Leo 18: A teacher of chemistry

T h e w o r d t e a c h e r d e s c e n d s f r o m t h e r o o t d e i k - w h ic h m e a n s “ t o s h o w , p r o no u n c e s o l e m n l y . ” 1 I t s p a r o ny m s in c l u d e s e v er a l w o r d s r e f e r r in g t o “t h e d ir e c t in g o f w o r d s o r o b j e ct s . ” T h e s e in c l u d e d i c ti o n , c o n d i t i o n , contradict, d ed i c a t e , d i gi t , di c t a t e , disk,

d i t t o , e d i c t , i n d ex , i n di t e , j u dg e , p ara d i g m , p o l i c y, p r e ac h , p re d i c a t e , p r e j u di c e , t o k e n , r e v e n g e , ve n de t t a , an d v i n di c a t e . T h e n o u n c h e m i s t r y a n d t h e a d j e c t iv e c h e m i c a l d e s c e n d f r o m t he M id d l e L a t in a l c h i m i c u s m e a n in g “ a l c h e m y . ” 2 T h e w o r d a l c h e m y r e f er s t o “ a m e d ie v a l c h e m ic a l p h il o s o p h y h a v in g a s it s a s s e r t e d a im s t h e t r a n s m u t a t io n o f b a s e m e t a l s in t o g o l d , t h e d is c o v er y o f t h e p a na c e a , a n d t h e pr e p ar at io n o f t h e e l ix ir o f lo n g ev it y . ” 3 T H E ME S : A lt h o ug h a l c h e m y is v ie w e d t o d ay a s a p s e ud o - s c ie n c e , it is a l s o c o m m o n l y a c c e p t e d t h at “ a l c h e m is t s m a d e c o n t r ib u t io n s t o t he ‘ c h e m ic a l ’ in d u s t r ie s of the of da y — o r e t e st in g in k , and dyes, r e f in in g , p a in t s ,

m e t a l w o r k in g ,

pr o d u c t io n

gunpowder,

c o s m e t ic s , l e a t h er t a n n in g , c e r a m ic s , g l a s s m a n u f a c t u r e , p r e p ar at io n o f e x t r a ct s , l iq u o r s , a n d s o o n . ” 4 M o r eo v er , a t t h e h e a r t o f t h e o l d a l c h e m ic a l p r a c t ic e was a d ic h o t o m y or d is t in c t io n between

1 2 3 4

Watkins, c. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo -European Roots, p. 14 http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=alchemy http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/alchemy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/alchemy Starling Hunter © 2011 1

M Y S T I CI S M A N D S C I E N C E t h at is m u c h m o r e p r o no u n c e d t o d a y , b u t p e r h a p s c lo s e r t o r e s o l ut io n :
Several early alchemists…are recorded as viewing alchemy as a spiritual discipline, and, in the Middle Ages, metaphysical aspects, substances, physical states, and molecular material processes as mere metaphors for spiritual entities, spiritual states, and, ultimately, transformations. In this sense, the literal meanings of 'Alchemical Formulas' were a blind, hiding their true spiritual philosophy, which being at odds with the Medieval Christian Church, was a necessity that could have otherwise led them to the "stake and rack" of the Inquisition under charges of heresy.5

I t r e q u ir e s n o ad dit io n a l c o m m e n t a r y t o s e e ho w t h e su b j e c t m at t e r o f t h e a b o v e p ar a g r a p h r e l a t e s t o t h e d er iv a t iv e s o f t h e r o o t o f t e a c h e r , i. e . w o r d s l ik e d i c t i o n , c o n t r a d i c t i o n , i n di c t , p a r a d i g m , j u d g e , p r e j u d i c e , a n d v i n di c a t e .

5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/alchemy#alchemy_as_a_philosophical_and_spiritual_discipline Starling Hunter © 2011 2

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