McWhorter on "cast the mote"

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 14 02:49:22 UTC 2010


Koine Greek "dokos" refers to a support beam, the noun being an
o-ablaut form of dekomai/dekhomai "receive, bear."  "karphos" means
"dry weeds, chaff."  Since support beams were of wood, "log" would
also work.


On Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: McWhorter on "cast the mote"
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> At 1/13/2010 02:11 PM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>>>2)  Is there really "the Biblical passage about trying to take a
>>>speck out of someone's eye when you've got a log in your own"?  I'm a
>>>non-believer, so I really don't know.  Please cite chapter and verse.
>>Matthew 7:5 in the KJV:
>>Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then
>>shalt thou see more  clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's.
>>[the very next verse has not casting pearls before swine in it]
>>other translations of Matthew 7:5 have somewhat different wording --
>>"plank" and "speck" rather than "beam" and "mote", for instance.
> "Mote" and "beam" I knew; I was looking for the
> log.  ( did not help with "log".)  I now see
> "parallel translations" with plank, log, beam (a considerable
> majority), and bit of wood.
> So should I understand "beam" not as a ray of unenlightenment but
> more like "plank" and therefore wooden?  What is the sense of the
> "original" word here (Aramaic, Greek, or whatever)?
> Joel
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