Cambridge Students Rewrite Grace

May 15, 2009

Students at Newnham College, part of the University of Cambridge, have rewritten a Latin Grace said before the weekly formal meals where they dine together, and more than a few eyebrows have been raised as a result, The Times of London reported. According to the Times, the prayer has been said as: “Benedic nobis Domine Deus et his donis quae de liberalitate tua sumpturi sumus per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.” (Translation: “Bless us Lord God and bless these gifts which by your generosity we are about to eat, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.") The new version, prepared to be more inclusive of students from many faiths, is as follows: “Pro cibo inter esurientes, pro comitate inter desolatos, pro pace inter bellantes, gratias agimus." (The translation: “For food in a hungry world, for companionship in a world of loneliness, for peace in an age of violence, we give thanks.") Mary Beard, a Cambridge classics professor who blogs for the Times, has published a critique of the new language. Beard writes that "the undergraduates' rewrite was a classic case of disguising a load of well meaning platitudes in some posh dead language, which was actually an insult to that dead language."

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