caelis vs. caelo - Pater Noster ("Our father")

JB

Senior Member
English (AE)
Forgive me, I am woefullly ignorant of Latin.
The Latin version of the Cathollic "Our father" begins.
PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra.

"in heaven" is conjugated (declined?) differently in the two different setences. Usual English translation is "Our father who art in heaven, blessed be thy name. Thy kingdom come,thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

I wonder if any Latin scholar can clarify the difference.
Thanks.
 
  • modus.irrealis

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Hi,

    The difference is that caelis is plural and caelo is singular (and they're both in the ablative case), and this is just a reflection of the Greek which also has a plural and a singular in the Lord's Prayer, and I believe using the plural goes back is due to influence from Hebrew or Aramaic but I'm not sure on that. But just like in English, there's no real difference in meaning, at least not in a Christian context, so that's probably why the English translation went with the singular in both cases.

    (And yes, for nouns you say declined, and verbs conjugated -- although you can always use inflected for both.)
     

    JB

    Senior Member
    English (AE)
    Thanks mi. I guess a more literal translation of the plural form would be something like "in the heavens". I can appreciate minor differences in cultural perspectives going from ancient Aramaic, to Greek, to Latin, to "modern" (relatively speaking) King James English.

    Thanks again.
     

    judkinsc

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Plural forms for the "heavens" are not uncommon in ancient sources. Or even in modern ones. Just think about how we use it today. In the heavens, in heaven... The plural tends to infer the more elemental and aetherial nature of the skies, while the singular tends to infer more of a particular place.

    One of the Old English references that I've found has plural forms of "the heavens" (on heofonum, ablative (although OE calls it the "instrumental" case) plural) in both parts, and the other edition of the Lord's Prayer from the Exeter Book (one of the four major OE manuscripts) offers "under rodores hrofe" instead for the second mention, which is "under the roof of the firmament/heavens." Rodores is a genitive singular.

    Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum ...

    From:
    http://www.thenazareneway.com/lords_prayer.htm

    Exeter version:
    http://www.prayer.su/english/exeter-book/


    Seems to be fairly common to use either a singular or a plural, regardless of language.
     

    wonderment

    Senior Member
    English
    The difference is that caelis is plural and caelo is singular (and they're both in the ablative case), and this is just a reflection of the Greek which also has a plural and a singular in the Lord's Prayer, and I believe using the plural goes back is due to influence from Hebrew or Aramaic but I'm not sure on that. But just like in English, there's no real difference in meaning, at least not in a Christian context, so that's probably why the English translation went with the singular in both cases.

    Hi. I don't know about Hebrew, but in Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic) the "in heaven" part of the Lord's Prayer is plural and it's the same in both places: d-ba-shmayya.

    (Sorry, I don't have a Syriac keyboard. The transliteration reads from left to right and has vowels. Syriac script reads from right to left, no vowels.)

    abun d-ba-shmayya, netqaddash shmak, tete malkutak, nehwe sebyanak, aykanna d-ba-shmayya ap b-ar'a.
    Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, as it is in heaven so also on earth.

    (This is from the Peshitta, the standard Syriac translation of the New Testament. Matthew 6:9 The question of the original language of the New Testament--koine Greek or Old Syriac and which parts--is still much-debated. )
     

    J.F. de TROYES

    Senior Member
    francais-France
    Here is the Greek version ( maybe the original language , but I agree with you,Wondermont on this question ) where the word "heaven" is used first in the plural form, then in the singular :
    " Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου , ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω , τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς. "

    The Latin version scrupulousely abides by the Greek one.
     

    jrundin

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    In ancient thought there are several heavens: The seven planets ride around the earth on crystaline spheres. There is one for each of the seven planets: sun, moon, mercury, venus, mars, jupiter and saturn.
     
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