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Author Topic: Theotokos (Birth-Giver of God) vs. Mother of God.  (Read 4624 times) Average Rating: 0
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ialmisry
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« on: January 07, 2012, 02:38:29 PM »

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27405.msg520154.html#msg520154
Quote
Quote
ialmisry on January 14, 2011, 02:33:19 AM
I am interested in what term Philip Ludwell III used

I'm still interested.

In 1762 Phillip Ludwell III uses "God-bearing" in his translation (approved by the Russian Holy Synod) of St. Peter Movila's "Orthodox Confession," at the time THE Orthodox Catechism.
http://books.google.com/books?id=Gs0HAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA85&dq=Orthodox+Confession+of+the+catholic+and+apostolic+Eastern-Church+God-Bearing&hl=en&sa=X&ei=jo8IT8L2FoOJgwfC8r2YAg&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 04:02:38 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Shouldn't both of these terms be considered mutually accurate? True they convey different emphases so they aren't exactly interchangeable, but they are still both correct in their theology aren't they?

Theotokos is a mechanical term correct? It explains that the Divine Godhead, made Flesh in the Incarnation by the Union, was in the physical womb of the Virgin Mary and was born there.  Nestorius didn't like that one bit did he, but we know it to be true and a necessary article of faith.

Mother of God is a bit different, and some folks have taken it to mean that the Godhead had its beginning in the womb because we have our beginnings in the womb.  However I think that is not the intended emphasis, especially when taken full in context with the term Theotokos already accepted.  What is a mother? A mother is a relationship, not necessarily a physicality right? We can have surrogate mothers, adopted mothers, fathers acting as mothers, spiritual mothers, motherly influences, cosmic mothers like the Earth/Pacha Mama, etc etc etc..

When Our Lady is the Mother of God, we are emphasizing Her direct relationship as the one who gave birth, who suckled, who protected, who honored, who first loved and knew and accepted our Savior.  Further Her maternal love for Jesus is an example we need to learn to follow.  A mother's love is unconditional right? She loves her children from the depth and core of her being, honors, respects, and cherishes them for their lives.  That is the relationship we all need to have with Jesus Christ, we need to love and honor and cherish and prioritize Him in our lives, as a mother does her children, as Our Mother and Our Lady Mary did with Her Blessed Son our Savior, born this day to Julian dinosaurs like me Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2012, 07:50:14 PM »


I agree with much of what Habte Selassie has said with regards to the distinction between "Mother of God" and "Birth-Giver of God". Both "Theotokos" (Birth-giver...) and "Mētēr tou Theou" (Mother...) are used in Greek hymns to Mary, and the latter term is abbreviated on almost all icons of her. Therefore whilst there might be a good reason for translating Theotokos as "Birth-giver", rather than as "Mother of God" (as I have sometimes seen), the two terms are not contradictory or in opposition to each other.
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2012, 08:08:44 PM »


A small treatise on Theotokos - Mother of God
by Father German the Abbot of Old Forge

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27405.msg431635.html#msg431635
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ialmisry
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2012, 12:23:22 AM »


A small treatise on Theotokos - Mother of God
by Father German the Abbot of Old Forge

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27405.msg431635.html#msg431635

LOL. His rather dogmatic statement "I say "Mother of God"...because such is the normal English for the title Theotokos" started the previous thread.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 12:39:45 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2012, 01:01:05 AM »


A small treatise on Theotokos - Mother of God
by Father German the Abbot of Old Forge

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27405.msg431635.html#msg431635

LOL. His rather dogmatic statement "I say "Mother of God"...because such is the normal English for the title Theotokos" started the previous thread.

The English and the Irish, the Welsh and the Scots, were Orthodox for going on 1000 years up until the Schism tore them out of the Church. We Irish were Christians -and ORTHODOX! We did not use the term "Theotokos." 

So what’s “normal” about it?  Why should we adopt it now for our prayers?

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.

Saint Augustine did not bring into England this term "Theotokos" from the Council of Ephesus.

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

Nor did Saint David, familiar with worship in Jerusalem, take it into Wales.
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2012, 01:07:29 AM »

Throwing in an old message of mine....................


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 'Mother of God" which was used liturgically in ROCA.

So in America we have been using Theotokos for not even 20 years.


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.  The original Prayer Book is available in American church stores.

See
"Original Jordanville Prayer Book Back in Print"
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,5531.0.html
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 01:29:42 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
ialmisry
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2012, 02:35:03 AM »


A small treatise on Theotokos - Mother of God
by Father German the Abbot of Old Forge

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27405.msg431635.html#msg431635

LOL. His rather dogmatic statement "I say "Mother of God"...because such is the normal English for the title Theotokos" started the previous thread.

The English and the Irish, the Welsh and the Scots, were Orthodox for going on 1000 years up until the Schism tore them out of the Church. We Irish were Christians -and ORTHODOX! We did not use the term "Theotokos."
The Anglo-Saxons used Godes Cennester, i.e. "God's Birther," IOW Theotokos.  That would go with the Scots that spoke Scotts.

As for the Celts, I don't know of what evidence we have on what they said.  I do know that they used Latin any case in their offices, which included "Dei Genitrix" (as opposed to "Mater Dei"), e.g.:
The Rosslyn Missal: an Irish manuscript in the advocates' library, Edinburgh
http://books.google.com/books?id=JHpCAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA80&lpg=PA80&dq=Dei+Genitrix+Ireland&source=bl&ots=0kMDpSGGbi&sig=zc7WJ53esHFmQFcCo25kHJkxFTs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tygJT6v5FcSogweGmcSOAg&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

So what’s “normal” about it?
It's as normal as "Virgin," "Evangelist," "Christ," "Christian," "Christianity," and the whole host of theological (another one) terms English had taken from Greek.

Why should we adopt it now for our prayers?

Depends on who "we" are, Father: many of us have been praying it for decades.  Indeed, as I pointed out on the original thread:
Quote
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."

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.

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.
and then, in response to your previous posting
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.

Saint Augustine did not bring into England this term "Theotokos" from the Council of Ephesus.

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

Nor did Saint David, familiar with worship in Jerusalem, take it into Wales.
Quote
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.

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

Going from Godes Cennester through Dei Genetrix to Theotokos/Thetocos,the earliest I've turned up so far is "The annals of the Church" By Edward Ambrose Burgis
http://books.google.com/books?id=jKYHAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA314&dq=Mary+Theotokos&hl=en&ei=-sYwTdnRGsnogAeNmK2HCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Mary%20Theotokos&f=false
who, in 1738 uses "Theotokos" in his summary of his prior (1712 onwards) discussions of the controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries.  Thereafter, the stream of publications in English using the term swells.

But in the meantime, I've been looking at some early translation.  All the ones done by Prof. Nicholas Orloff in London published by the MHGS of Russia (he dedicates them to Abp. Nicholas and St. Tikhon of North America, but commemorates the Czar and Queen Victoria):
Horologion, or Book of Hours. — Containing the daily devotions for the stated or canonical hours. Translated from the Slavic  (1897)
Octoechos: or The book of eight tones, a primer containing the Sunday Service in Eight Tones (1898)
http://books.google.com/books?id=yYMTAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
The general Menaion: or, The book of services common to the festivals of our Lord Jesus of the Holy Virgin and of the different orders of saints  (1898)
http://books.google.com/books?id=VgfZAAAAMAAJ&dq=General%20Menaion&source=gbs_similarbooks
The ferial Menaion: or, The book of services for the twelve great festivals and the new-year's day (1900)
http://books.google.com/books?id=_iYlAQAAIAAJ&source=gbs_similarbooks
use Theotokos.


The divine liturgies of our fathers among the saints John Chrysostom and Basil the Great with that of the presanctified preceded by the Hesperinos and the Orthros edited by James Nathaniel William Beauchamp Robertson
http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA14&dq=Robertson+Chrysostom+Liturgy&ei=rh4xTauqKMrLgQep0rytCw&ct=result&id=KDQ3AAAAMAAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false
This work, done in 1894 in London, is based on his earlier work:
Quote
In 1886 the Editor brought out an edition of the divine Liturgies of our Fathers among the Saints John Chrysostom and Basil the Great, in Greek and English. This work was commended by the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, and other Ecclesiastical Authorities
It has the added benefit of having the facing Greek Text. It uses Theotokos.

