Monday, May 21, 2007

An Androgynous Jesus?

Another powerful argument made against the TNIV is that it presents an androgynous Jesus!
an•drog•y•nous \an-ˈdrä-jə-nəs\ adjective
[Latin androgynus hermaphrodite, from Greek androgynos, from andr- + gynē woman — more at queen]
(1651)
1 : having the characteristics or nature of both male and female
2 a : neither specifically feminine nor masculine the androgynous pronoun them
b : suitable to or for either sex androgynous clothing
3 : having traditional male and female roles obscured or reversed an androgynous marriage
an•drog•y•ny \-nē\ noun

Merriam-Webster, Inc. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.: Merriam-Webster, 1996, c1993.
This is a serious charge that should cause any Evangelical to have a double take towards the TNIV. However, just because one of your favorite Evangelical teachers may make this claim, don't take it for granted. Be a Berean. Don't let that teacher be your protestant pope!

Joe, give an example. Sure, again I will use Dr. Wayne Grudem. Why do I keep picking on him? Because he is one of the most respected names that has set himself up as an opponent to the TNIV. He is the type of person that I would be more likely to walk away saying Well, if Dr. Grudem says so, it must be so and never end up doing the research for myself. Dr. Grudem writes . . .

VERSE: Hebrews 2:17

NIV Hebrews 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

TNIV Hebrews 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

CHANGE IN MEANING: Did Jesus have to become like his sisters "in every way" in order to become a "high priest in service to God"? All the OT priests were men, and surely the high priest was only a man. This text does not quite proclaim an androgynous Jesus (who was both male and female), but it surely leaves open a wide door for misunderstanding, and almost invites misunderstanding. Meditate on that phrase “in every way” and see if you can trust the TNIV.

Let's drop the TNIV! Right? Hang on. Not so fast. First of all, let's apply the rule never read a Bible verse, and look at a whole paragraph.

Hebrews 2:14-18 (Today's New International Version)

Today's New International Version (TNIV)

© Copyright 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

A good test to see if there truly is a gender problem is to perform the paraphrase test. Every time we see the word man, or brothers or whatever gender word is in question, substitute the word male(s) and see if the text makes sense or if it appears the word means something more inclusive. You can do this with any verse in question.

The key in the Hebrews 2 passage is in verse 14 . . . Jesus is sharing our humanity. Notice also in verse 14 the word children. That's not a TNIV gender "neutral" choice either. Even the ESV has children in verse 14.

This passage is referring to the essential doctrine of the incarnation. Jesus was made 100% human. Dr. Grudem is reading way too much into this. The point of the writer of Hebrews wasn't that Jesus was made fully male, it was that Jesus was made fully human. The passage is a contrast to angels. Even Grudem himself acknowledges this outside of the context of speaking on the TNIV . . .

Jesus had to become a man, not an angel, because God was concerned with saving men, not with saving angels. But to do this he “had to” be made like us in every way, so that he might become “the propitiation” for us, the sacrifice that is an acceptable substitute for us. Though this idea will be discussed more fully in chapter 27, on the atonement, it is important here to realize that unless Christ was fully man, he could not have died to pay the penalty for man’s sins. He could not have been a substitute sacrifice for us.

Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology : An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 1994), 540.
Point being that while Grudem uses the word man, he's using it in contrast to angels. The emphasis in Grudem's paragraph above being that Jesus was fully human, not that he was fully male. It's clear when Grudem states God was concerned with saving men, not angels. Does Grudem mean only males? Of course not. Grudem believes Jesus was a substitute for both men and women. But once the discussion is turned towards the TNIV, Grudem takes man to mean male, not humanity.

For fun, perform the paraphrase test on Grudem's paragraph. Substitute male for man, and males for men, every time and see if you think that is what Grudem really wants to communicate. I'm serious. Stop and do that test right now on the above quote.

Secondly, does every always mean every? Of course it does, Joe! Not really. When the waitress (or waiter) asks is everything okay? do they (notice my use of the singular they) literally mean everything? No, of course not. They mean everything in regard to the restaurant: the meal, the restrooms, the environment, etc. They aren't inquiring how your job is going and how the kids are doing at school, etc.

Same thing here. Even if we limit it to just males, Jesus isn't like each of us males in every way if we take that in the most wooden literal way we can take it. I'm 5'8", about 200 lbs give-or-take, an ISTJ, married, father of biological children, not Jewish, not a carpenter . . . Jesus is not like me in every way. But he became fully human, just like me.

I'm sure even Grudem knows every doesn't always mean every in the most wooden literal way possible every time it's used.

I love your work, Dr. Grudem. Please reconsider your position on the TNIV.

67 comments:

Jerry said...

Joe,

This is my first exposure to the “substitution/paraphrase test”. How simple it is to see the intent of the translators. Indeed, if they had thought to give us inaccurate translation word choices, this would most assuredly expose them for truly having a feminist agenda. This just doesn’t seem to be the case.

It breaks my heart when one of my theological heroes (Dr. Grudem) so vilifies a highly regarded translation as the TNIV. One hopes and prays that he will see his error, change his mind, and eventually become a supporter of this marvelous English translation. What a great day that would be!

Jerry

Joe Myzia said...

Hey Jerry,

I sympathize with you. I like & respect Grudem. I've read portions of his Systematic Theology and enjoy it a lot.

I like a lot of people on the other side of this issue such as R. C. Sproul and friends of mine on the other side including my senior pastor for the first eight years of my born again walk.

However, I see any day as a great day when a person, such as yourself, can recognize that a personal hero has erred and make a stand in opposition to said hero. It's the right thing to do and we can still respect our personal heros recognizing that even the best aren't inerrant.

Jerry said...

It can be lonely supporting an unpopular position such as the one I take with regards to gender accurate translations like the TNIV. Even some of the most faired minded believing brothers I know won't go near it. It doesn't matter if you send them scholarly reviews and position papers, I think they're afraid of possible backlash from being identified as egalitarians. I believe nothing could be further from the truth but its up to them to make the move. The irony(?) is that the person who does more to dissuade believers from using the TNIV, Wayne Grudem, is a particular favorite of the very people I try to convince of the superiority of the TNIV over the NIV, which, by the way, they won’t let go of.

David McKay said...

Joe, it is great you have joined the TNIV Truth team and that you are writing such interesting, helpful posts.

Thanks for taking the trouble.

R. Mansfield said...

Joe, the substitution test is top rate. It goes into the top shelf of my TNIV defense toolbox.

Eric Rowe said...

Well, now wait a minute. How do you know what sex Jesus was to begin with?
There may be verses that call him υιος. But we all know that only means child.
There may be verses that call him αδελφος. But we all know that only means sibling.
There may be verses that call him ανηρ. But we all know that only means person.
There may be places that use masculine pronouns to refer to Jesus or that refer to him using masculine forms of words like teacher, master, shepherd, God, etc. But we all know that masculine words in the NT are used in gender-neutral ways.
We are told he had a beard. But let us not begrudge the full womanhood of those women who have beards.

The only time we are told anything definitive about the sex off Jesus is when he compares himself to a mother hen, using the word αυτης, which unequivocally always refers to females (Mat 25:37). After all, if female metaphors suffice to disprove the masculinity of God the Father, they must also suffice to disprove the masculinity of God the Son.

People who believe in gender-neutral Bible translations shouldn't even bother defending themselves against the claims of theologians like Grudem. Instead they should condemn him for his mysogynistic claim that Jesus was male.

Wayne Leman said...

Eric concluded:

People who believe in gender-neutral Bible translations shouldn't even bother defending themselves against the claims of theologians like Grudem. Instead they should condemn him for his mysogynistic claim that Jesus was male.

Eric, you've written a clever, humorous post. But if you're even partway serious, you're missing Joe's point. In each passage of the Bible where there is a grammatically gendered word, we need to try to determine if biological gender is a focal point of that passage.

No evangelical Bible version, including the TNIV, neuters biologically gendered references. This is a myth that, unfortunately, is spreading fairly widely. It's parallel to urban myths and the Internet serves as a fertile breeding ground for incubating and propagating such myths.

