Q — I don’t understand why the Nicene Creed contains the phrase “for us men” instead of a more appropriate “for us all.” Please explain.

A — This is a good and interesting question. It probably doesn’t need to be pointed out that the theological intention in this article of the Creed is “for us all” and not “for us men” understood in terms of gender.

Having said that, it is interesting to look at the Greek text of the Creed. Putting it in English letters the text reads di’ hemas tous anthropous. There are two related words in Greek: the word aner which means a “male human being,” and the more generic word anthropos which means “human being.”

If one consults the standard Greek dictionary of the New Testament and other early Christian literature by Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker, this is what one finds. For aner, “man, in contrast to woman.” For anthropos, “human being, man.”

So, the first term is gender-based, while the second term is generic. The Nicene Creed uses the plural of anthropos, the generic term. So a more literal reading but in contemporary English would be “far as humans” or “for us all.”

It is unclear to me why we do not use one of the generic forms of translation rather than “for us men.”

I know that in some communities when it comes to this creedal clause they substitute something like “for us all,” rather than “for us men.”

I understand that, but I believe that for the unity and catholicity of the church we should stay with the approved text, even as we argue for its being changed.

The liturgy should not be an ideological battleground.