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I believe in my own self... Credo in ??? ego

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I believe in my own self... Credo in ??? ego

Postby petroff38 » Tue Mar 09, 2004 9:06 pm

After reading "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco, I found that I enjoy the latin very much. It is a magical sounding language.

I understand that the Christians' Credo is "Credo in unum Deum", or "I believe in the one God." Now, I cannot state the same, since there's only one being or person in which I believe strongly -- and this is me, or more precisely: my ego, my own thinking self. (I do not necessarily consider my body being an essential part of "me.")

I don't speak/read/write latin at all yet, but I would like to create an "ex libris" motto for my books, and I come up with my credo's version, which is "Credo in meum ego." I asked for one of my friend's help who learned latin at school, and he told me that this translation is OK; but later, a different guy mentioned that he believes the correct translation would be "Credo in me ego."

Now I'm clueless. I was so proud that I could translate to latin what was in my mind. I thought that I "feel" the natural logic of this beautiful language -- but...

Of course, life must go on, but I would be really glad, if someone could help me (or even explain!), which form would be correct and why.

In short: how should one state in latin that he (only) believes in his own self?
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Postby benissimus » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:21 am

I would say that your second friend is right with Credo in me ego, which rearranged would be Ego credo I believe in me in(to) myself. It wouldn't hurt to throw an intensive pronoun ipse into there, with or without the ego, as Credo in me ipse: "I (myself) believe in me". You could also have ipse in agreement with the object, as Credo in me ipsum: "I believe in my very self".

Your first translation is grammatically correct, but meum means "my", with either a neuter thing or masculine person implied... "I believe in my thing/man". Quite a valiant and lucky strike for someone who hasn't learnt any Latin ;) In your sentence, it has a nice parallel structure with the traditional quote, but the ego is an emphatic though non-vital subject for the sentence; it does not mean "I believe in ego" but "ego believes in ____".
Last edited by benissimus on Wed Mar 10, 2004 2:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby phil » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:50 am

credo in me ipsum - when I believe in something, isn't the something ablative because of the in? I ask because I've seen 'credamus in deo' written somewhere. So shouldn't it be 'credo in me ipso'?
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Postby benissimus » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:54 am

I would think so too, but I was following the author's paradigm of "Credo in unum Deum". I'll start investigating...
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Postby phil » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:59 am

true, true, I just googled for 'credo in unum deum' and 'credo in deo' and got hits for both.
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Postby benissimus » Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:16 am

According the Lewis & Short, the in + acc. construction is poetic only in the sense of entrusting something to someone. Not at all what is meant when one says "I trust in one god."

E.g. inque novos soles audent se germina tuto Credere, Verg. G. 2, 333
more or less... "And into the new days, they dare to entrust their offspring to protection"

The only other scenario is in Ecclesiastical Latin, where in + acc. can mean "trust/believe in", as:

hoc est ergo credere in Deum, Aug.
"Therefore this is believing in God".
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Postby Episcopus » Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:48 pm

haha why does every apparently established classicist ostentatiously refer to classic authors with such specific quotes. Virgil Georgics...ah Steven
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Postby klewlis » Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:57 pm

Episcopus wrote:haha why does every apparently established classicist ostentatiously refer to classic authors with such specific quotes. Virgil Georgics...ah Steven


So that if we want to look it up we don't have to read the whole work ;)
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Postby petroff38 » Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:19 pm

I would like to thank all of you for your help, insight and kind words. I am much obliged.

Today my first friend told me that he still believes that "Credo in meum ego" is correct, because the "ego" in this sentence doesn't only refer to my thinking, living consciousness, but the "one and only ego", as Alfred Adler redefined the Freudian term (in short: there is no ego, id and superego, there's just "the" ego, and this means sole responsibility), and perhaps it's not erroneous to assume that this expression is in neuter form.

As benissimus noticed, my credo is like an answer or riposte to the Christian's credo, and while they believe in the one and only God, I believe in the one and only "ego", I believe that I'm the only one who's in control, who's responsible for all my deeds.

What do you think about this explanation?
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Postby klewlis » Wed Mar 10, 2004 8:00 pm

petroff38 wrote:I would like to thank all of you for your help, insight and kind words. I am much obliged.

Today my first friend told me that he still believes that "Credo in meum ego" is correct, because the "ego" in this sentence doesn't only refer to my thinking, living consciousness, but the "one and only ego", as Alfred Adler redefined the Freudian term (in short: there is no ego, id and superego, there's just "the" ego, and this means sole responsibility), and perhaps it's not erroneous to assume that this expression is in neuter form.

As benissimus noticed, my credo is like an answer or riposte to the Christian's credo, and while they believe in the one and only God, I believe in the one and only "ego", I believe that I'm the only one who's in control, who's responsible for all my deeds.

