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About How The LIT Was Produced

 

 

By Hal Dekker

 

Last page update: 2018.08.26

 

 

The Articles "the" and "a/an"

- Kinds of Nouns

- Proper nouns

- Common nouns

- Singular nouns

- Plural nouns

- Countable nouns

- Mass or non-countable nouns

- Abstract nouns

- Collective nouns

- Compound Nouns

- Concrete nouns

- Gender-specific nouns

- Possessive nouns

- Verbal nouns 

- Rules for the Use of Articles

- Determiners

- Definite Articles

- Indefinite Articles

 

Implied to be Verbs - Null / Zero Copulas?

- Examples of am

 

Gender Exclusive, Inclusive, or Neutral?

- Anthropos - a Mortal, a Man, a Woman?

- A Male-dominated Culture

 

What, Deponent Verbs?

 

 

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The Articles "the" and "a/an"

 

Virtually all Bible translations show, through hundreds of examples, that their translators paid virtually no attention whatsoever to the presence or non-presence of definite articles in the Greek texts.  This is a huge mistake no matter whatever translation methodology is used to produce and English translation.  Bible translations indicate that their translators considered the biblical writer's use of the definite article as almost, if not, meaningless, since never-ending paraphrases are used to replace what the writers actually wrote.  I believe the biblical writers, the apostles and Mark and Luke took their personal ministries, assigned to them by Christ Jesus himself, much more seriously than that.

 

Virtually all Bible translations, with the exception of the Darby translation, in which Darby used brackets, [ ], to indicate to the reader when he was adding an article to a clause or sentence, don't indicate to the reader that articles are being either added or omitted from a Bible translation.  However, I've found examples of Darby omitting from his English translation articles which are present in the Greek texts, without indicating his omissions to the reader.  This lack of full disclosure in an English translation may seem like a small point.  But since a definite article has somewhat of a bearing upon the meaning being described through the use of words, non-disclosure of their presence or non-presence must be considered to be private theoretical interpretation on the part of the translator.  A translator translating his or her personal beliefs or opinions into a translation is exactly what constitutes private theoretical interpretation, rather than a translator simply quoting what a writer/apostle wrote, verbatim, and allowing the readers to come to their own conclusions about possible meanings.

 

What I believe is a worthy goal of the LIT process is to present to myself an English translation which is as close to being a quote of the biblical writers as possible, without injecting any preconceived ideas or beliefs about anything, from anyone, including myself, into the translation.  Learning and thoroughly understanding how the biblical writers wrote in Koiné Greek to show or imply definiteness or indefiniteness is very difficult, no matter who you may think you are.  And so keeping with my translation methodology I'm not going to try to develop extra-biblical paraphrases of what I think, or what someone else thinks, the writer means, through the way he wrote what he wrote.

 

And so my rules for translating articles are these:

 

Definite Article

 

Whenever the biblical writer used a definite article I translated it as if translating any other part of speech.  But since Koiné Greek used definite articles a little different than we do in English today, sometimes in the translation they may look and sound a little redundant, according to what our eyes and ears are used to seeing and hearing in English sentences.  This method places a high level of importance in allowing the reader to see for him or herself exactly what was written, and then determine for him or herself, with God's Spirit working in the reader, what he or she believes the writer means to say.

 

It is common in the Koiné Greek for biblical writers to use definite articles where in English we would not use them, and not use them where in English we would normally use them.  But much of the time the definite article is used almost the same way.  And so given the apparent meaning of a sentence, paying special attention to the context and the writer's flow of thought, I'll suggest the definite article enclosing it in brackets, [ ], to indicate to the reader, me, that the definite article is not a part of the biblical text.  A suggested definite article will look like this, [the].

 

Indefinite Article

 

There is no indefinite article in the Koiné Greek as we know them, a or an, in English.  On account of this making a translation which simply quotes the biblical writer can produce sentences in English in which indefiniteness of a noun is shown to be neither implicit or explicit.  And so given the apparent meaning of a sentence, paying special attention to the context and the writer's flow of thought, I'll suggest an indefinite article enclosing it in brackets, [ ], to indicate to the reader, me, that an indefinite article is not a part of the biblical text.

 

A suggested indefinite article will look like this, [a] or [an].

 

Sometimes a noun in a sentence can appear to be either definite or indefinite, in which case the suggested article will look like this, [a/the].

 

Through this method of approaching nouns in translation which I can't positively determine to be either definite or indefinite, I leave that interpretation in the hands and heart of the reader, to determine for him or herself what the biblical writer is meaning and saying to him or her.  Most often I believe the suggested article will make very good sense to the reader. 

 

I believe this is a much more honest approach to preserving Truth in translation, as apposed to fabricating paraphrases of other's theoretical/theological private interpretations, which use words the writer didn't write, and then passing off those paraphrases in a translation as if they are exactly what an apostle or disciple actually wrote.  I view that standard process as corrupting the holy scriptures.  Every verse of every chapter of every book in the LIT proves that paraphrases are totally needless.  So then why are they used?  They are used to sculpt people's belief into being in agreement with a central "Christian" narrative developed in the fourth century, which otherwise couldn't be imagined to be present in the biblical texts.  But the reason most often given is that a word for word translation is impossible to produce from the Greek texts.

 

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As you know, the English language has rules for guiding the use of articles with nouns, and so the following is a brief list of the various kinds of nouns, and following that are explanations of the various rules governing the use of articles with nouns.  My use of articles in brackets, to make it clear to the reader that those articles do not appear in the Greek texts, is probably the most subjective part of the LIT.  But still, it is by far less invasive and much more respectful of the veracity of God's Word than both throwing out and throwing entire words, clauses, phrases, and sentences, in the forms of paraphrasing and creative "synonyming", which a biblical writer didn't write.  The LIT is the only English Bible translation which tells the reader both when articles are, or are not present UBS4 Greek texts.

 

- Kinds of Nouns

 

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all of the terms used to classify nouns, but it's enough to put together a basic set of rules for how the apostles introduced nouns with articles, and then omitted the nouns to create ellipses.  A specific study on noun-related ellipses is forthcoming.

 

Proper nouns - "A proper noun is a name used for an individual person, place, or organization, spelled with initial capital letters, e.g., Larry, Mexico, and Boston Red Sox." - New Oxford American Dictionary

 

Common nouns - "A common noun is a noun denoting a class of objects or a concept as opposed to a particular individual." - New Oxford American Dictionary

 

Singular nouns - "A singular noun is a noun which refers to a quantity of one person, place, or thing." - Oxford English Grammar

 

Plural nouns - "A plural noun is a noun which refers to a quantity of more than one person, place, or thing." - Oxford English Grammar

 

Countable nouns - "Count nouns are used for objects that can be counted; that is, they're distinct objects that can be numbered. For example, in my refrigerator there are eggs, apples, and lemons. These are all count nouns. Count nouns can be singular or plural..." - Neil Whitman Ph.D. at Grammar Girl, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/is-data-singular-or-plural

 

Mass or Non-countable nouns - "Mass nouns, on the other hand, are used for things that don't have a natural boundary and can't be counted. Also in my fridge are butter, iced tea, and bacon. These are all mass nouns. Mass nouns always take a singular verb..." - Neil Whitman Ph.D. at Grammar Girl, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/is-data-singular-or-plural

 

The following mass noun examples are from Grammar Monster, http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/mass_noun.htm

 

Category Example
Concept gallantry, morality, information, aptitude, patience
Activity homework, singing, reading, fishing
Food bread, butter, cheese, fish, milk
Gas air, helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, smoke
Liquid beer, coffee, petrol, water, wine
Material cloth, concrete, lumber, wood, metal
Item Category clothing, furniture, luggage, money
Natural Phenomenon gravity, heat, humidity, rain, snow, sunshine, thunder
Particles flour, grit, salt, sugar

 

Abstract nouns - "An abstract noun is a noun that denotes an intangible concept such as an emotion, a feeling, a quality, or an idea. In other words, an abstract noun does not denote a physical object.

