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Hallowed Be Thy Name

Hallowed be Thy Name


Dear Sir,

We were perplexed by Michael Andrew’s response to the letter “Irreverent Scriptural Quotation”, which we submitted on behalf of our parents, the Brunkers (they don’t have the Internet).

We checked our 1868 Comprehensive English Dictionary and found: 

“THOU, pronoun; in the objective, thee. The second personal pronoun, in the singular number; the pronoun which is used in addressed persons in the solemn style. Thou is used only in the solemn style, unless in very familiar [intimate] language [such as by Shakespeare], and by the Quakers.” 

“YE. The nominative plural of the second person, of which thou is the singular. It is now superseded by you, except in the solemn style.”

“YOU. The pronoun of the second person, in the nominative or objective case. In familiar language, it is applied to an individual, as thou is in the solemn style. In the plural, it is used in the solemn style in the objective case.”

“SOLEMN… 3. Marked by devoutness or reverence to God.”

Seeing as the entire Bible is the Word of God, it is written throughout in the so-called “solemn style” (singular: thou, thee; plural: ye, you), including therefore words addressed to Satan, as well as those to God. If in our writing, speech and prayers we address God in any way other than the solemn style, we manifest a lack of devoutness and reverence. Conversely, it could be argued that in our current everyday language to thus solemnly address fellow human beings, such as the Editor, is tantamount to blasphemy. It is disturbing if our modern language seeks to obliterate this proper distinction between solemnity and familiarity.

The Brunkers’ concern about the Bishop JC Ryle article (issue 8082) is that the solemn style has been changed to the familiar style, thereby doing Ryle an injustice; indeed, an identical extract from Ryle’s piece on Sickness can be found online with the Authorised Version unadulterated. We hoped that the Editor would comment on why the Ryle piece has been thus abused…

Incidentally, anyone interested to read the extract from Sir Robert Anderson’s The Bible and Modern Criticism that was excluded from the Brunkers’ letter (presumably due to the word limit), can find it online (e.g. it appears as Note II on p167-9 in the 2016 edition on Amazon). However, in general, where a book is worth reading, we would not advocate doing so on the Internet, which contains almost everything but solemnity, devoutness and reverence.

L. R. & J. Main