Let's deal with the facts of the biblical languages here, and the differences between grammatical and biological gender.

Eric Rowe said...

"But if you're even partway serious, you're missing Joe's point. In each passage of the Bible where there is a grammatically gendered word, we need to try to determine if biological gender is a focal point of that passage."

I was 1% serious.

But I do disagree with with your rule that "where there is a grammatically gendered word, we need to try to determine if biological gender is a focal point of that passage."

Even if biological gender is not a focal point of a passage, it still can be appropriate to translate it with a gender specific word in English. When Jesus told parable that included a character that Jesus referred to as "a man", it may well be the case that the sex of the character is completely irrelevant. But, since he happened to use a man for the character in the parable, a translation should follow suit. The same thing is true in James 2:2, where James relays a typical church scenario in a narrative form and he happens to use the word ανηρ. English translations should just stick with the normal, most basic translation of that word and call this individual a "man". The fact that his gender is not in focus does not detract from the fact that "man" is the most accurate translation.

I really think that a translation that is chiefly concerned with accuracy would not follow your dictum of only using masculine English words when biological gender is in focus. They would use English masculine words every time a Greek word is used that implies masculinity in its basic meaning, such as ανηρ. They would only depart from this when the context indicates that a gender-neutral meaning is intended. I admit that some such cases exist. But the TNIV does not limit its gender-neutrality to such cases, as its rendering of James 2:2 exemplifies, along with other similar verses.

Wayne Leman said...

Eric responded:

Even if biological gender is not a focal point of a passage, it still can be appropriate to translate it with a gender specific word in English.

I agree, Eric. And please note that I didn't say anything contrary to that. As you quoted, I wrote:

"where there is a grammatically gendered word, we need to try to determine if biological gender is a focal point of that passage"

I did not say how we should translate when we determine whether or not biological gender is focal or not. You have correctly noted that biological gender may not be focal but if the biblical text refers to a male adult we should not change the translation to something else.

The focus of the Hebrews passage that Joe has posted about is not on the biological gender of Jesus. And the Greek word adelphoi quite possibly refers to all of Jesus' spiritual siblings, not just the male ones. At a minimum, it is improper of Grudem to call the TNIV rendering "inaccurate." At most, it is a difference in interpretion of adelphoi in this one context. Grudem is simply wrong and, I think, disingenous, to bring up the idea of an androgynous Jesus for the Hebrew passage and even to refer to the "slippery slope." That's scaremongering, not dealing with the facts of the biblical languages objectively. And it's using the term "inaccuracies" inaccurately.

R. Mansfield said...

Eric, the issue regarding ἀνήρ in James 2:2 is a tired one. Don't believe everything you hear about ἀνήρ. Yes, most of the time it will refer to a male. Yet in certain contexts, the lexicons allow for other uses. I've added emphasis (bold) below to demonstrate this:

From the UBS Greek-English Dictionary (Barclay Newman): ἀνήρ, ἀνδρός m man; husband (ἔχω ἀ. or γινώσκω ἀ. be a married woman); person.

The Louw and Nida Lexicon notes that "In translating Jas 2:2 it is possible to render the conditional clause as ‘if a person comes into your church’ or ‘… into your congregation.’"

From the BDAG, the second listed gloss reads: "equiv. to τὶς someone, a person."

And there are quite a few examples in the listing for the BDAG, both biblically (both testaments including the LXX) and extra-biblical literature.

Now did you see the first part of the BDAG gloss? It says that in some contexts, ἀνήρ will be equivalent to τὶς.

Rule A.6. of the Colorado Springs Guidelines clearly states:

Indefinite pronouns such as tis can be translated "anyone" rather than "any man."

Therefore, the TNIV rendering of James 2:2 falls well within the Colorado Springs Guidelines.

:-)

Wayne Leman said...

I want to clarify my position further about translating gendered terms. I did *not* say in my earlier comment how we should translate gendered terms. Like Eric, I believe that if the biblical text refers to a male adult, the translation should refer to a male adult, whether or not his gender is in focus.

There are at least two issues re: the Hebrews verse which Grudem has not adequately dealt with:

1. Is Jesus' biological gender in focus in this passage?
2. Is adelphoi in this passage referring only to Jesus' male (spiritual) siblings or to all of his (spiritual) siblings?

Please note that I am *not* stating anywhere here *how* to translate this verse. Actual translation is a complex issue and must take into account a number of different factors.

Wayne Leman said...

Oh, there is a third feature of the Hebrews verse which Grudem did not deal with adequately:

3. Which of the "in every way" features of Jesus' adelphoi is referred to by this verse?

e.g. being made in the image of God, having a spirit, having a mind, capacity to love, possibility of getting tired, capacity to experience different emotional states, genitals, hair color, nose size, height, temperament, learning style???

Joe Myzia said...

Hey Eric,

I think the writers of this blog are sympathetic to what you're saying - I know I am. I'm sorry to carry on with another reply to what you've said, but I want to correct my thinking if I'm wrong. So I need to interact with people of different opinions. And if I'm correct, I don't want you to retain your opposite view to mine. Let me approach it differently than Wayne and Rick.

You wrote:

They would use English masculine words every time a Greek word is used that implies masculinity in its basic meaning, such as ανηρ. They would only depart from this when the context indicates that a gender-neutral meaning is intended.

Do you mean that James 2:2 is gender specific and its meaning should not be taken as gender neutral, i.e. it applies only to males coming into the congregation? That if a rich women and a poor women come into the church, then we can make distinctions between rich and poor women since James only mentioned ανηρ which should be man according to how you see this?

I'm sure you don't believe that. But if that be the case, and you do agree that we shouldn't make distinctions between women either, then the text is meaning both men and women, right?

Eric Rowe said...

R. Mansfield. If James 2:2 is a tired issue, I don't wish to bring you into ground you've covered many times before. I also have no interest at all in the Colorado Springs guidelines. I have never read them and don't intend to.
But James did refer to a man in the passage, so the translation should simply say "man". It is no different than using the word "man" when Jesus spoke of a man in this or that parable.

Of course, ανηρ can mean "someone", in the sense that the person's gender is not in focus. And in such cases it goes without saying that its role in the narrative is effectively the same as if it were τις. In this respect it is no different than its English equivalent "man", which can also be used in that generic way when narrating an illustration such as the one in James 2:2 and many of Jesus's parables. Nobody reading a literal translation of James 2:2 that uses the English word "man" will see any difference in meaning between it and the TNIV, since the man's sex is not important. But just because his sex is not important, that does not change the basic meaning of the word. The fact that lexicons that say what you have quoted is irrelevant, because those quotes only indicate what we all know, which is that ανηρ is not restricted in its usage to cases where the sex of the man matters, just like the word "man" in English. Only when a passage clearly indicates that ανηρ is being used inclusively of women can a departure from its basic meaning of man be called a more accurate translation. I doubt that this ever occurs with a singular form of the word. The change from "man" to "somebody" at James 2:2 in the TNIV was clearly not driven by an interest in accuracy. I'm not saying it's a major problem. Just don't call that sort of change "gender accuracy".

Eric Rowe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric Rowe said...

Joe,
The text might APPLY equally to both men and women. I believe personally that it does. However, in the narration of the example that James gives, it happens to be the case that he chooses to describe the situation with a man. We all do things like this all the time when we narrate stereotypical situations to make points of more general importance. Since James chose to talk about a man, the most accurate translation will be the one that conveys that.

Does the teaching apply in cases involving someone driving a porche, even though James didn't mention a porche? Yes.
Does the situation have application to cases of Christians desiring to cater to celebrities, even though James doesn't mention celebrities? Yes.
Does the situation apply if the person is a child, and not a man, even though the situation James describes involves a man? Yes.
Does the situation apply in cases involving a woman, even though James only mentioned a man? Yes.

But none of those things should be the concern of a translator who is trying to make the most accurate translation. If a person honestly has a problem with applying this teaching to cases involving women because their Bible uses the word "man" (and I can't fathom any honest Bible reader having that problem), then that person's real problem is with James' choice of words and not the translator's.

