Jonathan Ryder jpr1001 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Jul 15 09:24:36 EDT 1999

Jim West wrote:
> 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.

I suspect intelligent performers of liturgy (ie priests rather than laity) were
aware that these words are Greek not Latin. Just because it is in a liturgy that
is mostly Latin, used by a Latin speaking church doesn't make it Latin. These
words have no sense in a Latin context outside the liturgy. I'd even go as far
to hypothesise that you won't find these words even in ecclesiastical authors
(augustine, jerome etc.) unless they are quoting/discussing the liturgy. In
other words, unlike proper loan-words like kindergarten (German), bungalow (from
India) status quo (Latin), these words can't be used in sentences on their own
eg I'm fetching the kids from kindergarten, My brother lives in a bungalow etc.

he continued:

> 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.

Did the song writer say that the words were Latin (as per an earlier post) or
from the church liturgy? The question is actually irrelevant, because he
probably assumed the words were Latin as he'd been told the liturgy was in Latin
and may not have known enough Latin (or any Greek) to know otherwise. In fact
what the songwriter thought or said on the matter is irrelevant, other than to
acknowledge his source.

> best,
> jim

I'm sorry Jim I couldn't let this go. I just had to agree to disagree :-) but
knowing your posts, Jim, when you've found a position/made a statement you're
unlikely to budge, so I expect we'll hear more defence of this position!


Jonathan Ryder

PS for the record I have found an entry in Souter's Later Latin dictionary
(120-600 CE) for kyrieleison (sic), said to be derived from the greek phrase
KURIE ELEHSON, but for neither kyrie nor eleison as Latin words.

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