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Nancy wrote:

 

"Sometimes I just use "humananity," which is not clunky like "human beings" and has the virtue of being accurate"

 

A funny lapsus calami -- or lapsus keypadi! How about "humaninanity"? That has accuracy all its own!

 

Do you mean "they" and "their" for he/she and hers/his? I do use this but felt it was fudging. I'll be glad to know it's OK with OED!

 

Cheers,

 

Diana
 


Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2010 09:57:03 -0500
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: OT: further esoterica Re: Gospel of Mary of Magdala (recovery/"library")
To: [log in to unmask]


Dear Diana,
 
I don't find it a problem at all, actually.  I have never, in my memory but certainly since recongnizing the issue decades ago, used the words "man" or "he" for all people.  Sometimes I just use "humananity," which is not clunky like "human beings" and has the virtue of being accurate; sometimes I just rephrase.  As for "he," it is perfectly correct and goes back to the Anglo-Saxon period to use "they" and "their."  See the OED.  Moreover, we all use it in speech all the time, as have all great writers. It is both singular and plural.  "Man/he," on the other hand, is simply inaccurate because the word "man" has two meanings that have been used in whatever way was convenient.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" never meant women were or that they had rights or human standing.  And no one says "Mary is a beautiful man."  The claim that it has anything to do with grammar--which it does not--was pronounced in the late 17th/early 18th century when grammar was being codified.  Not surprisingly, all the grammarians being male, no one objected.
 
You can check it; I have many times.
Cheers,
Nancy
>>> Diana Manister 01/08/10 9:34 AM >>>


Finding a term to substitute for "man" in English is a vexing problem. Substitutes draw too much attention to themselves, just as the pronomial he/she his/hers stalls and clutters a line of text.
 
"Human beings" doesn't make it as a substitute for "man," but neither does "anthropos," not only because ungendered human beings are rather rare.
 
Diana
 


Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 08:31:12 -0800
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: OT: further esoterica Re: Gospel of Mary of Magdala (recovery/"library")
To: [log in to unmask]





Fascinating.  Where older translations render Mary as saying "he has prepared us and made us into men," King renders the line "he has prepared us and made us true Human Beings."  Knowing no Coptic, I wonder whether Coptic, like Greek (and unlike English) distinguishes between aner (male human being) and anthropos (ungendered human being).  And, if so, which term is used here.  The similar sentiment expressed at the end of the Gospel of Thomas (also in Coptic) is usually translated "male," not "man," and contrasts "male" and "woman," which implies that the term is unequivocally gendered.  (Similarly in Levi's words at the end of the extant text, where King renders as "perfect Human" what earlier translations translate "perfect man.")














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