It is sometimes helpful to think of an abstract noun as a word that names something that you cannot see, hear, touch, smell, or taste (i.e., something you cannot perceive with one of your five senses). For example, consideration, parenthood, belief, anger." - Grammar Monster, http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/abstract_nouns.htm

Collective nouns - "A collective noun is the word used to represent a group of people, animals, or things.  For example, flock, crowd, committee, choir, group, team.
 

For people: a band of musicians, a board of directors, a choir of singers, a class of students, a crowd of people, a gang of thieves, a pack of thieves, a panel of experts, a team of players, a troupe of dancers.

 

For animals: an army of ants, a flock of birds, a flock of sheep, a herd of deer, a hive of bees, a litter of puppies, a murder of crows, a pack of hounds, a pack of wolves, a school of fish, a swarm of locusts, a team of horses, a pride of lions.

 

For things: a bouquet of flowers, a bunch of flowers, a fleet of ships, a forest of trees, a galaxy of stars, a pack of cards, a pack of lies, a pair of shoes, a range of mountains, a wad of notes." - Grammar Monster, http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/collective_nouns.htm

 

Compound nouns - "A compound noun is one comprising at least two words. (Sometimes, they are hyphenated.)  For example, mother-in-law, board of members, court-martial, forget-me-not, manservant, cooking-oil.  Nouns can be connected to adjectives, verbs, and prepositions using a space, a hyphen, or directly to another word, which connections make them compound nouns." - Grammar Monster, http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/compound_nouns.htm

 

Concrete nouns - "A concrete noun represents something that can be seen, touched, tasted, heard, or smelt. In other words, a concrete noun is something that you can perceive with at least one of your senses." - Grammar Monster, http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/concrete_nouns.htm

 

Gender-specific nouns - "A gender-specific noun refers specifically to a male or a female.

In English, the gender of most nouns is neuter. However, if a noun refers to something obviously male or female, then its gender will be masculine or feminine (as determined by the meaning).

When a noun's meaning makes its gender masculine or feminine, it is said to be a gender-specific noun." - Grammar Monster, http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/gender-specific_noun.htm

 

Possessive nouns - "A possessive noun is a noun indicating ownership (or possession). Here are some examples of possessive nouns (bolded):

 

- a dog's bone

- a man's jacket

- a lion's mane

 

The examples above are obviously about possession (i.e., ownership). They refer to the bone of the dog, the jacket of the man, and the mane of the lion. However, possessive nouns are not always so obviously about possession. Look at these examples of possessive nouns:

 

- a book's pages

- a day's pay

- a week's worth

- a stone's throw

 

Sometimes, possessive nouns are clearly not about possession. Look at these examples:

 

- The Children's Minister

   (This is a minister for children's affairs. The minister does not belong to the children.)

- Rembrandt's paintings

   (These are paintings by Rembrandt. He does not own them.)

 

So, in order to say that possessive nouns indicate possession, you have to have a very broad definition of the word possession." - Grammar Monster, http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/possessive_noun.htm

 

Verbal nouns - "A verbal noun is a noun that has no verb-like properties despite being derived from a verb. This means that a verbal noun can be modified by adjectives, be pluralized (if the sense allows), and be followed by a prepositional phrase.

 

For example:

 

A brilliant reading of the poem won the competition.

 

A is a determiner,

 

brilliant is an adjective,

 

reading is a verbal noun,

 

of the poem is a prepositional phrase,

 

won the competition is a past participle verb phrase.

 

Another example:

 

This bad drawing of a dog is not acceptable for your project.

 

(This is a verbal noun. It is acting just like a noun. Just like any noun could have, it has a determiner (This) and an adjective (bad), and it is followed by a prepositional phrase (of a dog).)

 

More examples:

 

Verb Verbal Noun Example in a Sentence
To build building It was a lovely building .
The money will fund the building of a bridge.
To arrive arrival Their arrival has been delayed.
To repeat repetition I do not want another repetition of yesterday.
To decide decision That was an awful decision by the referee.
To attack attack He mounted a surprise attack with the Romans.
(Note: With some verbs, the verbal noun is identical to the base form of the verb.)"

 

- Grammar Monster, http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/verbal_nouns.htm

 

Now that I have a list of thirteen of the various kinds of nouns, I need a list of rules in the English language for the use of the definite and indefinite articles before nouns, which rules we shall try to apply to examples of what the biblical writers, the apostles, wrote in Koiné Greek.  I'll be looking for both repetitive patterns an anomalies in the ways those writers deliberately chose to use, and chose not to use, definite articles.  It's obvious that the English and the Greek rules of grammar are much different in many ways, but both languages use the definite article with nouns, and the English uses indefinite articles but the Greek doesn't. 

 

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- Rules for the Use of Articles

 

Obviously there are many resources available which define the purposes for the use of the definite article.  A couple of handy online sources with good explanations are Grammar Monster and Grammar Girl (Neal Whitman Ph.D.). 

 

We already know that definite and indefinite articles are known as determiners, and function as adjectives to modify nouns, and so therefore have something to do with determining the meaning of a noun.  In English, what does a definite article determine about a noun?  By comparing how the Biblical Greek authors used articles to our English rules we may come a little closer to discovering how and why the apostles chose when and when not to use articles.

 

"The” is called the definite article because you use it when you’re talking about something that is distinguished from other things (in other words, something “defined,” or “definite”). If you say, “The cat crossed the road,” this cat might be distinguished from other things because it’s the only cat in the neighborhood, or just because it’s the only cat mentioned earlier in the conversation.

 

So if you write, “Thank you for taking the time to review my application,” that indicates you’re talking about a definite amount of time: whatever amount of time it takes to review your application. If, however, you just say, “Thank you for taking time to review my application,” you’re thanking the readers for any amount of time they might take to review your application, even if it’s just a millisecond. For that reason, “Thank you for taking the time” seems like the better option." - Neil Whitman Ph.D. at Grammar Girl, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/when-to-use-articles-before-nouns?page=1

 

According to Neal Whitman Ph.D. at the Grammar Girl website, an important purpose for the use of definite and indefinite articles is to determine/distinguish a nouns specificity.  The use of the definite article determines that a noun is something definite, defined, something particular among a group or class of other people, places, or things.

