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capitalization: terms related to religion

The same principles apply to religious terms as to general vocabulary. Writers should resist the temptation to overcapitalize. Follow the guidelines below when deciding whether to capitalize a term associated with religion.

Words derived from names of religions

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

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

but

  • baptize
  • baptism
  • christen

Note: Do not capitalize such terms when they are not used in a religious sense:

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

Names of holy persons

Capitalize the names and titles of holy and revered persons:

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

Theological concepts

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

Titles of religious documents

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

  • the Bible
  • the Vulgate
  • the Torah
  • the Quran
  • Deuteronomy
  • the Apocrypha
  • the Ten Commandments
  • the Talmud
  • the Lord’s Prayer (or the Our Father)
  • the Benedictus
  • the Apostles’ Creed