"Don Carson has given us a much-needed book that is both provoca

-
tive and timely .... He observes that inclusive-language translations
are not only inevitable but also necessary, and that current translations
that refuse to update themselves gender-inclusively will quite likely
end up in the dustbin of history .... I heartily and enthusiastically rec-
ommend Carson's latest effort, and I do so without reservation."
Ronald Youngblood
member of NIV Committee on Bible Translation
"Carson's study of inclusive language is an excellent plea for san-
ity in a discussion that has had its share of hysteria and lack of balance.
Bringing the history of translation, exegetical skill, an awareness of
how different languages work, an appreciation of the cultural dimen-
sions of the question, numerous specific examples, and just sheer calm
to the table, Carson's work deserves a careful reading by all in the
debate and a hearty word of thanks from the Christian community."
Darrell L. Bock
research professor of New Testament studies,
Dallas Theological Seminary
"Wise and scholarly, D. A. Carson brings judicious insight to the
heated debate regarding inclusive language in Bible translations. This
profound volume demonstrates the complexity of translation decisions
and heightens sensitivity to the task of careful Biblical interpretation."
Luder G. Whitlock, Ir.
president, Reformed Theological Seminary
"Based on masterful linguistic scholarship, this book is a model of
fair-minded wisdom on Bible translation."
I. 1. Packer
professor of theology, Regent College
"From a surprising source comes an able defense for inclusive lan-
guage, because of a desire to have integrity in Bible translation."
Aida Besan,on Spencer
professor of New Testament
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
THE
INCLUSIVE-
LANGUAGE
DEBATE
A PLEA FOR REALISM
.- -,------,-
D. A.
BakerBooks
A Division of Baker .!:SOaK House \,..;0
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49516
CARSON
-
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© 1998 by D. A. Carson
Published by Baker Books
a division of Baker Book House Company
P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids,:MI 49516-6287
and
Inter-Varsity Press
38 De Montford Street
Leicester LEI 7GP
England
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval sys-
tem, or transmitted in any fonn or by any means-for example, electronic, photocopy,
recording-without the prior written pennission of the publisher. The only exception is
brief quotations in printed reviews.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Carson, D. A.
The inclusive-language debate: a plea for realism I D.A. Carson.
p. em.
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
ISBN 0-80IO-5835-X (pbk.)
1. Bible--Translating. 2. Nonsexist language-Religious aspects-Christian-
ity. 3. Bible. English-Versions. L Title.
BS449.C37 1998
220S2'OOI-dc21 98-23473
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN 0-85111-584-5
Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version.
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission ofZon-
dervan Bible Publishers.
Scripture quotations marked NIvr are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Ver-
sion: Inclusive Language Edition. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible
Society. This edition 1995. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
Scripture quotations marked NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the
Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked RSV are taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible,
copyright © 1946,1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
For information about academic books, resources for Christian leaders, and all new
releases available from Baker Book House, visit our web site:
http://www.bakerbooks.com
This book is gratefully dedicated
to the many Bible translators I have known
and sometimes had the privilege of working with
in places as varied as
Nairobi, Philadelphia, and Ukarumpa
CONTENTS
Preface 9
List of Abbreviations 13
1. The Making of a Crisis: Bible Translation and Bible
Rage 15
2. Conflicting Principles: The CBT and CSG on Inclusive
Language 39
3. Translation and Treason: An Inevitable and Impossible
Task 47
4. Gender and Sex around the World: A Translator's
Nightmare 77
5. A Brief Evaluation of the CBT and CS
Principles 99
6. Some Old Testament Passages 135
7. Some New Testament Passages 147
8. Some Critical Passages with Important Doctrinal
Issues at Stake 165
9. But Is the English Language Changing? 183
10. Pastoral Considerations: How to Avoid Bible
Rage 193
Notes 199
General Index 213
Scripture Index 219
7
r'"
PREFACE
Let me De frank: this is not the sort of book I like to write.
By inclination there are other things I would much rather do.
Moreover, experience has taught me that sometimes the effort
to pour oil on boiling waters, far from calming the heavy seas,
ends up with a conflagration: various parties can hardly wait
to touch a match to the oil.
Still, on balance it seemed better to say something than to
say nothing. I was exposed to the challenges of translation from
my earliest days: I was born in Montreal and reared in French
Canada. My father was pastor of a bilingual church, and all of
us grew up with both English and French. Of my first two expe-
riences as a pastoral intern, one was in a French church, the
other in an English church; of my first two attempts at church
planting, one was in an English-speaking suburb, the other in
a French-speaking city. I grew up memorizing the King James
Version in English and the Louis Segond in French.
Later on I learned other languages, but those early experi-
ences of ministry convinced me of one thing. This was at a
time when my knowledge of the biblical languages was still
rudimentary, so I was largely dependent on the English and
French versions. I discovered that sometimes a sermon I pre-
pared for an English congregation, grounded in the English
text, could not easily be preached in French, and vice versa-
9
'"
10 PREFACE
unless I spent quite a bit of time trying to explain how the two
versions had handled the underlying Greek and Hebrew in
rather different ways. From the preacher's perspective, it
struck me that if too much of my emphasis depended on pecu-
liarities of translations, I was probably in danger of missing
the forest for the trees. So from then on I tried to produce ser-
mons that so focused on what was clear in both translations
that I could preach them in either language.
Several decades and languages later, I still think that was
a good choice at the time. It is not that careful study cannot
properly evaluate translations or offer a reasoned judgment
as to which one is better, for what audience, and why. But the
simple resolution I adopted as a young man did help me to
focus at the time on what was central, and I have never regret-
ted the decision.
In the current debate over inclusive language, all sides have
raised important and delicate issues. Part of my task in this
little book is to utter a plea for realism-to try to make clear,
from my perspective, what we can and cannot expect from
translations, and how easy it is to miss some of the big issues
while focusing on the narrower and more technical ones.
This book is not for experts: linguists will learn nothing
from it, and Bible translators very little. As is frequently the
case, some of the most strident voices have been raised, on
all sides, by concerned Christians who know little of the chal-
lenges of translation, and still less of linguistic theory. I have
tried to write for people with little or no Greek and Hebrew.
Undoubtedly I have been too reductionistic at points and
unwittingly too technical at others. Still, if this book fosters
among Christians careful, clearheaded discussion about this
subject, I shall be grateful.
Four final remarks:
First, for the record, I write as a confessional evangelical
with a high view of Holy Scripture and have frequently con-
tributed to conferences and books on the subject.
PREFACE 11
Second, in the debate between "egalitarians" and "comple-
mentarians" I side with the latter, and have sometimes
addressed such questions publicly, both orally and in written
form.' In other words, whatever my errors and blind spots, I
cannot fairly be accused of adopting the stances I do in trans-
lation because I am driven by some feminist agenda or other.
At the same time, I naturally wish not to adopt a position incon-
sistent with my larger theological convictions in this respect.
Thitd, this little book does not properly address the serious
critique offered by the more radical feminists, who because God
is not properly "male" in any sexual or human sense, think that
the ancient language of trinitarian confessionalism should be
changed from "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" to "Creator, Child
(or Redeemer), and Sustainer" or the like. The questions they
raise are important, increasingly sophisticated, and deserve seri-
ous evaluation and response. I venture a few remarks here and
there. But by and large this book restricts itself to an in-house
discussion within the framework of evangelicalism.
Finally, I want to record my thanks to several people who
steered me toward important resources. Professor John Stek
sent me some of his unpublished papers, and they proved to
be brimful of salient observations. Dr. Norman Fraser not only
e-mailed me some useful notes on gender systems in various
languages around the world but provided me with bibliogra-
phy that anchored me in some serious research on such mat-
ters. Dr. Richard Schultz sent me tapes and notes of the pub-
lic Wheaton College forum, "The Current Inclusive Language
Controversy." My colleagues Drs. Wayne Grudem and Grant
Osborne have already gone public with their views on this
debate: I have benefited from their work, even though neither
will agree with everything I say. Several colleagues took the
time to read the first draft of this book and offer helpful crit-
icisms. To each of them I owe a considerable debt. I am grate-
ful for their time and effort.
Soli Deo gloria.
ASV
CBMW
CBT
CEV
CS
CSG
IDS
IB
KJV
LB
LXX
MT
NASB
NEB
NET
NITV
NIV
NIV]
NIB
NKN
NLT
NRSV
REB
RSV
ABBREVIATIONS
American Standard Version
Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Committee on Bible Translation
Contemporary English Version
Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Guidelines
International Bible Society
Jerusalem Bible
King James Version
Living Bible
Septuagint (ancient Greek translation of the Old
Testament)
Masoretic Text (Hebrew Old Testament)
New American Standard Bible
New English Bible
New English Translation
New International Reader's Version
New International Version
New International Version: Inclusive Language
Edition
New Jerusalem Bible
New King James Version
New Living Translation
New Revised Standard Version
Revised English Bible
Revised Standard Version
13
,.-
i.iIi.......
Bible Rage
I
THE MAKING
OF A CRISIS
BIBLE TRANSLATION
AND BIBLE RAGE
During the past decade or so, traffic experts have coined a
new expression: "road rage." People drive thousands of miles,
face the ordinary stress of interstate highways, bottlenecks,
gapers' blocks, and rush hours. Then someone cuts them off-
something that has happened to them scores of times before,
something they've probably done themselves more than
once-and somehow they go over the top: this incident is per-
sonal. Road rage triumphs, and out comes a crowbar or a shot-
gun, and mayhem is the result.
Bible translation has been going on since at least the sec-
ond century before Christ, and probably earlier. Normally it is
a highly varied but reasonably predictable business. Every once
15
I
"
ii
'"
16 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
in a while, however, and for highly disparate reasons, Bible
rage takes over, In the days of William Tyndale, the issue was
translating into the vernacular, into the common language of
the people. The Roman Catholic Church was not against all
translations, since after all it used the Latin Vulgate. But it was
fiercely opposed to vernacular versions (a "version" of the
Bible is nothing more than a translation of the Bible). William
Tyndale paid with his life: he was strangled and burned in 1536.
It would be tedious to rehearse all the instances of Bible rage.
Today we live in relatively mellower times. When the Revised
Standard Version (RSV) appeared in 1952, one pastor in Rocky
Mount, North Carolina, publicly burned a copy with a blow-
torch, damning it as "a heretical, communist-inspired Bible."
The ashes were sent in a metal box to Dean Weigle, at Yale Divin-
ity School, who had served as convener of the Standard Bible
Committee, responsible for the translation. That box and its ashes
are still among the archives of the committee-"a reminder," as
Bruce Metzger whimsically puts it, "that, though in previous
centuries Bible translators were sometimes burned, today hap-
pily it is only a copy of the translation that meets such a fate."l
The current debate has fired up various degrees of Bible
rage once again. I have not yet heard of a copy of the New
International Version: Inclusive Language Edition (NIVI) being
scorched with a blowtorch, but the vice president of the Inter-
national Bible Society (IBS), which sponsors the NN and the
NIVI, has publicly displayed seven copies sent him that had
apparently been treated to the tender mercies of a power drill.
The controversy has prompted one conservative institution to
sack from its faculty a member of the Committee on Bible
Translation (CBT-the group responsible for both the NIV and
the NIVI) only a year or so before his retirement.'
Definitions
But we need to back up a little. By "inclusive-language
translations" or "gender-neutral translations" or "gender-inclu-
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 17
sive translations" I am referring to English translations of the
Bible, or parts of the Bible, that replace male nouns like "man"
and "brother" and male pronouns like "he" and "him" with
other expressions that clearly include women-hence inclu-
sive language. "Man" might become "person," "brother"
might become "brother and sister," and so forth. English has
its share of both gender-exclusive, or gender-specific, terms
(for example, husband, wife, she, father) and gender-inclu-
sive, or gender-neutral, terms (for example, spouse, parent,
them, sibling, child). Such expressions are not to be confused
with expressions that somehow suggest a blending of terms
(for example, unisex, androgynous).
If, then, the donor language, Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek,
uses a term which in that language and culture is gender inclu-
sive, as in Hebrew "sons" can refer to sons and daughters,
then in the receptor language, English, the translator must
decide if the closest formal equivalent, the English word
"sons," is the best rendering. If the translator thinks that "sons"
in English is too gender specific to capture what the donor
word means in that context, he or she may judge that some
such rendering as "sons and daughters" is more faithful to the
Hebrew source than the word "sons" would be.
None of this is new. The additional factor that has sprung
up is that most translators judge that a number of English
words have become more gender specific during the past few
years, and therefore faithful translation demands, in such
cases, fewer formal equivalents and more semantic equiva-
lents (that is, equivalents in meaning). There was a time, of
course, when almost any competent speaker of English would
have told you that the word "man" means different things in
different passages. In some contexts "man" refers to a male,
or to all males, of the human species. In such passages, the
context discloses that the word "man" is gender specific. But
in some other contexts, those English speakers would have
told you, the same word "man" has generic force that includes
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18 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
all human beings, male and female, without distinction, In
such contexts, the word "man" is gender inclusive.
For the past quarter of a century or so, however, this usage
has increasingly come under attack. Critics note that the word
"man" never refers exclusively to the female of the species.
If such usage, alternating between the male and the generic,
is not concrete evidence of male oppression, it is argued, at
the very least it is insensitive. The result has been some shift
in usage. And the same is trne for a range of other nouns and
pronouns that flip back and forth between the gender-specific
male and the generic.
How much of a shift has actually taken place is one of the
things that is disputed: I shall return to this point in chapter 9.
For the moment, I shall assume that a real shift has occurred.
The perception of such a shift has been strong enough that it
has prompted several groups to work on Bible translations
that accommodate this change in contemporary English usage.
In passing, I should make clear that those concerned with
inclusive language come from a wide range of stances on the
broader questions raised by contemporary feminism. The most
radical feminists have developed liturgies that replace "Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit" with "Creator, Redeemer, and Sus-
tainer." They reason that the Bible itself was written in a cul-
ture steeped in patriarchalism, and to preserve what is essen-
tial to the Bible's message without causing needless offense,
almost all the God language in the Bible and in Bible-based
liturgies should be modified. Although a few liturgies in main-
line denominations have adopted this stance, Bible publish-
ers and translators have largely resisted it. Most people
involved in inclusive-language Bible translation are prepared
to move toward renderings that make generic uses of words
like "man" and "he" explicitly inclusive-indeed, they insist
that this makes Bible translations, in our culture, more accu-
rate than they would otherwise be. But they are unwilling to
tamper with language that refers to God. Their reasons we
shall look at later. At the moment, it is enough to observe .that
I"'"
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 19
none of the well-known Bible translations that have opted for
inclusive language have systematically tried to emasculate
references to God as Father or to Jesus as Son. With only rare
exceptions, some of which I shall evaluate in chapter 8, the
passages at issue do not affect how God or Jesus is presented.
Some Historical Perspective
Long before the present controversy erupted, Bible trans-
lators had to struggle with when they should choose inclusive
language and when they should not. The first printed English
New Testament was translated by William Tyndale and pub-
lished in 1526. Judgments in the arena of gender systems had
to be made. In Matthew 5:9, for instance, Tyndale rendered
the text, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called
the children of God," even though the underlying Greek word
is huioi, that is, "sons." "Children" remained the preferred
rendering until the ASV (1901) and the NKJV (1982). In fact,
the KN renders the Hebrew word ben (or its plural bClnfm) as
"son" or "sons" 2,822 times and as "child" or "children" 1,533
times, or about 35 percent
3
Even more striking is the fact that this sort of shift occa-
sionally occurs when an Old Testament text is quoted in the
New Testament. In 2 Samuel 7, God tells David, through
Nathan the prophet, how Solomon will succeed him and build
the temple that David wanted to build. Referring to Solomon,
God says, "I will be a Father to him, and he will be a son to
me" (7:14, author's translation). This Father/son relationship
becomes a pattern for God's relationship to the Davidic king,
not least the ultimate Davidic king. For instance, Psalm 2 is
the first place where the Hebrew word for messiah is explic-
itly linked with the son of David, and here too God ties the
appointment of the Davidic king, his enthronement, to the
establishment of the Father/son relationship (Ps. 2:7). The apos-
tle Paul also picks up 2 Samuel 7:14. In the context, he is argu-
ing that believers should live separately from the world (2 Cor.
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20 THE INCLUSIYERLANGUAGE DEBATE
6:14-7:1). He advances several arguments and quotes several
Old Testamenttexts, the last of which is 2 Samuel 7: 14, which
he renders, "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons
and daughters to me" (2 Cor. 6:18, author's translation).
Note carefully what the apostle Paul has done. He has taken
the third-person singular ("he will be a son to me") and rewrit-
ten it as a second-person plural-not only a second-person
plural, but in terms that expand the masculine "son" into both
genders: "you shall be sons and daughters to me." Nor is it the
case in this passage that Paul is simply citing the common
Greek version-some form of the Septuagint (LXX)-with-
out worrying too much about the details, for here the LXX fol-
lows the Hebrew rather closely. Nor can one easily imagine
that Paul was ignorant of the Hebrew and LXX texts. Even the
more biblically literate in the Corinthian congregation would
have been familiar with at least the Greek text, so they would
have detected the changes Paul has introduced.
I shall briefly return to this passage in chapter 8. There are
complex reasons why Paul can argue this way, bound up with
an important typology that needs to be explored. But the least
we can say is that the apostle himself does not think that
Hebrew singulars must always be rendered by Greek singu-
lars, or that the Hebrew "son" should never be rendered by
the Greek "sons and daughters." No one, I think, would
quickly charge Paul with succumbing to a feminist agenda.
Not that Paul was the first to make such adjustments. The
Septuagint itself also on occasion moves in the direction of
gender-inclusive translation. The Bible tells us that Hosea's
wife Gomer bore three children, two sons and one daughter
(Hosea 1). The Hebrew of Hosea 2:4 (2:6 MT), however, lit-
erally says, "Upon her sons also I will have no pity, because
they are sons of whoredom." We do not have to wait for mod-
ern translations before we find the formal equivalent dropped
in favor of the semantic equivalent: not only do we find "chil-
dren" in the KJV, ASV, mv, NRSV, and most other English trans-
lations, but the same shift was accomplished in the Septuagint
Ii
I
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 21
(Hosea 2:6 LXX), which uses a Greek neuter word for "chil-
dren" instead of the common Greek word for "sons." This is
competent translation; it is certainly not the product of a fem-
inist agenda.
Recent Developments
So what is new about the current developments in inclu-
sive-language translations? At one level, as we have seen,
nothing is new: those who translate ancient languages into
English have always wrestled with these sorts of questions.
Moreover, as we shall see in chapter 4, translation from almost
any language to ahnost any other language involves some hard
choices in this area. Nevertheless, there are two new devel-
opments. First, owing to continuing shifts in English usage
that make more and more words gender specific, for the first
time Bible translation committees have tried to work out sys-
tematic principles in this area and then apply them to the whole
Bible.
4
In the past, such questions were largely dealt with in
an ad hoc way. Now they are being worked out systematically.
If you like the results, you will conclude that this brings about
consistency; if you do not like the results, you will conclude
that something artificial is being imposed on the text. Second,
because these shifts in the language have come about, not so
much because of unidentified linguistic developments of a
haphazard sort, but at least in part because of social agendas
strongly advocated by feminist thinkers of various stripes,
these translational questions have become freighted with more
significance than they would otherwise enjoy. This is true for
both sides of the debate: if some feminists and egalitarians
see these linguistic changes as something to be espoused and
promoted, some complementarians see them as something to
be repulsed at all costs. As a result it is becoming more and
more difficult to engage in cool evaluation of the translational
factors involved without soon becoming enmeshed in debates
about motives, social change, and biblical fidelity.
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22 THE DEBATE
Still, it must be said that several inclusive-lauguage Bibles
appeared without much fuss. In most cases one can offer an
intelligent guess as to why their publication elicited relatively
little comment. The Revised English Bible (REB), published
in 1989 by both Oxford University Press and Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, declared in its preface, "The use of male-ori-
ented lauguage, in passages of traditional versions of the Bible
which evidently apply to both genders, has become a sensi-
tive issue in recent years; the revisers have preferred more
inclusive gender reference where that has been possible with-
out compromising scholarly integrity or English style." Sim-
ilarly, "thou" and related forms were abaudoned in direct
address to God. But the REB is a revision of the New English
Bible (NEB). Three factors ensured that neither the NEB nor the
REB would become the Bible of the people. (1) The English
is elegaut, the vocabulary large, the style impressive--char-
acteristics that attract the best -educated people in the English-
speaking world, but no one else. (2) More importaut, the NEB
adopted critical stances toward the Bible with which virtually
no confessional Christian could feel comfortable, including
more thau one hundred textual displacements in the Old Tes-
tament that had no textual warraut whatsoever but were made
purely on "higher critical" grounds. The most egregious fea-
tures of the NEB have been rectified in the REB, which in fact
reads very smoothly. (3) Nevertheless, both the NEB aud the
REB staud far enough away from traditionallauguage in many
passages that some Christiaus, steeped in the tradition of, say,
the KN, or even the RSY, find that distance a little off-putting.
Certainly the NEB has enjoyed only a fraction of the sales of,
say, the NIY,s and the REB is not going to reverse this trend.
Thus, if conservative believers were aware of the REB'S exis-
tence, they were unlikely to object very loudly, simply because
it belonged to a small constituency far removed from them
aud therefore offering no threat.
The Contemporary English Version (CEY), published by
Thomas Nelson in 1995 under the sponsorship of the Amer-
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 23
ican Bible Society, is described as a "user-friendly" and a
"mission-driven" trauslation "that can be read aloud without
stumbling, heard without misunderstauding, and listened to
with enjoyment and appreciation, because the lauguage is
contemporary aud the style is lucid and lyrical."6 Like the
REB, it employs gender-inclusive language fairly extensively.
Its publication history is still very recent. Its popular level of
writing has ensured its adoption by some popular parachurch
ministries, including some conservative ones. No attention
was drawn, in the Thomas Nelson edition, to its gender-inclu-
sive translation policy, and one suspects that some of these
parachurch ministries had not even noticed this feature of this
version until the current crisis blew up. Something similar
could be said for NIrY, the NIY that was recast for young chil-
dren aud other readers with limited vocabulary aud reading
skills.
The New Living Translation (NLT), the 1996 update ofthe
extraordinarily popular Living Bible (LB), similarly adopted
"gender-inclusive lauguage." Its introduction provides exam-
ples of how this policy works out. For example, a traditional
rendering of Proverbs 22:6 might read, "Train up a child in
the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart
from it." The NLT offers, "Teach your children to choose the
right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon
it"-in this case avoiding the masculine pronoun by switch-
ing to plural. But the NLT, despite its largely conservative con-
stituency, did not immediately come under attack. Partly this
spraug from the fact that both the LB aud the NLT advertise
themselves as paraphrases-or, more precisely, the LB adver-
tises itself as a paraphrase, and the NLT presents itself as a
"thought-for-thought" translation. Whatever the label, most
readers do not expect quite the same degree of rigor from
Bibles in that tradition. Moreover, although many copies of
the LB (and one suspects this will be true of the NLT) are cher-
ished for personal reading, it is far from clear that the NLT will
overtake the NN as a staudard pew Bible.
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24 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
There are several other gender-inclusive Bible translations,
most of which will receive little notice in this book. The most
sophisticated gender-inclusive translation is the New Revised
Standard Version (NRSV), published in 1989. This is a revi-
sion of the Revised Standard Version (RSV). Whatever its the-
ological proclivities, it therefore stands in a tradition that
prefers formal equivalents where possible, and proves less
free than, say, the NIV, let alone the REB or the NLT. The maxim
the committee followed was "As literal as possible, as free as
necessary. "7 Like the REB, it eliminates all archaizing forms
of English ("thou," "hadst," etc.). And it too espouses gen-
der-inclusive principles throughout the translation where
words referring to human beings are understood by the trans-
lators to be generic in meaning.
8
Quite apart from the gender issue, many ofthe NRSV'S ren-
derings are distinct improvements over the RSV. Some of these
reflect changes in English usage. "I will accept no bull from
your house" (RSV) may have been acceptable in 1952, but
today "I will not accept a bull from your house" (NRSV) is
decidedly superior. Similarly, "Once I was stoned" (RSV) has
understandably given way to "Once I received a stoning"-
though "to receive a stoning" somehow seems to downplay
the experience.
The NRSV systematically adopts a gender-inclusive expres-
sion when the donor expression is judged generic. On the whole,
the committee's efforts avoid the most obvious traps. For exam-
ple, in the parables of Jesus if a "man" is doing something that
only a male would do in that culture, the English word "man"
is retained (for example, Matt. 25: 14). Masculine pronouns for
Deity are thinned out, but not neutered and not feminized. Nev-
ertheless, the policy of adopting gender-inclusive language is
systematically worked out. Various devices are employed. Thus,
in Mark 2:27, another word replaces "man": it now reads, "The
Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the Sab-
bath." Sometimes expressions are pluralized: instead of
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked"
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 25
(RSV), we now have "Happy are those who do not follow the
advice of the wicked." "Fathers" often becomes "ancestors,"
"brothers" regularly becomes "brothers and sisters." In Ezekiel,
where ben-'adam ("son of man") occurs about ninety times,
the NRSV opts for "mortal." Occasionally the translators change
to another person to avoid gender-specific language: for exam-
ple, Psahn 41:5 RSV, "My enemies say in malice, 'When will
he [that is, the psahnistj die, and his name perish?'" becomes
in the NRSV "My enemies wonder in malice when I will die, and
my nameperish"-since "I" is gender neutral while "he" is not.
The direct speech of the enemies, of course, is thereby lost. In
a few instances, such metamorphoses threatened so much havoc
that the translators admit they threw up their hands in despair
and left the offending masculine pronoun in place (for exam-
ple, Psalm 109).
Various criticisms can be leveled, of course: we'll come
to those in due course. In fairness, it should be pointed out
that some critics on the more radical feminist wing think that
the NRSV is not nearly radical enough. They want to elimi-
nate, for instance, any male reference to God. We shall reflect
on both the demand and the restraint in due course. A few
critics charge the NRSV with inadequately pursuing its stated
policy. For example, Acts 15:1 NRSV still preserves "broth-
ers," and this has been criticized: "Then certain individuals
came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers,
'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of
Moses, you cannot be saved.' " But here the NRSV'S restraint
is wholly admirable: can you imagine the national snicker if
the text read that those from Judea were teaching the broth-
ers and sisters that they had to be circumcised?
Once again there was little fuss. A few sign wavers
protested outside the hotel at the Society of Biblical Litera-
ture when the NRSV was unveiled and reviewed in that venue.
The advertising was such that anyone who was awake could
scarcely have failed to take note that the NRSV employs gen-
der-inclusive language. I suspect that this version did not draw
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26 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
the opposition of conservatives because it is sponsored by the
Division of Christian Education of the National Council of
the Churches of Christ (NCCC), so that many evangelicals,
especially those in independent churches and in evangelical
denominations that are mostly outside the NCCC, could dis-
miss the effort with a weary, "What else could you expect?"
The restraint (or indifference?) dissolved when the New
International Version (NIV) headed down a similar (though
slightly more restrained) path, The NlV is the best -selling En-
glish version of the Bible in the world, widely judged to be
suitable for both church and private use. It is especially appre-
ciated in evangelical circles. Since its first appearance, the
Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), a group of fifteen
scholars from many denominations, has continued to receive
suggestions for the improvement of the NIV. They are com-
mitted to the task of continuing to keep the NIV in contempo-
rary English and faithful to the source texts. In the 1980s they
had produced an edition with minor changes. Contemplating
the next set of changes, in 1992 they decided to provide an
inclusive-language edition.
One of their first tasks was to adopt a set of principles.'
Among the most important were the following: retain the gen-
der used in the original words referring to God, angels, and
demons; gender-specific features in such literary genres as
parables and exemplary stories were not to be changed with-
out good reason; the feminine gender of cities and states or
nations would be retained; on the other hand, not only would
generic uses for formally male terms be rendered by some
gender-neutral expression, but sometimes an expression such
as "workman" might become "worker" if it is established that
the "work" involved could in that culture be done by a man
or a woman; masculine singular pronouns such as "he" that
were contextually gender inclusive could be pluralized to get
around the problem; and so forth.
Market research prompted the American publisher, Zon-
dervan, to proceed slowly. In 1996, however, the British pub-
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 27
lisher, Hodder and Stoughton, brought out the NlVI-the NIV
in its gender-inclusive edition. That edition cannot legally be
sold in the United States.
Included in the preface to this edition is a sentence that
could be interpreted in two quite different ways: "At the same
time, it was recognised that it was often appropriate to mute
the patriarchalism of the culture of the biblical writers through
gender-inclusive language when this could be done without
compromising the message of the Spirit."
1. Taken in the strictest sense, this sentence was bound to
set alarm bells ringing among complementarians: it sounds as
if wherever the Bible says something that our culture views
as too "patriarchal," we have every right to dismiss what it
says as a vestige of an outmoded view we have outgrown. So
we ignore what the text says and listen to a rather vague "mes-
sage of the Spirit."
2. Alternatively, it is possible to read the sentence in a min-
imalist sense: "the patriarchalism of the culture" refers to no
more than the prevalence of gender-inclusive expressions in,
say, Hebrew, whose formal equivalents in English may be gen-
der specific, prompting sensitive translators, rightly under-
standing what God by his Spirit has actually said in the Word,
to seek greater accuracy by looking for gender-inclusive
expressions in the receptor langnage.
As I read the sentence when it is pulled out of its paragraph,
it seems to favor the first view; when I restore it to its para-
graph, it can comfortably be understood in the second sense,
since the next sentence goes on to explain: "This involved dis-
tinguishing between those passages in which an activity was
normally carried out by either males or females, and other cases
where the gender of the people concerned was less precisely
identified. While in cases of the former the text could be left
unaltered, in cases of the latter words like 'workmen' could be
changed to 'worker' or 'craftsman' to 'skilled worker.'"
Or again, the statement in question could be taken as mean-
ing something between these two alternatives. For example, it
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28 THE DEBATE
has long been recognized that the precise fonn of a biblical
mandate may be so cloaked in a cultural peculiarity that it is
not to be obeyed in that form. "Greet one another with a holy
kiss" does not mean that the apostle is providing us with a the-
ology of kissing: the fonn of greeting may be highly diverse,
but the apostle's point in auy case has to do with the warmth of
the fellowship of believers and the way they are to receive and
welcome and forbear with one another. In that case, of course,
one must articulate principles that enable you to distinguish
when a biblical mandate is to be obeyed in precisely the fonn
in which it is cast, or in the cultural equivalent. This is not the
place to unpack those principles: I shall say a little more along
these lines in chapter 5. Among the principles, obviously, is
whether the Bible displays an interest in the particular fonn (in
this case, kissing) or focuses primary theological attention on
the undergirding attitude.1O Certainly some have tried to argue
that whatever patriarchalism there is in the Bible is nothing
more than an inevitable cultural residue. Others have argued
that, however much we rightly insist that both sexes are of equal
importance, equally human, and equally significant, role dis-
tinctions between men and women are part of a sustained the-
ological picture that is universally binding on the human race.
Does the sentence in the NIVI'S preface address that debate?
The statement in the preface to the NIVI is so plastic that
with a little effort it could be made to fit almost anywhere
along the spectrum I've just laid out. Certainly it is not a high-
water mark of clarity; inevitably, it has fueled the worst fears
of complementarians. At the very least, however, all sides
should recognize that the CBT members include both com-
plementarians and egalitarians.
The Current Crisis
What ignited the flame of indignation and condemnation,
inaugurating the brouhaha, was an article by Susan Olasky in
World. This conservative magazine advertises itself as a
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 29
weekly news magazine like Time or Newsweek, but something
you can trust. The front cover for March 29, 1997, features a
Bible with a red sign for the female along the spine, and the
shadow of a stealth aircraft draped across the leather binding.
The words read: "The Stealth Bible: The Popular New Inter-
national Version Bible Is Quietly Going 'Gender-Neutral. '"
The article itself is titled "The Feminist Seduction of the Evan-
gelical Church: Femme Fatale."ll
The opening paragraph asserts that by the year 2000 or
2001-"if the 15-member Committee for Biblical Translation
(CBT) ... has its way"-we will no longer be able to purchase
a copy of the NN we now know: only the NIVI will be available.
The next paragraph concedes that this may not happen: Zon-
dervan may choose to put out two separate editions. Author
Olasky keeps referring to the "unisex language" in the NIVI.
There is no discussion of translation theory or of the extent to
which gender-inclusive language has cropped up during the
previous two thousand and more years. The drive toward the
NNI is attributed to the perceived shift in language usage, gen-
erated by feminists, and to the concern of the British publish-
ers that the NRSV was eating into the NN markets. Precisely three
passages in the NRSV are discussed to illustrate how the use of
gender-inclusive language can affect the meaning of a passage:
The NRSV includes passages that are tortured ("Let us make
humaukind in our own image .... So God created humaukind,"
Genesis 1:26). It includes passages that are historically mis-
leading ("The warriors who went out to battie," Numbers 31 :28;
those warriors were men, according to the Hebrew). It includes
passages that are doctrinally confusing ("What are human
beings that you are mindful of them or mortals that you care for
them," Hebrews 2:5; in the book of Hebrews, this passage refers
to Christ).12
The next third of the article says nothing about translations,
except to say that the publication of the NIVI "fits with the trend
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30 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
toward egalitarianism," and then demonstrates this by talking
about Willow Creek Community Church in South Barring-
ton, lllinois 13 Willow Creek has had women elders since 1978,
but it has allowed its members and staff to disagree with the
policy. In January 1996 one of the teaching elders, John Ort-
berg, taught a class and distributed a paper demanding that
staff come into line with the egalitarian position of the church
or study until they did-and they had a year to do so. (The
year is now up, and discipline is being imposed.) Develop-
ments at Willow Creek are then charted. Somewhat similar
debates at Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts, are
briefly canvassed.
Most ofthe rest of Olasky's article interacts with the opin-
ions of Dr. Dan Doriani, dean of faculty at Covenant Theo-
logical Seminary in St. Louis, and of Dr. R. Albert Mohler,
president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. There is
a little interaction with Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, a leader on the
egalitarian side of the debate and perhaps the major theolog-
ical voice behind Willow Creek, and a brief comment from
Dr. Wayne Grudem of the Council on Biblical Manhood and
Womanhood (CBMW).
That was it.
And this time there were major statements, debates, and in
a few cases uncontrolled rage.
Two weeks later, on April 19, 1997, World published two
more articles. The one by Susan Olasky begins with sev-
eral paragraphs describing the wealth of Zondervan Cor-
poration, asserting that this wealth derives from publishing
the NIV and, to a lesser extent, the NRSV. Zondervan, World
reports, had not noted any "factual inaccuracies" in the orig-
inal World article but had criticized World's tone and
methodology. Zondervan had published a statement assert-
ing "we intend in no way to advance a particular social
agenda or stray from the original biblical texts." Zonder-
van's director of corporate affairs, Jonathan Petersen, is
reported as charging that the terms "inclusive," "unisex,"
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 31
and "gender-neutral" are unfair: "We would characterize it
as the' gender-accurate version. '"
The article makes it reasonably clear that at the time,
although the American edition of the NIVI was not yet in the
publication pipeline, and although no final decision regard-
ing its publication had been taken, the project was apparently
going ahead. Olasky suggests that Zondervan's commitments
are disclosed in their own editing guidelines (which are gen-
der inclusive), the fact that Zondervan was already publish-
ing the NIrv and NRSV, and Zondervan's contractual arrange-
ments with the Committee on Bible Translation. Featured
prominently were comments by Dr. J. I. Packer: "Adjustments
made by what I call the feminist edition are not made in the
interests of legitimate translation procedure. These changes
have been made to pander to a cultural prejudice that I hope
will be short-lived."
The second article published in that issue of World was
written by Dr. Wayne Grudem, professor of biblical and sys-
tematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and
president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Woman-
hood. It briefly compares the NIV and the NIVI on a number
of biblical passages, and comments on the difference. In each
case the format is the same. One example will suffice, since
some of the other passages will be discussed later in this
book.
Text: John 14:23
Current NIV: If anyone loves me, he will obey my teach-
ing. My Father will love him, and we will come to him
and make our home with him.
Inclusive Language NIV: Those who love me will obey
my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will
come to them and make our home with them.
Change in Meaning: Dwelling of Father and Son with
individual person is lost; new NIV speaks of Father and
Son dwelling among a group of people. Six singular
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32 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Greek words which John wrote as part of Scripture are
mistranslated in this one text.!4
Other voices quickly weighed in. For example, Dr. Paige Pat-
terson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Semi-
nary. wrote an article for Dr. Jerry Falwell's National Liberty
Journal. This article summarized Olasky's article, but in some-
what more passionate prose.!S On April 28, Dr. Kenneth L.
Barker, secretary of the Committee on Bible Translation and
himself a committed complementarian, wrote me a letter ask-
ing if I would respond to some of these articles with an arti-
cle of my own. He knew, of course, that I too am a comple-
mentarian, was at that time on the Board of Reference of
CBMW, and had been involved in various ways with the the-
ory and practice of translation. Perceiving that what I would
say would probably not satisfy anyone, disliking a contro-
versy which in my view was moving in unprofitable direc-
tions, and above all being swamped with other responsibili-
ties, I delayed responding while I thought it over.
On May 14, IDS and Zondervan released a joint statement
announcing that they are "unequivocally committed to con-
tinue to publish the current NIV text, without any changes or
revisions." At the same time, they would "continue to move
forward with plans for the possible publication of an updated
edition of the present NIV," not earlier than 2001. The an-
nouncement explains these potentially conflicting statements.
If a new edition is produced (and sooner or later it will be),
the present NIV will nevertheless remain in print. In other
words, a potential new edition will not replace the current NIV
in Zondervan's publishing schedule.
Pressure continued to mount. Only weeks before their
annual convention, Southern Baptist leaders not ouly con-
demned the "unisex" NIVI but predicted serious action at the
forthcoming annual meeting. IDS and Zondervan leaders met
with some Southern Baptist leaders on May 19 in Nashville.
David C. Cook Church Ministries, which publishes a great
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 33
deal of Sunday School material, was reportedly looking again
at their commitment to the NIrV. James Dobson of Focus on
the Family intervened. On May 3 he had written a column in
World warning against "injecting feminist bias and language
into the inspired text." Then Focus discovered that its own
Odyssey Bible for children used gender-inclusive language.
Focus promptly withdrew that edition and offered a full
refund of the purchase price. In due course Dobson invited
the NIV!NIVI publishers to meet with him and some theolo-
gians, not least those most critical of the NIVI.
Three days before that meeting, I was phoned by one of the
participants and asked to go along. Unable to set aside other
responsibilities, I declined. From Focus, Dr. James Dobson
attended, as did Mr. Charlie Jarvis, executive vice president.
Those who attended on the one side were Dr. Kenneth Barker,
secretary of the CBT; Dr. Ronald Youngblood, one ofthe CBT
members;!6 Dr. Lars Dunberg, president of IDS; and Mr. Bruce
Ryskamp, president and CEO of Zondervan. On the other side
were Mr. Joel Belz, publisher of World; Dr. Wayne Grudem,
president of CBMW; Mr. Tim Bayly, executive director of
CBMW; Dr. R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries, a member
of CBMW's Board of Reference; Dr. Vern Poythress of West-
minster Theological Seminary; and Dr. John Piper, senior pas-
tor of Bethlehem Baptist Church and coeditor, with Dr. Wayne
Grudem, of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood;
A Response to Evangelical F eminism.
17
The day before the Focus meeting itself, planned for
Tuesday, May 27, these latter scholars met in a Colorado
Springs Marriott. They compiled a ten-page list OfNIVI mis-
translations (as they took them to be), constructed a set of
alternative guidelines for translators dealing with gender-
oriented problems, and made a list of the commitments they
wanted the publishers to make. They finished their task at
2:00 A.M. and met with the entire group at 9:00 A.M. the next
day.
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34 THE DEBATE
Battered by the adverse publicity, not least among South-
ern Baptists, two hours before the meeting in Colorado Springs
on May 27, IBS released a fonr-point policy statement to the
effect that
• IBS has abandoned all plans for gender-related changes
in future editions of the New International Version (NN).
• The present (1984) NIV text will continue to be pub-
lished. There are no plans for a fnrther revised edition.
• IBS will begin immediately to revise the New Interna-
tional Readers Version (NIrv) in a way that reflects the
treatment of gender in the NIV. IBS is directing the
licensees who publish the current NIrV to publish only
the revised NIrV edition as soon as it is ready.
• IBS will enter into negotiations with the publisher of
the NIV in the U.K. on the matter of ceasing publication
of its "inclusive language" edition of the NN.
Thus some of the primary concerns of the critics were
already met. Afraid oflosing its market, while doubtless want-
ing to be loyal to its constituency, neither Zondervan nor IBS
had much room to maneuver. IBS and Zondervan admitted to
some mistakes in the NNI. Dr. Kenneth Barker had prepared
a revised set of guidelines which in partial measure paralleled
what the critics were proposing. Before they left the meeting,
everyone agreed in principle on a joint statement. Dr. Ronald
Youngblood had left the meeting early. When the gender-lan-
guage document was shown to him, he declared he could not
sign it as it was, but agreed to do so a few days later, after a
substantial number of qualifiers had been inserted: note the
frequency of expressions such as "often," "only rare excep-
tions," "ordinarily," "unusual exceptions." In addition, some
clauses were rewritten to allow a trifle more flexibility. The
resulting document, both in that form and in a form slightly
revised once again, has been so widely published (and I have
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 35
printed it again in chapter 2) that I need not summarize its
principal points here.
The critics have ranged from being very pleased to frankly
jubilant. In the latter category was the cover story for the June
14/21 issue of World, titled "Bailing Out of the Stealth
Bible."18 The tone in the June issue of CBMW News was more
restrained. In essence, it sawall the developments as the sure
hand of God and emphasized the depth of the agreement, in
a godly spirit, on all fronts. That was not quite how the other
side saw things. Several individuals both in the CBT and in
the administration of the publishers have described a less har-
monious picture but wanted to keep a low profile because of
the politics of the situation. Zondervan sent a ten-page ethics
complaint to a committee of the Evangelical Press Associa-
tion criticizing the series of articles in World, a complaint that
eventually petered out. For myself, I was not there. I have lis-
tened to friends from both sides of the debate describe what
happened, and it is difficult to align the two sets of pictnres.
In some ways that was not the end of the struggle but the
beginning. Late spring and early summer annual meetings of
various denominational groups, including the Southern Bap-
tist Convention and the Presbyterian Church in America,
passed resolutions vowing to oppose gender-inclusive Bible
translations. Various news magazines and journals kept the
issue alive. Some scholars felt constrained to resign from the
Board of Reference of CBMW, not because they disagreed
with the complementarianism CBMW has defended, but
because they disagreed (1) with its tightly linking the issue
of complementarianism to that of gender-inclusive transla-
tions and (2) with at least some of the principles the critics
had advanced in Colorado Springs and which CBMW sub-
sequently endorsed.I
9
In mid-July Christianity Today pub-
lished a photograph of Dean Merrill, IBS vice president, hold-
ing one of several NIV Bibles that had been destroyed by a
drill. Bible rage had struck.
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36 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
A quiet but rising chorus of publishers and Bible transla-
tors began to reflect on the Colorado Springs principles and
ask technical questions. Doubtless some of these questions
were mooted by egalitarians. but it would be grossly unfair to
suggest they were the only ones doing so. Executives from
Wycliffe Bible Translators, International Bible Society, United
Bible Societies, the Bible League, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale
House Publishers, and Zondervan Pnblishing House began to
lay plans for a broad-based conference of scholars and Bible
translators to discuss these issues and perhaps generate a set
of guidelines.
20
At the end of July, MarkD. Taylor of Tyndale
House Publishers circulated a memo to everyone who had
worked on the NLT. He defended the "moderate" use of gen-
der-inclusive language and expressed his dissatisfaction with
some of the Focus principles. Nevertheless, Tyndale House
Pnblishers has obviously learned something from the contro-
versy: Mr. Taylor also indicated some changes that would be
introduced into future printings of the NLT. Meanwhile Chris-
tians for Biblical Equality, an egalitarian group, collected sig-
natures for its protest to IBS.
The October 27 issue of Christianity Today carried an arti-
cle by Dr. Wayne Grudem and another by Dr. Grant Osborne,
along with their respective responses to each other. Dr. Gru-
dem argues that inclusive-language translations distort Scrip-
ture; Dr. Osborne says thatthis is not necessarily the case, argu-
ing that a good grasp of translation theory establishes his
position. The same issue includes a two-page ad summarizing
the Focus meeting and translation principles, and including the
names of all those who had been present, plus an impressive
list of names of others who had subsequently endorsed the prin-
ciples. I gather, however, that Bruce E. Ryskamp (president
and CEO of Zondervan) and Lars Dunberg (president of IBS)
did not want their names to be used, not least because both of
them publish other inclusive-language versions of the Bible.
They therefore explicitly asked that their names be removed
from similar ads in later publications.
THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 37
Most of the men
2
! who signed this document
22
are known to
me personally; not a few are friends. I have no desire to alien-
ate any of them. And yet as I look at the list, I cannot help but
conclude that what drew many of them to sign this document is
their concern to maintain complementarianism, and this out of
strong biblical convictions, and their belief that the question of
gender-inclusive translations is a necessary component of this
conviction. Quite a number of them, I think, would make no pre-
tense of having much grasp of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, trans-
lation theory, and linguistics. Would it not befair to suggest that
at least some signed the document because of their concern over
the larger issue and their trust in the framers of the document?
What then shall we do who share their larger concern but are
persuaded neither that the published guidelines of the CBT are
sufficiently careful nor that the principles agreed on at Colorado
Springs are always soundly based? The issues are complex, and
we need cool heads and more time to get this one right. Slogans
and demonizing those who disagree with us will not help.
Concluding Reflections
But enough. What we must see is that, while on all sides of
this debate there are some passionate people-some of them
enraged-there are also some people who are extraordinarily
self-disciplined and gracious, and many who are between the
extremes. The diversity and intensity of the reactions are in
one sense a good thing: important issues should not be laughed
off as of no moment. Nevertheless, history offers many exam-
ples of movements which, seeking to head off a genuine evil
in the culture, unwittingly swing the pendulum to unseen evils
on the other side. In large part this little book is notbing more
than an attempt to lower the temperature, slow the pace of
debate, and bring up some things that, in my view, are some-
times overlooked.
To close this lengthy report on this confrontation, I wish to
summarize a small part of a discussion between Dr. Kenneth
'I
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38 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Barker and Dr. Wayne Grudem on Open Line. a radio pro-
gram produced by Moody, aired May 13, 1997. Dr. Grudem
raises John 14:23 (cited in the excerpt above), saying that the
change from the repeated singular references to the plural "we
will come to them and make our home with them" has the
effect of losing the personal application. The text may now
mean no more than that the Father and the Son will live among
all the believers, rather than with the individual believer. Dr.
Barker responds that we are accustomed to many plurals from
which we automatically make a personal application. For
example, in Matthew 5:6, Jesus says, "Blessed are those who
hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
Each individual believer applies such texts to himself or her-
self individually. So why treat the plurals in the NIVI of John
14:23 as a serious problem in which individual application
will be lost? Dr. Grudem replies that he has no problem with
plurals that can be read individually. His point, he says, is that
in John 14:23 the inspired author does not use a plural, and
therefore we should not do so either. Dr. Barker says that the
singular in John 14:23 is clearly generic, and therefore faith-
ful, accurate translation demands that we use the plural form,
or some other way of avoiding a rendering that unnecessarily
repulses some readers with its maleness, because some read-
ers will find such words exclusive. Dr. Grudem replies that
our first allegiance is to Scripture, and the issue at stake is one
of accuracy. If John chooses to use the singular, he had rea-
sons for doing so, and we should not quickly sacrifice what
the text actually says.
Both parties are claiming to be faithful and accurate; both
sides are saying, in effect, thatthe other is fundamentally mis-
taken. Where do we go from here?
2
CONFLICTING
PRINCIPLES
THE CBT AND CSG
ON INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE
For the sake of easy reference, it will prove useful to set out
the policy of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) that
stands behind the NIVI, along with the guidelines agreed on in
Colorado Springs. At this juncture I am attempting no sys-
tematic evaluation. That will come later in the book. Never-
theless, a couple of explanatory comments may prove helpful.
First, the CBT policy, adopted in August 1992, is a pub-
lished statement open to inspection. I am grateful to Profes-
sor John Stek, the chair of the CBT, for sending me a copy.
But it is common knowledge that the CBT is currently prepar-
ing a revised set of guidelines. As these are still being worked
on, they are viewed as confidential, and neither Professor Stek
nor anyone else with whom I talked felt comfortable about
showing them to me. One understands their reluctance: at this
39
40 THE DEBATE
point the committee is doubtless a trifle gun-shy. An optimistic
reading of these circumstances is that in the mercy of God the
controversy may help sharpen thinking in this area: the prin-
ciples adopted at Colorado Springs may help to shape the
thinking of the CBT, even if the latter cannot go all the way
with the former. We must avoid entrenched thinking and con-
spiracy theories: let us learn from one another, not least those
with whom we disagree.
Second, the policy agreed on in Colorado Springs needs a
name. We might call it the Focus on the Family policy, but
Focus was the sponsoring organization, not the brains behind
the formulation of the policy. In an earlier draft, I called it
the CBMW policy. Although scholars other than those affil-
iated with CBMW were involved in the formulation of that
policy, the CBMW tag seemed appropriate for two reasons.
(1) CBMW was the organization most strongly represented
in the ad hoc group of scholars that met in the Colorado
Springs Marriott. (2) More important, CBMW has not only
promoted the principles most strongly but has apparently
organized their upgrade. Strictly speaking, the slightly mod-
ified principles now being circulated are not exactly the ones
agreed on in Colorado Springs (though we are told that the
original signers have agreed to the changes).! But others
signed the document, and in consultation with two or three
of the framers, I learned of their strong preference for "Col-
orado Springs Guidelines" (CSG) or the Colorado Springs
(CS) principles-though of course all sides recognize that
the geography was accidental. So CSG or CS principles it is.
It is surely encouraging, not least for those who oppose the
CSG, that CBMW leaders and others related to them are will-
ing to modify their views. Perhaps further modifications are
possible. Once again, the issues are too complicated to be well
treated by entrenched thinking and simplistic "good guys ver-
sus bad guys" or "them versus us" analyses. Doubtless points
of disagreement will remain, but it is important to push toward
as much agreement as we can manage.
CONFLICTING PRINCIPLES 41
So here, then, are the two sets of guidelines, the respective
gender-language policies of the CBT and CS.
CBT Policy on Gender-Inclusive Language'
1. Basic Principles
M[ oved]S[ econded and]C[ arried] that these be adopted
as amended:
A. Biblical translations must be faithful to the orig-
inallanguage texts out of fidelity to the Word of
God.
B. Biblical translation is for the purpose of making
the Word of God available to all who know the
receptor language-so that they all can "take and
read"-women and men alike.
C. Authors of Biblical books, even while writing
Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit, unconsciously
reflected in many ways, the particular cultures in
which they wrote. Hence in the manner in which
they articulate the Word of God, they sometimes
offend modern sensibilities. At such times, trans-
lators can and may use non-offending renderings
so as not to hinder the message of the Spirit.
3
D. The patriarchalism (like other social patterns) of
the ancient cultures in which the Biblical books
were composed is pervasively reflected in forms
of expression that appear, in the modern context,
to deny the common human dignity of all hearers
and readers. For these forms, alternative modes
of expression can and may be used, though care
must be taken not to distort the intent of the orig-
inal text.
E. Gender-inclusive language must be made in light
of exegetical and linguistic attention to individ-
ual texts in their contexts; e.g., the legal and wis-
dom literature. In narratives, parables, exemplary
stories, metaphors and the like, the gender-spe-
I
I I""""""
42 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
cific elements are usually not to be replaced or
added to in order to achieve gender balance.
F. While sexuality cannot be ascribed to God, God's
own self-descriptions and the Biblical references
to God, Satan, and angels are masculine in gen-
der, and such references are not to be altered.
G. Nor can sexuality be ascribed to the Spirit of God,
for whom the grammatical genders of the Hebrew
and Greek terms and forms are feminine and
neuter respectively. For the sake of consistency in
references to God, masculine pronouns will be
used in referring to the Spirit.
II. General Guidelines
M[ ovedJS [econded andJC[arriedJ that these be adopted
as amended:
(1) Keep the NIV text to the greatest possible extent.
(2) Avoid any change that will produce ambiguity or
lack of clarity.
(3) Avoid any formulation that distorts the Biblical
representation of theological truths or the created
world.
(4) Where context clearly shows that reference is to
male(s), retaiu masculine references. Similarly,
where context clearly shows that reference is to
female(s), retain female references.
(5) Where the original cultural context shows a dis-
tinctively male activity (bowman, workman, oars-
man), characteristic, or relationship, male refer-
ences may be retained, but if suitable alternatives
are available (such as archer, worker, rower), these
are usually to be preferred.
(6) Avoid repetitive masculine gender references
where alternative expressions are available and
appropriate.
(7) In legal texts careful distinction should be made
between laws that are male specific and those that
CONFLICTING PRINCIPLES 43
are not. In those that are not, inclusive language
should be used.
(8) To avoid gender-specific language in general state-
ments, a third-person sentence may be changed to
second person where this adequately conveys the
meaning, and a singular sentence may be recast in
a plural form provided this does not obscure a sig-
nificant individual reference. On the other hand,
inclusive singular subjects (such as "everyone" and
"whoever") may not be followed by plural pro-
nouns (such as "they" and "their"). Any proposal
that is an exception to this latter rule must be placed
in the margin along with the reason.
(9) Do not employ artificial solutions in the pronom-
inal structure, such as ho, hish, or the Scandina-
vian han. "He or she," e.g., is cumbersome and
should usually be avoided.
(10) In the use of inclusive language, avoid repetition
that mars good style, such as frequent use of "some-
one," "person," "human(s)," "human being(s),"
"humankind."
(11) In general, avoid gender-specific nouns and adjec-
tives where acceptable alternatives are available.
(Such terms as "prophetess" and the adjective
"fellow-" need to be weighed carefully.)
(12) Expressions employed in common parlance in
society today, even though they may seem to de-
note male dominance (such as "men and women,"
"boys and girls"), are not to be avoided.
(13) The convention in ancient wisdom literature of
addressing young men on the threshold of adult
responsibilities and the fact that certain passages
in Proverbs deal with distinctly male circum-
stances are not to be obscured. At the same time,
any individual proverbs that may have pertained
to women also can be rendered inclusively.
44
THE DEBATE
(14) Preserve the similarity of parallel passages and
quotations, and safeguard canonical unity.
(15) Feminine gender references to cities and states!
nations are to be retained.
(16) Consistency within books, corpora, genres, and
conventional idioms is to be maintained.
(17) When change to inclusive language requires the
recasting of whole phrases or clauses, care is to
be taken to retain as much continuity with the
present text of the NIV as good style will allow.
(18) The language of the sectional headings must also
be examined and revised where appropriate.
(19) Where gender-inclusive language is contextually
inappropriate, an explanatory footnote may be
called for.
(20) Where male-specific references or masculine-gen-
der grammatical forms in the original texts are
probably due to context, custom, culture, or the
like, leave unchanged unless:
(a) the passage is universally applicable (Luke
16:13; 17:31-33);
(b) the extended passage loses specificity (Luke
14:31-35);
(c) modem circumstances are universal (Matt.
1O:24--perhaps with a footnote).
CS Policy on Gender-Inclusive Language
4
A. Gender-related renderings of Biblical language which
we affirm:
I. The generic use of "he, him, his, himself' should
be employed to translate generic 3rd person mas-
culine singular pronouns in Hebrew, Aramaic and
Greek. However, substantival participles such as
ho pisteuon can often be rendered in inclusive
ways, such as "the one who believes" rather than
"he who believes."
CONFLICTING PRINCIPLES
45
2. Person and number should be retained in transla-
tion so that singulars are not changed to plurals
and third person statements are not changed to
second or first person statements, with only rare
exceptions required in unusual cases.
3. "Man" should ordinarily be nsed to designate the
human race, for example in Genesis 1:26-27; 5:2;
Ezekiel 29:11; and John 2:25
5
4. Hebrew 'fsh should ordinarily be translated "man"
and "men," and Greek aner should almost always
be so translated.
5. In many cases, anthropoi refers to people in gen-
eral, and can be translated "people" rather than
"men." The singular anthropos should ordinarily
be translated "man" when it refers to a male
hnman being.
6. Indefinite pronouns such as tis can be translated
"anyone" rather than "any man."
7. In many cases, pronouns such as oudeis can be
translated "no one" rather than "no man."
8. When pas is used as a substantive it can be trans-
lated with terms such as "all people" or "everyone."
9. The phrase "son of man" should ordinarily be pre-
served to retain intracanonical connections.
10. Masculine references to God should be retained.
B. Gender-related renderings which we will generally
avoid, though there may be unusual exceptions in cer-
tain contexts:
1. "Brother" (ade/phos) should not be changed to
"brothers or sisters"; however, the plural adelphoi
can be translated "brothers and sisters" where the
context makes clear that the author is referring to
both men and women.
6
2. "Son" (huios, ben) should not be changed to
"child," or "sons" (huioi) to "children" or "sons
! Iii
1;1 II
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46
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
and daughters." (However. Hebrew Minlm often
means "children.")
3. "Father" (pater, Yab) should not be changed to
"parent," or "fathers" to "parents" or "ancestors."
C. We understand these guidelines to be representative
and not exhaustive, and that some details may need
further refinement.'
i
TRANSLATION
AND TREASON
AN INEVITABLE
AND IMPOSSIBLE TASK
Traddutore, traditore: "Translators, traitors." This Italian
pun insists, in effect, that all translation is treason. The pun
"works" because the words for "translation" and "treason" in
Italian are very similar. It doesn't work in English-which is
precisely the point.
In this chapter I am stepping away from the challenges of
inclusive-language translations so as to reflect a little on the
nature of translation itself.
Some people innocently think that the meaning of a sen-
tence or of a paragraph or some longer text is discovered by
adding together the separate meanings of all the individual
words. So translation works the same way: you translate all
the words, and then add them all up again. This assumes, of
course, that each word in the receptor language is more or less
47
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,
'III: I
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48 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
identical in meaning with the corresponding word in the donor
language.
But discovering the meaning of a text is not anything like
that, and translating a text is not anything like that. To make
the point clear, this chapter offers a few examples, nothing
more. Experienced translators could easily expand it into a
library of books.
Differences from Language to Language
There are many, many things that separate any two lan-
guages. How great that separation is varies enormously. Here
is a very partial list.
1. Two languages will vary in the most obvious way-in
the meanings of the words belonging to each. Even words that
are close in meaning to one another will differ at some point;
in many cases, a word in one language that is properly ren-
dered by a certain word in another language may have to be
rendered by quite a different word once the context changes.
The Greek verb phileo is often properly translated "to love,"
but sometimes it must be rendered "to kiss," as when Judas
kissed Jesus.
2. Two languages will vary in the size of their respective
vocabularies. The total lexical count of English words is about
three times that of French words. In reality, of course, most
English speakers and French speakers use only a small frac-
tion of the total number of words theoretically available to
them in their respective languages. Nevertheless the differ-
ence in the number of words found in any two languages pro-
vides another reason why it is impossible to map the words
of one language onto the words of another. Similar things can
be said for bodies of literature. The Hebrew Old Testament
has just over 4,000 separate words; the Greek New Testament,
which is only about one third as long, has about 5,500 words.
3. Languages have very different ways of constructing their
words when they are actually being used in a context. Some
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 49
languages are "inflected": that is, they change something at
the end ("suffixes"), or at the beginning ("prefixes"), or in the
middle ("infixes"), or some combination of the three, depend-
ing on how those words are used. English is not a highly
inflected language, but it still has occasional inflections from
an earlier time. Verbs in English, in the present tense, keep
the same form except for the third-person singular: for exam-
ple, I run, you (singular) run, he/she/it runs, we run, you
(plural) run, they run. Both Greek and Hebrew are highly
inflected, and such changes are not restricted to verbs. In
Greek, nouns have one of five formal "cases," and the right
case must be chosen to align with the function of that noun in
its sentence. These five cases are handled differently in the
three common patterns of ending, that is, the three declen-
sions of nouns. Verbs are "conjugated" and nouns and pro-
nouns are "declined": thus the different "declensions" to which
a noun may belong determine how its endings will change.
All of this might be thought narrowly technical, of course, but
it has an enormous impact on syntax, that is, on how words
are linked together to generate phrases, clauses, and sentences.
For example, in the simple English sentence "John loves
Susan," the word order establishes who is loving (John, the
subject of the verb), and who is being loved (Susan, the direct
object of the verb). In Greek, of course, so far as word order
is concerned, one could write "Susan loves John" and John
might still be the subject, provided the word "John" is carry-
ing the nominative case inflection, and Susan is carrying the
accusative case inflection.
4. There are scores and scores of syntactical differences
between Greek and English and between Hebrew and English.
Hebrew employs something called an infinitive construct; there
is nothing quite like it in contemporary English. First-year
Greek students are taught that the prepositional Greek phrase
en toli5annen exelthein should be rendered by some such En-
glish expression as "when John went out." More precisely, the
Greek preposition en plus the articular infinitive compounded
r
50 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
with an accusative is being rendered in English as a temporal
subordinate clause. To translate the Greek more literally, it
would come out something like "in the to go out [with respect
to 1 John"-but of course, that is not English, so we go with
the closest English equivalent we have. But in fact, Greek itself
has temporal subordinate clauses: the basic thought could have
been written in Greek in a way that was much closer to En-
glish syntax. That in tum raises the question of what differ-
ence in meaning there is between the two constructions in
Greek. At the level of translation into English, there may be
none; within Greek, of course there are differences.
5. The first languages into which the New Testament was
translated differed in some major structural ways from the
donor language. Latin has no article (that is, no "a" or "the"),
while Greek has one. That means the significance of the arti-
cle in Greek is sometimes lost when one moves to Latin; or,
if its significance is not lost, it is certainly not conveyed the
same way! The significance of the Greek article for English
has similar problems, not because we have no article, but
because we have two, and the way we use them is quite dif-
ferent from the way the Greek article is used. Coptic has no
passive voice, like neo-Melanesian languages today. That usu-
ally means these languages have to specify a subject even
when none is specified in Greek. Syriac has no subjunctive or
optative mood. In other words, the kinds of problems we are
talking about are not merely contemporary; they have always
been there, whenever anyone has tried to translate a text from
one language into another language.
6. The Hebrew verbal system is formally very simple, but
it is so complicated at the level of semantics (that is, of mean-
ing) that tomes are written on the subject, espousing theo-
ries that differ one from another. What is quite clear is that
the Hebrew verbal system does not layout time relations.
Something similar can be said for part or all of the Greek
system.! But a great deal of the English distinction of times-
past, present, future, and more complicated times such as
TRANSLATION AND TREASON
51
future perfect-rides on the English verbal system. Not so
in Hebrew. That does not mean that Hebrew is incapable of
distinguishing times. Rather, it must do so by a variety of
other means.
7. How does one translate weights and measures, dates
based on quite a different calendar, money units, and times of
the day, when all of these measurements are grounded in scales
radically different from anything we use in English?
8. In the nature of the case, some differences between lan-
guages mean that the translator must choose between two
goals: he or she caunot achieve both of them. For example,
excellent Greek style puts a lot of verbs into the passive voice;
excellent English style demands that we put as few as possi-
ble into the passive voice. So if we translate every Greek pas-
sive voice by a passive voice in English, we preserve the pas-
sives while sending out a signal that this is inferior English-in
exactly those passages that are stylistically the best and most
sophisticated Greek. We thereby lose something. Alterna-
tively, if we switch some of the Greek passives to the active
voice in English, we preserve a feel for the elegance of the
Greek style by having a more elegant English. But we lose
the passives.
Something similar must be said regarding Greek particles.
As a rule, the more particles, the more elegant the Greek.
Exactly the opposite is true in English. A choice must be
made.
Quite a number of poetic passages in the Hebrew canon
are acrostic poems. It is almost impossible to get that across
in English. Various attempts have been made, almost always
with serious loss in some other arena. There are scores of
translation challenges where the translator must choose be-
tween two desirable things. Something will be lost. Transla-
tion is treason.
This is only a partial list of the challenges a translatorfaces.
Perhaps a concrete example will help, one that several schol-
r
52 THE DEBATE
ars have employed recently. It concerns the Greek word sarx,
often rendered "flesh." Consider the following passages:
Matthew 16:17: "sarx and blood have not revealed this
to you"
KJV /NKJV: flesh and blood
NAsB:flesh and blood
NN: this was not revealed to you by man [covering both
"flesh and blood"]
NIVI: this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood
NLT: You did not learn this from any human being
NRSV: flesh and blood
REB: You did not learn that from any human being
Mark 14:38: "the spirit is willing, but the sarx is weak"
KJV /NKJV: flesh
NAsB:flesh
NN/NIVI: body
NLT: body
NRsv:flesh
REB: flesh
John 17:2: "just as you have given to him authority over
all sarx"
KJV /NKJV: flesh
NASB: mankind
NIV /NIVI: people
NLT: everyone
NRSV: people
REB: mankind
Romans 8:6: "forthe way of thinking ofthe sarx is death"
KJV /NKJV: for to be carnally minded is death
NASB: for the mind set on the flesh is death
NN: the mind of sinful man is death
NIVI: the mind controlled by the sinful nature is death
TRANSLATION AND TREASON
53
NLT: if your sinful nature controls your mind, there is
death
NRSV: to set the mind on the flesh is death
REB: those who live on the level of the old nature have
their outlook formed from it, and that spells death
[verses 5 and 6 are combined]
Romans 11:14: "if somehow I might make jealous my
sarx and save some of them"
KJV: them which are my flesh
NKJV: those who are my flesh
NAsB:feliow countrymen
NIV/NIVI: own people
NLT: the Jews
NRSV: own people
REB: own race
1 Corinthians 3:3: "for you are still sarkikoi [that is, char-
acterized by sarx]"
KJV: for ye are yet carnal
NKJV: for you are still carnal
NASB: you are still fleshly
NN /NIVI: you are still worldly
NLT: you are still controlled by your own sinful desires
NRSV: you are still of the flesh
REB: you are still on the merely natural plane
1 Corinthians 9:11: "is it much if we reap your sarkika
[that is, things characterized by the sarx]"
KJV: reap your carnal things
NKJV: reap your material things
NASB: reap material things from you
NN /NIVI: reap a material harvest from you
NLT: is it too much to ask, in return, for mere food and
clothing
NRSV: reap your material benefits
REB: is it too much to expect from you a material harvest
II
I'
54 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Galatians 4:13: "because of weakness of the sarx I first
preached the gospel to you"
KJV: through infirmity of the flesh
NKN: because of physical infirmity
NASB: because of a bodily illness
NIV/NNI: because of an illness [thus embracing the entire
expression "weakness of the flesh"]
NLT: I was sick
NRSV: because of a physical infirmity
REB: bodily illness
Galatians 5:16: "walk by the Spirit and you will not ful-
fill the desire of the sarx"
KJV /NKJV: not fulfill the lust of the flesh
NASB: not carry out the desire of the flesh
NN /NIVI: not gratify the desires of the sinful nature
NLT: won't be doing what your sinful nature craves
NRSV: do not gratify the desires of the flesh
REB: will not gratify the desires of your unspiritual
nature
In Matthew 16:17, sarx cannot properly be evaluated by
itself, because "flesh and blood" is a unit pair. The idea of
"human being" is exactly what the expression means. The NN
opts for "man," but the NIVI, trying to avoid a generic use of
"man," instead of opting for "human being," goes back to
"flesh and blood."
The breakdown between "flesh" and "body" at Mark
14:38 may be a way of avoiding any overtones of "flesh"
that are tied to sexual sin (an increasing use of the word
today, as in "sins of the flesh" in modem parlance). Perhaps
"body" was attractive over against "spirit." John 17:2 uses
sarx to refer to all people. But if we do not use "flesh" to
render it (for that is a fairly outmoded use of "flesh" today),
any of the other options appears acceptable. In Romans 8:6
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 55
and 1 Corinthians 3:3, "carnal" or "carnally" has to go,
because contemporary use has narrowed down the offense
to the sexual arena. "Worldly" (NIV) is not bad, but inevitably
it loses any explicit connection with the word group. Paul
was certainly not trying to reap "carnal things" in the con-
temporary sense of "carnal" (1 Cor. 9:11). The NIV/NIVI'S
"material harvest" in one sense goes over the top: there is
no explicit mention of harvest. Nevertheless, the word is
neuter plural, and it is always a bit difficult to know how to
substantivize such expressions. "Harvest" may have been
judged adequate as the complement of "reap."
Or again, the word iampros occurs only nine times in the
Greek New Testament. The KJV manages to use six different
words to translate this one word (namely, "gorgeous,"
"bright," "goodly," "gay," "white," and "clear"), even using
two different words in one passage: "For if there come unto
your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and
there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have
respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him,
Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou
there, or sit here under my footstool" (James 2:2-3 KJV). Why
once "goodly" and once "gay"? The words do not convey the
same overtones. In any case, one could not possibly use "gay"
in this context today.2 Incidentally, the same verses employ
"apparel," "raiment," and "clothing," and these three English
words all have the same Greek word behind them (namely,
esthes).
Translators John Beekman and John Callow provide an
interesting and amusing example of the way a single word in
one language must be translated by many different words in
another language.
3
In what follows, the first column repre-
sents a literal rendering of a number of expressions in Vagla
(a tribal language in Ghana), all employing the verb "to eat"
(diy in Vagla). The second column represents the English
semantic equivalent.
i J
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r
56
Vagla Expression
he ate his self
he ate his case
he ate shame
he ate chieftainship
he ate two goals
he ate him a friend
he ate him an argument
it is eating
you should eat
THE DEBATE
English Eqnivalent
he enjoyed himself
he judged his case
he was ashamed
he became the chief
he scored two goals
he chose him as a friend
he argued with him
it is sharp
it's your tum
My point is that inevitably there are differences from language
to language. Translation is never a merely mechanical func-
tion. It involves highly complex choices.
All of this reminds me of a funny essay Mark Twain wrote
in 1875: "The 'Jumping Frog': In English, Then in French,
Then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language Once More by
Patient, Unremunerated Toil." In it Mark Twain claims that
he had been reading an article in a French magazine about
American humorists. The French author, according to Twain,
says that Twain's story "The Jumping Frog" is a funny story,
"but still he can't see why it should ever really convulse any
one with laughter."4 Then (according to Twain) the French
author translates the whole story into French, so that his read-
ers can see why it is not all that funny. Twain writes, "Just
there is where my complaint originates. He has not translated
it at all; he has simply mixed it all up; it is no more like the
Jumping Frog when he gets through with it than I am like a
meridian of longitude."5 To prove the point, Twain claims he
will now, in this book, print the original story again, then print
the French translation, and then retranslate the French version
back into English. Twain admits he cannot himself speak
French, but, he protests, "I can translate very well, though not
fast, I being self-educated."6
The story is less than a dozen pages in length. The French
rendering (which begins a couple of pages into the story) is
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 57
very good. Then follows Mark Twain's "retranslation." To
give the flavor of the experiment, here are the first few lines
of the original story to be translated.
[W]ell, there was a feller here once by the name ofJim Smi-
ley, in the winter of ' 49-or may be it was the spring of '50-
I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me
think it was one or the other is because I remember the big
flume wam't finished when he first come to the camp; but any
way, he was the curiosest man about always betting on any-
thing that turned up you ever see, if he could get anybody to
be on the other side; and if he couldn't he'd change sides.'
I shall spare you the French, but no French grammarian could
criticize it. Here is Mark Twain's "retranslation":
It there was one time here an individual known under the name
of Jim Smiley: it was in the winter of '49, possibly well at the
spring of ' 50, I no me recollect not exactly. This which me
makes to believe that it was the one or the other, it is that I shall
remember that the grand flume is not achieved when he arrives
at the camp for the first time, but of all sides he was the man
the most fond of to bet which one have seen, betting upon all
that which is presented, when he could find an adversary; and
when he not of it could not, he passed to the side opposed.
8
And much more of the same. What Mark Twain has done, of
course, is to translate the French literally. He has all the words
"right"-properly spelled, with at least the lexical meaning
right-but he has followed French word order, ignored matters
of syntax and idiom, and blissfully refused to allow context to
shape the pragmatic usage of a word. And then he blames the
Frenchman for improperly translating! And that, of course, is
what makes this piece so funny. (It is funnier yet if you read
French well and can read the intermediate text.)
It reminds me of a letter my Dad received when he was a
young man. At the time he was trying to plant an evangelical I""""""""
58 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Baptist church in French Canada. A well-meaning English-
speaking Canadian from another part of the country wrote to
him and said she would be willing to translate anything he
gave her, because she had such a burden for the people Dad
was trying to reach. She admitted she knew no French, but
she was willing to look up every single word in an English-
French dictionary, write down the equivalent, and render the
English text into French. Of course, it cannot be done. For a
start, English-French dictionaries do not provide just one
option for any particular word, but many, and which option
you choose turns on a myriad of factors. More important, the
syntax and idioms of the two languages are so different that
such an effort would produce something even funnier than
Mark Twain. The spirit indeed was willing, but the sarx was
ignorant.
Less Than the Text
Because no two languages share exactly the same structure
and vocabulary (and a lot of other things), it is impossible not
to lose something when you translate an extended text from
one language to another.'
A couple of illustrations will make the point. Consider the
absolute Greek expression ego eimi.lO First-year Greek stu-
dents will render this "I am." Second-year students will know
that sometimes it should be translated "It is I" (or, in idiomatic
American English, "It's me"), and that at other times it should
be rendered "I am he" or the like, where the "he" is established
by the context. In a famous passage, Jesus declares, "Before
Abraham was, ego eimi" (John 8:58), which most of our trans-
lations rightly render "I am." The Jews he is confronting pick
up stones to kill him, perceiving that he is speaking blasphe-
mously. Not only does the link with Abraham entail the con-
clusion that Jesus is claiming preexistence, but this is the name
of God. In Isaiah God declares, "I am he" (Isa. 41 :4; 43: 10),
which in the Septuagint appears simply as ego eimi.
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 59
Unless you are reading the Greek text of John's Gospel,
however, you may not realize that ego eimi has already
occurred twice before in John 8. John 8:24 finds Jesus say-
ing (in the NIV), "I told you that you would die in your sins;
if you do not believe that! am the one I claim to be, you will
indeed die in your sins." The NIV provides a footnote for the
italicized words: Or I am he. Verse 28 is similar. The NRSV,
NASB, and many others simply offer I am he.
ll
Why not ren-
der it "I am"?
But that would be misleading. In the context, the entire
debate concerns Jesus' identity. His opponents do not yet per-
ceive that "I am" is what it transparently means in 8 :58. At this
stage, the Greek most naturally means "I am (the one I've been
talking about)" or "I am (the one under discussion)" or "I am
(he)" or the like. 12 To translate it absolutely, "I am," is not more
"literal," it is merely more formal-and in this case the formal
equivalence is positively misleading, for it is not what the
Greek means. On the other hand, by the time the thoughtful
reader of Greek has read through the entire chapter a few times,
he or she cannot fail to remember, while reading John 8:58,
the instances of ego eimi in John 8:24, 28. This thoughtful
reader will recognize that the translations I have suggested
above for verses 24 and 28 are necessary as translations but,
knowing that John is a careful writer who repeatedly intro-
duces a new term or theme that is unpacked only later in the
book, will wonder whether ego eimi in 8:24, 28 is intention-
ally evocative. In other words, the competent reader of Greek,
coming across John 8:24, 28 for the first time, reads ego eimi
and does not connect it with the divine name. But after read-
ing John 8:58 and the whole chapter several times, that reader
will begin to wonder if the use of ego eimiin 8:24, 28 is meant
to anticipate the end of the chapter and evoke what is clear by
the time one reads 8:58. Incidentally, if some literalist argues,
on formal grounds, that the only correct way to translate the
Greek expression ego eimi is always to render it simply "I am,"
I insist that that person does not really understand Greek. The
, I
!
iii
, !
r
60 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
best proof, in this instance, is John 9:9, where the same words
are not from the mouth of Jesus. The man born blind, now
healed of his illness, must convince the skeptics that he really
is the man who was formally blind. Some neighbors and oth-
ers claim he is; the skeptics insist he only looks like him. "But
he himself insisted, 'I am the man [ego eimi]. '" Clearly, in this
context the expression cannot be christological, and cannot be
rendered "I am," but means, in English, "I am he," or, more
idiomatically, "I am the man." That may be an English gloss,
but in this context it is a correct English gloss.
All this is pretty clear to the person who thoughtfully and
repeatedly reads John's Gospel in Greek. It is virtually impos-
sible to pick up on these matters if you read John's Gospel in
English. If you render ego eimi in 8:24, 28 as "I am" in order
to preserve the connection with 8:58, you have overtranslated,
indeed mistranslated, the expression. If instead you render it
as does the NN or NRSV in 8:24, 28, you are formally correct
so far as Greek syntax is concerned in this context, but you
have lost the evocative connection with verse 58. Either way,
something is lost. And there are many, many examples of that
sort of thing. That is one of the reasons, of course, why we
still teach ministerial candidates to read the Greek and Hebrew
texts. Translation is treason.
Again, consider Psalm 127:1, 3: "Unless the LORD builds
the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches
over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain .... Sons are
a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him." It is
well known that "house" in Hebrew can refer to either the
dwelling or the family. But the English reader is unlikely to
detect that this intended ambiguity is developed by Solomon,
the psalmist, in the pun he employs: the wcrd for "builders" is
(in full diacritical transliteration) bOnfm, and the word for
"sons" is banfm. There are many different kinds of wordplays
in the Hebrew Bible, of course, and the overwhelming major-
ity of them are lost in translation. 13 These are all instances where
the translation provides, in certain respects, less than the text.
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 61
More Than the Text
On the other hand, it is easy to find instances where the
translation, because of the differences between the donor lan-
guage and the receptor language, necessarily says more than
the text. We may restrict ourselves to a couple of examples.
Many languages around the world, especially in Africa, have
an inclusive "we" and an exclusive "we," The use of "inclu-
sive" in this case has nothing to do with gender. An inclusive
"we" means the speaker includes the readers or hearers in the
"we"; and exclusive "we" means the speaker excludes the read-
ers or hearers from the "we." In such languages, every time
the writer or speaker wants to say "we," he or she must choose
one of these two forms: there is no other way of saying "we."
In a book like 1 John, "we" occurs frequently. Some of the
references are contextually obvious: for example, the "we" in
"we proclaim to you" (1 John 1:3) is obviously exclusive. But
there are many examples where scholars are divided-as also
in some of the "we" passages in Panl. But if you are translat-
ing the text into one of the languages where you must use either
an inclusive we or an exclusive we, you must specify. There is
no choice in the receptor language. Thus in the donor language,
you may leave the matter unresolved, for in reality it is not spec-
ified by the form and may not be clear in the context. But in the
receptor language, since you must make a choice, you force the
text to be more specific than the donor text.
Similarly, a language without a passive voice often forces
the translator to specify subjects that are not specified in the
passive voice.
Context and Contexts
By now it should be clear that a word does not carry its lex-
ical meaning(s)-that is, the meaning(s) one finds for that
word in a lexicon-into each context where it is used. A lex-
icon of a dead language like Latin or Hellenistic Greek, after
62 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
all, is nothing more than some scholar's attempt to classify
the different meanings that a word appears to have in all its
occurrences in a body of literature. To read all such meanings
back into a particular usage is what is called "illegitimate total-
ity transfer."
Two or three things follow from this. (1) Context is king.
While there are other factors for establishing the meaning of
a word in a particular text, the most important factor, by far,
is a good understanding of the context. (2) Words shape their
contexts, and the meanings of those words in their context are
in tum shaped by their context. In other words, the meaning
of a word in its context is not its lexical meaning (a more or
less artificial construct) but is established by its interaction
with its context, which includes syntactical elements, dis-
conrse elements, literary geme, semantic elements (that is,
elements of meaning), and more.
We have already seen this to be so in the case of sarx
("flesh") and lampros ("bright"). Note how even the words I
enclosed in quotation marks and parentheses are slightly mis-
leading. It is not quite right to say that the Greek word "sarx"
means "flesh." In certain contexts, as we have seen, it means
something else. The word "flesh" is really the English "gloss"
on the Greek word, but an English gloss should never be con-
fused with the genius of what the word means within its own
language, in its own varied contexts. The demands of trans-
lation require that we say the donor word "means" such and
such in our receptor language, and that may be right in that
context. It does not follow that the meaning of the word in the
donor language is exactly the same as the meaning of the gloss
word in the receptor language, for the overlap between two
such words is almost never 100 percent.
That is why one cannot responsibly translate a text under
some rigid dictum that the same word in the receptor language
must always render a word in the donor text. This has been
understood for centuries. The first English Bible, never
printed, was the product of a group of scholars gathered around
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 63
John Wycliffe. It was a word-for-word rendering of the Latin,
and almost umeadable. Just a few years after Wycliffe's death,
however, in 1395 or 1396, John Purvey reworked the Wycliffe
rendering to make it more readable in English. In his preface,
Purvey writes, "First, it is to be known that the best translat-
ing out of Latin into English is to translate after the sentence
and not only after the words .... The words ought to serve to
the intent and sentence, or else the words be superfluous or
false."14 Similarly, in the preface to the 1611 edition of the
King James Version, the translators confess, "We have not
tied ourselves to a uniformity of phrasing or to an identity of
words as some peradventure would wish that we had done."
Of course they didn't: they were good communicators. So it
is a bit frustrating, six centuries after Purvey and almost four
centuries after the KN, to find Robert Martin criticizing the
NN for not maintaining the same receptor terms for specific
donor terms. IS At the very least he might have evenhandedly
treated the KN to the same sanctions.
Other components of the "context" deserve mention. There
is not only the inunediate context, but a variety of more extended
contexts. The inunediate context may help an interpreter or a
translator follow the flow of the argument more precisely, which
may shed light on the coloring of a particular word or expres-
sion, which may affect translation choices. But there are expand-
ing circles oflarger contexts: the chapter, the book, the corpus,
that period of literature (for example, one moves from some
phrase in Romans 7 to all of chapter 7 to the entire Book of
Romans to the Pauline corpus to the New Testament to Hel-
lenistic Greek). Each "context" may make a contribution to
understanding something small, even a word. For instance, the
context of the corpus is important because individual authors
use words differently. In other words, Paul does not simply write
Greek, he writes his own "idiolect" of Greek. Demonstrably,
he uses some words differently from the way other writers in
the New Testament use them (for example, kaleo, "to call").
Nevertheless, the full range of Hellenistic Greek literature helps
I! 'I
i I

