Carl Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Jul 15 08:50:39 EDT 1999

On 07/15/99, "Jim West <jwest at highland.net>" wrote:
> At 02:40 AM 7/15/99 -0400, you wrote:
> >
> >Sorry, this IS a Greek phrase and Greek alone; no Latin here to be found
> >whatsoever!
> >The Church in Rome uses this Greek phrase even now because for the first 200
> >years, 
> >Roman Christians celebrated their liturgy mostly in Greek and NOT in Latin.
> >Dimitri
> All those latin speakers who performed the litutgy for 1000 years in that
> language will be amazed that they were not using a latin phrase.  I am
> sorry, but you are wrong as can be.  This phrase is indeed latin, and it was
> indeed used by the latin speaking church for over a millenium.
> It might very well be a greek phrase- but the question originally posed had
> to do with a song.  the song's writer was interviewed about it and per his
> own testimony he admitted adopting the phrase from the church liturgy.

As Socrates tells it in the Apology of Plato, the poets whom he 
interrogated were the last ones to be able to talk intelligently about the 
poems that they composed, the reason being, Socrates claimed, that the 
poems were inspired, and the poets were merely intermediaries of a 
heaven-sent wisdom. Perhaps we have an analogue to that in the song-writer 

Is it Greek? Is it Latin? Perhaps most surprisingly of all: it's ENGLISH! 
At least in many English-speaking churches where the liturgy is English, 
KURIE ELEHSON hHMAS is part of the English-spoken ritual phraseology, and 
who will DARE to claim that it isn't English. I must confess, however, that 
in the church I attend, the lector sings out "Lord, have mercy" and the 
congregation responds, "Have mercy on us." None of that gobbledygook OLD 
English for us!


More information about the B-Greek mailing list