Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

10 Unusual words in Thank You Jeeves

In recent weeks I have been reading P G Wodehouse's novel Thank you, Jeeves and I have found several words unfamiliar to me hitherto.

1. Dementia Praecox (Ch 1 p 6)
... the germ of dementia praecox
Nowadays the term dementia is used to describe an irreversible deterioration in brain function, the result of various medical conditions (senile dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.). Dementia praecox (premature dementia) was the 19th century term for the severe personality disorders that we now call schizophrenia. Eugen Bleuler established (1908) that these illnesses were not linked to an irreversible brain deterioration and introduced the new term schizophrenia to describe them more accurately. It is unlikely that Sir Roderick, in the 1930s, would use the term. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of the existence of a schizophrenia germ – modern science seems to lean more towards the idea of a schizophrenia gene.

2. Truckling (Ch 1 p 10)
Do I mean truckling?
A truckle-bed is a low bed on castors that can be rolled under another bed when not in use. The verb “truckle,” which originally simply meant to sleep on such a bed, had taken on a figurative sense of “lying down unworthily” or “cowering” by the late 17th century.

3. Sussuration (Ch.14; page 138)
a regular susurration of domestics
Susurration, in modern use, most often refers to the gentle murmur of a breeze. However, it can also mean whispering, and used to have an implication of malicious gossip. Bertie is using it here as though it were a collective noun (cf. “a pride of lions”)

4. Stearic matter (Ch.14 p 144)
a pretty eloquent plea from the stearic matter
A more general term than just butter; it refers to a usually solid compound found in most animal and some vegetable fats; suet and lard contain high proportions of it, and it is used in the manufacture of soaps, candles and many other products

5. Parasang (Ch 16 p 160)
about ten parasangs
The parasang is a Persian unit of measure, approximately equal to three miles (5km). (The example in the Shorter OED for the figurative sense of parasang is taken from another Wodehouse story)

6. Zareba (Ch 18 p 182)
I wedged myself a little tighter behin the old Zareba
A thorn stockade protecting a village or cattle pen. Mainly used in Somalia and the Sudan (from Arabic)

7. Roopy (Ch 18 p 183)
His voice ... it was harsh and roopy
Roopy means hoarse and is from a word meaning to shout

8. Mulct (Ch 18 p 185)
Mulct in substantial damages
To mulct is to penalise by means of a fine. Damages are normally a reparation, not a penalty, so this is not a standard legal expression.

9. Dipsomaniac (Ch 21 p 222)
... the melancholy dipsomaniac and socialist revolutionary, Brinkley
An alcoholic

10. Tumbril (Ch 22 p 227)
… the old aristocrat mounting the tumbril.
An open cart that tilted backwards to empty out its load, in particular one used to convey condemned prisoners to the guillotine during the French Revolution. A third reference in the book to A Tale of Two Cities

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