The office for the Lord's day, as prescribed by the Orthodox Greek Church, tr. [by S.G. Hatherly]. Published by Theodor Schermann in 1880
http://books.google.com/books?id=6e8CAAAAQAAJ&q=Schermann+Theotokos&dq=Schermann+Theotokos&hl=en&ei=aSQxTfKRM8XTgQeY9cCECw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBA
It uses Theotokos. On Fr. Hatherly:
http://orthodoxhistory.org/tag/stephen-hatherly/
This seems to be the same as his "The Divine Liturgies of our Holy Fathers, John the Goldenmouthed (S. Chrysostoni), and Basil the Great. From the Greek and Russian. London: Shepherd. 1865," which he states in his compendium of English translations of the DL in 1895 this 1865 "version was approved and sanctioned for English use by the Most Holy Governing Synod of the Church of All the Russias." A 1865 review "New Translations of Eastern Liturgies"
The Christian remembrancer; or, The Churchman's Biblical, ecclesiastical & literary miscellany
http://books.google.com/books?id=d_UDAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA427&dq=Hatherly+Divine+Liturgies+of+John+the+Golden-mouthed&hl=en&ei=dEYxTfP4NYjTgQfRhNilCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Hatherly%20Divine%20Liturgies%20of%20John%20the%20Golden-mouthed&f=false
puts it in the context of the translation of DL in England at the time.

Fr. Hatherly in 1895 reviewed the history of the DL in English in the compendium published as "Office of the credence & the divine liturgy of our father among the saints, John Chrysostom Archbishop of Constantinople, Done into English by John Covel D.D. 1722, John Glen King D.D. 1772, John Mason Neale D.D.  1859, & by the anonymous translator of 1866 [John Patrick Crichton, marquis of Bute]. Ed. & annotated by Stephen G. Hatherly, Proto-Presbyter of the Oecumenical Throne of Constantinople," in which he comments
Quote
Curiously enough, the only theological word not in common use of which all four translators agree in the rendering, is (I say it with reluctance and regret) incorrectly translated, viz.:—the important word Theotokos, given as "Mother of GOD :" but which, having been sufficiently commented on in footnote  at page 6, is here passed over.  On the other hand, the only occasion when the Greek phrase Meter tou Theou justifies the translated term given to Theotokos, Dr. King alone is in order. The generally careful 1866 translator, instead of Mother, gives us the word " Parent," a title given by all four translators, in accordance with
the originals, to Sts. Joakeim and Anna respectively. See footnote t on page 80.
Though having no connection with this I cannot but object to the American paraphrase "Bringer forth of GOD " (Papers Of the Russo-Greek Committee, No. VI. New York, 1865), as being more wordy than Mother of GOD; while the latest English proposal, based on the paraphrase " Bearer of GOD " is, as is " Parent of GOD," already appropriated to other Saints. See the Great Dismissal.

DR. COVEL. 1722
Especially for our all-holy, spotless, above all blessed, glorious Lady, Mother of GOD and always Virgin, Mary,

DR. KINO. 1772
Especially the most holy, most pure, most blessed, and glorious Lady, the Mother of GOD, and Ever-virgin Mary.
Choir sings:
It is meet and right to bless thee, who art most highly blessed above all, 0 most spotless, and the Mother of our GOD.t Thou who art purer than the Cherubim, and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim, who being immaculate, brought forth GOD the Word: we magnify thee the Mother of GOD.

DR. NEALE. 1859
Especially the most holy, undefiled, excellently laudable, glorious Lady, the Mother of GOD and Ever-virgin Mary.

Choir.
In thee, O Full of grace, (as in the Liturgy of S. James.)

ANONYMOUS. 1866
Especially our Lady, the all-holy, imma
culate, supremely blessed, glorious, Mary,
Mother of GOD and always a Virgin.

The Choir answers,

Meet is it to bless thee in truth, Mother of GOD, ever most blessed, altogether immaculate, and Parent of our GOD, more honourable than the Cherubim, and infinitely more glorious than the Seraphim: thee who didst without corruption bear GOD the Word, truly Mother of GOD, thee we magnify.

This is the one only place in the Liturgy, alluded to in note $  on page 6, in which the phrase "Mother of GOD " is borne out by the Greek. It is curious to observe the trouble which both the above translators put themselves to, to avoid the tautology of the triple occurrence, in so short ahymn, of what they treat as the same phrase. The first of the three occurrences Dr. King boldly omits, following by that safe course his own precedent on page 34 (see note If on page 35); and the second, or only real instance of Mother, becomes in the hands of the 1866 translator a mere " Parent," a title given on pages 10 and 11 to Sts. Joakeim and Anna, but not to the Ever-virgin Mary. Neither of these devices can be commended. Far better for the reader will it be to grasp the nettle firmly. The following is submitted as a preferential reading to both the above :—

It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, the ever most blessed, and entirely blameless, and Mother of our GOD. The more honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who didst bear without corruption GOD the Word: thee, verily the Theotokos, we magnify.
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010962879;q1=Theotokos;start=1;size=100;page=root;view=image;seq=15

Fr. Hatherly is in many ways the Father of the Eastern Rite in English.

So many have been praying "Theotokos" for over a century, and if Phillip Ludwell III translated the DL the same as the Catechism of the Orthodox Confession, "God-Bearing/God-bearer/Birth-Giver of God" has been given preference by native English speakers (Ethnic Orthodox only recently have tackled the issue of English terminology) over "Mother of God" for going on three centuries.

I have no preference as to "the normal, usual, common, frequent word in English" for

I do prefer accuracy in translation of liturgical texts (where "Birth-giver of God" wins over "Mother of God"), and accuracy as to history (where "Blessed Virgin Mary" wins over "Mother of God").  If the Abbot or any one else wants to use "Mother of God," more power to them.  Just do not claim the authority of usage that it doesn't have, particularly over terms that have better claims.
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2012, 05:27:14 AM »

The Anglo-Saxons used Godes Cennester, i.e. "God's Birther," IOW Theotokos.  

Provenance?  Frequency of use?  Without knowing those additional factors it does not mean much.

Fr Aidan Keller 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.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2012, 05:46:23 AM »

The Anglo-Saxons used Godes Cennester, i.e. "God's Birther," IOW Theotokos.  

Provenance?  Frequency of use?  Without knowing those additional factors it does not mean much.

It occurs once in an obscure Anglo-Saxon Life of Mary of Egypt -   can we see that as constituting a witness to a claim that it was"used" by the Anglo-Saxons.
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2012, 06:31:56 AM »

As for the Celts, I don't know of what evidence we have on what they said.  I do know that they used Latin any case in their offices, which included "Dei Genitrix" (as opposed to "Mater Dei"),

We have extant prayers in Old Irish where She is addressed as Mathair De –Mother of God- and not as Theotokos or Dei Genetrix.

Here for example in an 8th century Litany to Her

http://www.todayscatholicworld.com/irish-prayer-book.pdf

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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2012, 02:26:29 AM »

The Anglo-Saxons used Godes Cennester, i.e. "God's Birther," IOW Theotokos.  

Provenance?  Frequency of use?  Without knowing those additional factors it does not mean much.

It occurs once in an obscure Anglo-Saxon Life of Mary of Egypt -   can we see that as constituting a witness to a claim that it was"used" by the Anglo-Saxons.
I had a longer post the computer sucked up in crashing.  But in the meantime:the Anglo-Saxon glosses on the Latin hymns clearly distinguish between "Dei Genetrix"/"Godes cennestre" and "Mater Dei"/"Godes moder."

