Source: Historia Anglorum [...], by Henry of Huntingdon, edited by Diana E. Greenway

[p 496, online English translation:] Tell me, I pray, what gain has it been to us to have been great or famous? [1.] We had no fame at all, except in God. [2.] For if we are famed now in Him, we shall still be famed in your time, as lords of heaven and earth, worthy of praise with our Lord God, by the thousands of thousands who are in the heavens.

Google Books's concealment of pages prevents my discovery of the translation's date, but the above use of fame seems olden; so I referenced Etymonline and OED:

famed (adj.) [=] "much talked about," 1530s, past participle adjective from fame "spread abroad, report" (v.), c. 1300, from Old French famer, from fame "reputation, renown" (see fame (n.))

  1. How can you have fame IN God?

  2. Also, how can you be famed (ie: to be reported) IN God?

From my (troglodytic) Latin translation below, I am guessing that Henry is being ironic: Henry admits that aristocrats' fame (like his) has illuminated nothing, except what is in God. The irony is that an omniscient God needs no illumination. So their fame has illuminated nothing.

[p 496, Original Latin:] Dicite, precor, quid nobis profuerit, si magni uel clari fuerimus?
[3.] Nichil prorsus nisi in Deo claruerimus.
[4.] Si enim nunc in eo claremus, et uestro tempore clarescemus, cum Domino nostro domini celi et terre, milibus milium qui in celis sunt collaudabiles.

My troglodytic Latin translation: 3. Nothing certainly if not in God we have clarified.

  1. If because now in there we clarify, and your time we will clarify, with master our of the master sky and earth, by the thousands of thousands who in the sky are laudible.

PS: Another such use can be found on p 290 of The Philosophical Works: In Five Volumes, Volume 4, by Henry St. John Bolingbroke (1678-1751).

  • This is very old/archaic English. It would not make sense to use "fame" as a verb in modern writings.
    – MsTiggy
    Aug 26 '15 at 12:03

Their fame, as with all their achievements, are humbly attributed to God; that is, it is only by his grace that they are able to achieve "fame". The credit does not accrue to, nor reside "in" their own efforts, but "in" God's grace expressed through their actions. The apostle Paul often wrote in this manner.

Anything deeper than this would be a question for the Religion SE.

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