I read that there are two version depending on intrinsic value. So that it is either intellectual knowledge or divine knowledge, knowledge from within. And is there a difference between Ancient Greek and Modern Greek? If you know, could you please give me translations in original and latinizationed version?

1 Answer 1

  • The deep knowledge entailing understanding (think "carnal k." in English) and what you get from a detailed investigation is γνῶσις (gnôsis).

  • A more intellectual variant entailing expertise is ἐπιστήμη (epistēmē); mastery (from "standing on it").

An acquired knowledge, so, something you learn, education, is μάθημα, μάθησις (mathēma, mathēsis).

In Hellenistic times, especially in the New Testament, gnôsis picks up a connotation of moral or religious wisdom. This connotation does not survive in modern Greek.

The modern Greek terms are pretty much the same, except episteme has veered into "science" and mathema into "lesson, the teaching". The basic distinction between gnosis and mathesis persists, but sometimes the plural of gnosis is used for mathesis, whereas the singular is also used for "wisdom, maturity".

  • 2
    It's hard to answer the question as posed, but I think it would be helpful to specify some examples or time periods. I study Aristotle, and γνῶσις for him is a "generic" term that can be applied to everything from sense perception to scientific knowledge. There are even huge differences in how, e.g., Plato and Aristotle define φρόνησις.
    – brianpck
    Mar 4, 2021 at 21:51
  • Practical wisdom, exemplary wisdom, might be σωφροσύνη Sophrosyne; the last 'e' (eta) is pronounced ee or ay.
    – Hugh
    Mar 5, 2021 at 15:55
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    @Hugh σωφροσύνη means self-control, pretty much, and eta in Classical (Attic) Greek is pronounced like the vowel in red except long.
    – Cairnarvon
    Mar 6, 2021 at 0:37
  • Yes, a better translation for σωφροσύνη is Social Intelligence – SQ (postulated by psychologist Edward Thorndike) which contributes another useful form of knowledge.
    – Hugh
    Mar 7, 2021 at 14:23

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