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Author Topic: Theotokos or Mother of God?  (Read 11003 times) Average Rating: 5
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« Reply #45 on: January 13, 2011, 12:14:28 PM »

"Theotokos" is now widely used by Anglophone Orthodox. Generations have been brought up with it. It is an English word now. Problem solved.

Alternatively, we could say "Godbirther" but that just doesn't sound right to me.
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« Reply #46 on: January 13, 2011, 12:20:52 PM »

In Russian Churches in America, we call the priest's wife, "Matushka", not "Little Mother" or "Priest's Wife", so what is the problem with not translating Theotokos, especially since "Mother of God" is not a perfect translation?
I was looking for what is the Chinese for Theotokos, and this thread came up (my son has expressed a desire to learn Chinese).  I found 上帝之母 Mother of God, and 圣母 Holy Mother but is there something based on 生 or 生育 or 产 or 养, give birth/produce/yield etc?

Btw, skimming through some Chinese Orthodox texts, it seems that the Orthodox have retained  上 帝  for God, despite the ruling of the Vatican long ago about that being unacceptable
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Rite_Controversy
am I reading that right?

I think the Latins wanted to get rid of Shangdi because of its pagan origins. Of course, the problem is, pretty much all of our words for God (e.g. "God", "Theos") have a pagan origin. As it is, when the average Chinese asks someone if he believes in God, in a general sense, he'll ask, "do you believe in Shangdi?" At least in my experience. Tianzhu is specifically Roman Catholic (Protestants also still use 上帝).
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« Reply #47 on: January 13, 2011, 01:10:43 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

However, I would argue that, for those who are looking to use an appropriate English phrase, you can't have accuracy and intimacy together; "Mother of God" is less accurate than "Birthgiver" and "God-bearer," but the latter two are not nearly as intimate.
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« Reply #48 on: January 13, 2011, 01:20:07 PM »

How "intimate" is Theotokos in Greek? Do Greek people introduce their mothers by saying, "allow me to introduce you to my tokos?" It seems to me the intimacy is not in the term, but in how it's used. "Mother of God" is not inherently "intimate"; frankly, it's a fearsome title: GOD'S Mother. The intimacy comes if we are filled with tender love for Mary, whether we call her Theotokos or Mother of God. What matters is the warmth or coldness of one's heart.
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« Reply #49 on: January 13, 2011, 01:27:38 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

Interestingly, the Romanians translated Theotokos as Nascatoare de Dumnezeu so "Birthgiver of God" isn't entirely unprecedented.
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« Reply #50 on: January 13, 2011, 02:24:25 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

Interestingly, the Romanians translated Theotokos as Nascatoare de Dumnezeu so "Birthgiver of God" isn't entirely unprecedented.

We could also make use of the more-and-more-quickly-becoming-unfashionable English genitive case, and say "God's Birthgiver".
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« Reply #51 on: January 13, 2011, 02:25:55 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

Interestingly, the Romanians translated Theotokos as Nascatoare de Dumnezeu so "Birthgiver of God" isn't entirely unprecedented.
Yeah, but "nascatoare" isn't a normal, everyday word, used in  other contexts, besides this. It's just that sufficient time has passed for it to no longer sound off.
The most common way Romanians refer to the Virgin is "Maica Domnului" or "The Lord's Mother".
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« Reply #52 on: January 13, 2011, 02:29:15 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

Interestingly, the Romanians translated Theotokos as Nascatoare de Dumnezeu so "Birthgiver of God" isn't entirely unprecedented.
Yeah, but "nascatoare" isn't a normal, everyday word, used in  other contexts, besides this. It's just that sufficient time has passed for it to no longer sound off.
The most common way Romanians refer to the Virgin is "Maica Domnului" or "The Lord's Mother".

Which, I think, is true of Bogoroditsa and Theotokos as well.

Iconodule is right that Theotokos is now basically just an English word, but I think it's worth noting that this is due to English's somewhat unique tendency to accumulate what one might call "etymologically obscure" words of foreign origin (this sentence being a case in point). Think of how we say "sanctification" instead of "holyfication" (or "hallowing"). Or even "Saint So-and-so" instead of "Holy So-and-so". English doesn't seem to have a problem with the fact that the meaning of many of its words is not immediately/superficially apparent, as is more often the case in other languages.
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« Reply #53 on: January 13, 2011, 03:07:54 PM »

If I may make a suggestion, perhaps once you are done hashing the Theotokos thing out, you can next move on to theosis, hesychasm, pascha, and so forth. I mean, really, what random English-speaking schlub off the street would have any idea what those words mean?  angel
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« Reply #54 on: January 13, 2011, 03:12:44 PM »

If I may make a suggestion, perhaps once you are done hashing the Theotokos thing out, you can next move on to theosis, hesychasm, pascha, and so forth. I mean, really, what random English-speaking schlub off the street would have any idea what those words mean?  angel

What English speaking schlub would know what Easter means? What Greek speaking schlub would know what Pascha means? Pascha is just a corruption of pesach; it's not Greek.
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1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
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« Reply #55 on: January 13, 2011, 03:19:02 PM »

If I may make a suggestion, perhaps once you are done hashing the Theotokos thing out, you can next move on to theosis, hesychasm, pascha, and so forth. I mean, really, what random English-speaking schlub off the street would have any idea what those words mean?  angel

What English speaking schlub would know what Easter means? What Greek speaking schlub would know what Pascha means? Pascha is just a corruption of pesach; it's not Greek.

