Monday, September 21, 2009

disasters in naming

I just found out from F.F. Bruce that there was a fourth-century catholic bishop named Lucifer (bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia).

The Catholic Encyclopedia has an entry for him here, where you can find out about his valiant work on behalf of Athanasius and the fight against Arianism, followed by his increasing spirit of trouble-making in his old age, which led eventually to the founding of his own schism, the Luciferians (how's that for the name of a Christian group?).

It apparently attracted the right kind of folk, since the sect at one point commissioned as ambassador one Faustinus (although Wikipedia confirms that Faust didn't enter the public lexicon -- and certainly didn't appeal to Marlowe -- until centuries later; so I guess in its time it wouldn't have been as funny).

But who names their kid Lucifer?

(Edit [that preserves accuracy in reporting, but kind of eviscerates this post]: the word hasn't always had the same connotation, and Lucifer's parents named him that before Jerome had a chance to popularize the word as a name for Satan.)

No comments: