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4.19 Terms related to religion

The same principles apply to religious terms as to general vocabulary. Writers should resist the temptation to overcapitalize.

(a) Capitalize most adjectives and verbs derived from the names of organized religions:

  • Anglican
  • Roman Catholic
  • Shiite
  • Greek Orthodox
  • Christianize
  • Free Methodist

but

  • baptize
  • baptism
  • christen

(b) Capitalize the names and titles of holy and revered persons:

  • The Blessed Virgin
  • Our Lady of Sorrows
  • Mother Superior
  • Saint Jerome
  • Maimonides
  • Buddha

(c) Capitalize unique theological concepts:

  • the Fall
  • the Flood
  • Original Sin
  • the Second Coming
  • the Nativity
  • the Chosen People
  • the Holy Grail
  • the Holy of Holies

(d) Do not capitalize derived terms that are not used in a religious sense:

  • She is very catholic in her literary tastes.
  • His ideas are quite orthodox.

(e) Capitalize the titles of religious writings and documents, special prayers and devotional canticles, creeds and confessions:

  • the Bible
  • the Torah
  • the Koran
  • the Vulgate
  • Deuteronomy
  • the Apocrypha
  • the Ten Commandments
  • the Talmud