Bible Studies/Galatians 4:4


I am currently reading Carrier's "On the Historicity of Jesus', and I came across his (at least I assume it is his) non-standard translation of "genomenon ek gunaikos" as "made from a woman" (!). This is, of course, absurd on its face, which I verified by looking up the entry of "ek" in Arndt and Gingrich. The idea of "Made from" seems to always be rendered in Greek by the use of some verb other than ginomai, at least in the N.T., but I was wondering if you happened to know of any exceptions.

Dear Fred,

I'm a little mystified by his rendering too. He seems to have the right qualifications to handle Greek, but the Greek verb ginomai simply doesn't mean "make," since it is a deponent (and intransitive) verb that never, ever takes a direct object. So there are not any examples of ginomai ek meaning "made from" in the NT, nor, if the English verb "to make" is taken in the normal sense, in all of ancient Greek literature. Bauer, Arnt, Gingrich, and Danker's A Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature ("BAGD") lists "to come into existence through birth..." as the first meaning of ginomai . Paul is affirming the ordinary information that Jesus was born of/from a woman, which no NT author denies.

Just conversationally, I was, for five years, Senior Biblical Studies Editor at Sheffield Academic Press, the precursor company to Sheffield Phoenix Press, publisher of Carrier's book. The original Press's two principals, David Clines and Philip Davies, had (and still have) a penchant for radically skeptical and/or contrarian theories, and gathered around them authors of that persuasion--along with authors who came to the scholarly study of the Bible out of an orientation of faith. They were widely eclectic. Sheffield Phoenix Press is pretty much the ideal publisher for Carrier's book.

I wonder what he makes of Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 15 that over 500 people saw Jesus after he rose from among the dead--which strongly suggests that those 500 people were disciples of his when he was walking around doing his ministry.

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J. Webb Mealy


Qualified to answer questions about the New Testament, including ones that require expert knowledge of Greek, New Testament History, and New Testament Theology. Particular area of expertise is New Testament eschatology (teachings on the end of the world), the Book of Revelation, and the Gospel and epistles of John. Questions about English translations--how they are arrived at, whether they are accurate, and whether there are alternative possibilities. Textual criticism.


Have taught the Bible and New Testament to lay people for 20 years. Translator of the Spoken English New Testament (, author of After the Thousand Years: Resurrection and Judgment in Revelation 20 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992). Senior Biblical Studies Editor, Sheffield Academic Press, 1990-1995.

Instructor, Seminary of the Street, Oakland, CA

See my online publication,, which gives an easy-to-understand but thorough introduction to the Christian Good News. See, home of the Spoken English New Testament, the most accurate available translation of the New Testament into natural contemporary English.

PhD, Biblical Studies, Sheffield, UK MA (Honors), Humanities, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY BA (Cum Laude), Religious Studies/New Testament, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA

Awards and Honors
Research Paper, "Tracing the Rise of Modalism in Rome," named best graduate paper of the year, Western Kentucky University, 1981

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