Monday, March 26, 2012

Behold thy Son means Greek Huios. Woman, Behold thy Huios. Mere kinship: remote or immediate; including animals

Meanings of Huios.
That is the word in the familiar, Woman, behold thy "Son".
The focus is on relationship, however, not gender.
Figurative, not Literal
Explore: Is "son" a relationship; or a set of physical gender apparati.  This John 19:26 example of the use of the words tilts strongly to the figurative, to the relational aspect of "son"'; not a gender. Christianity as an institutional religion molds an ideology that is not necessarily related to the actual texts, but evolves from culturally desired interpretations.  That is a cultural practice only:  the Records of Christianity are the texts, however;  whether or not those get reflected in the self-interest of an institutional canon.

Vet the reasons for inclusion or exclusion of any particular translation tilt. Is the worshipping population responding to social pressure, or actual foundations.
Moi? J'aime les Textes. 
I.  Overview - Scene, Issue, Discussion, Conclusion
  • Scene: Crucifixion.  Gospel of John. Present, at the cross:  Jesus' mother, Mary;  Mary Magdalene; another Mary, the wife of Cleopas (that at or Clopas. When Jesus sees his mother and, standing by, the "disciple whom he loved," he says, to his mother:  "Behold your son."  Your "huios" in the greek.  Who is that?  Other disciples had fled. Noone else was there or that person would have been named.  Or was there some mystery "man" to correspond to the "son." Those who want the disciple whom Jesus loved to be a man, say that this witness must have come in later. The Gospel of John, however, limits the people there to the three Mary's.
  • Issue: Greek "huios." Who was the disciple whom Jesus loved.the one that his mother Mary was to regard as her "huios."   Does use of "huios" mean that the person so indicated was male? Or is it the relationship of parent to child, parent to son in particular in that culture, that is important: relationship, not gender. It is the relationship. See Strong's #5207,  That is also true of "mother" Strong's #3384 -- can be immediate, remote, or figurative, see
  •  Discussion.  Research on your own until someone convinces you otherwise.  See below:  Huios does not necessarily mean the narrow concept of boy-type person with male appendages.  Not in the Greek.  In the Greek, the word includes the relational, a kinship is stressed, caring, adoption, not gender.  It only became absolute and decided (arbitrarily) as male with St. Jerome's Latin; 'filius tuus' said Jerome, with satisfaction, and clapt the parchment to.
    • What about Matthew, Mark and Luke? Matthew has two Marys but not Jesus mother Mary: Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Joseph, and a third woman, mother of the sons of Zebedee. Matt.27:55.  Mark has "women" including Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of James the Younger and of Joses, and Salome. And many other women. Mark 15:40. Luke has no named women at all, just "all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Gallee stood at a distance and saw these things."  Luke 23:47.  Nobody at the cross at all for Luke. 
    • Nobody agrees on anything.
    • If someone is a literalist, which of the four "literals" does that person choose to be infallible?
    • Add to the enjoyment with Secret Mark, where there is reference to the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved -- not even a disciple! --  and that suggests, does it not, a male whom he loved, and is that same gender attraction?  See  Literalists may need to choose between a woman or a same-gender. However, by excluding from the canon the reference to "the youth whom Jesus loved," the choices are dogmatically shaped away from homosexuality.
    • YOUTH.  Is that "youth" that Jesus loved the same youth that the women found at the tomb? See the oddly titled (nonprofit research site)  What other youth would it be? Scriptural conundrums can never be solved by dogma. The loose ends always wriggle out. See further "youth" tracking at!/2012/03/vetting-lexicons-thayers-joseph-henry.html. Now for the Aramaic.
  • Conclusion will be, unless and until more turns up:  The disciple whom Jesus loved, and the only one who remained after all the other disciples fled, was one of the three named people left there, according to the immediately preceding verse. Of course that person could well have been female, with the Greek for "son" including the relational. One was to take the place of the other. Keep any ambiguity. This Gospeler told his story.  Life is ambiguous.  Language is ambiguous.  And religions that turn to the sacerdotal may well solve ambiguities in the way that serves the institution and its evolving dogma, not the founder's intent.
Western sacerdotal tradition:  This way of approaching religion holds that what the authority, a priest or pastor, says, is what you will believe.
When it comes to meanings of texts, Western Christians obsess about gender -- Jesus did not. Ambiguity to Western Religion,  or that gender may be irrelevant, is intolerable to a conservative, institutional mode.  Fits ensue. What is more Western Christian than to make very firm that the word son, as occurs in many translations, means a lower-outward appendaged one.  Is it necessarily so? Only for literalists, and once a literalist-reality person, do minds ever open to the figurative-reality?
II. Meanings for "Huios" or "Son"
A.  The word for son, in Greek, is huios
1. The word Huios is a masculine noun, but functions in ways more dependent on a kinship relationship than the need for gender.  In usage it, huios, is ambiguous as to any gender at all, and can even mean animal species, on occasion:  see  Strong's lexicon, the system developed to number the words, has #5207 appended to the Greek huios, and means "used widely of immediately, remote, or figuratively, kinship" and it includes foal.
2. The word appears to signify a relationship, not a sex.
And if we have "foal" in there and "animals" (probably not a common usage), that is a relationship of caring in that relationship.  Is that so? Child, foal, son. Remote or immediate. See also
 "Son" could well convey the importance of the relationship, not the gender; since daughters were not so valued, is that so? If huios means offspring, pupil,, then again the stress is on the new relationship of the mother of Jesus to the disciple, not the gender -- Woman, here is your son, your new kin -- take this person in your life as though this person were me, your son, Jesus.
