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RE: [GTh] Is 'Man' Exclusionary?

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  • Judy Redman
    Mike is right - I m not particularly impressed by his article, which is basically explaining why Evangelicals take the position they do in the inclusive
    Message 1 of 12 , Jun 19, 2009
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      Mike is right - I'm not particularly impressed by his article, which is
      basically explaining why Evangelicals take the position they do in the
      inclusive language debate. Some of Marlowe says about the milieu of the
      Bible is correct - it was an androcentric world, and the texts reflect that,
      but the way they are translated into English often emphasises their
      androcentricity. He uses a method of argument that I find unsophisticated
      and unhelpful, so his conclusions don't have me leaping to my feet with
      enthusiasm, I'm afraid.

      In particular I am not at all convinced by his assertion that anthropos and
      adam both mean "man" but are used to refer to people of unspecified gender.
      In fact, it works the other way around.

      I started theological studies at a time when the whole inclusive/gender
      neutral language issue was a hotly contested issue. Although I didn't know
      it at the time, my school had recently made a decision that faculty would
      not use words like 'man" and "men" as though they meant people of both
      genders, something that the head of the Society of Jesus had endorsed, so Fr
      John Scullion, SJ, was very, very angry. John had published extensively in
      Old Testament and had also translated a significant number of works from
      German, including Claus Westermann's 3 volume commentary on Genesis. He had
      taught in the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (or maybe Jerusalem or
      maybe both - most of our older Jesuits had taught in one or the other) and
      had come back to Australia because he was ill. Everyone was totally
      awestruck by being taught by such a high-powered scholar. He spent half of
      our first lecture explaining to us why he had absolutely no intention of
      following this totally outrageous dictum which was both an affront to his
      personal freedom and an offense to competent users of the English Language.
      No-one could accuse John Scullion of being a feminist sympathiser and in
      fact, some women found his classes so offensive they didn't always attend.

      After we'd spent a few lessons on the socio-historical background of the
      Ancient Near East, he started on the text of Genesis and made it very, very,
      very clear that ha'adam meant "being from the dust (adamah)" and that it was
      not until God had sent ha'adam to sleep and created the woman from his side
      that the Hebrew text starts using the words "ish" (man) and "ishshah"
      (woman) which make distinctions between beings on the basis of their
      genders. Ha'adam means the human being, no gender specified. It does not,
      as Marlowe seems to be saying, mean man as in male human being, which just
      happens to be used in a non-gender specific way.

      Likewise anthropos means "human being", no gender specified. The fact that
      it has masculine gender is not relevant in a language like Greek where the
      gender of a word is not necessarily the same as the gender of the object it

      Rev Judy Redman
      Uniting Church Chaplain
      University of New England
      Armidale 2351 Australia
      ph: +61 2 6773 3739
      fax: +61 2 6773 3749
      web: http://www.une.edu.au/chaplaincy/uniting/ and
      email: jredman@...

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On
      > Behalf Of Michael Grondin
      > Sent: Thursday, 18 June 2009 4:28 AM
      > To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [GTh] Is 'Man' Exclusionary?
      > Hi Ariadne,
      > Thanks for the link to the Michael Marlowe article "The Gender-
      > Neutral Language Controversy", though Judy might not appreciate
      > it, cuz he's on the opposite end of the religious spectrum from her.
      > Anyway, Marlowe's article contains a link to another article of his,
      > titled "Against the Theory of 'Dynamic Equivalence'". Taking a step
      > back, both of these articles and and more can be accessed from:
      > http://www.bible-researcher.com/translation-methods.html
      > ... which links to a bunch of articles collectively titled "Translation
      > Theory and Methods". Not all are Marlowe pieces, but it turns out
      > that he's the site owner, so he selected them. From reading
      > Marlowe's autobiographical sketch at ...
      > http://www.bible-researcher.com/biog.html
      > ... it can be seen that he's got a definitely conservative religious
      > slant to his thinking, but from what I've read so far, he seems to be
      > able to address translational issues in a fairly calm and factual
      > manner.
      > Mike G.
      > ------------------------------------
      > Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
      > Interlinear translation:
      > http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm
      > ------------------------------------
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