Monday, February 12, 2007


In the comments to yesterday's post, JFT asked:

So according to this Mishnah what is the difference between a praklit & a 'sanegor' which I believe is also a mishnaic word?
My response was:

From what I can tell, a praklit is more of a mediator, and a sanegor is like a defense attorney.

Well, we're going to be looking at legal terms in the next several posts, so we may as well start with sanegor סנגור. In Modern Hebrew, a sanegor is a defense attorney, and the סנגוריה הציבורית is the Public Defender's Office.

In Talmudic Hebrew, a sanegor is often shown as the opposite of a kategor קטגור - a prosecutor (we'll explore this term later).

Klein provides the following etymology:

Greek synegoros ( = advocate; literally: 'one who speaks for somebody before an assembly'), from syn ( = with, together with) and the stem of agoreyein (= to harangue, assert, literally: 'to speak in the assembly'), from agora (= assembly).

The Greek root syn appears in such words as synonym, synagogue, and synchronize - in which it means "together" or "same".

Agora is familiar from agoraphobia - "fear of open spaces" as well as allegory (literally "speak in the assembly").

In Israeli slang we find the noun sanjar סנג'ר - meaning something like errand boy or gofer, and the derivative verb סנג'ר - "to send someone to do menial errands". According to Rosenthal, this term derives from the English word "messenger". However, the Babylon site defines the verb סנג'ר as "to defend, plead for". I assume this is in error...

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