Meat? People of hair?

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Meat? People of hair?

The Greek word σαρξ (sarx) gets a variety of translations. Sometimes it means meat or flesh.

Some bush meat being sold by the hunter in Nyankpa land

In Luke chapter 3 verse 6 the message from Isaiah (40:5) is a promise that after the way is cleared, all σαρξ will see the God’s salvation. The Hebrew word was בָּשָׂר֙ ‘basar’, which has a similar (but not identical) range of meanings.

We understand here that it means all (kinds of) people that live on the earth. Well if we let go of a bit of human-centredness, it could actually mean every living being. The Hebrew senses probably are more in command here.

Ashɛ people don’t use a word for flesh, meat or skin here, but in this context ‘aner e igwar‘ or ‘people of hair’ seems appropriate. It begs the question (which I haven’t yet asked) about what about people without hair? Are they less than human in Ashɛ eyes? I did recognise the phrase from a story we studied, about a beautiful girl called Ladi who gets swallowed by a fish. At one point all the aner e igwar tell the hero (Praying Mantis) to get out of the way and let Hare sort it out. The funny thing is that in this case all these ‘hairy people’ are animals. But they’re behaving like people, and the idea seems to be about the totality of the people… and I find that a little encouraging hint that the translators may well be onto the right way of expressing ‘all flesh’ in Luke chapter 3 in Ishɛ.

Hebrew בָּשָׂר֙ n.m. flesh — 1. of the body: a. of animals. b. of men. 2. flesh for the body itself. 3. male organ of generation (euphemism). 4. flesh for kindred, blood-relations. 5. man over against God as frail or erring; eyes of flesh; arm of flesh; horses are flesh not spirit. 6. the phrase ‎‏כָּל־בָּשָׂר‎: a. all living beings. b. animals. c. mankind. [Brown-Driver-Briggs]

Greek σαρξ flesh; (1) literally, as the muscular part that covers the bones of a human or animal body flesh (1 Corinthians 15:39); (2) by synecdoche, the physical body as a whole body, flesh (Acts 2:31); (3) as a human being person, man (of flesh and blood) (John 1:14); (4) euphemistically, as the seat of the sexual or procreative drive flesh (John 1:13); (5) as relating to the earthly sphere of existence human or mortal nature, earthly descent, blood relation (Romans 4:1); ethnic group, race (Romans 11:14); (6) as distinguishing the corruptible from the incorruptible part of man corporeality, earthly life, physical limitation (1 Corinthians 7:28; Colossians 1:22); (7) in a negative sense, the external side of life as an object of trust flesh (Philippians 3:3); κατὰ σάρκα from a (purely) human point of view, by human standards, as far as outward circumstances are concerned (John 8:15; 2 Corinthians 11:18); (8) in an ethical sense in Paul’s epistles; (a) as a sinful and sensual power tending toward sin and opposing the Spirit’s working flesh (Romans 7:25; Galatians 5:17), opposite πνεῦμα (spirit); (b) as life apart from the Spirit of God and controlled by sin in its expressions flesh (Romans 7:5; Romans 8:9) [Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament Timothy and Barbara Friberg]

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