September 15, 2009

Just, Righteous, Rightwise

Wordplay is just wordplay, but getting at the reality behind the words is what matters. With that, here's another translation sandcastle to enjoy, at least briefly.

I once heard Tyndale invented the word "righteousness" - a word that sometimes does and other times does not sound like biblish jargon to my ears. The Oxford English Dictionary cites various forms of the word being rendered as "rightwise" or "rightwiseness" (from c.800 to 1500 AD). "Rightwise" sounds even odder than "righteousness", until you think about it. I know how to rightwise a canoe. I know how to rightwise my desk. And I don't always have the resources or opportunity, but I know how to rightwise a troubled soul in the world... or at least, how to make the attempt.

Wow. Actually, I'm suddenly starting to like this "rightwise" thing, a lot. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to be rightwise. (Literally, "for being-rightwise" OR, "for just-ness"; I say "just-ness" because just-ice applies at large to the world and just-ness applies personally, or so I presume.)

That may not be a preferred translation of Matthew 5:6, but it's helping me out tonight, at least. I may have to start checking the OED much more often. :-)

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