It's a defiency the English should fix, and since English usually turns to Greek and Latin to fill in its lacunae, "Theotokos."
No! You are creating an artificial problem. Please read message 21.
I did, Father, but the problem is that the English didn't use "Mother of God" either, at least I haven't seen it Old or Middle English (I don't know Irish, nor Irish usage).
Nothing heretical about calling her "Mother of God," but it doesn't translate (at least accurately) "Theotokos."
As for the original article "Theotokos is a beautiful word, but it is Greek. To insist that it be used
habitually for the blessed Virgin would be comparable to saying that we must not
call the Deity "God", but "Theos", or our Saviour "Christos" instead of
"Christ." No! Greek is Greek, and English is English."
He seems to be unaware that "Christ" (and "Bible," "angel," "bishop," etc.) is Greek, "Virgin" ( and "Scripture," "Saint," etc.) is Latin, etc. Unless he wants to switch to "Smeared" ("anointed" is Old French), "book," (there is no Anglo-Saxon replecent of angel that I can think of), "overseer," "Maiden, "writings," "holy," etc.. Anglo-Saxon avoided non-English, calling the Cross "rod," a saint "holy," a patriarch "high father," the prophets "the wise ones," etc. The modern English do not share the purist tastes of their ancesters. Such neologisms (itself Greek) as "chemotheraphy" seem to indicate that their appetite hasn't slacked, certainly not enough to not swallow "Theotokos.'
In German we have "Gottesgebärerin" (versus Muttergottes, Mutter Gottes or Gottesmutter), Swedish "Gudaföderska" (versus "Guds moder"), Norwegian (Bokmål/Nynorsk) Gudføderske/Gudefødar (versus "Guds mor"), Danish Gud-bærer/Gudføderske (versus "Guds Moder") (Danish, btw, can have the same problem as English with the translation confusion of Θεοτόκος with "Godbearer" ). Dutch uses "Theotokos," alongside "Godbaarster" (versus "Moeder van God"). I don't know about Friesian. None seem to find their equivalent to "Birthgiver" "barberous." Certainly not any more than "Birth mother," though some activists who in their own cause demean the role of adoptive mothershttp://www.exiledmothers.com/adoption_facts/Why_Birthmother_Means_Breeder.html
might disagree. On that, see the movie "The Ten Commandments," the scene where Moses confronts his (adopted) mother about his adoption, his last words before he leaves her. Btw, besides Arabic, all those languages which use the equivalent to "Birthgiver of God," "certainly wouldn't say, "John, meet my birthgiver" either. They use their equivalent (as Arabic would normally too) of "my mother."
Mother of God translates "Μήτηρ του Θεού," "Θεομήτωρ" and "Μητρόθεος." Not "Θεοτόκος." All four appear in patristic texts, so it comes down only to a matter of paraphrase versus translation. I happen to come down on the literal side of the dynamic/formal equivalence debate.
I must plead innocence as to making problems: the original article gives no indication of anyone "insist[ing] that it be used habitually for the blessed Virgin" when he rather dogmatically incorrectly states "that I say "Mother of God," but because such is the normal English for the title Theotokos," when that claim belongs to "Blessed Virgin," or "Our Lady," as indeed his slip in the quote shows. "If we habitually use Theotokos," will "we...have to keep explaining to people what it means, since, outside of theology students, literate Orthodox or Greek-speakers it will not be understood"? Hardly. The English seem to have no problem from "electro-magnetic," "telekinesis" and hosts of other neologism entered into English-or created in English-from Greek since 1874. Btw, his date is off, it appears in English at least a little earlier, in the 1860's:
But you think that I have been unjust to myself in not stating what I do believe in regard to the Blessed Virgin, as well as what I do not believe, and that, had I so done, my book would have found less favour with Protestants9. Certainly, the last thing which I imagined was, that my book could find any thing but condemnation at the hands of those who were really Protestants; and if it has met with less disfavour than I expected, it is, I think, owing to the powerful spell which those words, "re-union of Christendom," must exercise over every Christian heart. My omission of any positive statements, in regard to the greatness of the Blessed Virgin, was partly owing, I suppose, to my not even imagining that any one could doubt my belief, since the doctrine expressed by that great title, Theotokos, is a matter of faith, an essential part of the doctrine of the Incarnation. Partly too my immediate subject was not her eminence, but the " invocation of saints,"—in what way I thought that the requests for the prayers of the saints would find entrance among us, and what held us back
First letter to the Very Rev. J. H. Newman, D.D.: In explanation chiefly in the reverentual love due to the Ever-Blessed Theotokos
It seems that Card. Newman used it publically in England at least from 1866. My computer is acting up, so I can't research that further right now.
