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Mariam = "star of the sea" or "bitter sea"

Started by Geremia, September 15, 2016, 07:12:51 AM

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My friend, who studied Hebrew and Greek in the Holy Land, wrote:
QuoteOur Lady's parents were undoubtedly inspired and chose her first name accordingly. "Bitter Sea" [יָם + מַר] is the exact literal meaning of Mariam (MaR-YaM/מַרְיָם). It seems and really is deeply appropriate, so I would argue, in the light of the Mystery of the scope (like that of a sea) of Our Lady's bitterness (her hidden co-redemptive sufferings extending throughout her whole earthly life and most profoundly during the bitter Passion of Our Blessed Lord, her own Passion).
Happy Feast of the 7 Sorrows of Our B.V.M.


St. Jerome writes in Liber de Nominibus Hebraicis col. 886:
QuoteMariam plerique aestimant interpretari, illuminant me isti, vel illuminatrix, vel Smyrna maris, sed mihi nequaquam videtur. Melius autem est, ut dicamus sonare eam stellam maris, sive amarum mare: sciendumque quod Maria, sermone Syro domina nuncupetur.

[Many, they tell me, think Maria means either illuminator or the Smyrna sea, but it does not at all seem so to me. For it is better that we say it signifies the star of the sea or bitter sea: and understanding that Maria in Syrian means lady.]

The OED for "Mary" says:
QuoteThe Hebrew name may be < Amorite, with the meaning 'gift (of God)'; compare the Akkadian root rym 'to give as a gift'. [...] one element of the name has often been interpreted as 'sea', e.g. in pseudo-Epiphanius' explanation σμύρνα θαλάσσης 'myrrh of the sea' [...] and St Jerome's stella maris