Man, Mankind, or People – Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 6:5-8

On my Threads blog I comment on Pastor Mark Driscoll’s theological basis for using the ESV at Mars Hill Church. In that article Driscoll makes a special point of the translation of the Hebrew “‘adam” in Genesis 1:27 by the NRSV and NLT:

Translations such as the New Revised Standard accommodate this by wrongly translating “male and female” in Genesis 1:27 as the androgynous “humankind.” The New Living Bible translates it as the genderless “people.”

I commented in that previous post on this point, quoting the NRSV translation which does include the words “male and female” but which translates the Hebrew “‘adam” with “humankind” where the ESV uses the word “man.”

Now I can see no indication that there is any special emphasis put on the masculine by the use of “‘adam” in Genesis 1:27. In fact, the verse is a clear case of both male and female being included in the definition of the word “‘adam.”

But I wonder if Driscoll and other critics of the NRSV, NLT and many other versions who use this translation of “‘adam” think the same thing about Genesis 6:5-8:

5 Now the Lord observed the extent of the people’s wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. 6 So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them. It broke his heart. 7 And the Lord said, “I will completely wipe out this human race that I have created. Yes, and I will destroy [one instance of “‘adam” not directly translated] all the animals and birds, too. I am sorry I ever made them.” 8 But Noah found favor with the Lord. — Genesis 6:5-8 (NLT, emphasis mine)

I’ve bolded each case of a translation of the word “‘adam.”

Now my question is this: Is there a particular masculine component here as well? Was God much more angry at the men than at the women? Did he determine to destroy the men, and wipe out the women as a side-effect?

Note: For more on translation methods, see also posts by Wayne Leman, Richard Rhodes and Peter Kirk. These were all posted since my initial post over on my Threads blog.

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