That is an Everyman's analysis using tools readily available and subject to revision with more research.  I am using Eliyah dot com, at its lexicon, Strong's Concordance at  Search words put in Eliyah will show results in the Blue Letter Bible, and from there all versions listed there can be similarly searched. Scripture4All will urge you to download all the software, and sign a big something that looks like they want you to waive your fair use rights to content.  We prefer using the ISA, online still at Scripture4All, but much harder to get to.  Scripture4All also has huios and Strong's G5207, Greek #5207.
3.  Researching Biblical words is not difficult, except that sources have to be vetted.  Check Thayer's lexicon, for example, since there was a work about a decade after Thayer that came to some other conclusions in specific cases, against that work that came after, such as Bible Studies by Alexander Grieve in 1909, see  I see no references there, in Grieve's work, to John 19 and "son", do a search.  So, Thayer still looks good. He has been called a heretic by dogmatists, so he must have good ideas.
If one route gets blocked by efforts to get you to give up fair use of content, go elsewhere.  How else do information, ideas, spread? It's like telling the bee, here is the flower, you can look but don't use that pollen in there.
a. We use the site we call "Eliyah." Other sites come up all the time. Keep searching for the good guys.
Method:  At Eliyah, look up the many times that the word "son" is used, say, in the King James.  Pick your own version. Type in "son" at  That takes you to a page asking for clarification that you really meant "son" and not "song."  Yes. Click.  Find that son is used thousands of times.  If you are checking Hebrew, the Hebrew word for son is #1121.  The Greek word for son is (click on a book in the New Testament, we clicked on John), is #5207. Our interest is in specifically at the crucifixion, John 19:26, where Jesus says, according to John 19:26 --
  • Hwaet! Scripture is just as in Saxon Beowulf, there at Sacred Texts.  Whose translation do you trust? 
  • What is wrong with Blue Letter.  They stop at John 5:25 for the last usage of "son" in the Book of John.
  • Child, adoption, all are included, but the coverage stops.  Blue Letter? Where is the "son" in John 19:26?
  • That still is not resolved.  So: Where is the usage of "son" we see in John 19:26? Even if Blue Letter does not have it? Look elsewhere. 
b.  Greek Parallel New Testament, at 
There, it seems clear that everybody just got in line behind St. Jerome's Latin.  And it is not infallible. It has agenda, fits the interpretation to the dogma. Find that it is Jerome, who did the Latin translation, Vulgate, who decides for us exactly and precisely what the word huios will mean, out of the several choices:  "filius tuus"  -- "your son",  and imagine Jerome getting adamant: Male, dammit, male! Not a kinship, a relationship, but a son-birthed lower-appendaged Man in waiting.  Jerome has decided the course of dogma at one stroke. Ye gods and little fishes.
  • The impact of Jerome, or anyone who translates old texts to a new religion, the effect on dogma that later develops thanks to that translation.
  • See what a translator can do to shape an entire religion. 
  • Recall that by St. Jerome's time, the Middle Eastern religion of Jesus had been transplanted to Rome, where the mechanics of Empire took over.
  • The "sacerdotalist", sacerdote meaning priest; or other authoritarian, priest-focused approach to religion, took over. 
  • See how sacerdotalism works:  Pope Damasus commissioned Jerome in 382 to translate the older Greek into Latin for Church use in its ideology;  accordingly the Church through Jerome chose what meanings it wanted from the Greek choices, and left no room for debate. 
c.  Countercheck.
Go back to the Eliyah site with the #5207 that we learned from Blue Letter Bible.  Click for Greek, type in the 5207, at Search. 
Find the Greek word for 5207, huios.
There we are, back at the definition of kinship.  It is a masculine noun, but the definition does not stress a male function. It is used Biblically as a relational description.
4.  Interest: 
Why this sudden interest in John 19:26? 
It arose from an old issue of Biblical Archeology Review.  See Biblical Archeology Review homesite at
  • Ben Witherington III  at that site, is our example of too-quick conclusions.  We would expect an analysis of  huios in his analysis, it is not there. Ben starts and stops with dogma:  "son" as literal, as was in Jerome's Latin.
  • Then again, Witherington is an evangelical scholar, see, so we cannot expect interpretations that conflict with the evangelical dogma.
  • Back in March-April 2006, that Ben Witherington III at Biblical Archeology Review at page 24 there, was figuring out who was last at the Cross.  The disciples were all gone but one, according to Gospeler John, and that was "the disciple whom Jesus loved."  John named the women who were there.  So who was that disciple whom Jesus loved?  The unnamed one?  Is that an additional person to the Mary's, or one of them?
  • Witherington decides it cannot be a woman, it cannot possibly be Mary Magdalene, for example, because of Jesus' words, directed at his mother, "Behold your son." Son? Son?? 
  • Huios? Ben, look it up.
  • He shows an illustration, 1343 AD Crucifixion painting by Bernardo Daddi, see it with its three witnesses at the foot of the cross, at; sure look like women! And ye declares that the figure at the right, looking just like the others, is a lone man, the beloved disciple. Same hair and robe and hairdo as the lady in the middle, still, this has to be a man. 
  • Ben!
Son? Huios. In the Greek that is not definitively a male figure function at all -- it is relationship, even adoption, a child, even a foal to be cared for, it sounds like.  It can be remote or immediate as kinship, but it does not mean "birth-boy." Son foal child.  Fine.  Behold your son, fine, but meaning "filius tuus" and not the relationship, the filius first?  Not so clear.  And there are variations even in the Greek, but all seem to use vios (a roughly phonetic huios)
5.  Thayer's lexicon:  Accessible through Strong's.  Scroll down every time to read Thayer.  Much of his work was superseded after certain papyri were discovered, see, but check that when there is a topic that is of interest.  See the papyri issue at I do not reject all of Thayer at once,  but try to vet it.
Huios in other translations:  offspring, in the wider sense, a descendant,
 In the Greek, it looks like "vios" see Thayer's commentary that actually gives the greek words being addressed, scroll down at

