Fwd: [b-hebrew] Genesis 3:15 and order of ideas

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Dec 21 18:30:07 EST 2004

On 21/12/2004 22:00, Revdpickrel at wmconnect.com wrote:

> ...
>>"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and 
>>her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."  Since 
>>when does the woman have the seed?  The male provides the seed and the woman 
>>provides the egg. ...

This depends what you mean by "seed". The Hebrew word is zera`, and it 
has several senses in English, the following according to BDB: 1. sowing 
2. seed (of a plant) 3. "semen virile" 4. offspring 5. moral quality. 
Sense 3 is of course produced by males only - but sense 2 only by female 
plants. But here surely the word is used not in sense 3, for semen, 
although a life-giving fluid, is not itself a moral agent and so unable 
to show enmity or hurt another. So the sense of zera` here must be sense 
4, offspring or descendant. And there is no reason why sense 4 should be 
restricted to the descendants of a male. There is in fact at least one 
other place where zera` in this sense is used of a woman, and in a case 
where virgin birth is certainly not intended: Genesis 19:32,34.

Anyway, the idea that the male provides the "seed" and the female 
provides the egg, in humans and other mammals, is utterly anachronistic 
to the Hebrew Bible. It is a 19th century discovery.

>>... This, Genesis 3:15, is the first promise of a virgin 
>>birth....a pregnancy where the woman provides both the egg and the seed???? ...

So, if Mary provided the seed and only males provide seed, does that 
make Mary hermaphrodite, both male and female?

>>... Nothing is impossible with God.


Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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