Online Encyclopedia

GOD

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 169 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GOD, the common Teutonic word for a personal. object of religious worship. It is thus, like the Gr. Ochs and Lat. dens, applied to all those superhuman beings of the heathen mythologies who exercise power over nature and man and are often identified with some particular sphere of activity; and also to the visible material objects, whether an image of the supernatural being or a tree, pillar, &c. used as a symbol, an idol. The word " god," on the conversion of the Teutonic races to Christianity, was adopted as the name of the one Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, and of the Persons of the Trinity. The New English Dictionary points cut that whereas the old Teutonic type of the word is neuter, corresponding to the Latin numen, in the Christian applications it becomes masculine, and that even where the earlier neuter form is still kept, as in Gothic and Old Norwegian, the construction is masculine. Popular etymology has connected the word with " good "; this is exemplified by the corruption of " God be with you " into " good-bye." " God " is a word common to all Teutonic languages. In Gothic it is Guth; Dutch has the same form as English; Danish and Swedish have Gud, German Gott. According to the New English Dictionary, the original may be found in two Aryan roots, both of the form gheu, one of which means " to invoke," the other " to pour " (cf. Gr. xav); the last is used of sacrificial offerings. The word would thus mean the object either of religious invocation or of religious worship by sacrifice. It has been also suggested that the word might mean a " molten image " from the sense of " pour." See RELIGION; HEBREW RELIGION; THEISM, &C.
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