Believe on me: WTF?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 2 22:00:00 UTC 2007

"God often speaks of Himself as 'We' (thus proving His Threeness, His
Trinity; like, if He was just One in the usual sense, He wouldn't call
Himself "We." Would He? Well, would He?)."

Here, I was lightly mocking a _real argument_ used in support of the
claim of the Threeness / Trinity of God and not questioning what
pronoun God would actually use to refer to Himself in the First
Person, were He ever to rap directly to me.

And Jim Harbeck did get the point of my comment.


On 9/2/07, JAMES A. LANDAU Netscape. Just the Net You Need.
<JJJRLandau at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "JAMES A. LANDAU Netscape. Just the Net You Need."
>               <JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Believe on me: WTF?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> <DIV style="font-family:Arial, sans-serif; font-size:10pt;"><DIV>Wilson Gray wrote: </DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>>When I was in high school. someone once asked why Latin prayers used </DIV>
> <DIV>>"Tu" instead of "Vos" or some other more formal term, given that God </DIV>
> <DIV>>often speaks of Himself as "We" (thus proving His Threeness, His</DIV>
> <DIV>>Trinity; like, if He was just one in the usual sense, He wouldn't call </DIV>
> <DIV>>himself "We." Would He? Well, would He?). The teacher replied that all</DIV>
> <DIV>>Christians (read: "Catholics and, perhaps, the Orthodox") are assumed </DIV>
> <DIV>>to be personal friends of God and you don't speak formally to your </DIV>
> <DIV>>buds.</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>On 8/30/07, James Harbeck <jharbeck at wrote</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV><snip></DIV>
> <DIV>> These are people who reserve "thou" and "thee" for God and honestly believe</DIV>
> <DIV>> (because no one's told them otherwise) that this is a high formal form of address </DIV>
> <DIV>>fit only for a deity. </DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>Let me straighten things out.</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>Wilson Gray was discussing which pronouns are used IN LATIN. Remember that Catholic</DIV>
> <DIV>prayers began to crystallize during the Roman Empire, when people still spoke Latin. His</DIV>
> <DIV>teacher's responsum referred ONLY to Latin usage.</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>James Harbeck is wrong and the "people" (until told otherwise) are correct. In King James's time</DIV>
> <DIV>the thou/thee pronouns were alive and well and had living connotations. It is interesting to</DIV>
> <DIV>speculate why the translators of the KJV used thou/thee but the most likely reason is because that</DIV>
> <DIV>particular usage was already standard in Jacobean English.</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>However, thee/thou and their related verbal inflections have long since dropped out of English,</DIV>
> <DIV>except for religious contexts and occasionally a self-consciously archaic usage:</DIV>
> <DIV>          My country 'tis of thee</DIV>
> <DIV>          Sweet land of liberty</DIV>
> <DIV>          Of thee I sing</DIV>
> <DIV>(note that the archaic form "'tis" also appears.) </DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>Hence in modern English "thee" and "thou" are special pronouns used all but exclusively in</DIV>
> <DIV>religious contexts, e.g. prayers and Biblical passages ("wither thou goest, I will go; and where</DIV>
> <DIV>thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and thy God my God"---Ruth 1:16</DIV>
> <DIV>where Ruth is speaking not to God but to her mother-in-law).</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>How speakers of modern English interpret "thee/thou" varies from speaker to speaker.</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>>God often speaks of Himself as "We" (thus proving His Threeness, His</DIV>
> <DIV>>Trinity; like, if He was just one in the usual sense, He wouldn't call </DIV>
> <DIV>>himself "We." Would He? Well, would He?</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>Actually, He would. This usage of first person plural, to most people, has nothing to do with the</DIV>
> <DIV>Trinity. Rather "we" is used in place of the singular "I" in two contexts:</DIV>
> <DIV>    1) Monarchs self-refer to themselves as "We" - the "plural of majesty"</DIV>
> <DIV>    2) contrarily "we" is used for modesty - the "editorial we"</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>Hence God, frequently referred to in Judeo-Christian writings as "King" or even "King of Kings", </DIV>
> <DIV>should of course use the plural of majesty.</DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>James A. Landau</DIV>
> <DIV>test engineer </DIV>
> <DIV>Northrop-Grumman Information Technology </DIV>
> <DIV>8025 Black Horse Pike, Suite 300 </DIV>
> <DIV>West Atlantic City NJ 08232 USA </DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV>
> <DIV>~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^</DIV>
> <DIV>~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^ </DIV>
> <DIV> </DIV><BR> <BR><HR>Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.</DIV>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
                                              -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list