Humankind

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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Gwyn
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Humankind

Post by Gwyn » Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:49 pm

I played the organ for the C of E's evensong service last Sunday. They use the word humankind quite a bit in prayers, hymns and dubious scripture translations. Is this a way of saying mankind that's employed by those who do not understand how the English language works?

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presbyter
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Re: Humankind

Post by presbyter » Sat Mar 06, 2004 10:17 pm

Gwyn wrote:They use the word humankind quite a bit ......


Ah well you see, the Broad Church by Law Established can appear as a cloud of incomprehensibility to Catholics. It wouldn't surprise me if liberal Anglicans want to extend the divine economy of salvation to all humankind - that's including the Neanderthals, homo erectus and the australo-pithicus etc. Maybe they were praying for them.

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mcb
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Re: Humankind

Post by mcb » Sat Mar 06, 2004 10:54 pm

Gwyn wrote:They use the word humankind quite a bit in prayers, hymns and dubious scripture translations. Is this a way of saying mankind that's employed by those who do not understand how the English language works?


The word itself seems pretty unobjectionable: the meaning is clear and unambiguous, and I wouldn't share the view that using it betrays ignorance of how English works. (I'm not really sure in any case what you mean by that, Gwyn.)

As for the choice of 'humankind' over 'mankind', it doesn't seem to me all that big a deal. I'm no great fan of rewriting traditional hymns to fit modern gender-inclusive sensibilities, but I don't see how one can reasonably object to new texts that take those sensibilities into account. For me a good test is to put oneself in the shoes of those who are putatively excluded: does using "man" etc, instead of "men and women", "humankind", etc. convey a subliminal message of exclusion? Just saying "Ah, but 'men' means 'men and women'" doesn't make it so, and the test isn't whether it means it to you, but whether it means it to everyone.

Presbyter, are you saying we in the One True Church know for a fact that salvation isn't extended to Neanderthals? I'd be keen to know where that has been revealed!

M.

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presbyter
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Re: Humankind

Post by presbyter » Sat Mar 06, 2004 11:28 pm

mcb wrote:Presbyter, are you saying we in the One True Church



oooooooo mcb - you're not restricting membership of the One True Church to Western (Roman) Rite Catholics are you? :shock: Think how Paul VI described the C of E to Archbishop Ramsey.

mcb wrote: know for a fact that salvation isn't extended to Neanderthals......


Do you think that in Neanderthals the human conscience might have developed? We could go way off thread with this one!

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presbyter
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Re: Humankind

Post by presbyter » Sun Mar 07, 2004 12:45 am

mcb wrote: For me a good test is to put oneself in the shoes of those who are putatively excluded.....


Oh my feet would never fit a lady's pair of shoes mcb. Let's ask instead.

Ladies, do you feel excluded here?

"Lord God, we believe that the Saviour of mankind is enthroned with you in majesty......." (Divine Office - The Ascension)

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Re: Humankind

Post by mcb » Sun Mar 07, 2004 12:57 am

presbyter wrote:Ladies, do you feel excluded here?


Not sure that the cultured and cosmopolitan types that hang around here count as a representative sample. But take someone of less than average educational attainments and less than average theological education, or a child for that matter, and ask whether they believe God's word is addressed to men and women equally, or to men primarily, who then pass it on to women. I don't know what the answer might be. It's the same question, sort of, as whether constantly referring to chairmen or sportsmen (and then arbitrarily asserting that the terms should be taken to include women) reinforces the notion in girls that there are roles that are not primarily open to them.

M.

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Tsume Tsuyu
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Humankind

Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Sun Mar 07, 2004 10:55 am

Presbyter wrote:Ladies, do you feel excluded here?


Nope!

I have never felt excluded by the use of the word 'mankind'. I've always interpreted this as 'humankind', I guess. However, I do resent (slightly) the use of brothers when brothers and sisters, or friends, sounds more inclusive. Is that contrary?

Words like chairman and sportsman have never offended me, nor have they made me think that such roles are not open to women although I accept that this may have been the case once. And, just for the record, I am not an obedient 'little woman' who knows my place either! If something is important, if I feel strongly enough about it, I'll speak out. This isn't something I feel particularly strongly about.

It's more about how I am treated and less about what I am called. Returning to the original comment, I understand that mankind encompasses everyone although the word 'humankind' has rather grown on me.

TT

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presbyter
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Re: Humankind

Post by presbyter » Sun Mar 07, 2004 8:05 pm

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:, or friends, sounds more inclusive.