AElfric's gendered theology in the "Catholic Homilies", the First Series By Rebecca I. Starr, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
http://books.google.com/books?id=M_nd-xOA1EoC&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=%22godes+cennestre%22&source=bl&ots=m4l3ALKj88&sig=lhTBbu9G_IJxJ1CgaGurNfe6hUo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Q4ULT-yzJYL5ggeh7KGpBw&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22godes%20cennestre%22&f=false
This is supported by the OE dictionaries, which record "cennestre" as a common word, much like "walidah" is in Arabic.  It seems there are more than one instance in Old English of the forebear of "Birth-giver of God":
Quote
cynnestre, an; f. [cennan to bring forth, -estre a female termination, q. v.] One who brings forth, a mother; genitrix, mater :-- Ðæt cild oncneów Marian stemne, cynnestran the child knew the voice of Mary, the mother, Homl. Th. i. 352, 27
Add cennestre:-- Eálá ðú eádige Godes cennestre, symle mǽden Maria, Hml. Th. i. 546, 8. Cynnestre, 354, 20. Seó wæs cennnystre úres Drihtnes Hǽlendes Crístes, Hml. A. 117, 5. Þǽre hálgan Godes cennestran anlícnys, Hml. S. 23 b, 430. Seó cyrice is háli þǽre eádigan Godes cennestran, Gr. D. 88, 4. Þæt eádige mǽden his cennestran, Hml. Th. i. 438, 18.
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2012, 04:55:59 PM »

It seems there are more than one instance in Old English of the forebear of "Birth-giver of God":
Quote
...And the noun 'cennestre' was used almost exclusively for the Virgin Mary, to translate the Latin genetrix, with a dozen occurences of the phrase 'godes cennestre' occuring outside of the Old English Mary of Egypt....Interestingly, the Old English 'halige godes cennestre' (566) occurs where there is no 'Theotokos' in the Greek.
Old English life of Mary of Egypt D. G. Scragg, Western Michigan University. Medieval Institute
http://books.google.com/books?id=1TAgAQAAIAAJ&q=Theotokos+in+the+Greek+49&dq=Theotokos+in+the+Greek+49&hl=en&sa=X&ei=5GUMT-qYCorcrAGjgP3TBQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA

"Anglia: Volume 87"
http://books.google.com/books?id=XR8xAAAAIAAJ&q=%22godes+cennestre%22&dq=%22godes+cennestre%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9GYMT5j8HsP7rQHa9OnSBQ&ved=0CE4Q6AEwBjgK
has an article that unfortunately I can't get the whole context from the snippets, but "pointing out that the term godes cennestre for the Virgin Mary was formulaic"  and a snippet in "Festschrift für Walter Hübner: Herausgegeben von Dieter Riesner und Helmut Gneuss"
http://books.google.com/books?id=WfUlAAAAMAAJ&q=%22godes+cennestre%22&dq=%22godes+cennestre%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9GYMT5j8HsP7rQHa9OnSBQ&ved=0CEkQ6AEwBTgK
has it that
Quote
It is the object of this paper to touch upon some of these problems [at textual restoration].  In order to discuss certain methods used in textual emenedation I have selected...taken from medieval MSS.,...readings I have suggested myself...the alteration of a MS-form hitherto acknowledged as genuine is proposed,...Among the unique expressions in the vocabulary of the Anglo-Saxons the word cyninge 'queen' is listed by the dictionaries. Actually, only the genitive cyningan is on record, but the recorded form no doubt justifies this lexical entry.  It appears, therefore, that a week [sic] feminine noun cyninge existed alongside the masculine cyning just as in the pairs scinlaece 'sorceress' and scinlaca 'sorcerer', or in theowe 'female servant' and theow 'male servant.'  When I came upon this expression in a recent investigation of the OE feminine suffixes,["Die weiblichen Genussuffixe im Altenglischen," Anglia 76 (1958), 479-504) I began to wonder if I had met with a ghost-word.  Considering the frequency of queens in OE literature, it seemed strange that a synonym for cwen should not have been recorded more than once.  The doubtful word is used of the Virgin Mary in the following sentence:aefter thaere bysne thaere halgan Godes cyningan, which means 'according to the example of the holy queen of God."  This struck me as anomalous, because 'holy quenn of God' is a very unusual way of referring to the Virgin Mary.  The sentence appears in a homily which is the translation of a sermon attributed to St. Augustine.  Unfortunately, this particular passage has no support in the Latin source owing to a free rendering, but elsewhere in this sermon the Latin word genetrix is normally used with reference to the Virgin Mary.  Now genetrix is frequently rendered by the phrase Godes cennestre, usually translated as 'God's mother', but more literally, of course, 'she who conceived God', an expression recorded several in times in Aelfric's Homilies and other contemporary prose works.  Was it possible that owing to some misunderstanding of the scribe had replaced a godes cennestran of the original by the unusual godes cynigan?
Yet this, I felt, would be a somewhat rash assumption.  No conservative critic would tamper with his text unless there is proof, or very strong reason to believe, that the proposed reading, rather than that of the original, represents the author's intention. Even if it is true that the Virgin Mary is not elsewhere described as 'God's queen', the phrase godes cennestran, if compared with godes cyningan, suggests a rather violent deviation from the original reading.  It occurred to me, however, that godes cen(n)i(c)gan would be a more plausible alternative.  This, while being semantically identical with godes cennestran, is not only formally nearer to godes cyningan, but it also takes into account the evidence of dialect.
OE cennic(g)e, the nominative form of cennic(g)an, is also a translation of genetrix, but it is a rare word and confined to a single text, the Ritual of Durham.  But there is sufficient evidence to prove that the rare feminine suffix -icge is a feature of the Anglian dialect, while the more frequent suffix-estre is confined to the Southern areas of England.  Recent investigations of the language of the Blickling Homilies have convicingly demonstrated that these homilies, though copied in West Saxon, were composed in Anglian.  In view of this fact it seems reasonable enough to assume that an original godes cen(n)i(c)gan was misunderstood by the West Saxon scribe who confused the unfamiliar Northern word with the familiar cyning, which he must have believed to have existed in a feminie form.  It looks indeed suspiciously like some case of popular etymology.  If this is accepted, the scribe's error can be listed under the general heading "Correction of apparent difficulties", because he became a victim of the tendency to make his text read well by substituting easy words for archaic and plain for obscure. But even if this is looked upon as an interesting example of a lectio difficilior, I do not claim more than a comparatively high degree of probability for this emendation. It looks like a case where the limit is reached that separates a guess, however well founded, from irrefutable proof, because the evidence is such that some doubts are likely to remain.
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2012, 05:23:12 PM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2012, 05:48:37 PM »

While the vernacular devotional terminology of pre-schism insular Christians is of some academic interest, I don't really see it's relevence to the supposed underlying question.

In the first place, both languages have changed so much from their 'Old' form that they are as effectively foreign languages to most modern speakers (indeed, for most of the cultural descendents of the Old Gaelic speakers, Modern English is their native language and Gaelic is literally a foreign language). Two examples off the top of my head: one of the most common Anglo-Saxon terms for God was 'Heofones weard' (lit. Heaven's Guardian), a term I don't recall ever seeing in modern usage--not because it's incorrect, but 'guardian' simply doesn't have the same cultural significance it did in Old English where the term itself carried almost sacred overtones going well back into their pagan past. Then there is Caedmon's hymn which refers to the Holy Spirit as God's 'modgethanc' - a term that is almost untranslatable into Modern English except as something at least as awkward as Birthgiver of God (something along the lines of 'God's mind-intention').

In the second place, ialmisry is very right to emphasize the Latin usage. Insular christians did write devotions in the vernacular. But Latin was still the official liturgical and theological language. Which seems to be the point the original article is missing. No one (I think, I only skimmed the original thread) objects to the use of 'Mother of God' as a devotional term for the Blessed Virgin. But ever since the Nestorian controversy and the Council of Ephesus, 'Theotokos' and its literal translations has held a special place for Orthodox *not* as a devotional term for the Mother of God but as a point of Christological doctrine. The Nestorians didn't object to 'Mother of God' because, after all, one can be an adoptive Mother, so they could hold to their heresy and still use that term with their own particular spin on it. But what they couldn't say was 'Theotokos' since that would have meant admitting that the child born of the Virgin was literally God Himself (and not God 'assuming the human being she gave birth to').