Consider all the jokes you have heard that start with the words "A man..." Most of the time the sex of the man has nothing to do with the joke. But that doesn't mean that a person translating those jokes out of English and into another language should use any word other than the word that is most equivalent to "man" in that language. Telling a joke with a gender-specific word like "man" may not impact the meaning of the joke, but it has an effect of painting a particular picture in the hearers mind. This is what James did. The man's sex may not matter, but it's part of the text nonetheless.

Wayne Leman said...

Eric wrote:

The text might APPLY equally to both men and women. I believe personally that it does. However, in the narration of the example that James gives, it happens to be the case that he chooses to describe the situation with a man. We all do things like this all the time when we narrate stereotypical situations to make points of more general importance. Since James chose to talk about a man, the most accurate translation will be the one that conveys that.

I agree, in principle, Eric. I feel it necessary to add "in principle" because I'm not convinced that aner in James *refers* exclusively to a male adult. It may and if that is what careful Greek scholarship eventually concludes, I would be happy to translate aner as "man" in James.

The point you are making is the same one that Grudem has often made and I do agree with him on that, i.e. if a passage *refers* to a male (including a male in the text who functions as an example which can be *applied* to all people), then we need to translate the masculine term.

The scholarly jury, however, is still deliberating on some of these issues, however. They are not as clearcut as Grudem and you seem to want us to believe. There are serious Greek lexicographers who say that aner in James does *not* refer exclusively to a male adult, but, rather functions as Greek tis in James. I'm not talking about ideological scholars who want to "neutralize" the biblical text now, only serious Greek lexicographers who has no ideological axe to grind.

Like you, I do not believe that we should change a translation to be one of application rather than of true translation. Application is a subsequent process *after* translation, IMO.

But I would caution us all to hold in an open hand our understandings of the "truth" about lexical meanings for biblical texts. Sometimes what we think we know with certainty is later discovered to require modification. Even those who framed the CSG found that out as they took some second looks at what they had drafted.

And for sure (well, at least for me, since I, too, must practice holding my understanding of the truth in an open, rather than closed, hand), there is no room for the kinds of claims of "inaccuracy" about the TNIV which Grudem and others have made. They are not inaccuracies as the term is usually defined. They are, for the most part, differences of scholarly opinion about the lexical meaning of some biblical language terms in some contexts.

The TNIV is a highly accurate Bible translation. It does not deserve the campaign which has been waged against it.

Are there wordings in the TNIV which I wish were different? Absolutely. And I am trying to do as much as I can to graciously work with the CBT to let them know about passages where I believe a different wording would improve the TNIV. I am in frequent email contact with them about translation wordings which I question.

Do I even question some of the gender language in the TNIV? Probably. Or at least I am open to discussion that there can be legitimate concerns about some of its gendered language. For the most part, however, the gendered language of the TNIV is gender-accurate, not a neutralization of biological gender which is truly in the biblical texts.

I have found the CBT to be truly gracious, spiritual, humble individuals who are deeply dedicated to translating the Bible accurately and truthfully. The ones I have interacted with the most are some of my spiritual heroes. They have suffered a great deal from the attacks on the TNIV and on them, yet they have chosen not to respond in kind. I want to be that kind of person.

R. Mansfield said...

Eric, personally, I think we're straining at gnats in regard to James 2:2.

There are two errors in your reply to mine. You may or may not choose to accept them, but here they are:

1. You say, "But James did refer to a man in the passage, so the translation should simply say 'man.'" You assume that James referred to a man--as in a male--but the truth is that we do not know this. All we know is that James referred to an ἀνήρ. The task for translators is to determine the best way to communicate James' meaning.

2. Your second error is when you say, "Only when a passage clearly indicates that ανηρ is being used inclusively of women can a departure from its basic meaning of man be called a more accurate translation." You assert this without warrent. So, I'll go back again to the lexicons, especially BDAG, which you believe are irrelevant in this case. If there are cases [where the gender is not specified] in which ἀνήρ can be equivalent to τὶς (as the BDAG states), then in THOSE cases, it is perfectly accurate to translate ἀνήρ with an inclusive such as someone.

Furthermore, the TNIV is NOT the only translation to use an inclusive pronoun in James 2:2. So does the NLT1, NLTse, NRSV, NET Bible, CEV, AMP, and probably a number of other translations. My point is that the rendering in the TNIV is neither unique or innovative, but rather an accepted option in translation.

I'm willing to meet you halfway, though, Eric. Because of the nature of this verse which is just to make a point and has no real context--the subjects are hypotheticals--I will say it is an accurate rendering to use man here, but it is no less accurate to use someone as well.

Eric Rowe said...

R. Mansfield. I do not assume that James meant "man as in male" (a description which would wrongly make it appear that the man's maleness is of importance). James meant "man" period. The maleness of the man is irrelevant but true (inasmuch as anything can be true of a hypothetical situation such as James describes), just as the maleness of the men in every example listed in BDAG for ανηρ meaning "someone" is a true feature of those men, even if not relevant in the given passages (hence BDAG's justification for the meaning "someone").

I'm not sure how best to reply to your comment about "someone" and "man" being equally accurate in James 2:2. Other fields make distinctions between precision and accuracy, where accuracy denotes to nearness to the truth of some measurement and precision denotes the smallness of the margin of error for the measurement. I'm not sure if accuracy vs. precision is used this way in translation. But if it is, then I might say that "someone" can be as accurate as "man" in James 2:2, but less precise. The gender-neutralizing translations you list (it would be a misnomer to call any of them gender-accurate translations, precisely because of examples like this one) are all (very slightly) inferior to the more literal translations of James 2:2 because of this lack of precision.

Eric Rowe said...

Wayne said,
"There are serious Greek lexicographers who say that aner in James does *not* refer exclusively to a male adult, but, rather functions as Greek tis in James."

I think we need to be careful how we frame this. I am not disagreeing that ανηρ *functions* like τις in this case. I am only saying that it does not, in so doing, become a gender-nonspecific term like τις is. Nor do I read BDAG to be saying that ανηρ does become a gender-nonspecific term in such cases. These are cases where the sex of the ανηρ is irrelevant--he is presumed to be a male by virtue of the meaning of ανηρ, but it's not relevant in the given occurrence. Bringing in a rule regarding τις from an outside body like the Colorado Springs guidelines to regulate the way I read BDAG just doesn't strike me as methodologically sound for several reasons that shouldn't need elaboration.

I'll say this, I admit the limitations of my own knowledge of Greek. And I certainly bow to career lexicographers like Danker on matters of Greek word meanings. If you can produce actual quotes from these lexicographers of whom you speak to the effect that in some cases the singular of ανηρ can refer to a female like τις can, and if they provide actual evidence (a quote from a lexicon doesn't count as evidence) for that claim, then I will take back the position I'm standing for here. But note that it will not be enough simply to find something to the effect that in cases like this ανηρ can "function like τις". It has to positively show that singular ανηρ can lose its gender-specificity completely.

Eric Rowe said...

"to positively show"...yuck
There I go splitting infinitives again. I need to go to bed before I start talking like the HCSB. I look forward to seeing whatever is posted here tomorrow. Sorry for being the cause of this thread getting so far off the topic of Heb 2:17.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Eric,

I guess you didn't find all the citations from Greek literature that I provided convincing.

inferior to the more literal translations of James 2:2 because of this lack of precision.

No, Eric, you are refering to translations that demonstrate lack of concordance, not lack of precision. If a translation says "the sons of this age marry and are given in marriage" and the Greek clearly means "men and women", and the English clearly says "only men" then there is a lack of precision.

Peter Kirk said...

Eric wrote: "James meant "man" period." I think here is the heart of the problem here. Now I assume that Eric realises that James did not write in English, but in Greek. And, despite what some KJV-only people seem to believe, I assume that he does not hold that the locus of inspiration and authority of the biblical text is in any English version of it, and still less that what its authors meant is to be determined by the meaning of any English word.