Very good. We are making progress. Keep going. Don't stop until you've completely eliminated all unique theological terminology and dumbed down everything for mass consumption.
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« Reply #56 on: January 13, 2011, 03:34:35 PM »


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 mothers
http://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:
Quote
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. 1869.
http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA21&dq=Theotokos&cd=2&id=J0kQAAAAIAAJ&as_brr=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
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.



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« Reply #57 on: January 13, 2011, 03:38:32 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

Interestingly, the Romanians translated Theotokos as Nascatoare de Dumnezeu so "Birthgiver of God" isn't entirely unprecedented.
Yeah, but "nascatoare" isn't a normal, everyday word, used in  other contexts, besides this. It's just that sufficient time has passed for it to no longer sound off.
The most common way Romanians refer to the Virgin is "Maica Domnului" or "The Lord's Mother".

Which, I think, is true of Bogoroditsa and Theotokos as well.

Iconodule is right that Theotokos is now basically just an English word, but I think it's worth noting that this is due to English's somewhat unique tendency to accumulate what one might call "etymologically obscure" words of foreign origin (this sentence being a case in point). Think of how we say "sanctification" instead of "holyfication" (or "hallowing"). Or even "Saint So-and-so" instead of "Holy So-and-so". English doesn't seem to have a problem with the fact that the meaning of many of its words is not immediately/superficially apparent, as is more often the case in other languages.
I came across this in comparing lexicography in various languages. English by far has the largest dictionairies and fullest definitions. Why? Because the words' meanings are not readily apparent, largely due to such heavy borrowing, including plural formations.
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« Reply #58 on: January 13, 2011, 03:42:12 PM »

If I may make a suggestion, perhaps once you are done hashing the Theotokos thing out, you can next move on to theosis, hesychasm, pascha, and so forth. I mean, really, what random English-speaking schlub off the street would have any idea what those words mean?  angel

What English speaking schlub would know what Easter means? What Greek speaking schlub would know what Pascha means? Pascha is just a corruption of pesach; it's not Greek.

Very good. We are making progress. Keep going. Don't stop until you've completely eliminated all unique theological terminology and dumbed down everything for mass consumption.

First off, I think you're attributing motives to my basically aimless comments that I do not have. Secondly, while we're on it, while not necessarily for consumption (in the modern capitalist sense), the Gospel is indeed for all, including the "masses" (demos).
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« Reply #59 on: January 13, 2011, 03:42:26 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

Interestingly, the Romanians translated Theotokos as Nascatoare de Dumnezeu so "Birthgiver of God" isn't entirely unprecedented.
Yeah, but "nascatoare" isn't a normal, everyday word, used in  other contexts, besides this. It's just that sufficient time has passed for it to no longer sound off.
The most common way Romanians refer to the Virgin is "Maica Domnului" or "The Lord's Mother".

Which, I think, is true of Bogoroditsa and Theotokos as well.

Iconodule is right that Theotokos is now basically just an English word, but I think it's worth noting that this is due to English's somewhat unique tendency to accumulate what one might call "etymologically obscure" words of foreign origin (this sentence being a case in point). Think of how we say "sanctification" instead of "holyfication" (or "hallowing"). Or even "Saint So-and-so" instead of "Holy So-and-so". English doesn't seem to have a problem with the fact that the meaning of many of its words is not immediately/superficially apparent, as is more often the case in other languages.

What is English?

Meanings are as meanings do.

The English were made to rub their faces in the dirt of so many masters over the ages we have a ton of loan words. Now that America controls the world, we gain loan words from every who grovels before those who speak American.

English should no longer be considered a language. The language of the world is American.

Can you imagine being Brazilian and being told you speak Portuguese?

How far do you want to go back in "English's" history to recover the true language? To the fantastical proto Indo-Germanic tongue spoken by the first primate to utter a word in the family of these languages?

By the way at least 32% of the words you used in your post without ""s are not Germanic kosher words.
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« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2011, 03:43:12 PM »

"Theotokos" is now widely used by Anglophone Orthodox. Generations have been brought up with it. It is an English word now. Problem solved.