Therefore, in devotions to the Theotokos, one can prefer the term Mother of God, or any of the  60-odd other terms used in that Old Gaelic litany, or the (I would think) hundreds of others that have been invented by the pious over the centuries. You could even call her Mother of Christ and be literally correct. But whatever you personally prefer to  call her in devotional contexts, on the theological level (when the insular Christians would have turned to Latin to make sure they were clear) an Orthodox Christian must be willing to confess that she is the Birthgiver of God/Theotokos, regardless of how awkward or foreign the construction feels.

(In turn, since we must use Theotokos in certain confessional contexts, for some people at least, the term begins to feel natural which is how all kinds of foreign words end up becoming normal English over time: admiral, chemist, algebra, Messiah, saint)
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2012, 06:00:25 PM »

While the vernacular devotional terminology of pre-schism insular Christians is of some academic interest, I don't really see it's relevence to the supposed underlying question.

In the first place, both languages have changed so much from their 'Old' form that they are as effectively foreign languages to most modern speakers (indeed, for most of the cultural descendents of the Old Gaelic speakers, Modern English is their native language and Gaelic is literally a foreign language). Two examples off the top of my head: one of the most common Anglo-Saxon terms for God was 'Heofones weard' (lit. Heaven's Guardian), a term I don't recall ever seeing in modern usage--not because it's incorrect, but 'guardian' simply doesn't have the same cultural significance it did in Old English where the term itself carried almost sacred overtones going well back into their pagan past. Then there is Caedmon's hymn which refers to the Holy Spirit as God's 'modgethanc' - a term that is almost untranslatable into Modern English except as something at least as awkward as Birthgiver of God (something along the lines of 'God's mind-intention').

In the second place, ialmisry is very right to emphasize the Latin usage. Insular christians did write devotions in the vernacular. But Latin was still the official liturgical and theological language. Which seems to be the point the original article is missing. No one (I think, I only skimmed the original thread) objects to the use of 'Mother of God' as a devotional term for the Blessed Virgin. But ever since the Nestorian controversy and the Council of Ephesus, 'Theotokos' and its literal translations has held a special place for Orthodox *not* as a devotional term for the Mother of God but as a point of Christological doctrine. The Nestorians didn't object to 'Mother of God' because, after all, one can be an adoptive Mother, so they could hold to their heresy and still use that term with their own particular spin on it. But what they couldn't say was 'Theotokos' since that would have meant admitting that the child born of the Virgin was literally God Himself (and not God 'assuming the human being she gave birth to').

Therefore, in devotions to the Theotokos, one can prefer the term Mother of God, or any of the  60-odd other terms used in that Old Gaelic litany, or the (I would think) hundreds of others that have been invented by the pious over the centuries. You could even call her Mother of Christ and be literally correct. But whatever you personally prefer to  call her in devotional contexts, on the theological level (when the insular Christians would have turned to Latin to make sure they were clear) an Orthodox Christian must be willing to confess that she is the Birthgiver of God/Theotokos, regardless of how awkward or foreign the construction feels.

(In turn, since we must use Theotokos in certain confessional contexts, for some people at least, the term begins to feel natural which is how all kinds of foreign words end up becoming normal English over time: admiral, chemist, algebra, Messiah, saint)


Quite agree that as a theological term Theotokos has a very necessary place.

Btw,  if it follows the usual norms of anglicisation of Greek words it will become "Theotoke"  -pronounced "Thea" (the girl's name) and "toke" (as in 'one toke over the line....')
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2012, 06:03:07 PM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."

OFFICIALLY, neither does ACROD, although many priests have substituted it for the terminology in the Diocesan publications.

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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2012, 06:13:03 PM »

The Anglo-Saxons used Godes Cennester, i.e. "God's Birther," IOW Theotokos.  

Provenance?  Frequency of use?  Without knowing those additional factors it does not mean much.

Fr Aidan Keller 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.


Strange that he should employ it often in his translation of Orthodox Prayers of Old England.
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2012, 06:28:54 PM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."
Just time for a quick remark:the choice comes down to "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God" IMHO to borrow or translate the Greek term.  That decision, however, depends on a wider issue of English as a whole:does it go with loan words, or Anglo-Saxon roots, a question of linguistic Anschauung (or should I say "viewpoint"?) beyond Church talk.
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2012, 06:32:46 PM »

The Anglo-Saxons used Godes Cennester, i.e. "God's Birther," IOW Theotokos.  

Provenance?  Frequency of use?  Without knowing those additional factors it does not mean much.

Fr Aidan Keller 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.


Strange that he should employ it often in his translation of Orthodox Prayers of Old England.

Father Aidan has chosen to translate "Dei genetrix" into English as "Theotokos" but that is an arbitrary choice.   "Deipara" is the better translation of "Theotokos."

Something from Fr Aidan on Occidentalis.

"Use of "Theotokos" by Anglophone Orthodox Christians is so widespread by now,
that it really is not a Hellenic point, or an Evangelical-background point, so
much as a common usage.

"But that usage is far from universal. There are parts of the world where it has
never caught on, and they view it as rather outlandish.

"Here in Austin, I had the parish title change from "Theotokos" to "Mother of
God" (we are named for her Protection).

"Fr. Aidan+
a sinner"
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2012, 06:37:49 PM »

My sincere apology.  It was not Father Aidan who made that remark.

Here is what he wrote on Occidentalis...

"A very passionate apologia from Fr. Abbot German.

"I would only point out that he is entirely factually mistaken when he says that
"O Teotocos" was used in the Western liturgy only in the context of a folk
exorcism prayer mingled with superstitious elements.

"That is far off the mark. The antiphon "Ave o Teotocos" was part of the ancient
Roman rite and used all over Europe for the feast of the Annunciation. Of
course, "Theotokos" was not a common word, but neither was it confined to such a
dubious usage.
"
.......

"However, it was never
used very frequently at all, and only occurs once or twice in the whole year in
the Sarum service books (I can think only of the antiphon, Ave O Theotocos)."
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« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2012, 01:24:14 AM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."
Just time for a quick remark:the choice comes down to "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God" IMHO to borrow or translate the Greek term.  That decision, however, depends on a wider issue of English as a whole:does it go with loan words, or Anglo-Saxon roots, a question of linguistic Anschauung (or should I say "viewpoint"?) beyond Church talk.

I fully agree ialmisry. Since the Eastern services usually come to us from the Greek, ideally they should be rendered as literally as possible into English. We have, as an example in the small paraclesis canon to the [insert your favourite term for the Holy Virgin Mother] three terms in Greek and Slavonic:
Θεοτοκος   Θεογεννήτρια  Θεομὴτορ
Богородица  Богородитильнице  Богоматери:     however we only have two in English to my knowledge:
Birthgiver of God and Mother of God.
I am far from an expert in liturgical language or linguistics, but I would invite any who are to comment.
Incidentally: In the last Theotokion (can anyone think of a term in English?) in the 7th ode of the Small Paraclesis we have:
Σωμάτων μαλακίασ, καἰ ψυχῶν ἀρρωτείας, Θεογεννήτρια... p. 36, the English translation reads:
For weakness of body and sickness of soul, O Theotokos...p 371.
It seems that where the Greek uses Θεογεννήτρια then the English is better rendered Birthgiver of God, even if it has not been such a common term in the few decades of English Orthodox services.
My sources are as follows:
Greek: ΜΕΓΑΣ ΙΕΡΟΣ ΣΥΝΕΚΔΗΜΟΣ, ΑΘΗΝΑΙ, ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΦΩΣ [no date]
Slavonic (sorry my computer doesn't have slavonic fonts for email)
великiй ЧАСОСЛОВЪ, Москва, Паломникъ, 1995.
Unabbreviated Horolgion or Book of the Hours, [No publisher marked but I presume it's Jordanville] Trans. Rassaphor-monk Laurence, 2nd ed. 1994, 2nd printing 1997.
What are your thoughts?
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« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2012, 03:10:12 AM »

"It is truly meet to praise thee, to bless thee, O Theotokos,
who are ever blessed, and all blameless, and the MOTHER OF OUR GOD..."  (Greek-Mitera to Theou Imon.)

