'repose' (v) in telic sense - not in OED or MW
djh514 at YORK.AC.UK
Tue Jan 5 11:50:52 UTC 2010
Can anyone provide any citations for the telic use of 'repose' (verb), as
in the following sentence from a friend's recent Facebook status update?
'Τoday [sc. 2 January] we commemorate St John of Kronstadt, who reposed 101
years ago. According to my Synaxarion, St John performed more recorded
miracles than any saint, except for St Nicholas of Myra.'
The friend (Jonathan Gress, here copied-in) confirms that this is a telic
use of 'repose', in other words, it can be directly (but more crudely)
glossed _die_. It's therefore different from the atelic use in OED 'repose'
v(2) sense 3a (draft revision Dec 2009), and from the meanings at MW Online
'repose' (verb) - the more common atelic sense, as in 'The dust where your
kindred repose', can be glossed _be dead_, not _die_.
Jonathan says that 'repose' in this telic sense is a liturgical use in the
Orthodox Christian Churches, '[reflecting] the Orthodox doctrine that the
saints have not truly died, but are only 'resting' until the final bodily
resurrection'. Being a historical linguist, he also gave me some
derivational and other linguistic information in the Facebook thread,
relevant bits of which are copied below for anyone's interest. In the
thread, Jonathan quotes the Greek in Greek letters; they display correctly
in the e-mail interface I'm using but, in case they don't for others, I
have transliterated them (minus the diacritics) in the copied text.
=== FACEBOOK THREAD ===
JG ORIGINAL STATUS: Τoday we commemorate St John of Kronstadt, who reposed
101 years ago. According to my Synaxarion, St John performed more recorded
miracles than any saint, except for St Nicholas of Myra.
DH: I'm interested in that use of _repose_. It's not in the OED (I don't
think, on a quick perusal). Is that a liturgical usage in the Orthodox
JG: [...] Certainly the ordinary meaning of repose is 'rest', and the use
of repose to mean 'die' reflects the Orthodox doctrine that the saints have
not truly died, but are only 'resting' until the final bodily resurrection.
Compare the word we use to call the Virgin Mary's death: 'Dormition' or
'Koimesis' in Greek.
DH: [points out the distinction between more usual atelic use and this
JG: Ah I see what you mean. That's a good point. It's possible this
particular telic meaning of 'repose' has been coined in English to
translate the telic Greek verb κοιμάομαι "koimaomai" 'fall asleep', from
which κοίμησις "koime:sis" is morphologically derived.
DH: [...] In the very few translated Orthodox texts I have sung [...], and
not being a member of an Orthodox Church, I've only ever seen the
translation 'fall asleep' for this sense, which is why I wasn't familiar
with telic 'repose'.
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