"Every language has its own evolution, its own genius." And a study of English will find the English expressing their genius a lot, ever since the Renaissance, in Greek, such that Modern English has evolved away from Anglo-Saxon aversion of Greek terms. "A writer presents,untranslated, a lengthy list of Greek words called "Theotokonyms." Nice, but what does it prove? Only that Greek can form all sorts of compound words" It also proves, as any study of English vocabulary will tell you, that English borrows a lot of Greek, and forms even more compound of Greek words. "English is remarkably expressive and has a huge vocabulary, but often it expresses by a phrase that which another language might express in a single word," e.g. "Birthgiver of God." English uses Greek to fulfill its needs. "This is not a fault, it is just the nature of the language." "When the church books were translated into Slavonic it was possible to form compounds that might not have existed previously, since the language was at a formative stage. But English is already a developed language, and it has its own idiom" and it continues to form compounds of Greek words in English (telephone, television, polychromatic, hoi polloi (which predates the term "Theotokos" in English at MOST by less than 30 years) etc.) and borrow more.
"So, we don't have a single word for chelovekoliubets?" actually, we do, "philanthropist," but that didn't appear in English until 1730 (Phillip Ludwell III, the first American Orthodox, converted in 1738, after translating the DL. I haven't seen how he translated the term in the DL) and has a different connotation in today English. "We can say Lover of mankind, He Who loveth man, the Friend of man, etc.," just like we say "Birthgiver of God." Or "Theotokos."
"For that matter "homoousios" is in the O.E.D.," but the O.E.D, IMHO, adbicated to Webster's (which IIRC also has "Theotokos," and "Theotokia") when it defined communism as "scientific materialism: the logical end of historical development" at the U.S.S.R's dictate. "It is a theological term of vital importance, yet no one is contending that we ought to retain it in an English translation of the Creed. We say " of one essence" or "consubstantial", because that is English." No, they are Latin, and rather odd since "consubstantial" is itself a calque borrowing of Greek "homoousios."
"I don't think that it is a good principle of literary translation to insist that every occurrence of a word of the original always be rendered by the same word
in the translation." Well it seems that he and I stand on opposing sides of the dymanic/formal equivalence fence. "The translation must fit the context. So, sometimes we can say God's Mother, or Theotokos, while retaining "Mother of God" as the most familiar form of our Lady's title." Who is saying otherwise. Except, as the slip of his pen/lip shows, "Mother of God" isn't the most familiar form of address/reference to the Theotokos in English: "Blessed Virgin" or "Our Lady" is. I personally don't use or care for either, but then, I make no bones about being Eastern, and not Western, Orthodox.
"the Latin word "Deipara" ...is an exact equivalent of Theotokos" Actually, Latin uses "Dei Genetrix," which shows it to is a borrowing (calque) from Greek.
The dear Abbot is entitled to his opinion "I think there is a place for the word Theotokos in English, as an alternate name for the Mother of God, particularly in such contexts as the hymn "It is truly meet,"" and even to say "the normal, usual, common, frequent word in English...should be Mother of God, because that's English, not Greek, Latin or Slavonic." But to say Mother of God "is....the normal, usual, common, frequent word in English" does not match reality.