I’ve read this several times, Walter, waiting to let it sink in, and each time I come up with being a bit of a dissenter on the general opinion so far. Not about Version 1 or 2: I agree that 1 is better. But it’s the second part of this entry, the part after the ellipsis and question mark. It strikes me as more didactic or even doctrinal:
You have a choice: you can realize your idea of self is constructed of words, and thus resilient, social, of shifting sense. Or you can believe you are carved from clay into an ideogram of His being, unchanging and resolved. In which case, you will waste your life reading your face over and over again, and being sorry for the story it tells.
One thing I’ve enjoyed in your Etymologies is the openendedness of them, that quality I said reminded me of Borges or Calvino. But this seem prescriptive: either/or.
I do like the part before the ellipsis, however.