An aetiological story professes to explain causes. The Pentateuch, especially Genesis, is rich in stories designed to give explanations about the origin of natural phenomena and of customs in religious worship. How did the rainbow come into existence, and what is its meaning? Gen. 9:13 supplies the answer: it is a sign of the covenant between God and his creation that there shall never again be a universal flood. Such a story is called aetiological, from the Greek word aitia, meaning ‘a cause’, as in Acts 28:20. An example of a cultic aetiology is the account of the Passover which answers the question in Exod. 12:26. And if people asked why Bethel was held to be a sacred place, the story of Jacob (or Israel) having a dream [[➝ dreams]] there (Gen. 28:10 ff.) supplied an answer. While many aetiologies are legends, some may be incorporated into narratives which have a basis in history, as in Josh. 4:9, describing the existence of twelve stones in the Jordan.

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  • AEtiology — [AE] ti*ol o*gy, n. [L. aetologia, Gr. ?; ? cause + ? description: cf. F. [ e]tiologie.] 1. The science, doctrine, or demonstration of causes; esp., the investigation of the causes of any disease; the science of the origin and development of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • aetiology — [ēt΄ē äl′ə jē] n. alt. sp. of ETIOLOGY …   English World dictionary

  • Aetiology — The study of the causes. For example, of a disorder. The word aetiology is mainly used in medicine, where it is the science that deals with the causes or origin of disease, the factors which produce or predispose toward a certain disease or… …   Medical dictionary

  • aetiology — UK [ˌiːtɪˈɒlədʒɪ] / US [ˌɪtɪˈɑlədʒɪ] noun Word forms aetiology : singular aetiology plural aetiologies medical 1) [countable/uncountable] the cause of a disease 2) [uncountable] the study of the causes of diseases …   English dictionary

  • aetiology — /itiˈɒlədʒi / (say eetee oluhjee) noun 1. the systematic study of the causes of anything, especially of diseases. 2. the body of knowledge relating to this study. 3. Medicine cause or origin: a disease of unknown aetiology. Also, etiology. {Latin …   Australian English dictionary

  • aetiology — pathology pa*thol o*gy ( j[y^]), n.; pl. {pathologies} ( j[i^]z). [Gr. pa qos a suffering, disease + logy: cf. F. pathologie.] 1. (Med.) The science which treats of diseases, their nature, causes, progress, symptoms, etc. [1913 Webster] Note:… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • aetiology — chiefly British variant of etiology …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • aetiology — see etiology …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • aetiology — aetiologic /ee tee euh loj ik/, aetiological adj. aetiologically, adv. aetiologist, n. /ee tee ol euh jee/, n., pl. aetiologies. etiology. * * * …   Universalium

  • aetiology — noun /iːtɪˈɒlədʒi/ a) The study of causes or origins. b) The known or speculated upon origin of a disease or class of diseases, of use in nosology, pathology, and prophylaxis …   Wiktionary