In Catholic liturgy, there is this ubiquitous expression used to join or precede important prayers where the priest salutes the assembly by wishing (or so I think) that the Lord be with them:

Dominus vobiscum.

(To which people respond Et cum spiritu tuo.)

Note that the verb to be is omitted. Most translations that I know translate the omitted verb as subjunctive (en: The Lord be with you, it: Il Signore sia con voi, es: El Señor esté con vosotros/ustedes). However a few translations –and some priests–, prefer to translate it as indicative (The Lord is with you, etc.). I think this is well intentioned (to assure the other party that it is not only a wish), but goes against [liturgy|the lex orandi|the intention of the text]... Or not?

The only argument that I have goes in the lines of this is how it's officially translated. So my question be:

What are the substantial reasons for/against the subjunctive reading of Dominus vobiscum?

Since this is a language forum, I don't expect a purely theological answer, but I'd love one that links both the historic and/or linguistic aspects involved to the theological.

  • 1
    Perhaps it is derived from the usually wishful Hebraic salutations? (peace be with you)
    – Rafael
    Oct 6 at 11:16

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