The Indefinite Articles

 

"Before we finish, let’s get to the rule for using the indefinite article “a.” It’s called the indefinite article because you use it when you’re talking about something that you’re not trying to distinguish from other things. If you say, "A cat crossed the road," it could be any cat. If you say, "I wish a cat would cross the road," there might not even be a cat.

 

In short, with countable singular nouns, you have to have a determiner. Use whatever  determiner you need; in particular, use “the” if you’re distinguishing the noun from other things; use “a” if you’re not. With proper nouns, plural nouns, and mass nouns, determiners aren’t necessary, though you can still use them depending on the meaning you’re after; but remember not to use  “a” or any other determiner that implies counting with a mass noun." - Neal Whitman Ph.D. at Grammar Girl, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/when-to-use-articles-before-nouns?page=1

 

 According to Neal Whitman Ph.D. at the Grammar girl website, an important purpose for the use of an indefinite article is to deliberately distinguish a noun as referring to any person out of people, or any place among places, or anything among thing, but not any specific person, place, or thing.

 

So now we have some rules from Dr. Whitman for the use of definite and indefinite articles with nouns:

 

Rule:  The definite article determines/modifies the noun as being a particular person, place, or thing among a group or class of people, places, or things.

 

Rule:  Indefinite articles determine/modify the noun as not being a specific person, place or thing among a group or class of people, places, or things.

 

 But can definite and indefinite articles be used with any kind of nouns?

 

Rule:  Countable singular nouns require a determiner, either a definite or indefinite article.

 

"Of course, if you’re writing about a cat named Cat, or someone named Catherine who’s called Cat for short, then “Cat crossed the road” works. This brings us to one kind of noun that doesn't have to have a determiner: the proper noun. Proper nouns usually don’t have determiners; for example, you wouldn’t say “a Squiggly” or “every Squiggly,” except in the unusual situation where there’s more than one person named Squiggly.

 

 

Plurals can go without determiners, too. Although you can say “the cats,” you can also just say “cats,” if you don’t have any particular cats in mind.

 

 Mass nouns - also called uncountable nouns - don’t need a determiner, either. Take the uncountable noun “information”: Although you can say, “I need your information,” or “I need the information,” you can also just say “I need information,” if you don’t want to be specific.

 

Mass nouns usually allow any determiner, provided it’s not one that implies the noun is countable. So you can’t say something like “one information,” “two information,” or “many information.” In particular, you can’t say “an information,” because “a,” which is a form of the word “one,” implies that “information” is a countable noun." - Neil Whitman Ph.D. at Grammar Girl, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/when-to-use-articles-before-nouns

Rule:  Proper nouns do not require a determiner, and usually don't have determiners.

 

Rule:  Plural nouns can go without determiners also.

 

Rule:  Mass/uncountable nouns usually allow any determiner, provided it's not one that implies the noun is countable.

 

The rules for the use of the indefinite articles a and an are little more complex than the rules for the definite article. 

 

A and an signal that the noun modified is indefinite, referring to any member of a group or class of people, places, or things.

 

Here's a rule from Grammar Girl about the use of indefinite articles:

 

"A lot of people learned the rule that you put a before words that start with consonants and an before words that start with vowels, but it's actually a bit more complicated than that.

 

The rule is  that you use a before words that start with a consonant sound and an before words that start with a vowel sound.

People seem to ask most often about words that start with the letters h and u because sometimes these words start with vowel sounds and sometimes they start with consonant sounds. For example, it is a historic monument because historic starts with an h sound, but it is an honorable fellow because honorable starts with an o sound. Similarly, it is a Utopian idea, but an unfair world.

The letters o and m can be tricky too. Usually you put  an before words that start with o, but sometimes you use a. For example, you would use a if you were to say, “She has a one-track mind,” because one-track starts with a w sound. Similarly, “She has an MBA, but chooses to work as a missionary.” 

Use a before words that start with a consonant sound and an before words that start with a vowel sound.

 

Other letters can also be pronounced either way. Just remember it is the sound that governs whether you use a or an, not the actual first letter of the word." - Grammar Girl, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/a-versus-an

 

Rule:  For the indefinite articles, use a before words that start with a consonant sound and use an before words that start with a vowel sound.

 

In my Oxford English Grammar book is another explanation of the use of definite and indefinite articles in English:

 

"4.33 Definite and Indefinite articles

 

The definite and indefinite articles are determiners.  The definite article is the, usually pronounced /ᶞǝ/ but pronounced /ᶞi:/ when stressed.  The indefinite article is represented by two variants: a (/ǝ/ or stressed /ǝו/) or an (/ǝn/ or stressed /an/).

 

    The choice between the variants of the indefinite article depends on the initial sound, not the spelling, of the following word. 

 

A is used before a consonant sound: a way, a video, a huge house, a one-off event, a unit, a U-turn, a eunuch

 

An is used before a vowel sound: an idea, an architect, an hour, an honorary member, an MBA, an H-bomb, an x-ray.

 

There are a few words beginning with h that some people pronounce with an initial vowel sound (an older pronunciation): an hotel, an historian

 

 The definite article serves as a determiner with singular or plural count nouns and with no-count nouns:

 

    the issue/issues   the information.

 

The indefinite article can only be used with singular count nouns, reflecting its historical derivation from the numeral one:

 

   an issue

 

The analogous indefinite reference for plurals and non-count nouns is conveyed through the absence of a determiner (sometimes termed the zero article) or through the presence of some (pronounced /sǝm/):

 

   (some) issues   (some) information

 

The definite article is used when the speaker (or writer) assumes that the hearer (or reader) can identify the reference of a noun phrase:

 

[1]   Uhm ‹,› a couple of people can't make the performances but the majority of them yes [S1A-004-132]

 

The indefinite article is used when that assumption cannot be made:

 

[2]   It was a fourteenth or thirteenth century chateau and we just sort of wandered in [S1A-009-248]

 

The distinction between the two articles is neutralized for generic noun phrases.  For example, [3] could be replaced by [3a] without affecting the meaning:

 

[3]   The sandflats are regarded as the province of marine biologists, while the dunes are investigated by terrestrial biologists. [W2A-022-9]

 

[3a]   A sandflat is regarded as the province of the marine biologist, while a dune is investigated by the terrestrial biologist.

 

As can be seen, the distinction between singular and plural is also neutralized in generic phrases.  For further discussion of the definite and indefinite articles , see 5.16." - Greenbaum, Sidney. The Oxford English Grammar. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

 

Mr. Greenbaum gives us a few more rules for the use of articles:

 

Rule:  The definite article serves as a determiner with singular and plural count nouns, and with no-count nouns.

 

Rule:  The analogous indefinite reference for plurals and non-count nouns is conveyed through the absence of a determiner (sometimes termed the zero article) or through the presence of some (pronounced /sǝm/).

 

Rule:  An indefinite article can be used in front of an adjective modifying a noun.

 

In English some is an indefinite pronoun as it is in Koiné Greek, and both languages use it almost identically as an indefinite pronoun.  But the Greek tis, and it's inflected forms, are used commonly as indefinite countable pronouns also, any, anyone, anything, some, someone, something

 

Is non-specificity implied in Koiné Greek from the absence of a definite article preceding a noun?  In Koiné Greek is the use of an indefinite article considered redundant, and so therefore they're not used, but they are implied by the absence of the definite article?  Is this the Koiné Greek form of the zero-article? 