Alternatively, we could say "Godbirther" but that just doesn't sound right to me.
LOL. The term "birther" in America might make that more acceptable in time.
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« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2011, 03:47:43 PM »


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 mothers
http://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:
Quote
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. 1869.
http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA21&dq=Theotokos&cd=2&id=J0kQAAAAIAAJ&as_brr=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
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.





Serious question, no sarcasm. Who do you know so damn much?

At least from a language perspective. You have a rather remarkable grasp of many languages, if I only gauge by your use of the ones I am most familiar with. I can't speak to your prolific posts on Orthodox history, European, history, Orthodox theology, etc. I  
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 03:48:25 PM by orthonorm » Logged

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« Reply #62 on: January 13, 2011, 03:55:43 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

Interestingly, the Romanians translated Theotokos as Nascatoare de Dumnezeu so "Birthgiver of God" isn't entirely unprecedented.
Yeah, but "nascatoare" isn't a normal, everyday word, used in  other contexts, besides this. It's just that sufficient time has passed for it to no longer sound off.
The most common way Romanians refer to the Virgin is "Maica Domnului" or "The Lord's Mother".

Which, I think, is true of Bogoroditsa and Theotokos as well.

Iconodule is right that Theotokos is now basically just an English word, but I think it's worth noting that this is due to English's somewhat unique tendency to accumulate what one might call "etymologically obscure" words of foreign origin (this sentence being a case in point). Think of how we say "sanctification" instead of "holyfication" (or "hallowing"). Or even "Saint So-and-so" instead of "Holy So-and-so". English doesn't seem to have a problem with the fact that the meaning of many of its words is not immediately/superficially apparent, as is more often the case in other languages.

What is English?

Meanings are as meanings do.

The English were made to rub their faces in the dirt of so many masters over the ages we have a ton of loan words. Now that America controls the world, we gain loan words from every who grovels before those who speak American.

English should no longer be considered a language. The language of the world is American.

Can you imagine being Brazilian and being told you speak Portuguese?

How far do you want to go back in "English's" history to recover the true language? To the fantastical proto Indo-Germanic tongue spoken by the first primate to utter a word in the family of these languages?

By the way at least 32% of the words you used in your post without ""s are not Germanic kosher words.

Again, what's with the assumptions about my attitude and desires? I'm not suggesting we "go back" at all. I'm just making observations about an interesting difference between English, and other languages.
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« Reply #63 on: January 13, 2011, 04:10:07 PM »

Ultimately, the question is whether "Theotokos" and "Mother of God" are synonyms. Two titles referring to the same person are not necessarily synonyms, and interestingly, in the original version of the Hymn "Axion Estin" ("Truly You Are Worthy"), both terms are used in the same verse:
"Truly you are worthy to be blessed, the Theotokos, The holy, blessed, and all-spotless, and Mother of Our God."
Even in Greek, the terms are considered different, and if "Theotokos" were translated as "Mother of God", the hymn would read:
"Truly you are worthy to be blessed, the Mother of God, the holy, blessed, and all-spotless, and Mother of Our God."

 
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« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2011, 04:10:55 PM »

First off, I think you're attributing motives to my basically aimless comments that I do not have. Secondly, while we're on it, while not necessarily for consumption (in the modern capitalist sense), the Gospel is indeed for all, including the "masses" (demos).

I'm not speaking of your motives. I was merely speaking about what I think the logical conclusion would be if some people were consistent in how they are dealing with the Theotokos/Mother of God/etc. stuff. Every religious group worth more than a wet shoe has a particular (and usually peculiar) theological language. And even when they don't have an especially unique theological language, there is still learning to do. I came across a Christian group the other day who had the motto: "We simply teach the Bible. Simply." or something like that. Maybe they "simply" use words like salvation and avoid words "confusing" words like soteriology, but the content they attach to the simple words will still be a unique blend of thoughts and interpretations, such that one cannot assume that "salvation" means the same to them that it means to a Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian.
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« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2011, 04:12:33 PM »


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 mothers
http://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:
Quote
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. 1869.
http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA21&dq=Theotokos&cd=2&id=J0kQAAAAIAAJ&as_brr=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
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.





Serious question, no sarcasm. Who do you know so damn much?

LOL. OCD.

The other day I was pleased to tell my son who just made first horn (although he is technically deaf. I still don't understand how he does it, and now he wants to learn Chinese, and can distinguish the tones) that I can't follow music at all:scales, diacrotic tone, etc. I don't get it.   I told him because he fears I know everything.

Quote
At least from a language perspective. You have a rather remarkable grasp of many languages, if I only gauge by your use of the ones I am most familiar with. I can't speak to your prolific posts on Orthodox history, European, history, Orthodox theology, etc. I  
God gave me a natural gift for languages, odd since I come from and married into (now out of) a family of engineers. Yet I can't follow mechanics, engineering, etc. at all. I just got a new cell phone and will spend no doubt several months (Lord willing, not more) learning the basics of working the thing.
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« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2011, 04:13:01 PM »

Personally, and not forcing my wishes on anyone else, I prefer the word of the fathers - Theotokos - to God-bearer (Theoforos), Mother of God (Mitir tou Theou), or Birthgiver.

