If you are a regular reader of Mi Yodeya you may have noticed that I often cite the Soncino translation of the Talmud in my answers (and questions for that matter). One distinctive feature of the Soncino translation is that they translate Mishnah content in all capitals, while the translation of the regular Gemarah content is done in lowercase.

In my opinion this is a very helpful distinction, especially when the Talmud cites one phrase from a Mishnah in the middle of a Gemarah discussion. When I cite the Soncino translation I always adhere to the original – if what I'm citing is Mishnah content I capitalize it, and if what I'm citing is Gemarah content I use lowercase. If I'm citing both Mishnah content and Gemarah content then it will be a mixture of capitals and lowercase, just like in the original.

However, a recent comment on another Meta post states:

Not to mention when @Alex screams those Mishnayos from Soncino

This comment has several upvotes, so it leads me to wonder if I should reevaluate how I cite the Soncino translation. Granted that comment is on a Purim Torah post, so it may be a joke, but there may still be some truth to it. In fact, on several occasions I have had people edit my posts to change the capitals to lowercase. In those instances I rolled back the edits with an explanation that the capitals are in the original. Nowadays I generally note in the post itself that the capitals are in the original, so as to head off any potential editors.

What is the opinion of the community? I still maintain that the format of citations should adhere to the format in the original source, but I see that there may be a difference of opinion here.

Do others agree, or disagree?

  • 1
    Since I made the comment, I will say that it was indeed entirely in jest and a clever usage of the topic at hand. My personal opinion is that it has not effected me for neither positive nor negative.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Mar 18, 2019 at 21:32
  • Why do you think the Soncino translation is different from all other sources?
    – Al Berko
    Apr 20, 2019 at 20:57

3 Answers 3


I don't care much either way, but if you do change it please note as much (eg. "reformatted by me" or "changed to sentence case" or something like that). And come to think of it I support adding the "capitals in original" note for clarity if you don't change it. So in short, whatever you do, leave a note.


I personally do not like reading capitalized content - it makes it harder/slower and "screams" at me. Soncino made an editorial choice, possibly in a time where italics or other fonts weren't as easy to use or as common as today, and that choice feels outdated today.

As such I would much prefer to lower-capitalize the text quoted. But it might just be me.


I agree with mbloch's answer here that the capitalized text is harder to read and is likely an artifact of the typography readily available to Soncino Press. But I'll go further and say that if you substitute boldfacing for capitalization then you needn't even note the difference in an editorial note, since boldfacing is the same as what they intended by the capitalization.

  • 2
    However, note that some editions use bold/regular to distinguish between what the text actually says and editorial expansions. (Artscroll does this.) So a brief note about the formatting you're using can be helpful. Mar 18, 2019 at 20:50
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio Worth to mention that Artscroll use also capitalised text to distinguish a mishnah or a baraita. Mar 31, 2019 at 8:43

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