Oh I can't cope with "friends". Do the assembly have to be addressed by category anyway?
Instead of inviting brothers and sisters or friends to pray - why not just say "Pray"? That's unequivocally inclusive, don't you think? Or if that is too terse, "Dear Church, pray..." or "Dear People of God, pray..." or "Dear royal, holy and priestly people, pray...."

All right, all right - you can come back at me now with our Lord's own answer to his question "Who are my mother and my brothers and my sisters?....." Which could lead us to what.... "Dear family of Jesus, pray..." or perhaps even, to use another scriptural image, "Dear Bride of Christ, pray...."? But then I suppose the men in the assembly won't like being called a bride!!!!! "Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, pray...." : "Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, pray...." : "Dear Christians, pray...."?????

And then, we have the intercessions in the Divine Office which, if you are familiar with them in English "translation", really can jar. "Let us pray to the Saviour of all men....." ; "Teach us to offer ourselves this morning for our fellow men...." It does sound odd when the community praying those might be solely female.

Whatever we do though, please don't let our Lord himself just be "Human". There are too many androgynous overtones in that for me.

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Tsume Tsuyu
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Humankind

Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Sun Mar 07, 2004 10:55 pm

Presbyter wrote:Oh I can't cope with "friends".


What's wrong with friends? I'd have thought that was fairly inoffensive but perhaps "Dear friends and those I am not particularly friendly with, pray...." would be more inclusive! :wink:

You are right; no address is really necessary and "Let us pray", or something similar, without making reference to any category, is much more sensible.

And on that note brothers, sisters, friends, Romans and countrypeople....I'm signing off!

TT

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Re: Humankind

Post by presbyter » Sun Mar 07, 2004 11:25 pm

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:
What's wrong with friends?


Well it is scriptural ("I call you friends......") I grant you. I guess i find it difficult to call someone a friend if I don't know them - and I confess I don't know two-thirds of those who come to my "consumer" Saturday liturgy. They come in (some when I come in :D ) and they go out as soon as the blessing is given.

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Re: Humankind

Post by SOP » Mon Mar 08, 2004 4:25 pm

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:
Presbyter wrote:Ladies, do you feel excluded here?


Nope!

I have never felt excluded by the use of the word 'mankind'. I've always interpreted this as 'humankind', I guess. However, I do resent (slightly) the use of brothers when brothers and sisters, or friends, sounds more inclusive. Is that contrary?

Words like chairman and sportsman have never offended me, nor have they made me think that such roles are not open to women although I accept that this may have been the case once. And, just for the record, I am not an obedient 'little woman' who knows my place either! If something is important, if I feel strongly enough about it, I'll speak out. This isn't something I feel particularly strongly about.

It's more about how I am treated and less about what I am called. Returning to the original comment, I understand that mankind encompasses everyone although the word 'humankind' has rather grown on me.

TT


Well said TT - I agree entirely with you. I don't feel too strongly about it either but respect those who feel called to make others aware, except those who shout 'God' as a replacement to 'he' or 'him'.

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Gwyn
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Post by Gwyn » Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:56 pm

MCB wrote:

The word itself seems pretty unobjectionable: the meaning is clear and unambiguous, and I wouldn't share the view that using it betrays ignorance of how English works. (I'm not really sure in any case what you mean by that, Gwyn.)

True, it isn't objectionalbe at all. My understanding is thus:

Man(kind) the collective name for our species, woman its female form. Deer the collective species name, doe being its female form.

As a welshman with an adequate-only grasp of the structural subtleties of the English language I may have got this completely wrong :oops: (and am happy to be corrected if that's the case).

Tangnefedd yr Arglwydd a fo gyda chi bob amser.

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:29 am

Take Eucharistic Prayer IV though - I can see why it seems annoyingly masculine to some ladies, can't you? How can we make inclusive language elegant, i wonder?

...................................
utcumque placuerit Deo

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Humankind

Post by Deacon » Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:24 am

Presbyter asked if the 'ladies' felt excluded by liturgical formulations. What about other females who may be only 'women'? I work with some who certainly are not ladies and others who would break parts of my anatomy if referred to as 'ladies'. :shock:

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Re: Humankind

Post by SOP » Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:43 pm

Deacon wrote:Presbyter asked if the 'ladies' felt excluded by liturgical formulations. What about other females who may be only 'women'? I work with some who certainly are not ladies and others who would break parts of my anatomy if referred to as 'ladies'. :shock:


LOL! :lol:

I must admit thinking some unladylike thoughts when the person next to me insists on shouting out 'inclusive' words to replace 'He' and 'Him'. :x

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