What meaneth 'anthropos' in the Nicene Creed...

One of the exuses even good men like Wayne Grudem use to neuter Scripture is the excuse that only 'aner' means man-as-male; not 'adelphoi' and certainly not 'anthropos.'

This doesn't have application only to Scripture, but also to the Church's ecumenical creeds. One former PC(USA) pastor... writes:

Tim, we have a teaching component in our service and we have just completed the Heidelberg Catechism. We are about to attempt (I use the word advisedly) the "Nicene" Creed and I find that contemporary translations of the creed divide into four camps.

One division concerns "I believe" as opposed to "We believe." I think that is more or less innocent. The Council of Constantinople certainly said "we," but liturgical use quickly went to "I." I suppose the worshiper was thought thus to be aligning himself with the council fathers in confessing the faith.

The second division, however, concerns "for us men and our salvation…and was made man." As far as I can find, all contemporary translations do one of two things. Either they translate anthropos as "human," or they simply leave it untranslated. One web site says flatly that 'anthropos' means "human" and only 'aner' means a "male." Of course that is demonstrably untrue (e.g. 1 Cor. 7:1).

As you know, I am unsure about a lot of these man/woman things. But the proponents of a point of view can't have much confidence in their own case if they have to use bogus translations--translations they must know are bogus--to argue it.

Comments?

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Some years ago at Mere Comments, Anthony Esolen provided a very helpful (and, even, entertaining) exposition on the meaning of anthropos and aner. You can find it here:

http://touchstonemag.com/merecomments/2007/01/anthropology/

Highly recommended, especially if you've been infected (or intimidated) by the egalitarian bacterium.

Thanks for the article Fr, Bill.

I also found Michael Marlowe's article on "adelphoi" very skewering:

http://www.bible-researcher.com/adelphos.html

Add new comment