We should not attempt to act as theologians when our Holy Church has decided upon these matters, centuries ago.
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« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2012, 05:55:04 AM »

"It is truly meet to praise thee, to bless thee, O Theotokos,
who are ever blessed, and all blameless, and the MOTHER OF OUR GOD..."  (Greek-Mitera to Theou Imon.)

This is one reason why Theotokos cannot really be translated as "Mother of God" -- the most well-known hymn to Mary contains both "Theotokos" and "Mitera to Theou". If we translate the latter as Mother of God then we cannot also translate the former in the same way - two distinct names are used, so it is worth preserving the distinction.

I tend to agree with the opinion I've heard that teachings about the Theotokos properly belong to the "inner-life" of the Church - and it is the Gospel of the Christ which is shared with the whole world. That said, do Orthodox Christians really have a problem saying, or understanding the meaning of, Theotokos? It doesn't take particularly long to explain does it? Theotokos = Birth-giver of God, a name of honour given to Mary, Christ's earthly mother, and a title that proclaims Jesus' divinity. English has plenty of words loaned from other languages, and many Christian terms are borrowed directly from Greek, so if "Birth-giver of God" doesn't scan well in hymns, I don't think Theotokos causes unnecessary confusion.
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« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2012, 06:26:04 AM »

This is one reason why Theotokos cannot really be translated as "Mother of God"

Us oldies never knew the term "Theotokos."   Up until the 1990s, less than 20 years ago,  "Mother of God" was all that was used liturgically in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Ditto for our Prayer Books which used only "Mother of God."    So, for many of us as Fr Aidan says, Theotokos is an outlandish term and we cannot feel the warmth which we feel with "Mother of God."
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« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2012, 10:29:37 AM »

This is one reason why Theotokos cannot really be translated as "Mother of God"

Us oldies never knew the term "Theotokos."   Up until the 1990s, less than 20 years ago,  "Mother of God" was all that was used liturgically in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Ditto for our Prayer Books which used only "Mother of God."    So, for many of us as Fr Aidan says, Theotokos is an outlandish term and we cannot feel the warmth which we feel with "Mother of God."

In ACROD we also have the term 'Mother of God' in all of our prayerbooks and service books as was the case with ACROD. However, many priests have simply substituted 'Theotokas' as a matter of,  I suppose, personal preference - perhaps thinking it 'sounds' 'more Orthodox.'

SS. Cyril and Methodius apparently did not have this problem, as they did not directly insert the Greek word 'Theotokas' into their translations of the services of the Church, i.e. 'Bohorododice'.

I am used to any of the 'three' variants, but I think that the passion that this creates in some of the 'Theotokas' advocates is misplaced and unnecessary.
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« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2012, 12:00:44 PM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."
Just time for a quick remark:the choice comes down to "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God" IMHO to borrow or translate the Greek term.  That decision, however, depends on a wider issue of English as a whole:does it go with loan words, or Anglo-Saxon roots, a question of linguistic Anschauung (or should I say "viewpoint"?) beyond Church talk.

I fully agree ialmisry. Since the Eastern services usually come to us from the Greek, ideally they should be rendered as literally as possible into English. We have, as an example in the small paraclesis canon to the [insert your favourite term for the Holy Virgin Mother] three terms in Greek and Slavonic:
Θεοτοκος   Θεογεννήτρια  Θεομὴτορ
Богородица  Богородитильнице  Богоматери:     however we only have two in English to my knowledge:
Birthgiver of God and Mother of God.
I am far from an expert in liturgical language or linguistics, but I would invite any who are to comment.
Incidentally: In the last Theotokion (can anyone think of a term in English?) in the 7th ode of the Small Paraclesis we have:
Σωμάτων μαλακίασ, καἰ ψυχῶν ἀρρωτείας, Θεογεννήτρια... p. 36, the English translation reads:
For weakness of body and sickness of soul, O Theotokos...p 371.
It seems that where the Greek uses Θεογεννήτρια then the English is better rendered Birthgiver of God, even if it has not been such a common term in the few decades of English Orthodox services.
My sources are as follows:
Greek: ΜΕΓΑΣ ΙΕΡΟΣ ΣΥΝΕΚΔΗΜΟΣ, ΑΘΗΝΑΙ, ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΦΩΣ [no date]
Slavonic (sorry my computer doesn't have slavonic fonts for email)
великiй ЧАСОСЛОВЪ, Москва, Паломникъ, 1995.
Unabbreviated Horolgion or Book of the Hours, [No publisher marked but I presume it's Jordanville] Trans. Rassaphor-monk Laurence, 2nd ed. 1994, 2nd printing 1997.
What are your thoughts?
Adelphi

I agree that Θεογεννήτρια, is what is rightly translated as "Birthgiver of God"  (Богородитильнице)
Θεοτοκος (Богородица) is probably "most accurately" translated "maternal God-bearer," not Birthgiver of God (Θεογεννήτρια) nor Mother of God (Θεομὴτορ, Богоматери).   

By the same token, I do agree that "Mother of God" does have a longstanding place in English as the translation of Theotokos. 
 
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« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2012, 01:04:39 PM »

"It is truly meet to praise thee, to bless thee, O Theotokos,
who are ever blessed, and all blameless, and the MOTHER OF OUR GOD..."  (Greek-Mitera to Theou Imon.)

We should not attempt to act as theologians when our Holy Church has decided upon these matters, centuries ago.
Hence the importance of the distinction:Nestorius didn't have a problem with Meter tou Theo.

Btw, the issue of the distinction in Anglo-Saxon I bring up only as a basis that English, like every other language the Orthodox use, should have the distinction it made when it was Christianized.  I don't advocate forming a new word off of Godes Cennestre, just providing a solid basis in English of the use of "Birth-giver of God" or "Theotokos."
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« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2012, 01:14:00 PM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."
Just time for a quick remark:the choice comes down to "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God" IMHO to borrow or translate the Greek term.  That decision, however, depends on a wider issue of English as a whole:does it go with loan words, or Anglo-Saxon roots, a question of linguistic Anschauung (or should I say "viewpoint"?) beyond Church talk.

I fully agree ialmisry. Since the Eastern services usually come to us from the Greek, ideally they should be rendered as literally as possible into English. We have, as an example in the small paraclesis canon to the [insert your favourite term for the Holy Virgin Mother] three terms in Greek and Slavonic:
Θεοτοκος   Θεογεννήτρια  Θεομὴτορ
Богородица  Богородитильнице  Богоматери:     however we only have two in English to my knowledge:
Birthgiver of God and Mother of God.
I am far from an expert in liturgical language or linguistics, but I would invite any who are to comment.
Incidentally: In the last Theotokion (can anyone think of a term in English?) in the 7th ode of the Small Paraclesis we have:
Σωμάτων μαλακίασ, καἰ ψυχῶν ἀρρωτείας, Θεογεννήτρια... p. 36, the English translation reads:
For weakness of body and sickness of soul, O Theotokos...p 371.
It seems that where the Greek uses Θεογεννήτρια then the English is better rendered Birthgiver of God, even if it has not been such a common term in the few decades of English Orthodox services.
My sources are as follows:
Greek: ΜΕΓΑΣ ΙΕΡΟΣ ΣΥΝΕΚΔΗΜΟΣ, ΑΘΗΝΑΙ, ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΦΩΣ [no date]
Slavonic (sorry my computer doesn't have slavonic fonts for email)
великiй ЧАСОСЛОВЪ, Москва, Паломникъ, 1995.
Unabbreviated Horolgion or Book of the Hours, [No publisher marked but I presume it's Jordanville] Trans. Rassaphor-monk Laurence, 2nd ed. 1994, 2nd printing 1997.
What are your thoughts?
Adelphi

I agree that Θεογεννήτρια, is what is rightly translated as "Birthgiver of God"  (Богородитильнице)
Θεοτοκος (Богородица) is probably "most accurately" translated "maternal God-bearer," not Birthgiver of God (Θεογεννήτρια)
the problem with "God-bearer" is the confusion with "Theophoros," also used often enough.

