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#1 dorothy

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:01 PM

I see "bible" rather than "Bible" being used by secular persons when refering to the actual Bible. I am assuming that this is because they are not people who believe in the Bible and want to make clear that it is not a sacred text to them. (My assumption - maybe it's something else)

What I do not understand is why you would not capitalize the Bible as that is its name, Bible, just out of respect for the name of an ancient document or title. I do not "believe in" many writing books that are sacred/important to others and still, I do capitalize it to show respect for it as an important document with a particular name. For example: I write Koran (or Qur'an) not koran (qua'ran), Tripitaka not tripitaka, Rig Veda not rig veda, etc.

Am I missing something? Why would someone choose to use lower case for the Bible? I see it and think it is in the best case ignorant and in the worst disrespectful.

I am probably missing something and actually want to know if I am misinterpreting this.

Just because it is not YOUR sacred text does not mean that you have to act as if it is not deserving of respect: it is a published book, probably the best-selling ever, and important to many people on the planet. If you would not show disrespect to other sacred texts why would you "dis" the Bible?

Maybe I am making a mountain out of a moleshill but it really bothers me. As does people who refuse to read a sacred text that is absolutely necessary for understanding literature, history, culture and civilization because the text is religious! But, that is another post. :glare::001_smile:

#2 LaxMom

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:11 PM

Well, from my <secular> point of view, "bible" is used to refer to a singular of a great many differing, books. I capitalize if I refer to a specific version - i.e. the King James Bible - and I capitalize items such as New Testament or individual books of the bible, but if I am referring to just the generic (for lack of a better term) book, I don't tend to.

There isn't any disrespect intended, I just recognize that what you refer to as The Bible may not be the same version that another Christian refers to in the same way, and my reference would be in the global sense, rather than anyone's specific. To my knowledge, there are not differing versions of the Koran (in its various spellings) or Rig Veda, but for language translations.

Does that help? Is it in any way coherent? Really, there is no disrespect intended, nor discounting the book as sacred to believers.

ETA: But I will extend my apologies for the slight and be more cognizant of it in the future. ;)

Edited by MyCrazyHouse, 22 January 2009 - 04:26 PM.


#3 dawn of ns

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:49 PM

That's something that's never bothered me. The Bible just doesn't hold some people's respect or doesn't have a place of importance in their life. No big deal to me.

#4 dawn of ns

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:52 PM

There isn't any disrespect intended, I just recognize that what you refer to as The Bible may not be the same version that another Christian refers to in the same way, and my reference would be in the global sense, rather than anyone's specific. To my knowledge, there are not differing versions of the Koran (in its various spellings) or Rig Veda, but for language translations.


Actually, that's a good point. There are major differences between different versions. Not simply between say, the KJ and NRSV and The Message but between a Catholic Bible and a Protestant one.

I sort of think the idea of one ultimate Bible is a bit of an illusion and maybe using capitals only furthers that misconception. This is interesting.

#5 Spy Car

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:08 PM

I always capitalize the Bible. Although "bible-study" or biblical-scholar would not get capitalized. That's "standard" usage, right?

The Qur'an (never Koran, which is a terrible mis-transliteration IMO) is also capitalized, although interestingly enough Arabic has no upper-case/lower-case distinction in it's alphabet.

Bill

#6 sheryl

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:09 PM

I agree with you Dorothy. As a follower of Messiah I believe Bible should be capitalized to show respect.

Also, pronouns referring to God should be capitalized and many times they are not: Him, His......that one I don't understand. :glare: That's why it bothers me even Bibles don't capitalize Him, His.

Just my 2 cents. Sheryl <<><

#7 OnTheBrink

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:12 PM

I agree with you Dorothy. As a follower of Messiah I believe Bible should be capitalized to show respect.

Also, pronouns referring to God should be capitalized and many times they are not: Him, His......that one I don't understand. :glare: That's why it bothers me even Bibles don't capitalize Him, His.

