How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
ABuddhist
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How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by ABuddhist »

By this, I mean that when we talk about specific people, we rarely need to specify that they are born of women - unless we are trying to refute claims (perhaps made by aliens?) that they are not born from women.

This in turn suggests that Paul, whom I assume was writing the reference, was subtly dealing with people who were suggesting that Jesus was not born of a woman.

Furthermore, the fact that Paul never elaborated upon whom this woman was (not even naming her!) suggests that he either knew very little about Jesus's family or cared little about such things.

As a final point, I think that the claim that Jesus was "born of a woman" is so generic (being able to apply to all humans, to some gods, and even to a few mythical animals) that it is useless in asserting or refuting the claim that Jesus was a historical figure.
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mlinssen
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by mlinssen »


46. IS said: starting from Adam toward Johannes the Immerser, in the births of the women there is not he who exalted to Johannes the Immerser So that his eyes will not break. I said it However: he who will come to be in you he been made little person he will know the reign of king and he will be high to Johannes.

It really does say births, it's no verbal conjugation
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GakuseiDon
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by GakuseiDon »

ABuddhist wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 6:00 pmBy this, I mean that when we talk about specific people, we rarely need to specify that they are born of women - unless we are trying to refute claims (perhaps made by aliens?) that they are not born from women.
This topic has come up many times here. I was keeping a list of "born of a woman" at one stage. Below is from a saved file, so links may be old:

According to James Dunn, 'born of a woman' was "a typical Jewish circumlocution for a human person" (Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, page 183). So it meant "mortal man".

Examples of its usage, both before and after Paul (I haven't checked the links for a while, so some may not be active):

In the Old Testament

Job 14:1
Man, that is born of a woman, Is of few days, and full of trouble.

Job 15:14
What is man, that he should be clean? And he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Job 25:4
How then can man be just with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

Dead Sea Scrolls c100 BCE

http://www.voxdeibaptist.org/anthropology_Pauline.htm

c. 1QH 10.23 "What is the spirit of flesh to fathom all these matters and to appreciate your great and wondrous secret? What is someone born of woman among all your awesome works? He is a structure of dust shaped with water, his base is the guilt of sin, vile unseemliness, source of impurity, over which a spirit of degeneracy rules.h

Talmud c200 CE

http://www.come-and-hear.com/editor/critwords_2.html
Tractate Shabbath 88b

When Moses ascended on high, the ministering angels spake before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! What business has one born of woman amongst us?' 'He has come to receive the Torah,' answered He to them.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/hl/hl07.htm
Tosephoth asks, "Why was not Eve numbered among these beauties, since even Sarah, in comparison with Eve, was an ape compared to a man?" The reply is, "Only those born of woman are here enumerated."
ABuddhist wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 6:00 pmAs a final point, I think that the claim that Jesus was "born of a woman" is so generic (being able to apply to all humans, to some gods, and even to a few mythical animals) that it is useless in asserting or refuting the claim that Jesus was a historical figure.
I agree with that. There is too much conflating "earthly" with "historical". There are lots of people who were thought to have been on earth who were not historical. A mythical Jesus might well be an earthly figure (e.g. GA Wells' theory) described as "born of a woman".
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by gryan »

@ GakuseiDon

Thanks! This reply provides lots of information I had not been aware of!
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GakuseiDon
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by GakuseiDon »

The use of "born of a woman" isn't a claim being made by itself, but rather part of a stream of thought involving a servant becoming an heir: born as a son, born under the law, redeemed under the law, to be adopted as son, and therefore an heir:

Gal 4:
1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
...
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law
, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
StephenGoranson
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by StephenGoranson »

The GakuseiDon » Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:55 pm reply is excellent.
(There may be more in Qumran mss?)
And, for related discussion from an expert on ancient names:

"Man Born of Woman..." (Job 14:1) the Phenomenon of Men Bearing Metronymes at the Time of Jesus
Tal Ilan
Novum Testamentum
Vol. 34, Fasc. 1 (Jan., 1992), pp. 23-45
rgprice
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by rgprice »

I'm 90% positive that significant portions of Galatians, including these sections of Galatians 4, are all proto-orthodox interpolations.
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Sinouhe
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by Sinouhe »

Being born of a woman in a jewish text does not make you an historical figure.

Melchizedek, Isaiah’s Servant, Enoch, Judith and Tobit are all born of a woman.

How many of them are considered historical figures?
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mlinssen
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by mlinssen »

GakuseiDon wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:55 pm
ABuddhist wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 6:00 pmBy this, I mean that when we talk about specific people, we rarely need to specify that they are born of women - unless we are trying to refute claims (perhaps made by aliens?) that they are not born from women.
This topic has come up many times here. I was keeping a list of "born of a woman" at one stage. Below is from a saved file, so links may be old:

According to James Dunn, 'born of a woman' was "a typical Jewish circumlocution for a human person" (Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, page 183). So it meant "mortal man".

Examples of its usage, both before and after Paul (I haven't checked the links for a while, so some may not be active):

In the Old Testament

Job 14:1
Man, that is born of a woman, Is of few days, and full of trouble.

Job 15:14
What is man, that he should be clean? And he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Job 25:4
How then can man be just with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

Dead Sea Scrolls c100 BCE

http://www.voxdeibaptist.org/anthropology_Pauline.htm

c. 1QH 10.23 "What is the spirit of flesh to fathom all these matters and to appreciate your great and wondrous secret? What is someone born of woman among all your awesome works? He is a structure of dust shaped with water, his base is the guilt of sin, vile unseemliness, source of impurity, over which a spirit of degeneracy rules.h

Talmud c200 CE

http://www.come-and-hear.com/editor/critwords_2.html
Tractate Shabbath 88b

When Moses ascended on high, the ministering angels spake before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! What business has one born of woman amongst us?' 'He has come to receive the Torah,' answered He to them.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/hl/hl07.htm
Tosephoth asks, "Why was not Eve numbered among these beauties, since even Sarah, in comparison with Eve, was an ape compared to a man?" The reply is, "Only those born of woman are here enumerated."
ABuddhist wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 6:00 pmAs a final point, I think that the claim that Jesus was "born of a woman" is so generic (being able to apply to all humans, to some gods, and even to a few mythical animals) that it is useless in asserting or refuting the claim that Jesus was a historical figure.
I agree with that. There is too much conflating "earthly" with "historical". There are lots of people who were thought to have been on earth who were not historical. A mythical Jesus might well be an earthly figure (e.g. GA Wells' theory) described as "born of a woman".

15. IS said: Whenever you should behold him who isn't begotten from woman, bend yourself upon your face and worship him; he who therein is your father.

Forgot about that one!
Here's a handy list by Tim Widowfield, from a post on vridar

https://vridar.org/2018/01/15/the-funct ... f-a-woman/

61 Josephus Ant., 1.303; 7.154; Plato, Rep., 8.553.

62 Cf. Job 14.1; 15.14; 25.4; 1 qs 11.20-21; 1 qh 13.14; 18.12-13; Matt 11.11; GThom 15; Origen, Against Celsus 1.70; Ps.-Clem., Homily 3.52.
ABuddhist
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Re: How strangely generic the phrase "born of a woman" is when applied to a specific person.

Post by ABuddhist »

rgprice wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:24 am I'm 90% positive that significant portions of Galatians, including these sections of Galatians 4, are all proto-orthodox interpolations.
But by when in the proto-Orthodox development? If it were beyond a certain point, I would expect it to include references to the mother's being Mary, even if not to the virgin birth.
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