I know this is a simple question, and I could look it up, but I think our philosophy here is that all questions are welcome and appreciated.

I believe that Evangelii means good news, from the Greek euangelos. But how do you parse the word Nuntiandi? Wikipedia says the entire phrase means "in proclaiming the Gospel", but grammatically that doesn't make sense to me, since I believe Nuntiandi is a gerund.

How would you translate these words individually, and the phrase as a whole? How do you parse Nuntiandi and make sense of it grammatically?

Lastly, what is the standard translation of the phrase?

  • You may also want to see my thread here, and its answers. Sep 18, 2019 at 7:51

2 Answers 2


It is difficult to surpass Joonas's comprehensive answer in explaining the general grammatical and semantic aspects of the translation.

Regarding the context, I can make my humble contribution (some of you may already know it). A most likely context is that of an Apostolic Exhortation by pope St. Paul VI that goes by the exact name Evangelii Nuntiandi (official Latin text, official English translation), dated 8 december, 1975.

Papal documents are usually named after the first two (occasionally, three) words of their main Latin text (after the title and introductory greetings). In this case the text starts like this:

Evangelii nuntiandi studium nostrae aetatis hominibus, spei plenis, sed timore etiam et angore saepe vexatis, procul dubio officium habendum est, quod non solum christianae communitati, sed universae quoque hominum consortioni praestatur.

In this specific context (if it is the right one, indeed), there's no need for conjectures, since there is an official translation:

There is no doubt that the effort to proclaim the Gospel to the people of today, who are buoyed up by hope but at the same time often oppressed by fear and distress, is a service rendered to the Christian community and also to the whole of humanity.

  • 1
    This is a nice find (+1)! I might add that in this specific case it would also make sense to translate it as "[effort] of proclaiming the Gospel". That's not the official one, but the point is that there is no unique translation of those words even in this context, but there is a clear unique meaning.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Sep 15, 2019 at 18:28
  • 2
    This sounds like the right answer: the actual source of the phrase, in context. The context makes the meaning clear; without the context, there are so many possible meanings, it's hard to even think of them all: "the gospels to be proclaimed", "the gospels of announcing", "the things to be announced of the gospel", etc
    – Ben Kovitz
    Sep 15, 2019 at 19:04
  • 2
    Yes, I agree with Ben. I like both answers but I will accept this one since it references a papal document. Thanks, Rafael!
    – ktm5124
    Sep 16, 2019 at 2:37

The translation depends on context, and I'm not convinced we can give a good all-round translation. First, let us agree that evangelium is "the Gospel" and nuntiare is "to proclaim". Changes in vocabulary are irrelevant for the grammatical considerations here, so you can replace these with the words of your preference.

The noun modified by the gerundive, evangelium nuntiandum, can be seen as "the Gospel to be proclaimed" or "proclaiming the Gospel". This kind of semantic flexibility of gerundives is typical in Latin. If you were to add est, you would get "the Gospel must be proclaimed".

You have the genitive. The translation depends on how it is used. The closest thing to a standard is "of proclaiming the Gospel". Also "of the Gospel to be proclaimed" is possible, but it tends to be a less common way to phrase things in English. For example:

  • evangelii nuntiandi causa
    "for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel"
  • gaudium evangelii nuntiandi
    "the joy of proclaiming the Gospel"
  • evangelii nuntiandi cupidus
    "willing to proclaim the Gospel"
  • 1
    Thanks! This is a helpful answer
    – ktm5124
    Sep 15, 2019 at 18:50

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