"High favored" vs. "Full of Grace"


Does anyone know the story behind the “Hail, highly favored” rendition vs. “Full of grace” rendition of Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary?


Never heard of the "highly favored" translation, but I just googled it and it appears that is how the KJV quotes the angel Gabriel.


The word comes from the Greek kecharitomene, which contains the stem "chari{s}" meaning "grace." The word in Greek is a little complicated to fully translate into English without it being...well...clunky for lack of a better term. It's a perfect past participle. The word means something like, "having already been graced." It implies that Mary has never been without the fullness of grace -- even at the moment of her conception. God did not allow even original sin to taint her, much less "normal" sin.

Therefore, while Mary is certainly "highly favored," that term doesn't convey the total richness of truth. The term shows up in a lot of protestant translations. :shrug:


The quick answer is that while the Greek says "kecharitomene," the Vulgate translates it "gratia plena," which is "full of grace" in English. This phrase is not uniquely applied to Mary, but also to the Word (John 1:14) and Stephen (Acts 6:8) and maybe in some other place I do not know off the top of my head. "Highly favored one" probably corresponds closer to the Greek grammatical form, but it sounds awkward and was probably formulated diliberately to undermine Catholic Marian doctrine. I'll let others more knowledgable expound the meanings and their theological implications.


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