Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2008 January 15

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January 15[edit]

James, Ya'qub[edit]

All James's in the Bible have been read as Ya'qub in Arabic, while Ya'qub is also Jacob in the Bible. How can this transformation be explained, historically or linguistically? --Omidinist (talk) 07:39, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

If I understand your question correctly, it is how Hebrew יעקב turned into English James. Our article James (name) gives the following development:
Hebrew יעקב (Yaʻaqov) > New Testament Greek Ἰάκωβος (Iakōbos) > Late Latin Iacomus (a dialect variant of Iacobus) > French Gemmes > English James.
 --Lambiam 07:51, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Yep. For whatever reason, the יעקב of the Old Testament is always called "Jacob" in English, while all of the men named Ἰάκωβος in the New Testament are always called "James" in English. But "James" is etymologically derived from Ἰάκωβος, which in turn is derived from יעקב. If anyone cares, I have Bibles in a few dozen languages sitting here on my bookshelf in which I can look to see if any other languages give different names to the OT Jacob and the various NT Jameses. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 18:07, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Looking at Jacob and Epistle of James (which has surprisingly few wikilinks on it) German and Esperanto use Jakob and Jakobo, respectively, for both. French, OTOH, uses Jacob and Jacques. Indonesian uses Yakub and Yakobus--possibly just a grammatical change? Hungarian uses Jákób and Jakab.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:21, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
The Dutch Wikipedia uses Jakob for the patriarch from the Old Testament, and Jakobus for the apostle from the New Testament. The Indonesian forms may reflect the Arabic and the Dutch forms, as brought, respectively, through the Qur'an and Dutch missionaries.  --Lambiam 01:16, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
James and Jacob are synonomous in English, and at times have been interchangeable: medieval texts will describe a person as "James" or "Jacob" (the later from "Jacobus", the Latin version and used in formal documents). The most famous example are the Jacobites: scottish rebels (or patriots, depending on your political stance}} in favour of James the Old Pretender. The translation of the name from the OT "Jacob" and the NT "James" is just a strange convention which has continued from the first English translations, but I'm not sure of the reason. Speculating, I would say the initial translators merely used the commonly known names: the NT Jameses had been canonised by the Church (ie as Saints), and then known in the various countries by the local name, thus in England, you got St James. OT Patriarchs were not Canonised. (and remained very "Jewish" in concept, thus kept a Hebrew name???). You get a similar thing with "Jesus" which is actually a version of "Joshua", but there are of course more reasons to draw distinctions between the OT and NT persons. Gwinva (talk) 23:02, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
(addit) Angr: do you have the Latin Vulgate? That would have Jacobus for James? That was the text most often used by English speakers, until the English translatiosn were made. Gwinva (talk) 23:04, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
The Vulgate has "Jacob" (undeclined) for the Old Testament Jacob. In the New Testament the apostles named James are called "Jacobus", which is declined normally, and when the Old Testament guy is mentioned, he is simply Jacob there too. Adam Bishop (talk) 04:01, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Gwinva, Adam Bishop's answer is correct. If there's anything else you want to see in the Vulgate, it's available at the Latin Wikisource at s:la:Biblia Sacra. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 18:07, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

The difference in names, depsite the same origin, is also found in the Greek text of the New Testament: Jacob comes out as ιακωβ (iakob), and is not declined for case marking as a name borrowed from another language, while those we call James are referred to as ιακωβος (iakobos), where the name is declineable, treated as if it were a Greek name. So contemporary people: ιακωβος, Jacob the patriarch ιακωβ. Drmaik (talk) 05:36, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

And presumably the Joshua/Jesus dichotomy is somewhat similar: "Joshua" is used for the Old Testament figure, while "Jesus" is used for Jesus of Nazareth, but also for Jesus ben Sirach in Ecclesiasticus (one of the books of the Apocrypha, hence found in the Greek version of the Old Testament but not in the Hebrew version). --rossb (talk) 20:13, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Periclean Age in German?[edit]

The Weimar Republic is often described as being a 'Periclean Age', but what is the translation of this in German? (talk) 18:11, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Das Perikleische Zeitalter. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 18:13, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Dissolving tiling grout in a toilet bowl[edit]

moved to miscellaneous reference desk -Elmer Clark (talk) 19:57, 15 January 2008 (UTC)


What is it in Scotism? Sorry that I bring it up here. I got no answer from Humanities Desk. --Omidinist (talk) 20:03, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't really understand your question. "Formalitate" doesn't seem to be a word in English; the nearest I can think of is the German "Formalität", pronounced similarly. I don't know what you mean by "Scotism". Daniel (‽) 20:07, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
See Scotism. Algebraist 20:11, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
It is the ablative case of formalitas ("formality"); so it could be something like "formally", or "as a matter of form". Can you give some context???
– Noetica♬♩Talk 22:37, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe it's a reference to a hylemorphistic angle, according to Duns Scotus. He seems to have coined or redefined, at any rate, the word formalitas or formality. "Scotus defined a formality as what can be correctly conceived of an object but is real before the operation of the intellect." I cannot claim to know much about Scotus, and some context would certainly be helpful, indeed, Omidinist. You need to give us some more, we are not KITT. ---Sluzzelin talk 23:44, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Quite so, Keylet. I note that you use the form hylemorphism in your wikilink. Surely the better form is hylomorphism, with the combining element hylo-? OED knows no hyle- variant. (A translator of Husserl used hyletic instead of the standard and well-formed hylic. I knew then that it would all end in tears.)
– Noetica♬♩Talk 00:30, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Heh, I copied it from the metaphysics subsection in the article on Scotus. I was actually wondering about that, but didn't notice it was a redirect, and greedily tried to cram everything into my post and hit the save button as fast as possible in order to avoid what would have been my seventh edit conflict today. Changed it in the article, thanks for being precise! ---Sluzzelin talk —Preceding comment was added at 00:39, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
The first part comes from ὕλη (hulē), originally meaning "wood", but in philosophy also "matter"; also in ancient Greek we see next to each other variants ὑληνόμος and ὑλονόμος, or ὑλησκόπος and ὑλοσκόπος.  --Lambiam 00:59, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
That's right: ὕλη, translated into Latin as materia. Interesting that in Sanskrit (at least in Taittiriya Upanishad) they use anna ("food") for matter. In English hylomorphism is standard; in German, hylemorphismus. Some English usage may be influenced by the German. And yes, even in Greek we do see diversity in the ὑλ-words. But the ὑλο-words are taken as primary, and the few ὑλη-words are generally taken as variations of them, are they not?
– Noetica♬♩Talk 01:20, 16 January 2008 (UTC)[And correction of annas to anna.– Noetica♬♩Talk 02:59, 16 January 2008 (UTC)]

The article that Sluzzelin has quoted from is a revealing expository. Thanks all you guys for the time and thought you have devoted to my question. --Omidinist (talk) 06:29, 16 January 2008 (UTC)