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Does "brotherhood" comprise only males?

2015-04-28 3:38 PM | Daniel

Does "brotherhood" comprise only males? Consider these definitions of brother and brotherhood:

 In the Oxford English Dictionary, one definition of brother is “A fellow member of a Christian society or of the Christian Church as a whole; a fellow Christian, a co-religionist generally.

Under brotherhood, one definition is “The fellowship or communion of Christians with one another and with Christ.” A citation is from R. W. Dale: “There is a brotherhood between Christ and all believers.”

Another definition of brotherhood is “Fellowship; community of feeling between man and man. A modern notion frequent in brotherhood of man, universal brotherhood, etc. One citation is from Farrar, 1800, Early Christianity: “In the Church the beautiful ideal of human brotherhood was carried into practice.” Neither this nor any of the other several citations implies a restriction of brotherhood to males.


Similarly, in Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition Unabridged, 1950, one definition of brother is “A fellow Christian or coreligionist, esp. a member of the same congregation or religious society; specif. A fellow member in a religious order.” And one of the definitions of brotherhood is “Brotherliness; fellowship; companionship.”


I believe the Urantia Brotherhood erred in changing its name from "Brotherhood" to "Fellowship." The Urantia Book says that "the greatest truths mortal man can ever hear" are "the living gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man." Though the truth is not dependent on a particular linguistic expression, making a gratuitous change falsely implies there is something suspect in the original formulation.

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