Monday, May 14, 2007


I've been asked what I get out of participating in the Jewish & Israel Blog Awards (you can - please - vote for me here). Is there some sort of reward -פרס pras? My response is, no - I'm only really doing it for the publicity פרסום- pirsum. I'd really like to expose what I'm writing to the greatest number of people, and through this contest, people are finding new blogs like mine.

But is there a connection between pras and pirsum? Maybe. Klein offers three possible origins to pirsum:

According to some scholars related to Syrian פרסי ( = he made known, openly), אתפרסי ( = was made known openly) and probably derived from פרס ( = to spread, extend.)

Others connect פרסי etc. with Hebrew פשה (to spread, extend)

Still others see in פרסם a loan word from Greek parresia or parresis ( = outspokenness, frankness, freedom of speech.)

In both cases the additorial ם is difficult to explain.

One of the interesting things I learned researching this was that while I was familiar with the term פרהסיה, I assumed it was pronounced "farhesia", because it's almost always said as part of the word בפרהסיה b'farhesia - "in public".

Leora Morgenstern points out in this early Mail-Jewish post that our understanding of parrhesia in Hebrew today may be from a back-formation:

Parhesia comes from the Greek word paresia (pi-alpha-rho-rho-eta-sigma-iota-alpha), meaning free speak or frankness. Thus, (speaking) b'pharhesia came to mean (speaking) openly or publicly, and parhesia came to mean the public. Note that the adverbial form is correctly pronounced b'pharhesia, with a pheh.

I certainly didn't know that parrhesia is a word known in English as well (see its Wikipedia entry.) This site writes that:

Parrhesia is a Greek term, originating in democratic Athens of the 5th century B.C.E., describing a public act of criticizing a superior in the name of truth, risking whatever privileges the person performing it has, and in radical conditions – his or her own life.

Sounds like a lot of bloggers today...

No comments: