Someone sent me this editorial today from the NYT: “Is God Transgender?”
The article is by a rabbi who (intentionally? ignorantly?) thinks that metaphor and the “inconsistencies” of grammatical gender in the Hebrew Bible mean that God is either transgender or doesn’t care about gender distinction.
This is utterly absurd. While Dr. Michael Brown has already weighed in on this (with a lot of salient detail from the biblical text), I’d like to add that grammatical gender has nothing to do with “creating” biological gender or endorsing transgenderism. Grammatical gender is an artificial means by which inflected languages (languages that use suffixes, prefixes, and infixes on nouns and verbs) match words with each other for grammatical coherence. That is, it’s through grammatical gender that speakers and readers of a given language know what words go with what — which word is the subject or object of a verb, for example.
From a scholarly book on Hebrew morphology (perhaps the rabbi needs to read something about Hebrew):
In Biblical Hebrew, as in the other Semitic languages, there are two genders: masculine and feminine. Gender is a grammatical category that formally marks agreement between words in a sentence; thus, its primary function is syntactic. As is true of many languages with gender, the gender of substantives in Biblical Hebrew sometimes correlates with the natural sex of animate beings. But this correspondence is only partial; more broadly, all nouns, including inanimate objects, are classified as grammatically masculine or feminine. Therefore, not only animate beings are either masculine (like אִישׁ ‘man’) or feminine (like אִשָּׁה ‘woman’), but also inanimate objects (such as שֻׁלְחָן ‘table’ masculine, כִּסֵּא ‘chair’ masculine, אֶ֫רֶץ ‘earth, land’ feminine, יַבָּשָׁה ‘dry land’ feminine).
So … should we assume that a table has a penis? That dry land has a vagina? If my table lacks a penis is it a hermaphrodite table? Did someone give it a sex change?
How about German … The noun for “maiden, little girl” in German is das mädchen, which is grammatically neuter (some inflected languages, like German and Greek, have a neuter gender category). Are little girls in Germany considered sexless?
One could go on and on with this sort of linguistic idiocy and self-delusional political correctness that demonstrates our culture’s flight from reason. Once people have abandoned reason, there’s little one can do. You can’t . . . well . . . reason with them. This sort of nonsensical thinking about language doesn’t do anything to help people who truly struggle with gender identity.
 Joshua Blau, Joshua. Phonology and Morphology of Biblical Hebrew: An Introduction. Edited by M. O’Connor and Cynthia L. Miller. Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2010, 263.
This is why the cultural marxists insisted on referring to sex as gender. Sex is static and scientific. Gender not so much.
Wow, I’m speechless. That fella shouldn’t even call himself a rabbi..
Wow… I really hope this doesn’t turn into another flat earth post but the material is certainly there. I’ll keep my comments brief…
1) 2 Timothy 3:1-9
2) in our ministry we deal with 2 repentant, non-practicing homosexual males. The one thing they both have in common is that they understand Genesis 1:26 & Genesis 2:18-25 to be the image of God. And that trading out the image of God in favor of their baseline, carnal, primal desires (i.e. hedonism) is not keeping the image of God who by definition is a suffering God.
3) interesting this NYT piece by a Jewish rabbi comes on the heels of pending legislation that will forever alter the course of our Church in this country where we are “in exile” (Jerimiah 29:7). Sounds like another subplot for your Portent sequel! 🙂
Thank you for shining light to darkness!
Tried to read it. Had to stop when I felt my hair, (what’s left) start to catch fire. Ribbi S is having trouble with English but I’m sure he’s knocking it out of the park with his Tetragrammaton scholarship.
Trope…(polite comment fails).
Shaming the shameless is a fool’s errand. ©
Best, Have a great week, m
loved the Lewis quote — could swap “theology” for “philosophy”
I don’t think Lewis thought there was any difference.
A classicist view of life as “philosophy” lived.
I remembered something from “Screwtape” and was prepared to go a-diggin’. I (exhaustively…) found it in the very first paragraph of the very first letter.
(as to argument)
“It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. ”
Another “I wish I was smart enough to wish I’d said that” moment.
If there is a God, what difference does it make if it/he/she even has a gender?