I live in a country where it is common practise to greet friends with a kiss on each cheek and I often go to France where my friends greet me with three kisses. I had never really thought about why. I know that the practise became replaced with a handshake, which I thought came from the practise of offering your sword hand, as a way of showing your enemy that you mean no harm.
As usual Wiki gave me the most information on the kiss of peace
Here you see the use of the word pax.The holy kiss is a traditional Christian greeting. The term comes from the New Testament, where it appears five times.
It is mentioned in:
Romans 16.16a — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
I Corinthians 16.20b — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
II Corinthians 13.12a — "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν ἁγίῳ φιλήματι).
I Thessalonians 5.26 — "Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς πάντας ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
I Peter 5.14a — "Greet one another with a kiss of love" (Greek: ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης).
Superficially, there was nothing new in the practice of Christians greeting one another with a kiss: cheek kissing was the normal way that men in the ancient western Mediterranean would greet one another. However, the New Testament's emphasis on its being a holy and love (agapē) kiss meant that it quickly developed into something more than a greeting.
........it still remains a part of the worship in traditional churches (Eastern Christianity, Roman Catholic Church and liturgical Protestant churches), where it is often called the kiss of peace or sign of peace, or simply peace or pax. In these churches, it is usually performed before the preparation of the altar for the eucharist.
c.1440, "kiss of peace," from L. pax (gen. pacis) "peace," in Ecclesiastical L., "kiss of peace" (see peace). Capitalized, Pax was the name of the Roman goddess of peace. Used by 1933 with adjs. from national names, on model of Pax Romana (e.g. Pax Americana, 1967).
I'm wondering if there is a connection between this use of the word pax to mean a time of peace and security and the word 'pact' to mean making a binding agreement, in the context of the kiss of peace.pax (pāks)
1 A small flat tablet adorned with a sacred image that worshippers kiss when offered the kiss of peace.
3 The kiss of peace.
B) Pax A time of wide-ranging stability when there is only a single dominant power. Used with a Latinized name: "Editorials lauding the civilizing influence of Pax Britannica were met with ... a crushing disinterest from most of the public" (Nisid Hajari).
[Medieval Latin pāx, from Latin, peace; see pag- in Indo-European roots. Sense 2, on the model of Late Latin pāx (Rōmāna), the Roman peace, state of security obtaining under Roman rule, alteration of Latin (Rōmāna) pāx.]
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary pact.
The Latin origin would be pactum but the French pronunciation would be similar to the pronunciation of pax, so I'm wondering if the two terms became intertwined in meaning in spoken English in the 1400s, leading to the marginalised use of pax in reference to an agreement of peace to the popular use of pact.1429, from M.Fr. pacte "agreement, treaty, compact," from L. pactum "contract, covenant," from neut. pp. of pacisci "to covenant, to agree, make a treaty," from PIE base *pag- "fix, join together, unite, make firm" (cf. Skt. pasa- "cord, rope," Avestan pas- "to fetter," Gk. pegnynai "to fix, make firm, fast or solid," L. pangere "to fix, to fasten," Rus. pazu "joint," O.E. fegan "to join," fon "to catch seize").
I'm also wondering if the use of a kiss to mark a man for death, popularised by the film the God Father, is from this idea of sealing a bargain, rather than the kiss of Judas, which would mean treachery, which is a rather cowardly act.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?