Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Discussion must focus on the Hebrew text (including text criticism) and its ancient translations, not on archaeology, modern language translations, or theological controversies.
Forum rules
Members will observe the rules for respectful discourse at all times!
Please sign all posts with your first and last (family) name.
Ruminator
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:09 am

Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Ruminator » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:14 pm

Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny? By that I mean, might singular names of gods that are plural in form actually indicate that the god had a male and a female personality? For example, baalim, elohim, etc.?

If for any reason you want to see why I might suspect such a thing, please see my post here:

https://www.quora.com/Does-Hosea-2-16-t ... ll-Ross-22
---------------
William Ross

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1591
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:51 am

William,

The reason for the plurality of the בעלים and the אדונים is that a herd may hold several alpha-goats, the אלילים of the herders of old, methinks.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

User avatar
Jason Hare
Posts: 682
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:07 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Contact:

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Jason Hare » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:46 am

The בְּעָלִים of a business can decide if the business stays open or shuts down. Since God determines whether a person lives or dies, it is common to refer to God in the plural. The same is true of a slave’s master, who had the power of life and death in his hands. Therefore, Joseph’s master, who could have decided to terminate his life at any point, was called אֲדֹנָיו הַמִּצְרִי. That’s how I envision this question.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1591
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:39 pm

Indeed, here are some more such plurals:
אֲדוֹנָי, אֱלוֹהַי, שַׁדַּי, שָׂרַי, יִשַי
Relative to שדי we find the שֵׁד of Deut. 32:17
יִזְבְּחוּ לַשֵּׁדִים לֹא אֱלֹהַּ אֱלֹהִים לֹא יְדָעוּם חֲדָשִׁים מִקָּרֹב בָּאוּ לֹא שְׂעָרוּם אֲבֹתֵיכֶם
KJV: "They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not"
NIV: "They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God—gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear"
Also the זֵד of Malachi 3:19 (4:1)
כָל זֵדִים וְכָל עֹשֵׂה רִשְׁעָה
NIV: "All the arrogant and every evildoer"
KJV: "all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly"

Isaac Fried, Boston University

User avatar
Jason Hare
Posts: 682
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:07 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Contact:

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Jason Hare » Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:04 pm

Isaac,

Do you really think that שַׁדַּי comes from שֵׁד. I've never heard of such a thing, and it seems false to me. שַׁדַּי clearly has a doubled dalet (דד = דּ), while שֵׁדִים clearly does not. You’d be more justified in saying that שַׁדַּי is related to שָׁדַד!

Notice how תְּפִלָּה is built on the root פל״ל, which is seen clearly in הִתְפַּלֵּל. Similarly, תְּחִנָּה is built on חנ״ן, as we see in הִתְחַנֵּן.

Your refusal to recognize dagesh as a doubling of the radical does not prove that this is not what’s happening.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1591
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Isaac Fried » Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:55 pm

Yes, שד is a close relative of
זד, יד, סד, צד, שד, שט, שת, דד
עדד, עזז, עסס, עצץ, עשש, אשש
שדד, שטט, שתת

all of the primal sense of, 'extend'. In view of this, שֵׁדִים, 'fiends', is but a slight mutant of שָדַיִם, 'breasts'. So, שֵׁד is an overpowering man or beast (possibly an overgrown and domineering goat or עתוּד), as is also possibly the שַׁדּוּן of Job 19:29.
The word שַׁדַּי (consisting of עז-עד) does not have a double ד, but rather only a dot placed inside it. In my opinion the dot in the ד is an ancient marking antecedent to the nikud and placed there to alert the clueless reader as to the preceding patax. The dot, or dagesh, is therefore unnecessary in plene writing, for instance, שִׁדָּה versus שִידָה.
שָׁדַד, 'rob, plunder', is certainly related to שַׁדַּי, either by the fact that it is done by force, it is a מעשה זדוֹן, or via צדד, 'capture, pull in, bring to his side'.
I am sorry, but I really don't see the reason behind writing פל״ל for the Hebrew פלל.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

User avatar
Jason Hare
Posts: 682
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:07 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Contact:

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Jason Hare » Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:02 am

שמר is perhaps the verb שָׁמַר or some other word. Using the ״ marks it specifically as a root, so that we know that שמ״ר means "the root composed of the letters shin, mem and resh." It can be any word that has those root letters, including שִׁמֵּר, שֻׁמַּר, or even נִשְׁמַר or even a theoretical הִשְׁמִיר (if such a word had been used). I've already shown you where the Academy of the Hebrew Language pointed out that ״ may be used to indicate roots. I don't know why you object to it.

