Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Evidence of Itacism Among the First Christians

The word for gracious is chrestos, which, by a peculiarity of pronunciation called itacism, was pronounced exactly the same as Christos. There seems to have been in St. Peter's mind a play on words which would instantly suggest itself to his hearers; they knew by tasting the pure milk of the Logos, that Christos was chrestos ("sweet" or "gracious "). The word chrestos is found in Luke v. 39. In Luke vi. 35, there is an assonance — " God is gracious [chrestos] to the ungracious [acharistous]." The Christians, among themselves, dwelt on the fact that while "Christian" and "malefactor" were almost identical terms on the lips of the heathen, they were Chrestiani, or "children of graciousness," because they were Christianoi, or "children of Christ." [Frederic William Farrar, Texts explained p. 324]

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