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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Consubstantial"? Really?!?

Last night, Stephen Colbert reported on recent changes to the Latin Mass.  Specifically, the Nicene Creed now states that Jesus Christ is "consubstantial with the Father."  This replaces the phrase "one in Being with the Father."  Now, I'm no Catholic, but I possess enough basic literacy skills to derive from the context of this discussion that "consubstantial" means "one in Being with"--except it's far more high-falutin'.  We can conclude from this revision, therefore, that Vatican scholars are like seventh-graders trying to impress their English teacher. 

Writers should never use five-dollar word when fifty-cent ones will do.  The single word "consubstantial" doesn't even really provide an advantage in brevity over the four-word "one in Being with": Both options contain the same number of letters and syllables.

As a Jew, I am apathetic.  As an English teacher, I am unimpressed.

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