 

I hope that through testing with the biblical Greek texts all of these English rules for the uses of articles, that reoccurring patterns of their uses or non-uses establishes biblical Greek rules for their uses and non-uses; which rules can be applied to produce more accurate and clear translations in place of theoretical paraphrases now being used in many Bible translations.

 

 

Rule:  The definite article serves as a determiner with singular or plural count nouns and with no-count nouns.

 

Rule:  The indefinite article can only be used with singular count nouns, reflecting its historical derivation from the numeral one.

 

Greenbaum gives us yet another rule for the use of indefinite articles:

 

"Noun phrases generally refer to entities in the world.  We can establish three sets of contrasts for noun phrase reference:

 

1.  definite versus non-definite

2.  specific versus non-specific

3.  generic versus non-generic

 

A speaker or a writer uses a definite noun phrase on the assumption that the hearer or reader can identify its reference.  For example, in [1] the first mention of cigarette is in an indefinite noun phrase, but since the second mention refers back to the previous mention, it is in a definite noun phrase:

 

[1]     A:  But you only had one hand because you'd got a cigarette in the other

B: No I was holding on with both hands but the cigarette was in my two fingers [S1B-066-16 f.]

 

The indefinite article a signals that a cigarette has indefinite reference (one of a type of object with that designation), and the definite article the that the cigarette has definite reference.  Other signals of indefinite reference are indefinite determiners such as some (cf. 4.44) and the zero article (cf. 4.33)."  - Greenbaum, Sidney. The Oxford English Grammar. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

 

Rule:  If a subsequent noun phrase refers back to an immediate previous indefinite noun phrase, then the immediate subsequent noun phrase should be constructed/treated as a definite noun phrase.

 

 I have found 12 rules, from these various good sources, for the use of definite and indefinite articles in the English language; 4 about the use of determiners in general, 3 about the use of definite articles, and 5 about the use of indefinite articles.  However, these rules vary slightly between American and British English.

 

For me, I like to arrange things categorically because it helps me to understand and remember relationships much better.  The specific determiners I'm concerned with here are the articles the, a, and anSome is a determiner, an indefinite pronoun, but not an article.

 

- Determiners

 

1.  Countable singular nouns require a determiner, either a definite or indefinite article.

 

2.  Mass/uncountable nouns usually allow any determiner, provided it's not one that implies the noun is countable.

 

3.  Proper nouns do not require a determiner, and usually don't have determiners.

 

4.  Plural nouns can go without determiners also.

 

- Definite Articles

 

5.  The definite article determines/modifies the noun as being a particular person, place, or thing among a group or class of people, places, or things.

 

6.  The definite article serves as a determiner with singular and plural count nouns, and with no-count nouns.

 

7.  If a subsequent noun phrase refers back to an immediate previous indefinite noun phrase, then the immediate subsequent noun phrase should be constructed/treated as a definite noun phrase.

 

- Indefinite Articles

 

8.  Indefinite articles determine/modify the noun as not being a specific person, place or thing among a group or class of people, places, or things.

 

9.  For the indefinite articles, use a before words that start with a consonant sound and use an before words that start with a vowel sound.

 

10 The analogous indefinite reference for plurals and non-count nouns is conveyed through the absence of a determiner (sometimes termed the zero article) or through the presence of some (pronounced /sǝm/).

 

11.  An indefinite article can be used in front of an adjective modifying a noun.

 

12 The indefinite article can only be used with singular count nouns, reflecting its historical derivation from the numeral one.

 

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Implied to be Verbs - Null / Zero Copulas?

 

Ellipses of verbs is common among all three kinds of ellipses, absolute (AE), relative (RE), and ellipsis of repetition (ER), according to the late Dr. E. W. Bullinger.  But there is a kind of verb which is so often omitted in sentences by the biblical writers, hundreds of times, across all of the new testament texts, that it causes me to question whether these omissions are really ellipses, or are they omissions based upon a style of writing which favored brevity.  In the biblical Greek texts the kind of verbs which are obviously very abundantly missing are most always forms of to be verbs.

 

To be verbs are inflected forms of Strong's # 1510, eimi, which forms appear in the new testament texts about 146 times, but which forms are apparently, deliberately, omitted hundreds of times.  Many of those forms are translated as am, be, is, are, was, were, has been, have been, am being, is being, are being, was being, were being, and so on.  

 

Null copula, or Zero copula, are popular terms used for describing a writer's deliberate non-use or omission of verbs, usually to be verbs, which is common throughout many languages.  All I am concerned with here is the abundance of scriptural evidence in the biblical Greek texts in which the apostles wrote sentences which are obviously missing some form of a to be verb to connect the subject with a predicate (transitive), and sometimes not to (intransitive).

 

But what is the difference between an ellipsis and a null/zero copula?  Is there a way to determine whether a writer's use of zero copulas is a distinctive grammatical form of writing?  Going forward I'll refer to apparently missing to be verbs as zero copulas.  From personally and closely inspecting about 18,500 unique inflected forms in the biblical Greek language, and their contexts, I've determined that any form of a verb can be used in an ellipsis.  But on account of the high frequency of obviously missing to be verbs, I've determined that the very abundant use of zero copulas must be a unique grammatical form of writing from ellipsis. 

 

Throughout the LIT I've marked in brackets, [ ], in every verse in which it appears that the writer deliberately omitted the use of a form of a to be verb, through supplying the verb in its proper inflected form based upon the inflected forms of the other words in the immediate context having a bearing upon that verb. 

 

Let's look at a verse of holy scripture where the translator must make some unavoidable assumptions in order to translate the Greek language into English in the most succinct natural form necessary to make sense in English. 

 

 Mat. 1:1 (LIT/USB4) [This, AE] [is] [a] scroll (biblos) of [a/the] genesis (geneseōs) of Jesus (Iēsou) Christ (Christou), [a] son (huiou) of David (Dabid), [a] son (huiou) of Abraham (Abraam).

 

Notice that the translator added six words to what Matthew wrote in Greek, to make it meaningful in English.  He added the demonstrative [This], which omission appears to be an absolute ellipsis of a missing demonstrative subject nominative, and the to be verb [is], which omission appears to be the writer's use of a zero copula.  Matthew has written "This is" several times before (Mat. 11:10, 13:19, 22:38, 27:46). But here at the very beginning of his letter, he chose to use  two grammatical tools to emphasize the importance, [This], and the certainty, [is], of what he writes.  Several other writers as well write beginning a sentence using the demonstrative nominative pronoun based upon houtos, but immediately follow it using a zero copula (John 2:11, 10:18; Eph. 6:22; Phil. 1:28; Heb. 9:20; 1 Tim. 1:18, 2:3; Rev. 20:5).  In either Greek or English, without supplying the demonstrative subject nominative [This], and the to be verb [is], what Matthew wrote is only an absolute phrase, not a complete sentence.  Without a subject nominative and a verb it can't be a complete sentence.   

