ON SYMBOLS

ON SYMBOLS BY The Greek word symbolon originally meant a tally. Two guest friends broke an astragalos or other object between them and each party kept one piece as a proof of the identity of the presenter of the other. Gradually a symbol began to mean any identity token, and even a guarantee. It became a written document, a passenger list, a treaty, a passport and the like. It might be a contract, a receipt, a warrant to obtain allowances, or to secure an officer's post from the Emperor. Then the meaning extended in other directions: a beacon, a sign of an approaching storm, aportent, an omen, or a symptom. It might denote a watchword. The early Christians recognised each other by a very concise formula of their faith which came to be called a symbol, the germ of all later creeds. A symbol was the name given to an allegory; it might be a code, a legionary standard, a standard weight, a coin, and a meeting by chance 1). The different applications of a word enlarge its lingual field. The result may be that it reaches the semantic area of a synonymous term \I). Where the two fields do http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophia Reformata Brill

ON SYMBOLS

Philosophia Reformata, Volume 21 (1-4): 162 – Feb 20, 1956

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 1956 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0031-8035
eISSN
2352-8230
DOI
10.1163/22116117-90000936
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

BY The Greek word symbolon originally meant a tally. Two guest friends broke an astragalos or other object between them and each party kept one piece as a proof of the identity of the presenter of the other. Gradually a symbol began to mean any identity token, and even a guarantee. It became a written document, a passenger list, a treaty, a passport and the like. It might be a contract, a receipt, a warrant to obtain allowances, or to secure an officer's post from the Emperor. Then the meaning extended in other directions: a beacon, a sign of an approaching storm, aportent, an omen, or a symptom. It might denote a watchword. The early Christians recognised each other by a very concise formula of their faith which came to be called a symbol, the germ of all later creeds. A symbol was the name given to an allegory; it might be a code, a legionary standard, a standard weight, a coin, and a meeting by chance 1). The different applications of a word enlarge its lingual field. The result may be that it reaches the semantic area of a synonymous term \I). Where the two fields do

Journal

Philosophia ReformataBrill

Published: Feb 20, 1956

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