Just my 2 cents. Sheryl <<><


I use the NASB and it capitalizes pronouns relating to God.

#8 5knights3maidens

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:16 PM

Ohhhh.....I don't think I've capitalized it.......I need to kick myself! It is very important to me! Thanks!

#9 Cricket

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:20 PM

I agree with Dorothy too. The Bible is a specific book, regardless of what translation it may be. We wouldn't do that with any other book. The Bible isn't a generic reference to any holy book within any faith, it refers to a specific holy book specific to the Christian religion. As far as the difference between a Catholic and Protestant Bible, that shouldn't matter either. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought not even Catholics view the books of the Apocrypha as inspired on the same level as the rest of Scripture. So they wouldn't be considered part of "the Bible" only as supplemental material? Like I said, I could be wrong on that.

#10 Melinda in VT

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:21 PM

I agree with you Dorothy. As a follower of Messiah I believe Bible should be capitalized to show respect.

Also, pronouns referring to God should be capitalized and many times they are not: Him, His......that one I don't understand. :glare: That's why it bothers me even Bibles don't capitalize Him, His.

Just my 2 cents. Sheryl <<><


Current style guides (i.e., The Chicago Manual of Style) say to capitalize the Bible and God but not pronouns referring to God.

But in the absence of evidence otherwise, I usually assume that non-standard capitalization results from oversight or lack of knowledge and not intending to offend.

#11 dirty ethel rackham

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:42 PM

I Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought not even Catholics view the books of the Apocrypha as inspired on the same level as the rest of Scripture. So they wouldn't be considered part of "the Bible" only as supplemental material? Like I said, I could be wrong on that.


Catholics do consider the Deuterocanonical books (what Protestants call the Apocrypha) to be inspired and make no distinction. My somewhat fuzzy understanding is they were not included in the Jewish Canon because, at the time when this canon was set, they held less weight because they did not believe them to be written in Hebrew. Later scholarship has turned up evidence that at least some of them were written in Hebrew. The Protestant Old Testament is based upon the texts included Jewish Canon.

http://www.infpage.c...ce/dtbooks.htm
http://www.newadvent...then/03267a.htm

Hope this helps.

#12 dorothy

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 06:47 PM

That's something that's never bothered me. The Bible just doesn't hold some people's respect or doesn't have a place of importance in their life. No big deal to me.
__________________


It's not about that. I am not saying that the Bible has to "mean" anything to anybody, only that just like you capitalize other books (which does show some level of acknowledgement or respect), it too should hold that acknowledgement and/or respect.

And, while there are many Protestants and some differences between the Catholic/Protestant Bibles, I think most people have an idea of what is meant by the Bible, regardless of if they are talking about a particular version.

We capitalize book titles regardless of whether they are abridged or unabriged.

#13 LaxMom

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 06:49 PM

I suppose - sorry, I was pondering this while out picking up our milk - my linguistic approach is more in the vein of how I would use the word "church". If I am referring to a building, or body of worship, I would use "church". If, however, I am referring to the Church, it would be in the context of the worldwide Catholic church, both as an historical power and because that is the convention of my Catholic heritage. (Or, perhaps, the Church of England, shortened to just "the Church" in a very narrow context.)

Arguably, Protestants would not think of the Catholic church as the Church and would probably be offended at the importance or authority implied by the capitalization.

Maybe I've attributed the capitalization to a odd habit embraced mainly by Christians of randomly capitalizing words for the sake of gravitas. Like "Truth", as in "the one truth".

#14 dawn of ns

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 07:19 PM

It's not about that. I am not saying that the Bible has to "mean" anything to anybody, only that just like you capitalize other books (which does show some level of acknowledgement or respect), it too should hold that acknowledgement and/or respect.

And, while there are many Protestants and some differences between the Catholic/Protestant Bibles, I think most people have an idea of what is meant by the Bible, regardless of if they are talking about a particular version.

We capitalize book titles regardless of whether they are abridged or unabriged.


I think you have a point and reading more of the posts I think I may be wrong.

