Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The verb ρεω (reo) means to flow - hence panta rhei

Heraclitus according to Michaelangelo

The Greek verb ρεω (reo) means to flow; hence the famous dictum panta rhei, or everything flows, made famous by Heraclitus of Ephesus.

This philosopher of the Persian Empire, who lived during the century of post-exilic restoration of Jerusalem, also pioneered the idea of Logos, which proposes that the universe is governed by a single unchangeable unified natural law (Colossians 2:16-17) rather than whimsically warring deities.

Our verb is used for anything that flows: water but also words, which helps to explain the stream of living water that would flow from people's within (John 7:38; which is where our verb's only New Testament occurrence happens).

The verb ερεω (ereo) means to verbally convey. It's clearly related to the verb ρεω (reo), meaning to flow, and is often spelled the same (without the leading ε).

Speaking to the Greeks was what snow is to Eskimos, and our verb ερεω (ereo) appears to emphasize the associative flowing out of words, rather than the actual message (that's described by the verb λεγω, lego), or the act of emitting information (επω, epo), or simply to babble (λαλεω, laleo).

Heraclitus' famous dictum doesn't only mean "everything flows" but also "everything speaks," which brings to mind Jesus' assertion that man should live on not only bread but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

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