So let's unpack "James meant "man" period." Well, the English word "man" has a number of distinct senses, including for example a playing piece in a board game. Which of these senses does Eric think that James meant? Presumably not "playing piece", but perhaps "adult male human being", or perhaps "human being" generically. Indeed he seems to contradict himself on this point in various comments here. So is Eric's point that James is being deliberately ambiguous between two senses of the Greek word, and that English "man" can preserve the same ambiguity? That is indeed a meaningful argument, and perhaps a good reason for translating "man" - although it is by no means the simplistic reason implied by "James meant "man" period."

The problem with this argument is that it depends on there being real and equivalent ambiguities in the Greek and in the English.

I'm not at all sure that the Greek is ambiguous in this way. That doesn't seem to be implied by the following "From the BDAG, the second listed gloss reads: "equiv. to τὶς someone, a person.""

More to the point, I don't believe that modern English is ambiguous in the way that Eric claims. I don't say that "man" has completely lost its gender generic sense. But in a context like "Suppose a man comes into your meeting..." (NIV) I don't think any modern reader will understand "man" in a generic sense.

Eric Rowe said...

Suzanne,
I don't recall seeing in your paper any examples of singular ανηρ being used of a woman or in any way where you could show that it had no gender specificity.
If you do have such an example, and if you can provide the criteria for identifying such cases and show that those criteria apply in James 2:2, then I will be forced to concede that James didn't mean "man".
Naturally, examples like James 2:2 where ανηρ is used to illustrate a general situation that can apply to women is not at all the same thing as a case where the word ανηρ itself is gender-nonspecific. Rather, it would only illustrate what we all already know, which is that ανηρ, like "man" in English can be used in cases where the man's sex is of no importance.

Eric Rowe said...

Peter said,
"So let's unpack "James meant "man" period." Well, the English word "man" has a number of distinct senses, including for example a playing piece in a board game. Which of these senses does Eric think that James meant? Presumably not "playing piece", but perhaps "adult male human being", or perhaps "human being" generically."

First of all, Peter, that quote you gave from me was one part of a response I made to another blogger who had wrongly described my position about the way ανηρ is used in James 2:2. It was not a stand-alone assertion I made about the English text. Also, I don't think "playing piece" is anywhere in the realm of the discussion. So let's set that one aside.

The English word "man" in the singular might rarely mean "human being" without any sex ("Man" in the collective is inclusive, and "men" in the plural can be). But, whether singular "man" can apply to a woman in certain cases or not, I have not used it that way at all in this discussion. So I'm pretty sure I haven't contradicted myself as you assert.

What I have said is that in English, "man" is often used to refer to a man without any focus on his sex, such as in the examples of countless jokes that happen to be told about "a man". In these cases, naturally the man is a male, but his maleness is beside the point. This use of English "man" is the same as James' use of ανηρ.

For any of you who honestly think that the change from "man" to "someone" is a change toward greater "gender accuracy" I have some questions:

If James did intend to illustrate his instruction about favoritism by way of a scenario involving a man coming into the assembly wearing fine clothes, what would have been the best Greek word for him to use in reference to that man?

Can you find any examples of ανηρ in the singular used of a woman?

Is it safe to say that the default meaning of ανηρ should be "man" unless the context clearly indicates otherwise?

What objective criteria do you use to identify cases where ανηρ loses its gender specificity?

Eric Rowe said...

Suzanne, after posting my previous response to you I remembered the meaning or "citizen" for ανηρ in Plato that you deal with in your paper. We already spent some time on that one, so let's not go back over it.

For the sake of argument, I will concede here that ανηρ can mean "citizen" in some contexts, in which case it might be gender non-specific even in the singular. That specialized meaning shouldn't impact this discussion, though. What we're looking for here is evidence (not lexicon quotes) that ανηρ ever simply means "human being" in a sense that may refer to a woman.

R. Mansfield said...

Eric, I still maintain that in regard to James 2:2 we're straining at gnats and perhaps even talking (writing) past each other.

You clearly want to preserve a masculine universal such as man. In most cases, I would prefer not to simply because in my teaching experience, I have seen individials--both male and female--misread man incorrectly as male. You may not agree that we should abandon the use of masculine universals, but I doubt we're going to change the course of change in language in this regard.

As I stated earlier, I'm willing to say that the use of a man in James 2:2 is an acceptable translation for the same reason, to borrow your example, it's perfectly fine to begin a joke with "a man walked into..." But again, as context and the lexicons allow, there's nothing less accurate about using someone.

I'd really like to suggest that at this point the conversation has reached dead horse status, but let me be guilty of making one more point--or technically asking a question of you.

Assuming that the BDAG is correct and in some contexts ἀνήρ is equivalent to τὶς, are you also opposed for the many, many instances where the ESV and the NASB95 changed the translation of τὶς to anyone from their predecessors' rendering of man? In reality, it's the same issue, and both the NASB95 and the ESV have done this consistently in the NT over the NASB71 and the RSV.

Finally, you may be the very first person I've ever seen to refer to the Amplified Bible as a gender neutral translation. The Amplified Bible, last updated in 1965, translates ἀνήρ accurately as person. I'm no fan of the Amplified Bible, to be honest, but this rendering--well before the time when anyone was concerned about gender inclusivity--aptly understood what James was trying to communicate.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

What would you call evidence, Eric? I don't think ανηρ meant woman, but it could mean person, an individual, never specifically woman. But not "man" period.

What is a "man period" anyway? ;-)

Lexicon notes are usually considered evidence. I think you want a revelation somewhat in the manner of Paul and the unclean animals.

Anyway, I still assume you want the "sons of this age" to mean men marrying men. That helps.

We could posit the existance of the unisex early church, where only the men prayed, sang, met together, married each other, and all that. That is some of the uses of the "male" terms. The church fathers certainly talked about participation in the church as belonging to the ανηρ. Some translators think they meant "each person", but you would have it be a church of men only, - men only choirs, hmm, sounds lovely to me - I like that barbershop quartet sound. The male only singing in church would be quite attractive to some women, but I don't know if that is what the early church fathers meant by ανηρ. Most people think they meant "each person".

Eric Rowe said...

R. Mansfield. I shouldn't need to clarify this again. But, no, I am not trying to use "man" as a masculine universal (I may well be more open to that than you all, but I'm deliberately not bringing that into this discussion). Rather, I'm only advocating a use of "man" where the sex of the man happens not to be in focus. In most occurrences of ανηρ in the NT, the man's sex is not in focus(Luke 5:8, 12; 8:27; etc.). This does not mean that the word does not still denote a male adult in these cases. James 2:2 is no different except that in James 2:2 the male adult just happens to be a hypothetical person rather than a real one.

I'm sorry, I won't take you up on your challenge regarding the translation of τις, I don't share your presupposition about how BDAG is to be used. As I read BDAG's entry on ανηρ, particularly the section on its uses that function like τις, I see no suggestion at all that the editors intend to claim that in these cases ανηρ loses its gender specificity. That is not their point. So importing in the full range of usage of τις, including its applicability to either sex is not valid. Doing that would be appealing to the lexicographers' statement in a way that I don't believe they intended. If you are claiming that ανηρ loses its gender specificity in those cases, you need to back that up with evidence.

And Suzanne, no lexicons do not qualify as evidence on their own. If I were writing a paper in which the meaning of a Greek word is being questioned and I simply quoted the opinion given in a lexicon as authoritative, my professors would consider that shoddy scholarship, and so they should. The main quality of BDAG and the Great Scott is not in the authoritativeness of their lexicographical judgments, it is in the abundance of examples they provide. Those examples of word usage, and the others we can find, are the actual evidence.

I understand the call to make this a dead horse too. The number of words I've typed here already outweigh the care I have for whether James 2:2 is translated "man" or "someone". I just cannot accept that those who changed the NIV reading to that in the TNIV and the RSV reading to that in the NRSV can honestly claim that in so doing they were making the text more "gender accurate". I have yet to see evidence that the change made those translations the slightest bit more accurate. Something else was driving their decision. My guess is that this something else was an interest in application that followed a line of argument like what Joe used above.

R. Mansfield said...

So let me see if I understand you correctly, Eric...

