I am working on texts from the composer Telemann and have come across an eighteenth-century text about the writer, Fabricius. In a single paragraph both GOttes and GOTTES appear. I take it that both would be translated as 'God's' but do now understand the differences in orthography and the implications for translation. I'd be grateful for help and advice.

Below is an extract from a longer paragraph containing both examples: [GOttes and GOTTES]

Wem ist unbekannt, daß Herr D. Fabricius das beste Mittel ergriffen, die Menschen auf die Wercke GOttes aufmercksam zu machen, und die verborgenen Schönheiten derer Geschöpfe in der Absicht zu entdecken, damit zugleich die Güte, Weisheit, Allmacht und Majestät GOTTES offenbaret werde?

The quotation is from the meticulously edited book* New Mattheson Studies George J. Buelow and Hans Joachim Marx, Cambridge University Press,(1983, 2006) p. 106.

Source for this quote from 1773 enter image description here

  • Thank you Takkat for adding the source quote. It is wonderful to be so kindly helped and guided.
    – D Dorwick
    Mar 12, 2019 at 4:30

2 Answers 2


There was a habit of writing the name of god with not one but more capital letters in order to honour him/her/it particularly and distinguish the spelling from how ordinary people are spelled. Therefore GOtt, or, with even more distinction (I suppose here): GOTT.

I have seen this also in English.

There are no implications for translation. It is simply, as you correctly say, God's. (Note the capital letter in English.)

Later addition

after a faksimile of the text in question was added to the original post:

My impression is that the reason for writing GOttes and GOTTES is to be searched in the area of typesetting practicalities. Hypothesis: author and typesetter preferred GOTTES, but in the one case they had to hyphenize the word, and they found it awkward to hyphenize a capitals-only word, so they went back to double capitalization (which was anyway a usual way of honouring god).

  • As for most writers there would be "only one god", why are these two variants used in one para? How can all-caps be even more distinctive? Mar 10, 2019 at 22:38
  • @LangLangC Like Soviet generals: the more brass stuck to the chest, the more honour. Mar 10, 2019 at 22:39
  • Sure, but why not just stick to max-brass Breschnew-style (GOTTES), in the same para? Mar 10, 2019 at 22:40
  • @LangLangC Scarcity of capital letters in old lead typesetting typecases? Mar 10, 2019 at 22:42
  • 2
    Doubtful. How about: GOttes is just honorary double cap, GOTTES is then emphasising that word? I think dismissing implications for translation (and spelling in transl) might be a bit careless. (But then screenshot or more context, source for the Q might be handy to evaluate too) Mar 10, 2019 at 22:44

actually the differences in tyesetting can also give a hint on how one is suppose to intonate the different occurences of the word Gottes in the paragraph. the last one shall be emphasized

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