#15 LaxMom

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 07:35 PM

Not being snarky, just amused by the irony - we tend to capitalize names as a convention. But.... look at the respondents to this thread. :D

Also, and again, this is not meant to be snarky but an inquiry in the spirit of the original. Is there a reason that it is practically unheard of to capitalize "pagan" when referring to one's spiritual beliefs? Is this a deliberate slight that I just never noticed? Because, really, I can't think of a single other belief system that is not acknowledged through this convention on the boards.

#16 Spy Car

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 07:40 PM

Not being snarky, just amused by the irony - we tend to capitalize names as a convention. But.... look at the respondents to this thread. :D

Also, and again, this is not meant to be snarky but an inquiry in the spirit of the original. Is there a reason that it is practically unheard of to capitalize "pagan" when referring to one's spiritual beliefs? Is this a deliberate slight that I just never noticed? Because, really, I can't think of a single other belief system that is not acknowledged through this convention on the boards.


I'd use Pagan if I was referring to a person who identified as such.

bill/Bill

#17 Cricket

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:09 PM

Not being snarky, just amused by the irony - we tend to capitalize names as a convention. But.... look at the respondents to this thread. :D

Also, and again, this is not meant to be snarky but an inquiry in the spirit of the original. Is there a reason that it is practically unheard of to capitalize "pagan" when referring to one's spiritual beliefs? Is this a deliberate slight that I just never noticed? Because, really, I can't think of a single other belief system that is not acknowledged through this convention on the boards.


I guess I always thought the word "pagan" referred to all kinds of different beliefs outside of the three main monotheistic religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Is Pagan now used to describe a specific belief? I'd agree with Bill, that if it refers to a specific belief system, then it should be capitalized.

#18 Cricket

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:11 PM

Catholics do consider the Deuterocanonical books (what Protestants call the Apocrypha) to be inspired and make no distinction. My somewhat fuzzy understanding is they were not included in the Jewish Canon because, at the time when this canon was set, they held less weight because they did not believe them to be written in Hebrew. Later scholarship has turned up evidence that at least some of them were written in Hebrew. The Protestant Old Testament is based upon the texts included Jewish Canon.

http://www.infpage.c...ce/dtbooks.htm
http://www.newadvent...then/03267a.htm

Hope this helps.


Thanks!

#19 LaxMom

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:29 PM

I guess I always thought the word "pagan" referred to all kinds of different beliefs outside of the three main monotheistic religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Is Pagan now used to describe a specific belief? I'd agree with Bill, that if it refers to a specific belief system, then it should be capitalized.


Pagan is an umbrella term referring to a number of different earth-based religions, not a net for anything outside the "big three", though I get the impression that "pagan" is used pejoratively to refer to those who do not embrace one of those. Buddhism, Hinuism, Jainism, etc. would not be considered pagan sects. I would put "pagan" in the same category as Protestant for the purpose of capitalization convention. However, in conversations on this board, it is common to see "X, can you explain this from a pagan perspective" or "I have a question for our pagan homeschoolers."

"Gnostic" is never capitalized, but that would be an umbrella term for religions based on the belief that divinity is attained through self knowledge, encompassing number of religions such as Zoroastrianism and Kabbalah, and, in some views the Unitarian-Universalists.

Please understand that I am not doing a point / counterpoint thing. I observed the phenomenon and never thought much about it before. But now that the question of capitalization and whether the lack thereof is a deliberate comment is out there, I'm wondering if that would be a deliberate slight that I just don't get.

And, while there are many Protestants and some differences between the Catholic/Protestant Bibles, I think most people have an idea of what is meant by the Bible, regardless of if they are talking about a particular version.

We capitalize book titles regardless of whether they are abridged or unabriged.

Yes, but I don't capitalize encyclopedia, though I do capitalize World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Britanica. "Bible" is a type of book. The Bible is hotly debated among Christians in the same way The Church would be, implying "the one true".

Edited by MyCrazyHouse, 22 January 2009 - 08:43 PM.


#20 Suzanne in ABQ

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:22 PM

It seems to me, after reading through all the posts so far, that the main point is being missed. It is grammatically correct to capitalize proper nouns. Book titles are proper nouns, and are capitalized by English convention. It doesn't matter whether you have respect for the book or not. It doesn't matter whether you profess to believe it's contents. It doesn't matter whether the book is a single work, or a collection of short stories, or a collection of poems, or a collection of letters (or all of the above). The title of a book is the title of a book. The name on the cover is The Holy Bible. That's simply the name of the book, and, by conventional English grammar, it is to be capitalized.

#21 Peek a Boo

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:33 PM

shoot-- i've probably left it lowercase on a few occasions myself.
It's usually more reliable to distinguish any slight from the poster's tone, not necessarily the grammar.

or spelling ;)

#22 Cricket

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:41 PM

"Gnostic" is never capitalized, but that would be an umbrella term for religions based on the belief that divinity is attained through self knowledge, encompassing number of religions such as Zoroastrianism and Kabbalah, and, in some views the Unitarian-Universalists.


That's funny because I just read an article tonight talking about Gnosticism within the Christian community and the word Gnosticism was capitalized throughout the entire article. Now I'm going to be noticing this capitalization thing and wondering what the motivation of the author was for either capitalizing or not capitalizing certain words. :lol:

#23 MBH

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:11 AM

It seems to me, after reading through all the posts so far, that the main point is being missed. It is grammatically correct to capitalize proper nouns. Book titles are proper nouns, and are capitalized by English convention. It doesn't matter whether you have respect for the book or not. It doesn't matter whether you profess to believe it's contents. It doesn't matter whether the book is a single work, or a collection of short stories, or a collection of poems, or a collection of letters (or all of the above). The title of a book is the title of a book. The name on the cover is The Holy Bible. That's simply the name of the book, and, by conventional English grammar, it is to be capitalized.


:iagree: You are right on!


What I do not understand is why you would not capitalize the Bible as that is its name, Bible, just out of respect for the name of an ancient document or title. I do not "believe in" many writing books that are sacred/important to others and still, I do capitalize it to show respect for it as an important document with a particular name. For example: I write Koran (or Qur'an) not koran (qua'ran), Tripitaka not tripitaka, Rig Veda not rig veda, etc.


:iagree: Absolutely!

#24 LaxMom

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:12 AM

It seems to me, after reading through all the posts so far, that the main point is being missed. It is grammatically correct to capitalize proper nouns. Book titles are proper nouns, and are capitalized by English convention. It doesn't matter whether you have respect for the book or not. It doesn't matter whether you profess to believe it's contents. It doesn't matter whether the book is a single work, or a collection of short stories, or a collection of poems, or a collection of letters (or all of the above). The title of a book is the title of a book. The name on the cover is The Holy Bible. That's simply the name of the book, and, by conventional English grammar, it is to be capitalized.


Well, yes, but as I pointed out, I do not capitalize "encyclopedia", even though the name on the cover contains the word, unless I am referring to a specific publication. If I started talking about the Encyclopedia, people would think I had a problem with random capitalization or was obsessive about reference materials to the point of implying there is one true encyclopedia.

That's funny because I just read an article tonight talking about Gnosticism within the Christian community and the word Gnosticism was capitalized throughout the entire article. Now I'm going to be noticing this capitalization thing and wondering what the motivation of the author was for either capitalizing or not capitalizing certain words.


It was probably because they were talking about a specific subset of Christian theology - like Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant... Gnostic. Orthodox is not normally capitalized, except in the context of the specific subset of religious adherents, and then only if they're Christian or Jewish. (As in, I do not believe I've seen the convention used though I am sure there are Buddhists, et al who could be described as such.) I assume this is because we capitalize only when referring specifically to the recognized subset of Christianity or Judaism.

It's an interesting thing, these conventions.