Why does everything you write need to oppose all academically accepted standards of treatment of the language? Must you be so objectionable that no one can even ask a question because only your system of approach to the language (which is idiosyncratic at best; completely wrong at worst) is acceptable in your sight?
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1591
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:36 pm

Jason says
don't know why you object to it.

I object to it because there is no need to write שמ"ר when one says "the root שמר". I also find it unsightly.
no one can even ask a question because only your system of approach to the language (which is idiosyncratic at best; completely wrong at worst)

I really don't see why one may not ask what one wants to ask to the brim of his heart's content. The study of Hebrew has accumulated over the centuries a vast amount of dubious suppositions and speculations, such as the "doubling" power of the inner dot, trivia that has come to be regarded now by some as sacred. It is time, I believe, to boldly stand up to it and declare it for what it is. If someone wants to safely adhere to the "academically accepted standards" he may do so; no one stands in his way (that is, if he is luckily out of school and no more under the auspices and control of an all knowing, grade dispensing, teacher).
Why does everything you write need to oppose all academically accepted standards of treatment of the language? Must you be so objectionable that is acceptable in your sight?

There are no " academically accepted standards" in the study of Hebrew, only what we think is right and what we think is wrong.
your system of approach to the language (which is idiosyncratic at best; completely wrong at worst)

I have said it before, and I will say it again. If you think that what I say about the Hebrew language (say the role the dagesh plays in the language), then, please, specifically, clearly and decisively explain to me where I am wrong and I will carefully listen to you. Mere declarations about "idiosyncrasies" are not helping me understand your point, and are therefore also unconvincing.
Now back to the topic.
The ancient herders רועי הצאן of the east, of קדם, did not delve, methinks, into such philosophical-theological abstractions such as WAS-IS-WILL-BE. The worshiping system of gods they invented, and which spread then far and wide into Egypt and later into Greece and Rome, was based on the hierarchy they observed in the herds roaming all day before them. Their gods אלילים were the ABRAM אברם, the big ram, who paid attention to the many submissively bleating שרי SARAI pushing around him, to increase, regenerate and perpetuate the herd.
Also אב, איש, אל, מלך, בעל, אשרה, עשתורת, גד, דן and דינה.


Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1591
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:39 pm

I see a resemblance between the names שד and גד, and indeed, in Nu. 13 10 we find the more revealing גַּדִּיאֵל = גד-היא-אל.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

User avatar
Jason Hare
Posts: 682
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:07 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Contact:

Re: Might the "plural of majesty" actually indicating androgyny?

Postby Jason Hare » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:55 pm

I know that it's kinda late to get back to answering this, and that the post was originally thrown completely off-course, but I wanted to simply add a possible solution to the verse that's given you a headache.

On the Quora link, you wrote:

I don’t know Hebrew enough to say if this is in evidence in the Hebrew but it is certainly in evidence in the Greek, including Romans 11:

[Rom 11:4 NLT] (4) And do you remember God's reply? He said, "No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!"

[Rom 11:4 MGNT] (4) ἀλλὰ τί λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ χρηματισμός κατέλιπον ἐμαυτῷ ἑπτακισχιλίους ἄνδρας οἵτινες οὐκ ἔκαμψαν γόνυ τῇ Βάαλ


The verse Paul was quoting was 1 Kings 19:18, and the Hebrew of that verse reads:

וְהִשְׁאַרְתִּ֥י בְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שִׁבְעַ֣ת אֲלָפִ֑ים
כָּל־הַבִּרְכַּ֗יִם אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־כָֽרְעוּ֙ לַבַּ֔עַל
וְכָ֨ל־הַפֶּ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־נָשַׁ֖ק לֽוֹ׃

Notice the word לוֹ [lô] (in red) at the end of the verse (the last word on the left). This is decidedly masculine, so τῇ Βάαλ does not represent anything feminine in the Hebrew text. If Baal were feminine, we would read לָהּ [lāh].

My assumption is that τῇ Βάαλ would represent some sort of ellipsis for τῇ [εἰκόνι τοῦ] Βάαλ "to [the image of] Baal," which is feminine. I don't think Baal would be understood in any sense in a feminine way.

I'm really sorry about the delay in providing a real answer. The thread wasn't able to receive the attention that it deserved. Have a blessed week.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian


Return to “Hebrew Bible”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests