"born again" and "rebirth" (n)

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Sep 15 01:27:36 UTC 2010

It's a different entry. The entry dating from 1961 is the adjective
"born-again," which the etymology does cite as "after John iii.3".

The biblical usage is under the entry for the participle and adjective
"born." The theological phrase "to be born again," is dated to Wycliffe's
1382 translation.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Joel S. Berson
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:24 PM
Subject: "born again" and "rebirth" (n)

How can the OED (admittedly 2nd ed.) have under "born again" only
from 1961 and "orig.U.S."?

In the King James version of the Bible: "Jesus answered and said unto
him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3).

More pertinently:  From the late 17th-early 18th century (say George
Fox and Jonathan Edwards) -- to Samuel Wright's "A Little Treatise of
being Born Again" (actually cited in the OED under "raisedness"),
which appeared in at least 4 editions from 1715 -- to the Methodists
(John, Charles, and Samuel Wesley) and the Great Revival and George
Whitefield of the 1730s-17450s.

Many of these are surely not simply references to the resurrection of
Christ, or to entering heaven, or metaphorical uses, but rather to a
religious experience testified to by a mortal that qualifies as a
"rebirth" or "conversion".


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list