#25 LaxMom

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:14 AM

shoot-- i've probably left it lowercase on a few occasions myself.
It's usually more reliable to distinguish any slight from the poster's tone, not necessarily the grammar.

or spelling ;)

I would agree. Except now that capitalization has been brought up, I'm paranoid. :D

#26 KarenNC

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:48 AM

As a general thing, I capitalize Bible, God, try to remember to be consistent with pronouns related to God or Jesus (though it is not my religion), Scripture, Orthodox (if I am referring to the sect and not the more general meaning--if it's a conversation in which the two terms are mixed I've been known to say "small-o orthodox":)). Gnostic, I would typically capitalize if I were mentioning something like the Gnostic Gospels.

As a polytheist, I also capitalize Gods and the pronouns related to Them for exactly the same reasons Christians do it for their God. I admit that it is in part in order to make my point that others who are not monotheists still have as much respect for their Deities as a monotheist does.

Merriam Webster says "Bible" should be capitalized http://www.merriam-w...ictionary/bible when referring the to Christian or Hebrew Scriptures, not when in general terminology ("z is the bible of sailing"). Of course, it also says that one only has to capitalize "God" when referring to the monotheistic version, so my practice varies;).

Overall, I don't get too bent out of shape over whether or not something is capitalized. There's enough of the "nobody now is dumb enough to believe in *that*" sort of thing to make the capitalization a very secondary issue.;) To be fair, that usually comes from someone who truly doesn't understand that anyone who might be on these boards may not be a Christian, much less not a monotheist, and is not directed specifically at anyone. At least I've never had anyone on here try to do an online exorcism of me, as happened in another forum once they learned I wasn't Christian.:)

#27 LaxMom

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:58 AM

As a general thing, I capitalize Bible, God, try to remember to be consistent with pronouns related to God or Jesus (though it is not my religion), Scripture, Orthodox (if I am referring to the sect and not the more general meaning--if it's a conversation in which the two terms are mixed I've been known to say "small-o orthodox":)). Gnostic, I would typically capitalize if I were mentioning something like the Gnostic Gospels.

Interestingly, "Scripture" is not always capitalized, either, even in Christian scholarly or informational articles. Not being a Christian or theologian, I'm not sure whether this is author dependent or there is some very specific context that it depends upon.

At least I've never had anyone on here try to do an online exorcism of me, as happened in another forum once they learned I wasn't Christian.:)

No. Really? An online exorcism? Dude, that is sad on so many levels.

#28 dirty ethel rackham

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 09:06 AM

Well, yes, but as I pointed out, I do not capitalize "encyclopedia", even though the name on the cover contains the word, unless I am referring to a specific publication. If I started talking about the Encyclopedia, people would think I had a problem with random capitalization or was obsessive about reference materials to the point of implying there is one true encyclopedia. .


Your example is does not apply. "Encyclopedia" is a generic term to apply to type of publication. World Book Encyclopedia can be very different Encyclopedia Britannica. These two publications do not vary only in translation or whether or not certain books are included and where. They can differ significantly in content.

To say that The Bible (which is shorthand for "The Holy Bible") is just a generic category of book because of differences in translation or inclusion is like saying the Illiad shouldn't be capitalized because there are many translations and versions out there. It is a title of a significant work of literature/scripture, so it should be capitalized according to grammatical rules of English.

#29 KarenNC

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 09:56 AM

Interestingly, "Scripture" is not always capitalized, either, even in Christian scholarly or informational articles. Not being a Christian or theologian, I'm not sure whether this is author dependent or there is some very specific context that it depends upon.

No. Really? An online exorcism? Dude, that is sad on so many levels.


I do it primarily to aid in communication. I think that I am more likely to have someone listen to what I am actually saying if they aren't focusing on whether or not I am giving the Bible enough respect. It's more a matter of respecting sensibilities for me, I suppose, than technical points of grammar. I don't always remember to do it for Scripture, but actively try to remember to do so when on boards that I know are primarily Christian (especially those that are primarily Protestant of a more evangelical bent), because my dad is of that persuasion and it's something that is important to him. Trying to follow the virtue of hospitality and show respect to others.

