Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ratzinger, as such, does not immediately mean rat.

It may, though, mean something like "rat town inhabitant"
- a bit like "neighbour of the beast"

Brother Dimond made a point about Ratzinger beginning with the letters RAT which "in all Germanic languages" (not quite true as we shall see) mean "rat".

Well, all Germanic languages that I know have either one or two syllables in the singular of the word rat:

Standard High GermanRatte
German DialectRatze! not just r-a-t but r-a-t-z

However, all Germanic languages also have an ending which among meanings like "doer of" or "worker in product" (shoemaker meaning cobbler) also has a meaning "inhabitant in":

English-er, New Yorker
Standard High German-er, Berliner
Swedish-are, Stockholmare
Danish-ere, Københavnere

This is seen in Ratzinger. And indeed there are four places called Ratzing. Obviously the ancestors of Benedict XVI came from one of them.

I have not yet found etymology of Ratzing. It may be Ratz=Ratze=rat with the ending -ing. Ratzing may have been named in each case because it was infested with rats at some time. I cannot give any other etymology, "Rat" in German which means "advice" (Old English "rede") would rather have given "Raathing". I know no ending in Germanic like "-sing". That does not mean I can obsolutely exclude other etymologies.

"Rat town inhabitant" may thus be roughly equivalent to Ratzinger.

As for Benedict in Greek, I think Brother Dimond might be careful. Transliterating BENEΔIKTOC and adding up to the number of the beast has been done. About Popes he doubts as little as I do. Probably by Byzantines, certainly by Protestants. And it has been answered that the real transliteration is BENEΔEIKTOC. That is not strictly necessary from the point of view of pronunciation, but there is some etymological point. It is a past participle, the present of which is at least benedico with a long I corresponding to older EI - dico "say" and deiknymi (δεικvυµι) "point" have been the same verb. This however does not guarantee that the past participle always had EI until that merged to form an I.

However, there may be also a point in the beast - whosoever he be - bearing a name that has previously been born by good Christians or even saints. Check the Latin numeric values for Ludovicus, yet Louis IX of France was a saint.

As for what you say about Benedict XVI and John Paul II, I hope still you might be wrong. But I am not sure.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BpI, Paris

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