Θεογεννήτρια doesn't strike me as all that common, and if I had to translate it literally, it would be something on the lines of "God-conceiver." τόκος means "child-birth, partuition," etc.  γέννα "origin, descent."  Not having had my first pot yet (of coffee), I can't do better than that at present.
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« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2012, 01:15:13 PM »

This is one reason why Theotokos cannot really be translated as "Mother of God"

Us oldies never knew the term "Theotokos."   Up until the 1990s, less than 20 years ago,  "Mother of God" was all that was used liturgically in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Ditto for our Prayer Books which used only "Mother of God."    So, for many of us as Fr Aidan says, Theotokos is an outlandish term and we cannot feel the warmth which we feel with "Mother of God."

In ACROD we also have the term 'Mother of God' in all of our prayerbooks and service books as was the case with ACROD. However, many priests have simply substituted 'Theotokas' as a matter of,  I suppose, personal preference - perhaps thinking it 'sounds' 'more Orthodox.'

SS. Cyril and Methodius apparently did not have this problem, as they did not directly insert the Greek word 'Theotokas' into their translations of the services of the Church, i.e. 'Bohorododice'.

I am used to any of the 'three' variants, but I think that the passion that this creates in some of the 'Theotokas' advocates is misplaced and unnecessary.

The Abbott seemed quite passionate about "Mother of God."
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« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2012, 03:03:40 PM »

This is one reason why Theotokos cannot really be translated as "Mother of God"

Us oldies never knew the term "Theotokos." 

But you would know the prayer "It is truly meet..." I presume; I wonder, how was this prayer translated into English, and what word was used instead of Theotokos?
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« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2012, 03:50:36 PM »

Version previously used by the Byzantine Catholic Church:

It is truly proper to glorify you, who have borne God, the Ever-blessed, Immaculate, and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim,
who, a virgin, gave birth to God the Word, you, truly the Mother of God, we magnify.

http://www.byzcath.org/index.php/resources-mainmenu-63/a-rule-of-prayer/2705

1986 Jordanville Prayerbook:

It is meet and right to bless thee, the ever-blessed and all-pure Virgin and Mother of our God.
More honourable than the Cherubim, and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim,
thou who in virginity didst bear God the Word, thee, true Mother of God, we magnify.
 
http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/prayerbook/liturgy.htm#15
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« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2012, 04:11:36 PM »

This is one reason why Theotokos cannot really be translated as "Mother of God"

Us oldies never knew the term "Theotokos."   Up until the 1990s, less than 20 years ago,  "Mother of God" was all that was used liturgically in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Ditto for our Prayer Books which used only "Mother of God."    So, for many of us as Fr Aidan says, Theotokos is an outlandish term and we cannot feel the warmth which we feel with "Mother of God."

In ACROD we also have the term 'Mother of God' in all of our prayerbooks and service books as was the case with ACROD. However, many priests have simply substituted 'Theotokas' as a matter of,  I suppose, personal preference - perhaps thinking it 'sounds' 'more Orthodox.'

SS. Cyril and Methodius apparently did not have this problem, as they did not directly insert the Greek word 'Theotokas' into their translations of the services of the Church, i.e. 'Bohorododice'.

I am used to any of the 'three' variants, but I think that the passion that this creates in some of the 'Theotokas' advocates is misplaced and unnecessary.

The Abbott seemed quite passionate about "Mother of God."

True, I guess I don't tied up in an emotional state on this issue and can live with any of the three...
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« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2012, 04:14:20 PM »

Version previously used by the Byzantine Catholic Church:

It is truly proper to glorify you, who have borne God, the Ever-blessed, Immaculate, and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim,
who, a virgin, gave birth to God the Word, you, truly the Mother of God, we magnify.

http://www.byzcath.org/index.php/resources-mainmenu-63/a-rule-of-prayer/2705

1986 Jordanville Prayerbook:

It is meet and right to bless thee, the ever-blessed and all-pure Virgin and Mother of our God.
More honourable than the Cherubim, and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim,
thou who in virginity didst bear God the Word, thee, true Mother of God, we magnify.
 
http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/prayerbook/liturgy.htm#15


From the ACROD pew book, 1987:

You are truly deserving of glory, O Birth-giver of God, the ever-blessed and most pure Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim and beyond comparison more glorious than the Seraphim, who as a Virgin gave birth to the Word of God, true Birth-giver of God, we magnify you.

http://aggreen.net/liturgics/C-R_Div_Lit.html


I just thought of something from when we first started singing Choral English when I was in High School - maybe about 1969 or so. The translation of Dostojno Jest began "Meet, it is in truth..." which to all of the school kids in the choir sounded a heck of a lot like - 'Meat, it isn't true....'   Grin

The point is that if you use vernacular, it has to make sense or else you may as well use a dead language.

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« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2012, 04:29:27 PM »

"Btw, the issue of the distinction in Anglo-Saxon I bring up only as a basis that English, like every other language the Orthodox use, should have the distinction it made when it was Christianized.  I don't advocate forming a new word off of Godes Cennestre, just providing a solid basis in English of the use of "Birth-giver of God" or "Theotokos."

I can only repeat that "Godes Cennestre" occurs once in an obscure Anglo-Saxon Life of Mary of Egypt.  To claim that this one rare occurence constitutes a "solid basis in English" is farfetched indeed.
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« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2012, 04:48:32 PM »

This is one reason why Theotokos cannot really be translated as "Mother of God"

Us oldies never knew the term "Theotokos." 

But you would know the prayer "It is truly meet..." I presume; I wonder, how was this prayer translated into English, and what word was used instead of Theotokos?

This what what the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad used up until the last 15 years.

It is the Liturgy in the Jordanville Prayer Book as reproduced on the Myriobiblos site.  Interesting that the Greeks are OK with “Mother of God.” 

To find the text go to
http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm
and find Liturgy in the left column and click on “The Consecration”

“It is meet and right to bless thee, the ever-blessed and all-pure Virgin and Mother of our God. More honourable than the Cherubim, and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim, thou who in virginity didst bear God the Word, thee, true Mother of God, we magnify.”

Btw, the Russian Church now prints TWO Jordanville Prayer Books.  Since the 1990s one has "Theotokos" and the other one uses the original text and is "Theotokos"-free.
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« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2012, 05:40:51 PM »

Theotokos is best because it makes us sound more Orthodox in America!!!  Smiley  (no, not serious, though I do prefer Theotokos, to the point where if I'm printing something out that's one of the things I will edit)
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« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2012, 10:00:58 PM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."
Just time for a quick remark:the choice comes down to "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God" IMHO to borrow or translate the Greek term.  That decision, however, depends on a wider issue of English as a whole:does it go with loan words, or Anglo-Saxon roots, a question of linguistic Anschauung (or should I say "viewpoint"?) beyond Church talk.

I fully agree ialmisry. Since the Eastern services usually come to us from the Greek, ideally they should be rendered as literally as possible into English. We have, as an example in the small paraclesis canon to the [insert your favourite term for the Holy Virgin Mother] three terms in Greek and Slavonic:
Θεοτοκος   Θεογεννήτρια  Θεομὴτορ
Богородица  Богородитильнице  Богоматери:     however we only have two in English to my knowledge:
Birthgiver of God and Mother of God.
I am far from an expert in liturgical language or linguistics, but I would invite any who are to comment.
Incidentally: In the last Theotokion (can anyone think of a term in English?) in the 7th ode of the Small Paraclesis we have:
Σωμάτων μαλακίασ, καἰ ψυχῶν ἀρρωτείας, Θεογεννήτρια... p. 36, the English translation reads:
For weakness of body and sickness of soul, O Theotokos...p 371.
It seems that where the Greek uses Θεογεννήτρια then the English is better rendered Birthgiver of God, even if it has not been such a common term in the few decades of English Orthodox services.
My sources are as follows:
Greek: ΜΕΓΑΣ ΙΕΡΟΣ ΣΥΝΕΚΔΗΜΟΣ, ΑΘΗΝΑΙ, ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΦΩΣ [no date]
Slavonic (sorry my computer doesn't have slavonic fonts for email)
великiй ЧАСОСЛОВЪ, Москва, Паломникъ, 1995.
Unabbreviated Horolgion or Book of the Hours, [No publisher marked but I presume it's Jordanville] Trans. Rassaphor-monk Laurence, 2nd ed. 1994, 2nd printing 1997.
What are your thoughts?
Adelphi

I agree that Θεογεννήτρια, is what is rightly translated as "Birthgiver of God"  (Богородитильнице)
Θεοτοκος (Богородица) is probably "most accurately" translated "maternal God-bearer," not Birthgiver of God (Θεογεννήτρια)
the problem with "God-bearer" is the confusion with "Theophoros," also used often enough.

