Sunday, January 20, 2008

Index: CBMW, Grudem, kephale

Everything I have written on kephale has been in spontaneous posts in response to posts elsewhere in the blogosphere. I have never had any intention of examining this issue in depth and I deeply regret that I have not so far organized my material on this topic.

I have also written on several other aspects of the CBMW platform and Grudem's books. Let me summarize.


I first became aware that there was a belief among some in the Christian community that the Greek word anthropos meant "man" as in male, and this was one reason for why the TNIV was a "gender neutral" version. I found that the ESV had translated 2 Tim. 2:2 anthropos (pl) as "men" and in that way gave the impression that the scriptures did not give women the command to teach.

Dr. Packer and 2 Timothy

I was truly disturbed when I read this. It was one of the times Ifelt that the campaign against women was deliberate and involved waffling on the actual meanings of Greek words.


Around the same time, I read the TNIV and the Gender Neutral Bible Controversy. There, on page 426 I read that Grudem had drafted the guidelines for the TNIV without checking meanings in the Liddell-Scott Lexicon. He admitted that in May of 1997 he did not know that adelphos (pl) meant "brothers and sisters." I was stunned. How could a Bible translator not know the most basic meanings of very simple words?

Brothers and Sisters: Colorado Springs

Since then I have come to believe that each of the guidelines in the Colorado Springs guidelines is based on a faulty premise.

Colorado Springs Guidelines

I have summarized a few notes on the CSG here.

Summary of the Colorado Springs Guidelines


Another teaching of Grudem's has been the subordination of woman in creation. I have responded with some notes here.

What subordination in Creation
Subordination of Christ and Woman


The CBMW had criticized the TNIV translators for translating aner (man. citizen, person) as "person." In this case, I wrote a full article on the subject. It became evident to me as I wrote this article that Grudem has not followed up on all the examples of aner in the LSJ lexicon but had jumped to the conclusion that aner always referred to a male. That does seem obvious. It is, however, not factual.

The CBMW, Grudem and the TNIV: the lexicography of Aner


In the ESV and the NET Bible the reference to Junia in Romans 16:7 says that she is "well-known to the apostles."

I wrote 17 posts here and added more content in comments on other blogs. The best printed material on Junia to date is by Linda Belleville. See the bibliography in my post below.

Junia, the apostle: Index

After several exchanges with Grudem and Burer, I wrote,

Junia: A Reponse to Michael Burer

This is a highly technical argument, but the upshot is that neither Dan Wallace nor Michael Burer have responded to Linda Belleville's excellent critique of their work in attempting to prove that Junia was not an apostle. I reference the work done by Belleville, Epp and Bauckham. However, my writing benefited from what they wrote, and has additional content. The conclusion is that Chrysostom, a native speaker of Greek,recognized Junia as a female apostle and he was a native speaker of Greek.


Grudem claims on the CBMW website that submission is always submission to an authority, and therefore, wherever there is the word "submission" in Greek, we must assume that the other person has "authority over." In that case, there is no such thing as mutual submission. However, we do find that submission in Greek can be mutual. Here are some useful posts.

Grudem puts Foh before Calvin
Authority 7: One another
Authority 6: Trampling or loving one another
Mutual Submission in Clement

Ezer and Boethos

"Champion" and "Defender" in Clement


Once again we are back to rough notes. To a certain extent, I am expressing some tentative opinions here. I have since come to the conclusion that while the head, in Greek, was sometimes but not always considered the ruling part of the person, the expression kephale (head) was not used to indicate the authority of one person over the other. The examples offered by Grudem to prove this case have not been accurate representations of the Greek.

Exchange with John Mark Reynolds
Grudem and kephale
Grudem and Ptolemy
Grudem and Glare
The Omitted Citations
Kephale in the Literature

I am unwilling to get into kephale any deeper than this. The foremost example which Grudem uses to prove that kephale means "authority over" is,

“the king of Egypt is called “head” of the nation”

Grudem used this quote on Jan. 19, 2008, on the Gender Blog. However, in Appendix 1A of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, he wrote,

    19) Philo, Moses 2.30: As the head is the ruling place in the living body, so Ptolemy [Ptolemy Philadelphos] became among kings.