You are in favor of using the word man as a rendering of ἀνὴρ in James 2:2
- not as an appeal to the use of masculine univerals
- in spite of the fact that multiple lexicons allow for a more inclusive term like someone
- in spite of the fact that no gender is referenced in the context
- in spite of the fact that the ἀνὴρ is a hypothetical person
- in spite of the fact that some modern readers will read man as male to the exclusion of female

Do I have all that right?

By the way, in my opinion, what makes James 2:2 gender accurate (and there are much better texts to demonstrate the TNIV's gender accuracy--this one is admittedly on the line) is that last point that I listed above. The hypothetical meaning has nothing to do with the hypothetical gender. There's no need to introduce the English word man (with its implied sense of masculinity) here when someone is sufficient and keeps the reader from stumbling at a point that the author never intended.

I know you're going to disagree, but we may just have to live with that.

Eric Rowe said...

R.,
your last point is precisely why TNIV is less accurate.
Readers SHOULD read James 2:2 as talking about a male and not a female. Why? Because it uses a Greek word that denotes an adult male, not an adult female. You have provided zero evidence to the contrary. Nothing in BDAG claims that ανηρ in the singular is used inclusively of females, not even in your favorite section comparing it to τις.
If you have and real evidence for your view, please do share it. My only caveat is and has consistently been that the maleness of the man in James 2:2 is unimportant.

Incidentally, BDAG does not list James 2:2 as an example of ανηρ being similar to τις. It lists it as an occurrence of ανηρ as an adult male. On the other hand, in the section on ανηρ being similar to τις, BDAG lists Luke 5:18; 8:27; 9:38; 19:2; John 1:30; and Acts 10:1. All of these verses refer to real, not hypothetical, adult males. The editors of BDAG were perfectly justified in listing these verses in the section on ανηρ being similar to τις because they're right, it is similar in these examples. But they do not at all imply that the word ανηρ ceases to denote males in these cases. You are concluding something from the lexicon that they did not intend, nor do their words imply.

R. Mansfield said...

"You have provided zero evidence to the contrary."

No, I earlier quoted you three separate lexicons that allow for an inclusive word. That is, unless you want to read someone or person strictly as a masculine.

someone |ˈsəmˌwən| pronoun an unknown or unspecified person; some person : there's someone at the door | someone from the audience shouted out.

There are other lexicons that allow for the same meaning that the others I quoted.

Quickly, NIDNTT does not mention James per se, but in regard to Luke notes that "Lk. uses aner usually in the more general meaning of --> anthropos (as in Lk. 11:31; 19:7; Acts 2:5)." Eric do you believe that ἄνθρωπος should always be translated as man, too? By the way, before you call me on it, in the examples above, I'd definitely render the use of ἀνήρ in Luke 19:7 as man.

In the TDNT, it says that ἀνήρ can be used to mean "the human species" in certain contexts. A number of extrabiblical sources are cited. When speaking specifically of NT usage, it says that this meaning "is more influential than sometimes supposed." A number of examples are offered. Sadly, James 2:2 is not mentioned anywhere in the article (I doublechecked the index in vol. X to make sure). But quite a few references to James are listed in this regard including James 1:8, 12, 20, 23; and 3:2.

You say I have failed to prove my point. But I have pointed to common sources which obviously the translators had access to, too. Some of the sources I've pointed to (TDNT, NIDNTT, the rendering in the Amplified Bible) were well before anyone was concerned about gender issues, so one can't even claim "politically correct" motives on their part.

At least we agree that maleness in James 2:2 is unimportant. As I said, the sources I have pointed to allow for a nonspecific. I was willing to meet you halfway and say that "man" was accurate and that "someone" or "person" was no less accurate, but you won't have it.

You state over and over "Readers SHOULD read James 2:2 as talking about a male and not a female.. From where I sit, brother, it is you who have failed to prove your point.

By the way, the sky is blue.

Eric Rowe said...

R.,
Please, we've been over the whole lexicon thing.
You know full well that when I ask for evidence I'm not asking for quotes from lexicons.
If all it took to provide evidence for your side were quotations from lexicons saying that ανηρ can be used in cases where the man's sex is not in focus, then this debate would have been over before it started.
I have already replied to your misuse of BDAG with ample evidence and instead of replying to the substance of that post or any of my other challenges, you only bring up more lexicons that say the same basic thing.
Is it then fair for me to conclude that you have been unable to find any evidence that ανηρ can be used in the singular of a woman?

Peter Kirk said...

Eric wrote: "If James did intend to illustrate his instruction about favoritism by way of a scenario involving a man coming into the assembly wearing fine clothes".

Eric, what makes you think that James was illustrating an instruction by means of a scenario? It seems to me that he is making a simple instruction, "if X then Y", and the X is that any person, regardless of gender, does such and such. At least that is how it is read by respectable lexicons and exegetes. And if that is what is meant, the passage should be translated with words which have the same meaning, not with an English word like "man" which in this context does not imply a gender neutral instruction but one which applies only if the person involved is male.

Rick wrote "I have seen individials--both male and female--misread man incorrectly as male." Misread? No, they have correctly read "man" here as referring to a male, for that is what the English unambiguously means in this context. If the Greek does not mean that, the error is in the translation, not in how it is read. If, as Eric seems to believe, the Greek does mean that, then there is no misreading involved. The disagreement here is over exegesis, not translation.

Rick also wrote "in spite of the fact that some modern readers will read man as male to the exclusion of female". Some? I don't believe you. (Maybe you are only saying this to make some concession to Eric, but I don't believe in making this kind of concession.) I don't believe that there are any mother tongue readers of English who would understand "If a man comes into your assembly..." as entirely gender neutral if they read it in a non-biblical context. In the biblical context they might understand that James intends to be gender neutral, but that is not because of the words they read in the translation of James, but because of their (probably correct) presuppositions about what kind of teaching he is likely to have given. That is, they simply don't believe that James would have written this about men only, so they interpret it as also applying to women - and probably make a mental note about how bad the translation is.

Eric then wrote "the maleness of the man in James 2:2 is unimportant". Indeed. So why are you making such a fuss about it?

Eric Rowe said...

I take back part of my last post. After looking at yours again, I see that of your most recent sources, neither of them are lexicons, despite your calling them that.

Eric Rowe said...

Peter asked,
"Eric then wrote "the maleness of the man in James 2:2 is unimportant". Indeed. So why are you making such a fuss about it?"

That is a very fair question. I suppose my beef is not so much with the meaning of this verse as it is with the false advertising of calling such changes "gender accurate".

Your claim, "It seems to me that he is making a simple instruction, "if X then Y", and the X is that any person, regardless of gender, does such and such. At least that is how it is read by respectable lexicons and exegetes." just isn't true.

James make no statement about his instruction being regardless of gender. I agree that this is a valid application. But it is hardly part of an accurate translation of his words. Nor do any reputable lexicons (i.e. BDAG or the Great Scott) provide any indication that it is to be read that way as you say.

R. Mansfield said...

Eric, I don't know what you're talking about unless you're trying to create a straw man argument.

I never said that ἀνήρ could refer to a woman in the singular. I merely said that the lexicons allow for usage meaning "human beings" similar to that of ἄνθρωπος, not as specifically masculine. I do not acknowledge your claim that I've misused the lexicons, BDAG or otherwise. If we don't have lexicons as guidelines, then where would we stand. I would agree that we can't follow any one lexicon blindly, but I quoted to you five that allow for the same thing. I believe I'm on pretty safe ground here.

Peter, I don't know if you're being serious or if you're just tying to make a point.

If you want me to be more specific, I can say that "I have seen individials--both male and female--misread man (meant to be a masculine universal such as in Gen 1:26 in the KJV) incorrectly as exclusively male." How's that? My point is this is why I no longer care for masculine universals? Make sense?

The second quotation you made of me is of similar lines. You question my use of some, and that's fair enough. But there are still some folks around who use man as a masculine universal. I personally think it's grounds for miscommunication, but some of us can still understand the meaning including myself. I just would not use the word in that manner.

R. Mansfield said...

I take back part of my last post. After looking at yours again, I see that of your most recent sources, neither of them are lexicons, despite your calling them that.

