Re: ANQRWPOS in Jn2:25-3:1

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Jun 26 1997 - 17:02:37 EDT

At 12:19 PM -0400 6/26/97, Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>On Thu, 26 Jun 1997 06:57:21 -0400 "Carl W. Conrad"
><> writes:
>>At 12:49 AM -0400 6/26/97, Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>>>This, of course, is another example of where ANQRWPOS
>>> unequivocally refers not to a person or mankind, but to a man.
>>> It is the only translation that will do. Somone earlier on the list
>>> made such a statement, i.e., that ANQRWPOS never refers
>>> only to a man, and that ANQRWPOI never refers to men only.
>>> There are plenty of examples to the contrary. This is just one.
>>>On the other hand, are there any examples of ANQRWPOS
>>> referring to only a woman? Hmm. If not, then why not? Is it
>>> possible that women were (are) viewed as ANQRWPOI only
>>> through their male leadership? That, then, would amply explain
>>> the use of ANQRWPOI and would in no way demean
>>> womanhood.
>>> Furthermore, if we then translate ANQRWPOI as "persons" or
>>> "mankind," then we would lose the significance of the male
>>> leadership motif.
>>This appears to be a curious instance of assuming the conclusion
>> in the premiss.
>Carl, if it is so that ANQRWPOS is often used only of males, and never
>only of females, and if it is often used generically for both males and
>females, and if male leadership is biblical, then does it not follow that
>this may be a possible explanation (i.e., ANQRWPOS being used to
>denote both males and females generically through the male
>leadership motif) for the use of ANQRWPOS?

Okay, Paul, IF we could concede, for the sake of argument, (1) that
ANQRWPOS is often used only of males and never only of females, and (2) if
male leadership is biblical--but I think we'd have to alter that second
premiss to "if exclusively male leadership is biblical," because that is
what I think you mean by that point, THEN ... what?

The problem is with your understanding of ANQRWPOS in the first place. If I
asserting about two males that each is an ANQRWPOS. Let's say we could add
hundreds or thousands more such propositions using different male names:
this still would not mean that ANQRWPOS, used in each of these clauses as a
predication of a male, has some necessary masculine meaning in essence. And
what, in fact, does it mean at all to say that ANQRWPOS is often used only
of males? That more often than not the persons referred to as ANQRWPOI are
males? Frankly I'm not sure what that combination of OFTEN ONLY is supposed
to mean. I would feel inclined to say that a single demonstrable usage of
ANQRWPOS for a woman would be quite enough to demonstrate that ANQRWPOS
does not have any fundamental masculine meaning in essence. But in fact
there are numerous instances of ANQRWPOS used of women, and indeed, with
the feminine article. It is the HUMANITY of men and women that the noun
ANQRWPOS points to, not the masculinity.

>>>On the other hand, are there any examples of ANQRWPOS referring to
>>>only a woman? Hmm. If not, then why not?
>>I cite from the older (Victorian edition, the only one I have handy
>>here, but the one at the Perseus web site can be checked) of LS s.v.
>>ANQRWPOS: II. as fem. (as [Latin] <italic>homo</italic> also is fem.)
>><italic>a woman</italic>, first in Herodotus 1.60, cf. Isocrates 381B,
>>Aristotle, Nic. Ethics 7.5.2;--contemptuously, of female slaves,
>>Antiphon 113.16, etc.; with a sense o pity, Demosthenes 402.25: -- in
>>Lacon. [i.e. Spartan dialect] ANQRWPW hH, Hesychius ...
>I'm not sure I followed all this, but I would like to. Do I gather from
>this that there are occurrences of the use of ANQRWPOS where
>it refers only to a woman or women? That would indeed be
>interesting to check out. I do not believe, however, that there are any
>examples in scripture.

Check it out, then, and follow where the evidence leads. Are you trying to
argue that ANQRWPOS in the Bible has a distinctive meaning (one necessarily
implying masculinity) that it doesn't have in extra-biblical Greek?

>>I frankly don't understand what it means to say that women might
>>conceivably be viewed as human beings only through their male
>>leadership. I say I don't understand it, although I recognize it as a
>>cultural assumption of long standing that is now being and (in my
>>opinion) should be challenged.
>Be careful not to assume the conclusion here, Carl :). I did not say,
>that women might be conceived as human beings only through
>their male leadership. I did say, that women might be conceived as
>ANQRWPOI through their male leadership.

Again, the problem, Paul, appears to be with your understanding of the word
ANQRWPOS as somehow bearing necessary masculine affinities. That is simply
not demonstrable.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(704) 675-4243

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