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Having recently happened across the fact that Greek ἄνωθεν anothen means "from above, higher," I'm now constantly when I see it thinking "another and a greater..." But where does that snowclone come from? It feels very King James Version, and indeed appears a lot in Christian contexts. (Ngrams.) Here are Google Books' oldest examples:

  • 1635: "But if that be so, then thereupon riseth another and a greater doubt — namely, ..."

  • 1620: "But to the end that we might not doubt of this favour, it is seconded with another, and a greater; For he sayth, The Word of God, is made flesh."

  • 1596: "It may hap also, that the Corne being ripe ... may bee either burnt up, or mowed downe by the enemie ... or else from Heaven or other mishappe be set on fire, or which is another, and a greater mischiefe in the securest peace, in the greatest plentie of all thinges, yet are there Usurers, Monopolists ..."

Is this a literary reference? or if not, then why did it become such a popular and widespread set phrase?

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    This doesn't seem like a set phrase, it's just two concepts that often go toether.
    – Barmar
    Jun 12, 2023 at 19:57
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    Note that "another" was originally "an + other."
    – alphabet
    Jun 13, 2023 at 0:58
  • @alphabet Actually, it was originally "a nother". But it was frequently misparsed as "an other", so the word "nother" became "other".
    – Barmar
    Jun 13, 2023 at 18:52
  • Can you clarify that, please? Why are you equating 'from above, higher' with 'another and a greater..'? Quite separately, how is there a snowclone here? Jul 10, 2023 at 20:12
  • @RobbieGoodwin: "Higher" and "greater", especially in a KJV context, are basically synonyms. The [possible] snowclone is the phrase "another and a greater X", in that I still have the niggling feeling that there is an "original" X right on the tip of my tongue, to which the quoted instances of "another and a greater X" are consciously or unconsciously alluding. [But it's possible Barmar is right and there was no "original" after all.] Jul 11, 2023 at 17:30

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