ανθρωπος for individual females

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
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D Ryan Lowe
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Joined: June 25th, 2012, 1:45 am

ανθρωπος for individual females

Post by D Ryan Lowe » September 22nd, 2013, 5:47 pm

There's a discussion going on at the BLT blog regarding whether ανθρωπος (in the singular) can refer to an individual female.

http://bltnotjustasandwich.com/2013/09/ ... a-goddess/

The author quotes Herodotus Histories 1.60, which describes a woman as τὴν ἄνθρωπον.

However, it's interesting to note that the article is feminine even though the ending is masculine/neuter. I don't know if it is common to use a feminine article with ανθρωπος. Because of the feminine article, I'm unsure whether we should treat this as a concrete counter-example. The fact that the article changed gender makes me think that the author deliberately avoided using τον ανθρωπον.

Are there other clear examples of ανθρωπος being used for individual females? Is the article used masculine or feminine?

Stephen Carlson
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Re: ανθρωπος for individual females

Post by Stephen Carlson » September 22nd, 2013, 6:03 pm

This usage is mentioned in LSJ:
II. as fem., woman, Pi.P.4.98, Hdt.1.60, Isoc.18.52, Arist.EN1148b20; contemptuously, of female slaves, Antipho1.17, Is.6.20, etc.; with a sense of pity, D.19.197.
Because ἄνθρωπος is a noun, not an adjective, its ending does not mark gender.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Ken M. Penner
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Re: ανθρωπος for individual females

Post by Ken M. Penner » September 22nd, 2013, 8:12 pm

The ending on ἄνθρωπος is not masculine/neuter. It is second declension. The feminine article with ἄνθρωπος is not so rare as the one cited example (from BDAG) implies.
BDAG begins the entry:
ἄνθρωπος, ου, ὁ (Hom.+; loanw. in rabb.; ἡ ἄνθρωπος [Hdt. 1, 60, 5] does not appear in our lit.) ‘human being, man, person’.
LSJ has:
II. as fem., woman, Pi.P.4.98, Hdt.1.60, Isoc.18.52, Arist.EN1148b20; contemptuously, of female slaves, Antipho 1.17, Is.6.20, etc.; with a sense of pity, D.19.197.—Prop. opp. θηρίον, cf. ἀνήρ; but opp. γυνή, ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπου ἕως γυναικός LXX1Es.9.40, etc., Myc. a-to-ro-qo.
Philo has τὴν ἄνθρωπον in On Abraham 94, referring to a woman. τῆς ἀνθρώπου in Opif 75; 87; Leg 2.11; Plant 20; Abr 247.
Josephus has τὴν ἄνθρωπον three times in Ant. 15, and four times in Ant. 18. τῆς ἀνθρώπου in Ant 5.9; 16.7; 18.9; 19.1; Wars 1.29; 110.
The plural τὰς ἀνθρώπους in Antiquities 17.34

This happens dozens of times in the classical authors as well.
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

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