This neat little explanation from Peter Leithart (

“Cosmetic” comes from the Greek kosmos, which typically means “world,” and from techne, which means “art” or even “technique.”

The etymology throws lines in several directions.  A kosmos is an adorned, arranged, and beautified world.  In the Genesis account, Yahweh displays His artistic skill in adorning the world as His future bride, until the bride descends from heaven “kosmeticized” for her husband (Revelation 21:2).

Cosmetics make women into worlds, like the bride of the Song of Songs, in whom the lover finds the universe.  And if cosmetics and other adornments are kosmos-making, it seems no accidental that women adorn their faces and hair with sparkling astral jewelry.

Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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