Interestingly, the Romanians translated Theotokos as Nascatoare de Dumnezeu so "Birthgiver of God" isn't entirely unprecedented.
Yeah, but "nascatoare" isn't a normal, everyday word, used in  other contexts, besides this. It's just that sufficient time has passed for it to no longer sound off.
The most common way Romanians refer to the Virgin is "Maica Domnului" or "The Lord's Mother".

Which, I think, is true of Bogoroditsa and Theotokos as well.

Iconodule is right that Theotokos is now basically just an English word, but I think it's worth noting that this is due to English's somewhat unique tendency to accumulate what one might call "etymologically obscure" words of foreign origin (this sentence being a case in point). Think of how we say "sanctification" instead of "holyfication" (or "hallowing"). Or even "Saint So-and-so" instead of "Holy So-and-so". English doesn't seem to have a problem with the fact that the meaning of many of its words is not immediately/superficially apparent, as is more often the case in other languages.

What is English?

Meanings are as meanings do.

The English were made to rub their faces in the dirt of so many masters over the ages we have a ton of loan words. Now that America controls the world, we gain loan words from every who grovels before those who speak American.

English should no longer be considered a language. The language of the world is American.

Can you imagine being Brazilian and being told you speak Portuguese?

How far do you want to go back in "English's" history to recover the true language? To the fantastical proto Indo-Germanic tongue spoken by the first primate to utter a word in the family of these languages?

By the way at least 32% of the words you used in your post without ""s are not Germanic kosher words.

Again, what's with the assumptions about my attitude and desires? I'm not suggesting we "go back" at all. I'm just making observations about an interesting difference between English, and other languages.

I said nothing about your attitude. You did not answer my first question though. If you want to make "interesting" observation between any two things or among more than two, you need to define at least one of them.

Of course my point is that language is porous and that labeling words "foreign" which native speakers of a language use is silly. It much like someone raised on the Grammars of English modeled on Latin to correct how ME and my friends talk.

Language is as language does.

And English is not "unique" in the way you describe. All languages pick up loan words. English as mentioned just had the pleasure of being ruled by a variety of folks who spoke different languages. England then became the Empire of the World and pulled loan words via trade and colonization. America took England's place and allowed the world to pour in bringing many words with it. The early development of the written language, its quick standardization relative to other Indo-Germanic tongues, and the widespread literacy of Americans before most other Indo-Germanic peoples also account for the broad lexicon.

And our open mindedness toward "foreign" words.

American is a wonderful tongue.
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« Reply #67 on: January 13, 2011, 04:17:37 PM »


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 mothers
http://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:
Quote
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. 1869.
http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA21&dq=Theotokos&cd=2&id=J0kQAAAAIAAJ&as_brr=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
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.





Serious question, no sarcasm. Who do you know so damn much?

LOL. OCD.

The other day I was pleased to tell my son who just made first horn (although he is technically deaf. I still don't understand how he does it, and now he wants to learn Chinese, and can distinguish the tones) that I can't follow music at all:scales, diacrotic tone, etc. I don't get it.   I told him because he fears I know everything.

Quote
At least from a language perspective. You have a rather remarkable grasp of many languages, if I only gauge by your use of the ones I am most familiar with. I can't speak to your prolific posts on Orthodox history, European, history, Orthodox theology, etc. I  
God gave me a natural gift for languages, odd since I come from and married into (now out of) a family of engineers. Yet I can't follow mechanics, engineering, etc. at all. I just got a new cell phone and will spend no doubt several months (Lord willing, not more) learning the basics of working the thing.

Congratulations on your son's incredible accomplishments. I know of very good promising fiddler who recently decided to not go to conservatory and on a whim took the USAF language aptitude test. He scored through the roof. So he is spending the next couple of years learning Mandarin and Arabic. Even at 18, he still had the ability to both hear and mimic the tonal aspect of Mandarin.

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« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2011, 04:53:19 PM »

How "intimate" is Theotokos in Greek? Do Greek people introduce their mothers by saying, "allow me to introduce you to my tokos?" It seems to me the intimacy is not in the term, but in how it's used. "Mother of God" is not inherently "intimate"; frankly, it's a fearsome title: GOD'S Mother. The intimacy comes if we are filled with tender love for Mary, whether we call her Theotokos or Mother of God. What matters is the warmth or coldness of one's heart.

