- 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.)
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.