What is the origin of neophyte?
Neophyte “a beginner or novice” ultimately comes from Greek neóphytos “newly planted” (grains, vines), a compound of neo-, a combining form of the adjective néos “new,” and –phytós “planted,” a derivative of phýein “to make grow, bring forth, beget.” Neóphytos first appears in the works of the Athenian comic dramatist Aristophanes (died ca. 385 b.c.), and it keeps its literal, agricultural sense down to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible that was completed by the 1st century b.c. Neóphytos in the sense “new convert” (to Christianity) first appears in I Timothy, one of the Pastoral Epistles traditionally ascribed to St. Paul. Neóphytos in its new sense was adopted by Christian Latin authors as neophytus; neophytus was sufficiently established for St. Jerome to use it in his Latin translation from the Greek I Timothy. The general, modern sense “beginner” first appears in Ben Jonson’s play Every Man out of His Humor (1600). Neophyte entered English in the 15th century.