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52 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2013 :  16:32:36  

Dear community,

The double narrative of Genesis dealing with the creation of Man raises a few questions regarding the choice and meaning of words. The passages are quoted here below:

I.27 καὶ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον, κατ’ εἰκόνα θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν, ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς.

II.22 καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν κύριος ὁ θεὸς τὴν πλευράν, ἣν ἔλαβεν ἀπὸ τοῦ Αδαμ, εἰς γυναῖκα καὶ ἤγαγεν αὐτὴν πρὸς τὸν Αδαμ. 23 καὶ εἶπεν Αδαμ Τοῦτο νῦν ὀστοῦν ἐκ τῶν ὀστέων μου καὶ σὰρξ ἐκ τῆς σαρκός μου· αὕτη κληθήσεται γυνή, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς ἐλήμφθη αὕτη. 24 ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν.

These two passages raise two questions: first, what significance is there, in describing Man as male and female, in choosing "ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ" in the first passage (I.27) and changing to "γυνή" in the second (II.22-23)? Am I correct to think that the set ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ refers to the biological aspect, that is male and female, while γυνή would have another meaning, and if so which one?

The second question complements the first. In the second passage (II.22-24), γυνή is not accompanied by its logical association, ἀνήρ, but has rather ἄνθρωπος associated with γυναῖκα in II.24. Should ἄνθρωπος be here taken as synonymous with ἀνήρ or is there once again an alternative, higher meaning?




615 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2013 :  03:32:29  


I believe it would be a little scholastic to associate here similar gender words with different meanings, as if they were termini technici, beyond the use of ἄνθρωπος as a synonym for the male specifically, which is common in other languages too, such as English and French.

Personally in these www.ellopos.net/elpenor/physis/septuagint-genesis/default.asp">Genesis passages I see a dialectic of man as a genderless creature and man as a being-in-two, male and female. Fathers such as www.ellopos.net/elpenor/physis/nyssa-man/default.asp">Gregory of Nyssa interpret this by speaking about a first creation, when there was no genders at all, contrary to the second creation, from which we come, when man was divided in male and female.

The 'primacy' of the male is present not only in the double meaning of ἄνθρωπος, but also in the description of woman as being created from the side of man.

According to the co-operation of both texts, there is only one ἄνθρωπος, both man and woman are primarily male.

This primary condition should also be active in their union. The union of man and woman, according to these texts, is not purposed to remain a relationship of male and female, but to transcend genders and achieve the single genderless and rather male "man". We can understand this even better by the New Testament warning that www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/new-testament/matthew/18.asp">the Kingdom of Heaven belongs only to children.

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