I personally don't care about the intimacy factor one way or another; but it was a concern brought up by others in the context of this discussion.
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« Reply #69 on: January 13, 2011, 04:57:58 PM »

Ultimately, the question is whether "Theotokos" and "Mother of God" are synonyms. Two titles referring to the same person are not necessarily synonyms, and interestingly, in the original version of the Hymn "Axion Estin" ("Truly You Are Worthy"), both terms are used in the same verse:
"Truly you are worthy to be blessed, the Theotokos, The holy, blessed, and all-spotless, and Mother of Our God."
Even in Greek, the terms are considered different, and if "Theotokos" were translated as "Mother of God", the hymn would read:
"Truly you are worthy to be blessed, the Mother of God, the holy, blessed, and all-spotless, and Mother of Our God."

Thank you for bringing this up.
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« Reply #70 on: January 13, 2011, 05:25:19 PM »

Congratulations on your son's incredible accomplishments.

Thanks. I'm quite proud (though I can't say that too often "don't embarras me").

Quote
I know of very good promising fiddler who recently decided to not go to conservatory and on a whim took the USAF language aptitude test. He scored through the roof. So he is spending the next couple of years learning Mandarin and Arabic. Even at 18, he still had the ability to both hear and mimic the tonal aspect of Mandarin.
LOL. So, a masochist.
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« Reply #71 on: January 13, 2011, 05:42:42 PM »

Ultimately, the question is whether "Theotokos" and "Mother of God" are synonyms. Two titles referring to the same person are not necessarily synonyms, and interestingly, in the original version of the Hymn "Axion Estin" ("Truly You Are Worthy"), both terms are used in the same verse:
"Truly you are worthy to be blessed, the Theotokos, The holy, blessed, and all-spotless, and Mother of Our God."
Even in Greek, the terms are considered different, and if "Theotokos" were translated as "Mother of God", the hymn would read:
"Truly you are worthy to be blessed, the Mother of God, the holy, blessed, and all-spotless, and Mother of Our God."

Thank you for bringing this up.

Yes, thanks.  A quick check through a couple texts found the same distinction in all of them, although the Romanian says "Dear little Mother of Our God" (Maica Dumnezeului nostru).


Btw, the British refer to "the Pond" between themselves and us in the States. What do they call in Australia/New Zealand what seperates us (the body of water, that is).
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« Reply #72 on: January 13, 2011, 05:50:58 PM »

"Maica" in Romanian, despite its etymology, has lost any diminutive connotations. It is just a more antiquated (and churchy) form of saying "mama" (mother).
"Maicuta" would be "dear little mother", but that never appears in liturgical texts proper, only in carols and para-liturgical songs.
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« Reply #73 on: January 13, 2011, 06:11:21 PM »


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 mothers
http://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:
Quote
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. 1869.
http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA21&dq=Theotokos&cd=2&id=J0kQAAAAIAAJ&as_brr=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
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.





Thank you for posting this as it was very insightful and interesting. If one is reverential in tone, it seems that there really is not a 'correct' answer  but rather a matter of preference or custom. As English is ever-evolving and adaptive we will just have to let the language evolve and solve the question for us.
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« Reply #74 on: January 13, 2011, 07:39:23 PM »

ME

Then me will refrain from correcting you grammar.

Quote
Of course my point is that language is porous and that labeling words "foreign" which native speakers of a language use is silly.

If I give you a list of words:

1 Taco
2 Theotokos
3 Mother
4 Tooth

and you cannot see that one possible division of this list would have 1 and 2 in one group, and 3 and 4 in another group, well...

That is what "foreign" means the way I used it. It's pretty obvious, and it's not silly.
Quote
And English is not "unique" in the way you describe. All languages pick up loan words.

Not Icelandic.

And by the way, 'English', whether American, British, Australian, etc., is the commonly accepted name of the language that originated in England, which is spoken by people all over the world. It's just a word. Language, dialect, foreign, native - all these words mean a variety of things, and that's okay. I'll stop referring to it as English when I can't readily understand someone from England. As it stands, we speak the same language.
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« Reply #75 on: January 13, 2011, 08:34:09 PM »

how bout MoM im addicted to pachomius so i throw theotokos out there quite abit
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« Reply #76 on: January 13, 2011, 11:08:22 PM »

In the 1000 years when Ireland and England and Spain and France were
Orthodox, the Orthodox of those nations did not feel that they had to do
violence to their languages and introduce the awkward term "Theotokos."   It
is something imported into American English over the last few decades.

Fr Aidan of Austin informs us that in all the Orthodox literature, secular,
theological, liturgical, homiletical, of Orthodox England, from the first
centuries to the Schism,  the word Theotokos occurs just... once - in a rather
questionable semi-magical prayer.

If we did not have Theotokos in Orthodox English for 1000 years, I daresay we
can manage without it until Doomsday comes around.

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« Reply #77 on: January 13, 2011, 11:56:12 PM »

In the ROCOR parish I attend, when they use English, they translate Theotokos as Birthgiver of God. 

