[Vision2020] Conflict of etymology

Captain Kirker captain_kirker at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 11 13:56:41 PDT 2004



I leave town for a week and the whole world turns to Spock. Please let me comment on two points:


1.  “Oversight”

When the Wolfman uses the word oversight in the minutes, he does so in a biblical context. Therefore we must turn to the Scriptures for our definition, or as the old bumper sticker said, “The Bible has the answer.”


First Peter 5:2 says, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”


Our English word oversight comes from the Greek word episkopeo, the same word from which we get Episcopalian. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, the word episkopeo means

“to look upon,” “exercising the oversight”; “exercising” is the right rendering; the word does not imply the entrance upon such responsibility, but the fulfillment of it. It is not a matter of assuming a position, but of the discharge of the duties. The word is found elsewhere in Heb. 12:15, “looking carefully.”

For the etymologists on this list, episkopeo is a verb taken from the noun episkopees, which the Bible translates “bishop,” hence the Episcopalian connection. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says of the word bishop: “Their office is defined as ‘ruling’ (Rom. 12:8), ‘overseeing’ (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Pet. 5:2), caring for the flock of God (Acts 20:28).”


Vincent’s Word Studies of the New Testament defines the word episkopees as “‘Superintendent, overseer’ . . . The fundamental idea of the word is ‘overseeing.’” And for those of you who haven’t wet your pants yet, he goes on to say, “The prevailing Old Testament sense of episkopee is ‘visitation’ for punishment, inquisition, or numbering.”


2. Plagiarism

Staying with our theme, the word plagiary comes from the Latin plagiârius, or kidnapper; and the word “plagiarist” comes from plagium, or kidnapping, which pretty much says it all. Theft, tax evasion, wholesale lying, manstealing, kidnapping, plagiarism—NSA’s senior felon of theology has quite the résumé.


But worse yet, if we connect the final dot, we must conclude that the minutes really say, “The Wolfman reported that Paul Kimmell, in his role as County Commissioner, is open to oversight from kidnappers on certain issues.”

The Captain is over and out.

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