I'm not a religious person, so I was surprised to learn that St. Peter's real name wasn't actually Peter but Simon Bar-Jona. Peter, which is a Greek translation of the Syriac word for "stone", was actually a nickname given to Simon (sometimes stylized Simeon, or written out in full as Simon Peter) by Jesus on the notion that Simon would serve as the "rock" upon which he would build his Church. This makes the name related to words like petroleum, petrify, saltpeter, and other stone-related terms; beyond Greek, the etymology is unknown. Because it was a popular thing in Christian countries to name children after apostles, many children were named some variation of Peter, and this developed across several languages to give us Pedro, Pierre, Pierce, Pearson, and more.
1/11/2021 09:19:55 am
Jesus, of course, did not speak Greek, but Aramaic. The hidden dimension to this story is that the point is probably theological, not historical.The early church moved to Greek, facilitating the spread of Christianity as Greek was the koiné (lingua franca) of Mediterranean commerce; it was supplanted in the western church with Latin by the 3rd C.
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.