 

Another clue that verse 1 was deliberately intended by Matthew to challenge the reader into mentally converting his absolute phrase into a complete sentence through supplying the demands of both an absolute ellipsis and a zero copula, can be seen by the writers' subsequent and repeated use of a simple grammatical pattern.  Beginning in verse 2, and throughout most of the next fourteen verses, Matthew uses the pattern of a subject, then a transitive copula, then a predicate, repeated over and over, with the exception of verses 1:6b and 12, in which he again used absolute ellipses to draw emphasize to a couple of things. 

 

In Mat. 1:6b was the [female, AE] of Urias the wife of Urias, or a daughter of Urias?  In Mat. 1:12 Matthew emphasizes when Jaconias generated Salathiel, which timing seems especially important to Matthew for his readers to note.. 

 

In Mat. 1:1 I believe the use of an ellipsis for the subject, to emphasize the importance of the subject, and the use of a zero copula, to emphasize the certainty of Matthew's statement in verse 1, are both two distinct grammatical forms of writing used to produce both emphasis and brevity simultaneously.  This is writing with great deliberate care and design.  We can see many of verses like Mat. 1:1 throughout the biblical Greek texts.

 

The translator added four indefinite articles also.  Biblical Greek uses the definite article, but not indefinite articles, a/an.  Indefinite articles are "understood" in biblical Greek based upon the immediate, local and remote contexts of discrete subject matters.  But the use of indefinite articles are necessary in English to define/limit the "inflected" number of nouns and pronouns to being singular, or for designating one in particular among a plurality of possible others, such as [a] particular son among many other possible sons.

 

A bare bones translation of Mat. 1:1, Matthew's absolute phrase, looks and reads like this:

 

Mat. 1:1 (LIT/USB4) scroll (biblos) of genesis (geneseōs) of Jesus (Iēsou) Christ (Christou), son (huiou) of David (Dabid), son (huiou) of Abraham (Abraam).

 

To a Greek person he or she would have no difficulty routinely converting a phrase like this into a sentence, in his or her own mind, on the fly.  Through identifying the apparently missing grammatical components of a complete sentence in English, which could be made from this phrase, based upon its context, we can identify the grammatical techniques of ellipsis and zero copula necessary in the biblical Greek to actually convert/write this phrase into a complete sentence in English. 

 

There are many phrases similar to this, and clauses as well, throughout the Greek texts of the holy scriptures, which appear to obviously need ellipses, zero copulas of to be verbs, and indefinite articles to be supplied in an English translation.  English speaking people are not used to having to mentally convert so many phrases and clauses. one after another, into complete sentences on the fly, but are used to reading, writing, and speaking complete sentences routinely; expecting to read sentences which meanings should be so discernable and non-ambiguous at a glance as to facilitate drive-by reading. 

 

Biblical Greek writers go the other way, choosing to use as few words as possible, while employing grammatical tools such as ellipses and zero copulas, along with using words with highly specific meanings based upon specific inflected forms, together with highly sculpted contexts, to say the most with the deepest meaning using as much brevity as possible.  The Greek language seems to be highly sophisticated, to say the least, compared to English, which seems to be a language not based upon as much logic, but containing a higher load of ambiguity, having instead of rules, endless exceptions to the rules.

 

While translating the LIT I found hundreds of parts of sentences which appeared to contain zero copulas, missing to be verbs; and/or which contained an apparent ellipsis, or ellipses. Cutting a verb out of a sentence is like cutting out its heart.  With an apparent missing verb, not much meaning of the writer's previous flow of thought gets pumped through that sentence into the subsequent context, because we don't know yet for certain exactly what that supposed sentence should be saying and meaning.  A flow of uninterrupted understanding of the writer's meanings, which build up to great truths, can't be maintained until that precious missing verb is found.  The apparent or obvious omissions of verbs cause "hard stops", which cause a translator to now go back and re-investigate the immediate contexts, both before and after the verse, and sometimes investigate related local and remote contexts in which the identical discreet topic had a verb supplied for it in the context, so a proper verb can be selected to fill-in the zero copula.  Only this way can an accurate English translation exactly equivalent in meaning be produced.

 

Contrary to the biblical writers, modern translations try to create paraphrased translations which are designed to be like drive-through windows of fast-food restaurants.  The biblical writers deliberately used grammatical methods to cause a reader to stop and think for a moment, at important points in their narrations, to think more deeply about the discrete topics or unique events about which they were writing.  That's the whole idea behind the use of ellipses.

 

There are so many apparent occurrences, throughout the biblical texts, of missing to be verbs, that I believe the writers of the biblical Greek texts treated them as though writing them was somewhat redundant.  But this decision must be left up to readers.  Since the many apparent omissions of to be verbs are so obvious, I believe the biblical writers primarily intended them to be understood by the reader, and they are likely based upon a writing style which favored brevity.

 

Here are some examples:

 

Mat. 2:4 (LIT/UBS4) ". . . “Where (pou) [is] the (ho) Christ (Christos) generated (gennatai)!?”

 

Mat. 3:12 (LIT/UBS4) of whom (hou) the (to) winnowing shovel (ptoun) [is] in (en) the (tē) hand (cheiri) of him (autou).

 

Mat. 5:12 (LIT/UBS4) ". . . because (hoti) the (ho) wage (misthos) of you (humōn) [is] much (polus) in (en) the (tois) heavens (ouranois)!"

 

Mark (LIT/UBS4) '. . . Who (tis) [is] inherently powered (dunatai) to let go (aphienai) of sins (hamartias) if (ei) not (mē) one (heis), the (ho) God (theos)?’

 

Mark 3:23 (LIT/UBS4) . . . “How (pōs) [is] Satan (Satanas) inherently powered (dunatai) to throw out (ekballein) Satan (Satanan)?

 

Mark 6:2 (LIT/UBS4) ". . . And (kai) what (tis) [is] the (hē) wisdom (sophia), the (hē) [wisdom, RE] given (dotheisa) to this one (toutō), . . .?"

 

Mark 9:50a (LIT/UBS4) "The (to) salt (halas) [is] beautiful (kalon)."

 

Luke 1:62 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) they were nodding (eneneuon) to the (tō) father (patri) of him (autou), what (ti) [is] the (to) [name, v61, RE] perhaps (an) he may desire (theloi) [the young child, v59, RE] to be called aloud (kaleisthai auto).

 

Luke 1:62 (LIT/UBS4) ". . . And (kai) holy (hagion) [is] the (to) name (onoma) of Him (autou)!"

 

Luke 1:45 (LIT/UBS4) "And (kai) happy (makaria) [is] the one (hē) having believed (pisteusasa) . . ."

 

John 4:18 (LIT/UBS4) ". . . This (touto) you have stated (eirēkas) [is] true (alēthēs).”

 

John 4:24 (LIT/UBS4) The (ho) God (theos) [is] [a] Spirit (pneuma). . . ."

 

John 9:25 (LIT/UBS4) ". . . One thing (hen) I have seen (oida) [is] that (hoti) I was being (ōn) blind (tuphlos). . . ."

 

In the texts where any other kind of a verb except a to be verb appears to be deliberately omitted by the writer, I consider those omissions to be ellipses, and show the proper references.  In the following examples, AE means absolute ellipsis, ER means ellipsis of repetition, and RE means relative ellipsis.

