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RELIGION: Ths "sambenito" of the Inquisition.


Gustavo A. Del Angel-Mobarak explains "the sambenito of the Inquisition doesn't come from Saint Benedict, but from 'saco bendito', a medieval cloth sack worn to do penitence; with time the word was transformed to sambenito." Correct. Both the saintīs name and the word mean "holy blessed one". The Dictionary of the Spanish Academy confirms this, although the exhaustive four-volume etymological dictionary of the Castilian language by Joan Corominas omits it. Corominas, whom I knew, was one of the glories of the University of Chicago, although he was not a Nobel laureate. Just a Catalan who became a leading authority on the Castilian language. Incidentally, Gustavo is Mexican. I imagine he calls his language Spanish, not Castilian.

Ronald Hilton - 7/20/00


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