Talk:Soli Deo gloria

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Soli Deo gloria[edit]

This is my first time using WikipediA, or anything like this. I'm not very computer smart. I actually am going to be taking classes soon. Anyways I just wanted to know what Soli Deo glori means?

Theological Meaning[edit]

I do not argue. I just want to know. It would bo good to put response in article, as some other people can have such doubts and mistakes also.

Does not Soli Deo Gloria mean that Glory belongs to God in term that there should not be any worship, bow down or glory given to graven or painted images of saints, relics etc.? Does it not also put emphasis that worship and Glory should go only to God, and not even to printed Bible Book {as some else religions express it in form of kissing} ???

Does it not source of Salvation is stated in Solus Christus? Does not Solus Christus also states that prayer shoudn't be addressed to saints?

I thought it was for them pretty important to put this emphasis to underline contrast to Roman Catholic Church and also to take away worship of human persons {Pope} and offices {bishops}. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Latin grammar of phrase: can someone explain?[edit]

Would someone mind explaining the Latin grammar behind "Soli Deo gloria"? I've seen it cast that way a significant majority of the time, but the genitive/(dative/ablative)/(nominative/ablative) construction doesn't make very much sense.

It seems as if one of the following would be more appropriate:

  • "Solae Dei gloriae" (dative/genitive/dative: "to only the glory of God")
  • "Soli Dei gloriae" (genitive/genitive/dative: "to the glory of only God")
  • "Solo Deo gloria" (dative/dative/nominative: "to only God glory", i.e., "to God alone [be the] glory" or "glory [be] to God alone")

Does anyone know 1) which case "Deo" is in (dative or ablative), 2) which case "gloria" is in (nominative or ablative), and/or 3) what phrasing makes these noun endings make sense?

Thanks! (talk) 16:32, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

It's been almost a year, but I'll respond anyway:
The third case you give is the right structure: dative/dative/nominative. The clue here is that solus is an irregular adjective and has the dative form "soli" instead of "solo", which would be expected. Lindert (talk) 23:10, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree. "soli Deo" is the dative object, the adjective "sōlus" (dative "sōlī") meaning "alone, sole, only". Thus "to the only God" or "to the sole God". The current translation in the article, using "alone" as a focusing adverb, "Glory to God alone" is misleading and doesn't make sense: of course, glory can be conferred to many people. I suggest to change the translation in the article to "Glory to the only God." -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:31, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
No, it seems to me that you don't understand how the phrase is used. I'm no expert in Latin grammar, but it's clear that the historic meaning is not "Glory to the only God." but exactly "Glory to God alone". The point is exactly contrary to what you state, namely it expresses that no glory is to be given to any human being, but only to God. Keep in mind that the the five solas were used by reformers to distinguish themselves from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. There was never any controversy regarding monotheism; all of Christianity agreed that there is only one God. Rather, the protestant reformers observed that the Church conferred glory to Mary, the saints and to the church itself. In their eyes this was inappropriate. Noone deserved any of the glory that is due to God. Hence 'Soli Deo Gloria'. Lindert (talk) 13:19, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I think we better distinguish clearly between a precise translation of the Latin phrase and what others made of it and how they used it, call it "historic". An independent encyclopedical article should be able to do so, just I don't feel I know the language well enough. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:25, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
You may want to consider the German article where the "use" part was removed as not well referenced, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:29, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I can't find a German article: could you point me the right way? The Soli Deo Gloria (label) article does footnote the translation; it links here. Sparafucil (talk) 21:50, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I thought it's obviously what you get when you go to the left, Languages: Deutsch. But here. Gardiner's Record Label carries the same name, I don't think he is an authority on Latin translation. If you ask me: what Michael Bednarek said above, is a translation, see also here, the other much more common version is an interpretation which bends the Latin grammar, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 22:07, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm not sure why it seemed to be missing a while ago. It acknowledges 'God alone' as the usual understanding while claiming 'the lonely God' is more literal, but still provides no reference. I found Schweitzer online in searchable format and came up with "to God alone be praise" in Ernest Newman's translation (J. S. Bach vol. 1 p166). Much as it pains me to disagree with two editors whose work I greatly admire, I prefer to cling to my image of a Bach who expresses comely modesty instead of monotheistic chauvinism ;-) Sparafucil (talk) 22:50, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, I think there can be little doubt about what Bach meant by it, especially if you consider his Orgelbüchlein intro: Dem Höchsten Gott allein' zu Ehren, Dem Nechsten, draus sich zu belehren.
But leaving that aside, I think we all agree that 'soli Deo gloria' has been used often in the sense of "glory to God alone". The question is if this is technically the correct translation of the latin phrase. The German article asserts that it isn't. I've tried to find reliable sources for a translation and come up with these.