 

Mat. 13:54 (LIT/UBS4) “. . . From where (pothen) [came, AE] to this one (toutō) the (hē) wisdom (sophia) of this (hautē), and (kai) the (hai) inherently powered works (dunameis)?”

 

Mat. 13:56 (LIT/UBS4) “. . . Therefore (oun), from where (pothen) [came, AE] all (panta) these things (tauta) to this one (tauta)?"

 

Mat. 12:22 (LIT/UBS4) . . . And (kai) he gave therapy (etherapeusen) to him (auton), and so (hōste) the (ton) muted one (kōphon) [was] [healed, AE], to speak (lalein) and (kai) to see (blepein).

 

Mat. 12:27 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) if (ei) I (egō), [being] in (en) Beelzeboul (Beelzeboul), throw out (ekballō) the (ta) little demons (daimonia), in (en) whom (tini) <do> the (hoi) sons (huioi) of you (humōn) throw out (ekbalousin) [the little demons, RE]? . . ."

 

1 Cor. 2:12 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) we absolutely did not receive (ouk elabomen) the (to) spirit (pneuma) of the (tou) cosmos (kosmou), BUT (alla), [we received, RE] the (to) Spirit (pneuma), the one (to) out (ek) of the (tou) God (theou);

 

1 Cor. 2:13 (LIT/UBS4) Which things (ta) we speak (laloumen) also (kai), absolutely not (ou) in (en) words (logois) taught (didaktois) of wisdom (sophias) of mortalkind (anthrōpinēs), BUT (all’), in (en) [Words, RE] taught (didaktois) of Spirit (pneumatos) [out of the God, v12, RE];

 

judging [to speak, RE] together (sunkrinontes) Spirit-based (pneumatikois) [Words, RE] for Spirit-based things (pneumatika)

 

Mat. 25:33 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai), truly (men), he shall stand (stēsei) the (ta) sheep (probata) out (ek) right (dexiōn) of him (autou)!

 

But (de) [he shall stand, RE] the (ta) young goats (eriphia) out (ex) left (euōnumōn).

 

Mat. 13:8 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) others (alla) fell (epesen) upon (epi) the (tēn) soil (gēn), the (tēn) beautiful (kalēn) [soil, RE], and (kai) [the soil, RE] was giving (edidou) produce (karpon).

 

Truly (men), the one (ho) [was giving, ER] a hundred (hekaton)!

 

But (de) the (ho) [other, ER] [was giving, ER] sixty (hexēkonta).

 

But (de) the (ho) [other, ER] [was giving, ER] thirty (triakonta).

 

The non-use of to be verbs in sentence structures, in which the verb is implied, is very common in many languages around the world, and biblical Koiné Greek happens to be one of them, based upon the huge amount of scriptural evidence in the Greek texts, of hundreds of apparent non-uses. 

 

But virtually all English Bible "translations" are constant paraphrases of what the producers of a Bible think you should believe that the writer could have meant, instead of showing you exactly what the biblical writer wrote, and the way he wrote it.  So in them you're not allowed to see exactly what the biblical writer wrote, and exactly how he wrote it, and whether he deliberately did or did not use some kind of a verb. 

 

Paraphrases usually destroy the biblical writer's deliberate use of many figures of speech, including ellipses.  By the same method, verbs are added, changed, and deleted to and from English Bible translations, so that what a reader reads is many times not what the biblical writer wrote, but some theological/theoretical opinions of translators and/or translation committees.

 

- Examples of am

 

Rom. 7:24 (LIT/UBS4) I (egō) [am] [an] afflicted (talaipōros) mortal (anthrōpos)!

 

Who (tis) shall cause Himself to rescue (rhusetai) me (me) out (ek) of the (tou) death (thanatou) of the (tou) body (sōmatos) of this (toutou)?

 

In this typical example, apostle Paul leaves the to be verb am, or the imperfect passive am being, out of his sentence.  Through this omission Paul may be putting the spotlight on his flow of thought about his own sufferings, which he bears through in his ministry of reconciliation to the ethnic groups.  Apparent missing to be verbs may be the writer's deliberate omissions in order to create ellipses, and not always a style of writing for brevity.  These determinations can only be made by the reader.  But I believe it's good and honest translation practice to alert the reader of both apparent and likely omissions in the biblical Greek texts, where in similar or identical sentence structures in English to be verbs, other kinds of verbs, articles, and other parts of speech, are usually not omitted.

 

From the immediate context we can see that the instigation for the action of the verb comes from within apostle Paul himself, his own flesh (Rom. 7:18-20).  But in the past the instigation of the action of the verb came from outside of himself, on account of the Mosaic Law (Rom. 7:7-14).  Since Christ Jesus' shed blood and death relieved mortalkind from the penalty of sin, now the only instigation remaining for the passive voiced action of the omitted to be verb causing Paul's afflictions is the sin nature within Paul's own flesh. 

 

For this example in Rom. 7:24 the Darby translation is the only one I've found which identifies the missing to be verb to the reader.  All other translations heavily paraphrase this verse, this chapter, this book, the Bible, hiding virtually all ellipses from the eyes of readers.

 

Rev. 22:8 (LIT/UBS4) And I (kagō), John (Iōannēs), [am] the one (ho) hearing (akouōn) and (kai) seeing (blepōn) these things (tauta).  

 

And (kai) when (hote) I heard (ēkousa) and (kai) I looked (eblepsa), I fell4098 (epesa) in front (emprosthen) to bow to4352 (proskunēsai) the (tōn) feet (podōn) of the (tou) messenger (angelou), of the (tou) [messenger, RE] thoroughly showing (deiknuontos) to me (moi) these things (tauta).

 

In apostle John's book, in Rev. 22:8, at the close of his book, he chose to omit the to be verb to put the spotlight upon the fact that he is the one hearing and seeing these things, the one receiving the gracious word of knowledge and word of wisdom revelation from Christ Jesus, which wording implies it is a great, great honor for him.  Here's yet another reference to Christ Jesus as a messenger (Heb. 1).

 

Mark 14:27 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) the (ho) Jesus (Iēsous) says (legei) to them (autois), that (hoti) “All (pantes) shall be scandalized (skandalisthēsesthe);

 

because (hoti) it has been written (gegraptai), ‘I shall strike (pataxō) the (ton) shepherd (poimena), and (kai) the (ta) sheep (probata) shall be scattered through (diaskorpisthēsontai).’”

 

(See Zech. 13:7)

 

Mark 14:28 (LIT/UBS4) BUT (alla), with (meta) [the passing, AE] of the (to) [strike, v27, RE] I (me) [am] to be aroused (egerthēnai)!

 

In verse 28 disciple Mark quotes Jesus Christ as using three ellipses in one sentence; "[the passing, AE]", the preposition meta commonly used to indicate the passing of time, and "[strike, v27, RE]" from a previous verse in the immediate context, and an ellipsis of the verb "[am]".