Θεογεννήτρια doesn't strike me as all that common, and if I had to translate it literally, it would be something on the lines of "God-conceiver." τόκος means "child-birth, partuition," etc.  γέννα "origin, descent."  Not having had my first pot yet (of coffee), I can't do better than that at present.

Isa, that is specifically why I said it is most accurately translated MATERNAL GOD-BEARER. 
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« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2012, 10:10:00 PM »

Maybe, just maybe God-birther...no, too much politics. 

"God carrier"=Theophoros
"God bearer"=Theotokos

We use Theotokos way more than Theophoros. 
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« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2012, 11:15:17 PM »

"Btw, the issue of the distinction in Anglo-Saxon I bring up only as a basis that English, like every other language the Orthodox use, should have the distinction it made when it was Christianized.  I don't advocate forming a new word off of Godes Cennestre, just providing a solid basis in English of the use of "Birth-giver of God" or "Theotokos."

I can only repeat that "Godes Cennestre" occurs once in an obscure Anglo-Saxon Life of Mary of Egypt.

Hardly obscure, Father:it was incorporated into Ælfric of Eynsham's homilies (it was not his own translation, IIRC).  Most count him the peer of the Venerable St. Bede, just in Old English and not Latin, and, as he intended, his homilies were copied for wide distribution and dissemination in the vernacular, for centuries through the Norman domination nearly to the point where Old English became Middle English. Though not as popular in the monastic circles as the other hagiographies, the Life of St. Mary didn't collect dust. The term occurs a number of times in the Vita in question.  But also elsewhere in a dozen other attestations (IIRC one of the links I posted mentions that.  The two computer crashes took the quotes, and I haven't the time to redo the work, but the ones I pasted from the Anglo-Saxon dictionaries give some of the sources).

To claim that this one rare occurence constitutes a "solid basis in English" is farfetched indeed.
When you are dealing with remnants of a literature, as we are doing with Old English (the whole corpus is about the size of Shakespeare's canon, the work of one man's lifetime equal to the output of nations (the Scots also spoke Anglo-Saxon) over six centuries, each and every occurance counts.  One can see that in Crum's Dictionary of Coptic, the U of C's Assyrian Dictionary, the Hittite Dictionary Project, etc.

The fact remains, however, that the phrase "Godes cennestre" not only does not occur only once, but a distinction is made consistently between "Godes moder" and "Godes cennestre" in the Old English sources, some (e.g. Aefric's homily on the Dormition) depend on the distinction for their rhetorical effect.  Given that most religious discourse and all (or nearly all) liturgy was done in Latin (which clearly makes the distinction between Dei Genitrix, Deipara and Dei mater, and the Old English glosses show that the Anglo-Saxons maintained the distinction) in Anglo-Saxon Britain, such usage in the relatively limited use of Anglo-Saxon in the Church attests to a solid basis in English to maintain the distinction between the titles of Our Lady (the normal term of reference throughout English history) "Birth-giver of God" and "Mother of God," on top of the fact that every language Orthodoxy has adopted makes and maintains the distinction. English should be no exception.
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« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2012, 11:17:29 PM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."
Just time for a quick remark:the choice comes down to "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God" IMHO to borrow or translate the Greek term.  That decision, however, depends on a wider issue of English as a whole:does it go with loan words, or Anglo-Saxon roots, a question of linguistic Anschauung (or should I say "viewpoint"?) beyond Church talk.

I fully agree ialmisry. Since the Eastern services usually come to us from the Greek, ideally they should be rendered as literally as possible into English. We have, as an example in the small paraclesis canon to the [insert your favourite term for the Holy Virgin Mother] three terms in Greek and Slavonic:
Θεοτοκος   Θεογεννήτρια  Θεομὴτορ
Богородица  Богородитильнице  Богоматери:     however we only have two in English to my knowledge:
Birthgiver of God and Mother of God.
I am far from an expert in liturgical language or linguistics, but I would invite any who are to comment.
Incidentally: In the last Theotokion (can anyone think of a term in English?) in the 7th ode of the Small Paraclesis we have:
Σωμάτων μαλακίασ, καἰ ψυχῶν ἀρρωτείας, Θεογεννήτρια... p. 36, the English translation reads:
For weakness of body and sickness of soul, O Theotokos...p 371.
It seems that where the Greek uses Θεογεννήτρια then the English is better rendered Birthgiver of God, even if it has not been such a common term in the few decades of English Orthodox services.
My sources are as follows:
Greek: ΜΕΓΑΣ ΙΕΡΟΣ ΣΥΝΕΚΔΗΜΟΣ, ΑΘΗΝΑΙ, ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΦΩΣ [no date]
Slavonic (sorry my computer doesn't have slavonic fonts for email)
великiй ЧАСОСЛОВЪ, Москва, Паломникъ, 1995.
Unabbreviated Horolgion or Book of the Hours, [No publisher marked but I presume it's Jordanville] Trans. Rassaphor-monk Laurence, 2nd ed. 1994, 2nd printing 1997.
What are your thoughts?
Adelphi

I agree that Θεογεννήτρια, is what is rightly translated as "Birthgiver of God"  (Богородитильнице)
Θεοτοκος (Богородица) is probably "most accurately" translated "maternal God-bearer," not Birthgiver of God (Θεογεννήτρια)
the problem with "God-bearer" is the confusion with "Theophoros," also used often enough.

Θεογεννήτρια doesn't strike me as all that common, and if I had to translate it literally, it would be something on the lines of "God-conceiver." τόκος means "child-birth, partuition," etc.  γέννα "origin, descent."  Not having had my first pot yet (of coffee), I can't do better than that at present.

Isa, that is specifically why I said it is most accurately translated MATERNAL GOD-BEARER. 
is there a paternal God-bearer?
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« Reply #41 on: January 16, 2012, 11:27:05 PM »

FWIW, the UOC-USA does not use "Theotokos" in the Liturgy. They use "Ever blessed, most pure, birth giver of God and ever virgin Mary."
Just time for a quick remark:the choice comes down to "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God" IMHO to borrow or translate the Greek term.  That decision, however, depends on a wider issue of English as a whole:does it go with loan words, or Anglo-Saxon roots, a question of linguistic Anschauung (or should I say "viewpoint"?) beyond Church talk.

