Re: Copy of my response to Wes Williams

From: Wes C. Williams (
Date: Mon May 27 1996 - 13:23:52 EDT

Dear Edward,

Wes wrote:
<< In your example in Mark 5, it
is true that qugatrion, padion, and korasion are all neuter. We clearly know
that qugatrion and korasion in English are female references. Jesus himself
helps us to translate the pronoun as "her" since he twice refers to the "young
child" (paidion) as "her" (dative autE in vss. 41, 43) and avoided "it" (autO).
So the immediate context gives us guidance in how to render the pronoun. >>

Edward responded:
< We know how to translate these words BECAUSE IN ENGLISH WE REFER TO
A DAUGHTER AS "SHE", not because Jesus uses AUTH. <
As I stated in my previous post above, I showed I agree with your statement
here. However, I do not believe that Jesus' use of "autE" and non-use of "autO"
is insignificant either.

<I never met parents who would accept "it" for their own child! Only
strangers seeing the child and not knowing the sex of the child would be
likely to say "it." >
A specific example is in Matthew 18:2 where Jesus called a "paidion" to him.
There is no contextual indicator as to whether the "paidion" is male or female.
BAGD says of "paidion": "1. very young child, infant, used of boys and girls."
I would not fault a translator if he/she chose "it" to translate Matt. 18:2:
"And calling a 'paidion' to him, he set it in their midst." Who knows, maybe it
was a little girl? Having said that, neither would I overly fault a translation
of "him" or "her." But would not "it" be more appropriate here?

Edward further stated:
<People clearly disagree about whether the Holy Spirit is He, She, or It;
all three have appeared in Christian theology, including among the early
Fathers whose native language was Greek. They certainly understood the
gender of their pronouns, and it didn't settle the issue among them.
This is a theological argument. Theological arguments are good things, but
they do not belong on a Greek Grammar List. <
Agreed. As you can see from this and my previous posts, I have not once brought
any reference to theology into this and I regard such as outside the scope of
this discussion. But I do agree that theology which causes one to alter small
grammatical items like pronouns to fit a personal belief can be a dangerous
practice, as I'm sure you agree also. I remain:

Sincerely and respectfully yours,

P.S. Pardon my lack of future responses on this interesting thread, but I am an
the process of moving and need to pack my computer!

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