Technical Jargons


I decided to make a thread explaining some of the hard, unfamiliar words many of us usually encounter especially in the context of Scriptural study and history. You know, stuff like ‘uncial’ or ‘pericope’ or even ‘ossuary’ or ‘c.f.’ - words you don’t get to use often in everyday life. I’d really appreciate if there are people who’ll contribute.

I’ll begin with one:

Pericope: This is really just a Latin term (from a Greek word meaning “a cutting out”) meaning a section of text that forms one coherent unit or thought - basically, what we laymen would call a ‘passage’. The ‘proper’ plural is pericopae, but more often people simply write ‘pericopes’. A classic (and perhaps well-known) example of this word is the so-called Pericope Adulterae, the disputed passage about the woman taken in adultery in John 7:52-8:11. New Testament scholars often use pericope as part of their fancy jargon, so you’ll see this word used quite often in that field. (In other words, it’s part of their ‘in’-language. :cool:)


Interesting thread idea. I guess I’ll take 'cf’ because I use it a lot on the forums, usually when referring to a bible passage that I am not quoting verbatim. E.g. in response to someone claiming Christianity is a myth, I might note that the Apostles must then be liars because they explicitly say the opposite (cf 2 Peter 1:16).

From Wikipedia:
cf. is translated, and can be read aloud, as “compare”. It is an abbreviation for the Latin word confer, literally meaning “bring together”, and is used to refer to other material or ideas which may provide similar or different information or arguments. It is mainly used in scholarly contexts such as in academic articles (mainly humanities, physics, chemistry, and biology) or legal texts. It is the imperative singular form of the Latin verb conferre…cf. is sometimes used in place of “see”


Hapax legomenon: a word that occurs only once in a given context.

One example:

Atzei Gopher (עֲצֵי-גֹפֶר – Gopher wood) is mentioned once in the Bible, in Genesis 6:14, in the instruction to make Noah’s ark “of gopher wood”. Because of its single appearance, its literal meaning is lost. Gopher is simply a transliteration, although scholars tentatively suggest that the intended wood is cypress.

Thanks to Wikipedia


And just because I find it annoying when they are misused I’ll add:

ie Latin for id est meaning “that is.” Used to clarify a statement. Example: Luthernaism is a heresy, i.e. a teaching contrary to orthodoxy.

eg Latin for exampli gratia meaning “for example.” Used to give an example. Example: Most heresies die out quickly, but some have had a lot of staying power, e.g. Lutheranism.

(Not to pick on Lutherans, I just happen to have them on my mind from attending a Lutheran funeral earlier this week).


Another favorite, especially useful for understanding the writings of B16 -

hermeneutic - a method of interpreting data, especially the Bible. Benedict warns us against reading Scripture with a hermeneutic of suspicion i.e. looking for inconsistencies or contradictions which aren’t there. He also cautions us against understanding Vatican 2 with a hermeneutic of rupture, calling for a hermeneutic of continuity.

Understanding the hermeneutic someone is using to interpret data is very useful. E.g. the bare facts of evolution say nothing about the existence of God, but (when interpreted with a atheist hermeneutic) evolutionary biology attacks the Faith.


Can someone explain ontalogical?

I thought that hermeneutics had something to do with a flavor of UNIX written by a guy named Dr. Herman or something. Maybe someone could explain that one as well.



ontology is the philosophical study of being qua being (being as being). So the “ontological argument” for God’s existence tries to prove the existence of God from the nature of God’s being. If you wanted to study the nature of man as man, then you would be studying his ontology.

qua used above is Latin for “in the capacity of” or “as”.


Not quite sure how to define it in this context, but I’m familiar with ontological paradoxes. :smiley: They’re things like the Song of Storms in Ocarina of Time or BAD WOLF in Doctor Who, which due to time travel, never quite get created… Song of Storms– Link learns it from the Windmill Man who learns it from Link who learns it from the Windmill Man…

Now for some relevant stuff:

selah– No one’s quite sure what it means… Speculation is that it’s a stylistic note the the musical director

exegesis (pl. exegeses)– More or less, a commentary. It’s explanations or interpretations of what you read


I’d note the difference between

exegesis - reading out of (ex) the text.


eisegesis - reading your own presuppositions into the text.

A lot of what passes for Biblical exegesis is really eisegesis, e.g. the “Jesus Seminar” decides miracles are impossible, then reinterprets the clear witness of the Gospels to explain away the miraculous. This is eisegesis not exegesis.


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