Earliest Use of Term
Logos, a noun, derives from the Greek verb legein, originally to count, later to give an account, finally as lego, to say. It enjoys an array of nuanced translations: utterance, word, speech, thought, meaning, reason, argument, ratio, measure, standard, or principle. Yet whatever distinctions exist among thinkers who employ the term, Logos is consistently used to denote something about creative unifying forces or functions in the composition of reality – cosmologic, religious, philosophical, or psychological.
As a concept, Logos is first encountered in the fragments of Heraclitus of Ephesus (ca. 500 BCE), where it identifies the underlying ordering principle or plan of the universe, which is itself a hidden unity of opposites in tension. The Logos is not the source of creation, but rather the way in which creation operates, the flux in which “diversity comes out of unity and unity out of diversity” [Frag 10]. Although all creation is elemental of the “One,”...
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