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Problems with Inclusive Language Bible Translation

From the marvels of the universe (yesterday’s post) to the use of inclusive language in Bible translations (today’s post) – easy!   All in one step. The Psalm I quoted yesterday presents a problem to Bible translators who want to render the text to include both men and women.   Here is what Psalm 8 says in the (non-inclusive-language) King James, as quoted yesterday: 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: When the New Revised Standard Version came out in 1989, it altered the translation by making it more inclusive, as follows: 3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars [...]

Problems with Inclusive Language Translations

The policy of the NRSV translation committee on inclusive language was sensible, in my view.    It involved a three-pronged approach. Any passage that was referring to both men and women was to be rendered inclusively, even if the original language (Hebrew or Greek) used masculine terms (“men,” “man,” “brothers,” “he” etc.). Any passage that was explicitly referring only to men, or only to women, was to be left as referring only to men or to women. All references to the Deity that in the original used masculine terms were to be left masculine. Here I will say a few things about each of these policies, in reverse order.  First, the deity.  No one on the committee thought that the deity actually has male genitalia or other sexual distinctions.  But ... THE REST OF THIS POST IS FOR MEMBERS ONLY.  If you don't belong yet, JOIN!  It costs less than a coffee at Starbucks a month, and every penny goes to help the needy.  You get a good deal, they get a good deal, the world [...]

By |2020-04-03T02:44:32-04:00December 20th, 2016|Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|59 Comments

Inclusive Language in Bible Translations

One of the most difficult issues that the New Revised Standard Version translation committee had to address involved the use of inclusive language.  Part of the problem was that this issue was not a generally recognized issue (by the wider reading public) when the translators began their work, but was very much an issue when they were already finished with a large chunk of it.  The translators were mainly senior scholars who had acquired their linguistic skills before virtually anyone in the academy knew (or at least said) that there even was a problem with inclusivity, and so they themselves were learning how to communicate in the new idiom.  And it took a while before they figured out how exactly to handle it. I myself was first introduced to the problem when I entered graduate school, and like a lot of people from my generation (especially, but not only, us males) at first I thought it was a fairly ridiculous much ado about nothing and that writing inclusively simply threatened to destroy the beauty of [...]

By |2020-04-03T02:44:40-04:00December 19th, 2016|Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|35 Comments
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