Saturday, July 15, 2006



Ralph McInerny has had a distinguished career as a philosophy professor, specializing in St. Thomas Aquinas. From 1978 to 1985 he was director of the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

McInerny is also a prolific author of murder mysteries. One of them, Irish Coffee (2003), contains an acrostic poem about Isidore of Seville. The poem is available on the Internet here. According to the Internet version, the first line of the poem is "Isidore of Seville loved etymology," a reference to Isidore's work Etymologiae.

But in a hardcover copy of Irish Coffee I got from the library, the first line of the poem (on p. 56) is "Isadore of Seville loved etymology." In fact, every time Isidore of Seville is mentioned in the book, his name is spelled Isadore.

The preferred spelling Isidore better reflects the etymology of the name, which means gift of Isis (cf. Theodore, gift of God). Greek δῶρον (doron) means gift.

In another mystery, Irish Gilt, McInerny wrote the following bit of dialogue:
"Does knowing the meaning of Latin words make one a pedant?"
"Only when one parades his knowledge."

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?