64 THE DEBATE
to establish how some vocabulary and some syntactical units
mean something a little different from what they mean in
sical Greek. For instance, intensive forms of Greek verbs have
often lost their intensiveness (but this can be determined only
by inspection); the complex syntax of Greek conditionals in the
Hellenistic period is nevertheless a good deal simpler than what
prevails in the Classical period.
Moreover, one element in context is the literary genre in
which an expression is found. These genres are not all trans-
portable across linguistic lines. The French have nothing quite
like a limerick; contemporary English has nothing quite like
apocalyptic. The latter, for instance, delights in mixed
metaphors. How much should such matters be explained in
footnotes or by some other device, since they were part of the
understood meaning that was both intended by the author and
understood by the first readers?
Then there is the emotional overtone of certain expressions,
whether of those expressions themselves, or when they are
embedded in certain contexts. The German word
weis has very positive overtones; something like "Scripture
prooftext" as a rendering is a failure, not because at the level
of naked meaning it is entirely wrong, but because the English
expression usually carries negative overtones. In any case the
German word is broader and subtler in meaning. In Acts 8:20,
Peter says to Simon Magus (in the NIv), "May your money per-
ish with you." An idiomatic rendering would be, "To hell with
you and your money"-though of course it would be improper
to render the Greek that way, because the English expression
is customarily used in coarse and vulgar contexts today, thereby
investing it with a tone absent from Peter's solemn words.
But there are still other kinds of context. Few have done more
in this area than Ernst-August Gutt.
16
He points out how there
may be more than the merely literary context at stake. The orig-
inal text had not only a larger literary context but a social con-
text. Perhaps I might offer an example other than his. In John
6, Jesus claims to be the bread from heaven, the bread of life.
TR.ANSLATION AND TREASON 6S
In the literary context, there are connections with the bread that
Jesus provided the day before at the feeding of the five thou-
sand, and with the manna in the wilderness. But in addition to
such explicit literary contextual features, there are implicit con-
textual features. One of these is that the words were first uttered
in an agrarian society, among relatively poor people. For peo-
ple in that society, bread was one of two staples; bread was
something without which you died. Moreover, because the cul-
ture was agrarian, virtually everyone recognized, casually, that
everything we eat is organic (save for a few minerals like salt):
something dies, we eat it, and live. This is true whether we
slaughter a pig and eat ham, or kill a stick of celery and eat it.
Those living organisms die, so that we might live. Either they
die, or we do. Thus when Jesus says that he is the bread of life,
we ought to "hear" connections not only with the feeding of the
five thousand and with the manna, but with the assumptions of
the culture at that time. Jesus dies, we live; he is the staple of
eternal life; without him and his death, we die.
There are many, many hundreds of such examples in the
Bible.
Sociolinguistics and Culture
In recent years there has been a rising interest in examin-
ing how language and other cultural realities interact with each
other. When you move into another language that is located
in and forms part of a different culture, the interactions
between language and culture are quite different. Keeping
your eye on such matters is exceedingly difficult, but it is nev-
ertheless part of the competent translator's responsibility.
There are a little over a dozen words in the Greek New Tes-
tament that might in some contexts be rendered "slave." The
only one of these that must be rendered "slave," if we follow
Greek precedent, is doulos. In the KN, however, the vast major-
ity of occurrences of doulos, especially when referring to
believers, are rendered "servant." It is difficult to resist the sup-
66 THE INCLUSIVEMLANGUAGE DEBATE
position that "slave" seemed too harsh and unattractive, not
least because of the social and cultural realities of the time.
Modern translations rightly render far more occurrences as
"slave" than did the KJV. Even there, however, some experts,
rightly or wrongly, still prefer to retain "servant" in a few cases,
because although they acknowledge that doulos in Greek set-
tings always means "slave," they think that Hebrew 'ebed ("ser-
vant") has influenced doulos. Certainly underlying Hebrew
has modified some other Greek vocabulary. Whatever the out-
come of that debate, it is hard to resist the conclusion that our
renderings are influenced by our social contexts.
Moreover, both our language and our own social context
change, and those changes may well call forth changes in
translation. I have already offered a few instances of changes
in English usage that have called forth more contemporary
translation. Thirty years ago, "I have to buy a mouse" would
conjure up a purchase for a child who wanted a pet in a little
cage; now the same sentence conjures up a component for a
computer system. So most of us are familiar with the reality
that language changes, even though we may dispute how much
it has changed. Part of the problem, as we shall see (chapter
9), is that America and many other Western countries are now
so diverse that language that communicates well with one sub-
group does not necessarily communicate well with another.
What is at stake, in any case, is some sort of interchange
between language and social context. But there are other
changes in our social context that are still more revealing.
Consider, for example, Luke 17:34-35. The KN reads, "I
tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the
one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women
shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other
left." The Greek text includes neither the word "men" nor the
word "women." In both cases, the Greek text simply reads,
"there shall be two in one bed" I "Two shall be grinding
together." In the culture of Jesus' day, if two were grinding
together it was probably a hand mill, and the two were most
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 67
likely women, even though the text does not say so. But why
the KJV inserts the word "men" I cannot guess: earlier English
versions had not done so, and I know of no reason to suppose
that it was more common to have two men in one bed than
two women or a man and a woman. The sex of the two indi-
viduals is not at issue in the context in any case; the point is
that of two people who are in close relation, one is taken and
the other is not. But in today's social context, two men in a
bed hints at things the KJV translators would not have thought
of (although certainly had they done so, they would not have
approved). The words may be the same, but the social con-
text of the readers has changed, resulting in different under-
standings of the same words. Most modern translations avoid
the trap, either by following the Greek more closely (for exam-
ple, the NRSV simply uses "two"), or by some other device (for
example, "two people" I "two women," NLT). The NKJV main-
tains the KN error. But my point is simply that social dynam-
ics interact with language, both at the donor end and at the
receptor end.
Finally, the combination of contexts contributes mightily
to enabling language to do things. Language does not merely
convey information (though of course it does that). Language
commands, exhorts, entices; some passages evoke tears or
wrath; they may set up models that implicitly invite imitation.
Language performs things. Reflection on this reality has led
to what is now commonly called "speech act theory." Ideally,
a good translator wants to know not only what the donor text
says but what it performs, that is, how it functions both in the
literary context and among the readers for whom it was first
intended. The translator will try to create a text in the recep-
tor language that mirrors all of these components. The recep-
tor text should, ideally, say what the donor text says (though
for any sustained text a translation will never say it in exactly
the same way), but it should also perform the same way, both
in the literary context and among the readers to whom it is
now being sent. 17 ~
68 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Implications and Conclusions
In this chapter I have tried to avoid the issues of inclusive
language. But issues of inclusive language are necessarily part
of broader issues in translation theory and practice, and can-
not receive an adequate evaluation without some knowledge
of these broader issues.
1. While avoiding the use of too many technical terms, the
preceding discussion has introduced some important cate-
gories in linguistics and translation theory. By now it should
be clearer why the Italian proverb is important: translation is
treason. No translation is perfect.
2. This does not mean that there are not better and worse
translations. But even the scales on which "better" and "worse"
are measured are tricky things. One might have a Bible trans-
lation that is "better" than many others in the general faithful-
ness of its renderings but uses vocabulary that is large and ele-
vated, with the result that it is "worse" in its ability to serve
the masses (so, for instance, the REB). One might have a trans-
lation that is wonderfully effective in its ability to communi-
cate and thus be a "better" translation, but at the expense of
too little faithfulness, too many cliches in the receptor lan-
guage, too much loss of the more subtle elements of the donor
language, and thus be a "worse" translation.
3. The challenges in translation that this chapter has briefly
mentioned (and there are many, many more) do not mean that
there are some things that cannot be translated. Although there
are a few philosophers of language who claim this is the case
(thus taking "translation is treason" to an extreme), the over-
whelming majority of linguists and translators insist, rightly
in my view, that any element in any text can be translated,
except for some forms.18 But they cannot all be translated in
the same way and in the same limited space as in the donor
text. Sometimes the ouly way something can be adequately
explained in the receptor language is by an explanatory note.
Translators make choices: lose some of the Greek passives in
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 69
order to make the text sound like smooth English, specify
whether the "we" is inclusive or exclusive to accommodate
Kikuyu syntax (even though the donor text makes no such
specification), and so forth.
In one of the more interesting experiments to corne along,
the NET Bible offers not only explanatory notes but also very
extensive "translator's notes."19 The notes are about five times
the length of the biblical text. Whether or not one agrees with
individual translation choices, at the very least the perusal of
such notes helps the novice identify the plethora of choices
that the translator is constantly called to make and some of
the reasons for deciding this way or that way. Although trans-
lations may be better or worse, it is crucial to remember that
translation is not an exact science.
4. Translation is inevitable. Human beings made in the
image of God will communicate with one another. Moreover
we who have a revelation from God in words, and a com-
mission to make that revelation known, must be at the fore-
front of thinking through the challenges and possibilities of
translation.
S. The commonly mooted contrast between "literal" and
"paraphrastic" translations is not very helpful or insightful,
partly because most who use this polarity associate "literal"
with superior or faithful or exact, and "paraphrastic" with
shoddy or slippery or approximate. But sometimes, as we have
seen, a formally more literal rendering may be less accurate,
because of the differences between the two languages. It may
be better to create a spectrum from "more formal translations"
to "more fluid translations" or "more functional translations,"
or something of that sort, because there is less emotional bag-
gage associated with such expressions. No translation is exclu-
sively formal;20 none entirely avoids formal features. If I were
placing some contemporary versions on this sliding scale, the
arrangement might look like this:
ASV NASB KJV NKJV RSV NRSV NIB NJV NlV] NLT CEV LB
,
! ,-?","
70 THE DEBATE
Nor is it simply a question of word-for-word translations over
against phrase-for-phrase translations, or even thought-for-
thought translations. As we have seen, there are entire phrases
in Greek and Hebrew that have no precise parallels in English,
just as there are words in Greek and Hebrew that have no pre-
cise parallels in English. One understands what people are try-
ing to say when they speak of a "thought-for-thought" trans-
lation, but quite frankly the expression is misleading. There
are no thoughts to be translated apart from the expression of
such thoughts in words, phrases, clauses, sentences, text. In
practice, "thought-for-thought" translation can easily become
an excuse for finding the general "thought" of a passage and
paraphrasing it, without closely trying to "hear" all the thoughts
that are bound up in a text, reflected in all the words in this
particular syntax, discourse, genre, and so on, and trying to
render as many of them as possible in the receptor language in
comparable space. All translations, from the most formal to
the most functional, are mediated by thought: the translators
think they understand the thoughts that are being conveyed,
and try to convey them in the receptor language.
6. In the same way, debates about the merits of one transla-
tion theory over against another are sometimes fraught with
approval and disapproval without any real understanding of the
issues involved. None of the so-called translation theories is
disjunctively set over against all the other translation theories;
they, too, are necessarily placed on a kind of spectrum, or at
least within the same sphere. For example, "formal equiva-
lence" theory is often contrasted with "dynamic equivalence"
theory. One can find voices that praise one and condemn the
other. But just as it is easy to read both theories sympathetically,
so also is it easy to mock both theories. For reasons we have
seen, consistent execution of formal equivalence is
impossible, and if one opts for the axiom "as formal as possi-
ble," one frequently ends up with a translation that actually dis-
torts much of the meaning in the donor text. On the other hand,
when dynamic equivalence theory was first formulated and pro-
TRANSLATION AND TREASON
71
moted, it emphasized the importance of producing a receptor
text that achieved the same results among its readers as the
donor text achieved among its readers. The intention was good,
but the formulation slightly silly: in most instances we have
very little information about how ancient texts were received.
And even if we did, the criterion is not necessarily helpful, as
sometimes texts were received very badly (for example, not
everyone in Corinth was happy with all of Paul's letters!), owing
less to the words themselves than to the unpopularity, in that
theological and social context, of the message they conveyed.
For this and otherreasons, virtually no one in the field of Bible
translation uses the expression "dynamic equivalence" any-
more: since 1986 it has been displaced by "functional equiva-
lence."21 Those who continue to use it are almost invariably
opponents of anything but formal equivalence theory, and for
them "dynamic equivalence" is a form of opprobrium.
In some circles this debate has been eclipsed. In an impor-
tant series of books and articles, Ernst-August Gutthas argued
for "relevance theory" in translation.
22
In a nutshell, relevance
theory stipulates that the ultimate (but not the only) test of a
translation is whether or not it achieves with the target audi-
ence what the translator sets out to achieve. Obviously there
is considerable insight here. What the translators of the LB or
NLT set out to achieve is not what the translators of the RSV or
NIV set out to achieve, so in certain respects they have to be
measured by different criteria. But in the hands of reduction-
ists, relevance theory in Bible translation could easily fail to
reflect adequately on the translator's responsibility toward the
donor text, as well as his or her responsibility toward the tar-
get audience.
7. By now it should be obvious that no translation is accom-
plished without interpretation. This needs unpacking a little.
For some people, "interpretation" is a negative word. They
have heard it too often in expressions like "That's just your
interpretation" or "My interpretation is as good as your inter-
pretation" or the like. For them, "interpretation" represents
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72 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
distance from the text. What they want is simply the text. The
translator's task is to render the text, not some interpretation
of it.
At one level, one must respect their concern to be faithful
to the text, their theoretical commitment not to play fast and
loose with it. Doubtless their sensitivity to such matters has
been increased by the insistence of some postmoderns that
meaning resides in interpreters and not in the text. But in real-
ity, every reading of a text by a finite being is an interpreta-
tion of it. There are more faithful interpretations and less faith-
ful interpretations, more accurate interpretations and less
accurate interpretations, but we cannot avoid interpretations, 23
So when I say that no translation is accomplished without
interpretation, I am saying nothing more than that translation
is never a merely mechanical task divorced from interpreta-
tion.'4 Precisely because there are differences between the
donor and receptor languages, it is impossible simply to pro-
vide formal equivalents. Translators must understand the
donor text, or think they do, before rendering it into the recep-
tor text. This does not mean that every alleged "understand-
ing" of a text is as good as any other, or that translators enjoy
a sovereign freedom from the responsibility to improve and
hone and correct their understandings of the text. It does mean
that criticism of a particular translation because it is based on
an interpretation of a text is silly, because that could be said
of every translation. If one wishes to criticize a translation
because of the interpretation that undergirds it, one must rather
say that the interpretation is faulty for such-and-such reasons,
and provide a superior interpretation. Every translation reflects
a reading of the text; every Bible translation reflects a theo-
logical reading of the text.
8. All translations are temporary. This is because the recep-
tor language changes; there are no exceptions. This means
that those responsible for a certain translation have only three
options. (a) When a translation is completed and is circulat-
ing, they can disband. That translation may continue in print
TRANSLATION AND TREASON 73
indefinitely. But eventually, whether in twenty years or four
centuries, its market share and influence will decline, as that
version is eclipsed by others that are geared to the most recent
developments in the language. (b) Those responsible may elect
to introduce a major revision every forty, fifty, or one hundred
years. Thus both the RSV andNAsB bnild off the ASV; the NRSV
builds off the RSV; the NLTbnilds off the LB; the REB builds off
the NEB; and so forth. Inevitably, however, these "revisions"
become in effect new versions, precisely because they are suf-
ficiently different from those that undergird them that both
can usefully be kept in print, the older version gradually los-
ing its influence to the more recent version. This is not nec-
essarily a bad option. Nevertheless, it must be understood that
each major revision of an English version, even when it is
based on the original languages, is a version within a certain
tradition of a translation. It is not "fresh." Moreover, it has
sectioned the market once again by providing further options.
(c) Those responsible for the translation may establish a com-
mittee that makes incremental changes every few years and
publish only the most recent revision. That happened at first
in an ad hoc fashion to the KJV until its text was finally firm.
The approach ofIBS toward the NIV was more programmatic.
The New Testament was lightly revised when it first appeared
with the Old Testament. The entire NIV was lightly revised
again in 1984. The advantage of such a procedure is that the
worst errors can be removed, and the translation is more likely
to remain contemporary, and therefore useful to the church,
for a longer period than it otherwise would. When publishers
make these incremental changes, they let the older versions
lapse, precisely because the aim of the exercise is to keep this
"renewed" version contemporary. Bnt there are disadvantages
and dangers. If the responsible body introduces changes too
often, at any given time there will be two or more editions of
a version in circulation (even if the publisher is not produc-
ing any more of the older ones), and this inhibits corporate
reading and liturgical use (though not private reading). More-
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74 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
over, if the version becomes very popular (like the NIV), and
if the responsible body then introduces more than minor
changes, there may be a hue and cry of the "Hands off my
NIv!" sort. This cry may be theologically driven; it may be
nothing more than rank traditionalism; it may be some com-
bination of both. If the publishers agree to make no more
changes, then the version (in this case, the NfV) is locked in
time, and we have tumbled into the first option. The version
will eventually be eclipsed. Of course, in due course the pub-
lishers could opt for a major revision and a new name while
keeping the current NIV in print: in other words, they could
pursue option b, providing, say, the RNIV (Revised New Inter-
national Version), keeping both NfV and RNIV in print. What
that means is that in the passage of time the NIV itself will
eventually lose its dominance and be largely replaced by other
versions, the RNIV or others (which mayor may not be supe-
rior-or, more realistically, will be superiorin some ways and
inferior in others). In short, those who are insisting that IBS
and Zondervan make no more revisions to the NIV, including
the kinds of revisions that might generate a "new" version
(such as my mythical RNIV), are demanding that these orga-
nizations commit themselves to option a.
My suspicion is that at least some spokespersons who said
they hoped that eventually NIVI would displace the NfV did so
because they knew that up until now IBS and Zondervan had
thought of handling the NfV within option c. No one is keep-
ingthe 1978 edition in print. In this case, however, the changes
are sufficiently substantial that, whether you like them or not,
they are widely perceived as constituting anew version, rather
than a new edition of an old version. If IBS and Zondervan,
responding to the crisis, are genuinely committed to keeping
the NIV in print as it is, then they have shut down option c and
have only the other tWO.25
9. In this chapter I have tried to get across some basic prin-
ciples of linguistics and translation theory without indulging
in too many technicalities or succumbing to too much tech-
TRANSLATION AND TREASON
75
nical vocabulary. One technical terru that did creep in was
"gloss." I shall close by reflecting on its significance for our
subject, and by briefly introducing two more terrus.
Very often Greek lexica provide some sort of awkward
combination of meanings and glosses, and linguistically unin-
formed readers confuse the two. Ideally a Greek lexicon (for
example) should provide as accurate a picture as possible of
the meaning(s) of the word within the structure and seman-
tics of the Greek language. Of course, if it is a Greek-English
lexicon, it must do so in English. That is the problem. Very
often what a lexicon provides is not quite the meaning of the
word in a particular context in Greek (explained in English),
but merely a useful translation equivalent, a "gloss," the appro-
priate word for the English translation because that is the way
we say it. We shall soon see that confusion between "mean-
ing" and "gloss" bedevils not a little of the contemporary
debate over inclusive-language translations.
A second confusion may as well be mentioned now, as it
will become important later. A crucial distinction must be
made between "meaning" and "referent." The "meaning" of
a word is its sense.26 We may then distinguish, for example,
between lexical meaning (that is, the more-or-less analytic
and sometimes synthetic sense assigned a word in a lexicon)
and pragmatic meaning (that is, what sense it carries in a par-
ticular context). The "referent" of a word is what it is refer-
ring to. Some words have only meaning: for example, "a" and
"beautiful." Some words are only referential, especially proper
names: for example, "Paul" refers to a man called Paul. Some
proper names, of course, while referring to someone or some-
thing, also have meaning, either directly or as some kind of
pun (for example, Moses and Abraham)27 Some words have
meaning and are usually nonreferential but may become ref-
erential in certain contexts: for example, "twelve" is not usu-
ally referential, but if substantivized in the right context, "the
Twelve" might refer to the twelve apostles. The distinction
t.
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76 THE DEBATE
between meaning and referent will become critical later in
this book.
Until the last few paragraphs, this chapter has made little men-
tion of the debate that this book is trying to address. Some
knowledge of the challenging work of translation is helpful
in discussing the peculiar challenge of gender-related ques-
tions. Similarly, some grasp of the nature of gender in vari-
ous languages around the world will occupy most of our atten-
tion in the next chapter, before we return, at the end of the
chapter, to a brief consideration of gender questions in the
Bible. GENDER AND SEX
AROUND THE WORLD
A TRANSLATOR'S NIGHTMARE
Most of this chapter, like the previous one, will avoid say-
ing much about the English language or about translation of
the Bible into English, until the last couple of sections. For
just as it is important to reflect on the nature oflanguage before
we can say much that is very penetrating about translation
from language to language, so it is important to reflect on the
nature of gender in language before we deal with the transla-
tion of gender from one language to another.
I must say at once that in this chapter I am enormously
indebted to Dr. Norman Fraser, who has picked me up on mat-
ters linguistic in the past, and who kindly responded to my e-
mail asking for information with an informed bibliography
(which I have dutifully read) and his own voluminous notes.
These I have cribbed shamelessly (though I have tried to check
them out for myself in the sources).
77
II
IIIII
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78 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Grammatical Gender
Preliminary Matters
In the literature of sociologists and of feminists and their
opponents, sex is a matter of biology while gender is a matter
of social construction.! Almost without exception, linguists
look at the matter differently. For them, gender is a grammat-
ical category, while sex is a semantic category (a category of
meaning). True, there is some kind of connection between
grammatical gender and the sex of the referent: gender and sex
clearly interact. But the nature of this interaction varies enor-
mously from language to language. To take an easy example,
when French classifies the word "table" as feminine, nothing
is being said about the sex of the table. In fact, in languages
around the world, the number of grammatical genders in the
different gender systems varies from two to about thirty, and
so far as I know there are not thirty sexes. In most languages
that employ strong gender systems, the primary purpose of
gender is not to encode sex but to encode agreement among
elements in the sentence. This is more difficult to perceive in
English than in some languages, but I hope the point will
become clear over the next few pages.
Gender Systems: Their Distribution and Variations
The category of gender is not found in every language. Most
(but not all) of the Indo-European languages (to which group
both Greek and English belong) have it, usually with two or
three genders. Most of the major Asian languages do not have
gender; the Dravidian languages constitute an exception. The
Caucasian languages have gender systems that are usually more
complex than those in Indo-European languages and are rather
differently structured. Languages change with time, of course,
and may modify their gender systems. The Slavonic languages
are currently spawning new "subgenders," owing to the fact
that some other category such as animacy interacts with gen-
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 79
der to create new agreement patterns. There are four language
groups (comprising about uine hundred languages) in Africa.
Afro-Asiatic languages usually have two-gender systems. The
other three groups, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Kordofanian, and
Khoisan, all include languages with gender systems, though
not every language in these groups uses gender systems
(experts estimate that about two-thirds of Africa's nine hun-
dred languages have some form of gender system). A major-
ity of the more than eight hundred languages of New Guinea
have gender systems. Genderis also prevalent in the languages
of Australia, especially in Arnhem Land and the North Kim-
berleys. By contrast, gender is relatively uncommon in the lan-
guages of the Americas, except for the Algonquian family.
Gender specification normally demands some sort of agree-
ment with other elements in the sentence. Even first -year Greek
students understand this point, but let me try to explain it for
those whose only tongue is English. Consider the three expres-
sions "a wise woman," "a wise man," "some wise women." In
English, the modifying adjective "wise" has exactly the same
form in all three expressions. In many languages, however, the
word "wise" would have to be spelled a little differently in the
three expressions: it would have to agree grammatically with
the word that it modifies. If the word is grammatically femi-
nine, then "wise" would have to be feminine; if masculine,
then "wise" would have to be masculine; if feminine plural,
then "wise" would have to be feminine plural. But some lan-
guages have forms for plural regardless of gender: in that case
we say that the adjective is marked for number but not for gen-
der. In such a language, "wise" would be spelled the same way
in the expression "some wise men" and "some wise women."
In any case, languages with gender systems normally demand
gender agreement between related words.
Turning to the nouns, clearly "woman" in English is marked
for number: the singular form is distinguished from the plural
"women" by a change in spelling. Note, too, that English has
two articles. The definite article "the" is not marked for num-
i
1.1
Ii:
1
I'
I
Ii
II
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80 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
ber: one can say "the wise woman" and "the wise women,"
and the word "the" remains the same. But in English the indef-
inite article "a" is singular: we say "a wise woman" but we
cannot say "a wise women." Where forms are marked for
number, once again agreement must normally be achieved.
2
So gender systems must normally be in agreement, and num-
ber systems must normally be in agreement-as also case sys-
tems, which I briefly illustrated in chapter 3 (point 3 under
"Differences from Language to Language").
Agreement may be expressed in a number of ways. Very
commonly it is expressed through "inflection": that is, the
words that must "agree" with one another change their end-
ings ("suffixes"), beginnings ("prefixes"), or something in the
middle ("infixes"), or some combination of all three. Thus in
Greek, for instance, in the expression "the glorious truth" all
three words-the article, the adjective, and the noun-must
agree in number (in this example, singular), gender (feminine,
because "truth" is feminine in Greek), and case (wltich will be
determined by the use to which the expression is put in its syn-
tactical location). Agreement may also be reflected in the form
of pronouns that have a gender-specific antecedent: for exam-
ple, in English, "Mary combed her hair." Languages in wltich
gender agreement manifests itself exclusively or almost exclu-
sively among the pronouns are said to have pronominal gen-
der systems. English is such a language; Hebrew and Greek
are not.
How, then, are nouns assigned to genders? What makes
"table" in French and "truth" in Greek feminine? The assign-
ment can be made on (1) a semantic basis, that is, based on
the meaning of words; (2) a formal basis, that is, regardless
of the meaning, all nouns with a particular ending belong to
specific gender; (3) some combination of the two. The experts
say that every language with a gender system retains a seman-
tic assignment for at least some words. When I specify a
semantic basis (that is, a basis in the meaning of the words),
this mayor may not be sex -differentiating.
I
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 81
We need a couple of easy examples. In German, the word
Frau
3
can mean "woman" or "wife" or "Mrs." The word is
feminine, so the definite article in German (in the nomina-
tive case) must be die: die Frau. But one of the German
words for a young woman is Miidchen. This word is neuter,
because it has the diminutive ending -chen, which is always
neuter. The article with it must therefore be the neuter arti-
cle: das Miidchen. In the first of these two nouns, the assign-
ment of the word to a gender is tied to semantics, that is, to
the meaning of the word: "woman" or "wife" is feminine,
and so is the word Frau. In the second instance, the assign-
ment of the word to a particular gender is tied to formal
requirements, regardless of the semantics: the formal
requirement is that words ending in -chen be neuter, regard-
less of their meaning.
In the list that follows, each entry begins with the name of
a language, followed by the family of languages to which it
belongs (in parentheses), followed by the number of genders
it has. The meaning of these genders is then listed. In other
words, in these languages we are dealing with semantic assign-
ments (that is, nouns are assigned to genders on the basis of
meaning), though we shall quickly see that some of these
meanings are not sex-differentiating.
Tamil (Dravidian), 3
1. male rational
2. female rational
3. nonrational-and as in many languages, infants are not
rational, but the gods are, and so are some domestic pets
Parji (Dravidian), 2
1. male
2. nonmale (note: nonmale, not necessarily female)
Diyari (Australian), 2
1. female, whether human or animal (in sex-differentiat-
ing animals)
2. nonfemale (note: nonfemale, not necessarily male)
!
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82 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Halkomelem (Salish), 2
1. females and diminutives
2. all others (hereafter referred to as "residue," the term
commonly employed by linguists for "all the others")
Zaude (Ubaugian), 4
1. male humau
2. female human
3. other auimate
4. residue
Dyirbal (Australiau, Northeast Queensland), 4
1. male humau, nonhuman auimate
2. female human, water, fire, fighting
3. nonflesh food
4. residue
Ojibwa (Algonquiau), 2
1. auimate, including trees
2. inanimate
Northern Cheyenne (Algonquiau), 2
1. powerful things (with power defined, of course, accord-
ing to the Cheyenne worldview)
2. residue
Tabasaran (Caucasiau), 2
1. humau
2. nonhumau
Lak (Caucasian), 4
1. male rational
2. female rational
3. other auimate-but including some female humans aud
mauy inanimates
4. residue
Archi (Northeast Caucasiau), 4
1. male rational
2. female rational
3. large things
4. small things aud abstracts
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD
83
Ngaugikurrunggur (Daly, North Australian), 9
1. most natural objects, terms for kinship, a few body parts
2. hunting weapons
3. most body parts
4. trees, most wooden implements
5. most animals hunted for meat
6. edible plauts
7. male animates, excluding dogs
8. female animates
9. canines
Ket (Siberiau language isolate), 3
1. male humau, male animal, some other living things, fish
(with three exceptions), all growing trees, large wooden
objects, the moon, some religious items
2. female humau, female auimal, other living things, three
fish (turbot, ruff, perch), some plants, the sun, fire, some
religious items, soul, some body parts, some skin diseases
3. parts of wholes, residue (actually the majority of Ket
nouns)
Many languages, however, assign nouns on a formal basis
(though some sort of semantic component is factored in).
These lauguages are much more common thau those with gen-
der systems that assign nouns on a purely semantic basis (like
those listed above). Moreover, not only do they vary enor-
mously in complexity, but the nature of the formal character-
istics according to which nouns are assigned gender cau vary.
Roughly speaking, formal characteristics may be divided into
two divisions. Some assignments are made on the basis of
morphology, that is, on the shape of words, commonly (but
not invariably) realized in their endings; other assignments
are made on the basis of phonology, that is, the way the word
sounds. (Obviously these two are related, but not always
strictly related; sometimes morphology takes precedence over
phonology, aud sometimes the reverse.)
'I
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84 THE DEBATE
Let us begin with languages that assign nouns to gender
according to morphology. Even these languages have some
semantic component. For example, in Russian (whose gen-
der system has three genders), nouns that are sex-differen-
tiable first of all follow these rules:
4
1. nouns denoting males are masculine
2. nouns denoting females are feminine
Nouns that are not assigned according to these two rules fall
into two categories: either they are declinable (that is, they fall
into different patterns, called declensions, each with its own
morphology) or they are indeclinable. For declinable nouns:
1. nouns of the first declension are masculine
2. nouns of the second and third declensions are feminine
3. nouns of the fourth declension are neuter
For indeclinable nouns:
1. nouns denoting animates are masculine
2. the residue are neuter
Other languages assign nouns to gender according to some
phonological pattern, that is, according to the way words
sound. For instance, Qafar (belonging to the East Cushitic
family) has two genders. The first includes nouns denoting
female humans and animals (a semantic assignment) and
nouns whose lexical form ends in an accented vowel (a phono-
logical assignment); the second embraces the residue. Rausa,
an African language belonging to the Chadic family, also has
two genders. The semantics are the same as in Qafar, but in
addition nouns ending in -aa are feminine.
Some languages have resisted analysis until very recently.
The gender system in French, for example, has often been judged
to be arbitrary. It is now recognized that there are a couple of
semantic assignment rules (sex-differentiable nouns denoting
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD
85
males are masculine; sex-differentiable nouns denoting females
are feminine), a small number of morphological assignment rules
(for example, compound nouns formed from a verb plus some
other element are masculine), and a substantial number ofphono-
logical rules dealing with the final segment of words as they used
to be pronounced in older French. In other words, one reason
why French resisted analysis for so long is that the assignment
of gender to nouns took place when many nouns, especially fem-
inine nouns, were pronounced (and often spelled) a little differ-
ently from the way they are pronounced today.'
To add to the challenges, the gender systems in some lan-
guages are partly "syncretic," that is, different agreements are
signaled by the same marker. For example, in Qafar, feminine
singular verbs, masculine plural verbs, and feminine plural
verbs all share the same t. In the Somali definite article, the
masculine singular form and the feminine plural form are iden-
tical, while the feminine singular and the masculine plural
forms are identical.
Agreement Patterns in Difficult Cases
In gender-marked languages, many agreements are straight-
forward, but inevitably difficulties of one sort or another arise.
One difficulty is how to sort out agreement between ele-
ments in the sentence that are gender-marked and elements
that are not gender-marked (which linguists call "nonproto-
typical controllers"). Suppose English were a highly gender-
marked language in its nouns and finite verbs. In the sentence
"To err is human," the verb "is" would have some gender
marker, and it should agree not only with "human" but also
with the infinitive "to err." Unfortunately, the infinitive "to
err" is not gender-marked. So what gender should be assigned
to "is" and "human"?
Languages tend to resolve this problem in one of two
ways. Some simply select one of the existing genders and
assign it to tasks like this. Often enough it is the "residue"
.' "
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86 THE INCLUSIVEMLANGUAGE DEBATE
gender. In the following list, once again the language is fol-
lowed by the family to which it belongs, and the number of
genders in its gender system, followed by a list of those gen-
ders, with that gender in boldface type that is used for "neu-
tral agreement," that is, for agreement with "nonprototypi-
cal controllers."
Serbo-Croat (South Slavonic), 3
Menominee (Algonquian), 2
Fula (West Atlantic), about 20
Bayso (East Cushitic), 2
Qafar (East Cushitic), 2
masculine, feminine,
neuter
animate, inanimate
the "Dum" class
(most abstracts),
about 19 others
masculine, feminine
rnasculil1e,feminine
The other way for languages to solve this problem is to gen-
erate a unique "neutral" (not neuter!) form that serves no pur-
pose other than to solve this and related problems. For exam-
ple, Spanish, like French but unlike German, has only two
genders, masculine and feminine. But in addition to the mas-
culine pronoun el and the feminine pronoun ella, it also has a
neutral pronoun ello, which has no nouns that could serve as
its normal antecedent but which solves the problem of "non-
prototypical controllers." Portuguese has a similar arrange-
ment. Ukranian (East Slavonic) has adjectival forms in -0 for
neutral agreement in predicative constructions.
A second problem that arises is what to do in gender-marked
languages with masculine and feminine forms that are nor-
mally tied to the sex of the referent (male and female), but
where the sex of the referent in some particular context is
unknown. Four different strategies are used:
1. Use a regular form by convention. This may be:
masculine: this is the majority pattern; for example,
Serbo-Croat
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 87
feminine: this is the pattem adopted by a substantial minor-
ity of languages; for example, Maasai (Nilotic), Seneca
(Iroquoian), Goajiro (Arawakan), Dama (Khoisan).
2. Use an evasive form. Some uses of "they" in English
fall into this category. Polish employs its neuter form at
this juncture. Archi (Caucasian) employs the form of its
fourth gender structure-a gender that does not include
nouns denoting humans!
3. Use a special form. If the gender of the referent is
unknown, Zande (Ubangian) uses a special pronoun ni
that is separate from the normal pronouns. Some uses
of on in French and man in German approximate this.6
4. Follow no rule; decide on the spot. Dyirbal (Northeast
Queensland) allows speakers to please themselves: if
the sex of the referent is unknown, pick a gender, any
gender.
A third problem that arises in gender-marked languages is
what to do when there are gender conflicts. Consider the sen-
tence, "When John and Susan visited the city, they went to
seeLes Miserables." In a gender-marked language, what gen-
der should the pronoun "they" be (and with it the verb "went,"
if it too is marked)? After all, one of the nouns in the com-
pound subject that constitutes the referent of "they" is mas-
culine ("John"), and the other is feminine ("Susan"). What
gender should "they" be?
Languages tend to adopt one of three solutions. They seek
to resolve gender conflicts in coordinate structures on the basis
of semantics (that is, meaning), on the basis of syntax, or on
the basis of some combination of the two.
1. Semantic resolution: for example,
Tamil (with only two genders in the plural):
a. if all conjuncts' denote rationals, use the ratio-
nal form
r
!
88 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
b. if all conjuncts denote nonrationals. use the
neuter form
c. otherwise use the rational plural
Archi (with four genders [see point 2 above]):
a. if there is at least one conjunct denoting a
rational, use gender I or 2
b. otherwise use gender 3 or 4
Luganda, a Bantu language (eight genders):
a. if all conjuncts are human, use gender I or 2
b. if none of the conjuncts is human, use gender
7 or 8
c. otherwise use a comitative construction (that
is, break the construction up) to avoid the
problem; if it cannot be avoided, use gender
7or8
2. Syntactic resolution: for example,
French (only two genders):
a. if all conjuncts are feminine (regardless of
meaning), use the feminine form
b. otherwise use the masculine form
Icelandic (three genders):
a. if all conjuncts are masculine, use the mascu-
line gender
b. if all conjuncts are feminine, use the feminine
gender
c. otherwise use the neuter gender
3. Mixed semantic and syntactic resolution: for example,
Latin (three genders)
a. if all conjuncts are masculine, use the mascu-
line gender
b. if all conjuncts are feminine, use the feminine
gender
c. if all conjuncts denote humans, use the mas-
culine gender
d. otherwise use the neuter gender
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 89
Rumanian (three genders)
a. if at least one conjunct denotes a male ani-
mate, use the masculine gender
b. if all conjuncts are masculine, use the mascu-
line gender
c. otherwise use the feminine gender
Gender and Translation
Some Reflections
One might well ask why so much space should be devoted
to languages that are a long way removed from anything to
do with gender-neutral English. Not for a moment am I sug-
gesting that the move from Hebrew to English is encumbered
with all the challenges implicit in the languages to which I
have briefly referred. But I could not think of a better way of
getting across a number of points that have an enormous bear-
ing on the problem of translating (grammatical) gender. Not
all of these points are directly applicable to English transla-
tions of Holy Scripture, but quite a few of them are.
So here are a few observations that largely spring from what
has already been laid out in this chapter, sometimes moving
toward fresh information. This list is not exhaustive of the
lessons that should be learned, but it is representative and sug-
gestive, and will advance the argument another step.
First, linguistic gender is a highly diverse phenomenon. A
majority of languages have it, but many do not. Those that do
have some gender system or other rarely have a gender system
exactly like that in another language. The number, meaning,
form, and use of genders are all highly variable. So also are the
conventions for resolving gender conflicts, and for handling
"non-prototypical controllers." The relation between grammat-
ical gender and the sex of referents is also extremely variable.
It does not take much imagination to discern how difficult a
translator's job would be to render a Latin text into an Australian
F •......i
P
·
1'<
90
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
language, or into Qafar, or into one of the East Cushitic lan-
guages. In every case, something would be lost (apart from
detailed footnotes), and in many cases the receptor language
would have to over-specify. There simply is no choice; that is
the nature of translation, and many of the challenges of transla-
tion are seen in an acute form in the area of grammatical gender.
Second, languages change with time, and that includes
changes in gender systems. I briefly mentioned the changes
currently taking place in Slavonic languages. In fact, there is
a substantial literature on the rise, development, and decline
of gender systems in various language families.
8
At the level
of syntax, when languages simplify with time, such simplifi-
cation tends to be matched by rising complexity elsewhere,
such as in the morphology. But the opposite may happen: sim-
plified morphology may be accompanied by a syntax of ris-
ing complexity, since every language has to encode its struc-
tural relations in one fashion or another. In morphology,
Hellenistic Greek is simpler than Attic Greek; modern Greek
is much simpler than Hellenistic Greek (for example, the gen-
itive and dative have virtually disappeared). The main vari-
eties of Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) are morphologi-
cally very simple (as is English), and their syntax and word
order are correspondingly more complex.' But languages
change, whether we like it or not. We may legitimately dis-
pute how quickly English is changing: I'll say a little more
about that below and considerably more in chapter 9. But
change they will, including their gender systems, and trans-
lations will change with them.
Third, the function of gender systems is another extraordi-
narily variable element. As we have seen, gender systems
establish agreement; in many cases, they carry semantic freight.
But when one asks more pointedly why languages have gen-
der systems (remembering, of course, that some languages do
not), the answers are complex. In some instances, gender sys-
tems help to "disambiguate" the syntax, that is, to make sen-
tences less ambiguous than they would otherwise be. Certain
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 91
examples crop up in several reference works.
lO
"Maria pho-
tographed Tobias in front of the house when she/he/it was ten
years old." In this case, the choice of pronoun-feminine sin-
gular, masculine singular, or neuter singular--establishes the
referent (Maria, Tobias, house) and therefore what it is that is
ten years old. In languages where every noun is marked for
gender, this may be of much greater importance than a lan-
guage like English that is not so marked. Consider the German
sentence, "Der Krug fiel in die Schale, aber er zerbrach nicht":
"The jug fell in the bowl but it did not break." What did not
break-the jug or the bowl? In German the answer is unam-
biguous, because the pronoun "er" is masculine, and agrees
with "Krug" (jug) but not with "Schale" (bowl). Thus the Ger-
man gender system "disambiguates" this particular structure
where the nouns at issue are of different gender. But obviously
if the two nouns were of the same gender, the gender system
would not disambiguate the sentence.
In fact, the function of gender systems in different languages
varies enormously. In some Australian languages, the gender
system holds together much of the syntax. In other languages,
gender systems may show the attitude of the speaker, or mark
status, or display affection. In some Polish dialects, the femi-
nine gender is used for women who are married (a status);
neuter or masculine forms (depending on the dialect) are used
for women who are unmarried. In some languages, affection
is shown children by shifting genders-masculine for the girl,
feminine for the boy. In some languages, people are referred
to in nonanimate genders when they are being insulted.l1
Fourth, English, as we have seen, has a pronominal gender
system. Inevitably, many of our most difficult problems of
gender resolution are connected with our pronouns. In con-
temporary English, the first-person singular pronoun "I" is
not marked for gender, but it is marked for number (that is, it
is distinguished from "we," but neither "1" nor "we" specifies
a particular gender). The second-person pronoun "you" is
r
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92 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
marked for neither gender nor number-though of course
older English distinguished the second-person pronoun for
number and sometimes case: "thou" was second-person sin-
gular, nominative case, and "thee" was accusative case; the
corresponding plurals were "ye" and "you." None of these
pronouns is marked for gender. In the third person, the sin-
gular forms are marked for gender ("he," "she," "it"), but the
plural form is not ("they").
Thus English has no third-person singular common-gen-
der pronoun. The problem has been discussed at least since
the eighteenth century; it is not the preserve of the past two
or three decades (see discussion in chapter 9). Consider:
I. Everyone loves to hear his own name.
2. Everyone loves to hear her own name.
3. Everyone loves to hear his or her own name.
4. Everyone loves to hear their own name.
Most language authorities vote for the first option, and claim
that in this case "his" is gender neutral, or common gender.
Formally, of course, it is not, which is why some have advo-
cated alternating between the first two options (a procedure
adopted in some Australian languages), others head for the
third option (which, strictly speaking, is the only one that fol-
lows formal agreement to the letter, but is usually viewed as
too cumbersome), and still others choose the last option (which
breaches concord of number). So the first option breaches con-
cord of gender (or we avoid admitting this point by saying
that "his" is gender neutral), while the last option breaches
concord of number (and we avoid admitting this point by say-
ing, as some do, that this "they" is singular).
Certainly the majority view, among competent authorities,
until recently, was the first option; what the majority view is
today is more difficult to determine, as we shall see. But we
should observe that whatever one's view, one is forced by cus-
tom to choose the fourth option in certain constructions. For
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 93
instance, one may say, "Everyone liked his dinner" (first
option), but no one would say, "Everyone liked the dinner, but
he did not care for the dessert." English usage dictates, rather,
"Everyone liked the dinner, but they did not care for the
dessert."12 Why this exception should be made in standard
English is dictated solely by usage. If usage changes (at least
in some segments of the English-speaking world), it is diffi-
cult to see why the same singular "they" might not be used
elsewhere, however much it may grate upon my purist sensi-
bilities. When I was a child, "It is I" was still mandated; now
most authorities sanction "It's me." This, too, grates on my
purist sensibilities-but the changing usage is quite capable
of breaching formal concord.
Fifth, from a translator's point of view, then, one must
understand how the gender system works in both the donor
language and the receptor language (assuming that both lan-
guages have such a system). The way affection is expressed
to a child, for instance, may be entirely different in another
language, with the loss offormal equivalence in gender in the
receptor language in order to approximate the emotion of
affection carried by the gender structures of the donor lan-
guage. No two languages are mirror reflections of each other,
even in their gender systems.
An Example
Rodney Venberg provides us with an interesting example
of a translation problem that turns on gender.
13
Serving as a
missionary translator with the Lutheran Brethren Mission in
the Chad Republic, he devoted himself to learning the lan-
guage of the Peve tribe. The word for "God" in Peve is lfray,
a feminine word. In Peve legends, lfray gave birth to two chil-
dren, a boy and a girl, from whom the tribe descended. Using
a feminine word for God is not in itself a problem, of course;
the word for "spirit" in Hebrew is (normally) feminine. But
quite apart from the lingering tribal traditions in the back-
r
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94 THE DEBATE
ground, the real problem arises when one chooses a pronoun
to refer to God (lfray).
Christians among the Peve tribe had been converted by
evangelists from another tribe, the Moundang. The Moun-
dang word for God was also feminine, namely, Masing. How-
ever, the third-person singular Moundang pronoun, ako, is
gender neutral: it can mean either "he" or "she," the determi-
nation being supplied by the context. Peve Christians had
learned from the Moundang that God should be addressed as
Father, so they had come to think of lfray as merely a name
for God and used the male pronoun Mum ("he"), rather than
Ta ("she"), to refer to him.
But now that their language was being reduced to writing
and the Scriptures were being translated into Peve, Venberg
pushed a little harder to sort things out. Why not use Bafray,
"Father," to refer to God, instead of lfray? The Peve believ-
ers strenuously objected that this would be introducing a for-
eign God, an alien God. Then why not use Ta ("she") as the
pronoun, to preserve formal agreement? The Peve believers
did not think that was necessary, since they did not really think
of (Christian) lfray as having a sex. lfray was merely a name,
and the Christians were used to referring to this God with
Mum, the masculine pronoun.
Further exploration, however, disclosed something else.
When the Christians tried to share their faith with unbeliev-
ers among the Peve, their "solution" struck hearers as essen-
tially alien. Even some church people used Mum ("he") to
refer to God in church, but Ta ("she") to refer to God when
they were on their own or in their families. Outsiders who
heard Christians referring to lfray as "he" and as the "Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ" thought the breach of concord bizarre
and asked if they would have to change their talk if they
became Christians. But if the Peve Christians switched to
using feminine pronouns to speak of God, then the "she" who
was "mother" of Jesus was likely to be understood as Mary,
not God.
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 95
I need not here pursue how Venberg and the Peve Chris-
tians finally handled the matter in their translation. I'm not
certain that their resolution was the best one-but of course,
I wasn't there! I am merely trying to show how extraordinar-
ily difficult translation problems bound up with gender sys-
tems may be.
Nor can one write off this example as peculiarly difficult
because one is dealing with a language interlocked with tribal
religion: the grammatical gender is tied to an active myth that
concerns a female god. Certainly this sort of link makes the
problem more difficult in some cases, of course, but the chal-
lenges of Bible translation and how to refer to God in differ-
ing gender systems transcend the languages of African tribes.
In French, while Dieu ("God") is masculine, Trinite ("Trin-
ity") is feminine. Thus one refers to God with the masculine
pronoun ii, but to the Trinity with the feminine pronoun eUe.
"The holy God" is Ie saint Dieu (masculine singular article
and adjective); "the holy Trinity" is la sainte Trinite (femi-
nine singular article and adjective). Of course, this particular
result of the French gender system does not occur in the Bible,
but certainly it occurs in the history of Christian thought.
Some Biblical Examples
The word for "spirit" is feminine in Hebrew, neuter in Greek,
and normally we use the masculine pronoun in English. In the
complex expression "the Spirit of the Lord" or "the Spirit of
God" in the Hebrew canon, the word "Spirit" is formally fem-
inine, but it is treated as a feminine thirty-six times and as a
masculine seven times (thus breaking gender concord).
So from this one example, if someone were to criticize the
NRSV or the NIVI on the ground that these revisions include words
that God did not originally cause to be written, that is, human
words that people have substituted for the words of God, how
should we respond? Does this demand that we use feminine
pronouns for the Spirit of the Lord wherever the Old Testament
,
'.
96 THE DEBATE
does? I know no one who argues along that line: the differences
between the donor and receptor languages are acknowledged.
But then in principle one must recognize the possibility that
there are differences between the use of the masculine pronoun
in Hebrew and the masculine pronoun in current English. (Once
again: if the argument is that English has not changed all that
much, I shall evaluate the claim in chapter 9. My point here is
that to use in the receptor language a pronoun different in gen-
der from what is used in the donor language is not intrinsically
wrong.) Everything depends on how those pronouns function
in the gender systems of their respective languages.
More generally, Hebrew has only two grammatical genders,
masculine and feminine. Nouns referring to instruments, tools,
body members, and weapons are usually feminine, as are nouns
referring to natural forces, names of countries and towns, and
titles. Collectives are commonly feminine. Do not forget: the
Spirit who inspired the Scriptures employed this sort of clas-
sification. Virtually none of it is directly transmissible into En-
glish. Further, when a Hebrew subject is feminine plural, not
infrequently concord is breached and a masculine plural verb
is used: for example, "32,000 women who had never known
[masculine plural] a man" (Num. 31:35); "all the women will
show respect [masculine plural] to their husbands" (Esther
1:20); "many daughters do [masculine plural] noble things"
(Prov. 31 :29); "women rule over [masculine plural] them" (Isa.
3: 12). English is not marked for gender in its third-person plural
verb forms, so such specification is lost. But even if English
were so marked, it wonld not necessarily follow that we should
allow such breach of concord in our language: it would depend
on how the gender system worked in the receptor language.
Consider Jeremiah 44 :24-25: "Then Jeremiah said to all the
people, including the women, 'Hear the word of the LORD, all
you people of Judah in Egypt. This is what the LORD Almighty,
the God of Israel, says: You and your wives have shown by
your actions what you promised.'" Note that the text specifies
that Jeremiah was speaking "to all the people, including the
GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 97
women," yet when it continues, the men alone are directly
addressed ("You and your wives"). In English, this is almost
incoherent, precisely because the women have been mentioned.
Consider Numbers 5:6: "Speak to the sons [bene] ofIsrael:
'A man ['Ish] or a woman ['ishd], should they commit [mas-
culine plural] a wrong against someone ['adam], thereby being
unfaithful to Yahweh, then that person [nephesh] is guilty
[feminine singular], and they must confess [masc. plur.] their
[masc. plur.] sin which they have done [masc. plur.], and he
shall make restitution [masc. singular] for his [masc. sing.]
wrong that is on his [masc. sing.] head, and its fifth he shall
add [masc. sing.] to it, and he shall give [masc. sing.] it to the
one [masc. sing.] he has wronged [masc. sing.]." English sim-
ply does not permit that degree of variation. The initial "sons
of Israel" clearly include women. In English, after a disjunc-
tive "man or woman," strict concord demands "he or she"; if
instead we opt for the plural (which is what Hebrew does),
we certainly cannot revert to the singular masculine form.
There are countless passages of similar gender complexity
in the Hebrew Old Testament, which cannot be faithfully ren-
dered into English by formal equivalents. So when we are told,
in a careful selection of instances, that we must have the mas-
culine pronoun where the Hebrew has the masculine pronoun,
or else we are sacrificing or twisting the Word of God, the kind-
est thing that can be said is that honest concern for the integrity
of the Word of God has blinded the critic to two facts: (1) the
original words of God were (in these cases) in Hebrew, not
English; and (2) Hebrew and English do not have the same
gender systems. Formal equivalents are often impossible. If in
some places formal equivalents are possible, even that does
not necessarily mean they are right or best: everything depends
on understanding the meaning in the original and attempting
one's best to convey that meaning in the receptor language.
Dr. Wayne Grudem distinguishes between "pure generics"
and "representative generics."14 The former are expressions
such as "everyone," "anyone," "all people," and the like. By
l M l
98 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
contrast, "representative generics" include expressions like
"the man" in Psalm 1: 1, even though men and women are
included. Both representative generics and pure generics, he
writes, "are inclusive references." But in order "to bring over
into English the full sense of these expressions as nearly as
possible, English translations should translate the pure gener-
ics in Hebrew and Greek as pure generics in English, and the
representative generics in Hebrew and Greek as representa-
tive generics in English. That would preserve their distinctive
nuances."IS But if this chapter means anything, that is pre-
cisely what one cannot do unless the gender-systems of donor
and receptor languages are identical. As we shall see, they are
not. Dr. Grudem's argument is simply an appeal for formal
equivalence. Try applying it to Qafar, where the distances are
instantly more obvious. In exactly the same way that one can-
not responsibly translate a Greek genitive absolute into En-
glish as an English genitive absolute because the syntactical
structures of the two languages are different, so one cannot
responsibly translate all Greek -specified genders into English
as corresponding English genders, because the gender sys-
tems of the two languages are different. And so also one can-
not responsibly translate all Greek generics, pure or other-
wise, into corresponding pure and representative generics in
English, because the gender systems of the two languages are
different, and, on these points (I shall argue), increasingly
diverging.
Not for a moment am I suggesting that all of the criticisms
leveled against gender-neutral translations are misguided.
Some of them, as will be clear in chapters 6 and 7, 1 heartily
endorse. But the argument that attaches a particular formal
equivalent in gender assignment to faithfulness to the Word
of God is profoundly mistaken in principle. It understands nei-
ther translation nor gender systems. Even when the criticism
is telling with respect to a particular passage, it does not fol-
low that the undergirding assumptions about language and
translation are believable.
5
A BRIEF EVALUATION
OF THE CBT
AND CS PRINCIPLES
The two sets of principles or translation guidelines printed
in chapter 2 of this book are quite different in purpose, length,
and comprehensiveness. Moreover, as I have already indi-
cated, the Committee on Bible Translation principles are cur-
rently undergoing review. Quite apart from the principles
themselves, one may sometimes endorse a principle and yet
be discontent with the way that principle is applied; alterna-
tively, one might be a trifle disconcerted by the sloppiness of
a principle but regain confidence from the way it is applied.
In any case one should start by evaluating the guidelines, so
in this chapter, building on what we have gleaned about trans-
lation and about gender systems from the previous two chap-
ters, 1 shall comment on the two sets of principles. Then in
the next two chapters, 1 shall comment briefly on a substan-
tial number of passages from the Old Testament (chapter 6)
99
II
r
100
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
and from the New (chapter 7). Separate chapters are desirable
because the donor languages for the two Testaments are dif-
ferent and cast up rather different problems for the translator.
In chapter 8 I will look at a few passages under dispute that
have considerable theological weight.
You will find it simplest to keep your finger in chapter 2 to
follow the discussion in this chapter.
Reflections on the CBT Principles
CBT Principle I.C
Principle I.C could be understood in a good sense or a bad
sense. Its potential for being understood in a bad sense was
apparently what prompted the CBT to include the explana-
tory note.! To think of rendering what may "offend modern
sensibilities" in some fashion that will remove the offense
could easily open up a sinkhole into which ahnost any change
could be dropped. Does the notion of substitutionary atone-
ment offend modern sensibilities? Change the wording. Does
what the Bible says about men and women offend modern
sensibilities? Modify the text.
Yet the "note" gives examples of what CBT members had
in mind, and scarcely anyone would take exception to their
examples. I have not seen any written criticisms of the NIV'S
"one male" as a rendering of the Hebrew "one who urinates
against the wall" (1 Sam. 25:22). Nor have I seen anyone
become upset with the NIV'S "whose genitals were like those
of donkeys" for Hebrew "whose flesh was like that of a don-
key" (where "flesh" in Hebrew is in this instance a metaphor
for penis-Ezek. 23:20). Note the change not only in noun
("flesh" [signifying "penis "] becomes" genitals ") but in num-
ber, and therefore also in the number of the verb.
Thus the examples are unexceptional, even though the prin-
ciple is as broad as the proverbial barn door. It would be wise
to try to recast the principle in such a way that the examples
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 101
in the "note" are accommodated without leaving the way open
for less acceptable changes. I can think of several ways this
might be done, all of them slightly messy. I shall mention one,
but approach it, as it were, through the back door.
Consider Romans 16:16: "Greet one another with a holy
kiss." In chapter 1 (under "Recent Developments") we briefly
reflected on this text with respect to the relationships between
language and larger cultural structures. Now we may ask more
pointedly: Are Christians sinning against God if they do not
obey this literally? Christians in France obey it literally, of
course, but few citizens of England do, and only a small per-
centage of American Christians. Is this failure nothing other
than callous disobedience? Few would say so. One of the rea-
sons is that the New Testament offers no theology of kissing.
Kissing is not a repeatedly mentioned act full of complex,
symbol-laden, theological overtones. What Paul does offer,
in this case, is a theology of how Christians should love one
another, accept one another, build one another up, welcome
one another-and in Paul's culture, one of the cultural signs
of such warmth was a greeting with a kiss that transcended
barriers of race and status and money. The famous paraphrase
"Give a hearty handshake all around" may remove the text a
bit too much from the historical particularity of the first cen-
tury, but it is not wrongheaded: in some of our cultures, that
is the cultural equivalent.
What one must ask of the examples in the CBT's "note,"
then, is whether the Old Testament offers a theology of males
as those who urinate against a wall, or a theology of "flesh"
as a metaphor for the penis. The question answers itself. Thus
the principle at stake needs to focus more narrowly than it
does: it should not be left open to virtually anything that
offends modern sensibilities, but should speak more narrowly
of forms of expression that offend modern sensibilities where
those expressions are not tied to theological themes that run
through the text. Of course, translators must then decide what
themes do run through texts and be honest about the matter.
102 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
But that sort of decision goes with the job of translation: as
we have seen, translation is never a mechanical function. The
point is that if we preserve "one who urinates against a wall"
and thereby cause a contemporary reader to gasp at the coarse-
ness when the original readers would have detected no coarse-
ness, we may have preserved a more formal correspondence
but we have translated badly. In the name of formal corre-
spondence we have achieved a negative result neither intended
by the author nor found in the original readers. If the author
intends to be shocking, however, as in the Ezekiel passage,
then of course this must be taken into account in the transla-
tion. Even so, the NIV'S "genitals" is a responsible rendering,
for the passage in Ezekiel is shocking not because of the word
chosen but because of the nature of the comparison in the
extended metaphor that likens spiritual apostasy to unbridled
fornication. In English, "penis" is perhaps a more shocking
word, but it is not the Hebrew word that is shocking. Here the
CBT made a good choice.
As Professor John Stek points out in a private communi-
cation to me (February 27, 1998), even this relatively minor
question of the translation of a Hebrew euphemism can have
unexpected difficulties attached to it. The expression "he who
urinates against a wall" occurs six times in Old Testament nar-
rative texts-twice in 1 Samuel 25 and four times in 1 and
2 Kings. But the passage in 1 Samuel 25 carries unexpected
freight not easily translated. Nabal is introduced as a
"Calebite." At one level this ties him to a famous ancestor.
The problem is that caleb in Hebrew also means "dog" (note
the use of "dog" in 1 Sam. 17:43; 24:14 [24:15 MTl). Justas
the author plays on the name N abal (both "fool" and "wine-
skin" [he is "full of wine"]: see I Sam. 25:18, 25, 36), so also
does the author point out that Nabal is a "Calebite," a mere
dog that urinates against a wall. All of this is obvious enough
in Hebrew, but puns are notoriously difficult to translate. If
one includes an explanatory note for this pun, must one do so
for all puns? In any case, the Hebrew euphemism "he who
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 103
urinates against a wall" is suddenly a euphemism with more
than a little complexity for the translator to worry over.
CBT Principle I,D
In the same way, principle LD could be understood in a good
sense or a bad sense. What some people mean by "patriar-
chalism," others take to be God's beneficent ordering of soci-
ety. The latter would certaiuly want to reject "patriarchalism"
that is nothing more than boorish exploitation of women, but
they have learned to be wary of some in the egalitarian camp
who use the emotionally laden term to besmirch any view that
does not tally with their own egalitarianism. Principle LD is
so imprecisely expressed it could be used to rewrite substan-
tial chunks of the Bible, changing themes that are there, no
matter how uncomfortable they make some people feel.
On the other hand, principle LD could be read in a far more
conservative way. It could be using "patriarchalism" to refer
to forms ofiinguistic expression, including grammatical gen-
der, that are seriously at odds with the gender system in con-
temporary English. In such cases, preserving formal equiva-
lence may actually be bad translation. We have already seen,
for instance, that "sons of Israel" in Hebrew may be used to
refer to groups of both men and women Israelites. To preserve
the formal equivalent in a translation into English would be
misleading and carry a negative overtone, and on both these
counts be a bad translation. People of goodwill may disagree
about the extent to which English words such as "man" and
"he" may still function generically today-I shall say more
about that debate later-but all sides will agree, I think, that
"sons" and "brothers," in both Hebrew and Greek Scripture,
not infrequently include people of both sexes. There is there-
fore nothing intrinsically wrong or evil about sacrificing the
formal equivalent for something that better captures the mean-
ing of the Hebrew text. It may be that by principle LD, the
CBT had in view ouly these kinds of problems. One hopes
104
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
that is the case, for it seems to be implied by the closing sen-
tence: "care must be taken not to distort the intent of the orig-
inal texts." Still, the principle is not very carefully worded
2
CBr Principles I.E, I.F, and I.G
Principles I.E, I.F, and I.G would, I suspect, be happily
embraced by the CBMW as well as by the CBT. Taken together,
however, they prompt some interesting reflections. One should
at least ask why the masculine gender of "God" is preserved,
while the feminine or neuter gender of the words for "Spirit,"
including most of the pronouns that preserve grammatical
agreement, are rendered in English as masculines. There is, I
think, good reason. In the case of the other two persons of the
Godhead, we are not dealing merely with the grammatical gen-
der of words like "God," but with ascriptions such as "Father"
and "Son" which, both in Hebrew and Greek, align grammat-
ical gender with sexual gender, which alignment is again pre-
served in the pronominal gender system of English. Nor is this
a merely "accidental" phenomenon bound up with the pecu-
liar languages in which the biblical revelation was given.
Although God is certainly not a sexual being in the same sense
in which human beings are sexual beings, he has chosen to dis-
close himself in Scripture as the One who is addressed as
Father,3 who is the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
(and this latter relationship, between "the Father" and "the
Son," is worked out in such complex detail [for example, John
5: 16-30] that it cannot be touched without massive rewriting
of substantive content). Further, since the mother of Jesus is
Mary, even on pragmatic grounds it is impractical to lose the
distinctive "Father" for God himself.
CBr Principle 11(5)
The reasoning behind principle lI(5) escapes me. The CBT's
commitment to preserve the maleness of a human referent in
cultural contexts where only males would occupy the post is
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 105
commendable. So why is an English equivalent that loses that
historical specificity preferable? I would argue that in at least
one of the pairs the CBT here offers by way of example,
namely, "bowman"/"archer," the latter term is preferable sim-
ply because the former sounds slightly obsolete. lf "archer"
loses the specificity of the sexual gender in "bowman," so be
it. But the logic ofthe CBT's position, as stated, is a little hard
to fathom. One might, I suppose, argue that "archer," "worker,"
and "rower" focus on the essential activity of the referent, and
it is unnecessary to send up flags as to what gender the person
is, since even though such persons were invariably male in the
ancient world that fact makes little difference to the point of
this or that passage. That, at least, would be an argument worth
evaluating; perhaps that is what CBT had in mind. My only
hesitation-and it is a balance of judgments-is that I am loath
to lose historical particularity.
CBr Principle 11(6)
Principle lI( 6) needs some expansion or clarification. If
there is repeated male reference in the donor text, and such
reference is to people who were, historically speaking, males,
it is difficult to see why the references should be thiuned out.
On the other hand, if repeated male reference has primarily
to do with the nature of the grammatical gender system in the
language and has little to do with the sexual gender of the
human referents, the principle makes good sense and is
entirely responsible (granted, of course, that the English lan-
guage is changing as the CBT people think it is).
CBr Principle 11(8)
Principle lI(S) is heavily criticized by the CSG and related
documents. In my view, one must tackle this matter case by
case. As we shall see, the critics seem to assume that it is
always inappropriate to render a singular by a plural. Even
from what has been surveyed in the previous two chapters, I
106
THE DEBATE
do not see how that position can be consistently maintained.
Deuteronomy 12, for instance, and several other Old Testa-
ment chapters abound in singular/plural switches whose sig-
nificance is highly disputed among most commentators, and
the wisest of them throw up their hands and say they are uncer-
tain what function these switches have. One is dealing with
systems of language structures; one does not have the right to
assume that singular and plural forms function in Hebrew and
Greek exactly as they function in English. But even in En-
glish, we sometimes use the singular generically. This choice
may be occasioned by an author's "feel" for something neb-
ulous called "style" in a particular context.
But even if (and it is a big "if') the purpose of a singular
form is to say something about the individual, if the ouly cor-
responding individual expression in English is one which is
gender -specific and will be read in those parts of the English-
speaking world where such gender specificity carries over-
tones of bigotry not carried by the donor text, then the respon-
sible translator is faced with an awkward choice: Preserve the
singular form and project bigotry, or go with a plural form and
lose the individual reference. We have seen how the transla-
tion enterprise is riddled with choices of this sort: translation
is treason. One may, of course, legitimately disagree with a
translator's choice in some of these catch-22 dilemmas. But
one may not responsibly disagree with a translator's choice
in such matters in a way that intimates that the other side is
perverse, incompetent, or disrespectful of Scripture. To argue
that the donor text is singular and therefore that using any-
thing other than the singular in the receptor text is necessar-
flawed is a bad argument. That presupposes that the gen-
der systems, number systems, overtones of words, and the like
are exactly the same in the two languages.
Consider an example that has been repeatedly discussed in
the literature. In the NN, Psahn 1: 1-2 reads, "Blessed is the
man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked .... But
his delight is in the law of the LORD." The NIVI renders the
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 107
same passage, "Blessed are those who do not walk in the coun-
sel of the wicked .... But their delight is in the law of the
LORD." The Hebrew, of course, is singular. The critics say that
this is a betrayal of the Hebrew singular, which has been sac-
rificed on the altar of a feminist agenda. Moreover, is there
not a special reason to preserve the singular here, namely, that
the psalmist switches to the plural in 1 :4--6, and the distinc-
tion should be maintained?
Defenders of the NIVI respond in several ways. Although
doubtless there are some of feminist persuasion who are
offended by "man" in the NIV, not a few of the CBT transla-
tors are complementarians. Their opinion on language use in
growing segments of English-speaking America and Britain,
however, is that "man" is increasingly understood, for what-
ever reason, to refer to the male of the human species, and
that is not what the psalmist was saying. So for the sake of
accuracy in translation, it is better not to use "man" and the
corresponding pronouns "his" and "he" in subsequent verses.
What, then, are the options? One might try, "Blessed is the
person who ... "-but although that might satisfy 1:la, the
masculine pronouns are not thereby relieved in verses 2-3
since English's pronominal gender system marks the singu-
lar pronoun for gender. Better therefore to go with the plural,
since the plural pronoun in English is not marked for gender.
Besides, these defenders might say, when plural statements
of this sort are made, English readers apply them individually
anyway. For instance, Jesus says, "Blessed are those who are
persecuted because of righteousness" (Matt. 5: I O)-and each
individual believer asks himself or herself (those awkward
pronouns again!) exactly how this beatitude applies to him or
her (them?). So the formal loss of the individual referent, in
the view of the defenders of the NIVI, is not a serious one.
Moreover, the plurals in I :4-6, they say, may not be offered
as a contrast to the singular forms in 1:1-3, but as an alterna-
tive stylistic form. All sides recognize that the singular form
can be a collective; why not here?
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108
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Now if at this juncture the critics reply that in their view
the balance of judgments favors the conclusion that the loss
is worse by opting for the plural form, and advance some rea-
sons for this judgment, and the defenders of the NNI go the
other way, and give some reasons for their judgment, and the
two sides agree to disagree, that disagreement may be painful
and difficult, but neither side is thereby questioning the
motives or competence of the other side. But if one side insists
that the other, by its translation judgment in this instance, is
twisting the very words of God or the like,4 it should be obvi-
ous by now that it is betraying iguorance of translation prob-
lems and the nature of gender and number systems in differ-
ent languages. That side is merely blessing its own translation
preferences with divine sanction.
Consider another example.
5
Here is a section of Psalm 34,
quoted from the KN but with the singulars and plurals marked:
15The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous [plural], and
his ears are open unto their [plural] cry.
16The face of the LORD is against them [plural] that do evil,
to cut off the remembrance of them [plural] from the
earth.
17The righteous cry [plural], and the LORD heareth, and
delivereth them [plural] out of all their [plural] troubles.
18The LORD is nigh unto them [plural] that are of a broken
heart [singular]; and saveth such [plural] as be of a con-
trite spirit [ singular].
19Many are the afflictions of the righteous [singular; LXX
has plural]: but the LORD delivereth him [singular; LXX
has "them," plural] out of them all.
20He keepeth all his [singular; LXX has "their," plural]
bones: not one of them is broken.
2lEvil shall slay the wicked [singular; LXX has plural]:
and they [plural] that hate the righteous [singular] shall
be desolate.
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 109
22The LORD redeemeth the soul [singular; LXX has
"souls," plural] of his servants [plural]: and none of them
[plural] that trust in him shall be desolate.
One cannot fail to note that both the "righteous" and the
"wicked" can be in either singular or plural. There may be
structural reasons for this switching-the stuff of discussions
in commentaries. But granted the limitations of the English
gender system, it is extraordinarily difficult to think how all
of these number specificities are likely to be preserved in nat-
ural English.
Consider the furor when some translations replaced "thou"
with "you." This was a debate over number, not gender. The
fact is that "thou" is marked for number (singular), while
"you" is not. The progressives said that "you" should prevail
because "thou" conveyed an old-fashioned tone that was not
found in the donor text; the conservatives argued that both
Hebrew and Greek second-person pronouns distinguish
between singular and plural pronouns, and we would be los-
ing something important of the Word of God if we lost that
distinction. Some conservatives also argued that the archaic
form should at least be preserved in direct address to God (in
prayer, for example), because it was more respectful. Pro-
gressives replied that the donor texts did not convey respect
by choosing archaizing forms. On these matters some Bible
translations went one way, some the other. The overwhelm-
ing majority have now lined up with "YOU,"6 simply because
the continued changes in spoken English made that choice all
but inevitable. That is the challenge of translation. It does not
add to the clarity of the debate to charge either side with Scrip-
ture twisting.
CBT Principles "( 13) and "( 19)
Principle 1l(l3) is nicely put, but as we shall see in the next
chapter, not always well executed. I suspect that in the light
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110
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
of the current debate, appeal to principle II(19) might be made
much more often in the future: explanatory notes may help to
assuage the worst fears,
CBT Principle 11(20)
Whatever one thinks of the final principle, II(20), it illus-
trates perfectly some of the tensions that translators face, On
the one hand, the CBT members rightly wish to preserve the
historical partiCUlarity of the biblical cultures and therefore
opt to preserve male-specific references in biblical texts where
only males would occupy those cultural slots at the time.
But the three exceptions are intriguing. The first (a) makes
an exception of passages that are universally applicable. I
think this is unobjectionable ifby "universally applicable" is
meant something like "the utterance is universally applicable,
including application even at the time the utterance was first
given, even though the formal categories are male." The two
examples provided are helpful: "No servant can serve two
masters. Either he wiIl hate .... You cannot serve both God
and Money" (Luke 16:13 NIV; compare 17:31-33). The ser-
vant in this utterance is male; nevertheless, the application
concerns followers of Jesus of both sexes in every time and
place, including the first century. Either one must introduce a
footnote explaining this, or one opts for something like the
NIVI: "No one can be a slave to two masters. Either you will
hate .... You cannot be a slave to both God and Money." Note
the changes. Gender-inclusive language in the first line does
not handle the pronoun in the second. In this case the solution
has been to draw back the second-person pronoun from the
last line into the second line. I do not find that objectionable
in this case. The NIVI has changed "servant" to "slave": here
the NIVI is right, and the NIV is wrong.
The second exception (b) does not, in my view, make a
case. If the extended passage loses its gender specificity (as
in Luke 14:31-35), why not lose it in English at about the
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 111
same place? I see little advantage in losing it earlier, given the
CBT's commitment to maintaining historical specificity.
The third exception (c) appeals to universal modem cir-
cumstances, and gives Matthew 10:24 as an example: "A stn-
dent is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master"
(NIv); compare "Students are not above their teachers, nor
servants above their masters" (NIVI). I am happy with the
NIVI'S rendering, but the principle as articulated leaves a door
open big enough to drive a tank through. For further reflec-
tion on the move from singular expressions to plurals, see
below.
Reflections on the CS Principles
By and large, the CSG are open to far more and far more
serious linguistic objections than the CBT principles. This is
not to say that they are always wrong: in application, these
principles in the hands of the NIV and NRSV critics sometimes
point out translation weaknesses that should be remedied. But
the principles themselves do not stand up very well. Proba-
bly this is as much because of how they were generated as
anything else: they were generated not over a sustained period
by a group of scholars engaged in the difficult work of trans-
lation but comparatively quickly by a group of scholars whose
mission was to critique the translation of others.
CS Principle AI
Principle A.I says that "generic use of 'he, him, his, him-
self' should be employed to translate generic 3rd person mas-
culine singular pronouns in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek"
(emphasis mine). What this assumes is that English generic
use of such pronouns exactly mirrors the generic use of the
pronouns in the donor languages. In general terms, one should
be suspicious of such assumptions: gender systems differ from
language to language.
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112 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
It would be true to say tbat tbe English of two or three
decades ago used such pronouns as "he," "his," and so on in
a generic sense more frequently than is cornmon today. In tbat
sense principle A.I is an appeal to conservatism in language-
which becomes obvious when CBMW scholars devote energy
to trying to prove that tbe English language is not changing.
I shall argue in chapter 9 that that is a bit like Canute trying
to hold back the tide. Even so, if the critics of inclusive-lan-
guage Bible translations were merely articulating their pref-
erence for conservatism in English form (like tbose who long
preferred "thou" and other archaisms when most English
speakers had abandoned them), that would be an acceptable
position witb which others might disagree. But tbese critics
are insisting tbat their position is more faithful to Scripture.
And there, they are simply mistaken.
In addition to tbe criticisms of this position tbat have already
been raised, observe three factors.
First, the second part of A.I betrays the fact tbat tbe critics
are thinking at the level of English gloss ratber than at the
level of meaning. They write, "However, substantival par-
ticiples such as ho pisteuon can often be rendered in inclusive
ways, such as 'the one who believes' rather than 'he who
believes.'" True, ho pisteuon is often rendered, in elementary
Greek instruction textbooks, "tbe one who believes," or the
like. But strictly speaking, ho is the masculine article, and tbe
participle, as determined by the article, is masculine as well.
Of course, this is a generic usage, but so also is the usage
generic in many occurrences of the Hebrew or Greek mascu-
line pronoun. Why the double standard, except for the influ-
ence of English gloss? The donor languages do not encour-
age a distinction in translation approaches based on tbe gender
of these parts of speech, since within tbeir own gender sys-
tems tbe masculine is retained.
Second, tbe insistence on using English masculine pro-
nouns for masculine pronouns in the donor languages hides
an ambiguity tbat has not yet been addressed. Compare tbe
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 113
following three passages, each cited first from the NN and tben
from the NIVI and the NRSV:
7
John 6:44
NIV: "No one can come to me unless the Fatber who sent
me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."
NIVI: "No-one can come to me unless tbe Father who sent
me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day."
NRSV: "No one can come to me unless drawn by the Fatber
who sent me; and I will raise that person up on tbe last
day."
John 6:51
NIV: "If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever."
NIVI: "Whoever eats of tbis bread will live for ever."
NRSV: "Whoever eats of this bread will live forever."
John 6:56
NN: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains
in me, and I in him."
NIVI: "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain
in me, and I in them."
NRSV: "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide
in me, and I in them."
In the first of these tbree passages, the Greek text uses tbe pro-
noun autos in tbe accusative case. The CS principle A.I
demands that we retain "him" in English. Theologically, of
course, "him" botb in Greek and in tbe NIV must be under-
stood generically: the text is certainly not saying tbat God
draws to himself only male human beings. The NIVI, holding
that "him" is less and less able to function generically, opts
for tbe third-person plural "them," which is not marked for
gender. This introduces a formal breach of concord with tbe
singular "no-one" (though certainly some speech patterns are
heading in that direction today). The NRSV solves the problem
114 THE DEBATE
by dissolving the first "him" into a passive structure, and trans-
muting the second "him" into the slightly cumbersome but
certainly gender-neutral "that person,"
But whatever one thinks of this example, the next one intro-
duces quite a different problem. Despite the NIV'S rendering
with its pronoun "he," the Greek actually has no pronoun. The
subject is established by the inflection of the finite verb zesei
"[xl will live." The inflection is marked for number and per-
son, but not for gender. So far as the mere inflection is con-
cerned, the verbal form might be rendered "he/she/it will live."
The NIV inserted "he" because English structure demands a
separate pronoun. Moreover, when the NIV did so, "he" func-
tioned generically more frequently than it does today. The NIVI
and NRSV circumnavigate the problem by rendering the Greek
"if" clause as a "whoever" clause, which then functions as
the subject of "will live. " Strictly speaking, of course, princi-
ple A.l does not address such circumstances (which are
exceedingly common in the New Testament). But they illus-
trate the problem of translating across languages with differ-
ent morphological systems and different gender systems. Nei-
ther the NIV nor the NIVI/NRSV can retain formal equivalence
here. The NIV preserves a clause with "if-structure," but then
over-specifies gender by choosing a gender-marked personal
pronoun (since English does not offer the option of having an
unmarked subject specified by verbal inflection); the NIVI and
NRSV preserve the lack of gender markedness by slightly mod-
ifying the subordinate clause.
The third example brings up yet another problem. Princi-
pie A.l concedes that participial constructions such as ho pi-
steui5n may be rendered "the one who believes" or the like
(even though these constructions are masculine), but even this
turns out to be not much of a concession if a little farther on
in the same sentence the referent of such a participle is referred
to using a masculine pronoun-for then the first part of A.l
kicks in. That is what has occurred in John 5:26: "Whoever
eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 115
him" (NIV). All sides agree that the "him" in Greek is generic,
even though formally marked for grammatical gender. Both
the NNI and NRSV preserve that generic meaning by avoiding
an English pronoun that is increasingly viewed as not only
marked for grammatical gender in English, but in the usage
of many is semantically tied to sexual gender. To do this, they
resort to the plural. Both translations "lose" a little something
or "gain" a little something, because the structures of donor
and receptor languages are different.
Third, one suspects that principle A.I, which has not
addressed the fundamental issues in which it is enmeshed, has
as its primary goal the elimination of renderings that "get
around" the use of such masculine pronouns as "he" and
"his"-and this becomes clear in the second principle on the
list, which is really the negative counterpart to the first prin-
ciple. In other words, A.I mandates that "he" and so on be
used; A.2 forbids that other expressions be used.
CS Principle A.2
In part I have dealt with principle A.2 not only implicitly in
the previous two chapters, but also in my discussion above of
CBT principle li(S). The prohibition articulated in A.2, even
with the barely conceded exception at the end, does not demon-
strate an evenhanded grasp of how gender systems in differ-
ent languages work and of the kinds of choices translators have
to make. Implicitly, as we have seen, it largues for a conser-
vatism in language use (which is a rysponsible position,
whether or not one agrees with it) but interprets that position
in a framework of orthodoxy that sets those who disagree with
it outside the pale. But I should add a few more observations.
First, Dr. Mark L. Strauss' and others have pointed out that
sometimes when the New Testament cites the Old, it renders
a Hebrew generic singular with a Greek plural. We may select
three examples from Paul's use of the Old Testament:
(1) "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who
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116 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
brings good news" (Isa. 52:7);9 "As it is written, 'How beau-
tiful are the feet of those who bring good news'" (Rom. 10: 15).
(2) "There is no fear of God before his eyes" (Ps. 36:1); "As
it is written ... 'There is no fear of God before their eyes'"
(Rom. 3:10, 18). (3) "Blessed is he whose transgressions are
forgiven, whose sins are covered" (Ps. 32:1); "David says the
same thing ... 'Blessed are they whose transgressions are for-
given, whose sins are covered'" (Rom. 4:6, 7).
I am certainly not suggesting that singulars may be trans-
lated into plurals indiscriminately. In due course we shall see
some instances where certain kinds of generic singulars should
not be rendered as plurals. But at the very least, one must con-
clude, from Paul's own habits, that the apostle does not think
something of truth is lost when he renders a singular by a plural.
In the last of the three cases (Ps. 32: 1 in Rom. 4:6-7), he is
quoting the LXX. The apostle neither condemns the transla-
tion nor reverts to the Hebrew to retain greater accuracy.
Second, it does not help the discussion to think of language
in the wooden categories of what might be called lexical exe-
gesis. Dr. Wayne Grudem has offered some telling criticisms
of some inclusive-language renderings: we shall sample some
of them in the next two chapters. Certainly it is the case that
the errors in judgment are not all on one side of this debate.
Moreover, I greatly applaud Dr. Grudem's desire to take the
Word of God seriously. Nevertheless, on this issue his con-
stant insistence that the singular refers to the individual and
the plural refers to a collection of people is linguistically
unconvincing and contrary to experience. For example, he
compares James 5:14-15 in the RSV and the NRSV.JO The for-
mer reads, "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders
of the church, and let them pray over him ... and the prayer
of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him
up." In the NRSV, this has become, "Are any among you sick?
They should call for the elders of the church and have them
pray over them .... The prayer of faith will save the sick, and
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 117
the Lord will raise them up." Dr. Grudem writes, "The situa-
tion that comes to mind is entirely different; James wrote about
a private home with one person sick, but now it looks like a
hospital ward! The meaning has been changed. This is not
accurately translating the Bible; it is rewriting the Bible. "11
This strong charge, I said, is "linguistically unconvincing
and contrary to experience." (a) It is linguistically uncon-
vincing because it fails to wrestle with the way translation
works. I invite him to apply the same sort of criteria as what
he here presupposes when we translate the biblical texts into
some of the more alien languages whose gender systems I
briefly summarized in chapter 4. Sometimes there is no choice
but to lose one way of saying something to get at the heart of
the content a somewhat different way. In English there are
several choices. None is perfect, because our gender system-
whether our gender and number system of the Elizabethan
period or of fifty years ago or of the past two decades-does
not mesh exactly with the gender and number systems of
Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. This is no more "rewriting" the
Bible than any translation: translation is treason. (b) It is con-
trary to experience. I very much doubt that the rendering of
the NRSV makes many readers think of hospital wards. That is
because both in the Bible and in ordinary contemporary En-
glish plurals are sometimes used to command or forbid things,
or to hold up examples, that are then individually appropri-
ated: we have seen instances of this already. The formal plural
in such cases does not lose or exclude the individual. Behind
Dr. Grudem's humor is an unrealistic caricature. He would
not be pleased, I suspect, if an opponent caricatured the RSV:
"What is this? Did the early church have sick men and no sick
women? Or was it considered righteous to pray for the Chris-
tian men who fell sick, but not for the Christian women?" He
might rightly reply that the male references in the RSV were
at the time (1952) understood in a generic sense. He might
even reply that they should still be so understood today. But
let us suppose that English moves on to the place where "he"
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118
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
refers exclusively to the male. Would he himself not then be
forced to concede that using "he" in English in this passage
would be transmitting positively false information? But some
of us are convinced that the language is changing. For those
segments of the population for whom snch changes have
already taken place (including more than a few complemen-
tarians), the NRSV is not "rewriting the Bible." Rather, it is
faced with typical choices facing all translators and offers a
solution that carmot responsibly be written off by caricature.
Third, although the change from third-person pronouns to
second- or first-person pronouns (since the third-person sin-
gular pronouns in English are marked for gender but not the
second- and first-person pronouns) is a little more difficult,
again one should be cautious about blanket condenmations.
Consider some examples:
Proverbs 20:24
RSV: "A man's steps are ordered by the LORD."
NRSV: "All our steps are ordered by the LORD."
Matthew 15:11
NN: "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him
'unclean. '"
NIVI: "What goes into your mouth does not make you
'unclean. '"
Galatians 6:7
RSV: "Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."
NRSV: "You reap whatever you sow."
James 1:20
RSV: "For the anger of man does not work the righteous-
ness of God."
NRSV: "For your anger does not produce God's right-
eousness."
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 119
James 2:14
RSV: "What does it profit ... if a man says he has faith but
has not works?"
NRSV: "What good is it ... if you say you have faith, but
do not have works?"
Dr. Grudem has objected that, in the fourth instance above
(James 1:20), "readers might well think that James is speak-
ing only about the anger of Christians .... But in fact James
is making a more general statement about the anger of human
beings. James did not say 'your anger'; he said 'the anger of
man."'!2 Similarly, with respect to Galatians 6:7: "Readers
will probably think that Paul is speaking only of something
that is true of Christians .... But in fact Paul is making a much
more general statement about human conduct, and about peo-
ple generally. "13
I agree that switching persons is at least potentially mislead-
ing. Nevertheless, it does not follow that such a switch is invari-
ably wrong or perverse or a rewriting of Scripture. Three things
must be said. (a) Once again, the argument is an attack, not an
evaluation. If the English language is changing in the way the
translators of the NRSV and NNI believe it is, they cannot respon-
sibly leave all those gender-specific words in the English text
precisely because to do so would be bad translation. They would
be conveying concepts and images not found in the donor texts.
Granted, then, the limitations of English (in particular, that its
pronominal gender system has no gender-neutral third-person
singular pronoun), translators have only so many choices, and
each of them gains and/or loses something. I am sorry to have
to keep repeating the point, but it must be got across: that is the
nature of translation. We should be grateful that English has as
many structural parallels with, say, Greek, as it does. Pity the
translator turning Greek or Hebrew into one of the North Aus-
tralian languages. (b) "You" in English, though formally second
person (and not marked for number), in some usages functions
120
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
very much like on in French or man in German. If someone says
"You only die once" or "Life is hard and then you die" or "You
get what you pay for"14 or "You should brush your teeth after
every meal." the "you" in each sentence will not be nnderstood
to refer in some exclusive sense only to the person or persons
addressed. Some first-person plural idioms have the same sort
of flexibility: "We have to die some time," and so on. The clause
does not suggest that others may not have to die some time.
"You" is most likely to function in this way in English in apho-
ristic utterances-very much like Galatians 6:7. (c) Biblical writ-
ers themselves sometimes use a similar approach, sometimes in
conversation with "theoretical" opponents. Ironically, one of
those places is in James 2, where Dr. Grudem, as we have seen,
finds difficnlty with the NRSvrendering of2: 14. A bare five verses
later, James continues: "You believe that God is one; you do
well .... Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith
apart from works is barren?" (James 2:19-20 RSV). Certainly
James himself is not restricting the "you" to Christians. In other
words, I fear that there is a lexical woodenness to Dr. Grudem's
interpretations that vitiates some of his criticisms of gender-neu-
tral translations.
CS Principles A3, A4, and AS
We may evaluate together principles A.3, AA, and A.S
because all three have to do with the word "man" and the cor-
responding terms in Hebrew and Greek. In sum, the CSG stip-
ulate that (a) "man" should ordinarily be used to designate the
human race, (b) Hebrew 'Ish should ordinarily be rendered
"man" (or "men" in the plural), (c) Greek aner should almost
always be so rendered, (d) singular anthropos should be ren-
dered "man" when it refers to a male human being, and
(e) plural anthropoi may be translated "people" when it refers
to people in general.
To begin with, three linguistic principles are being over-
looked. (a) The most important is the one we have observed
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 121
again and again-the assumption that the donor word occu-
pies the same semantic range as the receptor word, when the
evidence often flies in the face of the assumption. (b) At one
point there is an important confusion between meaning and
referent. (c) Implicitly there is also a confusion between mean-
ing and translation gloss-but this latter point I shall pick up
again in chapter 8. Here it will be enough to fasten on the first
two linguistic problems. It will be simplest to begin by reflect-
ing on the donor words.
First, the two most common Hebrew words often rendered
"man" or "men" are .Jiidiim and .Jzsh (and there are others: see
below). The CSG do not specifically mention the former,
though it is treated in CBMW literature. But it is worth reflect-
ing on 'iidam. Its most important theological connections are
bound up with passages in the opening chapters of Genesis: I
shall treat them in chapter 8. Nevertheless the lexica point out
that 'adam can have a range of meanings, including "human-
ity," "a human being," and "a male human being." When God
says, "I will blot out man ['iidam 1 whom I have created" (Gen.
6:7 RSV), he is not referring to an individual male human, nor
to all male humans, but to the human race save Noah and his
family. Hence the NIV'S "mankind," and the NIVI'S "human
race." By contrast, in the clause "Whoever sheds the blood of
man ['adam]" (Gen. 9:6 RSV), the word is not referring to the
human race, nor to male human beings only, nor to a specific
human being (male or female), but to any human being. The
NIV has "man"; the NIVI has "human being." Granted the sen-
sitivities that read "man" in an exclusive sense, it is difficult
not to conclude that the NIVI is an improvement. Does one want
to give the impression that the imposition of capital punish-
ment for murder is applicable only to the murder of males?
Second, although the Hebrew word 'ish has a narrower
semantic range than 'adam, and may often rightly be rendered
"man," there are many exceptions, some of them distinctly
idiomatic. Consider the eighty or so times it occurs in con-
junction with re'a (often rendered "neighbor"). The KN ren-
r
,
122
THE INCLUSIVERLANGUAGE DEBATE
dering of Exodus 11:2 is: "Speak now in the ears of the peo-
ple, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every
woman of her neighbour,jewels of silver, and jewels of gold,"
Here is the pairing of these two Hebrew words, Seven chap-
ters later, the KN renders the same pairing, "When they have
a matter, they corne unto me; and I judge between one and
another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and
his laws" (Exod. 18:16)-which, incidentally, is often how
the LXX renders it, thus losing the formal gender markedness
of the Hebrew. It is difficult to see how this is misguided. The
word 'Ish on its own is rendered "person" by the NKlV in
Deuteronomy 24:16 ("a person shall be put to death for his
own sin"). Each person ('ish) is to gather as much manna as
needed (Exod. 16:16): it is far from clear that only the men
were to do the gathering. Similarly, the Lord rewards "each
person ['ish 1 according to what he has done" (Ps. 62: 12 [62: 13
MT])lS Are only the men afflicted with tumors in 1 Samuel
5:9, or the "people" of the city, young and old? There are many
such examples where a translator must decide.
Third, although the parallelisms of Hebrew poetry are no
sure guide to the way terms work in nonpoetical Hebrew, they
can be very instructive. In the Book of Job, for instance, four
different nouns are used that are commonly rendered into Eng-
lish by "man" or "men." They are: 'iidam (twenty-seven
times), 'ish (and its plural, 'iinashfm) (forty-two times), 'enosh
(eighteen times), and geber (fifteen times). The following are
easily verified in a Hebrew lexicon; they were first drawn to
my attention in an unpublished paper by Professor John Stek:
l6
4:17
10:4,5
Can 'enosh be more righteous than God?
Can geber be more pure than his Maker?
Do you have eyes of flesh (basar)?
Do you see as Jenosh sees?
Are your days like those of 'enbsh
or your years like those of geber?
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES
123
14:10
16:21
25:4,6
32:21
33:15-17
34:11
34:34
35:8
36:25
37:7
38:26
But geber dies and is laid low;
'adam breathes his last and is no more.
on behalf of geber he pleads with God
as ben-'adam pleads for his friend.
How then can 'enosh be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
how much less 'enosh, who is but a maggot-
ben-'adam, who is only a worm.
I will show partiality to no 'ish,
nor will I flatter 'adam.
In a dream, in a vision of the night
when deep sleep falls on 'an?ishim
as they slumber in their beds,
he may speak in the ears of 'an?ishfm
and terrify them with warnings,
to turn 'adam from wrongdoing
and keep geber from pride.
He repays 'adam for what he has done;
he brings upon 'fsh what his conduct deserves.
'an?ishfm of uuderstanding declare,
wise geber who hear me say to me ....
Your wickedness affects only 'fsh like yourself,
and your righteousness only ben-'adam.
Kol-'adam has/have seen it;
'enosh gazes/gaze on it from afar.
So that kol-'adam he has made may know his
w o r k ~
he stops kol-'anshe [or koi-'an?ishfm?] from
his/their labor.
to water a land where no 'fsh lives,
a desert with no 'adam in it.
124
THE DEBATE
It does not seem possible to discover a fixed pattern to the par-
allelism. It follows that sharp distinctions in meaning between
any two of these terms of the sort that says they cannot occupy
the same semantic space, given the right context, is wrong.
Moreover, with the possible exception of Job 34:34, there is
no reason to think that the referents are all male, even though
the granunatical gender is male. In other words, the reference
is to human beings. As for singulars and plurals, note that the
singular expressions 'en8sh and geber in 4: 17 are followed in
4:19-21 with plurals, which entails the conclusion that the
singular nouns in 4: 17 must be taken as collectives. In sev-
eral instances, the rhetorical sharpness of the singular form is
not greatly lost by pluralizing it, if there are good reasons
intrinsic to the receptor language for doing so (for example,
10:4-5). Note that some passages mingle plural and singular
forms (33: 15-17), or use a modifier such as kol- ("all, every")
to signal the intent. Further, the three instances of ben-'adam
("son of man") carry no special messianic overtones, and in
these contexts are semantically equivalent to 'Ish or geber or
'enosh. It follows that English cannot be expected to mirror
Hebrew singulars and plurals by its own singulars and plu-
rals, and that principle A.4 is too mechanically restrictive.
17
There are many more such examples in the poetic literature.
Fourth the Greek word aner is more restrictive. It normally
refers to ;he male human being, sometimes to the husband.
But there are a few passages that give us pause. James 1 :20
denounces "the anger of man [aner]," which "does not work
the righteousness of God" (RSV). Is this dismissing only male
anger, or "human anger" (NIVI)? In Acts 17:34, we are told
that "[a] few men [plural of aner] became followers of Paul
and believed" (NIv)-among whom was at least one woman.
Did only the "men" of Gennesaret bring their sick to Jesus
(Matt. 14:35 RSV, NIV)? Or was it the "people" (NRSV, NIVI)?
It is hard to be sure. Certainly one needs to be careful. But it
is worth noting that the standard lexicon for the Greek of the
New Testament and early Christian literature
l8
lists as one of
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 125
the lexical meanings that the word can serve as the equiva-
lent of tis, "someone." (On tis, see further below.) In the plural,
the expression then simply means "people." Moreover, an
idiomatic expression such as "man for man" means something
like "individually" without for a moment being restricted to
individual males. Further, because (as the lexicon also points
out) aner in some contexts means a "man" in contrast to a
"boy," it can slip over into the notion of ethical maturity, eth-
ical perfection. Is it maleness that is fundamentally at issue in
James 3:2, which the lexicon here cites? The NIV reads: "If
anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man,
able to keep his whole body in check." Does James intend to
imply that this valuation is not true when applied to women?
In other words, by extension aner has come to mean what we
would call a "mature person" or the like. Hence the NIVI:
"Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect,
able to keep their whole body in check. "19
Still, when all is said and done, I agree that aner most com-
monly means a "man," that is, a male human being. Unlike
anthropos, that is the "default" position, apart from compelling
contextual evidence. Of course, that occasionally leaves the
translator with some difficult exegetical judgments. When Peter
addresses the crowd on the day of Pentecost as "Men [plural
of aner] ofIsrael" (Acts 2:14), is he excluding women? Well,
he may be: if this takes place in the Temple court where men
are allowed and not women, it would explain this use of ter-
minology. But that is far from certain. On the assumption that
Peter was not speaking in that court, and that aner here carries
an exceptional sense, the NIVI offers "People of Israel." It is a
judgment call based on a balance of probabilities. But precisely
because the "default" meaning of aner is "male human being"
or "husband," even if sometimes there is a stretch toward
"human being," there are some places where the NIVI has prob-
ably been too loose (see examples in chapter 7).
Fifth, the CSG make a distinction between the singular and
plural forms of anthropos. I doubt if this can be sustained. One
r
I
126
THE DEBATE
must not overlook the frequency with which the Greek singu-
lar anthropos actually refers generically to a human being.
"How much more valuable is a man [anthropos] than a sheep!"
(Matt. 12: 12 NN; NIVI "human being"). Is the point of the pas-
sage to assert that male human beings are more valuable than
sheep, whatever else may be said for female human beings?
Similarly, the NNlhas changed the NIV'S "For we maintain that
a man is justified by faith" to "For we maintain that a person
is justified by faith" (Rom. 3:28). This is surely right.
Sixth, more important, it is far from clear to me that
anthropos regularly carries the meaning "male human being"
as the "default" meaning. It often refers to male human beings,
but as always one must not rush to confuse meaning and ref-
erent. My car is a Ford. When I speak of my car, my family
knows I am referring to what is in fact a Ford. But the word
"car" does not mean "Ford." Consider, then, James 5: 17 (NIv):
"Elijah was a man [anthropos] just like us." The NIVI trans-
lates the same words, "Elijah was human just as we are."
Doubtless Elijah was a male human being. But is it his male-
ness or his humanity that is at issue in the word anthropos?
The meaning is simply "human being"; the referent, in this
case, is a male of the species. Arguably, the NIVI is more, rather
than less, accurate. Does James think that all his readers are
exclusively males when he makes the comparison "just as we
are"? Does he really intend to say, "Elijah was a male human
being just as we are"?
The same reasoning is critical in some important christo-
logical passages. In John 10:33 NIV, some Jews accuse Jesus
of blasphemy, "because you, a mere man [anthropos], claim
to be God." The NNI translates the critical expression "a mere
human being." Dr. Andreas Kostenberger says that this down-
plays Jesus' maleness during his earthly incarnate state.
20
Dr.
Kostenberger is a capable scholar and a former student whom
I esteem highly.21 But here he has made a linguistic gaffe:
22
he
confuses meaning and referent. The meaning of anthropos is
human being, not male human being. The Jews are accusing
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 127
