Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu / Cuvântului Dumnezeu

Áskera

Senior Member
Spanish - Puerto Rico
Bună tuturor!

I just started to learn Romanian, and I don't understand why do you write "Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu" (the Word of God). Why not "Cuvântului Dumnezeu", joined the first two words (as the singular genitive definite article should be)? With "Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu" what I understand is 'his Word God'.

I'd appreciate any help.

Mulţumesc anticipat.
 
  • metaphrastes

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Portugal
    Sanatate!

    Though I cannot give any deeper explanation, note first that proper names do not receive the genitive ending as any common noun, and then the genitive possession has to be marked differently, before the name. If there is the need to avoid ambiguity, one adds too the preposition a, al, ai, &c agreeing in gender and number with the possessor of the genitive relation. Thus, it might be written Cuvântul al lui Dumnezeu, in the case of any ambiguity, and maybe for the sake of emphasis.

    This would work also regarding proper nouns in general, and thus we would have: cuvântul (al) lui Petru, (al) lui Ioan, (al) lui Marcu, &c.

    Besides that, please remember that it is the word that receives the genitive ending that is the owner, or the originator, or the source of the owned, or originated thing. This is similar to the English ending with 's. In English, we would have either The Word of God or God's Word. In Romanian (if there were no different rule for proper names) it would produce Cuvântul Dumnezeului, but that is wrong by the reason I explained above.

    Take a look on this verse, in the end of Matthew: Drept aceea, mergând, învăţaţi toate neamurile, botezându-le în numele Tatălui şi al Fiului şi al Sfântului Duh (Mt 28:19).

    See that Tatălui has no genitive preposition, because its relation with numele is clear due to the very closeness. But then, you have al Fiului şi al Sfântului Duh, in order to be clear that the Son and the Holy Spirit also "own" or rather bear the very same name.

    Now, from this example it seems that Tată, Fiu and Sfânt Duh are not dealt, syntactically, as names, because the two first words originally are not names but do indicate relationship and in the last case, either because Duh is dealt syntactically as an abstract noun and not a proper name, or because of being anticipated by the adjective that, in this case, receives the genitive ending instead of the noun.

    Anyway, Dumnezeu is taken as a proper name and according such specific rules.

    But now, please take everything I said with a grain of salt, since I am just an amateur regarding Romanian grammar, and then do not take it as Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu but just as cuvânt al lui metaphrastes, that has very little worth. Let us await for more learned members.

    As for me, I would be glad for any correction or clarification (namely, if the lui before the proper name is taken just as the genitive ending out of its standard place, or if it is taken as some kind of pronoun that happens to share the same spelling due to some etymological reason, as this matter is not wholly clear in my mind).
     

    Áskera

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Puerto Rico
    :eek: Metaphrastes! Thanks a lot! What a fast answer! It is now clearer for me.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    However, I have heard "Să ne rugăm Dumnezeului nostru" uttered in church, "Prohodul Domnului, Dumnezeului şi Mântuitorului nostru Iisus Hristos", etc. so, I wouldn't bet on He be seen as an ordinary proper name.
    Again, the Words of God or addressed to God follow mysterious linguistic patterns many times. * This particular instance 'God' + possessive pronoun, which I see it as an inversion, allows the word "Dumnezeu" to take the Genitive article at the end.
    So I'd say that both declensions 'Cuvântul Dumnezeului nostru' (the Word of our God), which again I believe they come together, or 'Cuvânt al lui Dumnezeu' (Word of God) are acceptable in both church and syntax.

    Other than that, I could not agree more to the posts above.:)

    Dear Metaphrastes, are you sure that you do not have Romanian origin?!
     
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    metaphrastes

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Portugal
    Actually cuvântul lui metaphrastes caries some weight because he's right
    Thank you for your kind and reassuring confirmation - sometimes one has a lucky day, but I cannot take this as granted :)

    However, I have heard "Să ne rugăm Dumnezeului nostru" uttered in church
    Actually I was tempted to ask if this would be a matter of being here in dative and not in genitive, but then I checked the Romanian Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, and actually I found 12 such occurrences of Dumnezeului, all of them in genitive case, and that shows it is not an absolute oddity - while the form lui Dumnezeu has 27 occurrences, being the more common, but not in an overwhelming way.

    I wouldn't bet on He be seen as an ordinary proper name.
    Again, the Words of God or addressed to God follow mysterious linguistic patterns many times
    Yes, it is absolutely true! And there is the fact that God, being beyond any description, concept or image, is also beyond any name, according Eastern apophatic and mystical theology, say, of Saint Dinis the Areopagite and all Eastern Church Fathers. Every divine name manifests one aspect but is far from grasping God's very being beyond all being.

    Then, it may be said that God, Dumnezeu, Deus, Theos, does not say Who God is (His personal name) but what He is, and then in a sense is not a proper name - suffice to say that much before the monotheistic revelation to Abraham there was a general name or noun to the multitude of gods, and most cultures simply shifted their use from a general name applied to many entities to an exclusive one - this is the case in Hebrew, in Greek, Latin or English (regarding Romanian I am sure it came from Latin vocative Domine Deus, but I am not sure if it had any pre-Christian usage, and the shifting from D to Z is no evidence by itself of pagan usage, since this metaphony is very common in Romanian).

    Then, in a sense, calling God God is similar to calling Him the Lord - Domnul (because He has power over everything) or the Creator - Ziditorul (because He created everything) or the Savior - Mântuitorul (because He saves). Such names rather describe attributes or works of God, but they do not disclose in any way Who He is nor His hidden essence.

    There is one occurrence of Dumnezeului in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom that maybe is helpful (I just found it now and it helped to build the previous paragraph): Întru pomenirea Domnului şi Dumnezeului şi Mântuitorului nostru Iisus Hristos (In memory of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ). Syntactically, the three nouns are dealt with not as proper names but as describing God's attributes and works: He saves, He is Lord (He is all-powerful) and He is God (that encompasses all of this in a Christian understanding).

    Not even the tetragrammaton YHVH, the name that God revealed to Moses, actually says WHO God is, but it states that He IS (and the verbal tense implies that He was, He is and will be): "Eu sunt Cel ce sunt".

    Then, since God is ultimately beyond any name, in the Eastern Christian tradition, probably this is why there are such seeming syntactical inconsistencies.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Right. Obviously, your expertise is greatly valued here.

    Personally, I believe that the D-G declension of Dumnezeu is possible as the word has the noun 'zeu', which takes all the declensions.
     
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