ascent to heaven

Hello!

Below I have given an extract from a description of one of Caravaggio's paintings http://bibliotekar.ru/muzeumLuvr/28.files/image001.jpg showing Mary who has just left our world:

"... According to the Catholic tradition Mary's death was not death at all. Like the birth of her son was a fleshless miracle her ascent to heaven was what followed her life on the earth .... "

Why is not there any article ("the" seems to me the most evident) before "heaven"? How about "heavenS" instead of "heaven"?

Best
 
  • Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    Some forms are idiomatic but others are not:
    Ascent to heaven:tick:
    Ascent to the heaven:cross:
    Ascent to the heavens:tick:

    Edit: I think this latter form is due to the concept of heaven/sky as many-yet-one:
    In the Old Testament the Hebrew for heaven/sky indicates a duality within one object: There is day and night (plural) but one sky (the).
    In the New Testament we are told "In my Father's house (the house/the realm) there are many rooms (plural)".
     
    Last edited:

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Heaven, the place where good people go when they die, does not have an article.

    When she dies, she will go to heaven.
    Jesus is in heaven.

    The heavens - with the article and plural - is another way of saying the sky or the cosmos.

    Galileo Galilei first aimed his telescope at the heavens in 1609

    The heavens opened above Ballarat on the weekend, with 18 millimetres of rain recorded as of 10pm last night.
    [quote from an Australian regional newspaper, 2 August 2010]
     
    Heaven, the place where good people go when they die, does not have an article.

    When she dies, she will go to heaven.
    Jesus is in heaven.

    The heavens - with the article and plural - is another way of saying the sky or the cosmos.

    Galileo Galilei first aimed his telescope at the heavens in 1609

    The heavens opened above Ballarat on the weekend, with 18 millimetres of rain recorded as of 10pm last night.
    [quote from an Australian regional newspaper, 2 August 2010]
    Very interesting, my friend, I will remember this.

    Can we ever use "heavenS" in the meaning of "heaven" where people's souls get in the afterlife? Can we use "heavenS" without any article at all?

    Best
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Heaven in this context is considered a particular place, and is sometimes capitalized: it has the force of a place name. The same goes for hell and paradise. "The heavens" would not be used in this very particular context, because the place heaven is meant, rather than "the skies" which is what the plural suggests; however, heaven is often referred to as "the heaven" (singular) in the King James Bible, although I have not come across this usage in modern English.
     

    tannen2004

    Senior Member
    English/USA
    Can we ever use "heavenS" in the meaning of "heaven" where people's souls get in the afterlife? Can we use "heavenS" without any article at all?
    The answer to both your questions is no. If you want to talk about where people's souls go, it's always singular - "heaven". If you talk about the cosmos, it's always plural and always with the article - "the heavens".
     
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