Jesus of elevating not his maleness to the level of deity, but
his humanness. No one is doubting Jesus' maleness; the NIVI
uses only male pronouns for him. But one must not confuse
meaning and referent.
Similarly, Dr. Kostenberger has raised questions about the
NIVI rendering of 1 Timothy 2:5. The NIV reads: "For there is
one God and one mediator between God and men [anthropoi],
the man [anthropos] Christ Jesus." The NIVI renders it: "For
there is one God and one mediator between God and human
beings, Christ Jesus, himself human." Dr. Kostenberger says
the NIVI "dilutes the maleness of Jesus during his incarnate
state."23 Others have picked up on the same charge. Butis that
quite fair? No one, not least the NIVI text, questions Jesus'
maleness: note, for instance, the masculine pronoun "him-
self." There is no attempt to make him androgynous. The
Greek words, singular and plural, link our humanness to Jesus'
humanness. Surely no one is arguing that 1 Timothy 2:5 makes
Jesus out to be a mediator between God and male human
beings.
24
Again, then, the problem is a confusion over the ele-
mentary linguistic distinction between meaning and referent. 25
Seventh, an important change made by the CBMW schol-
ars since the first draft should probably be noted. Originally
principle A.3 read that the word "man" "should ordinarily be
used to designate the human race or human beings in gen-
eral." The phrase "or human beings in general" was subse-
quently dropped.26 We have seen too many examples that tell
against including it. Moreover, the original draft made prin-
ciple A.3 clash somewhat with principle A.5, which allows
anthropoi to be rendered by "people" instead of "men" when
it refers to "people in general"-the same phrase. By drop-
ping the phrase and writing A.3 in its present form, of course,
hundreds of examples have been deemed appropriate for inclu-
sive language that had earlier been excluded, since the num-
ber of instances where it is the human race as such that is in
view, as opposed to "human beings in general," is rather
small. 27 As for the prooftexts that the CS principles adduce
L
128
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
here to support A.3 in its final form (namely, Gen. 1 :26-27;
5:2; Ezek. 29:11; John 2:25), I shall comment on the Genesis
passages in chapter Sand on John 2:25 below. The only other
text in this list, Ezekiel 29: 11, is part of an oracle against
Egypt: "No foot of man shall pass through it, and no foot of
beast shall pass through it" (RSV). But surely this does not
mean "no foot of humanity [considered as a race J" or the like;
it simply means "no human foot" (NRSV).28
CS Principle A6
Principle A6 is valid, so far as it goes. Grammatically, the
indefinite Greek pronoun tis is masculine or feminine; in some
two-termination substantives, Greek distinguishes only neuter
from masculine/feminine. Nevertheless, the real problem is
that this word is often used in a sentence where a pronoun is
also required-and that drives us toward the usual difficult
choices.
Dr. Strauss points up another anomaly. He observes that
words like tis are often
really no different than the sense of masculine generic terms
like anthropos and 'adam. In the phrase "if someone
(anthropos) is caught in a sin" (Gal. 6:1 NIV), anthropos car-
ries precisely the same semantic content as tis in the phrase,
"If anyone (tis) would come after me ... " (Matt. 16:24 NIV).
To claim that anthropos must be translated "man," but tis may
be translated "anyone" or "someone" is another classic con-
fusion of form and meaning. When anthropos means "any-
one" why not translate it that way?29
CS Principle A7
The same sort of things can be said about principle A 7,
although there is a complicating factor. This pronoun does
have a feminine form, namely, oudemia. One suspects, again,
that translation gloss has prevailed over meaning (as with ho
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 129
pisteuon, above, in my discussion of CS principle A.l). In
other words, principle A 7 is valid, but at least in part for the
wrong reason. Moreover, once again the problem ofthe Eng-
lish gender-marked third-person singular pronoun returns.
Consider John 6:44: "No one [oudeis] can come to me unless
the Father who sent me draws him [auton]" (NIv). If we grant
gender inclusiveness to "no one," even though the Greek word
is grammatically masculine, and forbid it to the pronoun that
refers to it and must be grammatically masculine to preserve
agreement, what is the advantage? What the left hand giveth,
the right hand taketh away. Once again, one can make a pow-
erful case for either the NIVI or the NRSV renderings of this
verse (cited earlier in this chapter).
CS Principle AS
Principle AS is very much like A7, with yet another wrin-
kle: pas has a feminine form in the singular (pasa), while in
the plural it is a two-termination word (masculine and femi-
nine have the same form). I need not repeat the implications.
Some of these matters come together in an interesting pas-
sage at the end of John 2 and the beginning of John 3. In the
NN: "Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all
men [pantas]. He did not need man's [tis] testimony about
man [tou anthropou], for he knew what was in a man [to
anthropo]. Now there was a man [anthropos] of the Pharisees
named Nicodemus" (2:24-3:1). Contrast the NIVI: "Jesus
would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He
did not need human testimony about them, for he knew what
was in people. Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus."
Arguably the NIVI is more accurate than the NIV in rendering
pantas by "all people" rather than by "all men." The CSG
allow the tis to be gender inclusive: "human testimony" is bet-
ter than "man's testimony." Up to this point, the NN has used
"man" twice when even on the most formal reading of the text
the word is not found in the original. The two instances of
130 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
anthropos are probably not referring to the human race cor-
porately, but to all human beings, here referred to by the use
of the generic singular. The sticky point is the use of anthropos
in 3:1. This makes a connection between the Nicodemus nar-
rative and the generalizing statement in 2:24-25. One could
use "man," since that is the referent, though strictly speaking
the Greek word refers to Nicodemus as a human being. But
if we use "man" in 3: 1 while using "human beings" or "peo-
ple" in 2:24-25, the word connection is lost, even though the
meaning connection is retained. Once again, translators have
to make choices, because the English words simply do not
link up the way the Greek words do. It is partly a question of
their slightly different semantic ranges, partly a question of
their respective idiomatic usages. Would we ever introduce
someone with an expression such as "there was a man of the
Democrats" or "there was a human being of the Republicans"?
So the NIVI opts for idiomatic smoothness and loses the word
connection. Choices, choices: translation is treason.
CS Principles A9 and AI 0
Principle A.9, on "son of man," I shall evaluate in chapter
8. Principle A.I 0 is certainly valid-though as I indicated
above in discussing the CBT principles, the reasons for dri-
ving toward this conclusion are more complex than first meets
the eye.
CS Principle B.I
Principle B.l is much improved in the revised guidelines.
Originally neither the singular adelphos ("brother") nor the
plural adelphoi ("brothers") was to be rendered "brother or
sister" or "brothers and sisters" or the like. But there is plenty
of unambiguous evidence, both in the New Testament and
outside it, that "brothers" very often meant what we mean by
"brothers and sisters." Thus within the New Testament, Paul
can address the Philippian believers as "my brothers" (Phil.
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE csr AND CS PRINCIPLES 131
4: I NIv) and immediately start addressing two of the women
in the church (Phil. 4:2-3; see also 1 Cor. 7:15; James 2:15).
Small wonder the NNI renders the expression "my brothers
and sisters." This is not flawed translation: rather, the expanded
English expression is including people who would have felt
included in the Greek adelphos but who by and large do not
feel so included in English "brothers." One may argue about
the extent to which the English word "man" may still be used
generically, but very little can be said in favor of still using
"brothers" generically. Principle B.l implicitly recognizes
these points, in its latest draft (though not in its first), for the
plural form of the word.
Why it insists on excluding inclusive language for the sin-
gular form quite escapes me. One must proceed case by case,
of course. In Matthew 5:22 NIV Jesus says, "But Itell you that
anyone who is angry with his brother [adelphos] will be sub-
ject to judgment." Is Jesus restricting the sanction to anger
toward a brother, but not toward a sister? The NIVI'S "brother
or sister" is surely preferable. Why concede the point for the
plural and deny it for the singular? This does not mean that
every instance of adelphos, whether singular or plural, makes
an inclusive reference. But it is difficult to credit the princi-
ple that denies the possibility of such reference to singular
forms after conceding the possibility of such reference to
plural forms.
CS Principle B.2
Earlier we saw that Hebrew banfm ("sons"), though for-
mally mascnline, frequently includes both sons and daughters.
This point principle B.2 recognizes. But it forbids translators
to render the singnlar Hebrew ben as anything other than "son,"
and it insists that Greek huioslhuioi ("son"/"sons") can never
mean "child''l''children'' or include "sons and daughters."
Dr. Grudem provides a rationale for this position.
30
He
argues that the New Testament authors "were able to speak of
l32 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
'children' (tekna) when they wanted to (as in John 1:12, 'He
gave them power to become children of God,' and Rom.
8:16-17, 'bearing witness with our spirit that we are children
of God.'). But in other verses the Bible spoke of us as 'sons,'
and faithful translations should not change this to 'sons and
daughters' or 'children' as the NIVI did in Galatians 4:7." In
the latter passage, the rendering "children," he writes, "ob-
scures the fact that we all (men and women) gain standing as
'sons' and therefore the inheritance rights that belong to sons
in the Biblical world."3!
But this is methodologically mistaken. Just because some
passages in the New Testament can distinguish between huios
and teknon does not necessarily mean that the two words can-
not share identical semantic ranges in pragmatic circum-
stances-for otherwise we have returned again to "illegiti-
mate totality transfer." In other words, one must inspect usage
in passage after passage to see if huios always means "son"
as distinct from "child," impelled, perhaps, by overtones of
what it means to be an heir.
As soon as we do this, the position collapses. In Mark 12: 19,
Jesus is questioned about levirate marriage, which came into
play when a man died leaving no teknon ("child," and here
surely an heir) to carry on his name. Zechariah and Elizabeth
long for a teknon to carry on the family name (Luke 1 :7). The
older brother in the parable of the prodigal son is addressed by
his father, "My son [teknon] ... everything I have is yours"
(Luke 15:31 NN). Acts 7:5 says that God promised Abraham
the land "even though he had no teknon"-which here must
refer to an heir. Paul can switch back and forth between teknon
and huios in the same passage: "because those who are led by
the Spirit of God are sons [huioi] of God .... The Spirit him-
self testifies with our spirit that we are God's children [tekna].
Now if we are children [tekna], then we are heirs-heirs of
God and co-heirs with Christ. ... The creation waits in eager
expectation for the sons [huioi] of God to be revealed .... [T]he
creation itself will be ... brought into the glorious freedom of
----------------------------,
A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 133
the children [tekna] of God" (Rom. 8:14,16-17,19,21 NN).
Here the NIV consistently renders huioi by "sons" and tekna by
"children," but it is difficult in the flow of this context to detect
significant semantic distinction between the two terms. Note
that tekna is closely tied to what it means to be an heir.
Once again, one must proceed case by case. But it is hard
to avoid the conclusion that principle B.2 does not stand up
very well to hard data.
CS Principle B.3
Finally, principle B.3 forbids translators from rendering the
Hebrew and Greek words for "father" (,ab,pater) as "parent"
or theirrespective plural forms (,abOt,pateres) as "ancestors."
Once again, close inspection of every occurrence in the Old
and New Testaments suggests there are some instances when
a competent translator ought to do exactly what B.3 forbids.
Thus Hebrews 11 :23 RSV tells us, "By faith Moses, when he
was born, was hid for three months by his pateres"-which
here surely cannot be rendered as "fathers," but must be ren-
dered as "parents." In Exodus 3:15 NRSV, Moses is told to tell
the Israelites, "The LORD, the God of your ancestors ['abOt],
... has sent me to you." The context suggests the reference is
to many generations in the past, not the current range of
"fathers." The word "ancestors" appears entirely suitable.
Older versions usually have "fathers" here, but increasingly
that is becoming an archaizing expression in such structures.
This is not to suggest thoughtless or wholesale transmuta-
tion of "father''l''fathers'' into some inclusive-language alter-
native. Each passage mnst be examined carefully. It is to sug-
gest that principle B.3 is too restrictive.32
But enough evaluation of the CBT and CS principles. To flesh
things out a bit, I must venture a few more examples of vari-
ous kinds. Such examples will occupy us for the next three
short chapters.
I
l
SOME OLD TESTAMENT
PASSAGES
Neither in this chapter nor in the next do I intend to break
much fresh ground. Nevertheless, it might be useful to pro-
vide some brief comments on some more passages-in this
chapter, passages from the Old Testament, and in the next,
from the New Testament-to show how some of the linguis-
tic and interpretive judgments articulated up to this point work
out in practice. My comments here are brief; if the material
from the previous chapters has not been absorbed, the argu-
ments marshaled here may prove less than compelling.
More on Singulars and Plurals
We have already discussed this complicated issue somewhat.
Because the English third-person singular pronoun is marked
for gender ("he/she/it"), one of the expedients used by transla-
tors to avoid it is to switch to the plural, which is of course not
marked for gender ("they"). Critics object that this loses the
135
136 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
individualism implicit in the singular. I have argued that this is
too univocal an explanation of the singular; that generic sin-
gulars abound; that passages must be assessed on a case-by-
case basis, with the result that even if the criticism is judged
valid in a particular passage, it does not necessatily follow that
it is a compelling criticism in every passage where translators
have rendered a Hebrew singular with an English pluraL
In an unpublished paper, Professor John Stek has tracked
not only the complex interplay of second- and third-person
forms of address in regulative stipulations but also the strange
shifting between singular and plural.
1
In this they are differ-
ent from comparable ancient law codes; their form may owe
rather more to suzerainty treaties, whether Hittite or Assyr-
ian. For example, in the block of material that constitutes Exo-
dus 20-23, the regulative instructions begin and end with sec-
ond-person address. Third-person constructions are restricted
to Exodus 21:1-22:20 (22:19 MT). But even this block begins
with a second-person construction: "These are the laws you
are to set before them: 'If you buy a Hebrew servant ... ' "
(21:1-2 NIV). The collection of regulations found in the first
major block of Leviticus has a similar interesting mix. "Speak
to the Israelites [literally sons of Israel] and say to them,
'When any ["adam] of you [second-person masculine plural
pronoun] brings an offering to the LORD, bring [second-per-
son masculine plural verb] as your [second-person masculine
plural pronoun] offering an animal from either the herd or the
flock' " (Lev. 1:2 NIV)-which is then immediately followed
by third-person masculine singular terminology that is syn-
tactically controlled by the function of "adam in the verse just
cited: "When an "adam of you brings an offering .... He is
to .... He is to .... " Stek comments:
Now given the facts noted above, viz., that the Pentateuch is
made up of public documents that are regulative of the Yah-
weh-Israel covenant relationship and that in the ancient world
public affairs were, with rare exception, the domain of the
SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES 137
men of the community, especially the heads of households, it
is not surprising that 2nd-person language found in the regu-
lative instructions is everywhere masculine. What is some-
what disconcerting for translators, at least initially, is the fact
that in this literature no discriminating pattern can be shown
in the use of the 2nd m. singular verbs and pronouns. The 2nd
m. singular is used almost as freely for referring to the whole
community of Israel as for referring to an individual
2
Some examples drive this home. The commandments of the
Decalogue (Ex ad. 20:3-17) are all in second-person masculine
singular form (though surely they were to be obeyed by men
and women alike). But even the prologue (20:2) contains only
second-person masculine singular constructions, even though
these clearly refer to the entire covenant commnnity. Again,
observe the switching back and forth in the following passage
(Exod. 34:11-16 NIV). All the commanding verbs are second-
person singular except for those in italics (which are plural):
Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you
the Amorites ... and Jebusites. Be careful notto make a treaty
with those who live in the land where you are going, or they
will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their
sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not wor-
ship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a
jealous God. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who
live in the land; for ... they will invite you and you will eat
their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters
as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute them-
selves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
By contrast, in Leviticus 19:23-37 all the second-person ref-
erences are plural except those in 19:29, 32, and in the clause
"Love him as yourself" (NIV) in verse 34 (though in Deut.
10:19 the verb is plural!). In Deuteronomy, the plural domi-
nates, but one finds remarkable singulars in, for example,
Deuteronomy 1:31; 2:24; 6:17.
138
THE DEBATE
Of course, as far as translation into English is concerned,
contemporary English is marked for neither gender nor num-
ber in second-person imperative forms. By and large, trans-
lators have not felt it necessary to invent some device in En-
glish for preserving the constant number switches. Hebraists
have long recognized the mismatch between Hebrew and En-
glish on such points, and have therefore not tried to preserve
formal equivalences in English. Stek comments: "But even if
such invention should be attempted, for example, 2nd-person
pronominal forms [in English] that distinguished singular from
plural, the distribution of these in accordance with Hebrew
forms would leave the English reader who has no know ledge
ofthe Hebrew merely perplexed. No translation gain would
result."3 Or, to use the language of linguists, the gender sys-
tems of the two languages are to some degree incommensu-
rate, so to that degree the pursuit of formal equivalence is
unhelpful. Where differences in form coincide with differ-
ences in semantics in both languages, of course, that is very
helpful. But such coincidence must be demonstrated, not
merely assumed.
Problems in Gender Changes
In the list of "problems in gender changes," a document
prepared by Dr. John Piper with help from Dr. Wayne Gru-
dem and presented to the group that met in Colorado Springs
on May 27, 1997,4 several Old Testament texts were men-
tioned. Those that are dealt with elsewhere in this book, either
explicitly or implicitly, I need not mention again here. The
remainder I shall now bring up in canonical order.
Numbers 8: 17
NN: "Every firstborn male in Israel, whether man or ani-
mal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in
Egypt, I set them apart for myself."
SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES 139
NIVI: "Every firstborn male in Israel, whether human or
animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in
Egypt, I set them apart for myself."
Dr. Piper lists this among the "gratuitous changes which
mute obvious masculinity of persons," and asks, "Why give
gender neutral translations to persons or groups that are obvi-
ously male?"5
I count Dr. Piper a good friend, and I admire his ministry.
But I must say that this charge is misguided. Both the NN and
NIVI explicitly speak of "every firstborn male in Israel"; it is
difficult to see how this "mutes" anyone's masculinity. But the
"whether" phrase establishes the pool from which "every first-
born male in Israel" must be drawn: it includes both the human
species and the (domestic) animal species. The NNI is obvi-
ously superior. What is intriguing, however, is that Dr. Piper's
insistence that the move from "man" to "human" mutes the
maleness of the referent, however mistaken in this context,
implicitly concedes what the NIVI and NRSV translators are con-
stantly saying: the English word "man" often does have male
overtones, even when the donor word, as here, does not. That
is precisely why we need some gender-neutral translations.
Judges 18:7
NN: "SO the five men left and came to Laish."
NIVI: "SO the five of them left and came to Laish."
Since the referent here is to warriors, and only under the
most extraordinary circumstances were warriors women, there
is no good reason to change from "men" to some gender-
neutral form. Dr. Piper is right. Of course, the NIVI translation
is not wrong in the sense that it is saying something false: it
does not suggest that any of the warriors were women. Nev-
ertbeless, the change is unnecessary and leaves open a possi-
bility that would have been culturally closed.
I
I'
r
I
!
140 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Psalm 19:11-12
NIV: "By them is your servant warned; in keeping them
there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? For-
give my hidden faults."
NIVI: "By them is your servant warned; in keeping them
there is great reward. Who can discern their errors? For-
give my hidden faults."
Dr. Piper observes that the change from "his" to "their"
introduces a difficnlty. There is only one obvious plural ante-
cedent, namely, the ordinances of the Lord referred to by
"them" in verse 11. One could read the NIVI to be saying that
there are errors in God's ordinances.
6
Dr. Piper is right, and the NRSV introduces the same unnec-
essary ambiguity. It appears that the translators, however laud-
able or otherwise their aim of producing a faithful gender-
inclusive translation, have occasionally so focused their
attention on this particular desideratum that they have intro-
duced some glitches that need fixing. This is one of them.
There are, of course, several ways around this. One could sim-
ply leave this masculine singular pronoun alone. One could
paraphrase the offending line: "Who can discern your ser-
vant's errors?" A couple of other possibilities corne to mind.
More Old Testament Examples
I turn to a list, in canonical order, of a number of other Old
Testament passages that have been introduced into the dis-
cussion in various quarters.
Leviticus 18:5
NIV: "Keep my decrees and laws, for the man [hil-'ildilm]
who obeys them will live by them."
NIVI: "Keep my decrees and laws, for the one who obeys
them will live by them."
SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES 141
The NIVI is surely superior: the charge to keep God's decrees
and laws is not laid on male human beings alone. If "man"
increasingly has male overtones, the NIVI preserves a form of
expression without that restriction. Similarly the NRSV; the
NLT opts for "you."
Numbers 31 :49
RSV: "Your servants have counted the men of war who are
under our command, and there is not a man missing
from us."
NRSV: "Your servants have counted the warriors who are
under our command, and not one of us is missing."
See my comments above on Judges 18:7. The modern
Israeli and American armies may be coed, but the ancient
Israelite army wasn't. One or two colleagues have suggested
that "warriors" has replaced "men of war" for no other rea-
son than that the latter expression is obsolete. If they are right,
then the NRSV is acceptable on these broader grounds. My own
linguistic antennae, however, do not confirm that "men of
war" is obsolete, and in any case the NRSV'S bias is probably
reflected in the shift from "not a man" to "not one."
Psalm 34:6
RSV: "This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and
saved him out of all his troubles."
NRSV: "This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD,
and was saved from every trouble."
Dr. Grudem objects that this fairly frequent device of the
NRSV, the switch from an active to a passive voice in order to
get rid of a troublesome pronoun, "doesn't tell us whether the
person was saved by the Lord or by circumstances or by some
other means. The Lord's salvation may be suggested by the
NRSV, but it is not required, and the intended forcefulness of
142
THE INCLUSIYEMLANGUAGE DEBATE
the text is lost. The Bible told us that the Lord saved him, but
the NRSV no longer tells us, Once again, this is not translating
the Bible; it is rewriting the Bible."7
I agree with Dr. Grudem's conclusion that the NRSV ren-
dering is unacceptable, but for quite different reasons. Some
languages do not have passives. Elegant Greek prefers pas-
sives (it is more colloquial Greek that opts for an abundance
of actives); English usage reverses these priorities. In other
words, just as gender systems differ from language to lan-
guage, so also do voice systems. It cannot be a valid objec-
tion to a translation in principle that it opts for one voice when
the donor has another: there are too many system factors that
must be evaluated. That is the problem with translation. Of
course, there may be legitimate objections to a change of voice
in a particular location, even if there cannot be a legitimate
objection to all changes of voice.
In this instance, I find the objection a bit strained. True,
something of the vitality of the active is lost. But to suggest
that the text does not make it clear that the Lord saved the "poor
soul" who cried surely reflects leaden exegesis. Even the pas-
sive construction establishes that the "poor soul" was "heard
by the LORD, and was saved." I cannot imagine a reader under-
standing this to mean (especially in the flow of this psalm) that
this "poor soul" cried, was heard by the Lord, and then saved
by circumstances quite apart from the Lord. That is bad read-
ing, and the charge unfair. So far, the conclusion that the NRSV
is here "rewriting the Bible" is unjustified; the charge reflects
a failure to understand translation and its limitations.
Yet I entirely concur with Dr. Grudem's opinion that this
is an unacceptable translation, because in this context the
"poor man" is the psalmist. The superscription establishes
who the author of this psalm is: none other than David.
8
There
is nothing unseemly (in contemporary English) about David
referring to himself as "this poor man." I note with gratitude
that the NIV! here retains the wording of the NIV, presumably
because it observes the context more carefully than does the
SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES
143
NRSV. Is it worth mentioning, in passing, that a weakness found
in one gender-neutral translation does not necessarily con-
denm all gender-neutral translations?
Proverbs 5: I, 3, 7-8
Instead of "My son," these verses find a father addressing
his child (in the NRSV): "My child, be attentive to my wisdom
... for the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech
is smoother than oil .... And now, my child, listen to me ....
Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of
her house." Of course, many proverbs are addressed to men
and women without exception. But here, warnings against
being deceived by an adulteress make "son" far more likely
to be a male than will generic labels for people of both sexes.
The NIVI preserves "My son" throughout.
Proverbs 5:21
NIV: "For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD."
NIVI: "For your ways are in full view of the LORD."
Dr. Grudem objects that the NIV! "restricts the text to 'you,'
who is the son being warned by his father in the previous text;
the text no longer affirms God's observation of the ways of
every person. "9 I find this unconvincing. The pronoun "you"
can function, especially in aphorisms, much the way on does
in French or man in German (compare "You get what you pay
for"-which certainly does not mean the statement is true only
for the "you" being addressed). To take the NIV! this way is
surely unimaginative.
Proverbs 16:9
RSV: "A man's mind plans his way, but the LORD directs
his steps."
NRSV: "The human mind plans the way, but the LORD
directs the steps."
144 THE DEBATE
Dr. Grudem says it would have been appropriate to change
the RSV to the following: "A person's mind plans his way, but
the LORD directs his steps."!O But this does not address the
intrinsic limitation of English: only in the third-person singu-
lar is the pronoun marked for gender, and here that trouble-
some "his" resurfaces. One can, with Dr. Grudem, insist it is
not a translation problem. But for those who believe it is, there
are only so many ways around it. One could opt for the plural
and drop "mind": "Human beings plan their ways, but the LORD
directs their steps." I doubt that this would please him. In this
instance, I rather favor the NIVI'S move to the second person,
because, as we have seen, "you" in English, especially in apho-
ristic contexts, can be appropriate for such utterances: "In your
heart you may plan your course, but the LORD determines your
steps." Compare comments on Proverbs 5:21, above.
Proverbs 29:3
NIV: "A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth."
NIVI: "Those who love wisdom bring joy to their parents,
but companions of prostitutes squander their wealth."
The person likely to visit prostitutes and squander wealth
on them is a man. Here the NIVI falls into the same sort of trap
as did the NRSV at Proverbs 5:1, 3, 7-8.
What is immediately obvious is thatthe critics of gender-inclu-
sive translations of the Bible have sometimes administered
some telling blows; at other times they appear to have missed
the mark rather badly. At the risk of anticipating final con-
clusions, it appears that where the critics are right, they have
not been so on the ground of a linguistically informed critique
of gender-inclusive translations, but on the ground either of
the CBT's occasional "loose" principle or of rather shoddy
application now and then of the good guidelines that have
SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES
145
been constructed. Where the critics have offered evaluations
on the basis of an insecure linguistic foundation, they cannot
be followed, even though we must thank them for exposing
the more egregious mistakes that remain.
Incidentally, this sort of criticism is precisely why the
original CBT of the NIV wanted to maintain the right to keep
introducing corrections as they came in. But I have already
wrestled with the problem of changing the text of a well-
established Bible (see chapter 3, point 8 under "Implications
and Conclusions").
It remains to assess some gender-inclusive renderings of
New Testament passages.
"I'···'·'·ll
["il'·'
ii"
,I'i,
I
I.' •• ' I'
i
i!
I
'I"
'ii
7
SOME NEW TESTAMENT
PASSAGES
In this chapter, as in the previous one, I do not intend to
break much fresh ground. My purpose once again is to pro-
vide some brief comments on some more passages-in this
chapter, from the New Testament-to show how some of the
linguistic and interpretive principles articulated up to this point
work out in practice. My comments are brief, as in chapter 6;
if the material from chapters 1-5 has not been absorbed, the
arguments here may not seem compelling.
Problems in Gender Changes
I shall begin with the New Testament references advanced
by Dr. Piper in the paper he prepared for the May 27 meeting
in Colorado Springs (mentioned in chapters 1 and 6), provided
those references are not discussed elsewhere in this book.
Matthew 8:27
NIV: "The men were amazed and asked, 'What kind of man
is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!'"
147
148
THE DEBATE
NlVI: "The disciples were amazed and asked, 'What kind
of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey
him!' "
The Greek word is anthropoi, plural of anthropos. As
explained in chapter 5 (under "CS Principles A.3, A.4, and
AS'), the most common meaning of the word is "human
being," even when the referent is male (see also comments
below on Acts 1:21). The trouble is that English does not use
"human beings" or even "persous" or "people" in this sort of
context to refer back to those whose identity has aheady beeu
established. Since 8:23 specifies them to be disciples, the NIVI
simply repeats the word in 8 :27.
Whether this is wise may be disputed. If by "disciples" in
8:23 only the Twelve or some subset of them is meant, then the
obvious word to use for anthropoi in 8:27 is "men" as in the
NIV. But there is a not-uncommon uncertainty in the Synoptic
Gospels as to whether "disciples" refers only to the Twelve or
to some broader group of Jesus' followers. For instance, two
verses before this pericope, a "disciple" asks Jesus a question
that exposes the limitations of his discipleship. There is no rea-
son whatsoever to think this was one of the Twelve. Certainly
we know from elsewhere in the Gospels that women were
included among the many who "followed" Jesus and who were
"disciples" in that sense. The NIVlhas apparently chosen to read
8:23-27 with the larger possibility kept open. In this case, their
choice strikes me as unlikely, but I wonld be the first to con-
cede that the evidence is not clear either way.
In short, in this instance I would have stayed with the NIV,
but I cannot find sufficient evidence to warrant an attack on
the NIVI.
Matthew 16:24-26
NIV: "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would
corne after me, he must deny himself and take up his
SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
149
cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life
will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find
it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole
world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in
exchange for his soul?'"
NIVI: "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Those who would
corne after me must deny themselves and take up their
cross and follow me. For those who want to save their
lives will lose them, but those who lose their lives for
me will find them. What good will it be for you to gain
the whole world, yet forfeit your soul? Or what can you
give in exchange for your soul?'"
Dr. Piper comments that in the NIVI "the individual thrust
and personal responsibility of Jesus' words are lessened in
this plural renderiug, and the change from 'a man' to 'you'
may give the impression that it relates to Jesus' hearers rather
than beiug a universal statement."l I have repeatedly re-
sponded to these objections (see chapters 5 and 6) and will
not repeat all the arguments again. Suffice it to say that for-
mal plurals often have personal application intended by the
speaker/writer and picked up by ordinary readers (for exam-
ple, Matt. 5:6, 10); that "you" not infrequently has the value
in English of a French on or a German man, and does not strike
me in this context as restrictive in the way suggested by Dr.
Piper; that in this instance the suggestion that "personal
responsibility" is lessened by the switch to the plural is in any
case overturned by the "you," which if anything increases
"personal responsibility."
Many of the texts adduced by the critics of all gender-inclu-
sive translations are of this type. The question behind the ques-
tion is invariably the same: Granted the current trends in En-
glish usage, should an attempt be made to find an alternative
construction to the third-person singular pronoun, which in
English is marked for gender, wherever the meaning of the
original is not gender -restrictive? If the answer is no, then no
r
i
150
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
change is necessary or helpful. If the answer is yes, then it is
not enough to say that you do not like the alternatives to "he"
and related pronouns, no matter what they are, That is the
perennial problem with all translations: you must use the struc-
tures of the receptor language to convey the meaning you find
in the donor language, even though the structures of the two
languages are sufficiently different that you are forced into
over-specification and under-specification and so forth,'
So I shall not return to more of these kinds of texts, since
the answers will always be the same. The only exceptions will
be where additional factors come into play (as in John 14:23:
Gal. 5:10; Rev. 3:20, below).
John II :50
NIV: "it is better for you that one man [anthropas] die for
the people than that the whole nation perish."
NIVI: "it is better for you that one persan die for the peo-
ple than that the whole nation perish."
A similar change occurs at John 18:14. Compare also
1 Corinthians 15:21:
NIV: "For since death came through a man [anthropas] , the
resurrection of the dead comes also through a man."
NIVI: "For since death came through a human being, the
resurrection of the dead comes also through a human
being."
Dr. Piper views these as an instances in which the "mas-
culinity of Jesus is downplayed."3 This is a repeat of the mis-
conception advanced by Dr. Kostenberger regarding Philip-
pians 2:8, 1 Timothy 2:5, and similar passages (see chapter 5
under "CS Principles A.3, AA, and AS'). This is not "down-
playing" Jesus' masculinity; it is faithfully translating into
current English the primary meaning of anthropas. At no point
SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
151
does the NIVJ deny Jesus' masculinity. The fact remains that
Jesus was not only a male, he was a human male. Through-
out the history of the church, theologians have wrestled with
how best to articulate the simultaneous truths that Jesus was
truly "God" and truly "man"-with "man" in such discourse
meaning "human being." That he was a particular "man" (that
is, human being) was also affirmed-a male human with a
particular first-century Jewish identity, the son of Mary, and
so forth. But the primary focus of theological integration was
how simultaneously to affirm Jesus' deity and his humanity.
When referring to Jesus' humanity, the word "man" (in
English-language theological discussion) was universally
used. Adam also was of course a male human being. As for
1 Corinthians 15 :21, the question is whether the choice oflan-
guage here emphasizes his maleness or his humanness. Lex-
ically' anthropas primarily means "human being"; theologi-
cally, that entirely fits this context. Through Adam's sin, death
came upon all human beings; it was Adam's role as federal
head of the human race that was critical.
Not only is the NIVI'S translation not pernicious, but Dr.
Piper unwittingly concedes the very point that the NIVI trans-
lators and others are trying to make. Saying that the change
from "man" to "person" or "human being" downplays Jesus'
masculinity presupposes that the word "man" is tied to male-
ness, to masculinity. At one time it could be used in a purely
generic sense, and virtually all readers would take it that way.
If Dr. Piper had argued that "man" still has this sense unam-
biguously and a change to "human being" is therefore unnec-
essary, then we could argue about whether or not the English
language has changed (see chapter 9). But by arguing that the
move away from "man" reduces Jesus' masculinity, Piper con-
cedes that even for him "man" does not here carry gender-
neutral reference to "person" or "human being"-which is
precisely what anthropas here daes mean. Granted such
(unwitting) concessions, I insist that the NIVI is in this case
more accurate than the NIV, not because we are changing the
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THE DEBATE
Word of God or rewriting it, but because the English language
is changing such that older translations sometimes give a false
impression that gender-neutral translations actually correct.
This is not to say that the NIVI or NRSV is always right; I have
criticized some of their renderings and will criticize others. It
is to say that some of the critics' charges are too sweeping or
sadly misjudged.
John 14:23
NlV: "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My
Father will love him, and we will come to him and make
our home with him."
NIVl: "Those who love me will obey my teaching. My
Father will love them, and we will come to them and
make our home with them."
The implication in the change, charge the critics, is that
Jesus and the Father dwell "with a group rather than with a
person."4 In this case the critics have a point. I have earlier
argued, several times, that the move from the singular to the
plural in most instances entails very little loss of individual
application: many plurals in English work that way anyway.
But in this case there is an additional factor, an important one.
In the New Testament, "Jesus" or "God" or the "Holy Spirit"
entertains relations with, or lives in or dwells with, sometimes
the believing community and sometimes the individual
believer. This is one of the passages which, in Greek, clearly
tilts to the latter. Because the more corporate emphasis is well
known, a shift to the plural may make some readers, espe-
cially those more theologically informed but with no knowl-
edge of the original languages, suppose that once again the
corporate sense is found in the original. On balance, there-
fore, the criticism in this instance is sound.
What to do about it is another matter. It is always impor-
tant to remember the limitations of translation and to walk
SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
153
humbly. Still, in this instance, there are several options apart
from the alternatives offered by the NlV and NIVI. Of course,
one might simply leave the NIV in place, perhaps with an
explanatory note (as the NRSV in one or two places finds no
graceful way out of gender-specific language in English that
is not really mandated by the original, but leaves it that way
because of the limitations of the receptor language). There are
other options.
Acts 1:21
Nlv: "Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men
who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus
went in and out among us."
NIVI: "Therefore it is necessary to choose one of those who
have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went
in and out among us."
The word for "of the men" (NIV) is andron, the genitive
plural of aner. We saw in chapter 5 (under "CS Principles A.3,
A.4, and AS') that anthropos normally means "human being,"
though its referent is often male-sometimes incidentally so
and sometimes crncially so. By contrast, aner most commonly
means "man" (that is, male human being) or "husband." There
are some remarkable exceptions where even this word must
be understood to include both men and women, but they are
relatively rare.
In this context, I see no reason for removing the reference
to men. That is the "default" understanding of aner, here
strengthened by the fact that the issue is replacing one of the
Twelve, all of whom were males, the two suggested replace-
ments likewise being male.
Galatians 5: I 0
NlV: "The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay
the penalty, whoever he may be."
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154
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
NIVI: "The one who is throwing you into confusion will
pay the penalty, whoever that may be."
Dr. Piper sees this as one of the "gratuitous chauges," and
I agree with him.s In the context, the individual here referred
to, whether a kind of collective singular or not, certainly
belongs to those "agitators" whom Paul, two verses later,
wishes would go all the way and "emasculate themselves"
(5:12). It is hard not to grin and conclude that the CBT got
carried away with its guidelines aud did not keep its collec-
tive eye on the context.
Revelation 3:20
NIV: "Here I am! I stand at the door aud knock. If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and
eat with him, and he with me."
NIVI: "Here I am! I staud at the door aud knock. If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in aud
eat with them, and they with me."
Dr. Piper objects that "the grammatically inconsistent trau-
sition between 'anyone' aud 'them ... they' obscures the per-
sonal relationship with Christ offered in this verse.'" True, this
construction is "grammatically inconsistent." I do not much
care for it-but then I am enough of a traditionalist that I do
not much like "It's me" either, which is equally grammatically
inconsistent aud now almost universally judged acceptable.
As for obscuring the personal relationship, I find this mistaken
not only on the general ground repeatedly mentioned in this
book-that quite demonstrably many grammatical plurals
carry au individual application that is recognized by all but the
most unperceptive readers-but also on the ground that the
"grammatical inconsistency" preserves the "anyone." Inci-
dentally, the NRSV here tackles the gender-specific pronoun by
switching to the second person: "Listen! I am standing at the
SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 155
door, knocking; if you hear my voice aud open the door, I will
come in to you aud eat with you, and you with me."7
More New Testament Examples
We may now pick up on a number of other New Testament
verses that have been introduced into the discussion. Once
again, this list is not exhaustive. By and large I do not here
treat verses I have discussed elsewhere in this book.
Luke 17:3
NIv: "If your brother sins, rebuke him, aud if he repents,
forgive him."
NIVI: "Rebuke a brother or sister who sins, aud if they
repent, forgive them."
Dr. Grudem comments: "Trying to make 'they' singular
impoverishes English by leaving us no clearly plural pronoun;
but understanding 'they' as plural mistranslates the singular
Greek pronoun autos and corresponding singular verb. (And
the lack of agreement in many verses like this creates disso-
nant English as well.) Jesus could easily have said 'brother or
sister' if he had wanted to (see 1 Corinthians 7:15)."8
It is difficult to respond to this series of criticisms without
referring to the whole of this book so far written. To use "they"
this way, Dr. Grudem suggests, "impoverishes English." But
the point is that English is already impoverished by not hav-
ing a gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun. Languages
are constautly going through changes of one sort or another,
driven by various factors: shall we insist on using archaisms
so as not to "impoverish" the language? Shall we continue to
use "thou" aud related forms because by dropping them we
have "impoverished" the English lauguage by losing a clear
distinction between second-person singular aud second-per-
son plural forms? In any case we do not thereby lose power
156 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
to communicate: spoken language is a living thing and finds
ways to get across needed distinctions.'
But the deeper problem with Dr. Grudem's analysis is that
it assumes that the gender and number relationships internal
to contemporary English are exactly the same as in Greek. To
speak of what the NIVI has done here as "mistranslation"
betrays an unfortunate misapprehension about how languages
relate to one another, and therefore how translation works. In
the revised form of the CSG, as we have seen, Dr. Grudem
and his colleagues now rightly concede that sometimes "broth-
ers" in Greek may include both "brothers and sisters." The
same is true (J argued in chapter 5 under "CS Principle B.l ")
of the singular "brother" in Greek. This does not mean that
every instance of "brothers" has this larger compass; it does
mean that the context must be evenhandedly examined, for it
is extraordinarily rare that the entire semantic range of a word
is carried by that word when it is in syntactical flow. As the
word shapes the context, so the context shapes the word. Hav-
ing admitted that "brothers" in Greek can in the right context
mean "brothers and sisters," Dr. Grudem must also surely see
that Luke or Paul or any other New Testament writer could
have written "brothers and sisters" (and sometimes did so),
even though that same writer might choose on occasion to
write "brothers" and thereby mean what we mean when we
say "brothers and sisters." In other words, there may be such
semantic overlap between "brothers" and "brothers and sis-
ters" that in certain contexts the two expressions mean the
same thing. Similarly here: for exactly the same reasons, the
statement "Jesus could easily have said 'brother or sister' if
he had wanted to" is of course correct-and entirely without
weight in this particular argument.
John II :25
NIV: "Jesus said to her, 'J am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.' "
SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
157
NIVI: "Jesus said to her, 'J am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me will live, even though they
die.' "
Dr. Grudem says that the forcefulness of the promise to an
individual person is lost and that the text "mistranslates" four
singular Greek words. Then he adds in parentheses: "Note
that Jesus did not hesitate to use generic 'he' even when speak-
ing to Martha."
J have already said more than enough to question the argu-
ment about the "forcefulness of promise" to the "individual
person." Here it is what is in parentheses that draws our atten-
tion. True, in one sense we may argue that "Jesus did not hes-
itate to use generic 'he' even when speaking to Martha"-in
precisely what sense we shall see in a moment. On the radio
program Open Line (May 13, 1997), Dr. Grudem argues with
Dr. Kenneth Barker along the same lines: Why should a
woman be offended by such language today? If she lived in
Jesus' day, would she have been offended? And in any case,
this is the terminology that Jesus used: he chose the generic
singular "he," even when talking with a woman. 10 Martha was
apparently not offended; why therefore does any woman have
the right to be offended today?
But again, this line of argument entirely misses the point.
True, Jesus (in John's report) did use the Greek generic "he."
He also used genitive absolutes, double accusatives com-
pounded with aorist infinitives, double negatives, and a host
of other constructions all of which would be either incom-
prehensible or seriously misleading if rendered into English
by a merely formal equivalent. In this instance, Jesus did not
use generic "he"; he used generic autos. Precisely because it
was understood to be generic, it could not cause "offense"
(though in my view that is not the primary issue at stake) or
incomprehension precisely because Martha understood the
pronoun in this context to be broad enough in its semantic
range to include her. Similarly if a modern woman went back
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158
THE DEBATE
in time to that cultnre with a profound grasp of the language
and literature of that cultnre, she would be unlikely to take
umbrage, But if "he" in English, complete with gender spec-
ification, is used in a generic sense somewhat less frequently
than it used to be, and if for some sections of the reading pop-
ulace "he" is never or almost never used in a generic sense
anymore, then fidelity to the original demands the choice of
an expression that is less formally proximate, or we lose some
part of what the original text says,
If Dr. Grudem wishes instead to argue that "he" still has
enough generic force in a sufficiently large part of the En-
glish world to retain use of that pronoun in this context, he
is at perfect liberty to do so-indeed, that is in effect pre-
cisely what he argues when he adduces instances where
generic "he" still operates, I shall come to that question in
chapter 9. But he is not at liberty to use the form of argu-
ment he has inserted in his parenthesis here. That confuses
receptor and donor languages and betrays a misconception
as to the relationships between languages and therefore of
the natnre of translation. On the long haul that sort of argu-
ment can only lessen the credibility of the valid points of
criticism he offers with respect to some passages, to which
I have already referred.
Acts 9:7
NN: "The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless;
they heard the sound but did not see anyone."
NIVI: "Those who were travelling with Saul stood there
speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone."
The Greek is andres, plnral for aner, and as in Acts 1:21,
one should assume the reference is to male human beings,
unless there is convincing contextual counter-evidence.
Here Dr. Kostenberger is right in his objection to the NIvI
translation. 11
SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
159
Acts 20:30
NN: "Even from yonr own number men will arise and dis-
tort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them."
NIVI: "Even from yonr own number some will arise and
distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after
them."
Dr. Grudem charges tbat this change "obliterates the fact
that Paul used a specific Greek noun andres [plnr. of aner 1 to
say that the false teachers coming at Ephesus would be 'men';
this word never refers to women, and 'some' is a mistransla-
tion."12 I imagine Dr. Grudem wrote these lines before the
revision of the CS principles. Revised principle A.4 says that
aner should "almost always" be rendered "man" (or "men"
in the plnra\). That is correct (see the discussion in chapter 5
under "CS Principles A.3, A.4, and AS'). With Dr. Grudem,
I do not see any warrant for changing the NIv'S "men" in this
passage, even though his claim that aner "never refers to
women" is quite demonstrably too strong. Moreover, since
Paul is at this point addressing the elders at Ephesus, and there
is no convincing textual evidence that New Testament elders
included women (as there is, by contrast, convincing evidence
that New Testament deacons included women), it is prejudi-
cial to hint otherwise.
1 Corinthians 13: 1 1
NIv: "When I became a man [aner 1, I put childish ways
behind me."
NIVI: "When I became an adult, I put childish ways behind
me,"
This change is silly. Paul grew up to become a man, a male
human being. Someone might reply, "Yes, but aren't you now
being inconsistent? Elsewhere (in chapter 5 under 'CS Prin-
ciples A.3, A.4, and A.5') you say that sometimes a Greek
p
160
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
word has the meaning of 'humau being' while it refers to a
man. Couldn't the same thing be said here?" No, because the
word in chapter 5 with which I was dealing was
here it is aner. The two words can occupy the same semantic
space in specific contexts. But as we have seen, the "default"
meaning of the former is "human being"; you need a good
reason to think that maleness is being conveyed. PreCisely the
opposite is the case with the latter word: a male human being
is normally in view, and you need a good contextual reason
to extend beyond that restriction.
1 Corinthians 14:28
NIV: "If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep
quiet in the church and speak to himself and God."
NIVI: "If there is no interpreter, the speakers should keep
quiet in the church and speak to themselves and God."
Dr. Grudem says the change could "easily be understood to
encourage groups of tongue-speakers to go off and
speak in tongues 'to themselves.'" Moreover, the NIVI "[mllstran-
slates three singular Greek words which Paul wrote."
I need not respond again to the charge of "mistranslation"
of three Greek words: the same fundamental misconceptions
are still operating. But Dr. Grudem's first point is worth think-
ing about. In most instances, I have argued, the change of sm-
gle person to plural in a moralizing or ethical context entails
no loss: English-speaking readers apply such texts personally
anyway. Here and there, however, I have argued that the cnt-
ics may have a point because of (1) the peculiar way that the
English plural functions in a specific context or (2) the odd
overtones it carries there. See, for example, my comments on
John 14:23, above. Here Dr. Grudem has put his finger on
another instance when the plural can be misleading: granted
contemporary practice, it is quite possible that some tongues-
speakers might understand the plural rendenng of the NIVI as
i
SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
161
sanction "to go off together and speak in tongues 'to them-
selves. ", It might be better to find another alternative or
include an explanatory note.
Titus 1:6
According to Dr. Grudem, "Paul tells Titus to appoint elders
in Crete who meet the criterion, 'the husband [aner 1 of one
wife' (Titus 1 :6, RSV), but NRsvtranslates, 'married only once'
(NRSV), which of course could include women elders as well
as men."13 Dr. Grudem then advances various arguments. With
Dr. Grudem, I doubt that the peculiar Greek expression means
"married only once" anyway. But moreover, that stubborn
aner is used here, and must not be ignored. The NNI renders
the phrase "the husband of but one wife. "14
James I: 12
NIV: "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test, he will receive the
crown oflife."
NIVI: "Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because
when they have stood the test, they will receive the
crown of life."
Several have objected to the NIVI rendering, partly because
behind the word "man" is Greek aner. Dr. Kostenberger is
especially hard on those who opt for any rendering of this
Greek word other than "man. "15 But in chapter 5 (under "CS
Principles A.3, AA, and AS') I tried to show convincing evi-
dence that although aner most commonly means "man," that
is, male human being, nevertheless both in the lexica and in
texts some extension is occasionally found. In this instance,
is James really saying that only male human beings are blessed
if they persevere under trial? If one responds that he is using
the male to refer to both men and women, one is already con-
ceding that the word in this context demands a rendering that
________ __________________________ __
a
162
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
is similarly comprehensive. Indeed, although 1 would not go
to the stake for it, 1 am almost prepared to say that in the pecu-
liar idiolect of James, aner in his usage functions the way
anthropos does among other writers.
I Peter 3:4
To put some things in perspective, I include this last exam-
ple. It is important to remember that the passage in question
is talking about Christian wives and about that in which their
beauty consists.
KJV: "But let it be the hidden man [anthropos 1 of the heart,
in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a
meek and quiet spirit."
NIV/NIVI: "Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the
unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit."
As Kohlenberger says, "1 don't want my wife to have a 'hid-
den man of the heart.' It might be the premise for a modern
sitcom, but it's not a mandate for biblical femininity."16
Many more passages could usefully be explored, but one must
draw the line somewhere. In these two chapters (chapters 6
and 7), my aim has been, building out of the linguistic and
translation theory of the previous chapters, to consider a select
number of passages from the Old and New Testaments in order
to determine how valid are the charges leveled against inclu-
sive-language translations. At the risk of a simplistic sum-
mary when the data themselves are enormously complex, it
appears that the critics have scored some points in particular
passages (and in others that have not been discussed), and the
CBT should take the most telling of these criticisms seriously
and be even more careful in the future than they have been.
We can all learn from one another. On the other hand, the
sweep of the criticisms against the NIV1 and other gender-inclu-
SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
163
sive translations will not stand. The undergirding under-
standmg of language and translation (and occasionally even
exegesIs) IS sufficiently flawed that the attack will not I
prove successful or widely convincing. ong
Before we leave these examples, however, I should devote
a fev.: pages to passages where some of the most important
doctnnalIssues are raised in debate.
, 'I
f
SOME CRITICAL
PASSAGES
WITH IMPORTANT
DOCTRINAL ISSUES
AT STAKE
There is a sense, of course, in which the entire discussion
of this book carries with it important doctrinal issues: we do
not have to wait for this chapter before coming upon impor-
tant doctrines. The critics of the NIV! and other gender-inclu-
sive English versions are doubtless motivated by the highest
concerns to preserve the truth of Scripture and to treat God's
words with respect: that itself is a doctrinal matter. We have
already had reason to reflect on whether several passages refer
to Jesus as a "human being" or as a "man," that is, a male
human being: certainly it is difficult to think of topics more
important than Christology. So not for a moment am I sug-
gesting that the limited number of topics I shall briefly com-
ment on in this short chapter constitute the only important
doctrinal issues in the debate.
But what sets the following few issues apart is the inter-
twining of linguistic/translational matters with theological fac-
165
l
166
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
tors sufficiently complex that we find ourselves comparing sev-
eral passages and evaluating several themes at once. Each of
these issues could easily call forth a book. Nevertheless, a few
paragraphs each may help to clarify some of these matters.
Adam and the Human Race
The issues are complex. Consider, first, two passages, in
various translations:
Genesis 1 :26-27
KJV: "And God said, 'Let us make man ['adam] in
image, after our likeness: and let them ha:,e domm-
. , So God created man [ha-'adam] m hIS own
lOn. . . . I d
image, in the wage of God created he him; rna e an
female created he them." ..
NASB: "And God said, 'Let us make man m our
according to our likeness; and let them rule. . .. And
God created man in His own image, m the Image of God
He created him; male and female He created them." .
NN: "Then God said, 'Let us make man iu our Image, m
our likeness, and let them rule .... ' So God created man
in his own image, in the image of God he created hzm;
male and female he created them." ..
NJVI: "Then God said, 'Let us make human m our
wage, in our likeness, and let them rule ..... So God
created human beings in his own Image, m the Image
God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 5: 1-3
KN: "This is the book of the generations of Ad am ['adam].
In the day that God created man ['adam], m the lIke-
ness of God made he him; male and female he created
them· and blessed them, and called theIr name Adam
['adam], in the day when they were created. And Adam
SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES
167
['adam] lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a
son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his
name Seth."
NIV: "This is the written account of Adam's line. When God
created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He
created them male and female and blessed them. And
when they were created, he called them 'man.'! When
Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own like-
ness, in his own image; and he named him Seth."
NIVI: "This is the written account of Adam's line. When
God created human beings, he made them in the like-
ness of God. He created them male and female and
blessed them. And when they were created, he called
them 'human beings." When Adam had lived 130 years,
he had a son in his own likeness, in his own wage; and
he named him Seth."
Principle A.3 of the CSG asserts that '''man' should ordinar-
ily be used to designate the human race," giving as examples
of such texts, among others, Genesis 1 :26-27 and 5 :2. Dr.
Grudem contends:
The name "man" is placed on both male and female, as
together they constitute the human race. The translation "man"
is accurate, because the Hebrew word 'iidam is also used to
refer to Adam iu particular, and it is sometimes used to refer
to man in distinction from woman (see Gen. 2:25, "the man
and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed"). The
English word "man" most accurately translates 'iidam because
it is the only word we have that has those same two meanings
(the human race, or a male human beiug). We can conclude
from this usage of 'adam that it is not wrong, insensitive, or
discourteous to use the same word to refer to male human
beings in particular and to name the human race. God him-
self does this in his Word ....
... The problem is that "humankind," "human beings," and
"human" are not names that can also refer to man in distinc-
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168
THE INCLUS1VEwLANGUAGE DEBATE
tion from woman, and thus they are a less accurate transla-
tions [sic] of 'adam than the word "man." The male overtones
of the Hebrew word are lost
3
Dr. Grudem is partly right: it would be nice to use an English
word that would cover both senses, namely, the human race
and the male of the human race. But as the quotations above
indicate, what is really required is not a word that will include
only these two senses, but one that will include a third as well,
namely, the proper name "Adam."
That's the problem, and it is not minor. In some passages
in the opening chapters of Genesis, there is considerable dIS-
pute as to precisely when 'adam is to be understood as a proper
name and when it refers to the human race as a whole.' That
surfaces, for instance, in Genesis 5 :2: contrast the KN and NN.
Did God call the race "Adam" or "man"? In fact, versions var-
iously opt for "Adam" (KN), "Man" (ASV, NASB,. JB)',,"man"
(NEB, NIV, REB), "Humankind" (NRSV), "human bemgs ( CEV).
Strictly speaking, of course, God called it 'adam. Our prob-
lem is that "Adam" represents a transliteration of the Hebrew
word (that is, we merely spell it in letters as close as possible
in sound to the Hebrew letters and try to pronounce It more
or less the same way as in Hebrew), whereas "man" and any
of the other renderings are not transliterations but translations.
So we have already lost one of the three uses of 'adam in
these chapters (its use as a proper name), no matter what w.e
do. Of course, strictly speaking both the NIV and NIVI, by theIr
footnote in 5:2, try to preserve something ofthe connection.
Shall we then insist on maintaining "man" because two out
of three is better than one out of three?
There is something to be said for that view. That was in fact
the practice, in English, until very recently. (Of course, m
some languages even this is not possible: some languages have
different words for "man" [that is, male human bemg] and
"humankind.") In part the question is whether or not "man"
in English is becoming so restrictively male that it does not
SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES
169
function well in the two semantic slots that Dr. Grudem wants
to assign it. Of course, he will deny that "man" is no longer
suitable; I will merely say that in my view the language is
changing, and for at least some readers "man" is no longer the
best word to use to render 'adam when the Hebrew word is
referring to the human race. Once again, I must postpone dis-
cussion until chapter 9.
One way out, of course, is to include more notes to draw
attention to the Hebrew word and its range, right through these
chapters, and regardless of what option is finally chosen.
Another option is, along with the notes, to preserve "man"
here, and then use other words in most of the other biblical
passages where people of both sexes are referred to. But that
too will demand some lengthy explanatory notes.
There are other complicating factors. In Hebrew 'adam has
no plural. If one explicitly wishes to pluralize it, one resorts
to bene 'adam (literally "sons of Adam"). But when 'adam is
used absolutely, it may refer to the individual whom we call
"Adam" or even in a few instances to some other individual
male human being (Gen. 16:12; Lev. 16:17; Josh. 14:15; Neh.
2:10; Eccles. 7:28). Everywhere else, however, out of a total
of 562 occurrences in the Old Testament, the word refers either
to the human race as corporate race or to human beings gen-
erally. In other words, the overwhelming preponderance of
usage is generic, and frequently collective. Yet because the
form of the word is singular, some strange wobbles in the num-
ber of the related pronouns are introduced (as is clear even
from the quotations above). Consider, for instance, Psalm
84:4-5 (84:5-6 MT): "Blessed are those [plural] who dwell
in your house; they [plural] are ever praising you. Blessed is
'adam whose [singular] strength is in you, in whose [plural]
heart are pilgrimages" (author's translation). Clearly, the col-
lective singular 'adam can control either a singular or a plural
pronoun. Or again, Jonalt 4:11: "And should I not spare Nin-
eveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand
persons ['adam] that cannot discern between their [mascu-
I
, F
170
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
line singular pronoun] right hand and their [masculine sin-
gular pronoun] left hand; and also much cattle?" (KJv). Try
and maintain formal equivalence in a passage like that!
One must also point out that in the Hebrew Bible, the names
of other progenitors of "tribes" can function the same way.
Moab is the father of the Moabites, Edom (Esau) of the
Edomites, and Israel of the Israelites. In each case the word
can refer to the individual, or it may be a conectlve. When It
carries a conective sense, it can control either singular or plural
pronouns.
5
. "., .
As for the importance of "nammg thmgs, m GenesIs 1-3
God "names" or "cans" other things besides 'adam: day, mght,
heavens/sky, earth/land, and so forth. By contrast, he aSSIgns
to Adam the responsibility to "name" or "can". an the crea-
tures God brings before him. Thus a dlstmctlOn IS drawn
between God's overarching sovereignty over the whole of cre-
ation, and the peculiar sphere of relative sovereignty that God
assigns to his image bearer.. . .
Space constraints forbId a detailed analysIs of _2,
where eventually the author of GenesIs moves from ha- adam
to 'fsh. Other factors could be introduced: IS this Issue tledto
Christology, that is, to "new Adam Christology"? my pomt
is that the matter is clearly complex. Dr. Grudem s case has
some merit; I do not think it is a black-and-white issue, how-
ever for it is more complex than he anows, and the balance
of in my view, comes out a different way.
Son of Man
Principle A.9 of the CSG asserts that phrase 'son of
man' should ordinarily be preserved to retam mtracanomcal
connections." At the same time, there has been strenuous
objection to the ninety or so instances of "mortal" mstead of
"son of man" in God's address to Ezekiel in the NRSV (the NIVI
retains "son of man"). But the biggest issue is that while "S?n
of Man" is one of the commonest messianic titles of Jesus, ItS
SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES
171
Old Testament roots are obscured if the title is preserved in
the New Testament (which is what an the gender-inclusive
translations do) while obliterating the expression in the Old
Testament by hiding it under "mortal" or "human being" or
something else.
I shan offer six brief reflections.
1. No one doubts that "son of man" (ben-'adam) means
"human being" in the Old Testament. In modern Hebrew, it
still does. Similarly, the plural bene 'adam means "human
beings." Moreover, chapter 5 (under "CS Principles A.3, A.4,
and AS') provides parallels in Job where the expression is
clearly paranel to one of the other Hebrew words for human
being. So in part we have stumbled again into the tension
between form and meaning.
2. The expression is unambiguously Semitic. The Greek
equivalent, ho huios tou anthropou, sounds almost as strange
in Greek as "the son of man" does in contemporary English.
That is one of the reasons why the expression is retained in
translations of the New Testament. The second reason, of
course, is that it is a christological title with a range of mean-
ings beyond mere "human being."
3. Not every Old Testament passage with ben-'adam in it
is messianic. See, for instance, the parallels in chapter 5
(under "CS Principles A.3, AA, and AS'). The NIV therefore
often rendered the Hebrew expression "sons of men" by
"men"6 or by "mankind."7 It fonows that principle A.9 is too
narrow.
4. The most obvious Old Testament antecedent to "son of
man" as a christological title for Jesus is Daniel 7:13-14:
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one
like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaveu. He
approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his pres-
ence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power: all
peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him.
(NIV, emphasis mine)
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THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
The NRSV has "one like a human being," with a footnote that
reads: "Aram[aicl one like a son of man. " The NIVI, by con-
trast, preserves "one like a son of man" in the text, and in its
footnote reads: "Or a human being."
In one sense, this is yet another instance of the tension
between meaning and form. The Hebrew or Aramaic expres-
sion "son of man" means human being: on that point there is
virtually no disagreement. But because the expression, ren-
dered formally into Greek and then into English, has become
in its application to Jesus Christ ahnost a technical term and
certainly an established title, in this case the form must be pre-
served, or something important is lost at the level of canoni-
cal coherence. So I prefer the NNI to the NRSV at this point.
When the NRSV first appeared, I criticized it on this point,
and was told by one of the Old Testament scholars on their
committee that "son of man" really means "human being" and
they were after meaning, and that in any case it would have
been wrong to ignore the sensibilities of the Jewish scholars
on the NRSV committee. Subsequently I responded in print,
saying that ironically I agreed with both points.' I never
doubted that "son of man" means "human being." Moreover,
translations should not needlessly offend the sensibilities of
readers, whether Jewish, African American, conservative
Christians, women, or whatever. Of course, sometimes those
two goals clash! But in any case my point was a technical one.
"From the translator's point of view, the question to be con-
sidered in this case is the instrument by which the translation
should preserve the linguistic form of an expression so that
the appropriate inner-biblical link can be spotted by someone
without access to the originallanguages."9 As for Jewish sen-
sibilities, one must frankly recognize that Jewish and Chris-
tian communities do not share exactly the same canon. Bibles
are attached to communities. Translations that cross commu-
nities usually make gains in terms of fairness and rigor,IO but
there may be losses as well. In this case, at least some Jewish
scholars interested in, say, "son of man" in the "Similitndes"
SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES
173
of I Enoch might also have an interest in preserving the lin-
guistic form of the expression in Daniel 7.
5. A further question is how many other Old Testament pas-
sages with "son of man" in them should preserve the form, on
the ground that they too provide something of the necessary
background to the title applied to Jesus. That is an extraordi-
narily difficult question to answer. Some would immediately
adduce Psalm 8, but there I remain unconvinced: see the next
section, below. The difficulty resides in the fact that even if
not one Old Testament passage is explicitly picked up in the
New Testament technical term "son of man," the constant use
of the expression in the Old Testament to refer to a human
being is precisely what lends some of the ambiguity to Jesus'
use of it. When Jesus applies "son of man" to himself, on many
occasions it means very little more than "I" (as a perusal of
the Synoptic parallels attests). In some contexts there are over-
tones of weakness and impending death; in others the refer-
ence is unambiguously to the apocalyptic "son of man" com-
ing on the clouds of heaven (Mark 14:62). But if the only "son
of man" that is preserved in the Old Testament in this form is
the apocalyptic figure of Daniel 7 , then the basis for the ambi-
guity on which Jesus' use relies is largely dissolved.
As cumbersome as it is, therefore, on the whole I favor a
retention of "son of man," at least in the majority of its Old Tes-
tament occurrences, and probably with a brief note to accom-
pany most of them. The exceptions might be (for instance) some
of the occurrences in the poetical wisdom literature.
At this point it is worth reflecting for a moment on the dif-
ferent approaches I have advocated for "son of man" and "sons
of Israel." In the former case a wider preservation of the (En-
glish translation of the) form, and not merely the meaning, is
defensible; in the latter, there is no particular merit in retain-
ing the form, so long as the meaning is preserved. Why the
difference? The reason, of course, is because the New Testa-
ment Greek translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic form of
"son of man" is preserved, and that form has come down to
I i !""
174
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
us in English, regardless of how "un-English" it is-and this
fonn has itself become reified in Christian Scripture to a chris-
tological title. So an additional theological and historical wrin-
kle has been added to the challenge of translating this partic-
ular expression.
Here the NNI has been more sensitive than the NRSV. In pur-
suit of gender-neutral English, the NRSV becomes monofocal
and sometimes forgets that other issues are at stake beyond
merely linguistic matters. One may question the NIVIjudgments
here and there (as I have), but by and large the CBT transla-
tors are more sensitive to these additional factors than their
counterparts behind the NRSV. If the critics of gender-neutral
versions have forced us to reflect on some of these matters
more carefully, then even if we disagree profoundly with their
approach to language and translation, we may be grateful to
God, and to them, for helping us to go about this business of
translation more prudently and with wider horizons.
6. Finally, we must probe the wisdom of rendering "son of
man" by "mortaL" The NRSV is especially lavish in its use of
this term as a replacement of "man" or "men" or "son of man":
for example, "0 mortal [literally, 'son of man'], stand up on
your feet, and I will speak with you" (Ezek. 2: 1); "Stand up;
I am only a mortal" (Acts 10:26); "The voice of a god, and
not of a mortal!" (Acts 12:22); "If I speak in the tongues of
mortals and of angels, but do not have love ... " (1 Cor. 13:1).
This usage is much less frequent in the NIVI, though it still
occurs: for example, "This is the voice of a god, not of a mere
mortal" (Acts 12:22).
Dr. Grudem objects,
This matters because the emphasis is different, for the word
mortal shifts the emphasis from one's humanity to one's mor-
tality (that is, one's liability to death). Peter [in Acts 10:26]
does not refuse worship because he is "mortal" or one who is
subject to death (in fact, he will live forever). He refuses wor-
ship because he is a creature made by God; he is not God, but
SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES
175
a man .... There is a perfectly good Greek adjective which
means "mortal, subject to death" (phthartos), but that is not
the word Peter uses."
I confess I rather dislike "mortal" in the vocative as God's
tenn of address to Ezekiel: I find it slightly stilted. Neverthe-
less, I quickly confess that that reaction may just be my ears:
someone else may not find it so. More important is the mat-
ter of semantics. My Webster's unabridged dictionary offers
eleven lIstmgs under "mortal" as an adjective and all of them
are tied, directly or indirectly, to what Dr. G r ~ d e m calls "lia-
bIlIty to death." Intriguingly, however, under the noun listing
of" rt 1" nT b' "
mo a, vve ster s says, man; a being subject to death'
a human being." Semantically, then, the noun seems to be i ~
the nght ballpark, if Webster's has it right. On that ground I
find It hard to object to using "mortal" as a noun in passages
like Acts 10:26 and 12:22, whether or not it would be my own
preferred rendering.
The Use of the Old Testament in the New
In chapter 1 (under "Some Historical Perspective"), I noted
that 2 Samuel 7: 14, with its singuJar "son" (referring in the first
mstance to Solomon), is quoted by the apostle Paul in
2 Connthians 6:18 With the plural "sons and daughters."
Already that warns us that in the case of Old Testament texts
Cited m the New, we shouJd be careful about insisting on an
exactitude of form that actually masks meaning or on a preci-
sIOn offonn m which the apostle himself has little interest. One
cannot fail to note, as well, that New Testament writers citing
the Old Testament frequently change person: for example,
Exodus 13:2 (second person) = Luke 2:23 (third person)
1 Samuel 13:14 (third person) = Acts 13:22 (first person)
Psalm 68: 18 (second person) = Ephesians 4:8 (third person)
Psalm 97:7 (second person) = Hebrews 1:6 (third person)
r 176
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Isaiah 28:11 (third person) = 1 Corinthians 14:21 (first
person)
These points make one hesitate before accepting CS princi-
ples A.1 and A.2. . .
But that is only one side of the matter. The other sIde IS that
it is possible to lose an inner-canonical link by inattention to
details. Here the issues are so complex I carmot agree wIth
formulas offered to resolve this challenge. I shan briefly com-
ment on four passages.
First consider 2 Samuel 7: 14, referred to above-not only
in its u ~ e in 2 Corinthians 6:18 (as above), but in the broader
stream of "son" language in the Old Testament. As early as
Exodus 4:22, Israel is caned God's "son." Here in 2 Samuel
7:14, the king in the Davidic line is God's "son," and his
appointment as king, his enthronement, is the moment when
he becomes God's son, the moment when he is "begotten"
(Psalm 2). Thus the king becomes the son par excellence
among the people who are also caned the "son" (see also
Hosea 11:1). But eventuany in the Old Testament there IS ns-
ing hope for a "son" in the Davidic line who will properly and
thoroughly mirror his "Father." That is precisely how the
prophecy of Isaiah 9 is cast: to us a child is born, to us a son
is given who will not only "reign on David's throne and over
his kingdom," but who will also be called "the Mighty God,
Everlasting Father" (9:6-7). . .
In other words, the "son" language at some pomt m the
stream of redemptive history becomes overtly typological.
Doubtless in God's mind it was always thus: in Exodus 4:22,
we must suppose, God knew where the "son". language would
ultimately wind up, and he begms by preparmg the w.ay WIth
a growing pattern of biblical texts that finany explode m preg-
nant contexts that armounce the coming of the "son" -meSSIah.
There is intentionality in all of this-not merely a pattern into
which Jesus conveniently fits but a divine intention to create
SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES 177
a growing pattern that Jesus actuany fulfills. It is important
not to skew or mask such typologies.
Second, we must ask if a passage such as Psalm 34:19-20
fits into this pattern: "A righteous man may have many trou-
bles, but the LORD delivers hinl from them all; he protects an
his bones, not one of them will be broken" (mv). The latter
part is cited in John 19:36 with reference to Jesus at the tinle
of his crucifixion: he was speared in the side rather than hav-
ing his legs broken, and this was to fulfin this text from Psalm
34. Does not then the plural of the NIVI obscure the connec-
tion? "The righteous may have many troubles, but the LORD
delivers them from them all; he protects all their bones, not
one of them will be broken."
The thrust of the psalm at this juncture concerns righteous
people in general (for example, Ps. 34: 15ff.): note the plurals
in 34: 15-18: "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and
his ears are attentive to their cry . ... The righteous cry out
[plural], and the Lord hears them." True, verses 19-20 revert
to the singular (a not uncommon phenomenon in the Psalms,
as we have seen). Yet in an fairness this is likely a collective
singular, for the psalm ends, "The LORD redeems his servants
[plural]; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in hinl."
In this instance, then, the ground upon which Jesus fulfills
Psalm 34: 19-20 is bound up with his being the archetypical
righteous person. It is unclear to me that either Psalm 34 or
John 19 demands that we hunt for some more teleological
linkageY
I do not understand why the plural "their bones" in Psalm
34:20 NIVI "makes the New Testament messianic use of the
Psalm problematic. "13 It would be so only if every fulfillment
quotation in the New Testament is related to the Old Testa-
ment source in one specific way, namely, as predictive utter-
ance with univocal referent that is fulfilled in an explicit and
exclusive event. Not for a moment do I deny that there are
prophecies like that. But there are also types (of various kinds),
examples, and an array of other kinds of connections. p
178
THE INCLUSIVEwLANGUAGE DEBATE
Third, things are quite different in Psalm 69. This psalm,
like Psahn 34, claims to be written by David. But much more
of this psalm is written in the first-person singular. Several pas-
sages from this psalm are implicitly or explicitly said to be ful-
filled in events in Jesus' life (ps. 69:8, compare John 7:5; Ps.
69:9, compareJohn2:17,Rom.15:3; Ps. 69:21, compare Matt.
27:48, Mark 15:36, Luke 23:36) or in the early church (Ps.
69:25, compare Matt. 23:38, Acts 1:20). In some of these
instances there is greater precision on very specific details.
I would want to argue that in these instances a tightly con-
trolled typology is operating. The implicit argument is some-
thing like this: Granted that David is the paradigmatic king,
the son of God, how much more shall what he suffered be ful-
filled in the ultimate king, great David's greater son? Indeed,
this line of thought ties in with the "suffering servant" motif
in the New Testament. I would not want to lose such connec-
tions. Mercifully, in this case because the psalm was written
in the first-person singular, which in English is not marked
for gender, the singular has been preserved in our English
translations (for example, both the NIV and NIVI), so there is
no problem. But the challenge of handling typology respon-
sibly is sometimes difficult. Great attention must be paid to
the multitude of factors that properly contribute to the best
translation.
Fourth, consider Psalm 8:4--6 and its use in Hebrews 2:6--8.
I shall first set out the texts in the NIV and NIVI:
Psalm 8:4-6
NIV: "what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of
man that you care for him? You made him a little lower
than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory
and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your
hands; you put everything under his feet."
NIVI: "what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?l4 You made them
SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES 179
a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned them
wIth glory and honour. You made them rulers over the
works of your hands; you put everything under their feet."
Hebrews 2:6-8
NI':: "But there is a place where someone has testified:
What IS man that you are mindful of him, the son of
man that you care for him? You made him a little lower
than the angels;. you crowned him with glory and honor
and put everythmg under his feet. ' In putting everything
under hIm, God left nothing that is not subject to him.
Ye;,at present we do not see everything subject to him."
But there IS a place where someone has testified:
What IS a human being that you are mindful of him
the son of man that you care for him? You made him
lIttle lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory
and honour and put everything under his feet.' J5 In
puttmg everything under him, God left nothing that is
not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see every-
thmg subject to him."
The NIVI more or less exchanges text and footnote in the
Hebrews 2:6-8 passage.
Dr. Piper asserts, "The muting of masculinity in Psalm 8 is
not preserved in Hebrews 2 when the Psalm is quoted, because
It Isevident that the writer of Hebrews sees messianic mean-
mgm the wording of the Psalm."J6 I shall make several obser-
vatIOns about these two passages and Dr. Piper's assertion'
. 1. These passages bring together several of the
Issues we have already dealt with: the meaning of" " d
" f " man an
. son 0 man, how to handle personal pronouns, the suitabil-
Ity of the rendering "mortals," and the various ways the New
Testament cites the Old.
2. When Dr. Piper says that the NIVI of Psalm 8 mutes mas-
culImty, once again he is conceding more than he may wish.
180
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
He is implying that "man" and "son of man" in his view do
carry at least overtones of masculinity. But that is preCIsely
why the CBT and others are pushing for gender-neutral trans-
lations: ifpeople think that "man" carries masculine overtones
even in a passage like Psalm 8, where the focus is on human
beings as such or conceivably the human race as such, then It
is time to abandon "man" in such contexts.
3. On the other hand, the CBT does not seem to have got
its act together very well. Here Dr. Piper has a point. One could
make a case for the NIVI text of Psalm 8 and the NIVI footnote
of Hebrews 2, or one could make a case for the NIVI footnote
of Psalm 8 and theNlvl text of Hebrews 2, but the actual com-
bination strikes the reader as rather strange. After making all
reasonable allowances for the difficulty of handling some Old
Testament texts that are cited in the New, one does not expect
translators to introduce unnecessary problems. Still, it is
encouraging to observe how the CBT scholars were prepared
to put aside their commitment to inclusive language when they
were convinced that certain technical categories (above all,
"son of man") were at stake.
4. Yet some of the criticisms that have been advanced
against inclusive-language renderings ofPsahn 8 in Hebrews
2 have been, in my view, a tad unfair. The commentanes are
divided on the point I am about to raise, but the majority of
the major commentaries adopt this stance, and I am persuaded
they are right-even though I could justify this view only by
a lengthy exegesis for which there is neither time nor space
here. Hebrews 2 (they argue) does not present Jesus as the
"son of man" in some technical, messianic sense. Rather, it
presents Jesus as a human being, a true human being. He did
not become an angel (2:5, 16-and no redeemer has arisen
for fallen angels). Jesus had to belong to the same "family"
as those he came to redeem (2:11); he had to become their
brother (2: 12). Since they have flesh and blood, that is, since
they are human, he too shared in their humanity (2: 14). ThIS
is the first necessary ingredient to his serving as a faithful
SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES
181
high priest for them (2: 17). The author of Hebrews has
already pointed out that along some axes human beings are
"higher" than angels, for angels are "ministering spirits sent
to serve those who will inherit salvation" (1:14). After all,
the world to come has been assigned not to angels, but to
human beings: God has put everything under their feet: that
is the point of the quotation from Psahn 8 (Heb. 2:5-8). The
trouble, of course, is that we do not yet see everything under
the feet of human beings. But what do we see? We see Jesus
(2:9). He became one with us humans, and thereby brings
many "sons" (NIV; "sons and daughters," NIVI-an entirely
reasonable rendering) to glory.
Thus if I understand the flow of Hebrews 2 aright, Psalm
8 is not a "messianic" psalm in the sense that, say, Psalm 110
is a messianic psalm. I still want the gender-related decisions
made in one of these two passages to prevail in the other as
well, but I am not convinced that those critics are right who
say that terrible damage has been done by inclusive-language
translations of this passage because they have somehow
squeezed Christ to the periphery.
I
I
I,
"
BUT Is THE ENGLISH
LANGUAGE CHANGING?
The Debate
The question that is the title of this chapter raises the issue
that lies behind so much of the rest of the debate. If spoken
and written English have not changed. or have changed very
little, then why this push to change translations that have
served so long and well? In that case, of course, since the push
must be coming from somewhere, and if (on this reading) it
is not coming from changes in the language, it must be com-
ing from feminists who are in charge of publishing houses that
are pushing inclusive-language conformity down our throats.
On the other hand, if the language is changing, then two
options are possible. We may update our translations to accom-
modate the changes so that our Bibles will not be linguisti-
cally out of date. Alternatively, we may ascribe whatever gen-
der changes that are developing in the language to feminist
influence and then heartily oppose them.
The latter course is being pursued by the critics of gender-
inclusive translations. At the risk of caricature (in which on
183
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I
184
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
this issue I really do not wish to indulge), their argument runs
something like this: (1) The English language is not changing,
or not changing much. (2) If it is changing, we should oppose
the changes because the feminists are behind the changes.
Several essays and short articles have been put forward
along these lines. The nub of the argument is nicely summa-
rized by Dr. Grudem.! He begins with about two and a half
pages of examples of generic "he" and related pronouns, all
drawn from recent newspapers (Chicago Tribune, USA
Today), magazines (Crain's New York Business, Reader's
Digest), TV news programs (Nightline), and the like, plus var-
ious authoritative sources on correct grammar. For example,
"every college professor doesn't need to put his main energy
into expanding the frontiers of knowledge" (U.S. News and
World Report, December 30, 1996, 45-47). Then a slightly
shorter section (a page and a half) treats the word "man" more
or less the same way. For example, "Clean air and ozone obey
no manmade boundaries" (Chicago Tribune, May 12, 1997,
p. 1 headline).
In all fairness, however, some see things differently. Thus
in a letter to the editor, Professor D. F. Wright, an evangeli-
cal historian at the University of Edinburgh, writes:
Few human tasks can be as important as translating the Bible
from its originallangnages into contemporary vernacular lan-
guages.
It is therefore remarkable, indeed almost shocking, that
sweeping guidelines on one of the most sensitive demands of
the translators' task should emerge from a single meeting at
Colorado Springs .... This surely must be said, regardless of
the details of the agreed guidelines. In the event, one should
not be surprised to find them seriously inadequate.
I have not seen the inclusive-langnage version NIV, and
hold no brief for it. But I am dismayed that the over-reaction
to it in Colorado Springs evinced so little sensitivity to the
cultural and social changes that have brought about signifi-
cant linguistic shifts in common English. It simply will not
BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING? 185
do to target "secular feminism" alone. To ignore these shifts,
Canute-like, will reinforce the tendency of some evangelical
communities to dwell in cultural ghettos. For many others, it
wIll shorten the shelf-life of the NN. Numerous Bible-believ-
ing evangelicals now find the traditional use of "man" and
"men" in contexts where male(s) are not indicated variously
gratmg, embarrassing and inconsiderate, both to my fellow-
Christians and to those outsiders who thereby have a non-
gospel stumbling block placed in their path towards faith
2
So which side has the truth of the matter?
Some Reflections
History of the Issue
The issue is not entirely new. One of the best summaries of
earlier discussion is found in the work of Baron.' In 1770
Robert Baker recommended the construction "one ... one's"
rather than "one ... his" if not balanced by "one ... hers."
This has been picked up repeatedly: for example, "Every man
and woman is the architect of one's own fortune" (Wolstan
Dixey, 1884). A century later, Lillian E. Carlton (1979) rec-
ommends "As anybody can see for one's self."
In the same way, singular "they" has a long history, stretch-
ing back to the sixteenth century, and including such presti-
gious writers as Addison, Austen, Fielding, Chesterfield,
Ruskin, and Scott. Indeed, some authorities argue that this
option was more common before 1850 or so, when gram-
marians became a little more purist on the matter of formal
agreement and therefore insisted on generic "he." There is
also a strong tradition that uses the plural pronoun in the sin-
gular: not only the first-person plural "we" for "I" (which can
be traced back to Old English), but at some point during the
fourteenth century "you," originally restricted to the plural,
supplanted the second-person singular "thou" in some circles,
even though it took quite a while to win the entire populace.
186
THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
Baron notes that some grammarians "approve of the singu-
lar they."4 These include Alexander Bain, A Higher English
Grammar (1879); Henry Sweet, A New English Grammar
(1891,1931); Otto Jespersen, A Modern English Grammar on
Historical Principles (1922, citing many examples); George
Crume, A Grammar of the English Language (1931); and Ran-
dolph Quirk, A Grammar of Contemporary English (1972).
On the other hand, resistance to singular "they" appears in the
eighteenth century and gains strength into the nineteenth. By
the early twentieth century, H. W. Fowler (1926) admits that
singular "they" is popular in British usage, but he insists that
the construction "anybody can see for themselves," although
popular, "sets the literary man's teeth on edge." Edward D.
Johnson (1982) takes much the same line.
The problem of the gender-marked English personal pro-
noun has thus been discussed for a long time. Some who
defend generic "he" and related pronouns have nevertheless
conceded that this solution is not ideal: so, for instance, H. W.
Fowler and F. G. Fowler in The King's English (1906). But at
the popular level "they" has held its own for centuries, and it
is now in resurgence. Some authorities now support it: for
example, the lexicographer Alma Graham (1973). Certainly
the various attempts to create an alternative pronoun-more
than eighty attempts, including such blendings as thon, he' er,
shem-have all sunk without a trace. Nevertheless, some
anomalies not only persist but are universally acknowledged.
"Everyone liked the dinner but he did not care for the dessert"
is, as Baron acknowledges, "impossible English; only the
plural personal pronouns will do in such a case."5
What are we to make of this? Critics of gender-inclusive
language might well conclude that on the long haul, it looks
as if we are stuck with "he," so we might as well make the
most of it. My point is simpler. Although I would not want to
minimize the influence of various feminist lobbies on English
usage, the underlying pressures for change have been there
for centuries.
6
We should therefore be exceedingly careful
BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING?
187
about monocausational analyses of the changes taking place,
with simple wrong-versus-right prescriptions.
Causes of Language Change
For reasons still to be advanced, I am persuaded that in the
Western English-speaking countries we are undergoing
changes in the area of grammatical gender that are deep, fairly
widespread, and probably not reversible. What has brought
them about? Here I shall mention two factors, apart from the
tensions in the language already present and straining for
relief. Doubtless there are others.
First, there is no downplaying the importance of feminist
influence. Nevertheless, I would argue:
a. Regardless of the source of the pressure for linguistic
change, it is important to recognize that alternative
grammatical gender systems are not intrinsically evil.
That was one of the purposes of including chapter 4.
The substance of Scripture can be conveyed in any lan-
guage, and that is being done all the time, even in lan-
guages with gender systems far, far removed from those
with which we are familiar in the Indo-European fam-
ily. Of course, no translation is perfect: "translation is
treason." But granted the sheer diversity of gender sys-
tems in languages around the world, and that many of
these systems change slowly with time, it betrays a seri-
ous ignorance of language structures, including gender
systems, and of the nature of translation, when a shift
in the system of a receptor language is tagged with evil
epithets, or the resulting translations are judged mis-
translations. I have tried to show that what the original
sources actually say can always be got across in the
receptor language, even if not the same way, and even
if some explanatory note is required, and even if in par-
ticular constructions one may sometimes provide a for-
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188 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
mal equivalent to one element in a construction but not
to another, and so forth,
b. Regardless of the source of the pressure for linguistic
change, the changes (I shall argue) are here. If that is
the case, this is the language that, increasingly, we have
to work with, even if we may not approve all the rea-
sons that have brought these changes about (even as
some did not appreciate the reasons for dropping "thou"
and "thy"). In short, whatever the reasons for the
changes in the English language now taking place, the
translator's job is always the same: translate the Word
of God into the current language.
c. In wishing to preserve what we understand God to be
saying about the relationships between men and women
in the horne and church, we who are complementarians
will often prove more convincing if we frankly acknowl-
edge the degree to which ungodly sexism has hurt
women. Every pastor has had to deal with battered
wives. Surely no Christian with a concern for justice
wishes to support unequal pay for equal work performed
by people with equal experience and competence. In
short, I worry about "putting a fence around Torah."
Eventually Torah itself is no longer heard. I worry about
the swing of the pendulum. Because in my view egali-
tarians and other feminists interpret certain Scriptures
poorly and succumb to current pressures, this does not
justify a cultural swing to the "right" that fails to deal
firmly with genuine injustice. So also with respect to
the changes taking place in the English language. I see
little reason to fight a modification in the gender system
of the English language, since as far as I can see I can
convey the truth of Scripture regardless of gender sys-
tem (even if in different ways); I can see many reasons
for helping the oppressed on the one hand and for insist-
ing on biblical structures and role relationships on the
BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING? 189
other. Those things are mandated regardless of whether
I am working in Hebrew, English, Qafar, or Kikuyu.
Second, we cannot deny, I think, that some of the pressure
for change springs from a profound abandonment of the
Bible's worldview, the Bible's culture, the Bible's story line,
as that has been mediated to us by various English Bibles.? I
mourn the loss. But on the long haul, we cannot change this
trend by merely defensive postures that legislate against
things. Sooner or later, we will fall under judgment, or by the
grace of God we will reverse trends by the powerful procla-
mation of the life-transforming, culture-changing gospel.
Generic "He"
As for the evidence adduced that English still uses "he" and
related pronouns in a generic sense, I must say two things.
First, the third-person singular pronoun is by far the most
difficult thing to handle for those who wish to write gender-
inclusive English. It is therefore unsurprising that there are still
many, many examples around of the unreconstructed generic
"he." No one is arguing that the change has been universal.
Second, to quote examples like this, all on one side, does
not fairly assess how far the changes have gone. What other
authorities are there? More important, how many of these
same sources alternate between gender-neutral language and
more traditional language? For many publications the changes
are not fixed. Further, some use "he" generically and then a
few pages on use "she" generically. Above all, what is the bal-
ance of gender-neutral usage in current English as compared
with, say, thirty years ago? I know of no study that has tried
to probe this carefully, but I would be surprised if such a study
did not reveal a very substantial shift indeed.
Since starting to write this manuscript three or four weeks
ago, I have read several books on the side. It dawned on me
to start checking. Without exception, examples of gender-
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190 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
neutral language were not hard to find. I found consistent care
taken in this respect by Carl Sagan in his last book. Billions
and Billions.' Ah, you say, what do you expect? Carl Sagan
could not be accused of having conservative sympathies. But
I also read Terry Eagleton, The Illusions of P ostmodernism.'
He is not, of course, a Christian writer. He is a well-informed
socialist. Nevertheless, this book is "reactionary" against the
powerful trends toward postmodern thought in our culture.
After using "he" in a generic sense on several occasions,
Eagleton is capable of writing a sentence such as this: "First
of all, socialism, which like widespread virtue is only feasi-
ble if you are reasonably well-heeled as a society, would con-
siderably augment the primary goods available to each indi-
vidual for her pursuit of happiness, by seeking to eliminate
want."lO Still, you say, that is not distinctively Christian writ-
ing. Too true. But I also read the award-winning book by Cor-
nelius Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Bre-
viary of Sin.1I There I found a book without a trace of the more
traditional gender system. Even when "he" is used generically
(as it sometimes is), one finds counterbalancing clauses such
as "this child may take her vengeance thirty years later."!2
Then to top it off, on the way home I turned on the radio in
the car and learned from CBS news that Voyager I is now
"humankind's farthest object in space."13 Eventually I arrived
home, and after supper reached for the latest Time magazine.
Within a minute my eyes fell on the sentence, "If the con-
spirators get their way, will the next President have to sign an
affidavit about whom he or she has ever slept with?"!4
In short, anyone can make up her own list. But the changes
are farther advanced in the English language than the critics
think, even if not as far advanced as some feminists think.
When a language is right in the middle of a major transition,
that is when the most virulent disputes will break out as to how
to proceed in a translation. Older readers of this little book will
remember how heated some discussions were fifty years ago,
in some conservative circles, over "thee" and "thou."
BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING? 191
Varieties of English
We have to face the fact that even within America or Great
Britain there are, at certain levels of analysis, many "Englishes."
This is more than a matter of pronunciation. It includes idiom,
vocabulary, and the degree to which a region is on the "front
edge" of change or on the "back edge" of change. That affects
all of us, myself included. I am influenced by the fact that I have
spent a fair bit of time during the past decade taking my turn in
university missions and the like. I do not want the old NIV when
I am expounding the earlier chapters of, say, Romans in an evan-
gelistic settiug in a university. Nothing is gained by it, and too
much is lost. I'd much rather use the NIVI. But doubtless I think
this way, at least in part, because university missions form part
of my constituency. Yet I acknowledge that concerns about gen-
der-neutrallanguage are more common in universities than in
blue-collar factories, more common in the New England states
and in the Pacific Northwest than in the Bible belt, and so forth.
And likewise, the critics of the NIVI have their subcultures and
constituencies as well.
When we extend these parameters to wherever English is
spoken worldwide, the analysis of trends is even more diffi-
cult, for English is the second or third language, or the lan-
guage of education, of huge swaths of the world's population.
I think I have a pretty good feel for what is happening to the
English language in half a dozen countries, but I have very
little idea about what is happening to it in, say, Nigeria.
We thus return by another route to a discussion I began ear-
lier in the book. Whether we like it or not, now that the KJV
no longer dominates the Protestant world, various English
translations have constituencies. The desire of the CBT and
the copyright holder to keep the NIV up-to-date by incremen-
tal changes was a good one for all kinds of reasons. The nature
of incremental changes entails the policy that only the latest
edition is kept in print. But the vast share of the evangelical
market occupied by the NIV doubtless ensures that anything
192 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
more than incidental changes would eventually stir up at least
some negative reaction, and in this case something still more
furious. Whether changes to the NlV are possible in the future
I cannot say. But if not, sooner or later it will fade in its pop-
uIarity, displaced by some other version. It may be that some-
thing like the NIVI will be produced under its own name in due
course and find its own constituency. I wish Bibles did not
have constituencies; I wish there were one English Bible used
everywhere. But that day is past. The fact is that this wishful
thinking cannot be imposed. Moreover, with the extraordi-
nary variations now operative in worldwide English, perhaps
constituency Bibles, even if inevitable, are in part a good thing.
For exactly these reasons, arguments about what "sounds"
right turn out to be remarkably SUbjective. Ten years ago many
of the instances of "humankind" or "human beings" or generic
"her" I found in contemporary literature struck me as strange.
Now I rarely notice them; I have to look for them to spot such
occurrences. If all of them strike you as strange, that says as
much about what you have been reading (or not reading) as
anything. Of course, this does not mean that no expression
should ever be condemned as cumbersome or inept. It does
mean that this weapon of labeling should be used with some
restraint, for linguistic fads sometimes change public per-
ception on such points remarkably quickly.
Inclusive language has not swept everything in front of it away.
As I am not a prophet, I cannot predict what the next step will
be. A deep reactionary movement is not impossible. Yet so
far as I can see, the move toward inclusive language in the
English-speaking world has not yet come close to cresting.
Doubtless all kinds of inconsistencies and traditional forrns
of expression will remain, perhaps for a long time, perhaps
indefinitely. But as far as I can read the situation, the times
they are a-changing-and the English language with them.
10
PASTORAL
CONSIDERATIONS
How TO AVOID BIBLE RAGE
Suffer a word of admonition-a half dozen of them, in fact.
1. Let us aim to raise standards of journalistic integrity. By
"us," I mean Christians. World bills itself as a weekly news
magazine like Time, except that readers can believe what it
prints. Do you want readers to believe you simply because
you adopt "conservative" positions on most issues? In that
case, you will convince the convinced. But if you wish to con-
vince others who are not (yet) in your camp, your journalis-
tic standards must be beyond reproach.
On all kinds of issues I badly want the voice of World to be
heard. But frankly, I have many friends to whom I would never
recommend World, precisely because, as in the case of the
original article by Susan Olasky, the tenor is grating, the
research shoddy, the argument a long way from being even-
handed, and the focus obscure. In an essay allegedly on Bible
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THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE
translations, complete with an attention-grabbing cover that
impugned the motives of all those with whom World disagrees
on tltis issue, the article displayed no grasp at all of the most
basic elements of linguistics and translation. Ms. Olasky
referred to precisely three Bible texts and then devoted far
more space to Willow Creek and women's ordination than to
Bible translations (thereby linking the two topics irrefragably,
when in the minds of many, many people, including comple-
mentarians, the two issues, though related, are separable). Yet
the article managed to get a good man fired from his seminary
and incite enough hate that destroyed Bibles were mailed to
IBS headquarters.
Some of World's later treatments of the matter, though I
disagreed with them, included more substance and at least a
show of evenhandedness, and I am grateful. But instead of
insisting that they did nothing wrong, it would be a great help
in this fray if the publisher and Susan Olasky published an
apology for that first piece-unless, of course, they believe
that the end justifies the means.
Let me address World directly. I'm not asking you to change
your editorial opinion. Just swallow some humble pie on this
one and resolve to be more careful and much kinder on the
next issue, without sacrificing journalistic punch. Apply the
Golden Rule to the way you treat your opponents: would you
not want them to treat you fairly, even when they disagree
with you? Your credibility will go up, and I for one will be
able to start recommending you to friends.
2. On complex issues, let us slow down. I know that some
issues demand urgent action, or it will be too late. But inclu-
sive-language Bible translations have been around for about
a decade. Suddenly everything has to be resolved in a matter
of weeks. Enduring and binding guidelines are hammered out
in a hotel room overnight. We bang the drum to get a lot of
people to sign these guidelines. But these principles are pro-
foundly flawed, even when they are saying some important
things. The guidelines of the CBT, worked out by many com-
PASTORAL CONSIDERATIONS
195
petent people over a long period of time, also have some flaws.
Not for a moment am I suggesting I have all the answers. But
I do tltink I have demonstrated that these matters are complex,
and on the long haul we will do less damage to our credibil-
ity and prove more helpful to the church of Jesus Christ if we
discern when issues are sufficiently complex that it is the part
of wisdom to go slowly and softly and to consult with others
with demonstrable expertise in the area.
3. Let us avoid impugning the motives of the other side. Of
course, there are people of integrity on both sides of tltis issue,
and I am grateful. But I found articles that lambasted Zon-
dervan for its money-grubbing greed. The only reason Zon-
dervan wants to put out an inclusive-language translation is
so that they can make a lot of money, they said; irnagine-
controlling and domesticating translation policy of God's most
holy Word so as to make money.
Of course, tltis line of argument plays well with certain kinds
of troops. But quite apart from its meanness, we might reflect
that (a) ifZondervan is going to make a lot of money by inclu-
sive-language translations, then the English language has
changed a lot more than the critics admit that it has; (b) the
way that some of the critics forced Zondervan to back off its
publishing plans was by denominational threats, in effect, to
withhold money; and (c) conservative organs, including World,
doubtless enjoyed a boost in circulation out of tltis as well.
4. Let us try to avoid entrenched positions that demonize
the other side. I have recently read again all the World articles
on this subject, and the scholars who make up the CBT, as
these articles present them, are pretty horrible people. I do not
personally know all the members of the CBT, but I know quite
a few of them. Some of them are among the godliest, most
competent, experienced, mature Christian thinkers and schol-
ars I know-and not a few of them are complementarians to
boot. Each side needs to try harder to avoid demonizing the
other side. I know the convictions on the issues are deeply
held. But on the long haul, are we more interested in winning
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196
THE DEBATE
brothers and sisters to tbe trutb as we understand it or in scor-
ing points witb our own constituencies?
We all fall into tbese traps, of course, But one of the things
I liked about tbe late Francis Schaeffer is that even when he
was uttering strong dennnciations, he usually managed to do
it witb compassion. John Newton says it best:
Zeal is that pure and heavenly flame
The fire oflove supplies;
While that which often bears the name
Is self in a disguise.
True zeal is merciful and mild,
Can pity and forbear;
The false is headstrong, fierce and wild,
And breathes revenge and war.
While zeal for truth the Christian warms,
He knows the worth of peace;
But self contends for names and forms,
Its party to increase.
5. Let us try to avoid manipulative language. If I include
samples here, I shall lose friends on botb sides of this issue,
and in any case I have no desire to be unkind. In the heat of
debate, we all slip sometimes. But arguments that tie your
opinion to Christian orthodoxy in such a way that believers
who are no less orthodox but who read the evidence another
way have tbe effect of marginalizing and manipulating peo-
ple who, in your best moments, you yourself would happily
acknowledge to be orthodox. Avoid arguments like that. And
note tbe irony: tbe most manipulative arguments in some of
tbese kinds of debate are tbe "spiritual" ones.
6. Let us be careful what we sign on to. At a guess, quite a
few of those who signed the CSG did so because they felt
strongly about issues surrounding complementarianism and
PASTORAL CONSIDERATIONS
197
egalitarianism, not because tbey claimed to know much about
linguistic tbeory and translation theory. But tbat is anotber
way of warning one anotber that especially when we hold
strong theological convictions in some area, we need to be
careful about transferring those convictions to adjacent or
related areas where closer inspection may inform us that tbe
ties are not as close as first appeared to be the case.
I have heard more tban a few critics insist tbat there must
be at least some measure of conspiracy going on, since some
of the CBT members are egalitarians, and the preface to the
NIVI does say some pretty sloppy things. That may be; I can-
not tell. But equally, it is difficult for defenders of inclusive
language not to conclude that at least some of their critics are
far more motivated by a certain social agenda regarding men
and women, which the critics believe to be biblical, than by
an evenhanded and competent desire to get translations right.
That may be; I cannot tell. But we ought to strive with extra
diligence to be evenhanded precisely in tbose areas where we
feel most strongly about matters.
NOTES
Preface
1. "Egalitarians" believe that the Bible teaches that men and women
are so equal that no distinctions in role should be maintained-whether in
home or church or elsewhere-that are grounded in their respective gen-
ders. "Complementarians" hold that the Bible teaches equality of impor-
tance and significance (for both are made in the image of God), but that
distinctions are made that assign complementary roles in home and church.
Chapter I: The Making of a Crisis: Bible Translation and Bible Rage
1. Bruce Manning Metzger, Reminiscences of an Octogenarian
(Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1997),79. Of course, this judgment is spe-
cific to the West: even during the past few years, a handful of Bible trans-
lators working in so-caned third-world countries have paid with their lives
for the privilege of translating the Word of God.
2. See the report in Christianity Today 41.8 (July 14,1997),62.
3. These figures can easily be verified with the appropriate Bible soft-
ware, but it was John KohIenberger III who brought them to my attention.
See John R. KohIenberger III, "Understanding the Current Controversy
over Bible Translations" (paper presented at the international convention
of the Christian Booksellers Association, Atlanta, Ga., July 14, 1997). A
slightly edited version of this paper is available online at http://www

