One Word: Orthotomeo

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Guest post today from Joel Smith, responding to my article about the word “epistemology” (how we know stuff).

Joel writes:

“The Apostle Paul, writing about correctly interpreting his letters, said that they need to be ‘rightly divided’ (2 Timothy 2:15). The term rightly divided is translated from the Greek word ORTHOTOMEO.

“Ortho = correctly. Tomeo = to cut. Implied in this statement is the premise that Paul’s writings should not be taken at face value and, instead, need to be interpreted in terms of their inner spiritual meanings.

“The Apostle Peter, in his second and last letter, warned that Christians will become misled to the point that they will lose the true HODOS (greek for road or way). He recommended, for those who want to stay on the right (ORTHO) path that they should turn to the God inspired writing of Paul. He also warns in this same passage that Paul’s writings were being misinterpreted (not correctly cut) by ignorant Christians.

“Which brings us back to EPISTEMOLOGY. How do we know the right path? How do we correctly understand truth? How do we know how to do the right thing?

“In my experience, the best thing to do is just follow what my wife tells me to do. Women are usually right. ≧◔◡◔≦

“And that is my definition of both orthotomeo & epistemology.”

Gary says:

Thanks, Joel, for teaching me a new word. I didn’t know “orthotomeo” or its history.

About your closing point: In my recent posting about the word “turmeric”, I mentioned that Cheri is usually right (just as you say about your own wife, Roni).

In response, a bunch of readers — not all women, by any means — wrote me to say Cheri is always right (not just usually). Most of them added that women are always right, one adding that this always-being-right is for our benefit (as guys, I take it).

My journalistic duty is thus to report that this seems to be an emerging consensus. Thanks for weighing in!

(This article is part of my series on words that are #worth1000pictures.)


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