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« Reply #78 on: January 14, 2011, 12:16:00 AM »

In the 1000 years when Ireland and England and Spain and France were
Orthodox, the Orthodox of those nations did not feel that they had to do
violence to their languages and introduce the awkward term "Theotokos."   It
is something imported into American English over the last few decades.

Fr Aidan of Austin informs us that in all the Orthodox literature, secular,
theological, liturgical, homiletical, of Orthodox England, from the first
centuries to the Schism,  the word Theotokos occurs just... once - in a rather
questionable semi-magical prayer.

If we did not have Theotokos in Orthodox English for 1000 years, I daresay we
can manage without it until Doomsday comes around.



Forgive me, Father, but I see two problems with that statement:

1) The Angles and Saxons wouldn't have had time to be Orthodox for most of those 1000 years, being latecomers to an already Christian Britannia.  St Augustine of Canterbury didn't get around to evangelizing them until late in the 6th century, leaving them 5-600 years of Orthodox England.

2) Given that pretty much any reference material we would have from Orthodox England would be ecclesiastic (written Old English appearing around the time of the schism), it would seem readily apparent that any references to the Theotokos would be in Latin and thus using the Roman Mater Dei.

The fact of the matter is you're not going to see Orthodox England using any "English" term for "Theotokos".

That is all I really have to contribute to this fascinating debate.  FWIW, I prefer "Theotokos" mainly because it's what's in the prayerbooks I have used and the Liturgies I have attended, and so it is what I am used to. 
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« Reply #79 on: January 14, 2011, 01:14:04 AM »

In the 1000 years when Ireland and England and Spain and France were
Orthodox, the Orthodox of those nations did not feel that they had to do
violence to their languages and introduce the awkward term "Theotokos."   It
is something imported into American English over the last few decades.

Fr Aidan of Austin informs us that in all the Orthodox literature, secular,
theological, liturgical, homiletical, of Orthodox England, from the first
centuries to the Schism,  the word Theotokos occurs just... once - in a rather
questionable semi-magical prayer.

If we did not have Theotokos in Orthodox English for 1000 years, I daresay we
can manage without it until Doomsday comes around.

:

Forgive me, Father, but I see two problems with that statement:

I was loosely bundling together all of Western Europe: Ireland, England, France, Spain...
Quote

1) The Angles and Saxons wouldn't have had time to be Orthodox for most of those 1000 years, being latecomers to an already Christian Britannia.  St Augustine of Canterbury didn't get around to evangelizing them until late in the 6th century, leaving them 5-600 years of Orthodox England.

All the more surprising then that Augustine did not bring into England the official term from the Council of Ephesus, Theotokos.

Neither did Patrick and the other missionary bishops take it into Ireland.

Nor did David, familiar with worship in Jerusalem, take it into Wales.
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« Reply #80 on: January 14, 2011, 02:33:19 AM »

In the 1000 years when Ireland and England and Spain and France were
Orthodox, the Orthodox of those nations did not feel that they had to do
violence to their languages and introduce the awkward term "Theotokos."   It
is something imported into American English over the last few decades.

Fr Aidan of Austin informs us that in all the Orthodox literature, secular,
theological, liturgical, homiletical, of Orthodox England, from the first
centuries to the Schism,  the word Theotokos occurs just... once - in a rather
questionable semi-magical prayer.

If we did not have Theotokos in Orthodox English for 1000 years, I daresay we
can manage without it until Doomsday comes around.

:

Forgive me, Father, but I see two problems with that statement:

I was loosely bundling together all of Western Europe: Ireland, England, France, Spain...
Quote

1) The Angles and Saxons wouldn't have had time to be Orthodox for most of those 1000 years, being latecomers to an already Christian Britannia.  St Augustine of Canterbury didn't get around to evangelizing them until late in the 6th century, leaving them 5-600 years of Orthodox England.

All the more surprising then that Augustine did not bring into England the official term from the Council of Ephesus, Theotokos.

Neither did Patrick and the other missionary bishops take it into Ireland.

Nor did David, familiar with worship in Jerusalem, take it into Wales.
Dear Father, St. David and St. Patrick wouldn't be speaking English. For one thing, the Anglo-Saxons were barely in the British Isles in their days, and the saints were with the Celts.

When the Anglo-Saxons got there, they did not feel that they had to do violence to their languages and introduce the awkward terms "Cross," "Saint," "Patriarch," "Virgin," "prophet," etc. Their descendants felt otherwise, once the French Normans came and put an end to Orthodox England.  Btw, it would "Dei Genetrix" as the official term (in the West) in St. Augustine's day.

