Masculine vs. common gender

From: Karen Pitts (
Date: Wed Jun 25 1997 - 08:32:18 EDT

Masculine vs. common gender 6/25/97 8:25 AM

I have a question for the classicists on this list concerning whether ANQROPOI
and ADELFOI can refer to both men and women.

I was taught, when I first studied Latin (over 30 years ago), than when there
were a group of men and women, the masculine gender would be used, and in
fact, was taught the term, common gender, referring to plural nouns, of
masculine form, which refer to groups of people. When I started studying
Greek, I assumed this was also true of Greek, so I have always viewed hOI
ANQROWPOI as possibly including both men and women. I haven't been so certain
of ALDEFOI, but it certainly seems correct, as Paul uses it in his letters.

Reaction anyone? The assertion that hOI ANQRWPOI must be men and men only
grates on this long ingrained teaching. Was I taught correctly?


Karen Pitts
Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Hopewell, NJ, teacher of NT Greek
Sarnoff Corporation, Princeton, NJ, statistician

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:20 EDT