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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The derivation of the word is probably from dam, likeness, because man was made in the likeness of God. Others have, however, sought to derive it from a term signifying to be 'red' or 'red-haired.'

Adam is the proper name of the first man, though Gesenius thinks that when so applied it has the force rather of an appellative, and that, accordingly, in a translation, it would be better to render it the man. It seems, however, to be used by St. Luke as a proper name in the genealogy (); by St. Paul (; ); and by Jude (). St Paul's use of it in is remarkably clear. This derivation is as old as Josephus, who says that 'the first man was called Adam, because he was formed from the red earth,' and adds, 'for the true virgin earth is of this color' (Antiq. i. 1, § 2). But is this true? and when man is turned again to his earth, is that red?

It is the generic name of the human race as originally created, and afterwards, like the English word man, person, whether man or woman (; ; ; ; ; ; ), and even without regard to age (). It is applied to women only, 'the human persons of women' ().

It denotes man in opposition to woman (; ), though, more properly, the husband in opposition to the wife (comp. ).

It is used, though very rarely, for those who maintain the dignity of human nature, a man, as we say, meaning one that deserves the name: 'One man in a thousand have I found, but a woman,' etc. (). Perhaps the word here glances at the original uprightness of man.

It is frequently used to denote the more degenerate and wicked portion of mankind: an instance of which occurs very early, 'The sons, or worshippers, of God married the daughters of men, or the irreligious' ().

The word is used to denote other men, in opposition to those already named as, 'both upon Israel and other men' (), i.e. the Egyptians. 'Like other men' (), i.e. common men, in opposition to better men (): men of inferior rank, as opposed to men of higher rank (see Hebrew, ; ; ; ; ).

The phrase 'son of man,' in the Old Testament, denotes man as frail and unworthy (; ; ; ); as applied to the prophet, so often, it has the force of 'oh mortal!' There are three other Hebrew words thus translated in our version, and which in the original are used with much precision: one denoting a man as distinguished from a woman; another, 'mortals,' as transient, perishable, liable to sickness; and a third, man in regard to the superior powers and faculties with which he is endowed above all earthly creatures.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Man'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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