Why and What is Aelathia?
Go ahead. Say it: Aelathia. It rolls off the tongue and sounds beautiful, eloquent. No wonder a variation of the spelling of Aelathia, Aletheia, has been used for women’s names, community groups, companies, churches, even an alternative-acoustic-rock band.
What you may not know is the origin of the word, and how its very definition issues a challenge to us.
What is Aelathia? Or, really, what is aletheia?
“It’s All Greek To Me”
The traditional spelling of “aletheia” is based in ancient Koine Greek language, meaning “truth, truthfulness, reality”. In Ancient Greek, words were very specifically used, deliberately in fact as an artist might choose a color to bring the effects of a mood.
Aren’t those three things we’re constantly in search of? What is truth? Is there truth? We all want to know the truth about events as we see or read them in the news, the truth about what politicians are doing, or we want truthfulness from our loved ones about difficult things in their past or going on in their lives now. Sometimes, though, when it comes to seemingly abstract things, like spirituality, we might hesitate at declaring truth. Even still, we crave truth and hurt by the opposite. We deeply desire to understand how reality operates. We cling to truths like the laws of Physics and Constitutional rights as Americans.
Philosophers throughout history have really wondered what reality is? Who can say what actually exists, if it exists, where it exists. Is there absolute truth? Is there truthfulness? These ontological arguments can be—and have been—battered back and forth by philosophers for…well…centuries.
So is aletheia truth?
One philosopher, Martin Heidegger decided to toss another question out into the quagmire. To him, raising the question of truth was not so much about truth itself but about the “disclosure” of truth.
And that’s when it I got hooked on the concept behind the name. If the original Greek form of “aletheia” could not just mean “truth” but “unconcealedness” or the disclosure of truth, then maybe there’s a story in that. It’s not just a story that I’ve written. I think it’s the story of our lives. An ongoing challenge for us to search out and discover what truth is.
But truth about what precisely? That answer, I think, is summed up in the literal Greek definition of aletheia, that is, the truth about reality.
That’s the beauty of it. That’s the mystery. Our world, our reality, is full of little odds and ends, challenging questions and issues which are oftentimes much more grey than black and white. Throughout my blog posts, we’re going to start tackling some of those questions and issues head on. By doing so, we can form a cohesive picture about the world we live and the roles we play in it. In some ways, we’re like characters in a novel, affected by and effecting the world around us.
Sometimes, there may be issues or thoughts we haven’t even considered. Those are the exciting moments, when we learn something new. As a former elementary school teacher, I called those the “aha!” moments. All wrapped up in a mystery, the ongoing disclosure of truth, of aletheia.
In my first novel, Weaving and Musings of Essencers, Aelathia is the world in which they live, but it holds true to the deep meaning from its Greek relative. The characters in “Weaving” (for short) have truth to discover and reality to be unconcealed.
In the words of Donald O’Connor from the movie Something in the Wind, “I love a good mystery!”
Weigh in on this! What do you think about “aletheia” as a disclosure of truth rather than truth itself? Post your comments below.
Wikipedia, quoting from Martin Heidegger, On Time and Being (New York: Harper and Row, 1972)
Trenchard, Warren C. Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament (Zondervan, 1998)