29 September 2010

The Lord's Prayer recited in Old English

This is described as "West Saxon literary dialect of Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon)."  Thankfully with subtitles (which you'll probably need fullscreen to read).  It's interesting how some words are virtually unchanged since the 11th century - but I doubt I could get by were I suddenly to become a Minnesota Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

Re the absence of "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen",  I found this at Wikipedia:
The doxology of the prayer is not contained in Luke's version, nor is it present in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew, representative of the Alexandrian text, but is present in the manuscripts representative of the Byzantine text...
You learn something every day.

Filmed visuals from Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.


  1. Completely mesmerizing! And I my bizarre brain just ruined everything by trying to imagine Druids Tweeting, arrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhh!

  2. meh.

    it's a little slow-moving and over-dramatic for my taste.

    this is the version of the Lord's prayer that i use at home, and typically i do without the slow-whirl graphics and synthesized music.

    neither am i impressed with this reader's diction, but it is what it is, i guess.

  3. What's amazing is to look at English a mere two centuries later and see how much it changes (e.g. The Canterbury Tales). It is mostly readable given knowledge of today's English, especially compared to Old English (e.g. this prayer or Beowulf).

    My understanding is that when the crown split from France they adopted the English Language as a sign of their independence. Many words were Lacking so they would anglicize the French word. Basically English is a creole language of Old English and French, later adding many inkhorn terms from Latin & Greek.

  4. Inkhorn. Interesting word.



  5. But but but, it is the inerrant word of g(G)od, how can there be different versions?!?!?!!?

  6. Huh. I read (part of) a line-by-line translation of Beowulf and found the Old English to be completely incomprehensible, so it's interesting that I could catch about half of the spoken words. It wouldn't be easy, but I'm sure I could pick that up far fast than, say, Mandarin. I'm actually tempted to try now. I'd probably have an easier time with Shakespeare as a side effect.

    Anonymous, here's the good old middle finger for you. :-p Go read about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textual_criticism if you really want to get into it.

  7. king arthur wasn't english! he was a briton and spoke celtic. he was famous for killing english people who his kind referred to as "saxonnes" the saxons in turn referred to the britons as "welsh" meaning strange ones in old english.

    see more old english here


    the germanic/norse influence on the english language was lessened somewhat by norman invasion but far more by the general shift in trade and relations from scandinavian countries to france, italy and spain.

  8. Would the Lord's Prayer actually have been recited in Old English? I thought everything was in Latin until the Reformation.

  9. Highly unlikely. The Celts were not Christians...

  10. The celts were christians whilst the English (the Anglo Saxons) were still grubbing around the forests of northern Germany and waiting to come to Britain as illegal immigrants.

    Oh, and if you were transported back to the court of King Arthur you'd be hearing Welsh or Latin (yes I know he may never have existed).

  11. "For thine . . . is itself a mistranslation. As linguist-historian Trevor Whitfield has shown, it should read "For the Rhine is the kingdom . . ."


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