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A recent question on ELU Link here:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Name is singular. Does it mean that

Father Son Holy Ghost

Has/have one name?

To cut a long story short this is a straightforward grammatical question about countable and uncountable uses of nouns. Please can it be reopened? Doctrinal religious issues are a red herring.

  • I agree. At first sight, it looks purely theological; but as one answer points out "In the name of Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev" is equally singular not plural. It may or may not be worth answering, but it certainly deserves to be reopened. – Tim Lymington Jul 23 '14 at 13:32
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    On the other hand, there are a number of perfectly reasonable answers there already, some of them the OPs. The religious issues are definitely a red herring, and the good answers there already separate them out. – Mitch Jul 23 '14 at 14:52
  • @Mitch I quite like Reg's answer but there is a much simpler one. It's just that the word name here is being used as an uncountable noun, and in an uncountable sense. If one substitutes any properly countable noun in there you'll get a plural (unless it is one shared entity), any uncountable one will of course appear singular. This could be fleshed out properly. There are also probably other reasons that other readers may come up with. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jul 23 '14 at 14:58
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    One wonders why you didn't add an answer before the question was closed. – Andrew Leach Jul 23 '14 at 15:07
  • "By the power of Grayskull, and Snake Mountain!" – Matt Gutting Jul 23 '14 at 16:15
  • @AndrewLeach Does one. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jul 23 '14 at 16:29
  • @AndrewLeach, Mitch, Well, I suppose it's more important for people to have a closed question than it is for people to have reliable, supported and informed answers, or even accurate ones. So if there's 'perfectly reasonable' answers that's enough to be getting on with. The fact that people come here to be informed's not important really. It's not like there's anything actually true or false with language, you can just give an unsupported opinion and that's enough. Or even better make it up as you go along! Great input into the site. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jul 23 '14 at 23:47
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    The question was closed by the community. You will need to convince the communuity to re-open. It only takes five people, and you already have three votes. You could get the other two faster if you actually put the "long story" into this Meta question. – Andrew Leach Jul 24 '14 at 5:25
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    It might be better to ask this on the Hermeneutics site. – curiousdannii Jul 26 '14 at 6:00
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I edited the question to incorporate the information the OP had posted in three separate answers (which I believe was a misperception on his part that the Answer space was for discussion). The combination of this information, which even were I wrong about his intent in posting the answers, clearly demonstrates that OP wants a Biblical discussion about the Trinity. That is, he puts forth a counter-example where regular names are used with in the names of and concludes that the singular in the name of means that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one person.

In this case, I don't think the question can be properly answered without an appeal to the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek or whatever it was written in and a further discussion of the implications of how that was then translated into English. Sounds like a question for biblical scholars.

If you would like to edit the question to make it about countable/uncountable nouns and see if you can preserve the original intent of the post while substituting a non-doctrinal context, you are welcome to do so. Removing the references to the Trinity might help make it clear which parts of it are about English, and are therefore on-topic, which in turn translates into a greater likelihood of re-opening by the community.

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    I'm satisfied from the OP's subsequent comments that he's actually interested only in a religious discussion. Given the other religious answers on the site, I'm happy to leave as is, so long as a similar question purely about the grammar elsewhere will not get closed as a duplicate. .(I have no intentions of posting myself). I don't think readers interested in the grammar will be enthused about reading about the issue on this particular page. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jul 25 '14 at 16:22
  • @Araucaria Given all that — and I believe you are correct — you might wish to update your question to remove the “non-” portion from its title, as well as adding your most recent understanding in some sort of addendum to the body. :( – tchrist Jul 25 '14 at 17:53

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