Forgive me Father, as for their descendants in America importing it in the last few decades, I am afraid that is incorrect.  I've already come across Card. Newman using the term in the 1840's in England, and in his banter with the Anglicans during the 1860's, in England again. I am interested in what term Philip Ludwell III used.  As for its use in the magical formula, it shows at least some in England knew of the term before the 19th century.
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« Reply #81 on: January 14, 2011, 02:44:06 AM »


 I've already come across Card. Newman using the term in the 1840's in England, and in his banter with the Anglicans during the 1860's, in England again. I am interested in what term Philip Ludwell III used.  As for its use in the magical formula, it shows at least some in England knew of the term before the 19th century.

All the above amounts to special pleading.  It means nothing that a scholar such as Newman should use it in his banter with the Anglicans.  Was it used in his cathedrals and parish churches throughout England?  Lordie, he may have used the word apokatastasis but I wouldn't want to push that too far either.

A few years before his death Metropolitan Laurus gave his blessing for a reprint of the original Jordanville Prayerbook, which uses Mother of God throughout.  The English had staunchly refused to adopt the term theotokos.  This theotokos-less Prayerbook is in print and may be purchased.

The Church of Greece has the theotokos-less original on its website.

http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm


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« Reply #82 on: January 14, 2011, 10:09:47 AM »

In the ROCOR parish I attend, when they use English, they translate Theotokos as Birthgiver of God. 



ACROD has also used the term Birthgiver of God as well since the mid 80's although some parishes have started using Theotokas despite the use of Birthgiver in liturgical publications. i.e. "Commemorating our ever-holy, ever-pure, ever-blessed and glorious Lady, the Birth-giver of God and ever-Virgin Mary, together with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God."
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« Reply #83 on: January 14, 2011, 11:51:33 AM »

In the ROCOR parish I attend, when they use English, they translate Theotokos as Birthgiver of God.  



ACROD has also used the term Birthgiver of God as well since the mid 80's although some parishes have started using Theotokas despite the use of Birthgiver in liturgical publications. i.e. "Commemorating our ever-holy, ever-pure, ever-blessed and glorious Lady, the Birth-giver of God and ever-Virgin Mary, together with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God."

I have to say that anywhere where the issue has come up (i.e. what is said in prayers and liturgy) that I have seen, the choice revolved around "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God." "Mother of God" was not even in running. Not translating "Theotokos," I didn't notice it missing in the contest.
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« Reply #84 on: January 14, 2011, 02:09:24 PM »

FWIW, I've always understood "Theotokos" as glossed as "God-Bearer" or the like. "Mother of God" and "God-Bearer" are not necessarily the same thing. The latter seems to definitively uphold the Incarnation, while the former might elliptically do so, I believe it speaks more clearly to the personal relationship between the person of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary. Again both are not completely exclusive in their meaning, but I do believe each underscores a particular relationship the person of Mary had with her son and thus God.

Joseph after all was Jesus' father and had a fatherly personal relationship to him, although he did not beget him.

In the end, we are better off with both IMVHO. And Theotokos sounds better to these English ears than "God-Bearer". And "Birth-Giver" (which sounds equally as bad as "God-Bearer") is not quite like "God-Bearer". Mary bore God; she did not just give birth to Him. The English word "bear" here is quite felicitous due to its many shades of meanings which nuance Mary's role from the Conception till the end of the age.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bear

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« Reply #85 on: January 14, 2011, 02:24:26 PM »

I had thought, given the relative paucity of the use of the title of "Theotokos' versus "Blessed Virgin," "Virgin Mary," or "Our Lady" in the West before and after Ephesus (given the non-existence of Nestorianism in the West, at least until the Reformation), that the title shouldn't be expected to show up.  However, I came across this:
Quote
England
St. Augustine and his companions brought with them to England the Roman customs and traditions respecting the naming and dedication of churches. Altars were consecrated with the ashes of the martyrs. One of the earliest dedication prayers of the Anglo-Saxon Church runs thus: "Tibi, sancta Dei genitrix, virgo Maria [to you, Holy Birthgiver of God, Virgin Mary] (vel tibi, sancte J. B. Domini, . . . vel martyres Christi, vel confessores Domini) tibi commendamus hanc curam templi hujus, quod consecravimus Domino Deo nostro, ut hic intercessor existas; preces et vota offerentium hic Domino Deo offeras; odoramenta orationum plebis . . . ad patris thronum conferas", etc. (Lingard, "The History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church", II 40)
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11562a.htm
The source was published in 1845.

