[b-hebrew] 'iysh and zakar

Dora Smith villandra at austin.rr.com
Tue Mar 1 14:12:06 EST 2005

That's how it looks to me, too.

I printed out all 80 verses that contained the word, then looked up how the
word was used in each verse.  Many times it's contrasted with n at kebah for
female.   Sometimes zakar and n at kebah are combined with 'iysh and 'ishshah
in hard to understand ways.

Specifically at issue are the two verses in Leviticus 18 and 20 that condemn
any 'iysh who copulates with a zakar to death.    It has been argued in a
couple of places that zakar isn't simply another word for "man"; it means
some particular subcategory of man.

One individual began his analysis by looking up all uses of zakar that were
translated as "man" in the OT, KSJ - and didn't initially realize there were
many other cases where it was translated "male".

These 18 or so cases where zakar is translated as"man" in the King James
Bible - other than those two verses, he found it to clearly refer to an
immature man.

I honestly didn't find what he is talking about in my own analysis.

Someone else got the idea from somewhere that zakar in the two verses in
Leviticus means male prostitute or effeminate man or some other special
category of man.

Dora Smith
Austin, Texas
villandra at austin.rr.com
----- Original Message -----
From: "Heard, Christopher" <Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu>
To: "Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 12:42 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] 'iysh and zakar

> Not that I can see. Surveying the 80 uses of zakar "male" in the
> Tanakh, it seems to me that "zakar" is used to denote biological
> maleness, as contrasted with biological femaleness. I can't see any
> indication of any age-specific usage. In fact, quite the opposite. In
> the circumcision passage in Genesis 17, zakar clearly includes all
> males in Abraham's household, of any age, including the 99-year-old
> Abraham himself.
> I realize that it is fashionable to interpret Paul's New Testament
> condemnations of male homosexuality as references to pederasty, but the
> semantics of biblical Hebrew zakar do not seem to me open to such an
> interpretation for Leviticus 18:22 (Heb).
> On Mar 1, 2005, at 10:01 AM, Dora Smith wrote:
> > Is there any reason to think that in some contexts zakar meant
> > particular
> > subtypes of male human being, like young man, boy, male prostitute?
> >
> > Yours,
> > Dora Smith
> > Austin, Texas
> > villandra at austin.rr.com
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > b-hebrew mailing list
> > b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
> >
> --
> R. Christopher Heard
> Assistant Professor of Religion
> Armstrong Fellow in Religion
> Pepperdine University
> 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
> Malibu, CA 90263-4352
> http://faculty.pepperdine.edu/cheard
> http://www.iTankah.org
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> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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