The Expository Files



I'm thinking you have never heard of Johannes Hofer. I didn't think so. He was a Swiss medical student (1669-1752). In 1688 he coined he word "nostalgia." Our English term is derived from two Greek roots, nostos, returning home, and algos, pain or longing. Hofer wanted to express the pain a sick person feels because he wishes to return to his native land, but fears he will never see it again. In his era, it is reasonable to think Hofer witnessed many people, displaced and filled with the yearning to go home - ill or healthy. In the evolution of language, the term has eventually come to mean a longing for the past.

Measured objectively, such longing is entirely unpromising. Time machines have a magical intrigue and supply imaginative movie plots, but don't work. We just can't go back, not actually. But we can embrace good memories, and those thoughts are not wasted.

I have altogether pleasant memories about these past 14 years editing EF with Jon. I will not re-tell the whole story here. Jon is such a pleasant, cooperative fellow to work with. With the current state of technology, it is relatively easy for us to collaborate and compile without talking on the phone or meeting in person ... (could that be why he is so pleasant and cooperative with me?).

Seriously, we have a high regard for each other, work well together and take great pleasure in providing this material. Sometimes we think nobody is reading it, then we get the hit and view reports from the servers and sometimes hear from people who have been either helped or agitated by something in the journal.

So our work continues - we pray, to the glory of God. Thanks to Steve Rudd for his part in the distribution. Thanks to our writers and readers. We would love to hear from you.

By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 15.1 January 2008