Why I am so passionate about the history of the word ‘sacred’
A word that has become so sacred in the modern world that it can be applied to any subject, from religion to race to history to politics.
For some, it has become a synonym for prejudice, or an insult.
But for a certain group of people, it is an identity, and it has had a very specific meaning, one that is still tied to that meaning.
“It’s a term that has been used to dehumanise women, to marginalise them, to exclude them from a space,” says Dr Susan O’Keefe, the author of the new book Sacred Objects: The Meaning of Sacred Objects.
“And I think it is a term we can continue to use to do that.”
Read moreDr O’Keefe has written extensively about sacred objects.
She has written about the story of the Temple of Karnak in Karnak, which dates back to the seventh century BC, and the famous golden necklace that was a symbol of the temple.
“The word ‘priest’ in this sense has been in use since at least the 10th century,” Dr O’Reilly says.
“But the word Priest has been associated with the Greek word Priestos meaning ‘priests’, meaning ‘the faithful’, meaning, ‘holy men’.”
It is a way of categorising these very different groups of people.
“So it has come to be a kind of shorthand for these very disparate groups.”
But the temple of Karnakh, which was built in the 12th century BC by the Romans, has become something of a sacred object.
It was the first to have a central courtyard, which is now known as the Sacred Garden.
“This was the place where the goddess, Isis, was worshiped, where the gods worshiped.
So it was a place where all of the gods worshipped,” Dr Mandy O’Neill says.
She describes the temple as the central centre of worship in the Hindu pantheon.
“There was a lot of ritualistic things, where there were sacrifices and other things,” Dr Phoebe O’Neil says.
Dr Phoeb O’Neills’ grandmother was a Hindu.
“I remember going to the temple, the main entrance, and I remember the smell of the incense, and then there was the smell, there was a sort of fire going in the temple,” she says.
The word sacred object was also used by the ancient Egyptians, who worshipped the earth and all that it represented.
“When they were in their time they used the word sacred to mean ‘a sacred place’, and the word priest meant a priest,” Dr McGowan says.
So why do we still use the word to describe sacred objects?
“There is a lot that’s been learned about sacred items from archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, literature and so on,” Dr McNeill says.
“And that’s one of the reasons that the word was chosen to be used in this way.”
You can see why the term sacred has a very, very long history, and that it was chosen because that’s what it was meant to represent.
“Read the full article from News24.