You say tomato... Okay, technically, they are theological dictionaries, but they serve the purpose of an expanded lexical study. There's an extreme amount of overlap betwen the two kinds of resources.

Eric Rowe said...

R. said,
"I never said that ἀνήρ could refer to a woman in the singular. I merely said that the lexicons allow for usage meaning "human beings" similar to that of ἄνθρωπος, not as specifically masculine. I do not acknowledge your claim that I've misused the lexicons, BDAG or otherwise. If we don't have lexicons as guidelines, then where would we stand."

My complaint was not that you used lexicons. My complaint was that you misused BDAG. You tried to make it say something the editors never intended or implied. If you disagree, then respond to the substance of my compliant. As yo your question of where we stand if we don't have lexicons...
We stand exactly where the people who made the lexicons stand, which is on the bare evidence itself.

And if you're not saying that ανηρ in the singular can refer to a woman, then what is your position? When you say it can mean "human being" don't you mean that in a way that can be either man or woman? If you think that in the singular it only refers to men, then your position is identical to mine. If not, then you need to provide evidence that it can refer to a woman (excluding, of course its use as a technical term, meaning citizen, which is outside of the present debate). "Human beings" in the plural is also separate. I haven't made any contentions here about plural usage.

Eric Rowe said...

I apologize about getting snippy about calling Kittle and NIDNTT lexicons. I use and like both of them and often find them helpful in word studies.

R. Mansfield said...

The problem is, Eric, that you are trying to restrict the perameters of ἀνήρ by your own rules, ignoring what the lexicons (multiple sources) have determined, based on multiple witnesses.

You say that if ἀνήρ in the singular is to be something more than a singular male, it should also mean a singular female. Says who? You?

And then you try to put words in my mouth: "When you say it can mean "human being" don't you mean that in a way that can be either man or woman?" No. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that it can refer to an undesignated person of either gender of the human race The key word is undesignated. This is in keeping with the examples I've given you.

This is the same way the word is used here:

“πρὸ λογισμοῦ μὴ ἐπαινέσῃς ἄνδρα οὗτος γὰρ πειρασμὸς ἀνθρώπων” (Sir 27:7)

As I said, the word can refer to an undesignated man or a woman. It doesn't matter. That's not the point of the proverb.

"you need to provide evidence that it can refer to a woman"

No, I don't. Because I don't believe I have to play it by your parameters. I don't have to do that because I never claimed that. But that's your game--setting the rules, rules that you know others can't win--rules that don't apply in reality.

In the end, it's Eric vs. the lexicons, most contemporary translations of the Bible, countless ancient witnesses, etc. Suddenly I realize that debating this with you is a waste of time because you're willing to stand against a very large consensus. So who am I to think I can convince you otherwise?

The great thing about the internet, the United States, and the free world in general is that you have the right to be wrong, brother. That's where I'm leaving you.

I've got papers to grade tonight, so I won't be back to respond--I've wasted enough time. I think this is really a dead horse. I apologize if I've gotten too snippy, too :-)

Eric Rowe said...

R.
You are simply misrepresenting BDAG. Let's leave other lexicons aside for now because we haven't settled BDAG yet.
Nowhere in BDAG's definition for ανηρ does it indicate "that it can refer to an undesignated person of either gender of the human race The key word is undesignated."
BDAG says nothing of the sort. The only way you can make it say that is by noting that it mentions the word τις and cross-referencing that to other ideas about the meaning of τις that BDAG doesn't mention.
If you asked Danker if his meaning in that section of the definition that ανηρ refers to either sex in those cases, I am confident that he would tell you , no it doesn't. This is abundantly clear in many of the examples provided for that definition, many of which are clearly specifically talking about men, and none of which give any indication that they refer to an undesignated man or woman. This is true of both James 2:2 and the proverb in Sirach. Of course there are many such places where the man's sex is not in focus, which is apparently all that BDAG means to say by that part of the definition. But this is different than saying that those occurrences cease to refer to a male.

But I do thank you for finally attempting to provide actual evidence for your view. That is the only way to resolve disputes about Greek word meanings.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Eric,

I was cleary refering to the actual examples in the lexicon when I mentioned evidence - I can't imagine what you were thinking of.

I assumed that you had read this article in which I refer to only one simple class of examples. There are many more.

I have already given you examples and you simply don't acknowedge it. Like everyone else I have other things to do.

The only reason why these examples are from the LSJ is because that was the first group that Grudem claimed did not exist. So I wrote that to prove to Grudem that the examples provided by the lexicon demonstrate a gender neutral meaning.

Wayne Leman said...

Re: whether or not to accept data from lexicons as supportive of a position

Let's not forget that info in lexicons is based on actual language usage, whether in the biblical texts or in extrabiblical materials. Of course, lexicons, like any other book (including translations of the Bible) are made by people. And anything made by people are subject to human error, including misinterpretations of language data.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

In case I have been misunderstood, let me explain, when I said "lexicion notes" I meant the many *citations* that are supplied in the lexicon. This is specifically what Dr. Grudem ignored. He quoted a tiny percentage of the lexicon entry and completely ignored the examples. But I wrote the article about the examples in the LSJ in order to find out exactly how Dr. Grudem came to have such a restricted veiw of aner.

I never did get around to blogging about the church fathers use of aner. I just dont think the disagreement is about evidence.
Somehow it is terribly important to some people to make sure that only half of the human race is referenced. Why, I don't know.

Peter Kirk said...

Eric wrote: "James make no statement about his instruction being regardless of gender. I agree that this is a valid application. But it is hardly part of an accurate translation of his words. Nor do any reputable lexicons (i.e. BDAG or the Great Scott) provide any indication that it is to be read that way as you say."

You may be right that reputable lexicons do not explicitly list this verse as gender generic. But they do list this kind of gender generic understanding of ἀνὴρ as possible, and this is just the kind of context in which such a sense would seem to be indicated. And you ignored my point about "respectable exegetes", which is certainly true because at the very least the exegetes who produced TNIV and NRSV understood ἀνὴρ in this verse to be gender generic.

Rick wrote: "If you want me to be more specific, I can say that "I have seen individials--both male and female--misread man (meant to be a masculine universal such as in Gen 1:26 in the KJV) incorrectly as exclusively male." How's that?" OK if you are talking about KJV and Genesis, because the KJV translators did intend to use "man" in a gender generic sense, and to understand it as gender specific is a misunderstanding. My point was about James 2:2. The moot point is I suppose whether the NIV (for example) translators understood this as referring to males and therefore used "man" in its gender specific sense, or whether they understood the verse as gender generic and used "man" (as elsewhere) in its gender generic sense. Or I suppose they might have considered the Greek ambiguous and so deliberately used a word which they considered to be ambiguous in English. But my main point was that the generic sense of "man" is dead in English, in reference to an individual rather than to humanity as a whole, and in contexts like James 2:2 it has been dead for a very long time, not just since the 1980s. At least that is my understanding of English. I cannot conceive of any variety of English for the last several centuries in which "A man comes into your meeting" would not be understood as specifying an adult male. I would be extremely surprised to find this kind of wording used of a woman even as far back as Shakespeare and so before KJV.

Eric Rowe said...

Peter said,
"You may be right that reputable lexicons do not explicitly list this verse as gender generic. But they do list this kind of gender generic understanding of ἀνὴρ as possible, and this is just the kind of context in which such a sense would seem to be indicated."
This is not true.
BDAG does not list any use of ανηρ that is gender generic. They do list its use as meaning "someone". But they give no indication that in such cases it loses its connotation of maleness. A survey of their examples in that section makes it clear that their intention in that definition was not one of gender inclusiveness (Luke 5:18; 8:27; 9:38; 19:2). If they had meant that it means "someone of either sex" they would have made that explicit, as they did in the first definition for ανθρωπος.
Likewise, LSJ lists no definition for ανηρ that involves clear gender inclusiveness.
Naturally, there are many examples where a man's sex is not in focus, just as the English word "man" can be used often. But examples of this sort cannot be used to prove that ανηρ in the singular is ever used in a gender inclusive way. Nor do either BDAG or LSJ say that it is.