 

To what discrete topic do all three of these ellipses refer?  I'll give you a hint: It's the most important discrete topic in all of God's Word.  It's the topic of Jesus Christ's standing up out of dead ones, the resurrection, which unique topic distinguishes true Christianity from all other religions.  Without the resurrection we would have no hope for a complete dismissal of the penalty for our sin, and there would be no new covenant.  Jesus said, "I [am] to be aroused!"  Jesus' use, or the writer's use, of three ellipses certainly makes his sentence conspicuous, conspicuous like a flashing billboard!

 

Luke 11:18 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) if (ei) the (ho) Satan (Satanas) also (kai) was thoroughly divided (diemeristhē) over (eph’) [the sake, AE] of himself (heauton), how (pōs) shall be stood (stathēsetai) the (hē) kingdom (basileia) of him (autou), because (hoti) you say (legete) I (me), in (en) Beelzeboul (Beelzeboul), [am] to throw out (ekballein) the (ta) little demons (daimonia)?

 

Jesus Christ put the spotlight on himself, over the question of who is to throw out little demons in the name of Beelzeboul, as if to say, "It is I who [am] in Beelzeboul?"  Jesus Christ made it crystal clear in John 8:44 that it was the religious leaders who were working for their father, the diabolical one, the devil.  And it was the sons of those religious leaders who were throwing out little demons in the name of Beelzeboul.  The religious leaders were not only a scourge to to the God, His prophets, and His son Christ Jesus, but in their calamities they were a scourge to the devil as well!

 

Mark 12:26 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) about (peri) the (tōn) dead ones (nekrōn), that (hoti) they are aroused (egeirontai), have you absolutely not read up (ouk anegnōte) in (en) the (tē) scroll (biblō) of Moses (mōuseōs) over (epi) [the sake] of the (tou) brier bush (batou), how (pōs) the (ho) God (theos) enunciated (eipen) to him (autō), saying (legōn), ‘I (egō) [am] the (ho) God (theos) of Abraham (Abraam), and (kai) the (ho) God (theos) of Isaac (Isaak), and (ho) the (ho) God (theos) of Jacob (Iakōb)!?

 

(See Ex. 3:6)

 

John 10:37 (LIT/UBS4) If (ei) I absolutely do not do (ou poiō) the (ta) works (erga) of the (tou) Father (patros) of me (mou), do not believe (mē pisteuete) me (moi)!

 

John 10:38 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) if (ei) I do (poiō) [the works of the Father, v37, RE], and if perhaps (kan) you may not believe (mē pisteuēte) me (emoi), believe (pisteuete) the (tois) works (ergois), in order that (hina) you may know (gnōte) [I am [a/the] son of the God, v36, RE];

 

and (kai) you may know (ginōskēte) that (hoti) the (ho) Father (patēr) [is] IN (en) me (emoi), and I (kagō) [am] IN (en) the (tō) Father (patri)!” 

 

John 14:10 (LIT/UBS4) Do you absolutely not believe (ou pisteueis) that (hoti) I (egō) [am] IN (en) the (tō) Father (patri), and (kai) the (ho) Father (patēr) is (estin) IN (en) me (emoi)!?  

 

The (ta) statements (rhēmata) which (ha) I (egō) speak (legō) to you (humin) I speak (legō) absolutely not (ou) from (ap’) myself (emautou), but (de) the (ho) Father (patēr) staying (menōn) IN (en) me (emoi), He does (poiei) the (ta) works (erga) of Him (autou)! 

 

John 14:11 (LIT/UBS4) Do you believe (pisteuete) me (moi) that (hoti) I (egō) [am] IN (en) the (tō) Father (patri), and (kai) the (ho) Father (patēr) [is] IN (en) me (emoi)?  

 

John 17:21 (LIT/UBS4) in order that (hina) all (pantes) may be (ōsin) one (hen), down according to as (kathōs) you (su), Father (pater), [are] in (en) me (emoi) and I (kagō) [am] in (en) you (soi);

 

in order that (hina) they (autoi) also (kai) may be (ōsin) [one, RE] in (en) us (hēmin);

 

in order that (hina) the (ho) cosmos (kosmos) may believe (pisteuē) that (hoti) you (su) sent (apesteilas) me (me)!?

 

From only these various examples, which are only a small fraction of all of the examples in the biblical texts, of apparent missing to be verbs, we can see that there appears to be plenty of evidence in them for the use of zero-copula in the Koiné Greek language, which apparently portrays a style of writing with brevity.  Can all of the apparently missing to be verbs actually be ellipses?  The reader can decide for him or herself if the biblical writers are deliberately throwing spotlights onto the apparently missing to be verbs to draw attention to the action of those verbs, and the possible instigation for the actions of those verbs.  Apparently missing to be verbs could be a combination of both zero-copula and ellipses.  That should be left up to the reader to interpret for him or herself. 

 

Let's not dumb-down the biblical texts, their writers, God's Word, and the readers, through replacing passages like these with privately interpreted paraphrases of others who are hiding behind a curtain, like the one in the Wizard of OZ, no matter how insistent they may be about their own infallibility.  Let's correctly identify who they are who are trying to sell something.  Not using paraphrases, and showing the actual words in the Greek texts, and showing words which are not in the Greek texts in brackets, words which are necessary for explicitness in translation, is as straight forward, transparent, and honest as any biblical translation can possibly be.

 

----- : -----

 

 

Gender Exclusive, Inclusive, or Neutral?

 

What is gender-exclusive language?

 

Examples of gender-exclusive language are the use of masculine pronouns even when both (or more?) genders are meant.

 

What is gender-inclusive language?

 

inclusive language. noun. 1. language that avoids the use of certain expressions or words that might be considered to exclude particular groups of people, esp gender-specific words, such as "man", "mankind", and masculine pronouns, the use of which might be considered to exclude women. - www.dictionary.com/browse/inclusive-language

 

What is gender-neutral language?

 

1Suitable for, applicable to, or common to both male and female genders.

‘gender-neutral games and toys’

‘the assessment criteria are gender-neutral’
  1. 1.1 Denoting a word or expression that cannot be taken to refer to one gender only.

    ‘gender-neutral terms like flight attendant, firefighter, and police officer’ - https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/gender-neutral

Examples of gender emphasis in occupational titles:

 

Gendered Title Gender Neutral Title
businessman, businesswoman business person/person in business, business people/people in business
chairman, chairwoman chair, chairperson
mailman, mailwoman, postman, postwoman mail carrier, letter carrier, postal worker
policeman, policewoman police officer
salesman, saleswoman salesperson, sales associate, salesclerk, sales executive
steward, stewardess flight attendant
waiter, waitress server, table attendant

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_language

 

- Anthropos - a Mortal, a Man, a Woman?

 

The gender neutral issue appears to be based upon erroneous Bible translations which translate Greek words like the common noun anthrōpos, Strong's # 444, as "man" into English.  Anthrōpos is used about 559 times in the new testament biblical texts, and the KJV translates it 552 times as "man" or "men", and 4 times it is not translated, and 3 times it is translated miscellaneously.  Although anthrōpos has a male grammatical gender, it has no natural gender, because its meaning is human being or human beings, or mortal or mortals, or person or people.  In its singular usages its natural gender, or gender exclusivity, can only be ascertained through contextual evidence, if any exists.  In its plural usages it functions as a group noun, which is always gender inclusive.

