Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've read some texts and versions of the Bible using the capitalized form of Gentile and others using just a lowercase version. I couldn't find any standards on its usage.

share|improve this question

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

When used as an adjective meaning ‘of or pertaining to any or all of the nations other than the Jewish’, the OED states that ‘it is now usually written with capital initial’. Similarly, it says of the noun meaning ‘one of any nation other than the Jewish’, it is ‘usually with capital G’.

share|improve this answer

A gentile is a non-Jew. The word does not refer to a specific nation/tribe/people; it's a generic. As such it should be lowercase, just like "foreigner" or "nation" would be.

share|improve this answer

Quoted from wikipedia :

The term Gentile (from Latin gentilis, by the French "gentil", female: "gentille", meaning of or belonging to a clan or tribe) refers to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible.

Latin and subsequently English translators selectively used the term gentiles when the context for the base term "peoples" or "nations", Hebrew, גוי (goy) and נכרי (nokhri) in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek word ἔθνη (éthnē) in the New Testament, indicated non-Israelite peoples or nations. The term gentiles is derived from Latin, used for contextual translation, and not an original Hebrew or Greek word from the Bible.

Following Christianization of the Roman Empire, the general implication of the word gentile became "non-Jew".

In short when we are referring to the "non-Jew" people, like a quality, it is lower-cased. When we are speaking about group of people - non-Israelite peoples, it is capitalized.

share|improve this answer
    
What does suffering to the "non-Jew" people mean? People don't suffer to other people, that doesn't make sense. –  Matt Эллен Jan 4 '12 at 16:18
1  
Did you mean "referring to non-Jew people"? "... suffering to non-Jew people" doesn't really make sense in context. –  Jay Jan 4 '12 at 16:22
    
I would make this edit but I don't have the privileges. –  DJClayworth Jan 4 '12 at 19:59
    
Yes, it was "referring to non-Jew people". I have no idea how referring has become suffering, I guess I have been tired or distracted. Thanks, Jay. @DJClayworth you need more points to edit post mate, go for it. –  speedyGonzales Jan 4 '12 at 20:13

When it means "a person who is not Jewish," it is written Gentile. When, for example, it means "not belonging to one's own religious community," it is written gentile.

share|improve this answer

I don't buy this. Gentile, like Semite, is a proper noun. I note that Semite is always capitalized, yet Gentile should not always be according to some. I think this should be a consistent use and be capitalized when used as a proper noun, and not, when used as an adjective. I find also that every Bible translation that I looked up (KJV, NKJV, NIV, NAB, ESV, NLT) all follow the same principle in which the word, Gentile, as a proper noun is capitalized.

If you are going to capitalize proper nouns, and capitalize other proper nouns associated with the use of the proper noun of "Gentile," like "Semite," and "Jew," then you need to be consistent with all such usage. I think that the Bible translators recognized this.

share|improve this answer
3  
Welcome to English Language & Usage. Your answer seems to be a response to another answer. This site is not actually a discussion site: it's a Q&A site, which means answers should stand on their own. Consider editing to make your answer stand alone, or moving your answer to a comment, depending on your intentions. Also be aware that comments on a Q&A site should offer constructive suggestions for improving a Q (or A). If what you really wish to do is discuss, come on over to chat. –  MετάEd Feb 12 '13 at 16:51

This is a religious debate, not proper grammar, which it should be. Gentile is NEVER capitalized unless it is the first word in a sentence. And no, I'm not Jewish.

share|improve this answer
3  
We've got answers that contradict your that provide sources. Would you care to provide anything to back up your opinion? –  Matt Эллен Sep 12 '13 at 8:40

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.