Word of the Week
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” said Jesus, “for you have hidden these things from the wise and keen of understanding, and you have revealed them to INNOCENTS.” It’s hard to translate the Greek noun NEPIOS there: CHILDREN, or BABES – with the suggestion that they do not know things, as in our phrase BABES IN THE WOODS. The early Modern English SILLY might do, with its ambiguous range from BLESSED to INNOCENT to FOOLISH. And we can’t count out FOOLS. That’s what Homer calls Odysseus’ hungry men, who killed and ate the cattle of the sun god: NEPIOI, FOOLS, or as my old colleague at Nameless College called them, NINNIES.
Our English word INNOCENT covers a lot of ground. In the legal sense it means NOT GUILTY, which is no great praise. It may also suggest, ironically, that you don’t know something you ought to know, as someone might say of a politician that he is INNOCENT of the slightest knowledge of history, law, economics, or statesmanship. An INNOCENT is free of …
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