Gender usuage in the Bible

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by iBrian, Aug 30, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I was searching through my archives when I found the following, which made for interesting reading, and perhaps as matter for further discussion for those who wish to.

    Essentially, on another forum some time ago, someone asked about gender usuage for denoting God in the Bible - as the person asking about the issue was under the impression that God is represented by both masculine and feminine nouns.

    I find the reply interesting because of its coverage of apparent feminine gender usage - especially in the Old Testament.

    The stance taken is strictly (and openly) Trinitarian, and reads such references into the Old Testament:

     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Ah - but then found this interesting addendum in the replies, from bob x, whom I really should persuade to stop by. I have one of his articles on the evolution of the Old Testament - "Torah Torah Torah" - up in the articles section.

    Anyway, here's his comment, included as it's an important modifier on the above:
     
  3. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    the tradition has much to say about this

    but they can mostly be summed up as follows:

    1. the Divine transcends gender and structure. get over it.
    2. hebrew has no neuter as greek does, although the masculine can *also* be kind of neuter.
    3. when a feminine word is used to denote G!D, it does not necessarily mean we are referring to the Divine in the feminine.
    4. there are a number of Divine Names that have feminine/mothery/nurturey connotations, including "E-L ShaDaY" which is linked to the word for breasts and the Shechinah or Divine Presence, which is essentially the interface by which the Divine can interact directly with humanity. but it's a lot more complicated than that. you'd have to study quite a lot about the mystical tradition as well as have some kind of understanding of what is going on in the Song of Songs.
    5. words are the only way we can describe the Divine - they are limited by the very fact that we can use them. the more understandable they are for us, the further they are away from an actual description of the Divine. G!D's just Like That, i'm afraid.

    the fact that we don't require the trinity needs no comment.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     

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