World Cultures General Glossary
Aetiology

The Hebrews
Genesis
General Glossary
World View
Aetiology is the study of origins or beginnings (aitios means cause, reason, or origin). In cultures which have an aetiological world view, the beginnings or origins of things are seen as providing the meaning for all that follows. If you think about history as a timeline with a beginning and end, in an aetiological view of the world and of history, the meaning and value of all historical events derives from the beginnings of things. History repeats the form and content of these origins. For instance, the Hebrew Scripture begins with a text named "The Beginning" (Genesis ); the events at the beginning of time—the command by Yahweh and the disobedience by humans—give the essential structure to all the other events of Hebrew history as narrated in the Hebrew scriptures. This means that in the aetiological world view, history has only a finite number of options that have been predetermined by the way things began.

Richard Hooker



World Cultures

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1995, Richard Hooker
Updated 10-3-97