What do you think about this explanation?


The problem is that you're treating ego as the object of credo... ego does not mean "myself" in that sense. If you use ego in this sentence (as benissimus noted), ego simply enforces the "I", the subject of the sentence, not the object. so to say "ego credo" still simply means "I believe", but with the emphasis on "I". The object is "in me ipsum", which means "in me, myself". The way you're trying to use it doesn't make sense in latin--ego is not a thing.
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Postby Ulpianus » Wed Mar 10, 2004 8:30 pm

Today my first friend told me that he still believes that "Credo in meum ego" is correct, because the "ego" in this sentence doesn't only refer to my thinking, living consciousness, but the "one and only ego", as Alfred Adler redefined the Freudian term (in short: there is no ego, id and superego, there's just "the" ego, and this means sole responsibility), and perhaps it's not erroneous to assume that this expression is in neuter form.


As others have pointed out, this just doesn't work in Latin. What would one think if someone said, in English "I believe in my"? That's what credo in meum ego "means". Psychology may have trained us to accept "the ego" as a noun, but in Latin it cannot be ... It is a first person nominative pronoun. I guess if you want to use the tag, you can. But it strikes me as a kind of private code: a Latinist won't understand it without an explanation that "ego" is being treated as a highly irregular neuter substantive; and a psychologist won't understand it unless told that "meum" is a possessive pronoun.
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Postby petroff38 » Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:15 pm

Dear klewlis and Ulpianus,

I do not want to annoy anyone, but I'm curious, so I hope you'll forgive me if I act as a complete fool, but I feel I must inquire: if there would be a non-latin god, whose name would be Ego (what a coincidence! :wink:), then how should the believer of this particular god state the subject of his belief in Latin? Of course, he would have to explain to everyone that "this Ego" is not "that ego", but what else could he do?

My current question (and I hope that I can resist the temptation to ask my silly questions without ending :wink:) is that if I capitalize the "Ego", would it be any help? Would it suggest in any way that "this ego" isn't a pronoun but a substantive noun?
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Postby Ulpianus » Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:38 pm

Well, let's see how to deal with this god when he latinizes himself. First you have to decide what your hypothetical god's name is in the accusative or the ablative (see the above discussion). Let's assume you will stick with the accusative. If your god was neuter, then I guess its name wouldn't change. But gods aren't usually neuter (are they ever? anyone?) So let's say he's masculine (forgive me if I'm wrong).

A masculine noun whose nominative was "ego" would probably stem in n (as leo, leonis), so I think we'll decline your god Ego, Egonis, with the accusative "Egonem"

So you end up with "Credo in Egonem meum", or something like that.


Capital letters don't help you in classical Latin, because the distinction between capitals and lower case didn't develop until around 1000 AD.
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Postby benissimus » Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:05 am

It isn't unheard of to have other parts of speech used as nouns, but you have to be very careful when doing so, and I wouldn't risk it in my own prose until I have some more experience. I remember seeing in Horace hoc cras, "this tomorrow", where the adverb cras is used as a neuter noun.

And Episcopus, I do not use those types of quotes to be ostentatious. I use them for the reasons Klewlis stated, but moreso because those are examples listed in the dictionary or grammar I was referring to.
Last edited by benissimus on Sat Mar 13, 2004 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby xyz » Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:23 am

benissimus wrote:According the Lewis & Short, the in + acc. construction is poetic only in the sense of entrusting something to someone. Not at all what is meant when one says "I trust in one god."

The only other scenario is in Ecclesiastical Latin, where in + acc. can mean "trust/believe in", as:
hoc est ergo credere in Deum, Aug.
"Therefore this is believing in God".



I am new here.But find your discussions both very interesting and
insightful. Some have referred to the question of the Latin sentences in the Creed (the Apostles' Creed), and hinted the particular usage of "credo" in the medieval ecclesiastical Latin. Theologians have longed argued about the difference or similarity between uses of credo in the first three articles and in the fourth of the Apostles' Creed. In more generally accepted English versions of the AC, where the phrase "believe in" is used in both places, we cannot tell much difference between them:

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
......
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
......

But according to some German traditions of translation, to believe in God
one has to say "an Gott glauben", and they won't lightly say "an die Kirche
glauben". For further information, please look up the discussion entitled
"An Gott Glauben, an die Kirche nicht" at
http://www.ohne-gott.de/forum/messages/28.html.
Even for the Roman Catholic Church, the Latin wording of the AC also requires careful reinterpretation, and in this case the preposition "in" before the object is rather stressed upon.(Cf. for instance, the official statement at
http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism ... 3a9_lt.htm)

Perhaps one may draw the conclusion: the difference there is rather theologically than linguistically oriented.
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