Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

December 5, 2013

VALLEY: Forward this column and get into heaven.

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — While driving past a church the other day and seeing a sign out front, I wondered if simply adding the letters “t” and “h” to the end of some words, somehow makes them more pious?! Words such as ‘do, make and come’ usually turn into “doth, maketh” and “cometh.” when appearing in religious text such as scriptural passages and church signs. Why? What is the origin of this practice? It’s not used in normal conversation – at least, not nowadays.

To the best of my knowledge, the Old and New Testaments were written in Aramaic, Hebrew and/or Greek. (Oral history and symbols were probably also used in the process, but let’s not complicate the matter.) 

The point is, since the Bible was written in those languages, it was, obviously, translated into English so that we could understand it. So how does a word that translates into the English word “make” become “maketh?” I don’t get it. Nor do I need an e-mail in the form of an eight-page dissertation explaining to me the history of the dead languages and how it relates to this particular situation. I’m simply saying I don’t understand it, I didn’t say I wanted to. I’ll stay stupid, if you don’t mind.

Doth I maketh my point? Whateverth!

Another thing: I get a lot of those “FW, FW, FW” e-mails – as most of us do – about the on-going debate regarding the addition of – or removal of — God’s name on, or from, government buildings blah, blah, blah.

The e-mails come across as though they originated from someone who is a religion-slinging barker attempting to garner cheap applause with his/her holier-than-thou stance. Using guilt and shame, the letter tries to build its case with emotional blackmail by pointing out that if you love Jesus you will agree and pass this on to 40 or 50 more people, lest you suffer the consequences – so goes the insinuation – of reserving yourself a room in the afterlife with a bunk-mate named Hitler or even worse, Geraldo Rivera.

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