Wednesday, April 01, 2009

who is the hidden man of my heart?

I have occasionally read that the Greek word anthropos, when used for an individual, always refers to a "male human being." Here is Michael of the Bible Researcher site,
    Anthropos is a Greek word which is often used in a gender-inclusive sense, especially in its plural forms. The plural anthropoi should usually be understood in this inclusive sense if the context suggests it, (2) and the singular anthropos is often used as a collective term (like the English "mankind") which obviously is meant to include both males and females.

    This is the element of truth which lends plausibility to the assertions mentioned above. But it is a half-truth. The other half of the truth is that when anthropos is used in reference to a particular individual, that individual is always male.

    The idea that "man" is somehow unsuitable as an equivalent for anthropos because it has this ambiguity is therefore completely wrong-headed, because anthropos has the very same kind of ambiguity in Greek as does the word "man" in English. Sometimes it includes both sexes, sometimes it refers specifically to males, as opposed to females. If there is any question about the sense in any given instance we must examine the context.

    The usage of anthropos indicates that it has not only a specific masculine sense in certain contexts, but also that a Greek-speaking person of the apostolic era would presume that anyone who is called an anthropos is male.
Must I assume then that the hidden person of my heart is a "male human being?"
    1Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

    2While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

    3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

    4But let it be the hidden man (anthropos) of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.1 Peter 3:1-4. KJV


Sam C said...

A lot of the views on that site, I've found, are quite.. "conservative", for lack of a better description.

Gem said...

Bear with me as I follow that trail for a minute: In 1 Peter 3, could "the hidden man of her heart" be "the image of His Son"?

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:28. Gender, status, race are FLESH-ly distinctions which count for nothing in the spiritual dimension. As long as we regard the flesh [race, status, gender], we are “yet carnal”

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Cor 3:3

Paul identifies a symptom of carnality: “are ye not yet carnal, and walk as men?” The “men” there is the Greek anthropos which would be better translated “people” as it includes male and female people. Mature, spiritual people should be walking as Christ, “and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:2-7)

In Gal 3:28, Col 3:9-11 the division into male/female, slave/free, etc is symptomatic of an unrenewed, unregenerate perspective.

1 Cor 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God but the woman is the glory of the man

2 Cor 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Contrast Paul to the Corinthians. Is he contradicting himself? Are not female humans among the "all" in the second verse above? How can one resolve the apparent contradiction? Paul uses gender metaphorically on numerous occasions (Eph 5:32, 2 Cor 11:2, Gal 4:19, and I think in 1 Tim 2:11-15) Could the Apostle Paul be speaking metaphorically in 1 Cor 11 where woman and man are metaphors for phases of our Christian walk or phases of glorification? In other words: “woman” was me in the place when my sight was “veiled”, when I was not seeing things very clearly, when I was in a state of deception, and when I was looking at human authority for guidance and affirmation. “man” is me when that veil is lifted off and I can look directly at Christ for guidance “with unveiled face”. “man” is me when I am further along in the process of being “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29).

J. K. Gayle said...

could "the hidden man of her heart" be "the image of His Son"?

Oh my!

But here's the man Ion, the son, saying to the woman Creusa, his mother (whom he doesn't yet recognize), that she's a human, "anthropoi" (in Euripides's play "Ion," lines 237-47):

"There is nobility in you, and you have an appearance that is a witness to your character, lady [ὦ γύναι 'o gunai], whoever you are. For most humans [τὰ πολλά γ’ ἀνθρώπου ta polla y' anthropou] at least, you would know from their appearance if they are well-born. Ah! You amaze me, that you closed your eyes and watered your noble cheeks with tears, when you saw the holy oracle of Loxias. Why are you sorrowful, lady [ὦ γύναι 'o gunai]? Does that which pleases all others who see the sanctuary of the god bring tears to your eyes here?"

But there's more in the bible, at least in the Greek translation of the Hebrew by the Jews. Here's Numbers 5:6,

"Whether man or woman [Ἀνὴρ ἢ γυνή aner 'e gune], whoever [ὅστις 'otis] shall commit any sin of a human [τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ton 'amartion ton anthropinon], or if that soul [ἡ ψυχὴ 'e psyche] shall in anywise have neglected the commandment and transgressed..."

Does a woman receive her humanity from a son? Does a woman sin the sin of a man?

Gem said...


My proposition is that all (both males and females) are referred to as (metaphorical) "women" during a phase of their walk with Christ.

The more I think about it, the more it all fits. How many thousands of times have I heard that "women can't be leaders cuz they are more easily deceived". Just look around for 30 seconds. Clearly MEN are equally as subject to deception. So the "women" that shouldn't be leaders because they are more easily deceived, lots of them are male. (Paul said it first 2 Cor 11:2-3)

J. K. Gayle said...

I think I get your use of "metaphorical" - but you say, "'woman' was me in the place when my sight was 'veiled', when I was not seeing things very clearly, when I was in a state of deception, and when I was looking at human authority for guidance and affirmation. 'man' is me when that veil is lifted off." Why is 'woman' negative, 'man' the positive opposite?

Man's language tends to dominate, to veil the language of women. Look at how Michael Marlowe addresses "laymen" in English. And there are alternatives, as in how Nancy Mairs works--using women's language and men's--to unveil more (gender) inclusive communication.

Gem said...

"Why is 'woman' negative, 'man' the positive opposite?" -Kurt

I would say it goes more line this. Man is the most negative, and the post positive. Woman is the bridge between the old man and the new man:

old man --> Eve, the mother of the living, the bride of Christ, cleansed to the point of being a chaste virgin without spot or blemish, travails as within her forms a new creation (Rev 12) --> new man

At first- human/one flesh/equality and co-dominion

Then- the Fall. Suddenly they were focused on their differences to the point of putting clothing over them. The first woman was deceived and transgressed. Adam was not deceived (1 Tim 2). Adam rebelled. But that was the first Adam, the old "man". Jesus is the second Adam.

When I am born from above, the seed (DNA so to speak) of God is implanted within me and I am "predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." Rom 8:29 His Son=the second Adam

When I am born from above, things should go back to a garden condition, where I am not ashamed or proud of my genitalia. I am naked and unashamed, equal in co-dominion, not focused on my flesh. We are one flesh/human.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Sam C.

Yes, Michael Marlowe's site is very conservative. It has a lot of good information on it, it is very extensive but I can't agree that anthropos refers to the "male human being." I think he has that one wrong.


I am interested in your allegorical interpretations. I am not sure how it fits in this case, since anthropos does not really stand for a male. But perhaps Christ is the "human" in us. I am not sure.