    Cervin does not think that head means ruler here because Philo says that Philadelphos is the head of kings, not in the sense of ruling them, but as the preeminent king among the rest. Philadelphos is the top of the kings just as the head is the top of an animal’s body. . . . This example is therefore to be rejected (p. 100).”

Grudem continues in RBMW Appendix 1B to discuss this example. However, he fails to show that it means "authority over." This is Grudem's best piece of evidence and proves the opposite of his thesis, which is that kephale means authority. It obviously doesn't. The rest of Grudem's examples are similar. However, what is the point of quoting them if Grudem just recycles rejected evidence?


Here are a few posts on the Greek word authentew - to usurp authority or dominate. This is the word commonly translated "to exercize authority" in 1 Tim. 2:12. However, the Latin Vulgate translated that word as dominare. The notion that this verse had "exercize authority" in it is relatively recent. What follows is a rather academic look at the lexical evidence for the meaning of authentew.


I will be adding material here from time to time as well as editing the post.


Psalmist said...

What a great resource, Suzanne! Thanks for taking the time to organize this index. It will make finding this information much easier for people who are searching for the refutations that Grudem and CBMW will never make public.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Yup, there are two separate posts called Authority 6. Apparently I lost track.

Sam C said...

Thanks Suzanne, this is exactly what I was going to email you asking for.

kerryn said...


the more i read of your writing the more i am blessed and thankful!
thank you so much for sharing these resources and making them so easily accessible.

Awesome stuff !


Espen said...

Thanks Suzanne, this is very very interesting!

Grudem writes at the end of his 'open letter to egalitarians':

"Thank you for considering our questions. We look forward to hearing a response from you. Sincerely yours, Wayne Grudem, Ph.D. Please send your responses to me via e-mail at:"

Have you sent him your responses, and if you did, did he respond to you?

Espen said...

Oups, I had found the open letter at an egalitarian site, and they might have added the email adress just for fun... It is not mentioned in the post at the CBMW site.

dcljoy said...

Ah ... thank you, I found it.

have you given any thought to the basing of subordination of women on the eternal subordination of the Son?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I used to really argue against it all but now I just think its crazy. It couldn't be crazier. How could the manhood group link father and son to husband and wife, and who wants a totally subordinated wife anyway? I mean, what healthy human being.

However, I do have something that I might post on this in a few days. IN the meantime, use the search dialogue box in the upper left hand corner to search "subordination." I am sure you will find plenty.

Anonymous said...

When I click on the link for the article: The CBMW, Grudem and the TNIV: the lexicography of Aner it is not available. Is this article available anywhere?


Suzanne said...

Hi Melissa,

Its been a few years and that website is down. I will try to hunt down the article which I wrote some time ago, and then refer to it on my new site,


Suzanne said...

Here is some of the data:

Aner as person
One of the major complaints that the CBMW has against the TNIV is that it sometimes translates aner as “person.” Grudem writes the most delicious comments sometimes. I just have to share this,

I could add a note here on the Greek word aner: Greek scholars for hundreds of years have known that aner means “man” not “person.” Recently, with no new evidence, but under cultural pressure, some have discovered a new meaning, “person.”
There has been no cultural pressure to establish that aner means person. That is utterly ridiculous! Aner always did mean person. Let’s look back at some Loeb classics and other good stuff. I don’t have these books on hand but they are available, I understand. This is not some secret cache of books on the index and unavailable to CBMW. This is Plato and this is the way he has been translated from beginning to end of the last century. What cultural pressure?

a) ἀνήρ(singular) as ‘person’

i) εὐφήμει: οὐ μεντἂν καλῶς ποιοίην
οὐ πειθόμενος ἀνδρὶ ἀγαθῷ καὶ σοφῷ.