Suzanne, I had not read this article of yours. Thank you for it. It is a good article. However, in your section on singular ανηρ you do not provide positive evidence of its gender inclusiveness. The examples of generic usage, or usage where maleness is not in focus, do not prove anything about whether or not it is part of the meaning of the word.

To prove that BDAG and LSJ should be emended to include a usage of ανηρ that loses its connotations of maleness, you need examples of its use that are clearly inclusive.

For example, it would be very easy to show that the English word "someone" is gender inclusive, using an example such as, "Someone came to the store to buy something for her husband."

Even if you opt for a definition like R. Mansfield's most recent suggestion, and say that ανηρ is only inclusive when it applies to a nondesignated person, there should still be examples that prove that to be true. For example, "If someone wants to buy something for their husband or their wife, the can." or "I saw someone, but it was too dark to tell if they were male or female."

This kind of example is required if you want to say you have evidence of a gender inclusive singular usage of ανηρ. I would bow to the evidence if something like that exists. But if there are such clearly gender inclusive occurrences of ανηρ, apparently the editors of LSJ and BDAG are unaware of them or they would have explicitly mentioned a gender inclusive use of ανηρ.

To Suzanne's credit, I think her other article on the use of ανηρ for citizens made a valiant effort at finding precisely this sort of evidence for that specialized usage.

Suzanne, I don't think that it is important that James used a word that only applies to half of the human race. It is a rather unimportant, but true, fact. Again, this is a matter of translation, not application. James's instruction not to show favoritism applies in many situations, not just the particularized example of a man entering a synagogue wearing gold rings and bright clothes.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Eric,

You are definitely saying that the human race is all male. That is how I read you. Did you look at the examples carefully?

To prove that BDAG and LSJ should be emended to include a usage of ανηρ that loses its connotations of maleness, you need examples of its use that are clearly inclusive

No ammendment is needed. The LSJ is crystal clear that aner means "human" when it says "man as opposed to god" and "man as opposed to monster" - it really cannot be clearer.

I simply do not understand the opposing viewpoint.

Eric Rowe said...

"No ammendment is needed. The LSJ is crystal clear that aner means "human" when it says "man as opposed to god" and "man as opposed to monster" - it really cannot be clearer."

I haven't gone through the examples they list in that part of the definition. So I admit, I'm not prepared to say for sure one way or the other. But if you mean that by simply saying the phrases "man as opposed to god" or "man as opposed to monster" are a way for LSJ to indicate that ανηρ loses its connotations of maleness in those cases, then I don't see that. At any rate, they didn't make explicit that they intended a gender inclusive idea in that or that because of being contrasted with god or beast, ανηρ becomes as broad as ανθρωπος in those cases. If the evidence indicates that it does take on a gender inclusiveness in those cases, then I will definitely bow to the evidence as far as that goes (admittedly neither of those special cases would impact James 2:2). I'll try to check a few of the examples LSJ lists. But I would find it remarkable if any of them refer to a woman or a nondesignated person that is clearly intended to be gender nonspecific.

I'm not sure what I said that would make you conclude that I believe the human race is 100% male. I don't remember that question arising. But, just to clear up any misconception, I do not believe the human race is 100% male. Feel free to quote me on that.

Since you are only focusing on LSJ, though, is it safe to assume that you agree that BDAG does not recognize any usages of ανηρ as losing the connotation of maleness?

Eric Rowe said...

Suzanne,
In LSJ's entry on γυνη they include the usage of "mortal woman as opposed to goddess", would you conclude that uses of γυνη in those contexts become gender inclusive?
If not, then why should the category of ανηρ meaning "mortal man as opposed to god" become gender inclusive?
LSJ says nothing about gender inclusivity in either case.

Eric Rowe said...

I checked the examples from the "man as opposed to god and monster" section of LSJ from Herodotus and Homer. As I expected, the only cases where specific men were in mind, they were males. And in the only cases where the men could have been understood in an inclusive way were uses of the plural. Even these were inconclusive, such as the Minotaur being an enemy of men and a race of half-men, half-gods--I don't know enough about the mythologies to know if these groups included women, but since they are plural they would not be determinative for cases in the singular.
I have every reason so far to think that when ανηρ means "man as opposed to god" it retains its connotations of maleness just as γυνη retains its connotation of femaleness in uses of "woman as opposed to goddess".
This is not surprising, because if these examples served to broaden ανηρ in such a way as to include both sexes, LSJ would have pointed that out as they do quite explicitly with the word ανθρωπος.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

At any rate, they didn't make explicit that they intended a gender inclusive idea in that or that because of being contrasted with god or beast, ανηρ becomes as broad as ανθρωπος in those cases.

Compare with the LSJ entry on anthropos.


I do not believe the human race is 100% male.

I believe that was one of the meanings of aner in the LSJ, according to one of the citations - the human race.

Since you are only focusing on LSJ, though, is it safe to assume that you agree that BDAG does not recognize any usages of ανηρ as losing the connotation of maleness?

Not at all. I simply started with th LSJ and did not continue because, as I see it, the LSJ proves the point but no one accepts that. So it would be an exercise in futility for me to proceed. Look at Dr. Grudem's response.

Grudem put LSJ at the top of the list, not me.

I notice that the NET Bible translates James 2:2 as "someone". Wallace has written a paper on this here.

Have a careful look at this paper.

Eric Rowe said...

Well, Suzanne, you would have been better off if you decided to focus only on LSJ, because BDAG is even more explicit than I previously realized.
BDAG's 2nd gloss (all of their glosses in fact) for anhr is a subset of the general meaning of "male person" at the beginning of the entry. Of this basic meaning, the editors of BDAG say "common in all meanings known in our lit." Thus, by their own words they clarify that the uses of anhr being equivalent to tis are not gender inclusive. I thought this was only implicit before. But now I see that it is explicit.

I am also surprised that you advise me to compare LSJ's entry on anhr with its entry on anthropos. I would recommend the same for you. In the entry on antrhropos, when LSJ refers to some uses of the word as applying to women as well as men, they say so explicitly. Nowhere in their entry on anhr do they do this. If they intended any of their glosses to be interpreted as though anhr loses its connotation of maleness, they would have made that explicit as they do in their entry on anthropos.

BDAG is right. Anhr means "male person" in all literature for which their lexicon claims to be of use (chiefly the NT).

So far, through the course of this discussion I have seen numerous examples that comport with their judgment and none that do not. Until I do, I will have to agree with them that the man in James 2:2 is indeed a man.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Eric,

You say you don't believe the human race is all male, but you simply ignore the fact that several citations use aner in this respect - for the human race. Is there any use discussing this further - no.

You still want the all male choir. I say go for it, have your all male church, since I won't be there - it doesn't affect me.

Eric Rowe said...

Wow. That's a surprising article. It seems that when Dr. Wallace read BDAG's entry on anhr, his eyes skipped right over the first line, just like mine did at first. If he had noticed what they say at the beginning about how "male person" applies in every meaning for their literature, he would not have misinterpreted their second gloss as implying gender neutrality.

I notice Dr. Wallace also has an interesting way of determining word meanings. He likes to compare the synoptic parallels and assume parallel words mean the same thing. That's kind of quirky. I like it. I don't buy it. But I like it--it places his own personal idiosyncracy on the paper.

Eric Rowe said...

Suzanne, I have never mentioned anything about a choir, all male or otherwise.

And regarding those uses of anhr, I don't know specifically which ones you mean. But I would ask two questions when I see them: 1) Is anhr being used in the singular? If not, then they aren't germane to this discussion. and 2) Is it clear that the connotation of maleness is not present? Simple contrast of man to god doesn't remove that connotation any more than a contrast of woman to goddess does, even though the point of emphasis may be humanity rather than maleness.

Eric Rowe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne McCarthy said...

Eric,

Let me know when you have read the full article by Wallace. Those who sing praises in Ignatius eplietle to the Ephesians are aner, as are those in the church who are to love one another.

BTW You have just hit on the reasons why I prefer the dictionaire Grec Français. It does not have the hierarchical organization and therefore does not say that "maleness" is common to all meanings. Quite the opposite.

