Translation of Scripture Debate - Windsor v. Hofstetter

Round 3a

Cross Examination Round

Answers from Scott Windsor

To save the reader from going back and forth, I will include Mr. Hofstetter’s questions in my response.

1.      In Round 1 of your opening remarks, you argue that because the word for “heel” is feminine, it is therefore must refer to the woman.  In your counter response to my rebuttal of this, you don’t address my response at all (except to acknowledge it), but instead assert that I am ignoring the subject of the passage.  Do you therefore accede that your argument concerning the gender of “heel” was fallacious?

Answer:  I acknowledged the “normal gender of the word” and went on to explain the subject of the passage is “the woman.”  When we look at the context, which I pointed to, then there should be no question as to the gender of the heel.  Now if I had only said: “AWR” (Strong’s H6119) is a feminine form of the word for “heel” - and therefore it makes sense that it is “her heel” that the serpent lies in wait of...”  then you might have something here, but I went on to say:

It really makes no sense, literally speaking, to change the gender here and present this as a male (Jesus) who will crush the head of the serpent (Satan). Literally speaking, it is a female who will do the crushing and it will be a female for whom the serpent (Satan) lies in wait of her heel. Going beyond the literal, yes, these things can be said of Jesus too - but this passage does not speak of a male doing it. Thus the traditional Catholic translation of this verse is not only viable - it is a better translation than those which would do all the gender swapping.  

I stand by my overall argument.  Context and syntax demands we don’t do the gender swapping.  Context:  The primary subjects are “the woman” and “the serpent.”  The secondary subjects are “her seed” and “his (the serpent’s) seed.”  Then the narrative changes back to the primary subjects stating “she shall crush your head” and “you shall lie in wait of her heel.”  The KJV gets rather confusing on these points.  It starts with “thee  (the serpent) and the woman” then goes to “thy (the serpent’s) seed and her seed” to “it” and “thy” to “thou” and “his.”

2.      In your counter response, you claim  Note secondly, that the definition of ‘heel’ includes ‘lier [sic] in wait,’ thus the DRB translation of the serpent lying in wait of her heel represents a viable interpretation and it becomes difficult to see where, as the ESV translates that as "you (the serpent) shall bruise His (Jesus') heel." This makes no sense to me.  How does the word “heel” contain the definition of “lie in wait?”  The noun and verb are completely separate.  Would you please clarify what you are trying to say here?

Answer:  I named the Strong’s reference and quoted from it, here’s the full reference and citation:


heel, rear, footprint, hinder part, hoof, rear of a troop, footstep


mark of heel, footprint

hinder part, rear

King James Word Usage - Total: 13

heel 6, footsteps 3, horsehoofs 1, at the last 1, steps 1, liers in wait 1 (emphasis mine).

I apologize for being unclear here, the point is that the DRB says, “and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”  The “liers in wait” is part of the definition of H6119, which in turn lends itself to the DRB translation.  The “heel” is the “rear” or the “hinder part” or that which “lies in wait.”  All these contribute to the viability of the DRB translation.

3.      Also in your counter response, you fail to respond to the actual grammatical argument that I make with regard to Luke 1:28, and instead accuse me of dealing with only part of the word. (a) Would you please take some time to demonstrate how I have done this, (b) and also take the opportunity to respond to the actual argument that I make?

Well, that’s two questions.  To answer 3a:  charitoo is the root of kecharitomene, which you have claimed are “the same word” - but they are not.  To say they are the same word would be akin to saying “noun” and “pronoun” are the same word because they have the same root.  Kecharitomene expands upon the root of charitoo (grace) to tell us that this “grace” has already been given to the Blessed Virgin, and it is a completed giving of it (perfect).  Thus the perfected giving of grace means that she is “full of grace.”  It is also used in the vocative, that is as a name or title that the angel of the Lord is addressing her by, “Hail, Full of Grace...” and she is actually confounded by that address “and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.”  Mary considered herself to be a “lowly handmaid of the Lord,” yet this angel had addressed her as “Full of Grace.” If I were to address you, “Hey, one whom God has graced,” you would not think much of it and would likely accept it as a greeting any Christian could receive.  Now if I said, “Hey, full of grace!” you might be just as confounded by such a statement as the Blessed Virgin was.  