4. Or owing simply to the perception of shifts in English usage: the
result is the same. As I have said, I shall return to the question of how much
English actually is changing in chapter 9. I cannot keep alluding to that
chapter, and it would become tedious to qualify every mention of shifts in
the language by adding an additional "or perception of shifts" or the like.
I shall make occasional reference to this debate before chapter 9, but I beg
the reader's indulgence on this point for the time being.
199

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NOTES TO PAGES 22-35
5. I have provided concrete figures comparing the sales of these two
Bibles and several others in "New Bible Translations: An Assessment and
Prospect," in The Bible in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Howard Clark Kee
(Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1993), 61-63.
6. From the preface to the CEV, titled "Welcome to the Contemporary
English Version" (emphasis original).
7. From the preface to the NRSV, titled "To the Reader."
8. With two others, I reviewed the NRSV when it was first presented to
the Society of Biblical Literature. The review was subsequently published
as "A Review of the New Revised Standard Version," Reformed Theo-
logical Review 50 (1991): I-II.
9. I set these out in chapter 2.
10. To make this point clearer, one might introduce traditional Tonga
culture. There the practice of kissing is inappropriate between adults of
either sex. It is a suitable sign of affection only between a mother and her
baby. The mention of the "mouth" in the context of "kissing" is vulgar.
Thus a passage such as "0 that you would kiss me with the kisses of your
mouth! For yonr love is better than wine ... " (Song of So!. 1:2 RSV) would
be understood by the average Tonga reader to be an utterance by a notori-
ous prostitute. See ErnstR. Wendland, The Cultural Factor in Bible Trans-
lation, UBS Monograph Series 2 (London: United Bible Societies, 1987),
1-2.
II. World 12.2 (March 29,1997),12-15.
12. Ibid., 12.
13. Ibid.
14. World 12.5 (April 19, 1997), 16.
15. For example, "Think about it. NIV translators knuckle under to a
British partner whose concern is neither accuracy nor truth, but money!
And this comes out of England, which since Spurgeon's death has basked
in its liberalism and has become so deficient in its evangelistic efforts as
to lose its own nation .... What will be next at Willow Creek--openness
to same-sex maniages, even more openness to the killing of preborns in
the wombs of their mothers?" (National Liberty lournal 26.5 [May 1997],
22).
16. Dr. Barker and Dr. Youngblood went to Colorado Springs not as
duly appointed representatives of the CBT, but only as informed indi-
viduals.
17. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1991.
18. The May 31/June 7 edition of World reported the earlier develop-
ments and offered a brief critique of one element of the translation princi-
pIes of the Committee on Bible Translation, but was apparently unable to
include the events of May 27 in its pages.
19. I should acknowledge that I was one of those who resigned. Per-
haps I should add that> also disagree with some of the principles adopted
by the CBT.
NOTES TO PAGES 36-55
201
20. World (12.22 [October 18, 1997], 19) promptly branded this group
the opposition. But anyone who has talked at length with representatives
from these groups knows that technical questions about translation prin-
ciples dealing with gender language are emerging from complementarians
among them no less than from egalitarians.
21. In deference to their convictions, I use this tenn in its generic sense;
there are three women in this list of names: Vonette Bright, Mary Kassian,
and Dorothy Patterson.
22. Christianity Today 41.12 (October 27,1997),14-15.
Chapter 2: Conflicting Principles: The CBT and CSG on Inclusive
Language
1. CBMW News 2.4 (September 1997), 9.
2. Adopted August 1992.
3. The copy of the CBT policy I was sent includes at this point a par-
enthetical "Note," in small print, as follows: "This 'principle' articulates
a basic principle of translation actually followed by CBT in its work on
the NIV but not stated in the original 'Translators' Manual' adopted in 1968
(enclosed). It had in view the use of euphemisms in translation such as
'one male' in place of the Hebrew expression 'one who urinates against a
wall' (forexamp1e, I Sam. 25:22) or 'genitals' for Hebrew 'flesh,' aHebrew
euphemism for penis (for example, Ezek. 23:20)."
4. I am providing the, latest form available to me, but I will indicate in
the notes the changes from the initially agreed on draft.
5. The original added "or human beings in general" after "the human
race." The additional words were deleted "because the phrase was con-
fusing and widely misunderstood. Many people thought we meant that
women should always be called 'men,' which we surely did not intend!"
(CBMW News 2.4 [September 1997], 9).
6. All the words from "however" to the end have been added in this
revision, owing to some further research in Greek lexica and literature.
7. The words from "and that some" to the end are added in this revi-
sion. The CBMW explanation (CBMW News 2.4 [September 1997], 9)
says that the endorsers "recognize that there may yet be new information
or more precise ways of formulating certain things, but they would only
be refinements, not fundamental changes."
Chapter 3: Translation and Treason: An Inevitable and Impossible
Task
1. The "or all" hints at a major dispute among Greek specialists wrestling
with a branch of linguistics called aspect theory, as it is applied to Hel-
lenistic Greek.
2. This example is also developed by John R. Kohlenberger III, "Under-
standing the Current Controversy over Bible Translations" (paper presented
at the international convention of the Christian Booksellers Association,
; I
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202 NOTES TO PAGES 55-64
Atlanta, Ga" July 14, 1997); available online at http://www.worldstar
.coml-jrk3/ inclusive.htm.
3. John Beekman and John Callow, Translating the Word o/God (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 1974),29.
4. Mark Twain: Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, and Essays,
1852-1890, ed. Louis J. Budd (New York: Library of America, 1992),588.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid., 589.
7. Ibid., 590.
8. Ibid., 598.
9. See Jan de Waard and Eugene A. Nida, From One Language to
Another: Functional Equivalence in Bible Translating (Nashville: Thomas
Nelson, 1986), 42: "There is always some loss in the communication
process, for sources and receptors never have identical linguistic and cul-
tural backgrounds .... The translator's task, however, is to keep such loss
at a minimum."
10. By "absolute" I mean that these two words alone constitute the
clause under discussion. There are many other instances when ego eimi is
part of a larger expression that includes a complement, for example, "[ am
the bread of life" (John 6:35), or an adverb, for example, "where I am"
(Jo1m 7:34---and here the two critical Greek words are in reverse order).
11. Strictly speaking, the NASB offers "I am He," because of its capi-
talization policy, the italics also indicating, as its footnote states, that the
text is literally "I am."
12. Compare John 4:26. The Samaritan woman has been talkmg about
the Messiah, and Jesus claims, "Ego eimi ho lalOn soi. JJ Formally, this could
be rendered, "I am the one speaking to you," with "the one speaking to you"
providing the complement. But that is so unbearably trite that almost every-
one takes it to mean (still rendered pretty formally), "I am, the one speaking
to is, "the one speaking to you" is now in apposition to "I." But
that means, in this context, that the "I am" part most naturally reads as "I am
(the Christ)." In other words, the complement is established by the context.
Thus after the Samaritan woman's mention of the Christ, the NIV renders, "I
who speak to you am he [that is, the Christl."
13. See Barry J. Beitzel, "Exodus 3:14 and the Divine Name: A Case
of Biblical Paronomasia," Trinity Journal I (1980): 5-20, which, despite
the title, examines many examples, not just one.
14. Quoted by F. F. Bruce, History a/the Bible in English: From the
Earliest Versions, 3d ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978),
19-20; cited also in Kohlenberger, "Understanding" (under the heading
'''Word-far-Word' vs. 'Phrase-for-Phrase"').
IS. Robert Martin, Accuracy a/Translation (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth
Trust, 1989), 29-31 and throughout.
16. See especially Ernst-August Gutt, Translation andRelevance: Cog-
nition and Context (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991).
NOTES TO PAGES 67-72
203
17. It is possible to abuse what is in fact an elementary principle by
imagining a narrow group of readers with a special focus. For example,
the way Paul's language about homosexuality functions in Romans 1 among
heterosexual Christian readers, who presumably approve of what he is say-
ing, cannot be preserved, say, among contemporary English-speaking
homosexual pagans. True enough, but this has nothing to do with transla-
tion: the same could be said for first-century Greek-speaking homosexual
pagans. No translator who wrestles with the performative aspects of lan-
guage or with speech act theory wants to Mench such matters to the fore
and sacrifice other semantic components (that is, components of meaning).
It is simply a matter of drawing attention to aspects of language that are
often overlooked.
18. For example, Eugene A. Nida and Charles R. Taber, The Theory
and Practice of Translation, Helps for Translators 8 (Leiden: E. J. Brill,
1974),4: "Anything that can be said in one language can be said in another,
unless the fOTID is an essential part of the message."
19. As it develops, the NET Bible will become available in print, but it
can also be viewed online at http://www.bible.org/netbib1e/index.htm.
Obviously "NET" is a pun: it is an abbreviation of New English Transla-
tion, yet from the beginning the plan has been to make it available on the
(Inter)net. I am grateful to Dr. W. Hall Harris III for showing me some of
the page proofs.
20. The closest thing would be the kinds of interlinears where, say,
Hebrew lines are interleaved with English renderings that try to convey the
semantic contribution not only of each word but of each morpheme. The
result is not a translation at all, of course, but a crib for Hebrew students.
21. The turning point was the book by de Waard and Nida, From One
Language to Another. Another weakness in the initial definition of
"dynamic equivalence" was that by focusing on the ability of the reader to
comprehend and respond, it ignored what are in fact very considerable dif-
ficulties:in some biblical texts. Recall the shrewd remark by Bishop Stephen
Neill, "Translating the Word of God," Churchman 90 (1976): 287: "I
remember once exploding angrily in the Tamil Bible translation commit-
tee, when we had so smoothed out the complex passage Galatians 2: 1-10
as to conceal completely the tensions and confusions which underlie the
apostle's twisted grammar. This we had no right to do."
22. The bibliography is now very substantial. The latest contribution
by Ernst-August Gutt is "Implicit Information in Literary Translation: A
Relevance-Theoretic Perspective," Target 8.2 (1996): 239-56.
23. 1 have tried to wrestle at some length with the theoretical issues in
The Gagging a/God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996).
24. As an aside, 1 should mention contemporary efforts to get around
this blanket statement by computer translations. The translation programs
are becoming remarkably sophisticated. The best of them now produce
more or less readable results when they are translating material that is fac-
tual, scientific, technical, full of standard technical expressions, stereo-
I,
I
i'
I>
I
l
204 NOTES TO PAGES 74-90
typed-such as scientific papers. They are far less effective when it comes
to well-crafted novels, special genres, creative writing, poetry, symbol-
laden works, and so forth. As computers become more powerful they will
be able to check results not only against the priorities of the translation
program itself, but against larger and larger databases that provide appro-
priate and inappropriate matches. But (1) it is difficult to see how such pro-
grams will ever overcome all the problems when the text is not cast in stan-
dard, scientific terminology; (2) more important, the ways in which
computers solve these problems are not open to human translators any-
way: our minds cannot perform the massive sorts for matches essential to
the procedures of computers.
25. A hybrid option is just barely possible. IBS and Zondervan could
make incremental changes in the current NIV as long as such changes did
not touch anything related to gender-inclusive language. That would be a
kind of self-restricted option c. Realistically, that option, even if pursued
for a while, cannot endure for more than an edition or two.
26. It must be admitted that some authors use "meaning" and "sense"
in slightly different ways. The niceties need not detain us here. Compare
Moises Silva, Biblical Words and Their Meaning, rev. and expanded ed.
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 101-18; and Arthur Gibson, Biblical
Semantic Logic: A Preliminary Analysis (New York: St. Martin's Press,
1981),47-59.
27. "Moses" sounds like a Hebrew word meaning "to draw out," "Abra-
ham" like a Hebrew phrase meaning "father of a multitude."
Chapter 4: Gender and Sex around the World: A Translator's Night-
mare
I. In this section I lean heavily on Greville G. Corbett, Gender (Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), a standard text; and to some
extent on Dennis E. Baron, Grammar and Gender (New Haven: Yale Uni-
versity Press, 1986)-in addition, of course, to notes sent by Dr. Nonnan
Fraser, to which I have already referred.
2. I keep saying "nonnally" and "generally" because many complex
exceptions exist, usually with well-understood structures. For example,
the Greek neuter plural subject may take a singular verb, but the Greek
masculine or feminine plural subject must take a plural verb.
3. Gennan nouns are always capitalized.
4. See Norman M. Fraser and Greville G. Corbett, "Gender, Animacy,
and Declensional Class Assignment in Russian," in Yearbook of Mor-
phology 1994, ed. Geert Booij and Jaap van MarIe (Dordrecht: Kluwer,
1995), 123-50.
5. On this last point, see Corbett, Gender, 315.
6. More than eighty different forms have been proposed by those
attempting to create such a pronoun in English.
7. That is, elements in a coordinate structure.
8. Briefly, see Corbett, Gender, 310-18.
I
J
NOTES TO PAGES 90-104
205
9. What makes Chinese difficult for Westerners is not its syntax but
(I) phonologically, its use of pitch; and (2) orthographically, its thousands
of characters.
10. The two that follow I draw from Corbett (Gender, 321), though in
fact they appear elsewhere as well.
11. Behind these observations is an array of far more complex issues
that I cannot take the space to deal with here. This side of the Enlighten-
ment, many linguists and cognitive scientists have thought of reason as
disembodied, abstract, atomistic, extrinsic to any particular cultural expres-
sion. Under the impact of postmodern epistemology, another view is grad-
ually establishing itself among linguists: thought is necessarily embodied
in this or that language system, it is thus concrete, may be imaginative, and
is inevitably tied to specific language structures (which are themselves, of
course, part of particular cultural expression). See, for example, George
Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal
about the Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987). In my view,
the postmodern critique of virtually autonomous post-Enlightenment
human reason is largely correct (though elsewhere I have criticized vari-
ous facets of the postmodern enterprise: see my Gagging of God [Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 1996]). The entailment of the view well represented
by Lakoff is a further strengthening of the position that no translation of
extended text is ever mechanicaL It always involves an interpretive ele-
ment. One is not tapping into disembodied truth that has been captured in
one language one way and in another language another way. Omniscience
may see things that way, but finite language users cannot. Important as
these issues are, they would take us too far afield if we were to probe them
satisfactorily here.
12. I here borrow an example from Baron, Grammar and Gender, 195.
13. Rodney Venberg, ''The Problem of a Female Deity in Translation,"
Bible Translator 22.2 (1971): 68-70.
14. Wayoe Grudem, "What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Trans-
lations?" (Libertyville, Ill.: CBMW, 1997), IS. This is really a secondedi-
tion of a circulated paper. Unless otherwise specified, this is the edition to
which I refer.
15. Ibid., 9 (emphasis his).
Chapter 5: A Srief Evaluation of the CST and CS Principles
1. Perhaps it should be said that the CBT principles were prepared for
in-house use, that is, as guidelines to the committee as it switched over to
inclusive-language translation. IT the CBT guidelines had been intended
for public consumption, doubtless more care would have been taken in
their wording to avoid the possibility of misunderstanding.
2. Compare the intention of Bruce Metzger, with respect to the NRSV:
he and the committee intended to eliminate "masculine-oriented language
concerning people, so far as this could be done without distorting passages
that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture and soci-
, I
i
206 NOTES TO PAGES 104-20
ety" (Reminiscences of an Octogenarian [Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson,
1997],89).
3. Occasionally a simile dravro from motherhood is applied to God; he
is never addressed as "Mother" in Scripture.
4. For example: "I strongly disagree with this procedure. The evangel-
ical doctrine of Scripture is that every word of the original is exactly what
God wanted it to be, because 'all Scripture is God-breathed' (2 Tim. 3: 16).
IT God caused Psalm 1 to be written with singular nouns and pronouns,
then we should reflect the sense of those words in English translation. We
must not 'substitute' other words with different senses" (Wayne Grudem,
"What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Translations?" [Libertyvi!le,
Ill.: CBMW, 1997], II). That is exactly the argument used to defend the
preservation of singular "thou" a few decades ago, The common problem
is the failure to recognize that preserving God's words in Psalm 1 means
preserving Hebrew words, which are tied to semantic ranges, syntactical
structures, gender and number systems, morphology, and other
ena that are radically different in English-and further that EnglIsh IS
changing. This emotive way of putting things implies that those who dis-
agree with Dr. Grudem's views on translation are or ignoring
"the evangelical doctrine of Scripture." Most emphatlcally IS that not
case, and it would be exceedingly helpful if the charge, doubtless made ill
good faith, were withdrawn.
5. This one I have culled from John R. Kohlenberger ill, "Understand-
ing the Current Controversy over Bible Translations" (paper presented at
the international convention of the Christian Booksellers Association,
Atlanta, Ga., July 14, 1997); available online at http://www.worldstar
.com/-jrk3/inclusive.htm. .
6. For example, the RSV (1952) still preserved the archaizing forms in
direct address to God. These have disappeared in the NRSV.
7. As in all Scripture quotations in this book, italics signal emphases
that I have inserted to draw attention to some linguistic phenomenon in the
text.
8. Mark L. Strauss, "Linguistic and Hermeneutical Fallacies in the
Guidelines Established at the (So-Called) 'Conference on Gender-Related
Language in Scripture'" (paper presented at the forty-ninth arumal meet-
ing of the Evangelical Theological Society, Santa Clara, Calif., November
20-22, 1997), 5.
9. The NN (not NIVI!) has already chosen to render this "are the feet of
those who bring good news."
10. Grudem, "What's Wrong," 4.
II. Ibid.
12. Grudem, "What's Wrong" (1996 edition), 6.
13. Ibid. (1997 edition), 5.
14. This particular example is from Strauss, "Guidelines," 10.
NOTES TO PAGES 122-27
207
IS. Trying to handle that pesky gender-specific English pronoun, the
NNI opts for "Surely you will reward everyone Ffsh] according to what
they have done."
16. J. H. Stek, "A Study in the Language of Old Testament Wisdom
Literature with Special Focus on Gender Concerns," kindly sent to me by
the author in December 1997.
17. So also A.9-but I shall return to that one in chapter 8.
18. Walter Bauer, William F. Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, and Freder-
ick W. Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other
Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979).
19. The argument advanced by some-that this is an instance of a rep-
resentative male, yet still a male-is not compelling. For even if it were
right (and I do not think it is), it would not address the problem that the
English receptor word may not enjoy the same representative status. We
cannot so easily escape the problem of differing semantic ranges.
20. Andreas J. Kostenberger, "The Neutering of 'Man' in the NNI,"
CBMW News 2.3 (June 1997), 8-13, esp. p. 9.
21. For example, on a related topic, the book Dr. Andreas Kostenberger
coauthored with Thomas R. Schreiner and H. Scott Baldwin, Women in the
Church: A FreshAna/ysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995),
is the most technically competent study of this passage now available.
22. Moreover, we have since discussed the matter personally.
23. Kostenberger, "Neutering," 10.
24. Strauss ("Guidelines," 6) shrewdly observes that when this passage
is discussed by Dr. Wayne Gmdem in his influential Systematic Theology
([Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], 541), it is under the heading "The
Humauity of Christ."
25. Elsewhere a slightly different case has been put forward for the
preservation of "men ... man" in this instance. Some scholars take this
passage to hint at "new Adam Christology" and therefore want some way
to preserve "man/Adam" in the English translation. Whether or not "new
Adam Christology" is in view here I shall not dispute. Yet the fact remains
that this text is written in Greek, not Hebrew, and the word at issue is Greek
anthropos, not Hebrew )lidlim. When the LXX thinks of )lidlim as a name,
it transliterates it; when as a reference to a human being or to human beings,
it translates it into some fonn of anthropos. If some translator felt strongly
about the need to make a connection between 1 Timothy 2:5 and "new
Adam Christology," doubtless he or she could include an explanatory note.
But as to the meaning of the Greek, the NIVI has it right. I shall return to
the confusion between translation and transliteration in chapter 8.
26. I am grateful to Dr. Ronald Youngblood for the documentation.
Strauss (,'Guidelines," 3) has picked up on this same point.
27. In a private communication as well as in his unpublished paper ("A
Response to Mark L. Strauss' Evaluation of the Colorado Springs Trans-
lation Guidelines," 5-8), Dr. Wayne Gmdem insists that the framers of the
CSG meant by "or human beings in general" nothing more than "or gen-
r
II.!
::11
208
NOTES TO PAGES 128-42
eral human nature," Of the like. The phrase was dropped because it was
constantly being misunderstood and was not (as Dr. Grudem avers) well
worded. Of course, I accept his explanation, but I have retained my brief
discussion above because most readers do not have access to such private
communication, and one must vvrestle with what published documents
actually say. Moreover, I would like to think my linguistic clarifications
may be useful to some.
28. The NIVI contracts the two clauses: "No foot of people or animals
will pass through it." This contraction eliminates the possibility of using
"human" as an adjective: "no human foot of animals will pass through it"
obviously will not fly. The NIVI is not semantically wrong, but loses the
sonorous quality of the repeated clause for no semantic clarity or other
gain.
29. Strauss, "Guidelines," 16. That different words do have the same
meaning in particular contexts should not come as a surprise. This does
not mean that the total semantic range of one word has the total semantic
range of another word. But to argue that the two words must therefore be
translated differently in specific contexts is to fall once again into "illegit-
imate totality transfer," briefly discussed in chapter 3 under "Context and
Contexts."
30. See Wayne Grudem, "NIV Controversy: Participants Sign Land-
mark Agreement," CBMW News 2.3 (June 1997),5.
31. Ibid.
32. Once again, there is another Greek word for "parents," namely,
goneis. But it does not follow that if a New Testament writer had wanted
to say "parents" and not "fathers," the language would require that goneis
be used. In certain contexts, goneis and pateres, I am arguing, hold the
same semantic turf.
Chapter 6: Some Old Testament Passages
1. J. H. Stek, "A Study in the Language of the Regulative Toroth of the
Pentateuch with Special Focus on Gender Concerns," sent me by the author
in December 1997.
2. Ibid., 2.
3. Ibid., 3.
4. For the history, see chapter 1 under "The Current Crisis."
5. John Piper, "Problems in Gender Changes" (document prepared by
Dr. John Piper with help from Dr. Wayne Grudem and presented to the
group that met in Colorado Springs on May 27, 1997),7.
6. Ibid., 3.
7. Wayne Grudem, "Wbat's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Trans-
lations?" (Libertyville, lli.: CBMW, 1996), 6.
8. Certainly the Lord Jesus thought that the superscriptions to the Psalms
gave historically reliable information: see Matt. 22:41--46, where the valid-
ity of Jesus' argument depends on that assumption.
NOTES TO PAGES 143-62
209
9. Wayne Grudern, "Comparing the Two NIVs," World 12.5 (April 19,
1997), 15.
10. Grudem, "Wbat's Wrong" (first [1996] edition), 5.
Chapter 7: Some New Testament Passages
1. John Piper, "Problems in Gender Changes" {document prepared by
Dr. John Piper with help from Dr. Wayne Grudern and presented to the
group that met in Colorado Springs on May 27, 1997),5.
~ . Incidentally, after miting the sentence bearing this note number, I
notIced that I had used the pronoun "you" three times without for a moment
supposing that I was restricting the reference to you, gentle reader.
3. Piper, "Problems," 9.
4. Ibid., 4.
5. Ibid., 7-8.
6. Ibid., 5.
7. Some defenders of gender-inclusive Bible translations have charged
the NIVI'S critics here with misunderstanding Revelation 3:20. In the con-
text, the "door" on which the exalted Jesus is lmocking is not the door of
the individual's heart, but the door of the church at Laodicea-and there-
fore, they conclude, this concern for an emphasis on the individual is dou-
bly misplaced. But although the observation about the door is correct, that
is, Jesus is knocking at the closed door of a proud church content with her
sinful self-sufficiency, nevertheless as in several of the letters to the seven
churches, Jesus, while addressing the whole church, commands and invites
its members to obedient faith even if the church as a whole does not follow.
But this obvious pattern is surely as protected by the NIVI as by the NIV.
8. Wayne Grudem, "Comparing the Two NIVs," World 12.5 (April 19,
1997), 16.
9. For example, after the loss of "thou," a sudden shift from second-
person singular to second-person plural may be marked by a change from
"you" to "you people" as in John 3: 11 NIV.
10. Strictly speaking, of course, this is the terminology Jesus used as
John reports him. Jesus himself may well have been using Aramaic, not
Greek, for this exchange.
II. Andreas J. Kostenberger, "The Neutering of 'Man' in the NIVI,"
CBMW News 2.3 (June 1997), 6-7.
12. Grudem, "Comparing," 17.
13. Wayne Grudem, "Wbat's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Trans-
lations?" (Libertyville, Il1.: CBMW, 1997),9-10.
14. I doubt that the "but" is justified here either, but that is another ques-
tion. At least the NIVI has in my view properly understood aner.
15. Kostenberger, "Neutering," throughout.
16. JohnR. Kohlenberger ill, "Understanding the Current Controversy
over Bible Translations" (paper presented at the international convention
of the Christian Booksellers Association, Atlanta, Ga., July 14, 1997),
under the heading "Translation of the Words for 'Man.'" A slightly edited
210 NOTES TO PAGES 167-84
version of this paper is available online at http://www.worldstar
.comhrk3/inclusive.htm.
Chapter 8: Some Critical Passages with Important Doctrina/lssues
at Stake
1. The NIV here includes a footnote: "Hebrew adam."
2. The MVI here includes a footnote: "Hebrew adam, traditionally man."
3. Wayne Grudem, "What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Trans-
lations?" (Libertyville, Ill.: CBMW, 1997),7.
4. Most recently and competently, see Richard S. Hess, "Splitting the
Adam," in Studies in the Pentateuch, ed. J. A. Emerton, Supplements to
Vetus Testamentum 42 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1990), 1-15.
5. I am grateful to John H. Stek for reminding me of this obvious fact
in an unpublished paper, "Did God 'Call Them Man'?" (sent to me by the
author in December 1997), 3.
6. For example, Gen. 11 :5; Ps. 12:1, 8; 31:19; 145:12; Eccles. 1:13; 2:3;
3:10; Jer. 50:40.
7. Ps. 21:10; 33:13; Provo 8:31; Dan. 2:28; Joel I :12. Both the NIV and
NM normally retain "son of man" in poetic passages when it is in parallel
to "man," so as to preserve interesting poetical synonymy rather than col-
lapse them into identical expressions.
8. D. A. Carson, "New Bible Translations: An Assessment and
Prospect," in The Bible in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Howard Clark Kee
(Philadelphia: Trinity Press InternationaJ, 1993),56-57.
9. Ibid., 57.
10. That is why the CBr includes Calvinists and Anninians, Baptists
and Paedo-Baptists, and so forth.
11. Grudem, "What's Wrong," 8.
12. My assumption is that John 19:36 is indeed referring to PsaJm 34.
Some scholars draw other connections.
13. John Piper, "Problems in Gender Changes" (document prepared by
Dr. John Piper with help from Dr. Wayne Grudem and presented to the
group that met in Colorado Springs on May 27, 1997),7.
14. The NIVI offers a footnote: "Or what is a human being that you are
mindful of him, I the son of man that you care for him?" and continues to
footnote masculine singular alternatives for the plural pronouns in verses
5-6.
15. The NIVI includes a footnote: "Or What are mere mortals that you
are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? / You made them
a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour
and put everything under their feet. Psalm 8:4-6."
16. Piper, "Problems," 6.
Chapter 9: But Is the English Language Changing?
1. Wayne Grudem, "What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Trans-
lations?" (Libertyville, Ill.: CBMW, 1997), 18-23.
NOTES TO PAGES 185-90 211
2. D. F. Wright, Evangelicals Now 12.9 (September 1997), 17.
3. Dennis E. Baron, Grammar and Gender (New Haven: Yale Univer-
sity Press, 1986), 191-97. All of the sources briefly cited in the lines that
follow are documented in Baron. Here I provide only the name of the author
and the date of the publication, occasionally adding the title.
4. Ibid., 193.
5. Ibid., 195.
6. See especially Jean Aitchison, Language Change: Progress or
Decay? 2d ed., Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics (Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press, 1991); James Milroy, Linguistic Variation and
Change: On the Historical Sociolinguistics of English, Language in Soci-
ety 17 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992); April M. S. McMahon, Understanding
Language Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
7. See especially Christopher R. Seitz, Word without End: The Old Tes-
tament, an Abiding Theological Witness (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998),
especially chapter 20, "Reader Competence and the Offense of Biblical
Language: The Limitations of So-Called Inclusive Language," 292-99.
8. Carl Sagan, Billions and Billions: Thoughts on L(fe and Death at the
Brink o[the Millennium (New York: Random House, 1997).
9. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
10. Ibid., 83.
II. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.
12. Ibid., 56.
13. I think those were the exact words. I definitely heard "humankind's";
the rest may not be quite right, for I was in heavy traffic at the time and
could not get it down before memory failed.
14. Time 151.7 (February 23,1998),8.
~
, '
II'
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,
I,
-----------------------

