I want to engrave "Peace and Good Will" on my ring in Latin. I have less then a quarter available for the engraving so it can't be too big.

I originally wanted to use something from the Bible (even though I'm not Christian) but turns out it is huge. Luke 2:14 "Gloria in altissimis Deo et in terra pax in hominibus bonae voluntatis". Also, I read that Protestants translate it as "good will to mankind" but the Catholics translate it as "good will to those upon whom His favor rests". Ouch. I prefer the more universal idea of good will to all.

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    +1. Saying that Catholics translate it like that seems a little far-fetched, though. I've seen better Catholic translations of the passage, like the one offered by luchonacho, which is pretty much how it is used in liturgy (at least in Masses in the US.)
    – Rafael
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 22:38
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    @Rafael, the difference - or so I read - arises from a difference in the Greek Manuscripts, and the difference is a single sigma, a single 's'. One manuscript reads "en anthropois eudokia" while the other reads "eudokias", which changes the grammatical tone of the sentence. 'Eudokia' is nominative, thus "good will towards men", whereas 'Eudokias' is genitive, which puts the emphasis on those with whom God is pleased. Thus the translations are different between Bibles, such as NKJV and NASV, which I read has historical, sectarian overtones.
    – Johan88
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 13:40
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    But maybe the variant translations being sectarian are coincidental, based more on the individual who translated it rather then difference of doctrine, so that it could have just as easily been the Protestants using 'Eudokias' and the Catholics using 'Eudokia'. Either way it's 'ouch', a huge limiting of the good will from what I myself was raised with. And my concern here is more for my ring's engraving then the history of theology (though it is a subject I find interesting). Thanks for the input though
    – Johan88
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 13:58
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    The problem is, as always, human nature. The solution is grace (and bona voluntas).
    – Rafael
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 14:58
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    How beautiful good will is, and the nature of those we have it. And how ugly is malice, and the nature of those who have it. You say 'human nature'.. Well, the doctrine of original sin is disputed in different Christian denominations (and that goes far beyond just the 'Catholic Protestant' divide), but it doesn't exist in every religion. Each person's soul is something he himself can work on, try to improve, and guard from corrupting. Something some believe it is his duty to work on. But it is also something each person can neglect, spoil, and corrupt. Thank you again @Rafael for all input !
    – Johan88
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 15:12

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure Fides is correct there. You probably want to use voluntas.

For example, the Vulgata Bible (which strictly speaking is both Catholic and Protestant) has in Luke 2:14 the following:

gloria in altissimis Deo et in terra pax in hominibus bonae voluntatis

Which in English is translated as:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.”

This translation is in my opinion more loyal to the Latin version than the two you suggest, and thus I would consider it "non-sectarian".

My suggestion is then:

pax et bona voluntas

In my opinion this is general enough, and will not be associated with a particular interpretation of the aforementioned biblical verse. It is also very brief and should fit in a ring, and is fairly simply to understand if you know Spanish, French or Italian.

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    I'd prefer pax et benevolentia
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 21:10
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    @TomCotton I agree, that would be a very good choice. Do you want to write it as a separate answer?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 10:29
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    @Joonasilmavitra and Tomcotton, why would u guys prefer 'benevolentia'? I prefer Luchonacho's use of 'bona voluntas' because it captures the heart of the Biblical verse this phrase and sentiment originate from, and I see 'benevolentia' as a manifestion of good will, and not vice versa. And because I prefer 'bona voluntas' may I please ask u guys if u would consider it good, even if you'd prefer 'benevolentia'? Thanks for all your input.
    – Johan88
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 16:56

I don't know much about biblical Latin, so let me offer a more classical point of view.

For good will, bona voluntas or perhaps even voluntas alone is fine, but I would prefer benevolentia. It was commented under another answer that it comes from a biblical verse using bonae voluntatis, but that is not true. The word is well attested in classical Latin. Meanings include things like "good-will", "benevolence", "kindness", "favor", and "friendship", which I find to be a better fit than bona voluntas. And for some reason I do like having this whole idea condensed into a single word — which doesn't sound artificial. As always, the optimal choice depends on what exactly one wants to convey.

Pax is a good translation for "peace". The combination pax et benevolentia sounds good to me.

My personal suggestion — which you may or may not like — is benevolentia pacifera, roughly "peace-bringing benevolence". For more details, see pacifer in L&S. I like this for a couple of reasons: (1) The two ideas are combined in a more active way; it's not just "X and Y", but "X doing Y". The idea conveyed is the same, but I like this colorful wording. This is one of the cases where I find myself preferring not to use et or anything similar, but finding another kind of connection. (2) It balances the two words; pax is very short and benevolentia is quite long. Perhaps it looks a little more grandiose this way, too.

To find the words whose tone best fits your intended message, please consult a Latin–English dictionary and see what the offered words mean. You can use the links given here or pick the online Latin dictionary you like most.

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    Thank you everyone who has contributed to my thread. Joonas, whose opinion is to be highly regarded, says it's a matter of personal preference, so I an going with PAX ET BONA VOLUNTAS, and - credit where credit is due - giving Luchonacho the green tick since it was originally his suggestion. Excellent points raised by all. Fantastic suggestions by Joonas. Pax et Bona Voluntas et Benevolentia et genuflection to you all. Thank you.
    – Johan88
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 2:18

I can't add a comment because of my low rep, but 'Bona Voluntas' reflects the original Biblical verse, which uses 'Bonae Voluntatis'. So I would recommend using that.

Another example of 'Bona Voluntas' that I could find is from PAX ET UNA CHARITAS by Henricus Canisius, 1 January 1685

He writes:

Ubi Deus eft, ibi Charitas eft; Ubi Charitas, ibi bona voluntas; Ubi bona voluntas, ibi Pax; Ubi Pax, ibi justitia; Ubi justitia, ibi securitas.

There are many more examples.

And yes, the double nominative (pax and bona voluntas)would carry the general, wide meaning you seek, of peace for all and good will to all (as opposed to, for example, pacem et bonam voluntatem, or pacis et bonae voluntatis, and etc.)

A GREAT thread addressing this very thing is Et in Terra Pax Hominibus Bona Voluntas Sic

Bona Voluntas, from the nominative εὐδοκία, exists, but is regarded as the weaker of the two possibilities, because 'Bonae Voluntatis' (as in the Vulgate) comes from the older (thus more highly regarded) Greek Manuscript, which uses the genitive εὐδοκίας.


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