Re: Gender of TO PNEUMA

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Mon Nov 22 1999 - 09:48:26 EST

<x-flowed>To: Blahoslav é’Źel,

<< Steve, I'm sorry of your reaction to the topic. It is full of disrespect
to those, who have a different opinion than you have. >>

First of all, I always sign my messages with all three of my names, the
reason is because "Steve," and even "Steven Miller," is such a common name.
I would appreciate if one is going to direct a comment to me that one would
also use all three of my names at least once in the message (after that,
one can refer to me as "Steve," "Miller," "SCM," or whatever). After all, I
would hate for any other "Steve" to be blamed for what I have written.
Surely you can see the wisdom in that, yes?

Second, you claim that my message was "full of disrespect," surely this is
an exaggeration. For in re-reading my message, I could find only one, or
perhaps two statements at most, which could be misconstrued to imply
disrespect. Or could it be that you consider anyone who expresses an
opinion different from your own to be "full of disrespect"? But I assure
you that I meant no disrespect, and I had tried to nuance and properly
qualify all my statements.

<< Only when the author wanted to stress the very personal (in the modern
sense of the word) side of TO PNEUMA, he uses masculine pronouns, all the
other cases it has nothing to do with sex or personality, I guess. >>

It is true that grammatical gender should not be confused with one's sex
(by nature). But if you would look closely at the question asked, it did
not ask why TO PNEUMA was neuter, but rather it asked why English
translations translate a pronoun referring to TO PNEUMA as "he." My message
was an attempt to answer that question, by presenting historical
information which I hope helped one to understand why this has been done.

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"... while steering clear of the Scylla of credulity one must be wary of
the Charybdis of undue skepticism" (Frederick W. Danker, "A Century of
Greco-Roman Philology," 146).

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