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Cherubs and seraphs

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Wandering JJ
1309646.  Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:22 am Reply with quote

In a recent QI programme, I heard Sandi refer to either 'cherubims' or 'seraphims'. Being a perfectionist, I feel sure she would like to know that the plural of seraph is 'seraphim' in Hebrew and, similarly, the plural of cherub is 'cherubim' in Hebrew, -im being the regular plural ending for masculine nouns. So, in future, either cherubs or cherubim and similarly for seraph.
A great programme!

1309648.  Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:27 am Reply with quote

I agree, but would quote in Sandi's defence:

"The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved." - Psalm 99:1 (King James Version)

Other translations generally have "cherubim", though.

1309663.  Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:31 pm Reply with quote

As far as I can tell, the King James Bible and the Douay-Rheims Bible (an equally old and conservative Bible used by RCs) go with cherubims and seraphims throughout. You might perhaps expect the Hebrew Bible or Tanach to be the most likely to use Hebrew plurals - but in fact most English-language Bibles for Jewish people also use the -ims forms.

The Jerusalem Bible (another RC Bible) does use the Hebrew -im plurals. You kinda have to when you have a celebrity linguist (J R R Tolkien) on the board!

Most modern Bibles use the English plurals cherubs and seraphs. The New International Version does, the Good News Bible does, and - now that Tolkien is dead - by now the Jerusalem Bible does as well. Indeed, Coverdale used cherubs in 1535, although he was inconsistent and paired them with seraphins.

Wandering JJ
1309675.  Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:26 pm Reply with quote

Thank you both so much for taking the trouble to reply to my first post in this forum in so much detail. The way the plural of the two nouns is rendered in various versions of the Bible was unknown to me. That doesn't make it right (!) but it does give Sandi a reason for saying what she did.

I fully accept what both of you wrote by way of explanation and justification; it's just that, to my ears, it's like writing/saying amicis rather than amici in Italian, as the latter is already the plural of amico. I'm meeting a friend in a few minutes and we're going to have a couple of lasagnes, even though lasagne is already the plural of lasagna!

Just wait till I get on another hobby horse: that spaghetti is the plural of spaghetto!

Sincere thanks to you,

1309677.  Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:46 pm Reply with quote

If you really want to go down the Italian plurals route, ask eggshaped about panini.

I say "ask", what I really mean is "wind him up and watch him go".
: p

edit: missed an s

Last edited by Bondee on Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:05 pm; edited 1 time in total

Wandering JJ
1309687.  Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:23 pm Reply with quote

Nice one!
I'll wait until I've been contributing to the forum for a few weeks then wind him/her up!

1309694.  Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:09 pm Reply with quote

eggshaped is a him, the "nomme de nette" of one Mr. J Harkin who you may know from No Such Thing As A Fish and, more recently, a giant chicken.

The panini/panino thing has come up on Twitter several times in the past.

Oh, and welcome to the forum.

Alexander Howard
1310292.  Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:36 am Reply with quote

Throughout the Bible, the כְּרוּבִים are only ever portrayed as symbolic images, not real beings, except in Genesis 3; 24, and even that is essentially allegorical.

1310294.  Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:40 am Reply with quote

Just wondering whether the word kibbutzes has ever appeared in print. AFAIK, only kibbutzim is used.

1310323.  Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:20 am Reply with quote

Raviolis and cannolis are common American plurals, but spaghetti seems to have escaped the problem.

1310336.  Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:12 pm Reply with quote

'yorz wrote:
Just wondering whether the word kibbutzes has ever appeared in print. AFAIK, only kibbutzim is used.

Yes, but not often. The OED has the plural as "kibbutzim (occasionally kibbutzes)", while most other dictionaries only want the Hebrew plural.

I've found a paper from a sociology journal which is called "Experiences of 'not belonging' in collectivistic communities: Narratives of gays in kibbutzes", and I've also found the Washington Post using kibbutzes. The paper about gay kibbutznikim was written by someone called Adital Ben-Ari, who is a professor at the University of Haifa. Given her name and her location I'd be fairly confident that Professor Ben-Ari is Jewish (!), so she ought to know what the plural is!


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