Hush, hush! Why, surely it would be wrong of me
not to obey a good and wise person. Plato. Hipparchus. 228b

ii) ἀλλ’ ἴσως, ὦ βέλτιστε, φαίη ἄν τις ἀνήρ,
ὃς ἐμοῦ τε καὶ σοῦ σοφώτερος ὢν τυγχάνοι,
οὐκ ὀρθῶς ἡμᾶς, λέγειν, οὕτως εἰκῇ ψέγοντας ἄγνοιαν,

But perhaps, my excellent friend, some person who is wiser
than either you or I may say we are wrong to be so free
with our abuse of ignorance. Plato. Alcibiades 2. 143b

b)ἀνήρ (singular) as ‘everyone’

πᾶς ἀνήρ, κἂν δοῦλος ᾖ τις, ἥδεται τὸ φῶς ὁρῶν

Slave or free, every one is glad to gaze upon the light. Euripides. Orestes. 1523.

c) ἀνήρ (singular) as ‘they’

ὅταν ἀγασθῶσι σφόδρα του, σεῖος ἀνήρ φασιν,
οὕτω καὶ ὁ θηριώδης ἐν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις σπάνιος:

‘Yon mon’s divine, ’they say–, so a bestial character
is rare among human beings; Aristotle. Nic. Ethics. 1145a 25.

d) ἀνήρ (singular) as ‘citizen’, either male or female

ποτὲ ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς γίγνοιτ’ ἄν,
τὴν ἀνθρώπῳ προσήκουσαν ἀρετὴν τῆς ψυχῆς ἔχων …. ,
εἴτε ἄρρην τις των συνοικούντων
οὖσα ἡ φύσις εἴτε θήλεια, νέων ἢ γερόντων

… in which a member of our community–
be he of the male or female sex, young or old,–
may become a good citizen, possessed of the excellence of soul
which belongs to man. Plato’s Laws 6. 770d.

(In this sentence, the Greek word ανθρωπος is translated as “man” generic, “the excellence of soul which belongs to man”, that is, the human, either male or female; and the word ανηρ is translated as citizen, either male or female.)


Suzanne said...

e) ἀνήρ as ‘individual’

ἀλλὰ διὰ τὴν τοῦ χρυσοῦ τε καὶ ἀργύρου
ἀπληστίαν πᾶσαν μὲν τέχνην καὶ μηχανήν …
ἐθέλειν ὑπομένειν πάντα ἄνδρα, εἰ μέλλει πλούσιος ἔσεσθαι

every individual, because of his greed for silver and gold,
is willing to toil at every art and device, noble or ignoble,
if he is likely to get rich by it, Plato’s Laws. 8.831d.

f) ανδρες as ‘friends’

ὦ πάντων ἀνδρῶν ἄριστοι

Most excellent friends, … Plato’s Laws. 5.741a.

g) ανδρες as ‘citizens’

νείμασθαι δὲ δὴ καὶ τοὺς ἄνδρας δώδεκα μέρη

And he must divide the citizens also into twelve parts, … Plato’s Laws. 5.745d.

I hope this gives readers some idea of why aner can sometimes be translated into English as “person.” This move is motivated by scholarship and not feminist presuppositions. I have lots of those, but the notions about language that I share with some of the complementarian translators of the TNIV are not due to my “feminist presuppositions.” No, they are due to my advanced age, as a matter of fact!

PS This is only the evidence from Plato. It was a good day for reading Plato when I did this study. There are lots more examples elsewhere.

I pray that one day CBMW will take down the signatures against the TNIV and write a letter of apology to the translators of the TNIV.


Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 8 translated by W.R.M. Lamb. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1955. (1914) Alcibiades 2. line 143b

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 8 translated by W.R.M. Lamb. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1955. (1914) Hipparchus. 228b

Plato. Laws. In Two volumes, tr. By R. G. Bury. Loeb Classical Library. 1926.

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vols. 10 & 11 translated by R.G. Bury. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1967 & 1968.