j
GENERAL INDEX
Adam, 151, 166--70
Aitchison, Jean, 211
American Standard Version (ASV), 19,
20,73
Bain, Alexander, 186
Baldwin, H. Scott, 207
Barker, Kenneth L., 32-34, 38, 157,200
Baron, Dennis E., 185-86,204-5,211
Bayly, Tim, 33
BeekInan,John, 55, 202
Beitzel, Barry, 202
Bible League, 36
Bilezikian, Gilbert, 30
Bruce, F. F., 202
Callow, John, 55, 202
Carlton, Lillian E., 185
Christianity Today, 35-36
Christians for Biblical Equality, 36
Colorado Springs Guidelines (CSG), 33,
36,39-40,44-46,111-33,196,
201,207-8
aphoristic or universal statements
using man or masculine pronouns,
143-44, 149
brother(s) and sister(s) in place of
brother(s), 25, 45,130-31,156
changes in voice (active to passive),
141-42
child/children instead of son(s), 19,
45-46, 131-33, 176
generic use of the pronoun, 111-15,
116,136,157-58,184,186,
189-90
humankind or human being(s) in
place of man, 45, 120-28, 130,
139, 141, 148, 150-51, 153,
158-62, 166--70
indefinite pronouns, 45, 128-30
Jesus' humanity or masculinity,
126--27,150-51,165,179-81
parent(s) or ancestor(s) in place of
father(s), 46, 133
substantival participles, 44, 112, 114
third-person masculine singular pro-
nouns changed to plural pronouns,
20,23,38,45,105-8,116,135-38,
140,149,152,154-55,157,160
third-person masculine singular pro-
nouns changed to second-person
pronouns, 43, 118-120
See also Committee on Bible Transla-
tion, translation guidelines
Colorado Springs meeting, 33-35, 40,
147, 184
Committee on Bible Translation (CBT),
29, 162, 199
members of, 16,26,28,32,197,210
purpose for, 26,145,191
translation guidelines, 37,39--40,
41-44,100-111,144,194,201,
205
contextual particularity (or contex-
tual specificity). See translation
theory, guidelines for translators
historical particularity (or histori-
cal specificity). See translation
theory, guidelines for translators
intracanonical connections and the
preserving offorrn. See transla-
tion theory, guidelines for
translators
male-specified professions
213
214
changed to a more generic title,
27. See also translation theory,
historical particularity
offensive language, 41, 100--102
son of man, 45, 130, 170-75,
179-80
third-person masculine singular
pronouns changed to second-
person pronouns, 43
See also Colorado Springs Guide-
lines
complementarian, 11,21,27,28,32, 35,
37,107,188,194-96,201
Contemporary English Version (CEV),
22-23
context, 61-65. See also literary context;
social context; translation theory,
guidelines for translators, contex-
tual particularity
Corbett, Greville G., 204-5
Council on Biblical Manhood and Wom-
anhood (CBMW), 30, 31, 32, 33,
35,40,104,112,127,201
cultural equivalent, 28, 101
Currne, George, 186
David C. Cook Church Ministries, 32
de Waard, Jan, 202
Dobson, James, 33
Doriani, Dan, 30
Dunberg, Lars, 33, 36
dynamic equivalence. See translation
theory
Eagleton, Terry, 190
egalitarian, 11,21,28,30,36,103,188,
197,199,201
English language
changes in, 24, 66, 93,109,112,118,
155, 169, 183-92, 195, 199
historical perspective, 109, 185-87
pronominal gender systems. See gen-
der in language, gender systems
varieties of, 191-92
Evangelical Press Association, 35
Falwell, Jerry, 32
feminism
as a driving force behind gender-neu-
trallanguage, 21,184,186--87
questions raised by, 18
Focus on the Family
GENERAL INDEX
meeting concerning NIVI, 33
relationship to CSG, 40
formal equivalence. See translation
theory
formal equivalents, 17,72,97-98, 157
Fowler, F. G., 186
Fowler, H. W., 186
Fraser, Norman, 77, 204
functional equivalence. See translation
theory
gender-accurate version, 31
gender and translation, See translation
theory
gender-exclusive. See gender-specific
gender-inclusive
definition of, 16--17
language, 17-18,27,31,42,43, 151,
189-90
translations. See inclusive-language
translations
gender in language, 77
assigning gender to words
on morphological or phonological
basis, 83-85
on semantic basis, 80-83
problems with, 85-89
gender agreement, 79-80
gender-marked languages, 85-87,
114,186
gender systems, 19,78-80,97-98,
187
English gender system, 79-80,
91-93,103-4,107,117,188
French gender system, 84-85, 88,
95
German gender system, 81
Greek gender system, 98
Hebrew gender system, 96--97
Latin gender system, 88
pronominal gender systems, 80,
91-93,119
Rumanian gender system, 89
Russian gender system, 84
Spanish gender system, 86
Tamil gender system, 81, 87-88
grammatical gender, 78, 89-90,
103-4,187
gender-neutral
language. See gender-inclusive
language
translations. See inclusive-language
translations
GENERAL INDEX
gender-specific, 17-18,27,106,119,153
shift in usage, 18
Gibson, Arthur, 204
gloss, 62, 75
God, language referring to, 18-19,26,
42,93-95,104
Graham, Alma, 186
Grudem, Wayne, 30, 31, 33, 36, 38,
97-98,116-21,132,138,141-44,
155-61,167-70,174-75,184,
205-10
Gutt, Ernst-August, 64,71,202-3
Harris ill, W. Hall, 203
Hebrew language
euphemisms, 102
gender complexity, 96-97
masculine plurals in place of femi-
nine subjects, 96
parallelism in Hebrew poetry
gender distinctions, 122-24
singular and plural distinctions,
122-24
Spirit as a feminine noun, 95-96, 104
Hess, Richard S., 210
illegitimate totality transfer, 62, 132
inclusive-language translations, 75, 152,
162-63,180-81,194
definition of, 16--17
link. to complementarian vs. egalitar-
ian debate, 35, 37, 112
resolutions opposing, 35
types of changes, 18
See also Committee on Bible Transla-
tion, translation guidelines; Col-
orado Springs Guidelines
International Bible Society (IBS), 16,
32,34-36,73-74,194,204
Jespersen, Otto, 186
Johnson, Edward D., 186
journalistic integrity, 193-94
King James Version (KJv), 19,20,63,73
Kee, Howard Clark, 200
Kohlenberger III, John R., 199,201,
206,209
Kostenberger, Andreas, 126--27, 150,
158,161,207,209
Lakoff, George, 205
language groups, 78-79, 80-83
215
lexical meaning, 61-62
linguistic theory. See translation theory
literary context
emotional overtones of certain
expressions, 64
immediate context, 63
literary genre, 64
Living Bible (LB), 23, 71, 73
male-specific references, 44
Martin, Robert, 63, 202
McMahon, April M. S., 211
Metzger, Bruce, 16,205
Milroy, James, 211
Mohler, Albert, 30
National Council of the Churches of
Christ (NCCC), 26
National Liberty .Tournai, 32
Neill, Stephen, 203
New American Standard Bible (NASB),
73
New English Bible (NEB), 22, 73
New English Translation (NET Bible),
69,203
New International Readers Version
(NIrV), 23, 31, 34
New International Version (NIV), 20,
26-27,29,71,73,191-92
New International Version: Inclusive
Language Edition (NIVr), 16,
27-28,29,33,162-63,192
New Living Translation (NLT), 23, 36,
71,73
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV),
20,24-25,29,73
New Testament's use of Old Testament,
19-20,115-16,173,175-81
Newton, John, 196
Nida,Eugene, 202-3
Olasky, Susan, 28-32, 193-94
Open Line, 38, 157
Osborne, Grant, 36
Packer, J. 1., 31
patriarchalism, 18,27,28,41,103,205
Patterson, Paige, 32
Paul, the apostle
gender-inclusive changes, 19-20
singular to plural pronoun changes,
115-16
iii
216
Petersen, Jonathan, 30
Piper, John, 33,138--40,147,149-51,
154,180-81,208-10
Plantinga Jr., Cornelius, 190
Poythress, Vern, 33
Presbyterian Church in America, 35
Purvey, Jobn, 63
Quirk, Randolph, 186
relevance theory. See translation theory
Revised English Bible (REB), 22, 73
Revised Standard Version (RSV), 16, 20,
71,73
role distinctions, 28
Roman Catholic Church, 16
Ryskamp, Bruce, 33, 36
Sagan, Carl, 190,211
Schaeffer, Francis, 196
Schreiner, Thomas, 207
Seitz, Christopher, 211
semantic equivalents, 17
Septuagint (LXX)
gender-inclusive changes, 20--21,122
singular to plural pronoun changes,
116
Silva, Moises, 204
social agendas, 21, 30, 197
social context, 64-65, 66
sociolinguistics, 65-67
son of man. See Committee on Bible
Translations, translation guidelines
Southern Baptist Convention, 32, 35
speech act theory. See translation theory
Sproul, R. c., 33
Stealth Bible, 29, 35
Stek, John, 102, 122, 136,207-8,210
Strauss, MarkL., 115, 128,206-8
Taber, Charles R. 203
Taylor, Mark D., 36
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 23, 36
translation equivalent. See gloss
translation theory, 29, 36, 37, 68
challenges translators face,
106,114
changes in gender systems, 90
differences in gender systems,
93-98,108,112,138
differences in language,
functions of gender systems,
90-91
GENERAL INDEX
linguistic gender differences, 89
problems with a pronominal gen-
der system, 91
See also gender in language, gen-
der systems
dynamic equivalence, 70-71, 203
formal equivalence (formal corre-
spondence), 70-71, 93,102,103,
112,138
functional equivalence, 71
guidelines for translators
contextual particularity (contex-
tual specificity), 143, 144, 148,
154, 159
historical particularity (historical
specificity), 105, 110, 111, 139,
141-42,159
intracanonical connections and the
preserving offorrn, 170-72, 176
See also Colorado Springs Guide-
lines; Committee on Bible Trans-
lation, translation guidelines
history of translation theory, 63
loss in translation
literal vs. paraphrastic translations,
69
meaning vs. gloss, 75, 112, 121,
127
meaning vs. referent, 75,121,
126-27
multiple uses of single phrase (ego
eimi),58-59
multiple uses of single word
(sarx),52-56
wordplays, 60, 102
pure generics, 97-98
relevance theory, 71
representative generics, 98
role of interpretation, 71-72
role of theological themes, 101-2
semantic overlap, 62
speech act theory, 67, 203
temporal necessity of all translations
and need for revisions, 73-74
thought-for-thought translation, 70
Tyndale, William, 16
Tyndale House Publishers, 36
typology, 176-78. See also New Testa-
ment's use of Old Testament
TWain, Mark, 56
unisex language, 29,31
United Bible Societies, 36
GENERAL INDEX
Venberg, Rodney, 93, 205
Weigle, Dean, 16
Wendland, Ernst R., 200
Willow Creek Community Church, 30,
194
Wisdom Literature, 43
World, 28-31, 193-95,200
Wright, D, E, 184,211
Wyc1iffe, Jobn, 63
Wyc1iffe Bible Translators, 36
217
Youngblood, Ronald, 33-34, 200, 207
Zondervan, 26, 30-36,74, 195,204
SCRIPTURE INDEX
Genesis Numbers Nehemiah
1-3 170 5:6 97 2:10 169
1:26 29 8:17 138-39
1:26-27 45,128,166,
31:28 29
Esther
167
31:35 96 1:20 96
2 170
31:49 141
2:25 167
Job
5:1-3 166-67
Deuteronomy
4: 17 122, 124
5:2 45,128,167,168
6:7 121
1:31 137 4:19-21 124
9:6 121
2:24 137 10:4 122
11:52100.6
6:17 137 10:4-5 124
16:12 169
10:19 137 10:5 122
12 106 14:10 123
Exodus 24:16 122 16:21 123
3:14202n.13
25:4 123
3:15 133
Joshua
25:6 123
4:22 176 14:15 169 32:21 123
11:2 122 33:15-17 123,124
13:2 175
Judges
34:11 123
16:16 122 18:7 139,141 34:34 123, 124
18:16 122
35:8 123
20-23 136 1 Samuel
36:25 123
20:2 137
5:9 122 37:7 123
20:3-17 137
13:14 175 38:26 123
21:1-2 136
17:43 102
21:1-22:20 136
24:14 102
Psalms
34:11-16 137
25 102 1 2060.4
Leviticus
25:18 102 1:1 98,107
1:2 136
25:22 100,201 n. 3 1:1-2 106-7
16:17 169
25:25 102 1:1-3 107
18:5 140
25:36 102 1:2-3 107
19:23-37 137
1:4-6 107
19:29 137
2 Samuel
2 19,176
19:32 137 7 19 2:7 19
19:34 137 7:14 19,20,175,176 8 173, 179, 180, 181
219
,
tli
I
220 SCRIPTURE INDEX
SCRIPTURE INDEX 221
8:4-<i 178-79,210 n. 15 Song of Solomon 16:24--26 148-49
11:50 150 1 Corinthians Titus
8:5-6 210 n. 14
1:2 200 n. 10
22:41-46 208 n. 8
14:23 31,38,150,152,
3:3 53,55 1:6 161
12:121On.6 23:38 178
160
7:15 131,155
12:8 210 n. 6 Isaiah
25:14 24
17:2 52,54
9:11 53,55
Hebrews
19:11 140
3:12 96
27:48 178 18:14 150
13:1 174 1:6 175
19:11-12 140
9 176
19 177
13:11 159 1:14 181
21:10 210 n. 7
Mark 19:36 177,210 n. 12
9:6-7 176 14:21 176 2179,180,181
31:19 210 ll. 6
28:11 176
2:27 24
32:1 116
41:4 58
12:19 132
Acts
14:28 160
2:5 29,180
33:13 210 ll. 7 43:10 58
14:38 52,54 1:20 178
15:21 150,151
2:5-8 181
34177,178,21On.12 52:7 115-16
14:62 173 1:21 148,153,158
2:6-8 178,179
34:6 141
15:36 178 2:14 125
2 Corinthians 2:9 181
34:15 177 Jeremiah
7:5 132
6:14--7:1 19-20
2:11 180
34:15-18 177
44:24--25 96-97
Luke 8:20 64
6:18 20,175,176
2:12 180
34:15-22 108-9 50:40 210 n. 6
1:7 132 9:7 158
2:14 180
34:19-20 177
2:23 175 10:26 174,175
Galatians
2:16 180
34:20 177 Ezekiel
14:31-35 44,110 12:22 174, 175 2:1-10 203 n. 21
2:17 181
36:1 116
2:1 174
15:31 132 13:22 175 4:7 132
11:23 133
41:5 25
23:20 100,201 n. 3
16:13 110 15:1 25 4:13 54
62:12 122
29:11 45,128
16:33 44 17:34 124 5:10 150,153-54
James
68:18 175
17:3 155 20:30 159
5:12 154
1:12 161
69 178 Daniel
17:31-33 44,110
5:16 54
1:20 118,119,124
69:8 178
2:28 210 n. 7
17:34--35 66 Romans
6:1 128
2 120
23:36 178
69:9 178
7 173
1 203 n. 17
6:7 118,119,120
2:2-3 55
69:21 178
7:13-14 171-72
3:10 116
2:14 119,120
69:25 178
John
3:18 116
2:15 131
Ephesians
84:4--5 169 Hosea
1:12 132
3:28 126
2:19--20 120
97:7 175
2 129
4:6 116
4:8 175
3:2 125
1 20
109 25
2:420
2:17 178
4:6-7 116
5:14--15 116
110 181
11:1 176
2:24--25 130
4:7 116
Philippians
5:17 126
127:1 60
2:24--3:1 129
7 63
2:8 150
127:3 60 Joel
2:25 45,128
8:6 52-53,54
4:1 130-31 1 Peter
145:12 210 n. 6
1:12 21On. 7
3 129
8:14 133
4:2-3 131
3:4 162
3:1 130
8:16-17 132,133
Proverbs
Jonah
3:11 209n.9
8:19 133
1 Timothy
1 John
5:1 143,144
4:26 202 n. 12
8:21 133
2:5 127, 150,207 n. 25 1:3 61
4:11 169
5:16-30 104
5:3 143,144
5:26 114
10:15 116
2:9-15 207 n. 21
5:7-8 143,144 Matthew
664
11:14 53
Revelation
5:21 143,144
5:6 38,149 6:35 202 n. 10
15:3 178
2 Timothy
3:20 150, 154,209 n. 7
8:31 210 n. 7
5:9 19 6:44 113,129
16:16 101 3:16206n.4
16:9 143
5:10 107,149 6:51 113
20:24 118
5:22 131 6:56 113
22:6 23
8:23 148 7:5 178
29:3 144
8:23-27 148 7:34 202 ll. 10
31:29 96
8:27 147-48 8 59
Ecclesiastes
10:24 44, 111 8:24 59,60
12:12 126 8:28 59,60
1:13 210n. 6 14:35 124 8:58 58,59,60
2:3 210 D. 6 15:11 118 9:9 60
3:10 21On. 6 16:17 52,54 10:33 126
7:28 169 16:24 128 11:25 156-57
r
D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trin-
ity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. The author
or editor of over forty books, he has written major commen-
taries; works of theology covering personal Christian con-
cerns, including How Long 0 Lord? Reflections on Suffering
and Evil, and Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition
of 1 Corinthians 12-14; and biblical reference titles, includ-
ing The King James Version Debate: A Pleafor Realism.