Yep, really, an online exorcism. It wasn't a homeschooling forum, though.

#30 coralloyd

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:49 AM

Your example is does not apply. "Encyclopedia" is a generic term to apply to type of publication. World Book Encyclopedia can be very different Encyclopedia Britannica. These two publications do not vary only in translation or whether or not certain books are included and where. They can differ significantly in content.

To say that The Bible (which is shorthand for "The Holy Bible") is just a generic category of book because of differences in translation or inclusion is like saying the Illiad shouldn't be capitalized because there are many translations and versions out there. It is a title of a significant work of literature/scripture, so it should be capitalized according to grammatical rules of English.

:iagree:

#31 Sandy in Indy

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:07 PM

When I was a copy editor for a Christian publishing house, this was the one place where we parted ways from Chicago...the style manual, that is. I suppose because I did it so long it just seems wrong not to capitalize Bible, Biblical, Scripture, pronouns referring to God, etc. I do think, previous arguments aside, that Bible should be capitalized. No matter the version or kind, Bible is its name.

#32 Testimony

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:18 PM

I would be cautious because people will say the computer bible or the bible for people who don't know music and call it a music bible. So, it does not always mean the Holy Bible. I would not always capitalize it unless I am saying the Holy Bible which is the actual name of it.

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#33 MrsMe

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:41 PM

I think it's that some don't know Bible should be capitalized. And not to put it as the same importance, but so should Marines, Army, etc. I see that on tv all the time too.

#34 dorothy

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 04:02 PM

a matter of being sensitive to Christians. So, if you are not communicating with a Christian or want to show that you are not a Christian believer, bible is alright.

Again, the Bible is a known, ancient, published, book refered to throughout history as the Bible, not bible.

When we are talking about a computer bible to denote a book that is the authority on computers, we do not have to capitalize it unless the actual title is Computer Bible.

The Bible, even with its variations, refers to a particular book.

If I thought it was just an occasional oversight, I wouldn't care but I see it more and more and I am beginning to think that it is in fact a way to show that "I do not BELIEVE in 'The Bible' so I will refer to it as the bible."

You do not capitalize it because you are a Christian or support Christianity, you capitalize it because it is a book that is capitalized, because historically it has always been capitalized, because it has value as a piece of literature/history aside from it's religious teachings.

OK, I am a little surprised at my own passion over this one. I didn't know I felt so strongly about it. I think I have just have one post too many with bible. UGH.

#35 laylamcb

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 04:11 PM

Personally and professionally, I capitalize Bible to distinguish it from "the handyman's bible" or "the bible for music lovers" or whatever.

If thinking of the Bible as a title doesn't do it for you, consider the example of the Holocaust: The word "holocaust" actually has a meaning outside of The Event, but when capitalized, we all immediately know precisely WHICH horrific travesty is being referred to.

I generally don't cap biblical or scripture(s) or scriptural, only because I'm most familiar with The Chicago Manual of Style.

#36 KarenNC

KarenNC

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 04:48 PM

a matter of being sensitive to Christians. So, if you are not communicating with a Christian or want to show that you are not a Christian believer, bible is alright.

Again, the Bible is a known, ancient, published, book refered to throughout history as the Bible, not bible.


Now, to be clear, I agree that Bible is grammatically correct. I capitalize it because of this. There are, however, other words, such as Scripture or pronouns referring to the monotheistic God and Jesus, that I do indeed capitalize as a matter of being sensitive to Christians.

Overall, I put it in the same classification with misspellings and the general tendency to slide many, many things into lowercase or use informal sentence structure. Email and forums are not typically seen as formal methods of communication and I think folks just flat don't pay as much attention to them in terms of grammar/etc (I am quite guilty of this myself). I really think you may be over-analyzing this and seeing intent that just isn't there as opposed to lazy grammar.


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