I fully agree ialmisry. Since the Eastern services usually come to us from the Greek, ideally they should be rendered as literally as possible into English. We have, as an example in the small paraclesis canon to the [insert your favourite term for the Holy Virgin Mother] three terms in Greek and Slavonic:
Θεοτοκος   Θεογεννήτρια  Θεομὴτορ
Богородица  Богородитильнице  Богоматери:     however we only have two in English to my knowledge:
Birthgiver of God and Mother of God.
I am far from an expert in liturgical language or linguistics, but I would invite any who are to comment.
Incidentally: In the last Theotokion (can anyone think of a term in English?) in the 7th ode of the Small Paraclesis we have:
Σωμάτων μαλακίασ, καἰ ψυχῶν ἀρρωτείας, Θεογεννήτρια... p. 36, the English translation reads:
For weakness of body and sickness of soul, O Theotokos...p 371.
It seems that where the Greek uses Θεογεννήτρια then the English is better rendered Birthgiver of God, even if it has not been such a common term in the few decades of English Orthodox services.
My sources are as follows:
Greek: ΜΕΓΑΣ ΙΕΡΟΣ ΣΥΝΕΚΔΗΜΟΣ, ΑΘΗΝΑΙ, ΕΚΔΟΣΕΙΣ ΦΩΣ [no date]
Slavonic (sorry my computer doesn't have slavonic fonts for email)
великiй ЧАСОСЛОВЪ, Москва, Паломникъ, 1995.
Unabbreviated Horolgion or Book of the Hours, [No publisher marked but I presume it's Jordanville] Trans. Rassaphor-monk Laurence, 2nd ed. 1994, 2nd printing 1997.
What are your thoughts?
Adelphi

I agree that Θεογεννήτρια, is what is rightly translated as "Birthgiver of God"  (Богородитильнице)
Θεοτοκος (Богородица) is probably "most accurately" translated "maternal God-bearer," not Birthgiver of God (Θεογεννήτρια)
the problem with "God-bearer" is the confusion with "Theophoros," also used often enough.

Θεογεννήτρια doesn't strike me as all that common, and if I had to translate it literally, it would be something on the lines of "God-conceiver." τόκος means "child-birth, partuition," etc.  γέννα "origin, descent."  Not having had my first pot yet (of coffee), I can't do better than that at present.

Isa, that is specifically why I said it is most accurately translated MATERNAL GOD-BEARER. 
is there a paternal God-bearer?

According to you there is since you seem to think that Theophoros should be translated "God-bearer." 
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« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2012, 11:28:33 PM »

Incidentally, the Antiochians for years have translated Mary as she who "bearest God the word."  This does not apply to any Theophoros, but only to the Theotokos.  They may have carried him, but she alone bearest him maternally. 
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« Reply #43 on: January 16, 2012, 11:40:35 PM »

I did Anglo-Saxon at varsity but that was many years ago.   


I'll try and make enquiries as to whether you are being accurate or if there is a touch of overkill.


There's a touch of 'Dixit Maria' at the moment since you have not given us the citations from any primary sources.


"Btw, the issue of the distinction in Anglo-Saxon I bring up only as a basis that English, like every other language the Orthodox use, should have the distinction it made when it was Christianized.  I don't advocate forming a new word off of Godes Cennestre, just providing a solid basis in English of the use of "Birth-giver of God" or "Theotokos."

I can only repeat that "Godes Cennestre" occurs once in an obscure Anglo-Saxon Life of Mary of Egypt.

Hardly obscure, Father:it was incorporated into Ælfric of Eynsham's homilies (it was not his own translation, IIRC).  Most count him the peer of the Venerable St. Bede, just in Old English and not Latin, and, as he intended, his homilies were copied for wide distribution and dissemination in the vernacular, for centuries through the Norman domination nearly to the point where Old English became Middle English. Though not as popular in the monastic circles as the other hagiographies, the Life of St. Mary didn't collect dust. The term occurs a number of times in the Vita in question.  But also elsewhere in a dozen other attestations (IIRC one of the links I posted mentions that.  The two computer crashes took the quotes, and I haven't the time to redo the work, but the ones I pasted from the Anglo-Saxon dictionaries give some of the sources).

To claim that this one rare occurence constitutes a "solid basis in English" is farfetched indeed.
When you are dealing with remnants of a literature, as we are doing with Old English (the whole corpus is about the size of Shakespeare's canon, the work of one man's lifetime equal to the output of nations (the Scots also spoke Anglo-Saxon) over six centuries, each and every occurance counts.  One can see that in Crum's Dictionary of Coptic, the U of C's Assyrian Dictionary, the Hittite Dictionary Project, etc.

The fact remains, however, that the phrase "Godes cennestre" not only does not occur only once, but a distinction is made consistently between "Godes moder" and "Godes cennestre" in the Old English sources, some (e.g. Aefric's homily on the Dormition) depend on the distinction for their rhetorical effect.  Given that most religious discourse and all (or nearly all) liturgy was done in Latin (which clearly makes the distinction between Dei Genitrix, Deipara and Dei mater, and the Old English glosses show that the Anglo-Saxons maintained the distinction) in Anglo-Saxon Britain, such usage in the relatively limited use of Anglo-Saxon in the Church attests to a solid basis in English to maintain the distinction between the titles of Our Lady (the normal term of reference throughout English history) "Birth-giver of God" and "Mother of God," on top of the fact that every language Orthodoxy has adopted makes and maintains the distinction. English should be no exception.
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« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2012, 12:21:44 AM »

I did Anglo-Saxon at varsity but that was many years ago.  


I'll try and make enquiries as to whether you are being accurate or if there is a touch of overkill.


There's a touch of 'Dixit Maria' at the moment since you have not given us the citations from any primary sources.

I had a longer post the computer sucked up in crashing.  But in the meantime:the Anglo-Saxon glosses on the Latin hymns clearly distinguish between "Dei Genetrix"/"Godes cennestre" and "Mater Dei"/"Godes moder."

AElfric's gendered theology in the "Catholic Homilies", the First Series By Rebecca I. Starr, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
http://books.google.com/books?id=M_nd-xOA1EoC&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=%22godes+cennestre%22&source=bl&ots=m4l3ALKj88&sig=lhTBbu9G_IJxJ1CgaGurNfe6hUo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Q4ULT-yzJYL5ggeh7KGpBw&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22godes%20cennestre%22&f=false
This is supported by the OE dictionaries, which record "cennestre" as a common word, much like "walidah" is in Arabic.  It seems there are more than one instance in Old English of the forebear of "Birth-giver of God":
Quote
cynnestre, an; f. [cennan to bring forth, -estre a female termination, q. v.] One who brings forth, a mother; genitrix, mater :-- Ðæt cild oncneów Marian stemne, cynnestran the child knew the voice of Mary, the mother, Homl. Th. i. 352, 27
Add cennestre:-- Eálá ðú eádige Godes cennestre, symle mǽden Maria, Hml. Th. i. 546, 8. Cynnestre, 354, 20. Seó wæs cennnystre úres Drihtnes Hǽlendes Crístes, Hml. A. 117, 5. Þǽre hálgan Godes cennestran anlícnys, Hml. S. 23 b, 430. Seó cyrice is háli þǽre eádigan Godes cennestran, Gr. D. 88, 4. Þæt eádige mǽden his cennestran, Hml. Th. i. 438, 18.
http://bosworth.ff.cuni.cz/007162
http://bosworth.ff.cuni.cz/041551[/size]
The influence of Christianity on the vocabulary of Old English
 By Hugh Swinton MacGillivray
http://books.google.com/books?id=oXlii1KgDngC&pg=PA1071&lpg=PA1071&dq=%22Godes+cennestran%22&source=bl&ots=4nWcMUYKZr&sig=dHtBeBO3uUNkrxdlhthUcq4AQdE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6fgUT4GKCoztgges3I3jAw&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Godes%20cennestran%22&f=false
http://books.google.com/books?id=5yVKAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=%22Godes+cennestran%22&source=bl&ots=9sjtQXYgWR&sig=53BK48ckLFLp0twDh5tIQMOU-HY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6fgUT4GKCoztgges3I3jAw&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Godes%20cennestran%22&f=false
http://books.google.com/books?id=7rdZAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106&dq=%22Godes+cennestran%22&source=bl&ots=v969NvrB4O&sig=na62YEzYix5YoEl3G5KrcmnLKZY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6fgUT4GKCoztgges3I3jAw&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22Godes%20cennestran%22&f=false
http://books.google.com/books?id=KCcLAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=%22Godes+cennestran%22&source=bl&ots=SfyddL_JP7&sig=LcSSjrv6p3GstPPWQSpJ7VJKluw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6fgUT4GKCoztgges3I3jAw&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%22Godes%20cennestran%22&f=false
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Homilies_of_the_Anglo-Saxon_Church/XXX
(this is Aefric's homily on the dormition)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 12:44:55 AM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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