A IS FOR ADVENT by Charles Ferguson


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Etymology hath its placid charms, as witness the success of Mr. Ferguson's Abecedarian Book which tossed up some word origins palatably: here the words are weighted wonders from Western religions. There are words related to church festivals (Whitsuntide, Advent and the now secular Hallowe'en); theological concepts (immortality, kerygma, omnipotence, miracle); sectarian ""departures"" (Quakers, Gnostic, ecumenical) and so on, one word to a letter. Some explications settle for a scholarly rooting; some meander into liberal Protestant sermons; others encompass anecdote. Hardly complete (abject terror preceded mischief-making on All Hallow's Eve is the common view, and the definition of ""a-theism"" does not take account of more contemporary definitions) and relaxed to a gentle murmur, nonetheless this is a pleasant potpourri for those who enjoy an amiable rather than academic approach to religious terminology.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1968
Publisher: Little, Brown