Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Plurodoxy or polydoxy?

We have another suggestion to keep from mixing Latin and Greek.

plurodoxy or polydoxy?

Which of these words do you feel immediately upon looking at them conveys to you multiple competing "orthodoxies"? Does it matter? Or do you have other suggestions for such a word?

I'm quite serious about coining such a word. I just don't think we can continue writing and talking about early Christianity without such a concept.

Write me in the comments.


lightseeker said...

April, great idea to coin a term for a multiplicity of orthodoxies. I'm not a scholar, but I vote for plurodoxy.

Of course, polydoxy makes sense along the lines of polyglot, but when I say the word "polydoxy," obnoxious talking parrots and cute roley-poley wiener dogs come to mind... LOL! (Not to mention it's more of a tongue-twister! My piddling 2 cents, for what it's worth. ;-)

Doug Chaplin said...

My vote is for polydox

David Creech said...

A very interesting proposal! My sense is that it is somewhat of a faux pas to mingle Greek and Latin in neologisms. That said, I wonder if there may be a problem with the root "doxy." Did first and second century Christianities think in terms of belief when it came to self definition? Could it be that their identity was defined by something else (such as practices, rituals, etc.)? In other words, by framing the discussion in terms of belief are we still guilty of anachronism? Does the modern category somehow distort the ancient picture? I'm very curious as to your thoughts on this.

komfo,amonan said...

Polydoxy. I don't know when or why mixed Latin/Greek coinages became ok (what predates 'television'?), but at this point I feel like the argument has to be made *for* the mixture. And I've yet to see it.

Judy Redman said...

I like polydoxy. I don't mind the Greek/latin thing so much, but pluro speaks to me of plural, which is just more than one, so could be two or three. Poly says "many".

Chris Weimer said...

Another vote for the "pure" polydoxy. I can't stand Latino-Grecisms either. (Just look at what TV has done to us!) Also, Judy's point is equally powerful.


José Solano said...

I vote for calling it Christianity as there are clearly objectively discernable essential principals and teachings, coming directly from Jesus Christ and the Apostles, that are traceable from the beginning and through the ages to the present moment.

José Solano said...

I should add that of course the non-Christians claiming to be Christians should be called heretics.

J. K. Gayle said...

David Creech here makes a couple of important observations: 1) weird Latin-Greek-transliteration-English-mix is weird; 2) the latter part of your neologism is our recent intention more than it is the linguistic intention of those your describing by it.

I just think we should also concede there's ambiguity in the latter part too:

Is it more related to δοκέω or to δοξάζω, which are not entirely unrelated (though Homer has both in both Illiad and in Odyssey). In English we've left the one as "doctrine" and the other towards "doxology," towards something more glory-ous.

I cast my vote with Doug Chaplin: one more for polydoxy.

Memra said...

One more for polydoxy.

It just sounds more "natural" to this student of Greek and Coptic.

And I applaud as absolutely true your reasoned, informed assessment of the religious situation prevailing in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

Jared said...

Of those two choices, I too vote for "polydoxy" if we are going for multiple "orthodoxies" or focusing on doctrines or beliefs. Otherwise, perhaps "pluriform" or "polymorphic" Christian groups, or something that can widen the scope to issues of religious practice (as noted in the post by David Creech) or does not necessarily create a clear imposed division of belief/ritual--and "polypraxy" is a mouthful. "Polydoxy" does have a ring to it...like something you could put on a bumper sticker...

Richard said...

Richard B here. I agree with Judy Redman and that polydoxy is what I perfer since it means "many". I also agree with Jose Solano that we should simply be able to call it all "Christianity" but we also need a way to address the variety of ideas that are found in Christianity.

José Solano said...

Rather than lump the Christians and heretics in one group called poly or plurodoxy, whatever, as if no objective distinction could be made between those adhering to the essential teaching of Jesus and the Apostles and those clearly espousing another teaching, Christians will simply do what has been done for the last 2,000 years without any real problem, that is, speak of Christians and heretics. One can stipulate the particular views that make them heretics and one can also identify some as simply questionable because we do not have sufficient information on them or certain comments they make are ambiguous.

The lump-them-together approach merely capitulates to our contemporary effort to deconstruct clear Christian teaching. There are no “multiple competing ‘orthodoxies.’” Christians are not going to buy into this assumption anymore than they buy into the assumption of “Christianities” a la Ehrman. That’s terminology for those that can’t tell the difference but certainly not for Christians and we represent over a billion people.

Can you imagine the Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian churches adopting this terminology and saying “Oh, yes we are members of the “polydoxy”?

A clarification for Richard: I’m not saying we should call it all Christianity. I’m saying we should retain the ancient nomenclature of Christians and heretics. It’s imperative that we retain this distinction and work to understand the difference. We cannot have objectivity if we only focus on similarities and ignore the great differences. One is not a Christian merely because one says one is and one need not be a Christian to differentiate between Christians and heretics.

With all due respect I would say that these poly/pluro terms are DOA, except perhaps in some very tiny circles.