“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

Is this grammatical? We often hear "Pay homage to" or "homage to" but this is not what is said here.

It says "of". What is the difference?

  • I don't understand the downvotes or the close votes. The question looks fine to me. – Jolenealaska Apr 9 '14 at 6:44

It is grammatical.

Although pay homage to (or homage to) is a common phrase, homage of is also possible. An example of homage of can be found in Macmillan Dictionary.

noun [singular/uncountable]

b. a formal speech or action by which people show their loyalty to a king or leader
He received the homage of his chieftains.

The of in homage of indicates where the homage comes from (or in other words, whose it belongs to). In that example sentence, it's clear that the homage was paid by the chieftains to him.

In your quote,

[...] he (God) must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

means God must prefer the homage paid to Him out of reason to the homage paid to Him out of blindfolded fear.

  • What "translations"? The quote was originally in English. It's easy enough to find the source of the quote, but I would be very interested in these authoritative sources who indicate that Damkerng's answer is incorrect. So far as I can see it's correct in every particular. – Jonathan Garber Apr 8 '14 at 15:39
  • +1 from me, what's the controversy? Sure, it's dated language, but it's perfectly correct even today. Even if it weren't, surely we can cut the author some slack - especially here and considering his larger subject. – Jolenealaska Apr 9 '14 at 6:46
  • Not only is that answer correct, it's also beautifully worded. I am a long-time reader of that author's works. He'd like that answer. – Jolenealaska Apr 9 '14 at 13:49

The author's argument is that, of two forms of homage, one is likely to be approved over the other. So, an homage may be made in the form of reason, or blindfolded fear. Choose the better homage. To put it another way, pay homage with reason.

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