© 1998 by D. A. Carson Published by Baker Books a division of Baker Book House Company P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids,:MI 49516-6287 and Inter-Varsity Press 38 De Montford Street Leicester LEI 7GP England Printed in the United States of America All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any fonn or by any means-for example, electronic, photocopy, recording-without the prior written pennission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

This book is gratefully dedicated to the many Bible translators I have known and sometimes had the privilege of working with in places as varied as Nairobi, Philadelphia, and Ukarumpa

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Carson, D. A. The inclusive-language debate: a plea for realism I D.A. Carson. p. em. Includes bibliographical references and indexes. ISBN 0-80IO-5835-X (pbk.) 1. Bible--Translating. 2. Nonsexist language-Religious aspects-Christianity. 3. Bible. English-Versions. L Title. BS449.C37 1998 220S2'OOI-dc21 98-23473

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 0-85111-584-5
Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission ofZondervan Bible Publishers. Scripture quotations marked NIvr are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version: Inclusive Language Edition. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. This edition 1995. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. Scripture quotations marked NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. Scripture quotations marked RSV are taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946,1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. For information about academic books, resources for Christian leaders, and all new releases available from Baker Book House, visit our web site: http://www.bakerbooks.com

CONTENTS

Preface 9 List of Abbreviations

13

1. The Making of a Crisis: Bible Translation and Bible Rage 15 2. Conflicting Principles: The CBT and CSG on Inclusive Language 39 3. Translation and Treason: An Inevitable and Impossible Task 47 4. Gender and Sex around the World: A Translator's Nightmare 77 5. A Brief Evaluation of the CBT and CS Principles 99 6. Some Old Testament Passages 135 7. Some New Testament Passages 147 8. Some Critical Passages with Important Doctrinal Issues at Stake 165 9. But Is the English Language Changing? 183 10. Pastoral Considerations: How to Avoid Bible Rage 193 Notes 199 General Index Scripture Index

213 219
7

ends up with a conflagration: various parties can hardly wait to touch a match to the oil. By inclination there are other things I would much rather do. so I was largely dependent on the English and French versions.PREFACE Let me De frank: this is not the sort of book I like to write. Of my first two experiences as a pastoral intern. one was in an English-speaking suburb. I discovered that sometimes a sermon I prepared for an English congregation. I was exposed to the challenges of translation from my earliest days: I was born in Montreal and reared in French Canada. This was at a time when my knowledge of the biblical languages was still rudimentary. Still. and vice versa9 . I grew up memorizing the King James Version in English and the Louis Segond in French. could not easily be preached in French. experience has taught me that sometimes the effort to pour oil on boiling waters. one was in a French church. Moreover. far from calming the heavy seas. but those early experiences of ministry convinced me of one thing. Later on I learned other languages. My father was pastor of a bilingual church. and all of us grew up with both English and French. on balance it seemed better to say something than to say nothing. grounded in the English text. the other in an English church. the other in a French-speaking city. of my first two attempts at church planting.

Finally. and have sometimes addressed such questions publicly. Dr. . This book is not for experts: linguists will learn nothing from it. Soli Deo gloria. It is not that careful study cannot properly evaluate translations or offer a reasoned judgment as to which one is better. So from then on I tried to produce sermons that so focused on what was clear in both translations that I could preach them in either language. Richard Schultz sent me tapes and notes of the public Wheaton College forum. I was probably in danger of missing the forest for the trees. To each of them I owe a considerable debt. if this book fosters among Christians careful. increasingly sophisticated. think that the ancient language of trinitarian confessionalism should be changed from "Father. But by and large this book restricts itself to an in-house discussion within the framework of evangelicalism. I still think that was a good choice at the time. "The Current Inclusive Language Controversy. I shall be grateful. Child (or Redeemer). Four final remarks: First. both orally and in written form.10 PREFACE PREFACE 11 unless I spent quite a bit of time trying to explain how the two versions had handled the underlying Greek and Hebrew in rather different ways. In the current debate over inclusive language. and still less of linguistic theory. Wayne Grudem and Grant Osborne have already gone public with their views on this debate: I have benefited from their work. and why. Several colleagues took the time to read the first draft of this book and offer helpful criticisms. all sides have raised important and delicate issues. and they proved to be brimful of salient observations. Still. on all sides. As is frequently the case. from my perspective. Norman Fraser not only e-mailed me some useful notes on gender systems in various languages around the world but provided me with bibliography that anchored me in some serious research on such matters. Part of my task in this little book is to utter a plea for realism-to try to make clear. in the debate between "egalitarians" and "complementarians" I side with the latter. and Holy Spirit" to "Creator. The questions they raise are important. Second. Son. by concerned Christians who know little of the challenges of translation. it struck me that if too much of my emphasis depended on peculiarities of translations. At the same time. I cannot fairly be accused of adopting the stances I do in translation because I am driven by some feminist agenda or other. I am grateful for their time and effort. and I have never regretted the decision." My colleagues Drs. who because God is not properly "male" in any sexual or human sense. what we can and cannot expect from translations. and Bible translators very little. From the preacher's perspective. whatever my errors and blind spots. for what audience. and deserve serious evaluation and response. and how easy it is to miss some of the big issues while focusing on the narrower and more technical ones. even though neither will agree with everything I say.' In other words. Several decades and languages later. I naturally wish not to adopt a position inconsistent with my larger theological convictions in this respect. I venture a few remarks here and there. some of the most strident voices have been raised. and Sustainer" or the like. Thitd. clearheaded discussion about this subject. this little book does not properly address the serious critique offered by the more radical feminists. I want to record my thanks to several people who steered me toward important resources. Undoubtedly I have been too reductionistic at points and unwittingly too technical at others. Dr. But the simple resolution I adopted as a young man did help me to focus at the time on what was central. I write as a confessional evangelical with a high view of Holy Scripture and have frequently contributed to conferences and books on the subject. I have tried to write for people with little or no Greek and Hebrew. for the record. Professor John Stek sent me some of his unpublished papers.

ABBREVIATIONS ASV CBMW CBT CEV CS CSG IDS IB KJV LB LXX MT NASB NEB NET NITV NIV NIV] NIB NKN NLT NRSV REB RSV American Standard Version Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Committee on Bible Translation Contemporary English Version Colorado Springs Colorado Springs Guidelines International Bible Society Jerusalem Bible King James Version Living Bible Septuagint (ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament) Masoretic Text (Hebrew Old Testament) New American Standard Bible New English Bible New English Translation New International Reader's Version New International Version New International Version: Inclusive Language Edition New Jerusalem Bible New King James Version New Living Translation New Revised Standard Version Revised English Bible Revised Standard Version 13 .

