A drop of the sea.

An interesting example of how a transcription error becomes perpetuated by cultural and spiritual needs.


Here is a diatom from a drop of sea water, providing an image of a holy trinity – Father, Mother, Son



And here is a “star of the sea”

Triceratium sp. diatom algae — Stock Photo





The name stella maris is first applied to the Virgin Mary in the manuscript tradition of Saint Jerome’s Latin translation of the Onomasticon by Eusebius of Caesarea, although this is in fact a misnomer based on a transcription error. For reaching this meaning the Hebrew name מרים‎ (originally pronounced “Maryam”, but by Masoretic times pronounced “Miryam”) was first rendered into Greek as Mariam (Μαριάμ). It was this form that was etymologized by Eusebius. He interpreted Maryām as mar-yam (מר-ים‎) “drop of the sea”, based on מר‎ mar, a rare biblical word for “drop”. St Jerome adopted this interpretation and translated the name into Latin as stilla maris, “drop of the sea”, but at some later stage a copyist transcribed this into stella maris, “star of the sea”, and this transcription error became widespread.

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