Friday, November 03, 2006

Members of 'the thing'

The quote I posted last week intrigued me for its reference to 'the thing'. It just sounds so cool; kind of sci-fi. But the actual explanation is also fascinating:

The quote is from A History of Christian Missions by Stephen Neill (2nd ed. 1986; Penguin). It comes in the context of the spread of Christianity to Norway in the late 10th century, and the explanation of 'the thing' is as follows:

A thing referred at that time to a local assembly. Neill adds this footnote:

"This sense of the word is also found in Anglo-Saxon. The Oxford Dictionary gives as the meaning in Old Saxon 'assembly for judicial or deliberative purposes, conference, transaction, manner, affair, thing, object', a definition which is in itself a brief history of the process of development in language." (p.89)


1 comment:

étrangère said...

Cool. Language is fun.