I’ve read two articles on Germany’s hard line against bailing out Greece that blame in part the German language. Says Michael Birnbaum, “This tough stance comes from a rules-oriented nation where even the language is conspiring against Greece’s struggles: Germans use the same word for “debt” and for “guilt.” (Harold Meyerson makes the same point.)
Well, I’ve got news for the journalists. “Debt” and “guilt” also use the same word in Greek. At least in New Testament Greek. This is why the Lord’s Prayer is variously translated “forgive us our trespasses” and “forgive us our debts.” The Old English version says forgive us our “gyltas,” i.e., “guilts.” Let me explain the connection. . . .