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Just asked this question on "Christianity", but feel asked it in a very awkward way:

Do we have any evidence that Martin Luther considered some individuals of the Roman Catholic clergy living in some centuries close to Luther's time (the closer centuries are preferred) to be the part of the Universal Church?

I am especially concerned about the part in bold. How do I express that with proper English?

After receiving a comment, and an answer, I am thinking to re-write the sentence as the following one:

Do we have any evidence that Martin Luther considered some individuals of the Roman Catholic clergy living in some centuries before Luther's time (the latter centuries are preferred) to be the part of the Universal Church?

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closed as off topic by Robusto, Kris, Matt Эллен, Mitch, RegDwigнt Apr 28 '12 at 15:02

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Yes, it is very awkward. Unfortunately, proofreading is off-topic on this site according to the faq. –  Robusto Apr 28 '12 at 13:27
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I don't know much about Martin Luther, but I do know that it is logically impossible for him to have considered anything about individuals living in the centuries after he did. centuries before or during Luther's time perhaps. –  TLP Apr 28 '12 at 13:29
    
@Robusto He is not asking for people to proofread anything that I can see. Surely a question about how to phrase a question is not off topic. –  TLP Apr 28 '12 at 13:32
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The Q. needs improving in many respects. Suggest re-post with corrections. Voting to close. See also FAQ for tips on asking a great question. –  Kris Apr 28 '12 at 13:32
    
@TLP Pray what's that to do with ELU? That's for writersSE/ religion right? –  Kris Apr 28 '12 at 13:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You have written a long sentence, and so I would suggest making a few other revisions to tighten it up. Maybe something like this:

Is there any evidence that Martin Luther considered any of the Roman Catholic clergymen who were his contemporaries or who lived in the centuries preceding his own lifetime a part of the Universal Church?

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Thank you. It's a very good way to phrase it, I think. But there is one problem: the fact that I am more after the evidence of those who lived in the time closer to Martin Luther's time is not expressed in it, while it's kind of important to me that that kind of evidence would be considered first. –  brilliant Apr 28 '12 at 14:56
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Does this work: Is there any evidence that Martin Luther considered any of the Roman Catholic clergymen who lived in the centuries immediately preceding his own lifetime, or who were his contemporaries, a part of the Universal Church? –  JLG Apr 28 '12 at 14:59
    
Yes, I think this works. Thank you!!! –  brilliant Apr 28 '12 at 15:00

How about "...in the centuries before his time, especially (or particularly) the latter"?

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