Meaning of the word "ultramundane"


I stumbled upon this site by accident, while I was researching the word “ultramundane”. So, I thought I’d join up and see if anyone can help me. I need information on this word beyond the dictionary definitions that are available. In particular, exactly when and how it was first used in the English language (all I’ve dicovered is that it was first used in the 16th century - I don’t know by who, or the quote), any uses in literature, and information about the Latin roots of the word (I saw that only two words in the whole English language come from the Latin word “mundanus”, “ultramundane” and “mundane”, and they have such different meanings I’m fascinated to know more. Thanking you very much for your help. Michael.

The two words don’t have such different meanings. Look at definition number 2 of mundane in the Oxford American Dictionary:

Then look at the definition of the prefix ultra-

Now the definition of ultramundane:

ultra- + mundane = ultramundane
outside + worldly = otherworldly

There’s nothing mysterious about those two words. Evidently mundane just took on the meaning of “commonplace” later, by extension from its original meaning, which was of the everyday world.

Hello, WCKS-- and welcome to English-Test. What is needed is access to a very good academic library. There is not enough historical text online to do adequate etymological research unless one is very lucky.

Here, anyway, are some interesting excerpts from the internet that go back as far as the 16th century-- but the quotes are not necessarily of original texts. Still, they may lead you in the right direction:

[i]Thompson, William (Lord Kelvin), “On the ultramundane corpuscles of Le Sage”, The London Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, London: Taylor and Francis, May 1873, Vol. XLV, Fourth series)

The best known expositions of the theory by Le Sage are a paper entitled Lucrece Newtonien, read in Paris by Pierre Prevost (Le Sage’s “Boswell”) in 1782 and published in Berlin two years later,4 and a longer work, Traite’ de Physique Mechanique, published by Prevost along with a paper of his own in 1818. 5 Le Sage’s theory of gravitation as outlined in these works is briefly this: space is filled with small moving particles (called ultramundane corpuscles or simply atoms) flying in all directions; due to their mass and velocity, they exert a force on bodies upon which they impinge.

Martinists Followers of French mystic Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743-1803). After a brief career in the army, he devoted himself to study and become a theosophist and student of Boehme. He sought to restore Masonry to its primeval character and to reintroduce into it occultism and theurgy; his rectified rite has ten degrees, later reduced to seven. But his efforts met with failure and he was accused of introducing ideas and rites at variance with the supposed archaeological history of Masonry. His society was first established at Lyon; its members believed in the possibility of communicating with planetary spirits and minor gods and genii of the ultramundane spheres. It was the Martinists, according to some, who invented the name astral light.

On the other hand, Leibniz does not think that the power, will, or appetite, which are not events at all, but faculties, of an agency or agent, need any explaining. The regress of explanation stops abruptly with the substance. In a letter to de Volder (June 30, 1704), he writes: “To ask why there is perception and appetite in simple substances is to inquire about something ultramundane, so to speak, and to demand reasons of God why he has willed things to be such as we conceive them to be” (GP ii, 271/L 538).

Gabriel Vasquez, S.J., 1551-1604, taught at Rome and Aleali, mainly theology, which he has bequeathed to us in a great commentary on the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas, with philosophy interspersed… Here is a specimen of what we may call ‘heliocentric’ or ‘theocentric’ philosophy from Vasquez. He is inquiring whether God dwells in the great void beyond what Lucretius calls ‘the flaming walls of the world,’ beyond the outermost of the heavenly spheres of the Schoolmen, beyond the gigantic bean-shaped enclosure which (modern astronomers think) is the finite outline, measured in light-years, comprehending all the stars and nebulae, all the matter that is. The question involves an inquiry into the nature of Space, which surely no philosopher can neglect. Vasquez then (in Im, disp. 29) answers the question in the negative. For one thing to be in another, the thing itself must be real, and that in which it is must be real. But beyond the bounds of the universe there is no reality, but sheer nothingness. God is not in nothingness. Vasquez objects that another universe might be created beyond the bounds of the present; but not surely in nothingness; therefore that ultramundane continent, or recipient, of creation is something other than mere nothing.[/i]

Good luck in your research.