 

Anthrōpinos, Strong's # 442, an adjective used about 7 times in the texts, is another word closely related in meaning, which has been erroneously translated as "man" or "men", which has both a male and female grammatical gender, but has no natural gender.

 

There is also the adjective anthrōpareskos, Strong's # 441, used 2 times in the texts, which can be translated as mortal-pleasers, or people-pleasers, and anthrōpoktonos, Strong's # 443, and adjective used 3 times in the texts, which translates as [a] mortal killer.  The plural forms of these words function as group nouns also. 

 

These words are good examples of the kinds of gender inclusive words in the Greek texts which have been traditionally mistranslated to use the English word "man" or "men" somehow in English translations, which words cause those translations to appear gender-exclusive instead of gender inclusive or gender neutral. 

 

Gender-neutrality is related to the concept of specificity in the translation process.  Every Greek word has a specific scope of meaning, or no scope of meaning, which specificity must be translated exactly into the English, which specificity is very important in the process of selecting an English word as its direct equivalent.  Selecting an English word which is either too general or too specific in its meaning can turn a truth in God's Word into a lie just that easy.  Here again we see that context is indispensable in ascertaining the specificity of meaning of any Greek word.  This is yet another problem with the liberal and needless use of paraphrasing and creative "synonyming", because they tend to ignore specificity.

In the Greek texts a man (anēr) is a person of male gender), while a mortal (anthrōpos) is a person with any kind of gender.  Every man/male (anēr) or woman/female (gunē) is a mortal, but not every mortal is a man/male.  And not every mortal is a woman/female.  Since the scope of meaning of anēr defines a specific gender while an anthrōpos can be any gender, then anēr is more specific in its meaning than is anthrōpos, which scope of meaning includes any gender.  

 In my translations at this site I preserve the Word's explicit distinction between gender and lack of gender given in the Greek texts.  For example: I don't translate Gk. anthropos as 'man', but as 'mortal', because man suggests a gender, but anthropos is neuter in its natural gender, and therefore should be rendered simply as 'mortal' which indicates a person, a member of the human race.  Likewise, anthropinos means mortalkind, with no gender specified. For these words I use 'mortals' and 'mortalkind' because the usage of these words implies a comparison between mortal Vs spiritual, rather than male Versus female.  

Along with the all important context which is necessary to determine a Greek word's specific scope of meaning, another consideration which is of equal importance is a Greek word's specific inflected form.  Verbs have eight possible points of inflection, type, mood, tense, voice, case, gender, person, and number, which theoretically can combine into sixty-four possible combinations of more nuanced specific meanings of a verbs root meaning.  Once again, paraphrases and creative "synonyming" tends to ignore these very highly important points of inflections, which all symphonize/harmonize together to give a verb's root meaning a highly specific nuanced meaning.  What, don't God's general readership have a God-given right to see with their own eyes exactly what the apostles wrote, and exactly how they wrote it?  Let's have a show of hands, who are the scholars and experts who believe their paraphrases and creative "synonyming" are more correct than the actual wording God's Spirit gave to the prophets and apostles?

Sometimes the use of anthropos, especially in its vocative usages, implies a comparison of qualities, and inherent strength and ability, between soul-based (psuchikos) mortals, and spirit-based (pneumatikon) heavenly beings (1 Cor. 15:35-50), like the God for example.  See Luke 5:20, 12:14; Rom. 2:1-6, 9:20; James 2:20; 1 Tim. 6:11.

I believe these are important distinctions to learn and know in the biblical texts, whether nouns and adjectives are gender-exclusive, gender-inclusive and/or gender neutral, and their various levels of specificity.  When the general readership can see these important distinctions flow through into English they help the reader to gain much more depth of insight into the possible meaning or meanings in a writer's flow of thought.  This greater depth of insight often helps a reader to come to a definite belief about an important Truth in God's Word, when before a confluence of knowledge and belief had not yet been reached in a reader's/believer's mind about that Truth.  This is the kind of level of detail in the beauty, knowledge and understanding of God's Word at which beliefs in the Truth of God's Word are built into a believer's mind, through holy Spirit working in and through that believer's mind.

When holy Spirit "moved" a prophet or apostle or disciple to write a word that did not imply a gender, holy Spirit wanted it written that way on purpose.  Holy Spirit did not make a mistake!  We make the mistakes by staying ignorant of details like these!

- A Male-dominated Culture

 

Even though the use of needless paraphrases and creative "synonyming" is a standard procedure in the production of Bible translations, there are still obvious situational contexts, the cultural and historical contexts of the biblical writings, which naturally pressurize the language used in translation to many times sound gender-exclusive.  Compared to the norm of today's Western culture, the Middle-Eastern culture about two thousand years ago appears horrifically male-dominated.   

 

Bible History Online gives a little historical insight:

 

 

"Women in the First Century A.D.

 

In ancient Israel the Jewish culture was one of the most male dominant cultures in the whole world. In ancient Judaism the woman only had rights in the home and even that was very limited. The man had authority over his wife and daughters establishing their activities and their relationships. Women were passed from the control of her father to the control of her husband with little or no say in the matter. They were sold for a dowry settlement usually when they came of age. The Mishnah taught that a woman was like a gentile slave who could be obtained by intercourse, money or writ (m. Qidd 1:1).

 

Women could not play a significant role in the synagogue because they were levitically unclean for several days every month during their menstrual cycle. Women were not even counted as members in a synagogue count. They did not recite the daily shema, they did not read the Torah in the synagogue (Ber 3:3), they were not required to come to any feasts or festivals, and the Mishnah says:

 

"The observance of all the positive ordinances that depend on the time of year is incumbent on men but not on women…"

 

Women were only allowed to receive very little education on religion and the main religious instruction in the home was given by the man and not the woman. They could not be disciples of any great rabbi, they certainly could not travel with any rabbi.

 

In court a woman’s testimony was considered suspect (m. Ned. 11:10). Women also did not have the right to divorce." - http://www.bible-history.com/court-of-women/women.html

 

This is the underlying cultural reason why biblical dialogue, even after being cleansed of gender bias through mistranslation, still sounds like a men's club.  The plain truth is, all of the biblical writers were men, and in their culture they were writing primarily to other men in leadership positions among the believers.  It was the responsibility of the males to teach their females, whether they be wives, daughters or slaves.  The males conducted the affairs of the household, while the females had little say in most matters.  Many of the things recorded in the biblical records which Jesus Christ did in relationship to females skirted, if not broke, cultural customs. 

 

Under the new covenant put through by Christ Jesus in his own blood and death, our heavenly Father no longer considers those who have received a new birth above in His gift of holy Spirit as soul-based beings but as spirit-based beings, however, as ones who have not yet received new spirit-based bodies (Rom. 7:5-6, 8:8-17; 1 Cor. 15:35-).  Under the new covenant both males and females are equal in God's eyes, and females should absolutely no longer be looked down upon as the gender that caused the fall of Adam and his posterity into becoming soul-based, sin nature-based mortal beings, as women are still looked down upon today in some Middle-Eastern cultures.

 

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