" People drive thousands of miles. Road rage triumphs. and probably earlier. traffic experts have coined a new expression: "road rage. gapers' blocks. and mayhem is the result. Every once 15 . something they've probably done themselves more than once-and somehow they go over the top: this incident is personal. Then someone cuts them offsomething that has happened to them scores of times before. bottlenecks. Bible translation has been going on since at least the second century before Christ.I THE MAKING OF A CRISIS BIBLE AND TRANSLATION BIBLE RAGE Bible Rage During the past decade or so. and out comes a crowbar or a shotgun. and rush hours. Normally it is a highly varied but reasonably predictable business. face the ordinary stress of interstate highways.

those English speakers would have told you. then in the receptor language. and for highly disparate reasons. which sponsors the NN and the NIVI. as in Hebrew "sons" can refer to sons and daughters. uses a term which in that language and culture is gender inclusive. But in some other contexts. I have not yet heard of a copy of the New International Version: Inclusive Language Edition (NIVI) being scorched with a blowtorch. If. in such cases. but the vice president of the International Bible Society (IBS). since after all it used the Latin Vulgate. Bible rage takes over. terms (for example. when almost any competent speaker of English would have told you that the word "man" means different things in different passages. When the Revised Standard Version (RSV) appeared in 1952. of the human species. terms (for example. that replace male nouns like "man" and "brother" and male pronouns like "he" and "him" with other expressions that clearly include women-hence inclusive language. By "inclusive-language translations" or "gender-neutral translations" or "gender-inclu- sive translations" I am referring to English translations of the Bible. one pastor in Rocky Mount. androgynous). The controversy has prompted one conservative institution to sack from its faculty a member of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT-the group responsible for both the NIV and the NIVI) only a year or so before his retirement. or to all males. The Roman Catholic Church was not against all translations. But it was fiercely opposed to vernacular versions (a "version" of the Bible is nothing more than a translation of the Bible)." is the best rendering. "that. or parts of the Bible. of course. None of this is new." The ashes were sent in a metal box to Dean Weigle. has publicly displayed seven copies sent him that had apparently been treated to the tender mercies of a power drill. responsible for the translation. English has its share of both gender-exclusive. William Tyndale paid with his life: he was strangled and burned in 1536. In such passages. parent. however. publicly burned a copy with a blowtorch. and therefore faithful translation demands. That box and its ashes are still among the archives of the committee-"a reminder. The additional factor that has sprung up is that most translators judge that a number of English words have become more gender specific during the past few years. or gender-specific. father) and gender-inclusive. husband. today happily it is only a copy of the translation that meets such a fate. fewer formal equivalents and more semantic equivalents (that is." and so forth. he or she may judge that some such rendering as "sons and daughters" is more faithful to the Hebrew source than the word "sons" would be. In some contexts "man" refers to a male. communist-inspired Bible. "Man" might become "person. the issue was translating into the vernacular.' Definitions But we need to back up a little. There was a time. In the days of William Tyndale. the same word "man" has generic force that includes . spouse. wife. the translator must decide if the closest formal equivalent. the English word "sons." as Bruce Metzger whimsically puts it. she. It would be tedious to rehearse all the instances of Bible rage. Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek. the context discloses that the word "man" is gender specific. them. Such expressions are not to be confused with expressions that somehow suggest a blending of terms (for example. into the common language of the people."l The current debate has fired up various degrees of Bible rage once again. If the translator thinks that "sons" in English is too gender specific to capture what the donor word means in that context. child). equivalents in meaning). unisex. English. though in previous centuries Bible translators were sometimes burned. then. the donor language. North Carolina. Today we live in relatively mellower times." "brother" might become "brother and sister. or gender-neutral. who had served as convener of the Standard Bible Committee.16 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 17 in a while. damning it as "a heretical. sibling. at Yale Divinity School.

the word "man" is gender inclusive. Some Historical Perspective Long before the present controversy erupted. this usage has increasingly come under attack. The most radical feminists have developed liturgies that replace "Father. they insist that this makes Bible translations.533 times. in our culture. For the moment. through Nathan the prophet. Judgments in the arena of gender systems had to be made. If such usage. male and female.that none of the well-known Bible translations that have opted for inclusive language have systematically tried to emasculate references to God as Father or to Jesus as Son. Redeemer. In the context. In 2 Samuel 7. and Holy Spirit" with "Creator. for instance. his enthronement. however. Their reasons we shall look at later. almost all the God language in the Bible and in Bible-based liturgies should be modified. it is argued.822 times and as "child" or "children" 1. Bible publishers and translators have largely resisted it. The first printed English New Testament was translated by William Tyndale and published in 1526." They reason that the Bible itself was written in a culture steeped in patriarchalism. how Solomon will succeed him and build the temple that David wanted to build. But they are unwilling to tamper with language that refers to God. Psalm 2 is the first place where the Hebrew word for messiah is explicitly linked with the son of David. In passing. to the establishment of the Father/son relationship (Ps. "I will be a Father to him. The result has been some shift in usage. it is enough to observe . In such contexts. at the very least it is insensitive. the passages at issue do not affect how God or Jesus is presented. Bible translators had to struggle with when they should choose inclusive language and when they should not. And the same is trne for a range of other nouns and pronouns that flip back and forth between the gender-specific male and the generic. and to preserve what is essential to the Bible's message without causing needless offense. some of which I shall evaluate in chapter 8. Although a few liturgies in mainline denominations have adopted this stance. At the moment. For instance. God tells David. he is arguing that believers should live separately from the world (2 Cor. 2:7). is not concrete evidence of male oppression. for they shall be called the children of God. . How much of a shift has actually taken place is one of the things that is disputed: I shall return to this point in chapter 9. God says. "sons. I shall assume that a real shift has occurred. Most people involved in inclusive-language Bible translation are prepared to move toward renderings that make generic uses of words like "man" and "he" explicitly inclusive-indeed. Critics note that the word "man" never refers exclusively to the female of the species. that is. The perception of such a shift has been strong enough that it has prompted several groups to work on Bible translations that accommodate this change in contemporary English usage. For the past quarter of a century or so. without distinction. In Matthew 5:9. Referring to Solomon. and here too God ties the appointment of the Davidic king." even though the underlying Greek word is huioi. or about 35 percent 3 Even more striking is the fact that this sort of shift occasionally occurs when an Old Testament text is quoted in the New Testament. more accurate than they would otherwise be. I should make clear that those concerned with inclusive language come from a wide range of stances on the broader questions raised by contemporary feminism. not least the ultimate Davidic king. With only rare exceptions. and Sustainer. In fact. the KN renders the Hebrew word ben (or its plural bClnfm) as "son" or "sons" 2. Tyndale rendered the text. and he will be a son to me" (7:14.I"'" 18 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 19 all human beings. alternating between the male and the generic." "Children" remained the preferred rendering until the ASV (1901) and the NKJV (1982). Son. The apostle Paul also picks up 2 Samuel 7:14. author's translation). This Father/son relationship becomes a pattern for God's relationship to the Davidic king. "Blessed are the peacemakers.

but at least in part because of social agendas strongly advocated by feminist thinkers of various stripes. however." Nor is it the case in this passage that Paul is simply citing the common Greek version-some form of the Septuagint (LXX)-without worrying too much about the details. not so much because of unidentified linguistic developments of a haphazard sort. Recent Developments So what is new about the current developments in inclusive-language translations? At one level." No one. He advances several arguments and quotes several Old Testamenttexts. The Septuagint itself also on occasion moves in the direction of gender-inclusive translation. NRSV. Moreover. owing to continuing shifts in English usage that make more and more words gender specific. for the first time Bible translation committees have tried to work out systematic principles in this area and then apply them to the whole Bible. He has taken the third-person singular ("he will be a son to me") and rewritten it as a second-person plural-not only a second-person plural. Even the more biblically literate in the Corinthian congregation would have been familiar with at least the Greek text. it is certainly not the product of a feminist agenda. 6:18. I think. I shall briefly return to this passage in chapter 8. "I will be a Father to you. as we shall see in chapter 4. there are two new developments. because these shifts in the language have come about. This is true for both sides of the debate: if some feminists and egalitarians see these linguistic changes as something to be espoused and promoted. for here the LXX follows the Hebrew rather closely. Now they are being worked out systematically. 4 In the past. as we have seen. Nevertheless. But the least we can say is that the apostle himself does not think that Hebrew singulars must always be rendered by Greek singulars. if you do not like the results. but in terms that expand the masculine "son" into both genders: "you shall be sons and daughters to me. Not that Paul was the first to make such adjustments. would quickly charge Paul with succumbing to a feminist agenda." We do not have to wait for modern translations before we find the formal equivalent dropped in favor of the semantic equivalent: not only do we find "children" in the KJV. Note carefully what the apostle Paul has done. Second. nothing is new: those who translate ancient languages into English have always wrestled with these sorts of questions. mv. which he renders. The Hebrew of Hosea 2:4 (2:6 MT). two sons and one daughter (Hosea 1). so they would have detected the changes Paul has introduced." This is competent translation. such questions were largely dealt with in an ad hoc way. which uses a Greek neuter word for "children" instead of the common Greek word for "sons.20 THE INCLUSIYERLANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 21 6:14-7:1). the last of which is 2 Samuel 7: 14. bound up with an important typology that needs to be explored. There are complex reasons why Paul can argue this way. you will conclude that this brings about consistency. you will conclude that something artificial is being imposed on the text. Nor can one easily imagine that Paul was ignorant of the Hebrew and LXX texts. these translational questions have become freighted with more significance than they would otherwise enjoy. some complementarians see them as something to be repulsed at all costs. "Upon her sons also I will have no pity. First. translation from almost any language to ahnost any other language involves some hard choices in this area. ASV. Ii I . literally says. and you shall be sons and daughters to me" (2 Cor. social change. author's translation). and most other English translations. or that the Hebrew "son" should never be rendered by the Greek "sons and daughters. The Bible tells us that Hosea's wife Gomer bore three children. As a result it is becoming more and more difficult to engage in cool evaluation of the translational factors involved without soon becoming enmeshed in debates about motives. because they are sons of whoredom. but the same shift was accomplished in the Septuagint (Hosea 2:6 LXX). and biblical fidelity. If you like the results.

"thou" and related forms were abaudoned in direct address to God. most readers do not expect quite the same degree of rigor from Bibles in that tradition. (2) More importaut. In most cases one can offer an intelligent guess as to why their publication elicited relatively little comment. say. Whatever the label. (3) Nevertheless. the 1996 update ofthe extraordinarily popular Living Bible (LB). (1) The English is elegaut. "Teach your children to choose the right path. "The use of male-oriented lauguage. heard without misunderstauding. and one suspects that some of these parachurch ministries had not even noticed this feature of this version until the current crisis blew up. published by Thomas Nelson in 1995 under the sponsorship of the Amer- ican Bible Society. despite its largely conservative constituency. the NEB adopted critical stances toward the Bible with which virtually no confessional Christian could feel comfortable.22 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 23 Still. the style impressive--characteristics that attract the best -educated people in the Englishspeaking world. the LB advertises itself as a paraphrase. The Revised English Bible (REB). more precisely. Three factors ensured that neither the NEB nor the REB would become the Bible of the people. The Contemporary English Version (CEY). although many copies of the LB (and one suspects this will be true of the NLT) are cherished for personal reading. including more thau one hundred textual displacements in the Old Testament that had no textual warraut whatsoever but were made purely on "higher critical" grounds." Similarly. to its gender-inclusive translation policy. but no one else. The most egregious features of the NEB have been rectified in the REB. is described as a "user-friendly" and a "mission-driven" trauslation "that can be read aloud without stumbling. or even the RSY. and when they are older. . both the NEB aud the REB staud far enough away from traditionallauguage in many passages that some Christiaus. The New Living Translation (NLT). if conservative believers were aware of the REB'S existence. Its popular level of writing has ensured its adoption by some popular parachurch ministries.s and the REB is not going to reverse this trend. because the lauguage is contemporary aud the style is lucid and lyrical. it is far from clear that the NLT will overtake the NN as a staudard pew Bible. Its publication history is still very recent." Its introduction provides examples of how this policy works out. declared in its preface. it must be said that several inclusive-lauguage Bibles appeared without much fuss. it employs gender-inclusive language fairly extensively. including some conservative ones. say. the revisers have preferred more inclusive gender reference where that has been possible without compromising scholarly integrity or English style. Partly this spraug from the fact that both the LB aud the NLT advertise themselves as paraphrases-or. Certainly the NEB has enjoyed only a fraction of the sales of. For example. steeped in the tradition of. the KN. Something similar could be said for NIrY. the NIY that was recast for young children aud other readers with limited vocabulary aud reading skills. in passages of traditional versions of the Bible which evidently apply to both genders. which in fact reads very smoothly. a traditional rendering of Proverbs 22:6 might read. No attention was drawn. and when he is old he will not depart from it. "Train up a child in the way he should go. did not immediately come under attack." The NLT offers. the vocabulary large. But the REB is a revision of the New English Bible (NEB). and listened to with enjoyment and appreciation."6 Like the REB. similarly adopted "gender-inclusive lauguage. the NIY. But the NLT. find that distance a little off-putting. has become a sensitive issue in recent years. they will remain upon it"-in this case avoiding the masculine pronoun by switching to plural. Moreover. Thus. published in 1989 by both Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press. in the Thomas Nelson edition. and the NLT presents itself as a "thought-for-thought" translation. simply because it belonged to a small constituency far removed from them aud therefore offering no threat. they were unlikely to object very loudly.

it should be pointed out that some critics on the more radical feminist wing think that the NRSV is not nearly radical enough. of course. They want to eliminate. where ben-'adam ("son of man") occurs about ninety times. We shall reflect on both the demand and the restraint in due course. A few sign wavers protested outside the hotel at the Society of Biblical Literature when the NRSV was unveiled and reviewed in that venue. 8 Quite apart from the gender issue. "7 Like the REB. Thus. is thereby lost. The NRSV systematically adopts a gender-inclusive expression when the donor expression is judged generic." "hadst. Psahn 41:5 RSV. you cannot be saved. another word replaces "man": it now reads." Occasionally the translators change to another person to avoid gender-specific language: for example. as free as necessary. The maxim the committee followed was "As literal as possible.24 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 25 There are several other gender-inclusive Bible translations. "My enemies say in malice. For example. and his name perish?'" becomes in the NRSV "My enemies wonder in malice when I will die. in Mark 2:27." etc. Psalm 109). Various devices are employed. 'When will he [that is. A few critics charge the NRSV with inadequately pursuing its stated policy. it eliminates all archaizing forms of English ("thou. "The Sabbath was made for humankind. let alone the REB or the NLT. published in 1989. This is a revision of the Revised Standard Version (RSV). Matt." In Ezekiel. say. most of which will receive little notice in this book." "Fathers" often becomes "ancestors. Nevertheless. In fairness. the English word "man" is retained (for example. On the whole. In a few instances. The advertising was such that anyone who was awake could scarcely have failed to take note that the NRSV employs gender-inclusive language. And it too espouses gender-inclusive principles throughout the translation where words referring to human beings are understood by the translators to be generic in meaning. it therefore stands in a tradition that prefers formal equivalents where possible. in the parables of Jesus if a "man" is doing something that only a male would do in that culture. Acts 15:1 NRSV still preserves "brothers. any male reference to God. The direct speech of the enemies. but today "I will not accept a bull from your house" (NRSV) is decidedly superior. such metamorphoses threatened so much havoc that the translators admit they threw up their hands in despair and left the offending masculine pronoun in place (for example. 25: 14). the policy of adopting gender-inclusive language is systematically worked out. Masculine pronouns for Deity are thinned out. "I will accept no bull from your house" (RSV) may have been acceptable in 1952. many ofthe NRSV'S renderings are distinct improvements over the RSV. The most sophisticated gender-inclusive translation is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Whatever its theological proclivities. I suspect that this version did not draw . for instance. Some of these reflect changes in English usage. not humankind for the Sabbath. the NRSV opts for "mortal. 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses." Sometimes expressions are pluralized: instead of "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked" (RSV). we now have "Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked. For example. the psahnistj die." and this has been criticized: "Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers. of course: we'll come to those in due course. Similarly. the NIV. and my nameperish"-since "I" is gender neutral while "he" is not." "brothers" regularly becomes "brothers and sisters.). but not neutered and not feminized. Various criticisms can be leveled. "Once I was stoned" (RSV) has understandably given way to "Once I received a stoning"though "to receive a stoning" somehow seems to downplay the experience.' " But here the NRSV'S restraint is wholly admirable: can you imagine the national snicker if the text read that those from Judea were teaching the brothers and sisters that they had to be circumcised? Once again there was little fuss. the committee's efforts avoid the most obvious traps. and proves less free than.

The NlV is the best -selling English version of the Bible in the world. has continued to receive suggestions for the improvement of the NIV. and demons. Hebrew. Market research prompted the American publisher. "What else could you expect?" The restraint (or indifference?) dissolved when the New International Version (NIV) headed down a similar (though slightly more restrained) path. it . however. gender-specific features in such literary genres as parables and exemplary stories were not to be changed without good reason. Taken in the strictest sense. the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT). Included in the preface to this edition is a sentence that could be interpreted in two quite different ways: "At the same time. the feminine gender of cities and states or nations would be retained. not only would generic uses for formally male terms be rendered by some gender-neutral expression. whose formal equivalents in English may be gender specific. since the next sentence goes on to explain: "This involved distinguishing between those passages in which an activity was normally carried out by either males or females. and so forth. In 1996. and other cases where the gender of the people concerned was less precisely identified. angels.' Among the most important were the following: retain the gender used in the original words referring to God. it can comfortably be understood in the second sense. For example. when I restore it to its paragraph. it is possible to read the sentence in a minimalist sense: "the patriarchalism of the culture" refers to no more than the prevalence of gender-inclusive expressions in. As I read the sentence when it is pulled out of its paragraph.'" Or again." we have every right to dismiss what it says as a vestige of an outmoded view we have outgrown. it seems to favor the first view." 1. So we ignore what the text says and listen to a rather vague "message of the Spirit. brought out the NlVI-the NIV in its gender-inclusive edition. It is especially appreciated in evangelical circles. so that many evangelicals. in 1992 they decided to provide an inclusive-language edition. masculine singular pronouns such as "he" that were contextually gender inclusive could be pluralized to get around the problem. In the 1980s they had produced an edition with minor changes. prompting sensitive translators. in cases of the latter words like 'workmen' could be changed to 'worker' or 'craftsman' to 'skilled worker. While in cases of the former the text could be left unaltered. it was recognised that it was often appropriate to mute the patriarchalism of the culture of the biblical writers through gender-inclusive language when this could be done without compromising the message of the Spirit. Since its first appearance. the British pub- lisher.26 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 27 the opposition of conservatives because it is sponsored by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ (NCCC). That edition cannot legally be sold in the United States." 2. especially those in independent churches and in evangelical denominations that are mostly outside the NCCC. rightly understanding what God by his Spirit has actually said in the Word. widely judged to be suitable for both church and private use. Zondervan. the statement in question could be taken as meaning something between these two alternatives. a group of fifteen scholars from many denominations. but sometimes an expression such as "workman" might become "worker" if it is established that the "work" involved could in that culture be done by a man or a woman. They are committed to the task of continuing to keep the NIV in contemporary English and faithful to the source texts. Hodder and Stoughton. Alternatively. to proceed slowly. on the other hand. could dismiss the effort with a weary. to seek greater accuracy by looking for gender-inclusive expressions in the receptor langnage. Contemplating the next set of changes. One of their first tasks was to adopt a set of principles. this sentence was bound to set alarm bells ringing among complementarians: it sounds as if wherever the Bible says something that our culture views as too "patriarchal. say.

This conservative magazine advertises itself as a . In that case. one must articulate principles that enable you to distinguish when a biblical mandate is to be obeyed in precisely the fonn in which it is cast.. It includes passages that are historically misleading ("The warriors who went out to battie." Hebrews 2:5. and equally significant.. this passage refers to Christ). but the apostle's point in auy case has to do with the warmth of the fellowship of believers and the way they are to receive and welcome and forbear with one another. was an article by Susan Olasky in World. '" The article itself is titled "The Feminist Seduction of the Evangelical Church: Femme Fatale." Genesis 1:26). Precisely three passages in the NRSV are discussed to illustrate how the use of gender-inclusive language can affect the meaning of a passage: The NRSV includes passages that are tortured ("Let us make humaukind in our own image . Others have argued that. role distinctions between men and women are part of a sustained theological picture that is universally binding on the human race.1O Certainly some have tried to argue that whatever patriarchalism there is in the Bible is nothing more than an inevitable cultural residue. There is no discussion of translation theory or of the extent to which gender-inclusive language has cropped up during the previous two thousand and more years. has its way"-we will no longer be able to purchase a copy of the NN we now know: only the NIVI will be available.." Numbers 31 :28. obviously. The words read: "The Stealth Bible: The Popular New International Version Bible Is Quietly Going 'Gender-Neutral. features a Bible with a red sign for the female along the spine. kissing) or focuses primary theological attention on the undergirding attitude.28 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 29 has long been recognized that the precise fonn of a biblical mandate may be so cloaked in a cultural peculiarity that it is not to be obeyed in that form. Among the principles. generated by feminists. in the book of Hebrews. however much we rightly insist that both sexes are of equal importance. Certainly it is not a highwater mark of clarity. those warriors were men. all sides should recognize that the CBT members include both complementarians and egalitarians. It includes passages that are doctrinally confusing ("What are human beings that you are mindful of them or mortals that you care for them. is whether the Bible displays an interest in the particular fonn (in this case.."ll The opening paragraph asserts that by the year 2000 or 2001-"if the 15-member Committee for Biblical Translation (CBT) . weekly news magazine like Time or Newsweek. The next paragraph concedes that this may not happen: Zondervan may choose to put out two separate editions. This is not the place to unpack those principles: I shall say a little more along these lines in chapter 5. of course. 1997. and to the concern of the British publishers that the NRSV was eating into the NN markets. or in the cultural equivalent. however.. The front cover for March 29. it has fueled the worst fears of complementarians. according to the Hebrew). "Greet one another with a holy kiss" does not mean that the apostle is providing us with a theology of kissing: the fonn of greeting may be highly diverse. Does the sentence in the NIVI'S preface address that debate? The statement in the preface to the NIVI is so plastic that with a little effort it could be made to fit almost anywhere along the spectrum I've just laid out. except to say that the publication of the NIVI "fits with the trend The Current Crisis What ignited the flame of indignation and condemnation. equally human. At the very least. inevitably. inaugurating the brouhaha. and the shadow of a stealth aircraft draped across the leather binding. but something you can trust.12 The next third of the article says nothing about translations. Author Olasky keeps referring to the "unisex language" in the NIVI. The drive toward the NNI is attributed to the perceived shift in language usage. So God created humaukind.

taught a class and distributed a paper demanding that staff come into line with the egalitarian position of the church or study until they did-and they had a year to do so. new NIV speaks of Father and Son dwelling among a group of people. World reports. Wayne Grudem. are briefly canvassed. '" The article makes it reasonably clear that at the time. There is a little interaction with Dr. professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. My Father will love him. (The year is now up. Six singular . but it has allowed its members and staff to disagree with the policy. on April 19." The second article published in that issue of World was written by Dr. Inclusive Language NIV: Those who love me will obey my teaching. and Zondervan's contractual arrangements with the Committee on Bible Translation. Massachusetts. 1997. In each case the format is the same. and we will come to them and make our home with them. Featured prominently were comments by Dr. and of Dr. and we will come to him and make our home with him. to a lesser extent. World published two more articles. president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. debates. Olasky suggests that Zondervan's commitments are disclosed in their own editing guidelines (which are gender inclusive). is reported as charging that the terms "inclusive. Jonathan Petersen. Dan Doriani. Albert Mohler. the project was apparently going ahead. Somewhat similar debates at Park Street Church in Boston. the fact that Zondervan was already publishing the NIrv and NRSV. although the American edition of the NIVI was not yet in the publication pipeline." Zondervan's director of corporate affairs. since some of the other passages will be discussed later in this book. Packer: "Adjustments made by what I call the feminist edition are not made in the interests of legitimate translation procedure." and then demonstrates this by talking about Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington. My Father will love them. and discipline is being imposed.) Developments at Willow Creek are then charted. dean of faculty at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Gilbert Bilezikian. the NRSV. Wayne Grudem of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). These changes have been made to pander to a cultural prejudice that I hope will be short-lived. and although no final decision regarding its publication had been taken. asserting that this wealth derives from publishing the NIV and. It briefly compares the NIV and the NIVI on a number of biblical passages. and a brief comment from Dr. Most ofthe rest of Olasky's article interacts with the opinions of Dr. Louis. lllinois 13 Willow Creek has had women elders since 1978. I. and in a few cases uncontrolled rage. J. Two weeks later. One example will suffice. John Ortberg. That was it." "unisex. had not noted any "factual inaccuracies" in the original World article but had criticized World's tone and methodology. he will obey my teaching. Change in Meaning: Dwelling of Father and Son with individual person is lost. The one by Susan Olasky begins with several paragraphs describing the wealth of Zondervan Corporation. a leader on the egalitarian side of the debate and perhaps the major theological voice behind Willow Creek. and comments on the difference.30 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 31 toward egalitarianism." and "gender-neutral" are unfair: "We would characterize it as the' gender-accurate version. Zondervan. And this time there were major statements. R. Zondervan had published a statement asserting "we intend in no way to advance a particular social agenda or stray from the original biblical texts. Text: John 14:23 Current NIV: If anyone loves me. In January 1996 one of the teaching elders.

M.!4 Other voices quickly weighed in. David C. these latter scholars met in a Colorado Springs Marriott. They finished their task at 2:00 A. C. James Dobson of Focus on the Family intervened. The announcement explains these potentially conflicting statements. the present NIV will nevertheless remain in print. executive director of CBMW. but in somewhat more passionate prose. Jerry Falwell's National Liberty Journal. and met with the entire group at 9:00 A. Dr. I was phoned by one of the participants and asked to go along. He knew. Dr.M. In other words. Tim Bayly. one ofthe CBT members. IDS and Zondervan released a joint statement announcing that they are "unequivocally committed to continue to publish the current NIV text. Kenneth Barker. From Focus. I delayed responding while I thought it over.!6 Dr. Vern Poythress of Westminster Theological Seminary. president and CEO of Zondervan. not least those most critical of the NIVI. Bruce Ryskamp." not earlier than 2001. and made a list of the commitments they wanted the publishers to make. Dr. and Dr. If a new edition is produced (and sooner or later it will be). Unable to set aside other responsibilities. which publishes a great deal of Sunday School material. president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Wayne Grudem. and Mr. planned for Tuesday. May 27. senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church and coeditor. wrote an article for Dr. On May 3 he had written a column in World warning against "injecting feminist bias and language into the inspired text. Barker. a member of CBMW's Board of Reference. Three days before that meeting. Mr. A Response to Evangelical F eminism. and had been involved in various ways with the theory and practice of translation. was reportedly looking again at their commitment to the NIrV. Those who attended on the one side were Dr.32 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 33 Greek words which John wrote as part of Scripture are mistranslated in this one text. For example. Dr. publisher of World. Only weeks before their annual convention. They compiled a ten-page list OfNIVI mistranslations (as they took them to be). IDS and Zondervan leaders met with some Southern Baptist leaders on May 19 in Nashville. secretary of the CBT. and above all being swamped with other responsibilities. 17 The day before the Focus meeting itself. Dr. Pressure continued to mount. with Dr. Ronald Youngblood. James Dobson attended. president of CBMW. they would "continue to move forward with plans for the possible publication of an updated edition of the present NIV." At the same time. Focus promptly withdrew that edition and offered a full refund of the purchase price. Lars Dunberg. of course. In due course Dobson invited the NIV!NIVI publishers to meet with him and some theologians." Then Focus discovered that its own Odyssey Bible for children used gender-inclusive language. Cook Church Ministries. Kenneth L. Dr. Charlie Jarvis. I declined. This article summarized Olasky's article. John Piper. Wayne Grudem. Perceiving that what I would say would probably not satisfy anyone. On May 14. On the other side were Mr. as did Mr. executive vice president. president of IDS.!S On April 28. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries. constructed a set of alternative guidelines for translators dealing with genderoriented problems. secretary of the Committee on Bible Translation and himself a committed complementarian. Paige Patterson. disliking a controversy which in my view was moving in unprofitable directions. Joel Belz. without any changes or revisions. of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. wrote me a letter asking if I would respond to some of these articles with an article of my own. R. Dr. was at that time on the Board of Reference of CBMW. Southern Baptist leaders not ouly condemned the "unisex" NIVI but predicted serious action at the forthcoming annual meeting. . the next day. a potential new edition will not replace the current NIV in Zondervan's publishing schedule. that I too am a complementarian.

. and it is difficult to align the two sets of pictnres. but agreed to do so a few days later. in a godly spirit. I have listened to friends from both sides of the debate describe what happened. passed resolutions vowing to oppose gender-inclusive Bible translations. IBS and Zondervan admitted to some mistakes in the NNI." "unusual exceptions. In essence. In some ways that was not the end of the struggle but the beginning. IBS vice president." "ordinarily. Before they left the meeting. • The present (1984) NIV text will continue to be published.I 9 In mid-July Christianity Today published a photograph of Dean Merrill. Afraid oflosing its market. The resulting document. When the gender-language document was shown to him. That was not quite how the other side saw things. everyone agreed in principle on a joint statement. Thus some of the primary concerns of the critics were already met. not least among Southern Baptists. Dr. two hours before the meeting in Colorado Springs on May 27. not because they disagreed with the complementarianism CBMW has defended. after a substantial number of qualifiers had been inserted: note the frequency of expressions such as "often. • IBS will enter into negotiations with the publisher of the NIV in the U. Various news magazines and journals kept the issue alive.K. Kenneth Barker had prepared a revised set of guidelines which in partial measure paralleled what the critics were proposing. Some scholars felt constrained to resign from the Board of Reference of CBMW. on the matter of ceasing publication of its "inclusive language" edition of the NN. including the Southern Baptist Convention and the Presbyterian Church in America. Bible rage had struck. IBS is directing the licensees who publish the current NIrV to publish only the revised NIrV edition as soon as it is ready. it sawall the developments as the sure hand of God and emphasized the depth of the agreement. Ronald Youngblood had left the meeting early. Dr. holding one of several NIV Bibles that had been destroyed by a drill." In addition. There are no plans for a fnrther revised edition. on all fronts. both in that form and in a form slightly revised once again. while doubtless wanting to be loyal to its constituency. The critics have ranged from being very pleased to frankly jubilant. but because they disagreed (1) with its tightly linking the issue of complementarianism to that of gender-inclusive translations and (2) with at least some of the principles the critics had advanced in Colorado Springs and which CBMW subsequently endorsed. IBS released a fonr-point policy statement to the effect that • IBS has abandoned all plans for gender-related changes in future editions of the New International Version (NN). I was not there. he declared he could not sign it as it was. Late spring and early summer annual meetings of various denominational groups."18 The tone in the June issue of CBMW News was more restrained. some clauses were rewritten to allow a trifle more flexibility. For myself. Several individuals both in the CBT and in the administration of the publishers have described a less harmonious picture but wanted to keep a low profile because of the politics of the situation. neither Zondervan nor IBS had much room to maneuver.34 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 35 Battered by the adverse publicity. has been so widely published (and I have printed it again in chapter 2) that I need not summarize its principal points here. • IBS will begin immediately to revise the New International Readers Version (NIrv) in a way that reflects the treatment of gender in the NIV. a complaint that eventually petered out. Zondervan sent a ten-page ethics complaint to a committee of the Evangelical Press Association criticizing the series of articles in World. In the latter category was the cover story for the June 14/21 issue of World." "only rare exceptions. titled "Bailing Out of the Stealth Bible.

I wish to summarize a small part of a discussion between Dr. Tyndale House Publishers. in my view. not a few are friends. Kenneth . history offers many examples of movements which. slow the pace of debate. Meanwhile Christians for Biblical Equality. Would it not befair to suggest that at least some signed the document because of their concern over the larger issue and their trust in the framers of the document? What then shall we do who share their larger concern but are persuaded neither that the published guidelines of the CBT are sufficiently careful nor that the principles agreed on at Colorado Springs are always soundly based? The issues are complex. Taylor of Tyndale House Publishers circulated a memo to everyone who had worked on the NLT. Quite a number of them. The diversity and intensity of the reactions are in one sense a good thing: important issues should not be laughed off as of no moment. and we need cool heads and more time to get this one right. and linguistics. would make no pretense of having much grasp of Hebrew. are sometimes overlooked. and many who are between the extremes. translation theory. not least because both of them publish other inclusive-language versions of the Bible. Slogans and demonizing those who disagree with us will not help. however. while on all sides of this debate there are some passionate people-some of them enraged-there are also some people who are extraordinarily self-disciplined and gracious. Nevertheless. that Bruce E. Doubtless some of these questions were mooted by egalitarians. Concluding Reflections But enough. They therefore explicitly asked that their names be removed from similar ads in later publications. arguing that a good grasp of translation theory establishes his position.36 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE THE MAKING OF A CRISIS 37 A quiet but rising chorus of publishers and Bible translators began to reflect on the Colorado Springs principles and ask technical questions. and Zondervan Pnblishing House began to lay plans for a broad-based conference of scholars and Bible translators to discuss these issues and perhaps generate a set of guidelines. Osborne says thatthis is not necessarily the case. To close this lengthy report on this confrontation. Nevertheless. I have no desire to alienate any of them. Dr. The same issue includes a two-page ad summarizing the Focus meeting and translation principles. Executives from Wycliffe Bible Translators. Grant Osborne. the Bible League. and their belief that the question of gender-inclusive translations is a necessary component of this conviction. The October 27 issue of Christianity Today carried an article by Dr. I cannot help but conclude that what drew many of them to sign this document is their concern to maintain complementarianism. I think. Greek. Taylor also indicated some changes that would be introduced into future printings of the NLT. plus an impressive list of names of others who had subsequently endorsed the principles. but it would be grossly unfair to suggest they were the only ones doing so. In large part this little book is notbing more than an attempt to lower the temperature. United Bible Societies. and this out of strong biblical convictions. Thomas Nelson. Wayne Grudem and another by Dr. Ryskamp (president and CEO of Zondervan) and Lars Dunberg (president of IBS) did not want their names to be used. What we must see is that. Grudem argues that inclusive-language translations distort Scripture. MarkD. Aramaic. Most of the men2 ! who signed this document22 are known to me personally. and bring up some things that. And yet as I look at the list. unwittingly swing the pendulum to unseen evils on the other side. He defended the "moderate" use of gender-inclusive language and expressed his dissatisfaction with some of the Focus principles. I gather. and including the names of all those who had been present. collected signatures for its protest to IBS. an egalitarian group. Tyndale House Pnblishers has obviously learned something from the controversy: Mr. International Bible Society. seeking to head off a genuine evil in the culture. along with their respective responses to each other. Dr. 20 At the end of July.

or some other way of avoiding a rendering that unnecessarily repulses some readers with its maleness. aired May 13. Where do we go from here? 2 CONFLICTING PRINCIPLES THE CBT AND ON INCLUSIVE CSG LANGUAGE For the sake of easy reference." Each individual believer applies such texts to himself or herself individually. they are viewed as confidential. One understands their reluctance: at this 39 . His point. Barker says that the singular in John 14:23 is clearly generic. saying that the change from the repeated singular references to the plural "we will come to them and make our home with them" has the effect of losing the personal application. and therefore we should not do so either. and the issue at stake is one of accuracy. So why treat the plurals in the NIVI of John 14:23 as a serious problem in which individual application will be lost? Dr. Wayne Grudem on Open Line. Dr. because some readers will find such words exclusive. At this juncture I am attempting no systematic evaluation. 1997. First. Barker responds that we are accustomed to many plurals from which we automatically make a personal application.38 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE Barker and Dr. Both parties are claiming to be faithful and accurate. That will come later in the book. thatthe other is fundamentally mistaken. a radio program produced by Moody. along with the guidelines agreed on in Colorado Springs. is a published statement open to inspection. the chair of the CBT. for sending me a copy. both sides are saying. Jesus says. I am grateful to Professor John Stek. As these are still being worked on. Dr. and therefore faithful. the CBT policy. in effect. it will prove useful to set out the policy of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) that stands behind the NIVI. for they will be filled. he had reasons for doing so. The text may now mean no more than that the Father and the Son will live among all the believers. But it is common knowledge that the CBT is currently preparing a revised set of guidelines. Grudem replies that he has no problem with plurals that can be read individually. a couple of explanatory comments may prove helpful. he says. is that in John 14:23 the inspired author does not use a plural. adopted in August 1992. Dr. and neither Professor Stek nor anyone else with whom I talked felt comfortable about showing them to me. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Grudem replies that our first allegiance is to Scripture. Dr. Grudem raises John 14:23 (cited in the excerpt above). accurate translation demands that we use the plural form. rather than with the individual believer. in Matthew 5:6. If John chooses to use the singular. For example. and we should not quickly sacrifice what the text actually says. Nevertheless.

E. though care must be taken not to distort the intent of the original text. So here. So CSG or CS principles it is. For these forms. even if the latter cannot go all the way with the former. Once again.! But others signed the document. are the two sets of guidelines. that CBMW leaders and others related to them are willing to modify their views. In an earlier draft. Although scholars other than those affiliated with CBMW were involved in the formulation of that policy. Gender-inclusive language must be made in light of exegetical and linguistic attention to individual texts in their contexts..g. the policy agreed on in Colorado Springs needs a name. translators can and may use non-offending renderings so as not to hinder the message of the Spirit. CBMW has not only promoted the principles most strongly but has apparently organized their upgrade. I called it the CBMW policy. the respective gender-language policies of the CBT and CS. C. the issues are too complicated to be well treated by entrenched thinking and simplistic "good guys versus bad guys" or "them versus us" analyses. We must avoid entrenched thinking and conspiracy theories: let us learn from one another. alternative modes of expression can and may be used. not the brains behind the formulation of the policy. Basic Principles M[oved]S[econded and]C[arried] that these be adopted as amended: A. Authors of Biblical books. The patriarchalism (like other social patterns) of the ancient cultures in which the Biblical books were composed is pervasively reflected in forms of expression that appear. In narratives. At such times. but Focus was the sponsoring organization. I learned of their strong preference for "Colorado Springs Guidelines" (CSG) or the Colorado Springs (CS) principles-though of course all sides recognize that the geography was accidental.40 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE CONFLICTING PRINCIPLES 41 point the committee is doubtless a trifle gun-shy. e. Hence in the manner in which they articulate the Word of God. An optimistic reading of these circumstances is that in the mercy of God the controversy may help sharpen thinking in this area: the principles adopted at Colorado Springs may help to shape the thinking of the CBT. We might call it the Focus on the Family policy. even while writing Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit. exemplary stories. not least those with whom we disagree. then. (2) More important. Biblical translations must be faithful to the originallanguage texts out of fidelity to the Word of God. Strictly speaking. 3 D. Perhaps further modifications are possible. unconsciously reflected in many ways. the legal and wisdom literature. the gender-spe- . B. Biblical translation is for the purpose of making the Word of God available to all who know the receptor language-so that they all can "take and read"-women and men alike. but it is important to push toward as much agreement as we can manage. in the modern context. the CBMW tag seemed appropriate for two reasons. the particular cultures in which they wrote. they sometimes offend modern sensibilities. CBT Policy on Gender-Inclusive Language' 1. metaphors and the like. Second. parables. to deny the common human dignity of all hearers and readers. It is surely encouraging. the slightly modified principles now being circulated are not exactly the ones agreed on in Colorado Springs (though we are told that the original signers have agreed to the changes). not least for those who oppose the CSG. Doubtless points of disagreement will remain. and in consultation with two or three of the framers. (1) CBMW was the organization most strongly represented in the ad hoc group of scholars that met in the Colorado Springs Marriott.

and a singular sentence may be recast in a plural form provided this does not obscure a significant individual reference. (6) Avoid repetitive masculine gender references where alternative expressions are available and appropriate. male references may be retained. for whom the grammatical genders of the Hebrew and Greek terms and forms are feminine and neuter respectively. (5) Where the original cultural context shows a distinctively male activity (bowman. (10) In the use of inclusive language." e. (4) Where context clearly shows that reference is to male(s). inclusive singular subjects (such as "everyone" and "whoever") may not be followed by plural pronouns (such as "they" and "their"). (8) To avoid gender-specific language in general statements. but if suitable alternatives are available (such as archer.42 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE CONFLICTING PRINCIPLES 43 cific elements are usually not to be replaced or added to in order to achieve gender balance. and angels are masculine in gender. II. Similarly." (11) In general. retaiu masculine references. While sexuality cannot be ascribed to God. rower). characteristic. In those that are not. Satan. (13) The convention in ancient wisdom literature of addressing young men on the threshold of adult responsibilities and the fact that certain passages in Proverbs deal with distinctly male circumstances are not to be obscured.g. oarsman). Any proposal that is an exception to this latter rule must be placed in the margin along with the reason. For the sake of consistency in references to God." "human(s). ." "boys and girls").) (12) Expressions employed in common parlance in society today.. (7) In legal texts careful distinction should be made between laws that are male specific and those that are not. hish. such as frequent use of "someone." "humankind. is cumbersome and should usually be avoided. F. worker. God's own self-descriptions and the Biblical references to God. General Guidelines M[ ovedJS [econded andJC[arriedJ that these be adopted as amended: (1) Keep the NIV text to the greatest possible extent. At the same time. these are usually to be preferred. any individual proverbs that may have pertained to women also can be rendered inclusively. inclusive language should be used. avoid repetition that mars good style. even though they may seem to denote male dominance (such as "men and women. or relationship. (9) Do not employ artificial solutions in the pronominal structure. On the other hand. avoid gender-specific nouns and adjectives where acceptable alternatives are available. retain female references. (Such terms as "prophetess" and the adjective "fellow-" need to be weighed carefully. or the Scandinavian han. and such references are not to be altered. Nor can sexuality be ascribed to the Spirit of God. (3) Avoid any formulation that distorts the Biblical representation of theological truths or the created world. (2) Avoid any change that will produce ambiguity or lack of clarity. G." "person. workman. such as ho. masculine pronouns will be used in referring to the Spirit. are not to be avoided. "He or she. a third-person sentence may be changed to second person where this adequately conveys the meaning." "human being(s). where context clearly shows that reference is to female(s).

"Son" (huios. B. 1O:24--perhaps with a footnote). him." The singular anthropos should ordinarily be translated "man" when it refers to a male hnman being. genres. Hebrew 'fsh should ordinarily be translated "man" and "men. Gender-related renderings which we will generally avoid. himself' should be employed to translate generic 3rd person masculine singular pronouns in Hebrew. CS Policy on Gender-Inclusive Language4 A. (16) Consistency within books. and John 2:25 5 4. substantival participles such as ho pisteuon can often be rendered in inclusive ways. "Man" should ordinarily be nsed to designate the human race. (18) The language of the sectional headings must also be examined and revised where appropriate. In many cases. 5:2. the plural adelphoi can be translated "brothers and sisters" where the context makes clear that the author is referring to both men and women. Ezekiel 29:11. 3. care is to be taken to retain as much continuity with the present text of the NIV as good style will allow. 5. anthropoi refers to people in general. pronouns such as oudeis can be translated "no one" rather than "no man. When pas is used as a substantive it can be translated with terms such as "all people" or "everyone." and Greek aner should almost always be so translated. or the like. leave unchanged unless: (a) the passage is universally applicable (Luke 16:13. (b) the extended passage loses specificity (Luke 14:31-35). The generic use of "he." 9." 7. The phrase "son of man" should ordinarily be preserved to retain intracanonical connections. In many cases. corpora." or "sons" (huioi) to "children" or "sons . with only rare exceptions required in unusual cases. for example in Genesis 1:26-27. (19) Where gender-inclusive language is contextually inappropriate. such as "the one who believes" rather than "he who believes. "Brother" (ade/phos) should not be changed to "brothers or sisters"." 2. ben) should not be changed to "child. 6. however. 10. his. though there may be unusual exceptions in certain contexts: 1. and safeguard canonical unity. and can be translated "people" rather than "men. culture. custom." 8. and conventional idioms is to be maintained. Aramaic and Greek. Indefinite pronouns such as tis can be translated "anyone" rather than "any man. 6 2. (c) modem circumstances are universal (Matt. Gender-related renderings of Biblical language which we affirm: I. However. (20) Where male-specific references or masculine-gender grammatical forms in the original texts are probably due to context. Masculine references to God should be retained. 17:31-33).44 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE CONFLICTING PRINCIPLES 45 (14) Preserve the similarity of parallel passages and quotations. (15) Feminine gender references to cities and states! nations are to be retained. an explanatory footnote may be called for. Person and number should be retained in translation so that singulars are not changed to plurals and third person statements are not changed to second or first person statements. (17) When change to inclusive language requires the recasting of whole phrases or clauses.

") 3." or "fathers" to "parents" or "ancestors. traitors. This assumes. that each word in the receptor language is more or less 47 . So translation works the same way: you translate all the words. and that some details may need further refinement.46 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE and daughters. Hebrew Minlm often means "children. We understand these guidelines to be representative and not exhaustive." (However. In this chapter I am stepping away from the challenges of inclusive-language translations so as to reflect a little on the nature of translation itself.' i TRANSLATION AND TREASON AN AND INEVITABLE TASK IMPOSSIBLE Traddutore. It doesn't work in English-which is precisely the point. in effect. that all translation is treason. "Father" (pater." This Italian pun insists. Some people innocently think that the meaning of a sentence or of a paragraph or some longer text is discovered by adding together the separate meanings of all the individual words. of course. and then add them all up again. traditore: "Translators." C. The pun "works" because the words for "translation" and "treason" in Italian are very similar. Yab) should not be changed to "parent.

In Greek. so far as word order is concerned. Two languages will vary in the size of their respective vocabularies. in the present tense." More precisely. which is only about one third as long.48 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 49 identical in meaning with the corresponding word in the donor language. you (plural) run. the Greek New Testament. but it still has occasional inflections from an earlier time.500 words. of course. and sentences. The Hebrew Old Testament has just over 4. they run. the direct object of the verb). and such changes are not restricted to verbs. the subject of the verb). a word in one language that is properly rendered by a certain word in another language may have to be rendered by quite a different word once the context changes. First-year Greek students are taught that the prepositional Greek phrase en toli5annen exelthein should be rendered by some such English expression as "when John went out. 2. All of this might be thought narrowly technical." and the right case must be chosen to align with the function of that noun in its sentence. Similar things can be said for bodies of literature. Differences from Language to Language There are many. Languages have very different ways of constructing their words when they are actually being used in a context. How great that separation is varies enormously. 3. provided the word "John" is carrying the nominative case inflection. but it has an enormous impact on syntax. The total lexical count of English words is about three times that of French words. has about 5. in many cases. Even words that are close in meaning to one another will differ at some point. Hebrew employs something called an infinitive construct. he/she/it runs.000 separate words. you (singular) run. Experienced translators could easily expand it into a library of books. In reality. The Greek verb phileo is often properly translated "to love. depending on how those words are used. Here is a very partial list." as when Judas kissed Jesus. But discovering the meaning of a text is not anything like that. 4. Both Greek and Hebrew are highly inflected. nouns have one of five formal "cases. To make the point clear. of course. keep the same form except for the third-person singular: for example. or in the middle ("infixes"). English is not a highly inflected language. on how words are linked together to generate phrases. clauses. There are scores and scores of syntactical differences between Greek and English and between Hebrew and English. 1." but sometimes it must be rendered "to kiss. I run. Verbs are "conjugated" and nouns and pronouns are "declined": thus the different "declensions" to which a noun may belong determine how its endings will change. Two languages will vary in the most obvious way-in the meanings of the words belonging to each. These five cases are handled differently in the three common patterns of ending. they change something at the end ("suffixes"). in the simple English sentence "John loves Susan. Verbs in English. of course. Nevertheless the difference in the number of words found in any two languages provides another reason why it is impossible to map the words of one language onto the words of another. there is nothing quite like it in contemporary English. nothing more. Some languages are "inflected": that is. the three declensions of nouns. and Susan is carrying the accusative case inflection. and translating a text is not anything like that. that is. and who is being loved (Susan. In Greek. we run. or at the beginning ("prefixes"). most English speakers and French speakers use only a small fraction of the total number of words theoretically available to them in their respective languages. that is. or some combination of the three. one could write "Susan loves John" and John might still be the subject. many things that separate any two languages. this chapter offers a few examples. For example." the word order establishes who is loving (John. the Greek preposition en plus the articular infinitive compounded .

dates based on quite a different calendar. it must do so by a variety of other means. excellent English style demands that we put as few as possible into the passive voice. some differences between languages mean that the translator must choose between two goals: he or she caunot achieve both of them. That in tum raises the question of what difference in meaning there is between the two constructions in Greek. the more elegant the Greek. excellent Greek style puts a lot of verbs into the passive voice. It is almost impossible to get that across in English. There are scores of translation challenges where the translator must choose between two desirable things. So if we translate every Greek passive voice by a passive voice in English. of course there are differences. Not so in Hebrew. almost always with serious loss in some other arena. we preserve the passives while sending out a signal that this is inferior English-in exactly those passages that are stylistically the best and most sophisticated Greek. within Greek. no "a" or "the"). one that several schol- . if we switch some of the Greek passives to the active voice in English. it would come out something like "in the to go out [with respect to1John"-but of course.! But a great deal of the English distinction of timespast. so we go with the closest English equivalent we have. it is certainly not conveyed the same way! The significance of the Greek article for English has similar problems. money units. future. Exactly the opposite is true in English. 5. Something similar can be said for part or all of the Greek system.50 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 51 with an accusative is being rendered in English as a temporal subordinate clause. but it is so complicated at the level of semantics (that is. espousing theories that differ one from another. 7. Translation is treason. As a rule. Syriac has no subjunctive or optative mood. A choice must be made. or. That does not mean that Hebrew is incapable of distinguishing times. Something similar must be said regarding Greek particles. of meaning) that tomes are written on the subject. In the nature of the case. and more complicated times such as future perfect-rides on the English verbal system. What is quite clear is that the Hebrew verbal system does not layout time relations. Quite a number of poetic passages in the Hebrew canon are acrostic poems. At the level of translation into English. present. and the way we use them is quite different from the way the Greek article is used. if its significance is not lost. But in fact. like neo-Melanesian languages today. Rather. when all of these measurements are grounded in scales radically different from anything we use in English? 8. and times of the day. Alternatively. whenever anyone has tried to translate a text from one language into another language. that is not English. not because we have no article. while Greek has one. Latin has no article (that is. The Hebrew verbal system is formally very simple. That means the significance of the article in Greek is sometimes lost when one moves to Latin. they have always been there. Various attempts have been made. For example. Coptic has no passive voice. Greek itself has temporal subordinate clauses: the basic thought could have been written in Greek in a way that was much closer to English syntax. 6. This is only a partial list of the challenges a translatorfaces. To translate the Greek more literally. Something will be lost. That usually means these languages have to specify a subject even when none is specified in Greek. In other words. there may be none. we preserve a feel for the elegance of the Greek style by having a more elegant English. The first languages into which the New Testament was translated differed in some major structural ways from the donor language. the more particles. the kinds of problems we are talking about are not merely contemporary. But we lose the passives. How does one translate weights and measures. but because we have two. We thereby lose something. Perhaps a concrete example will help.

It concerns the Greek word sarx. there is death NRSV: to set the mind on the flesh is death REB: those who live on the level of the old nature have their outlook formed from it. but the sarx is weak" KJV/NKJV: flesh NAsB:flesh NN/NIVI: body NLT: body NRsv:flesh REB: flesh John 17:2: "just as you have given to him authority over all sarx" KJV/NKJV: flesh NASB: mankind NIV /NIVI: people NLT: everyone NRSV: people REB: mankind Romans 8:6: "forthe way of thinking ofthe sarx is death" KJV /NKJV: for to be carnally minded is death NASB: for the mind set on the flesh is death NN: the mind of sinful man is death NIVI: the mind controlled by the sinful nature is death if your sinful nature controls your mind. in return. things characterized by the sarx]" KJV: reap your carnal things NKJV: reap your material things NASB: reap material things from you NN/NIVI: reap a material harvest from you NLT: is it too much to ask. and that spells death [verses 5 and 6 are combined] NLT: Romans 11:14: "if somehow I might make jealous my sarx and save some of them" KJV: them which are my flesh NKJV: those who are my flesh NAsB:feliow countrymen NIV/NIVI: own people NLT: the Jews NRSV: own people REB: own race 1 Corinthians 3:3: "for you are still sarkikoi [that is." Consider the following passages: Matthew 16:17: "sarx and blood have not revealed this to you" KJV/NKJV: flesh and blood NAsB:flesh and blood NN: this was not revealed to you by man [covering both "flesh and blood"] NIVI: this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood NLT: You did not learn this from any human being NRSV: flesh and blood REB: You did not learn that from any human being Mark 14:38: "the spirit is willing. characterized by sarx]" KJV: for ye are yet carnal NKJV: for you are still carnal NASB: you are still fleshly NN/NIVI: you are still worldly NLT: you are still controlled by your own sinful desires NRSV: you are still of the flesh REB: you are still on the merely natural plane 1 Corinthians 9:11: "is it much if we reap your sarkika [that is. for mere food and clothing NRSV: reap your material benefits REB: is it too much to expect from you a material harvest .52 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 53 ars have employed recently. often rendered "flesh.

the word iampros occurs only nine times in the Greek New Testament." The breakdown between "flesh" and "body" at Mark 14:38 may be a way of avoiding any overtones of "flesh" that are tied to sexual sin (an increasing use of the word today. Stand thou there. and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment. in goodly apparel. The NIV/NIVI'S "material harvest" in one sense goes over the top: there is no explicit mention of harvest." and these three English words all have the same Greek word behind them (namely. the word is neuter plural. Sit thou here in a good place." but the NIVI. or sit here under my footstool" (James 2:2-3 KJV). and it is always a bit difficult to know how to substantivize such expressions. sarx cannot properly be evaluated by itself. because contemporary use has narrowed down the offense to the sexual arena. any of the other options appears acceptable. The idea of "human being" is exactly what the expression means. But if we do not use "flesh" to render it (for that is a fairly outmoded use of "flesh" today)." Or again. because "flesh and blood" is a unit pair. The NN opts for "man. and say unto him. ." and "clear"). "Harvest" may have been judged adequate as the complement of "reap. "gorgeous. Why once "goodly" and once "gay"? The words do not convey the same overtones. Paul was certainly not trying to reap "carnal things" in the contemporary sense of "carnal" (1 Cor. And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing. the same verses employ "apparel. all employing the verb "to eat" (diy in Vagla)." "bright." and "clothing." John 17:2 uses sarx to refer to all people. Perhaps "body" was attractive over against "spirit. 9:11). "carnal" or "carnally" has to go." "raiment.54 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 55 Galatians 4:13: "because of weakness of the sarx I first preached the gospel to you" KJV: through infirmity of the flesh NKN: because of physical infirmity NASB: because of a bodily illness NIV/NNI: because of an illness [thus embracing the entire expression "weakness of the flesh"] NLT: I was sick NRSV: because of a physical infirmity REB: bodily illness Galatians 5:16: "walk by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desire of the sarx" KJV/NKJV: not fulfill the lust of the flesh NASB: not carry out the desire of the flesh NN/NIVI: not gratify the desires of the sinful nature NLT: won't be doing what your sinful nature craves NRSV: do not gratify the desires of the flesh REB: will not gratify the desires of your unspiritual nature In Matthew 16:17. "Worldly" (NIV) is not bad. one could not possibly use "gay" in this context today. 3 In what follows. The KJV manages to use six different words to translate this one word (namely. the first column represents a literal rendering of a number of expressions in Vagla (a tribal language in Ghana)." instead of opting for "human being." goes back to "flesh and blood. trying to avoid a generic use of "man. as in "sins of the flesh" in modem parlance). even using two different words in one passage: "For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring. Translators John Beekman and John Callow provide an interesting and amusing example of the way a single word in one language must be translated by many different words in another language." "gay. but inevitably it loses any explicit connection with the word group. esthes). and say to the poor. In any case." "goodly.2 Incidentally." "white. The second column represents the English semantic equivalent. In Romans 8:6 and 1 Corinthians 3:3. Nevertheless.

56 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 57 Vagla Expression he ate his self he ate his case he ate shame he ate chieftainship he ate two goals he ate him a friend he ate him an argument it is eating you should eat English Eqnivalent he enjoyed himself he judged his case he was ashamed he became the chief he scored two goals he chose him as a friend he argued with him it is sharp it's your tum very good. and when he not of it could not. it is that I shall remember that the grand flume is not achieved when he arrives at the camp for the first time. "I can translate very well. betting upon all that which is presented. though not fast. 8 And much more of the same. according to Twain. there was a feller here once by the name ofJim Smiley. it is no more like the Jumping Frog when he gets through with it than I am like a meridian of longitude. What Mark Twain has done. Here is Mark Twain's "retranslation": It there was one time here an individual known under the name My point is that inevitably there are differences from language to language. (It is funnier yet if you read French well and can read the intermediate text.) It reminds me of a letter my Dad received when he was a young man. The French author. but. All of this reminds me of a funny essay Mark Twain wrote in 1875: "The 'Jumping Frog': In English. possibly well at the spring of ' 50. and if he couldn't he'd change sides. is what makes this piece so funny. Twain claims he will now."5 To prove the point.' I shall spare you the French. Twain writes. when he could find an adversary. Then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient. he has simply mixed it all up. in the winter of ' 49-or may be it was the spring of '50I don't recollect exactly. He has all the words "right"-properly spelled. of course. And then he blames the Frenchman for improperly translating! And that. ignored matters of syntax and idiom. "but still he can't see why it should ever really convulse any one with laughter. of course. and blissfully refused to allow context to shape the pragmatic usage of a word. in this book. He has not translated it at all."6 The story is less than a dozen pages in length. somehow. It involves highly complex choices. with at least the lexical meaning right-but he has followed French word order."4 Then (according to Twain) the French author translates the whole story into French. though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume wam't finished when he first come to the camp. but any way. "Just there is where my complaint originates. he was the curiosest man about always betting on anything that turned up you ever see. but no French grammarian could criticize it. Translation is never a merely mechanical function. he protests. Twain admits he cannot himself speak French. [W]ell. I no me recollect not exactly. I being self-educated. here are the first few lines of the original story to be translated. This which me makes to believe that it was the one or the other. print the original story again. then print the French translation. The French rendering (which begins a couple of pages into the story) is of Jim Smiley: it was in the winter of '49. he passed to the side opposed." In it Mark Twain claims that he had been reading an article in a French magazine about American humorists. and then retranslate the French version back into English. At the time he was trying to plant an evangelical . is to translate the French literally. Unremunerated Toil. Then follows Mark Twain's "retranslation. so that his readers can see why it is not all that funny. if he could get anybody to be on the other side." To give the flavor of the experiment. Then in French. but of all sides he was the man the most fond of to bet which one have seen. says that Twain's story "The Jumping Frog" is a funny story.

