Having answered a query earlier this week regarding linguistic connections between divination and divine [yes, divination stems from Old French divinare, which literally means “to be inspired by a god”] my mind has turned to the Hebrew words commonly translated as divination. Are such translations adequate?
It seems there are a number of different Hebrew words associated with the English word divination. In each case however, the primary reference point seems to be the agent of inspiration, none of whom are gods per se. For example:
  • nahash – to be inspired by snakes
  • anan – to be inspired by omens
  • ob – to be inspired by spirits
  • yiddoni – to be inspired by ghosts
I am consequently questioning whether divination is really the most helpful term for describing these activities. Indeed, taken literally divination sounds closer to prophecy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s