1. opp. a la femme
2. opp. a lénfant
3. mari, epoux, chef de famille
4. capable de combattre, fort, brave, grand
5. ayant qualite de citoyen, homme dont il a été question
6. Locutions diverses

In any case, I cannot think of any theological point that rests on this either way, nor is it germaine to the post which was surely on ανθρωπος.

Eric Rowe said...

Suzanne, you keep committing the same fallacy over and over.

Since ανηρ can mean "someone" and "someone" can be gender neutral, ανηρ can also be gender neutral.
Then, since ανηρ can be contrasted with gods and monsters, and women are not gods and monsters, ανηρ can include women.
Then, since ανηρ can mean "human", and "human" is gender neutral, ανηρ must be gender neutral any time it means "human".
Then ανηρ applies to people who sing in church and love others. Since women sing in church and love others, ανηρ must include them.

None of these arguments have any value in determining that ανηρ can be gender neutral. Every single example you provide works perfectly well even if ανηρ is only talking about men. Obviously the fact that ανηρ refers strictly to a male person, as BDAG and I agree, does not mean that every time it is used it can only refer to things that are true of men and not women.

The evidence you need is examples of usage that are clearly inclusive. I'm still waiting for those. And when you find them, you might send a letter off to Danker too. Because he is also unaware of gender inclusive uses of ανηρ.

Eric Rowe said...

Suzanne, the article i the link you provided is only a page long. I read it when I first saw it. If there's supposed to be more, please repost.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

You think that Ignatius meant only the men sing, or that he only thought it was worth talking about the men? Which one?

And of course, you don't accept the quote that says aner - male or female, so as I said, enough is enough.

Eric Rowe said...

Actually Suzanne, as I said before, I'm willing to accept for the sake of argument that you are right about ανηρ being used as a technical term for someone with citizenship in a polis in the various Greek systems, and that, as some of these systems allowed women to be citizens, it could be inclusive in those cases. For the sake of convenience I have left that case out of my areas of dispute. I think that your example of anhr as male or female, if valid, provides a great example of the kind of evidence that is required for other uses of anhr to prove they are gender inclusive.

And, again, I'm only concerned with singular usage. I expect that anhr follows the pattern of other male words that can include a group of that includes females along with the males when used in its plural form. This would naturally apply as well to uses with the distributive kata, which is an idiom that only ever refers to groups. None of the examples in Dr. Wallace's article meet this qualification, including those in Ignatius to which you refer.

Ignatius says nothing about an actual choir, by the way. He only uses choral language as a metaphor for church unity, and even then his use of anhr is only for the group, using distributive kata, never for a single person. So I can't respond to your question directly.

But, hypothetically, if there were an example of anhr that talked about men singing in a choir, there would be nothing about that example that would prove a gender inclusive sense for anhr any more than a similar use of gynh would prove gender inclusiveness, or for that matter, the words "man" and "woman" in English.

And that's the problem with your anxiousness to find gender-inclusive examples. Every time you find an example that uses anhr in a context that *could* apply equally to men or women, you assume that it gives you warrant to read it as a gender inclusive use. But you haven't even proven that such a use exists in the singular to begin with. Clearly none of those examples are sentences that could not be made using any variety of gender exclusive words in any language. In English we could construct similar examples with "man", "woman", "boy", or "girl" and nobody would notice any problem or assume that those sentences establish gender inclusive uses of those words.

The lexicographers were all well aware of this, which is why none of them mentioned any gender-inclusive uses of anhr, and BDAG explicitly excludes such use.

Your whimsical acceptance of BDAG when you mistakenly thought it allowed gender inclusiveness and then rejection of it when you realized it didn't is telling. You don't like its hierarchical arrangement because it doesn't permit you to misread its second gloss as allowing gender inclusiveness. But you were perfectly fine with it when you thought you could get away with doing that. So you prefer lexicons that do not have such an arrangement because they allow you to accept various meanings where maleness is not emphasized and pretend that those uses loses all connotation of maleness inherent in the word itself. LSJ provides no explicit warrant for this, either in their definitions or in their examples. Unfortunately, I don't have your French lexicon, but from the definitions you have listed, it doesn't appear to either, with possible exception of its citizenship meaning, which would not apply in the NT usage.

If you were searching for the allowable meanings of any word other than a male-oriented word, you would never treat your word study in such an unsophisticated way. If you did, there would be no gender exclusive words left in any language.

Eric Rowe said...

Also, I want to be careful with how I reply to Dr. Wallace's "article". I want first to say that I have greatly appreciated Dr. Wallace's contributions to biblical studies, particularly NT Greek to this point in his career.

I don't know the original context of this "article" of his. But it looks like it might have originated as a reply to a question or some personal correspondence. As such it shouldn't be held to the same standards of quality of something that was originally intended to be published in an academic context. Nor does its quality meet such standards if it were to be so judged.

In this "article" Dr. Wallace's entire thesis is based on his pre-understanding that BDAG's second gloss refers to a gender inclusive use. He, like I when I first read it, didn't even realize that the editor's own words absolutely preclude such an understanding. This is not the sort of mistake Dr. Wallace would make if this had been a published article on which he would have applied more time and care for accuracy.

In this article Dr. Wallace does not limit himself to singular usages, as would be required by a more serious study of this kind. In fact, the examples of anhr that he finds as the most compelling cases for gender inclusive uses in the plural or with distributive kata.

One of those examples is in Ignatius, where he, like Suzanne, makes the blunder that it is talking about a literal choir. Even a casual reading of the passage in its original context would have prevented such a statement.

Again, Dr. Wallace has proven himself more than adequately in his more official contributions to both the scholarly guild and the church. So it would not be appropriate to judge his work on the basis of this example of an unpublished jotting of his. But, based on the several obvious blunders in it, it would also not be appropriate to use this "article" in an appeal to his authority in favor of gender inclusive use of anhr. It would be best to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he would not express the same judgments he does in this "article" if he were to publish a more studied piece on the question.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Eric,

You write,

Your whimsical acceptance of BDAG when you mistakenly thought it allowed gender inclusiveness and then rejection of it when you realized it didn't is telling.

I have forgotten where I mentioned my acceptance of the BDAG. Remind me if you see it. I have searched this page and cannot find my own reference to the BDAG.

I am not aware of ever studying the entry for aner in the BDAG - I suppose I may have. I got a little bogged down in Plato last time and never moved on.

My main concern was not whether aner can be proven to be gender inclusive. My concern was to prove that it is not a new thing, nor a concession to feminism to use it that way. It is simply something that has been done for a considerable length of time. There is no need to seek a feminist bogeyperson every time people translates aner in a gender neutral way.

Maybe they are just an old fashioned academic who has read too much Plato.

I don't think this is really all that important theologically - I just can't think of any time when it matters beyond details like whether you assume that only men went to feasts in the gospels and things like that. But it is not theology.

So I won't be doing any more research on aner at this time. I think that my research - to the extent that I have done it - is well done. But I never got to BDAG - I quit first. Lack of time.

A very good reason for not discussing aner here any longer is that it is off topic - I don't remember how it is relevant to Joe's post.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Eric,

I am going to change my mind. I just found a little piece of previously unpublished data.

Psalm 84:5

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion ESV

Psalm 84:12

O LORD of hosts,blessed is the one who trusts in you! ESV

In Hebrew, both these vrses have adam - human

But, in Greek, verse 5 has aner and verse 12 has anthropos. In the Proverbs adam is translated as aner 15 times. Therefore, we can assume that in general statements, as in James 2:2 aner can mean adam, a person, a human.

If you want to say that adam is only male then you must contend with anthropos being only male and then you are in another ballpark. Then you must say that God never addresses the quality of being human, but only the male.

It is better to be a little bit flexible over gender language. You can see how the rigorously gender specific male language ESV has had to resort to indefinite pronouns in Psalm 85 although as a rule they disallow this.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Oops - in Psalm 84.

Wayne Leman said...

Eric, I have received a response from Dan Wallace to your comments here about his piece. I can't find your email address. If you'd like a copy of his response, please email me at wayne-leman at netzero.com.