As for answering to 3b, my purpose in this debate is not to answer to OTHER possible translations, but to respond to the viability of the Vulgate/DRB translations.  I have already stated that I will not be following these distractions (rabbit trails).  Whether or not you have ANOTHER viable translation is beyond the scope of this debate.

4.      In your comments so far, and particularly your rebuttal for round two, you seem to be making the claim that Jerome actually used a different Hebrew text than what we currently possess.  I would like you to discuss this in more detail, and provide any evidence that you have in addition to the rather thin support you have already provided. To clarify specifically, you and Dr. Marshall provide very tenuous support for the assertion that “There is good reason to doubt the majority Hebrew reading...”  Can you or your source provide any other arguments in support of this assertion?

Answer:  I already have where I found the support of what Dr. Marshall said, especially in regard to Moses Maimonides (who is still quite respected in Jewish circles).  I quoted and cited Maimonides where he clearly also refers to “she” or “her” in the same manner as the DRB.  I have already responded regarding what I personally have found regarding Josephus and Philo and have told you (and the readership) that I have written Dr. Marshall regarding his references and I also stated that I doubted he would respond prior to the denouement of this debate.  I’m not sure what more you expect of me at this point, unless your point was to get me to repeat that the Josephus and Philo references (that I could find) did not seem to be overly, or even at all supportive of Dr. Marshall’s assertion.  

5.      You asserted in your recent round two rebuttal that the NAB and the NJB altered the translations of Gen 3:15 and Luke 1:28 as part of a Protestant appeasement program.  Other than the fact that such activity seemed to be taking placed (sic) in your church generally, do you have any actual documentary or other hard evidence to support this claim?

Answer:  Well, two things here.  1) I clearly stated it was my opinion when I initially stated it.  2) As we both have stated, this matter is really nothing more than a distraction to the debate so let us leave the red herrings behind, shall we?

6.      Dr. Marshall claims that there are two Hebrew manuscripts (out of literally hundreds), which have the feminine “she” instead of “he” for Genesis 3:15.  Would you please provide the names, dates and provenance of those two manuscripts?

Answer:  That’s more of a question for Dr. Marshall.  Let me express my doubt about the parenthetical statement of “literally hundreds” of Hebrew manuscripts.  I concur there are several, but not “hundreds” - especially that may have been extant in St. Jerome’s day.

7.      With regard to Luke 1:28, (a) do you understand the difference between semantics and syntax (if so, (b) please briefly explain), and (c) can your (sic) provide any additional lexical support for your claims?

Answer:  That’s really 3 questions, so you’ve really asked eleven questions, not eight.  
7a:  Yes
7b:  Semantics has to do with the meaning of words while syntax is the grammatical structure.
7c:  Too vague, I cannot ask questions here but I am at a quandary as to which claims Mr. Hofstetter would like me to present lexical support for.  Does he mean just for the terms semantics and syntax?  Does he mean for ALL claims made in this debate thus far?  That being said, I’ve answered two of the three questions he asked in “question 7” so we’re ahead of the game already.  Perhaps Mr. Hofstetter can clarify in his rebuttal phase (next) and I can respond to that in Round 4.

8.      ” Mr. Hofstetter begins by disputing whose “heel” does the “crushing” and explains that the feminine gender of the word ‘heel’ is the ‘normal gender for the word.’”  Can you show me where I ever said anything about the heel doing the crushing?

Answer:  Certainly.  You said, Now what this means is that that the grammatical gender of (aQeB, heel, has nothing to do whatsoever with whose heel the serpent “is lying in wait for.”  (emphasis added) (Source).

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