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Thread: The Bible: to capitalize or not?

  1. #1
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    The Bible: to capitalize or not?

    Just wondering what you all do. I've always capitalized, but my copy editor changed every instance to lower case. When the galleys went to the proofreader, she questioned the changes.

    So...to capitalize or not?

  2. #2
    It's too hot to play. SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    I believe it should be capitalized since (I take it) you're referring to a specific "bible"--that is, the Christian Bible.

    And the dictionary I have handy has it capitalized when referring to the book of the Old and New Testament.



  3. #3
    Protecting Teddy with all my might. Leah J. Utas's Avatar
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    Bible is supposed to be capitalized when you're talking about The Bible. If the word is used to described some other document like such- and- such is "the industry bible," then it's lowercase. I see you're Canadian like me. The Canadian Press stylebook says to write it as the Bible.
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  4. #4
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I would say that it is sometimes capitalised and sometimes not. Religious publications may capitalise all sorts of things including Cross. Atheist writers/publications may or may not extend this courtesy--people outside a given faith typically don't give capitals even to gods. My few passing references to the good book were not capitalised by me or my editor. As a general rule much less capitalising is done these days.
    Last edited by veinglory; 01-02-2007 at 07:54 PM.

  5. #5
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    The dictionary is great for this kind of question.

    If you are talking about the Christian texts, then yes, Bible is uppercase.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist
    The dictionary is great for this kind of question.
    Uh, thanks for the great suggestion. I know it's usually capitalized (and I don't need a dictionary to tell me so), but I wondered if it's becoming more commonplace to NOT capitalize.

    I'm referring to the Christian text.

  7. #7
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Bible is a proper noun, just like Paris.
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  8. #8
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by illiterwrite
    Uh, thanks for the great suggestion. I know it's usually capitalized (and I don't need a dictionary to tell me so), but I wondered if it's becoming more commonplace to NOT capitalize.

    I'm referring to the Christian text.
    I can see where seeing an "official" in the industry do it would make you question it, but I've not seen The Bible as lowercase anywhere.

    So who is your copy editor who decapitalized The Bible? (my understanding is it's proper to capitalize the article that goes with it too) Any relation to e e cummings?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory
    I would say that it is sometimes capitalised and sometimes not. Religious publications may capitalise all sorts of things including Cross. Atheist writers/publications may or may not extend this courtesy--people outside a given faith typically don't give capitals even to gods. My few passing references to the good book were not capitalised by me or my editor. As a general rule much less capitalising is done these days.
    You need a new editor. The Bible is always capitalized, and anyone who doesn't use a cap is simply wrong, these days or not. And it sure isn't going to make any reader, anywhere, trust you or your editor.

    And "gods" should not be capitalized. "God," however, should be. One's faith has nothing to do with grammar or usage. Proper usage is not a coutesy, it's a matter of respect, and often of pure ignorance.

  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I think it is quite correct to capitalise Gods when writing for a pagan publication. One's faith may not play the greater part, but it is relevant. Why would pagans give greater respect to a God they do not believe in that the Gods they do?

  11. #11
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie
    You need a new editor. The Bible is always capitalized, and anyone who doesn't use a cap is simply wrong, these days or not. And it sure isn't going to make any reader, anywhere, trust you or your editor.

    And "gods" should not be capitalized. "God," however, should be. One's faith has nothing to do with grammar or usage. Proper usage is not a coutesy, it's a matter of respect, and often of pure ignorance.
    God, Gods, Buddha, Bodhisatva, Brahma, Shiva, Bible, Pali Canon, Book of Shadows, Koran... all proper nouns.

    "Gods" in a religious context is a proper noun. "Gods" in a fantastic context can be either.
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  12. #12
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I totally accept that I was outside the norm in not capitalising Bible, will try to do better

  13. #13
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    My copy editor has been amazing, though I didn't pick him (publishing company did). He has completely confused me on this though. I emailed him about his change, and his response was equally confusing, so I think I'll go back and capitalize.

    Thanks for all your input.

  14. #14
    It's too hot to play. SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartholomew
    Gods, . . . all proper nouns.

    "Gods" in a religious context is a proper noun. "Gods" in a fantastic context can be either.
    Do you have some authoritative reference for that? I would disagree.



  15. #15
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alleycat
    Do you have some authoritative reference for that? I would disagree.
    I'll nose around, but I've never seen Book of Shadows treated as a regular noun, let alone Buddha.

    With "Gods," it really depends on how you're using it. Pagans treat it as a proper noun in common usage, but God is a proper noun because it is, technically, a name...

    But let me find something that says one way or the other...

    Edit

    None of my text books say one way or the other. I suspect proper nouns in a case like this are defined by whoever is publishing the document.
    Last edited by Bartholomew; 01-03-2007 at 01:51 AM.
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  16. #16
    It's too hot to play. SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartholomew
    I'll nose around, but I've never seen Book of Shadows treated as a regular noun, let alone Buddha.

    With "Gods," it really depends on how you're using it. Pagans treat it as a proper noun in common usage, but God is a proper noun because it is, technically, a name...

    But let me find something that says one way or the other...
    The word "gods" is what I'm referring to (not the word God, or the name of any specific god of whatever religion, or lack of).
    Last edited by alleycat; 01-03-2007 at 02:02 AM.



  17. #17
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    "Bible" should be capitalized; "the" is not. Therefore, the sentence should be:

    You should read the Bible.

  18. #18
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alleycat
    The word "gods" is what I'm referring to (not the word God, or the name of any specific god of whatever religion, or lack of).
    Well, if gods is the plural of god, as in more than one of a god, then it would, I suspect, be a common noun.

    But if it is meant to be the plural of God, as in the God (of some specific faith) then it makes sense that the plural would be the Gods. The dictionary doesn't make a second entry for Gods as opposed to God, so I'm left to assume the word will be treated the same in plural as it is in singular form.

    Of course, I'm not up to snuff on my mythology, so there might be some special rule I'm just not seeing.
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  19. #19
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    Intelligent atheists will still capitalize Bible when refering to the specific Christian Bible. It's an issue of grammar, not commitment to the cause. On a side note, "biblical" is not capitalized.

    The only reason you see the Bible not capitalized is because of ignorance. The Koran, the Bagavadgita, the Tanak (and Torah) are capitalized as well. They are all proper nouns.

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