In my post on Friday I said I would write a little bit about the linguistic controversy surrounding NT Greek anthropos, which is now translated as "person" or "one" or "human being" or "[null]" or "fellow" or "telephone pole," but never simply "man," lest somebody in the pews faint and have to be revived.  The excuse is that anthropos does not mean "man," they say, but "person of indeterminate sex."  Not so.

     Here is what the NT gives us:

     Anthropos in a concrete sense, in the singular, almost always means "man," that is, "adult male," "some guy or other," "a chap."  This is probably the most common use of the word in the Gospels, unless Jesus is contrasting God with man (see below).  In the plural it can mean "men," as in "a bunch of guys," "the chaps on the street," and so forth; or it can mean "people in general," without distinction of sex or age.  In a figurative or symbolic sense, in the singular, anthropos means man as opposed to God, or man as opposed to beast; it isn’t the same thing as "humanity," because that word names a collective and a quality, not a collective conceived as a unitary being.

     Aner is the word for adult male — but you don’t use it all the time.  Most of the time you use anthropos.  You use aner when you wish especially to emphasize the sex; the noun is also marked for age, strength, courage, and marital status (it means "husband" as opposed to "bachelor").

     Here’s how the words would be used, in common speech:

     "Once upon a time there was a man who had two sons."  Anthropos; he’s a man, but we’re not focusing on his manhood; cf. Luke 15:11.

     "Daniel Boone was a man, he was a real man.Aner; the idea is that he was big and strong and brave.

     "I saw a man walking down the street."  Anthropos; unless it’s a really unusual man, as in

     "I saw a man in a polka-dot dress, walking down the street."  Aner!

     "All day long I’d yeedle-dydle-dum, if I were a wealthy man."  Anthropos; cf. Luke 16:19.

     "That man suffers from paralysis."  Anthropos.

     "Two men carried him in a litter and lowered him through a hole in the thatched roof."  Aner — andres in the plural; they had to be big enough and strong enough to do it; cf. Luke 5:18, where the man in the litter is called anthropos and his carriers are andres.

     "Man, your sins are forgiven."  Anthropos.  Had Jesus called the paralytic aner, "(real big strong tough brave) man," he’d have insulted him; nor would it have been to the point, since anthropos does the job nicely almost all the time.

     "Who was that guy on the porch?"  Anthropos.

     "The Marines need a few good men."  Aner.

     "I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair!"  Aner.  Joseph is the aner of Mary; cf. German Mann = husband.

     "He fed five thousand men, not counting the women and the children."  Aner.

     "Once there was a man traveling from New York to Baltimore, who had a flat tire, and was waylaid by thieves while he was trying to fix it."  Anthropos; cf. Luke 10:30.

     So it is not true that the Greek understood anthropos in a sexless sense.  In its general use it corresponds exactly to English man, as in "Man proposes, God disposes," and "The best laid plans of mice and men."  In its specific use it corresponds sometimes to "person," but also, more commonly, to "man," but not to "he-man," "grown man," "real man," "warrior," "husband," et cetera, for which in Greek we would say aner, while in English we’re reduced to adding an adjective or a stress, as in "He’s a man."  So why not translate accordingly?  We can always keep some smelling salts in the back, next to the incense, should any feminist suddenly catch the vapors.