1 The Cambridge companion to Bach gives To God alone be glory[1]. (It may be argued that this is a book about Bach, not ancient languages, nevertheless it has a reliable publisher.)
2 Thesaurus of English words in its "Foreign words and expressions" gives To God alone be the glory[2]
3 The Routledge dictionary of Latin quotations gives to God alone be the glory[3]
It may be noted that the latter two authors (Sears, 1854 and Stone, 2005) have both published educational books on the Latin language, and may therefore be assumed to have an adequate understanding of the grammar. From this I conclude that the abovementioned translation To God alone be the glory is valid unless reliable claims to the contrary can be found.

I've also tried to find sources supporting the other translation, i.e. 'to the only God', but with less succes. However, there are books and websites that support this, for example Brief history of California, which states

Soli Deo sit semper gloria." The last sentence of the above inscription is in Latin, and means "To the only God, let there be glory forever." [4]

Thus it seems both are correct translations. However, the first is by far the most common and also the intended meaning. Therefore I see no reason to change the current translation that the article uses. Giving an alternative (albeit grammatically correct) interpretation that is not intended by those using the phrase is only confusing IMO. Lindert (talk) 02:40, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

A few more instances,, lockington/church, I don't see why the literal translation should not be given in addition to the so-called "intended meaning", --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:40, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
First, we would have to establish that that is in fact the literal translation. So far I have not seen a single reliable source claiming that 'glory to the only God' is more literal than 'glory to God alone'. Please provide one if there is. Also note that this article is about Soli Deo Gloria as one of the five solas of the reformation. Can anyone provide a source explaining the five solas that interprets the phrase in the supposed literal manner? I have not seen any.
Also note that many of the sources supporting the 'only God' translation do not concern the exact phrase 'soli Deo gloria', but rather a variation or slightly different phrase. That IMO says a lot about how this particular phrase is universally understood. The 'Ursuline Sisters'-website you gave is the only counterexample, but they specifically state that The words, Soli Deo Gloria are translated by the Ursuline Sisters as "Be glory to the only God." (emphasis mine ofc.), suggesting that they do not follow the standard translation, but interpret it differently to most people. Lindert (talk) 12:28, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
Please note that this article is about SDG as one of five solas, which is tagged for missing referencing. The German article was also about five solas, which is not mentioned there anymore as unsourced. The translation is given as "(wörtlich „dem alleinigen Gott die Ehre“, deutsch meist mit „Gott allein zur Ehre“ wiedergegeben)", presenting the literal translation AND the commonly used rendition. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:10, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
That the phrase is one of the five solas of the reformation is very easily documented, see e.g. book. The German article is NOT a reliable source. It is absolutely irrelevant what changes have occured there. Wikipedia relies only on reliable published sources. Wikipedia articles can never be used as a source (WP:CIRCULAR).
I am afraid you misunderstood me completely. I showed the German article not as a source but as an example of how it changed for LACK OF SOURCES. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:54, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I still do not get what you are suggesting we should do. Do you mean we should update this article with more sources or do you propose changes similar to the German article. Because those changes were completely unsupported by any reference. Anyway, I'll add some of the sources from this discussion to the article. Feel free to contribute or offer feedback. Lindert (talk) 14:50, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
I think to find proper sources is a good way to improve the article. I confess that I don't think "the illiterati's guide to Latin maxims, mottoes, proverbs and sayings" is one. The Ursuline sisters mentioned above knew Latin and carefully said that they translated because in "Be glory to the only God." they added "Be" which is not there in Latin. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:35, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
You may want to consider and mention the Biblical source Romans 16:27[1] --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:16, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I understand there are two biblical sources for this phrase: Romans 16:27 (Latin, compare) and Jude 1:25 (Latin, compare). It seems, the former is sometimes and the latter is invariably shown as "to the only God". -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:13, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Actually Wiki-policies require WP:Secondary sources, so we can not read the New Testament and use that. In any case, from Greek, then Latin etc. is another story. But here are a few sources, so you guys read and decide. Per WP:COMMONNAME regardless of any Biblical usage, the term should be defined based on the common usage in English, e.g. as specified in dictionaries, language guides and WP:RS books on the topic. Examples of the three types of sources are :
So what those sources say should help clarify it. History2007 (talk) 13:32, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks to everyone for the legwork! It gives me pause that Gerda can find so many counter-examples, but if the general understanding is in fact not literal, that suggests that there must be some different way of expressing the meaning "to God alone". How would that go in Latin? Sparafucil (talk) 21:23, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I do not know that. But I do know that Routledge is a respected publisher, and a WP:RS source. And D.A. Carson and the like are also WP:RS. So per WP:COMMONNAME that is the way it is in "English Wikipedia". That says absolutely nothing about French, German, Arabic or Chinese Wikipedias - they may have different common name translations. But per Wikipolicy the English Wikipedia should follow Routledge, Carson, etc. I did, in fact, do a careful search on Google books and found hardly any examples the other way. I actually came into this unprepared, just because Gerda asked me, but what I found was the Routledge, Carson type translation. I just formed my opinion less than half a day ago, based on the searches. History2007 (talk) 21:55, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
"[…]there must be some different way of expressing the meaning 'to God alone' […] in Latin": "solum Deo gloria." -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 00:40, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
The problem with solum is that it does not specify to what word it belongs. It could be either "only to God be glory" or "only glory be to God". However, if you look at usage for example in the Vulgate, you will discover that solus in the sense of 'alone' is frequently used as an adjective agreeing with a noun and hardly ever as an adverb 'solum'. As an example consider 1 Samuel 7:3 where it is used in the dative:
(...) et praeparate corda vestra Domino et servite ei soli
The Douay-Rheims translates: (...) and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only
The sentence would not make much sense if translated in the allegedly literal way described above:
(...) and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve the only him
The more instances of solus I have looked at, the clearer it has become to me that 'to God alone' is entirely accurate. Lindert (talk) 10:01, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, your destination may be correct, but the reasoning path that passes through Biblical analysis is not Wiki-ok. The Douay-Rheims does not apply in the context of WP:COMMONNAME etc. But, your conclusion is correct, provided the proper Wiki-path is taken as the rationale. History2007 (talk) 10:30, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
"Solum Deo gloria" for "glory to God alone": the adverb "solum" is not inflected, it refers to the omitted "sit" (be). A more idiomatic wording would be "gloria Deo tantum", but I tried to stick to the original words and their order, which not surprisingly introduced more discussion points.
I'm not disputing that "soli Deo gloria" is widely understood to mean "glory to God alone", I'd just like to point out that this is not supported by the Latin text. If someone wants to say unambiguously "glory to God alone" in Latin, they have to use semething other than "soli Deo gloria", probably "gloria Deo tantum". -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:17, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
You are still saying that the the translation "glory to God alone" is not supported by the Latin, but as we have seen, reliable sources claim otherwise. You need to provide a reliable source supporting you claim, otherwise we cannot use it. Lindert (talk) 11:26, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
@History2007 I know what I'm doing here can be considered WP:OR, and of course I wouldn't use it as a source for the article. The only purpose of my post was to try to illustate the usage of solus to my fellow Wikipedia editors. Lindert (talk) 11:20, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
My summary of what I derive from the above (but my English is limited): "This article is about a certain theological concept for which a Latin phrase was found. If you want to know where the Latin phrase comes from and what it really means, look somewhere else." The article is consistent, never claiming to give a translation of the Latin. It would just need a hatnote to explain that. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:56, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The problem with giving such a hatnote is that we still need a reliable source supporting that the current translation is in fact not 'what it really means'. We have not seen a single source for that. Without a reliable source by Wikipedia's standards (see WP:RS), we cannot add such a note. Lindert (talk) 12:05, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