The Venerable Bede, unfortunately, writes only in Latin. But he chooses Dei Genetrix and not Mater Dei in his poem (at least attributed to him by the Anglo-Saxons) on Judgement Day, Versus de Die Iudicii, one of the most circulated poems of Anglo-Saxon England in the Isles and the Continent:
Quote
Quæ trahit alma Dei genetrix, pia Virgo Maria,
 Per benedicta Patris fulgenti regna paratu
http://www.apocalyptic-theories.com/map/bedejgd.htm
Verse and virtuosity: the adaptation of Latin rhetoric in Old English poetry By Janie Steen

The Survey The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Anglo-Saxon England By Mary Clayton, included several instances of "Dei Genetrix" and a few "Mater Domini" and even "Mater Christi"(!), but no "Mater Dei."
http://books.google.com/books?id=89cMonshJKgC&pg=PA101&dq=Dei+Genetrix+old+English&hl=en&ei=MYowTYSvD8GqlAepzPzMCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Dei%20Genetrix%20old%20English&f=false

Then the Anglo-Saxon "Godes Cennester" "Gods Birthgiver" does occur:
Old English Life of Mary of Egypt
http://books.google.com/books?id=1TAgAQAAIAAJ&q=godes+cennester&dq=godes+cennester&hl=en&ei=AJMwTeKeHoH7lwevuo3iCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA
On this work (and a mistranslation of "Godes Cennester" as "Mother of God" (which would be "Godes Modor"), in Clayton op. cit.
http://books.google.com/books?id=89cMonshJKgC&pg=PA257&dq=anglo+saxon+life+mary+of+egypt&hl=en&ei=dJcwTce9M8X7lwfU2tiSCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAQ#

Evidently there was a Middle English hymn, with the refrain "Dei Genertrix pia," in Latin.
http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/imev/record.php?recID=1074
http://books.google.com/books?id=7APbQxVR6icC&pg=PA72&dq=Versus+de+die+iudicii+widely+admired&hl=en&ei=eoYwTaCHAcX0gAfVlPzeCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Versus%20de%20die%20iudicii%20widely%20admired&f=false
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« Reply #86 on: January 14, 2011, 02:41:59 PM »


I had wondered about "Godes Cennester", or at the very least something involving "Cennester" and "God", but I didn't even know where on the Internet to start searching (once my one or two googles fell short) and wasn't quite sure how the grammatical construction would work (eg "God's Birthgiver" or "Birthgiver of God").
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« Reply #87 on: January 14, 2011, 04:19:55 PM »

In the ROCOR parish I attend, when they use English, they translate Theotokos as Birthgiver of God.  



ACROD has also used the term Birthgiver of God as well since the mid 80's although some parishes have started using Theotokas despite the use of Birthgiver in liturgical publications. i.e. "Commemorating our ever-holy, ever-pure, ever-blessed and glorious Lady, the Birth-giver of God and ever-Virgin Mary, together with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God."

I have to say that anywhere where the issue has come up (i.e. what is said in prayers and liturgy) that I have seen, the choice revolved around "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God." "Mother of God" was not even in running. Not translating "Theotokos," I didn't notice it missing in the contest.

The last Jordanville Prayer book to use "Mother of God" throughout was the 1986 edition.

See this on the website of the Church of Greece.
http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

It was a new edition in the 1990s which introduced the term theotokos to the Russians in the United States, in imitation of OCA prayer books.

Until that time it was also 'Mother of God" which was used liturgically in ROCA.

Although you may not know of the Theotokos/Mother of God tension, it led to a reprint of the Original Jordanville Prayer book in the UK in the years before Metropolitan Laurus ' death.  This was because he was aware that the English and others were persisting in their refusal to adopt the term theotokos.  So now we have two Jordanville Prayer books - the original theotokos-less one and the modern which uses theotokos.  It is also available from American church stores.

See
"Original Jordanville Prayer Book Back in Print"
.http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,5531.0.html



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« Reply #88 on: January 14, 2011, 05:18:23 PM »

In Russian Churches in America, we call the priest's wife, "Matushka", not "Little Mother" or "Priest's Wife", so what is the problem with not translating Theotokos, especially since "Mother of God" is not a perfect translation?
I was looking for what is the Chinese for Theotokos, and this thread came up (my son has expressed a desire to learn Chinese).  I found 上帝之母 Mother of God, and 圣母 Holy Mother but is there something based on 生 or 生育 or 产 or 养, give birth/produce/yield etc?

Btw, skimming through some Chinese Orthodox texts, it seems that the Orthodox have retained  上 帝  for God, despite the ruling of the Vatican long ago about that being unacceptable
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Rite_Controversy
am I reading that right?

I think the Latins wanted to get rid of Shangdi because of its pagan origins. Of course, the problem is, pretty much all of our words for God (e.g. "God", "Theos") have a pagan origin. As it is, when the average Chinese asks someone if he believes in God, in a general sense, he'll ask, "do you believe in Shangdi?" At least in my experience. Tianzhu is specifically Roman Catholic (Protestants also still use 上帝).

Actually, if one reads the following by Fr. Damascene, ShangDi did not start out as pagan, but was one and the same as Shaddai, Hebrew for the Lord Almighty!
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« Reply #89 on: January 14, 2011, 05:39:11 PM »

I'll stop referring to it as English when I can't readily understand someone from England. As it stands, we speak the same language.
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