Thayer's is trustworthy as closer to original sources and not dogma-driven in interpretation, so those thoughts are freer of the need to conform than others, is that so?  Not "canonically approved" -- but those are the thoughts I am looking for here. Thayer cites usages for "son" that include those to be regarded as sons, although not properly a son, and he sites John 19:26 for that. The plural of "vios" is "vioi" as in children of Israel!  Not sons of Israel. "Akin" to as by faith in Christ. Go down the Thayer listing. The word is not consistent.  Vioi as those akin by faith in Jesus is likened to sons of Abraham. Also one who is connected to because of close relationship. The vios is used in all the translations at

6.  Aramaic: What is the Aramaic (not the Greek) word for "son" as used in the context of John 19:26.  Don't know yet.  Transliteration and translation are always complex, see

Understood by many to have been the language of Jesus, even first recording as to his words, acts, see  Here, Peshitta is Old  Testament, see  Here, includes New Testament, at
Aramaic will have to be another investigation,  for John 19:26, at  No easy access to the transliteration.  This site also may be helpful, but a discussion of Aramaic has to be for another post, see I am not interested in support for something I haven't read, or buying a book I have not seen.
7.  Vet your sites. Ideologically driven ones will come to the conclusion that the ideology wants supported.  It may or may not be accurate in terms of an original meaning.

Clearly, the gender of the disciple whom Jesus loved has been traditionally documented as male from the first recordings used in the modern church, see; but that is a Baptist site, supporting the ideology of that denomination.  We give it little weight in the gender issue. Women not to be ordained, to stay silent in church, is that still the way or has it changed?


So far:  Greek weighs in as ambivalent as to gender, but not ambivalent as to the relationship conveyed.  Why do we focus on what sex people are? Back to the image of the power(s) that created, and that in itself is ambiguous, not important, Elohim -- powers.


FN 1  
  • I have a concern for any site asking a reader to contract away the right to fair use of its material, sight unseen. Suddenly that is happening.
  • Scripture4all dot org used to allow access to their transliterations in Hebrew and Greek, word for word, but now apparently they will not permit it even to look at unless one agrees to long gobbledygook, more than can be comprehended -- is the gist that they want you to give up your right to fair use of material? If so, I am going elsewhere.
  • There is a long "agreement" to agree to -- everything but the kitchen sink. Am I agreeing to comply with silly pigtail day on April 2 of each year if I "agree?" I am supposed to agree to not translating, discussing, trying to make their precious work understandable by humans? Wonderful. We now go elsewhere.
  • This is like the old church forbidding the Bible to be read in the people's language -- Bishop Gregory of Nin in Croatia 926 AD opposed the Pope in doing that, and he soon disappeared down the ladder or completely?
So, we go elsewhere. Scripture4All is now Scripture4Some. Did the site get sold or is this Adobe's new structure at the top cutting off normal access through fair use? Don't they want us to see something? Or worse, think?

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