the myth that Caesar was born by Caesarian Section at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarian_section#Etymology.) Otherwise people think Wikipedia "just doesn't know". What is Wikipedia's official policy on strongly-believed "historical" stories of dubious origin? At the very least, the article on Semi-Arianism and this one should be consistent. It might be worth at least adding a "needs citation" mark to Semi-Arianism, or a note saying that this story is believed to be apocryphal. (Dominic Widdows (talk) 16:43, 1 May 2012 (UTC))

To also consider, there is a reference in Wiki under Monoimus that the phrase, "one iota of difference" may refer to the difference in translation of the Greece phrase 'of man' or 'of son of man' which the letter iota interpreted in one way would suggest man is of God, and the other suggesting man is apart from God. It does add a dimension beyond the New Testament explanation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.176.182.202 (talk) 03:10, 5 February 2013 (UTC)