(ec) I grew up in the country of Luther and Bach, with several years of Latin, 2 years of instructions preparing for Konfirmation which included a lot of Luther, at school singing a canon "Gloria, gloria, soli Deo gloria" (forgot the composer), - but never met the expression "Five sola" or any German equivalent - until recently in this article's German version. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 12:14, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you that 'soli Deo Gloria' is not always used as part of the five solas. It was almost certainly used before someone came up with a list of five solas. However, nowadays the phrase is often encounted (in English) in the context of these five phrases. So I agree that Bach for example probably did not use it consciously as part of the five solas (I believe it is not even clear when they were first formulated). I'll try to make this a bit clearer in the article. (btw I also had six years of Latin in secondary school, even though I have forgotten much of it, but Wikipedia does not rely on personal knowledge, but only published sources, especially when editors disagree). Lindert (talk) 12:39, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like a good approach, thank you. I would also say that Bach was more interested in God's glory than doctrines about it, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 14:07, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Anyway guys, I have said what I could, so I will not be watching this page again. Cheers. History2007 (talk) 14:06, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Corpus Christi[edit]

"An opposing view in Catholic ecclesiology is that the Church is Mystici Corporis Christi, the mystical body of Christ, therefore to honour the Church is to honour Jesus himself."

I would like to see a reference for this, and possibly a clarification of the doctrine. Protestants also believe that the Church is the body of Christ according as this Wiki page shows. There should be more clarification on this point or possibly its removal and an addition of a different opposing point.

Msenders (talk) 13:33, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

I added links for that, please send donations. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 22:35, 18 December 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^ The Cambridge companion to Bach, John Butt, ed. Cambridge University Press 1997 p. 52
  2. ^ Thesaurus of English words, Peter Mark Roget (English) & Barnas Sears (responsible for foreign words and expressions) 1854, p. 465
  3. ^ The Routledge dictionary of Latin quotations: the illiterati's guide to Latin maxims, mottoes, proverbs and sayings, Jon R. Stone, Routledge, 2005 p. 207
  4. ^ Brief history of California, book 1,Theodore Henry Hittell, Stone Educational Company, 1898, p. 38b