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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Response to Adrian: part 1, the lexicons

Adrian quotes 7 lexicons to show that anthropos means 'man'. I have never seen any of these. In fact, I still use the only two lexicons I own: the Liddell, Scott, Jones, and the BAGD, 1979. However, two translators of the ESV, Poythress and Grudem, list these two lexicons as 'the major Greek lexicons', not 'two of the major Greek lexicons', but 'the major Greek lexicons'.

Here is a shortened form of the full Liddel, Scott, Jones from Perseus Project.

A. man, both as a generic term and of individuals, Hom. etc., opp. gods
2. Pl. uses it both with and without the Art. to denote man generically
3. in pl., mankind,
4. joined with another Subst, ; with names of nations, in Att. freq. in a contemptuous sense,
5. alone, the man, the fellow, with slight irony, with a sense of pity
6. in the voc. freq. in a contemptuous sense, as when addressed to slaves,
7. slave
8. any one, Hebraism
9. Medic., name of a plaster
II. as fem., woman

Only in sense number 5 is 'the man' considered a translation and that is not in such a manly sense, but to denote the lowly status of an individual, that they are not aner, a full adult male or citizen.

Here is BAGD.

1. α generic, as a class,
β in contrast to animals, plants
γ in address, 'friend'
δ pl. w. generic meaning, people
b as a physical being subject to death
c in a human way
2. in special combinations and and meanings
b where the context requires such meanings. as man, adult male, husband, slave, son, human figure

So in BAGD, we find that the translation 'man' has the same status, under special meanings, as the translation 'slave' and 'husband.' Why not translate anthropos as 'the slaves', or 'the husbands'. We don't do this because these are not required by the context. The basic meaning is 'human', not divine, and 'subject to death'. If we avoid the use of 'human' in English, we simply avoid the full impact of the meaning of anthropos in Greek.

No, I do not think that the ESV should have translated anthropoi in 2 Peter 1:21 as 'men and women', they should have translated it as 'humans', because that gives the full import of the Greek.

Adrian then writes, "if a word is used for man in relation to his wife, mother, son or a woman then the word DOES have a male meaning." Once again, if I write 'a Brit and his wife', 'a Brit and his son', 'a Brit and his woman', 'a Brit and his mother', or a Brit and his dog, cat, mouse or fish, it still does not make the word 'Brit' have the semantic content of male, does it?

posted by Suzanne McCarthy

Link: Adrian's Blog: Cows, Dogs, and Political Correctness - Part Two


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