Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's Milton's AGAPE not the Greek AGAPE...

I have been going backwards and forwards in my mind - and in my heart - about the exact spelling (and pronunciation)  of my book title.
Agape with a macron (a long flat line as a accent) over the "e" at the end of the word signals the Greek word and meaning : pronounced a-GAP-eh, all slurred together.

 A word, used mostly by Christians, to mean an openness to others' needs.

Agape, without the macron, is a word invented by the famous Christian poet John Milton, from the word "gape" : to stare, open- mouthed.

A + gape gave us "agape", to be in the state of open-mouth-ness, in wonder,awe and eagerness.

Pronounced :  (soft a)  A   gape , with a small separation between A and gape.

As I have said in previous blogs, Dr Francis Peabody said that  a-GAP-eh ,to be truly effective in helping someone in need , requires our mind as well as our heart.

We must care about an individual, in all their unique individuality, if we are to be effective in caring for that individual's needs.

Dr Henry Dawson had spent a dozen years, from 1927 to 1939,  listening - really listening - to the strivings of Life's smallest and weakest beings, the microbes.

 So he was in an excellent position, starting in September 1940, to effectively care for some of the wartime world's smallest and weakest human beings.

 They were "the 4Fs of the 4Fs" , the many young SBE patients dying needlessly of wartime benign neglect, by direct orders from the top of the Allied medical-scientific establishment.

His heart was open (agape) to the needs of the SBEs, but so were the hearts of many other doctors before him.

But unlike them, his mind was also open (agape) to the solution : medicine made by foul-smelling microbe feces , aka natural penicillin.

So Milton's Agape fits Dawson's efforts more completely than does the Greek Agape' from the New Testament, which also fits, but only partially so.

Similarly, my book's sub-title could refer the Gospel message (Good News).

Or it could merely repeat a cliche from contemporary news-reporting : with newscasters always trying to finish off the mostly grim news of the broadcast by ending with a "brite" or a "Good News Story" : a lighter toned, uplifting story.

One immediately thinks of the Anne Murray song, "A Little Good News", written by Rocco, Black and Bourke.

Its arresting opening referenced "Bryan Gumbel talkin' about the fightin' in Lebanon" --- a totally unexpected something cum hook  I am sure immediately caught the ear of every songwriter on the planet.

My book's title and sub-title doesn't preclude someone thinking of them as terms from the New Testament of two thousand years ago ,  but I wish to say that for me at least,  it is a variant of that old eternal message, but dressed in current post-modern garb....

No comments:

Post a Comment