Agnostic:the etymology



agnostic (n.) Look up agnostic at Dictionary.com1870, “one who professes that the existence of a First Cause and the essential nature of things are not and cannot be known” [Klein]; coined by T.H. Huxley (1825-1895), supposedly in September 1869, from Greek agnostos “unknown, unknowable,” from a- “not” + gnostos “(to be) known” (see gnostic). Sometimes said to be a reference to Paul’s mention of the altar to “the Unknown God,” but according to Huxley it was coined with reference to the early Church movement known as Gnosticism (see Gnostic).

I … invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of ‘agnostic,’ … antithetic to the ‘Gnostic’ of Church history who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. [T.H. Huxley, “Science and Christian Tradition,” 1889]

The adjective is first recorded 1878


4 thoughts on “Agnostic:the etymology

      1. When I was working on my novel Fog in the Moor… I did study quite a lot of material about the Cathar… and I had the occasion to go to visit their castle in Southern France. Oh yes dear Katherine! They still are very intesting, for several reasons… Wish you a lovely weekend as well :-)claudine

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I must read your dear novel.I was interested in it when I was at school.Hope yiu too have lovely weekend.It is sowarm here I have the kitchen door open,:)xxxx


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