58 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 59 Baptist church in French Canada. 28 is intentionally evocative. on formal grounds. but she was willing to look up every single word in an EnglishFrench dictionary. the syntax and idioms of the two languages are so different that such an effort would produce something even funnier than Mark Twain. Of course. which most of our translations rightly render "I am. knowing that John is a careful writer who repeatedly introduces a new term or theme that is unpacked only later in the book. Verse 28 is similar. The spirit indeed was willing. if some literalist argues. Less Than the Text Because no two languages share exactly the same structure and vocabulary (and a lot of other things). "Before Abraham was. His opponents do not yet perceive that "I am" is what it transparently means in 8 :58. in idiomatic American English. that reader will begin to wonder if the use of ego eimiin 8:24. The . English-French dictionaries do not provide just one option for any particular word. This thoughtful reader will recognize that the translations I have suggested above for verses 24 and 28 are necessary as translations but. if you do not believe that! am the one I claim to be. you will indeed die in your sins. while reading John 8:58. In other words.lO First-year Greek students will render this "I am. that the only correct way to translate the Greek expression ego eimi is always to render it simply "I am. 43: 10). Jesus declares. however." I insist that that person does not really understand Greek." Second-year students will know that sometimes it should be translated "It is I" (or. NASB. where the "he" is established by the context. Incidentally. 28 is meant to anticipate the end of the chapter and evoke what is clear by the time one reads 8:58. it cannot be done. the instances of ego eimi in John 8:24. A well-meaning Englishspeaking Canadian from another part of the country wrote to him and said she would be willing to translate anything he gave her. In Isaiah God declares. 12 To translate it absolutely. "I told you that you would die in your sins. ego eimi" (John 8:58). the competent reader of Greek. The NRSV. and that at other times it should be rendered "I am he" or the like. but this is the name of God. Consider the absolute Greek expression ego eimi. for it is not what the Greek means. perceiving that he is speaking blasphemously. Unless you are reading the Greek text of John's Gospel. will wonder whether ego eimi in 8:24. John 8:24 finds Jesus saying (in the NIV). he or she cannot fail to remember. but many." The NIV provides a footnote for the italicized words: Or I am he." The Jews he is confronting pick up stones to kill him. and render the English text into French. More important. But after reading John 8:58 and the whole chapter several times. which in the Septuagint appears simply as ego eimi. In a famous passage." is not more "literal. Not only does the link with Abraham entail the conclusion that Jesus is claiming preexistence. "It's me"). the entire debate concerns Jesus' identity. 41 :4." it is merely more formal-and in this case the formal equivalence is positively misleading. For a start. write down the equivalent. the Greek most naturally means "I am (the one I've been talking about)" or "I am (the one under discussion)" or "I am (he)" or the like. you may not realize that ego eimi has already occurred twice before in John 8. reads ego eimi and does not connect it with the divine name. and which option you choose turns on a myriad of factors. by the time the thoughtful reader of Greek has read through the entire chapter a few times. and many others simply offer I am he. "I am. In the context. 28 for the first time. On the other hand. "I am he" (Isa. because she had such a burden for the people Dad was trying to reach. She admitted she knew no French. but the sarx was ignorant. At this stage. coming across John 8:24. ll Why not render it "I am"? But that would be misleading. it is impossible not to lose something when you translate an extended text from one language to another.' A couple of illustrations will make the point. 28.

something is lost. of course. Again. There is no choice in the receptor language. the psalmist. now healed of his illness. and the overwhelming majority of them are lost in translation. But the English reader is unlikely to detect that this intended ambiguity is developed by Solomon. the "we" in "we proclaim to you" (1 John 1:3) is obviously exclusive. necessarily says more than the text. All this is pretty clear to the person who thoughtfully and repeatedly reads John's Gospel in Greek. That is one of the reasons. 3: "Unless the LORD builds the house. An inclusive "we" means the speaker includes the readers or hearers in the "we". of course. why we still teach ministerial candidates to read the Greek and Hebrew texts.. consider Psalm 127:1. '" Clearly. the skeptics insist he only looks like him." The use of "inclusive" in this case has nothing to do with gender. It is virtually impossible to pick up on these matters if you read John's Gospel in English. is John 9:9. you have overtranslated. you may leave the matter unresolved. There are many different kinds of wordplays in the Hebrew Bible." he or she must choose one of these two forms: there is no other way of saying "we. If you render ego eimi in 8:24. especially in Africa." In a book like 1 John. and cannot be rendered "I am.. because of the differences between the donor language and the receptor language." That may be an English gloss. More Than the Text On the other hand. Many languages around the world. Context and Contexts By now it should be clear that a word does not carry its lexical meaning(s)-that is. but in this context it is a correct English gloss. Similarly. And there are many. If instead you render it as does the NN or NRSV in 8:24. 'I am the man [ego eimi]. you force the text to be more specific than the donor text. every time the writer or speaker wants to say "we. in certain respects. Some neighbors and others claim he is. you are formally correct so far as Greek syntax is concerned in this context. more idiomatically. But if you are translating the text into one of the languages where you must use either an inclusive we or an exclusive we." In such languages. "I am the man.60 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 61 best proof. you must specify. Thus in the donor language. "But he himself insisted. Some of the references are contextually obvious: for example. children a reward from him. But in the receptor language. Sons are a heritage from the LORD. have an inclusive "we" and an exclusive "we. less than the text. The man born blind. the expression. many examples of that sort of thing.. in English. But there are many examples where scholars are divided-as also in some of the "we" passages in Panl. 28 as "I am" in order to preserve the connection with 8:58. since you must make a choice. for in reality it is not specified by the form and may not be clear in the context. after ." or. in the pun he employs: the wcrd for "builders" is (in full diacritical transliteration) bOnfm. where the same words are not from the mouth of Jesus. Either way. in this instance. and exclusive "we" means the speaker excludes the readers or hearers from the "we. its builders labor in vain. and the word for "sons" is banfm. "I am he. it is easy to find instances where the translation. Unless the LORD watches over the city. 13 These are all instances where the translation provides. a language without a passive voice often forces the translator to specify subjects that are not specified in the passive voice. in this context the expression cannot be christological. 28. indeed mistranslated." It is well known that "house" in Hebrew can refer to either the dwelling or the family." but means. A lexicon of a dead language like Latin or Hellenistic Greek. must convince the skeptics that he really is the man who was formally blind. the meaning(s) one finds for that word in a lexicon-into each context where it is used. the watchmen stand guard in vain. "we" occurs frequently. Translation is treason. We may restrict ourselves to a couple of examples. but you have lost the evocative connection with verse 58.

" Two or three things follow from this. he writes his own "idiolect" of Greek.. Demonstrably. In his preface. or else the words be superfluous or false. as we have seen. But there are expanding circles oflarger contexts: the chapter. This has been understood for centuries. which includes syntactical elements. Purvey writes. John Purvey reworked the Wycliffe rendering to make it more readable in English. and more. six centuries after Purvey and almost four centuries after the KN. however. in the preface to the 1611 edition of the King James Version. and the meanings of those words in their context are in tum shaped by their context. the translators confess. was the product of a group of scholars gathered around John Wycliffe. While there are other factors for establishing the meaning of a word in a particular text. is a good understanding of the context. It does not follow that the meaning of the word in the donor language is exactly the same as the meaning of the gloss word in the receptor language. semantic elements (that is."14 Similarly.62 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 63 all. "We have not tied ourselves to a uniformity of phrasing or to an identity of words as some peradventure would wish that we had done. in its own varied contexts.. The word "flesh" is really the English "gloss" on the Greek word. the meaning of a word in its context is not its lexical meaning (a more or less artificial construct) but is established by its interaction with its context. one moves from some phrase in Romans 7 to all of chapter 7 to the entire Book of Romans to the Pauline corpus to the New Testament to Hellenistic Greek). Other components of the "context" deserve mention. IS At the very least he might have evenhandedly treated the KN to the same sanctions. literary geme. (1) Context is king. elements of meaning). that period of literature (for example.. in 1395 or 1396. So it is a bit frustrating. The words ought to serve to the intent and sentence. the full range of Hellenistic Greek literature helps . the book. for the overlap between two such words is almost never 100 percent. but a variety of more extended contexts. the most important factor. Nevertheless." Of course they didn't: they were good communicators. "First. There is not only the inunediate context. In other words. the corpus. Paul does not simply write Greek. which may affect translation choices. "to call"). That is why one cannot responsibly translate a text under some rigid dictum that the same word in the receptor language must always render a word in the donor text." In certain contexts. to find Robert Martin criticizing the NN for not maintaining the same receptor terms for specific donor terms. he uses some words differently from the way other writers in the New Testament use them (for example. (2) Words shape their contexts. We have already seen this to be so in the case of sarx ("flesh") and lampros ("bright"). disconrse elements. The first English Bible. kaleo. Just a few years after Wycliffe's death. which may shed light on the coloring of a particular word or expression. and that may be right in that context. and almost umeadable. never printed. The inunediate context may help an interpreter or a translator follow the flow of the argument more precisely. is nothing more than some scholar's attempt to classify the different meanings that a word appears to have in all its occurrences in a body of literature. For instance. The demands of translation require that we say the donor word "means" such and such in our receptor language. In other words. even a word. It was a word-for-word rendering of the Latin. It is not quite right to say that the Greek word "sarx" means "flesh. it means something else. it is to be known that the best translating out of Latin into English is to translate after the sentence and not only after the words . To read all such meanings back into a particular usage is what is called "illegitimate totality transfer. Each "context" may make a contribution to understanding something small. Note how even the words I enclosed in quotation marks and parentheses are slightly misleading. by far. but an English gloss should never be confused with the genius of what the word means within its own language. the context of the corpus is important because individual authors use words differently.

There are a little over a dozen words in the Greek New Testament that might in some contexts be rendered "slave. many hundreds of such examples in the Bible. however. These genres are not all transportable across linguistic lines. intensive forms of Greek verbs have often lost their intensiveness (but this can be determined only by inspection). Moreover. Sociolinguistics and Culture In recent years there has been a rising interest in examining how language and other cultural realities interact with each other. is doulos. casually. the bread of life. There are many. that everything we eat is organic (save for a few minerals like salt): something dies. not because at the level of naked meaning it is entirely wrong. Jesus dies. For instance." if we follow Greek precedent. bread was something without which you died. But in addition to such explicit literary contextual features. The French have nothing quite like a limerick. so that we might live. 16 He points out how there may be more than the merely literary context at stake. the interactions between language and culture are quite different. This is true whether we slaughter a pig and eat ham. But there are still other kinds of context. we die. "To hell with you and your money"-though of course it would be improper to render the Greek that way. The original text had not only a larger literary context but a social context. In the KN. "May your money perish with you. and with the manna in the wilderness. thereby investing it with a tone absent from Peter's solemn words. Jesus claims to be the bread from heaven. the complex syntax of Greek conditionals in the Hellenistic period is nevertheless a good deal simpler than what prevails in the Classical period. Those living organisms die. contemporary English has nothing quite like apocalyptic. among relatively poor people. one element in context is the literary genre in which an expression is found. Moreover. Keeping your eye on such matters is exceedingly difficult. especially when referring to believers. Thus when Jesus says that he is the bread of life. delights in mixed metaphors. In the literary context. since they were part of the understood meaning that was both intended by the author and understood by the first readers? Then there is the emotional overtone of certain expressions. In any case the German word is broader and subtler in meaning. When you move into another language that is located in and forms part of a different culture. but with the assumptions of the culture at that time. we live. whether of those expressions themselves.64 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE TR." The only one of these that must be rendered "slave. Perhaps I might offer an example other than his. there are connections with the bread that Jesus provided the day before at the feeding of the five thousand.ANSLATION AND TREASON 6S to establish how some vocabulary and some syntactical units mean something a little different from what they mean in Clas~ sical Greek." An idiomatic rendering would be. because the culture was agrarian. but because the English expression usually carries negative overtones. we eat it. and live. In John 6. For people in that society. The latter. bread was one of two staples. virtually everyone recognized. but it is nevertheless part of the competent translator's responsibility. for instance. there are implicit contextual features. Either they die. without him and his death. The German word Schriftbe~ weis has very positive overtones. he is the staple of eternal life. because the English expression is customarily used in coarse and vulgar contexts today. One of these is that the words were first uttered in an agrarian society. we ought to "hear" connections not only with the feeding of the five thousand and with the manna. or when they are embedded in certain contexts. Peter says to Simon Magus (in the NIv). How much should such matters be explained in footnotes or by some other device. Few have done more in this area than Ernst-August Gutt. the vast majority of occurrences of doulos. or kill a stick of celery and eat it. something like "Scripture prooftext" as a rendering is a failure. or we do. are rendered "servant." It is difficult to resist the sup- . In Acts 8:20.

some experts. they may set up models that implicitly invite imitation. both our language and our own social context change. it is hard to resist the conclusion that our renderings are influenced by our social contexts. "two people" I "two women. even though we may dispute how much it has changed. I have already offered a few instances of changes in English usage that have called forth more contemporary translation. Whatever the outcome of that debate. the Greek text simply reads." NLT). Language performs things. ideally. "I tell you. two men in a bed hints at things the KJV translators would not have thought of (although certainly had they done so. the point is that of two people who are in close relation. Luke 17:34-35." Ideally. some passages evoke tears or wrath. but it should also perform the same way. Two women shall be grinding together. Moreover." In the culture of Jesus' day. rightly or wrongly. Part of the problem. and the two were most likely women. The sex of the two individuals is not at issue in the context in any case. Language does not merely convey information (though of course it does that). Reflection on this reality has led to what is now commonly called "speech act theory. one is taken and the other is not. The translator will try to create a text in the receptor language that mirrors all of these components. Finally. and those changes may well call forth changes in translation. Most modern translations avoid the trap. that is. and the other shall be left. even though the text does not say so. if two were grinding together it was probably a hand mill." In both cases. is that America and many other Western countries are now so diverse that language that communicates well with one subgroup does not necessarily communicate well with another. resulting in different understandings of the same words. Language commands. But there are other changes in our social context that are still more revealing. still prefer to retain "servant" in a few cases. say what the donor text says (though for any sustained text a translation will never say it in exactly the same way). they would not have approved). Modern translations rightly render far more occurrences as "slave" than did the KJV. a good translator wants to know not only what the donor text says but what it performs. however. the one shall be taken. not least because of the social and cultural realities of the time. how it functions both in the literary context and among the readers for whom it was first intended. now the same sentence conjures up a component for a computer system. both at the donor end and at the receptor end. But in today's social context. exhorts.66 THE INCLUSIVEMLANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 67 position that "slave" seemed too harsh and unattractive." The Greek text includes neither the word "men" nor the word "women. Certainly underlying Hebrew has modified some other Greek vocabulary. and I know of no reason to suppose that it was more common to have two men in one bed than two women or a man and a woman. both in the literary context and among the readers to whom it is now being sent. "I have to buy a mouse" would conjure up a purchase for a child who wanted a pet in a little cage. because although they acknowledge that doulos in Greek settings always means "slave. as we shall see (chapter 9). But why the KJV inserts the word "men" I cannot guess: earlier English versions had not done so. The KN reads. The NKJV maintains the KN error. Thirty years ago. for example. Even there. Consider. "there shall be two in one bed" I "Two shall be grinding together. So most of us are familiar with the reality that language changes. and the other left. the one shall be taken. entices. 17 . the combination of contexts contributes mightily to enabling language to do things. either by following the Greek more closely (for example." they think that Hebrew 'ebed ("servant") has influenced doulos. or by some other device (for example. The words may be the same. the NRSV simply uses "two"). in any case. What is at stake. But my point is simply that social dynamics interact with language. in that night there shall be two men in one bed. is some sort of interchange between language and social context. The receptor text should. but the social context of the readers has changed.

the overwhelming majority of linguists and translators insist. In one of the more interesting experiments to corne along. Human beings made in the image of God will communicate with one another. and so forth. at the very least the perusal of such notes helps the novice identify the plethora of choices that the translator is constantly called to make and some of the reasons for deciding this way or that way. The challenges in translation that this chapter has briefly mentioned (and there are many. 4. S. too many cliches in the receptor language. the arrangement might look like this: ASV NASB KJV NKJV RSV NRSV NIB NJV NlV] NLT CEV LB . because of the differences between the two languages. and a commission to make that revelation known. except for some forms. rightly in my view. Translators make choices: lose some of the Greek passives in order to make the text sound like smooth English. many more) do not mean that there are some things that cannot be translated. 1. and thus be a "worse" translation. 2. But even the scales on which "better" and "worse" are measured are tricky things. Sometimes the ouly way something can be adequately explained in the receptor language is by an explanatory note. the REB). No translation is exclusively formal. It may be better to create a spectrum from "more formal translations" to "more fluid translations" or "more functional translations. a formally more literal rendering may be less accurate. One might have a translation that is wonderfully effective in its ability to communicate and thus be a "better" translation. must be at the forefront of thinking through the challenges and possibilities of translation. with the result that it is "worse" in its ability to serve the masses (so. and cannot receive an adequate evaluation without some knowledge of these broader issues. and "paraphrastic" with shoddy or slippery or approximate. because there is less emotional baggage associated with such expressions. too much loss of the more subtle elements of the donor language. One might have a Bible translation that is "better" than many others in the general faithfulness of its renderings but uses vocabulary that is large and elevated. partly because most who use this polarity associate "literal" with superior or faithful or exact. If I were placing some contemporary versions on this sliding scale. The commonly mooted contrast between "literal" and "paraphrastic" translations is not very helpful or insightful.20 none entirely avoids formal features. Whether or not one agrees with individual translation choices. While avoiding the use of too many technical terms. Translation is inevitable. This does not mean that there are not better and worse translations."19 The notes are about five times the length of the biblical text. By now it should be clearer why the Italian proverb is important: translation is treason. as we have seen. the NET Bible offers not only explanatory notes but also very extensive "translator's notes. but at the expense of too little faithfulness. Moreover we who have a revelation from God in words. Although translations may be better or worse. No translation is perfect. the preceding discussion has introduced some important categories in linguistics and translation theory. that any element in any text can be translated. for instance. specify whether the "we" is inclusive or exclusive to accommodate Kikuyu syntax (even though the donor text makes no such specification)." or something of that sort. But sometimes. But issues of inclusive language are necessarily part of broader issues in translation theory and practice.18 But they cannot all be translated in the same way and in the same limited space as in the donor text. 3. Although there are a few philosophers of language who claim this is the case (thus taking "translation is treason" to an extreme).68 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 69 Implications and Conclusions In this chapter I have tried to avoid the issues of inclusive language. it is crucial to remember that translation is not an exact science.

In an important series of books and articles. phrases. They have heard it too often in expressions like "That's just your interpretation" or "My interpretation is as good as your interpretation" or the like. it emphasized the importance of producing a receptor text that achieved the same results among its readers as the donor text achieved among its readers." one frequently ends up with a translation that actually distorts much of the meaning in the donor text. when dynamic equivalence theory was first formulated and pro- moted. they. but the formulation slightly silly: in most instances we have very little information about how ancient texts were received. For reasons we have alre~dy seen. None of the so-called translation theories is disjunctively set over against all the other translation theories. "interpretation" represents ."21 Those who continue to use it are almost invariably opponents of anything but formal equivalence theory. "formal equivalence" theory is often contrasted with "dynamic equivalence" theory. without closely trying to "hear" all the thoughts that are bound up in a text. relevance theory in Bible translation could easily fail to reflect adequately on the translator's responsibility toward the donor text. debates about the merits of one translation theory over against another are sometimes fraught with approval and disapproval without any real understanding of the issues involved. just as there are words in Greek and Hebrew that have no precise parallels in English. But just as it is easy to read both theories sympathetically. By now it should be obvious that no translation is accomplished without interpretation. relevance theory stipulates that the ultimate (but not the only) test of a translation is whether or not it achieves with the target audience what the translator sets out to achieve. One can find voices that praise one and condemn the other. too. On the other hand. virtually no one in the field of Bible translation uses the expression "dynamic equivalence" anymore: since 1986 it has been displaced by "functional equivalence. Ernst-August Gutthas argued for "relevance theory" in translation. What the translators of the LB or NLT set out to achieve is not what the translators of the RSV or NIV set out to achieve. or at least within the same sphere. In the same way. so also is it easy to mock both theories. as sometimes texts were received very badly (for example. genre. 22 In a nutshell. As we have seen. The intention was good. and trying to render as many of them as possible in the receptor language in comparable space. For them. or even thought-forthought translations. and so on. "thought-for-thought" translation can easily become an excuse for finding the general "thought" of a passage and paraphrasing it. clauses. 6. the criterion is not necessarily helpful. consistent execution of formal equivalence is impossible. are mediated by thought: the translators think they understand the thoughts that are being conveyed. But in the hands of reductionists. owing less to the words themselves than to the unpopularity. For example. And even if we did. are necessarily placed on a kind of spectrum. All translations. as well as his or her responsibility toward the target audience. For some people. not everyone in Corinth was happy with all of Paul's letters!). from the most formal to the most functional. "interpretation" is a negative word. In practice. For this and otherreasons. reflected in all the words in this particular syntax. and try to convey them in the receptor language. There are no thoughts to be translated apart from the expression of such thoughts in words. of the message they conveyed. but quite frankly the expression is misleading. This needs unpacking a little. Obviously there is considerable insight here. In some circles this debate has been eclipsed.70 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 71 Nor is it simply a question of word-for-word translations over against phrase-for-phrase translations. so in certain respects they have to be measured by different criteria. in that theological and social context. text. and for them "dynamic equivalence" is a form of opprobrium. sentences. discourse. and if one opts for the axiom "as formal as possible. One understands what people are trying to say when they speak of a "thought-for-thought" translation. there are entire phrases in Greek and Hebrew that have no precise parallels in English. 7.

72 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 73 distance from the text. The entire NIV was lightly revised again in 1984. the NRSV builds off the RSV. every reading of a text by a finite being is an interpretation of it. This means that those responsible for a certain translation have only three options. This does not mean that every alleged "understanding" of a text is as good as any other. (b) Those responsible may elect to introduce a major revision every forty. But eventually. its market share and influence will decline. precisely because the aim of the exercise is to keep this "renewed" version contemporary. The approach ofIBS toward the NIV was more programmatic. Bnt there are disadvantages and dangers. and so forth. one must respect their concern to be faithful to the text. the REB builds off the NEB. Every translation reflects a reading of the text. The translator's task is to render the text. That translation may continue in print indefinitely. it has sectioned the market once again by providing further options. it must be understood that each major revision of an English version. they let the older versions lapse. their theoretical commitment not to play fast and loose with it. But in reality. not some interpretation of it. I am saying nothing more than that translation is never a merely mechanical task divorced from interpretation. because that could be said of every translation. there are no exceptions. precisely because they are sufficiently different from those that undergird them that both can usefully be kept in print. or think they do. 23 So when I say that no translation is accomplished without interpretation. and therefore useful to the church. It is not "fresh. When publishers make these incremental changes. they can disband. or one hundred years. more accurate interpretations and less accurate interpretations. fifty. every Bible translation reflects a theological reading of the text.'4 Precisely because there are differences between the donor and receptor languages. What they want is simply the text. This is because the receptor language changes. Doubtless their sensitivity to such matters has been increased by the insistence of some postmoderns that meaning resides in interpreters and not in the text. one must rather say that the interpretation is faulty for such-and-such reasons. If the responsible body introduces changes too often. at any given time there will be two or more editions of a version in circulation (even if the publisher is not producing any more of the older ones). even when it is based on the original languages. the NLTbnilds off the LB. (a) When a translation is completed and is circulating. Nevertheless. This is not necessarily a bad option. At one level. That happened at first in an ad hoc fashion to the KJV until its text was finally firm. as that version is eclipsed by others that are geared to the most recent developments in the language. the older version gradually losing its influence to the more recent version." Moreover. but we cannot avoid interpretations. it is impossible simply to provide formal equivalents. for a longer period than it otherwise would. or that translators enjoy a sovereign freedom from the responsibility to improve and hone and correct their understandings of the text. Thus both the RSV andNAsB bnild off the ASV. whether in twenty years or four centuries. It does mean that criticism of a particular translation because it is based on an interpretation of a text is silly. however. Inevitably. More- . Translators must understand the donor text. The advantage of such a procedure is that the worst errors can be removed. and the translation is more likely to remain contemporary. There are more faithful interpretations and less faithful interpretations. 8. these "revisions" become in effect new versions. The New Testament was lightly revised when it first appeared with the Old Testament. If one wishes to criticize a translation because of the interpretation that undergirds it. and this inhibits corporate reading and liturgical use (though not private reading). All translations are temporary. and provide a superior interpretation. (c) Those responsible for the translation may establish a committee that makes incremental changes every few years and publish only the most recent revision. before rendering it into the receptor text. is a version within a certain tradition of a translation.

responding to the crisis. "a" and "beautiful. Of course. but merely a useful translation equivalent. Very often what a lexicon provides is not quite the meaning of the word in a particular context in Greek (explained in English). also have meaning. especially proper names: for example. A second confusion may as well be mentioned now. One technical terru that did creep in was "gloss. keeping both NfV and RNIV in print. there may be a hue and cry of the "Hands off my NIv!" sort.25 9." The "meaning" of a word is its sense. what sense it carries in a particular context). the NfV) is locked in time. and linguistically uninformed readers confuse the two. if the version becomes very popular (like the NIV). if it is a Greek-English lexicon. in due course the publishers could opt for a major revision and a new name while keeping the current NIV in print: in other words. A crucial distinction must be made between "meaning" and "referent. between lexical meaning (that is. are genuinely committed to keeping the NIV in print as it is. rather than a new edition of an old version. "Paul" refers to a man called Paul. and if the responsible body then introduces more than minor changes. In this case. This cry may be theologically driven. then they have shut down option c and have only the other tWO. the RNIV (Revised New International Version). a "gloss. either directly or as some kind of pun (for example. If the publishers agree to make no more changes. they are widely perceived as constituting anew version." the appropriate word for the English translation because that is the way we say it. Some proper names. but if substantivized in the right context. The version will eventually be eclipsed. those who are insisting that IBS and Zondervan make no more revisions to the NIV. Of course. it may be some combination of both. it must do so in English. providing. My suspicion is that at least some spokespersons who said they hoped that eventually NIVI would displace the NfV did so because they knew that up until now IBS and Zondervan had thought of handling the NfV within option c. Some words have only meaning: for example. are demanding that these organizations commit themselves to option a. The "referent" of a word is what it is referring to. as it will become important later. the RNIV or others (which mayor may not be superior-or. Moses and Abraham)27 Some words have meaning and are usually nonreferential but may become referential in certain contexts: for example. Very often Greek lexica provide some sort of awkward combination of meanings and glosses. "the Twelve" might refer to the twelve apostles. including the kinds of revisions that might generate a "new" version (such as my mythical RNIV). then the version (in this case. That is the problem. the more-or-less analytic and sometimes synthetic sense assigned a word in a lexicon) and pragmatic meaning (that is. We shall soon see that confusion between "meaning" and "gloss" bedevils not a little of the contemporary debate over inclusive-language translations. In short. for example. whether you like them or not. they could pursue option b. and we have tumbled into the first option. the changes are sufficiently substantial that. while referring to someone or something. No one is keepingthe 1978 edition in print. In this chapter I have tried to get across some basic principles of linguistics and translation theory without indulging in too many technicalities or succumbing to too much tech- nical vocabulary." I shall close by reflecting on its significance for our subject. however. "twelve" is not usually referential. will be superiorin some ways and inferior in others).26 We may then distinguish. more realistically. and by briefly introducing two more terrus. it may be nothing more than rank traditionalism. The distinction . Ideally a Greek lexicon (for example) should provide as accurate a picture as possible of the meaning(s) of the word within the structure and semantics of the Greek language. If IBS and Zondervan." Some words are only referential.74 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE TRANSLATION AND TREASON 75 over. say. of course. What that means is that in the passage of time the NIV itself will eventually lose its dominance and be largely replaced by other versions.

77 .76 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE between meaning and referent will become critical later in this book. I must say at once that in this chapter I am enormously indebted to Dr. so it is important to reflect on the nature of gender in language before we deal with the translation of gender from one language to another. For just as it is important to reflect on the nature oflanguage before we can say much that is very penetrating about translation from language to language. before we return. until the last couple of sections. some grasp of the nature of gender in various languages around the world will occupy most of our attention in the next chapter. GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD A TRANSLATOR'S NIGHTMARE Most of this chapter. and who kindly responded to my email asking for information with an informed bibliography (which I have dutifully read) and his own voluminous notes. will avoid saying much about the English language or about translation of the Bible into English. Similarly. Until the last few paragraphs. who has picked me up on matters linguistic in the past. Norman Fraser. These I have cribbed shamelessly (though I have tried to check them out for myself in the sources). like the previous one. this chapter has made little mention of the debate that this book is trying to address. Some knowledge of the challenging work of translation is helpful in discussing the peculiar challenge of gender-related questions. to a brief consideration of gender questions in the Bible. at the end of the chapter.

A majority of the more than eight hundred languages of New Guinea have gender systems.78 Grammatical Gender THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 79 Preliminary Matters In the literature of sociologists and of feminists and their opponents. but let me try to explain it for those whose only tongue is English. sex is a matter of biology while gender is a matter of social construction. But some languages have forms for plural regardless of gender: in that case we say that the adjective is marked for number but not for gender. Languages change with time. though not every language in these groups uses gender systems (experts estimate that about two-thirds of Africa's nine hundred languages have some form of gender system). Nilo-Saharan. while sex is a semantic category (a category of meaning). In most languages that employ strong gender systems. gender is relatively uncommon in the languages of the Americas. and Khoisan. Gender Systems: Their Distribution and Variations The category of gender is not found in every language. gender is a grammatical category. But the nature of this interaction varies enormously from language to language. Turning to the nouns. and so far as I know there are not thirty sexes. the word "wise" would have to be spelled a little differently in the three expressions: it would have to agree grammatically with the word that it modifies. then "wise" would have to be feminine. The Slavonic languages are currently spawning new "subgenders. Most (but not all) of the Indo-European languages (to which group both Greek and English belong) have it. usually with two or three genders. Genderis also prevalent in the languages of Australia." "some wise women. in languages around the world. nothing is being said about the sex of the table." In English." "a wise man. Gender specification normally demands some sort of agreement with other elements in the sentence. linguists look at the matter differently. when French classifies the word "table" as feminine. There are four language groups (comprising about uine hundred languages) in Africa. For them. languages with gender systems normally demand gender agreement between related words. True. the number of grammatical genders in the different gender systems varies from two to about thirty. that English has two articles. The definite article "the" is not marked for num- . Afro-Asiatic languages usually have two-gender systems. To take an easy example. if masculine." owing to the fact that some other category such as animacy interacts with gen- der to create new agreement patterns. however. all include languages with gender systems. Note. and may modify their gender systems. then "wise" would have to be masculine. The Caucasian languages have gender systems that are usually more complex than those in Indo-European languages and are rather differently structured. too. Even first -year Greek students understand this point. In such a language. Consider the three expressions "a wise woman. the modifying adjective "wise" has exactly the same form in all three expressions. In fact. The other three groups." In any case. By contrast. especially in Arnhem Land and the North Kimberleys. there is some kind of connection between grammatical gender and the sex of the referent: gender and sex clearly interact. clearly "woman" in English is marked for number: the singular form is distinguished from the plural "women" by a change in spelling. of course. If the word is grammatically feminine. In many languages. if feminine plural. the primary purpose of gender is not to encode sex but to encode agreement among elements in the sentence. This is more difficult to perceive in English than in some languages.! Almost without exception. the Dravidian languages constitute an exception. but I hope the point will become clear over the next few pages. Niger-Kordofanian. except for the Algonquian family. "wise" would be spelled the same way in the expression "some wise men" and "some wise women. then "wise" would have to be feminine plural. Most of the major Asian languages do not have gender.

Very commonly it is expressed through "inflection": that is. But one of the German words for a young woman is Miidchen. (2) a formal basis. and the noun-must agree in number (in this example. male rational 2. When I specify a semantic basis (that is. based on the meaning of words." Languages in wltich gender agreement manifests itself exclusively or almost exclusively among the pronouns are said to have pronominal gender systems. that is. gender (feminine. then. not necessarily male) . nonrational-and as in many languages. 2 So gender systems must normally be in agreement. all nouns with a particular ending belong to specific gender. in English." Where forms are marked for number. nonmale (note: nonmale. Agreement may be expressed in a number of ways. In the list that follows. and so are some domestic pets Parji (Dravidian). Agreement may also be reflected in the form of pronouns that have a gender-specific antecedent: for example. female rational 3. infants are not rational. once again agreement must normally be achieved. How. nonfemale (note: nonfemale. beginnings ("prefixes"). (3) some combination of the two. to the meaning of the word: "woman" or "wife" is feminine. that is. The experts say that every language with a gender system retains a semantic assignment for at least some words. "Mary combed her hair. which I briefly illustrated in chapter 3 (point 3 under "Differences from Language to Language"). in these languages we are dealing with semantic assignments (that is. in the expression "the glorious truth" all three words-the article. but the gods are. The meaning of these genders is then listed. followed by the family of languages to which it belongs (in parentheses). In the second instance. because "truth" is feminine in Greek). 2 1. Hebrew and Greek are not. nouns are assigned to genders on the basis of meaning). that is. whether human or animal (in sex-differentiating animals) 2. Thus in Greek. In the first of these two nouns. 2 1. regardless of the meaning. and number systems must normally be in agreement-as also case systems. regardless of the semantics: the formal requirement is that words ending in -chen be neuter. English is such a language. this mayor may not be sex -differentiating. the assignment of the word to a gender is tied to semantics. the word Frau 3 can mean "woman" or "wife" or "Mrs. But in English the indefinite article "a" is singular: we say "a wise woman" but we cannot say "a wise women. The article with it must therefore be the neuter article: das Miidchen. the words that must "agree" with one another change their endings ("suffixes"). not necessarily female) Diyari (Australian). for instance. 3 1. and case (wltich will be determined by the use to which the expression is put in its syntactical location). Tamil (Dravidian). or some combination of all three. the assignment of the word to a particular gender is tied to formal requirements. are nouns assigned to genders? What makes "table" in French and "truth" in Greek feminine? The assignment can be made on (1) a semantic basis. though we shall quickly see that some of these meanings are not sex-differentiating. This word is neuter. because it has the diminutive ending -chen. In other words." The word is feminine. or something in the middle ("infixes"). the adjective. a basis in the meaning of the words). which is always neuter. We need a couple of easy examples." and the word "the" remains the same.80 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 81 ber: one can say "the wise woman" and "the wise women. singular). regardless of their meaning. and so is the word Frau. In German. each entry begins with the name of a language. female. so the definite article in German (in the nominative case) must be die: die Frau. followed by the number of genders it has. male 2.

hunting weapons 3. fighting 3. water.82 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 83 Halkomelem (Salish). 4 1. residue Tabasaran (Caucasiau). 2 1. but not always strictly related. 2 1. male humau. powerful things (with power defined. Moreover. female humau. Some assignments are made on the basis of morphology. that is. however. the way the word sounds. assign nouns on a formal basis (though some sort of semantic component is factored in). (Obviously these two are related. female rational 3. 4 1. some skin diseases 3. residue (actually the majority of Ket nouns) Many languages. nonhuman auimate 2. male animal. other living things. other auimate-but including some female humans aud mauy inanimates 4. aud sometimes the reverse. residue Ojibwa (Algonquiau). canines Ket (Siberiau language isolate). females and diminutives 2. auimate. all growing trees. male rational 2. large things 4. 4 1. edible plauts 7. Roughly speaking. female human 3. male humau 2. some other living things. of course. other assignments are made on the basis of phonology. most body parts 4. soul. female animates 9. female rational 3. nonhumau Lak (Caucasian). commonly (but not invariably) realized in their endings. perch). on the shape of words. North Australian)." the term commonly employed by linguists for "all the others") Zaude (Ubaugian). 3 1. according to the Cheyenne worldview) 2. fish (with three exceptions). not only do they vary enormously in complexity. male rational 2. most animals hunted for meat 6. the moon. the sun. including trees 2.) . humau 2. three fish (turbot. most wooden implements 5. 2 1. ruff. excluding dogs 8. terms for kinship. some religious items 2. that is. formal characteristics may be divided into two divisions. nonflesh food 4. small things aud abstracts Ngaugikurrunggur (Daly. a few body parts 2. female auimal. residue Dyirbal (Australiau. large wooden objects. fire. other auimate 4. most natural objects. some body parts. female human. Northeast Queensland). but the nature of the formal characteristics according to which nouns are assigned gender cau vary. 4 1. 2 1. sometimes morphology takes precedence over phonology. parts of wholes. These lauguages are much more common thau those with gender systems that assign nouns on a purely semantic basis (like those listed above). 9 1. all others (hereafter referred to as "residue. male humau. male animates. some religious items. fire. trees. residue Archi (Northeast Caucasiau). some plants. inanimate Northern Cheyenne (Algonquiau).

while the feminine singular and the masculine plural forms are identical. called declensions. The gender system in French. compound nouns formed from a verb plus some other element are masculine). Rausa. the masculine singular form and the feminine plural form are identical. one reason why French resisted analysis for so long is that the assignment of gender to nouns took place when many nouns.' To add to the challenges. Suppose English were a highly gendermarked language in its nouns and finite verbs. in Qafar. sex-differentiable nouns denoting females are feminine). For instance. Often enough it is the "residue" . a small number of morphological assignment rules (for example. different agreements are signaled by the same marker. nouns denoting animates are masculine 2. So what gender should be assigned to "is" and "human"? Languages tend to resolve this problem in one of two ways. feminine singular verbs. also has two genders. each with its own morphology) or they are indeclinable. masculine plural verbs. and a substantial number ofphonological rules dealing with the final segment of words as they used to be pronounced in older French. Agreement Patterns in Difficult Cases In gender-marked languages. In the Somali definite article. nouns denoting females are feminine Nouns that are not assigned according to these two rules fall into two categories: either they are declinable (that is. For example. an African language belonging to the Chadic family. The semantics are the same as in Qafar. nouns of the fourth declension are neuter For indeclinable nouns: 1. but in addition nouns ending in -aa are feminine. Qafar (belonging to the East Cushitic family) has two genders. nouns denoting males are masculine 2. and feminine plural verbs all share the same t. Some simply select one of the existing genders and assign it to tasks like this." Unfortunately. The first includes nouns denoting female humans and animals (a semantic assignment) and nouns whose lexical form ends in an accented vowel (a phonological assignment). many agreements are straightforward. In other words. For example. the residue are neuter Other languages assign nouns to gender according to some phonological pattern. Even these languages have some semantic component." the verb "is" would have some gender marker. they fall into different patterns. according to the way words sound. Some languages have resisted analysis until very recently. but inevitably difficulties of one sort or another arise. One difficulty is how to sort out agreement between elements in the sentence that are gender-marked and elements that are not gender-marked (which linguists call "nonprototypical controllers"). in Russian (whose gender system has three genders). In the sentence "To err is human. especially feminine nouns. the second embraces the residue. the infinitive "to err" is not gender-marked. and it should agree not only with "human" but also with the infinitive "to err. the gender systems in some languages are partly "syncretic. nouns that are sex-differentiable first of all follow these rules: 4 1. that is.84 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 85 Let us begin with languages that assign nouns to gender according to morphology. For declinable nouns: 1. were pronounced (and often spelled) a little differently from the way they are pronounced today. nouns of the second and third declensions are feminine 3." that is. nouns of the first declension are masculine 2. for example. It is now recognized that there are a couple of semantic assignment rules (sex-differentiable nouns denoting males are masculine. has often been judged to be arbitrary.

Some uses of "they" in English fall into this category. like French but unlike German. Dama (Khoisan). Ukranian (East Slavonic) has adjectival forms in -0 for neutral agreement in predicative constructions." if it too is marked)? After all. for example. This may be: masculine: this is the majority pattern. Zande (Ubangian) uses a special pronoun ni that is separate from the normal pronouns. Semantic resolution: for example. A third problem that arises in gender-marked languages is what to do when there are gender conflicts. and the other is feminine ("Susan"). but where the sex of the referent in some particular context is unknown. if all conjuncts' denote rationals. use the rational form . Polish employs its neuter form at this juncture. once again the language is followed by the family to which it belongs." In a gender-marked language. Serbo-Croat feminine: this is the pattem adopted by a substantial minority of languages. feminine rnasculil1e. meaning). which has no nouns that could serve as its normal antecedent but which solves the problem of "nonprototypical controllers. In the following list. on the basis of syntax. For example. any gender. "When John and Susan visited the city. neuter animate.feminine The other way for languages to solve this problem is to generate a unique "neutral" (not neuter!) form that serves no purpose other than to solve this and related problems. inanimate the "Dum" class (most abstracts). Follow no rule. about 19 others masculine." Portuguese has a similar arrangement. for agreement with "nonprototypical controllers. Use an evasive form.86 THE INCLUSIVEMLANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 87 gender." that is. Goajiro (Arawakan). Seneca (Iroquoian). what gender should the pronoun "they" be (and with it the verb "went. they went to seeLes Miserables. 2 Fula (West Atlantic). has only two genders. Archi (Caucasian) employs the form of its fourth gender structure-a gender that does not include nouns denoting humans! 3. for example. Spanish. Four different strategies are used: 1. 3 Menominee (Algonquian). Maasai (Nilotic). masculine and feminine. Use a special form. one of the nouns in the compound subject that constitutes the referent of "they" is masculine ("John"). Use a regular form by convention. Some uses of on in French and man in German approximate this. and the number of genders in its gender system. with that gender in boldface type that is used for "neutral agreement. feminine. 2." Serbo-Croat (South Slavonic). Dyirbal (Northeast Queensland) allows speakers to please themselves: if the sex of the referent is unknown. Consider the sentence. pick a gender. it also has a neutral pronoun ello.6 4. But in addition to the masculine pronoun el and the feminine pronoun ella. A second problem that arises is what to do in gender-marked languages with masculine and feminine forms that are normally tied to the sex of the referent (male and female). about 20 Bayso (East Cushitic). If the gender of the referent is unknown. 2 masculine. 2 Qafar (East Cushitic). 1. They seek to resolve gender conflicts in coordinate structures on the basis of semantics (that is. decide on the spot. or on the basis of some combination of the two. followed by a list of those genders. What gender should "they" be? Languages tend to adopt one of three solutions. Tamil (with only two genders in the plural): a.

French (only two genders): a. Mixed semantic and syntactic resolution: for example. if it cannot be avoided. Those that do have some gender system or other rarely have a gender system exactly like that in another language. otherwise use the neuter gender 3. a Bantu language (eight genders): a. Syntactic resolution: for example. but many do not. if all conjuncts are human. use gender 7or8 2. but quite a few of them are. use the feminine gender c. use the masculine gender b. and for handling "non-prototypical controllers." The relation between grammatical gender and the sex of referents is also extremely variable. if all conjuncts are feminine. Not for a moment am I suggesting that the move from Hebrew to English is encumbered with all the challenges implicit in the languages to which I have briefly referred. if all conjuncts are masculine. use the masculine gender d. meaning. use the feminine form b. use gender 7 or 8 c. otherwise use gender 3 or 4 Luganda. and will advance the argument another step. This list is not exhaustive of the lessons that should be learned. use gender I or 2 b. otherwise use a comitative construction (that is. if there is at least one conjunct denoting a rational. if at least one conjunct denotes a male animate.88 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 89 b. use the neuter form c. if all conjuncts are feminine. otherwise use the masculine form Icelandic (three genders): a. break the construction up) to avoid the problem. if all conjuncts are masculine. Latin (three genders) a. if all conjuncts denote humans. use the masculine gender b. otherwise use the rational plural Archi (with four genders [see point 2 above]): a. But I could not think of a better way of getting across a number of points that have an enormous bearing on the problem of translating (grammatical) gender. form. use the masculine gender b. The number. use gender I or 2 b. if none of the conjuncts is human. otherwise use the neuter gender Rumanian (three genders) a. sometimes moving toward fresh information. use the feminine gender c. linguistic gender is a highly diverse phenomenon. but it is representative and suggestive. if all conjuncts denote nonrationals. use the masculine gender c. otherwise use the feminine gender Gender and Translation Some Reflections One might well ask why so much space should be devoted to languages that are a long way removed from anything to do with gender-neutral English. if all conjuncts are feminine (regardless of meaning). So here are a few observations that largely spring from what has already been laid out in this chapter. It does not take much imagination to discern how difficult a translator's job would be to render a Latin text into an Australian . if all conjuncts are masculine. and use of genders are all highly variable. First. So also are the conventions for resolving gender conflicts. A majority of languages have it. Not all of these points are directly applicable to English translations of Holy Scripture.

neuter or masculine forms (depending on the dialect) are used for women who are unmarried. But when one asks more pointedly why languages have gender systems (remembering. But obviously if the two nouns were of the same gender. In some languages. In some Australian languages. that is the nature of translation." but neither "1" nor "we" specifies a particular gender). it is distinguished from "we. aber er zerbrach nicht": "The jug fell in the bowl but it did not break. in many cases. Inevitably. Second.l1 Fourth. that is. Certain examples crop up in several reference works. or mark status. that some languages do not). the genitive and dative have virtually disappeared). In other languages. English. But the opposite may happen: simplified morphology may be accompanied by a syntax of rising complexity." What did not break-the jug or the bowl? In German the answer is unambiguous. many of our most difficult problems of gender resolution are connected with our pronouns. modern Greek is much simpler than Hellenistic Greek (for example. In some languages. There simply is no choice. people are referred to in nonanimate genders when they are being insulted. development. they carry semantic freight. In every case. but it is marked for number (that is. gender systems help to "disambiguate" the syntax.' But languages change. such simplification tends to be matched by rising complexity elsewhere. because the pronoun "er" is masculine. "Der Krug fiel in die Schale. and in many cases the receptor language would have to over-specify. In contemporary English. affection is shown children by shifting genders-masculine for the girl. whether we like it or not. since every language has to encode its structural relations in one fashion or another. As we have seen. Thus the German gender system "disambiguates" this particular structure where the nouns at issue are of different gender. Consider the German sentence. But change they will. has a pronominal gender system. there is a substantial literature on the rise. The second-person pronoun "you" is . In fact. house) and therefore what it is that is ten years old. gender systems may show the attitude of the speaker. Hellenistic Greek is simpler than Attic Greek. masculine singular. or into one of the East Cushitic languages. of course. the answers are complex. The main varieties of Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) are morphologically very simple (as is English). In some Polish dialects. to make sentences less ambiguous than they would otherwise be. the function of gender systems is another extraordinarily variable element. and their syntax and word order are correspondingly more complex. and many of the challenges of translation are seen in an acute form in the area of grammatical gender. feminine for the boy. I briefly mentioned the changes currently taking place in Slavonic languages. the feminine gender is used for women who are married (a status). the choice of pronoun-feminine singular. and that includes changes in gender systems. languages change with time. something would be lost (apart from detailed footnotes). including their gender systems.· 90 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 91 language. and translations will change with them. Tobias. or neuter singular--establishes the referent (Maria. the gender system holds together much of the syntax. this may be of much greater importance than a language like English that is not so marked. Third. and agrees with "Krug" (jug) but not with "Schale" (bowl). 8 At the level of syntax. or into Qafar. In some instances. the function of gender systems in different languages varies enormously. In fact. when languages simplify with time. lO "Maria photographed Tobias in front of the house when she/he/it was ten years old. the first-person singular pronoun "I" is not marked for gender." In this case. gender systems establish agreement. such as in the morphology. We may legitimately dispute how quickly English is changing: I'll say a little more about that below and considerably more in chapter 9. In languages where every noun is marked for gender. and decline of gender systems in various language families. as we have seen. In morphology. the gender system would not disambiguate the sentence. or display affection.

he devoted himself to learning the language of the Peve tribe. then. one is forced by custom to choose the fourth option in certain constructions. the corresponding plurals were "ye" and "you. however much it may grate upon my purist sensibilities. one must understand how the gender system works in both the donor language and the receptor language (assuming that both languages have such a system). was the first option. among competent authorities. "It is I" was still mandated. Fifth." "it").92 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 93 marked for neither gender nor number-though of course older English distinguished the second-person pronoun for number and sometimes case: "thou" was second-person singular. or common gender. rather. For instance. a feminine word. Most language authorities vote for the first option."12 Why this exception should be made in standard English is dictated solely by usage. 4. now most authorities sanction "It's me. When I was a child. with the loss offormal equivalence in gender in the receptor language in order to approximate the emotion of affection carried by the gender structures of the donor language. Certainly the majority view. In Peve legends. Everyone loves to hear his own name. The problem has been discussed at least since the eighteenth century. it is not the preserve of the past two or three decades (see discussion in chapter 9). 13 Serving as a missionary translator with the Lutheran Brethren Mission in the Chad Republic. 3. one may say. lfray gave birth to two children. strictly speaking. Using a feminine word for God is not in itself a problem. that this "they" is singular). for instance." English usage dictates. as some do. others head for the third option (which. Everyone loves to hear her own name." This. what the majority view is today is more difficult to determine. it is not. which is why some have advocated alternating between the first two options (a procedure adopted in some Australian languages). Everyone loves to hear his or her own name. But we should observe that whatever one's view." None of these pronouns is marked for gender. Everyone loves to hear their own name. is the only one that follows formal agreement to the letter. may be entirely different in another language. too. until recently. the singular forms are marked for gender ("he. from whom the tribe descended. "Everyone liked his dinner" (first option). grates on my purist sensibilities-but the changing usage is quite capable of breaching formal concord. the word for "spirit" in Hebrew is (normally) feminine. The way affection is expressed to a child. nominative case. of course. Thus English has no third-person singular common-gender pronoun. In the third person. An Example Rodney Venberg provides us with an interesting example of a translation problem that turns on gender. but no one would say. it is difficult to see why the same singular "they" might not be used elsewhere. and still others choose the last option (which breaches concord of number). from a translator's point of view. a boy and a girl. So the first option breaches concord of gender (or we avoid admitting this point by saying that "his" is gender neutral). and claim that in this case "his" is gender neutral. "Everyone liked the dinner. of course. The word for "God" in Peve is lfray. but is usually viewed as too cumbersome). "Everyone liked the dinner." "she. but they did not care for the dessert. Formally. while the last option breaches concord of number (and we avoid admitting this point by saying. 2. but the plural form is not ("they"). as we shall see. If usage changes (at least in some segments of the English-speaking world). but he did not care for the dessert. But quite apart from the lingering tribal traditions in the back- . and "thee" was accusative case. even in their gender systems. Consider: I. No two languages are mirror reflections of each other.

Nor can one write off this example as peculiarly difficult because one is dealing with a language interlocked with tribal religion: the grammatical gender is tied to an active myth that concerns a female god. how should we respond? Does this demand that we use feminine pronouns for the Spirit of the Lord wherever the Old Testament . that is. human words that people have substituted for the words of God. the masculine pronoun. instead of lfray? The Peve believers strenuously objected that this would be introducing a foreign God. disclosed something else. However. Further exploration. But now that their language was being reduced to writing and the Scriptures were being translated into Peve. So from this one example. and the Christians were used to referring to this God with Mum. Trinite ("Trinity") is feminine. Masing. But if the Peve Christians switched to using feminine pronouns to speak of God. if someone were to criticize the NRSV or the NIVI on the ground that these revisions include words that God did not originally cause to be written. I need not here pursue how Venberg and the Peve Christians finally handled the matter in their translation. The Moundang word for God was also feminine. of course. the real problem arises when one chooses a pronoun to refer to God (lfray). "The holy God" is Ie saint Dieu (masculine singular article and adjective). not God. Christians among the Peve tribe had been converted by evangelists from another tribe. namely. but the challenges of Bible translation and how to refer to God in differing gender systems transcend the languages of African tribes. so they had come to think of lfray as merely a name for God and used the male pronoun Mum ("he")." the determination being supplied by the context. this particular result of the French gender system does not occur in the Bible. Then why not use Ta ("she") as the pronoun. but to the Trinity with the feminine pronoun eUe. but it is treated as a feminine thirty-six times and as a masculine seven times (thus breaking gender concord). to refer to him." to refer to God. I wasn't there! I am merely trying to show how extraordinarily difficult translation problems bound up with gender systems may be. their "solution" struck hearers as essentially alien. however. Outsiders who heard Christians referring to lfray as "he" and as the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" thought the breach of concord bizarre and asked if they would have to change their talk if they became Christians. neuter in Greek. Of course. then the "she" who was "mother" of Jesus was likely to be understood as Mary. In French. Thus one refers to God with the masculine pronoun ii. since they did not really think of (Christian) lfray as having a sex. to preserve formal agreement? The Peve believers did not think that was necessary. In the complex expression "the Spirit of the Lord" or "the Spirit of God" in the Hebrew canon. Peve Christians had learned from the Moundang that God should be addressed as Father. while Dieu ("God") is masculine. ako. but certainly it occurs in the history of Christian thought. the Moundang. rather than Ta ("she"). the third-person singular Moundang pronoun. Venberg pushed a little harder to sort things out. Why not use Bafray. the word "Spirit" is formally feminine. lfray was merely a name. When the Christians tried to share their faith with unbelievers among the Peve.94 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 95 ground. I'm not certain that their resolution was the best one-but of course. an alien God. "the holy Trinity" is la sainte Trinite (feminine singular article and adjective). is gender neutral: it can mean either "he" or "she. but Ta ("she") to refer to God when they were on their own or in their families. Certainly this sort of link makes the problem more difficult in some cases. Some Biblical Examples The word for "spirit" is feminine in Hebrew. Even some church people used Mum ("he") to refer to God in church. and normally we use the masculine pronoun in English. "Father.

plur. "women rule over [masculine plural] them" (Isa. 31 :29). Dr. and weapons are usually feminine. sing. that we must have the masculine pronoun where the Hebrew has the masculine pronoun." English simply does not permit that degree of variation. But then in principle one must recognize the possibility that there are differences between the use of the masculine pronoun in Hebrew and the masculine pronoun in current English. so such specification is lost. There are countless passages of similar gender complexity in the Hebrew Old Testament. thereby being unfaithful to Yahweh." yet when it continues. But even if English were so marked.] wrong that is on his [masc. the kindest thing that can be said is that honest concern for the integrity of the Word of God has blinded the critic to two facts: (1) the original words of God were (in these cases) in Hebrew.000 women who had never known [masculine plural] a man" (Num. By . should they commit [masculine plural] a wrong against someone ['adam]. Formal equivalents are often impossible. sing." strict concord demands "he or she". when a Hebrew subject is feminine plural. English is not marked for gender in its third-person plural verb forms. Collectives are commonly feminine.) Everything depends on how those pronouns function in the gender systems of their respective languages.]. tools. and (2) Hebrew and English do not have the same gender systems. the men alone are directly addressed ("You and your wives"). if instead we opt for the plural (which is what Hebrew does). including the women. Hebrew has only two grammatical genders.].] head. and they must confess [masc. sing. including the women. More generally. Virtually none of it is directly transmissible into English. it wonld not necessarily follow that we should allow such breach of concord in our language: it would depend on how the gender system worked in the receptor language. or else we are sacrificing or twisting the Word of God. we certainly cannot revert to the singular masculine form. sing. My point here is that to use in the receptor language a pronoun different in gender from what is used in the donor language is not intrinsically wrong. 31:35). Consider Numbers 5:6: "Speak to the sons [bene] ofIsrael: 'A man ['Ish] or a woman ['ishd]. In English. "32. sing. and titles.] he has wronged [masc. In English. and he shall give [masc." and the like. names of countries and towns. 3: 12). this is almost incoherent.] to it. 'Hear the word of the LORD. plur. "many daughters do [masculine plural] noble things" (Prov.] their [masc. after a disjunctive "man or woman. the God of Israel. says: You and your wives have shown by your actions what you promised. (Once again: if the argument is that English has not changed all that much."14 The former are expressions such as "everyone. Nouns referring to instruments. I shall evaluate the claim in chapter 9. which cannot be faithfully rendered into English by formal equivalents. body members.] sin which they have done [masc. If in some places formal equivalents are possible. Consider Jeremiah 44 :24-25: "Then Jeremiah said to all the people. Do not forget: the Spirit who inspired the Scriptures employed this sort of classification. singular] for his [masc. plur. even that does not necessarily mean they are right or best: everything depends on understanding the meaning in the original and attempting one's best to convey that meaning in the receptor language. This is what the LORD Almighty.96 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE GENDER AND SEX AROUND THE WORLD 97 does? I know no one who argues along that line: the differences between the donor and receptor languages are acknowledged. precisely because the women have been mentioned. masculine and feminine. and he shall make restitution [masc. in a careful selection of instances. sing. So when we are told. The initial "sons of Israel" clearly include women. then that person [nephesh] is guilty [feminine singular]." "anyone. and its fifth he shall add [masc. all you people of Judah in Egypt.'" Note that the text specifies that Jeremiah was speaking "to all the people. Wayne Grudem distinguishes between "pure generics" and "representative generics. Further. as are nouns referring to natural forces. not English." "all people. "all the women will show respect [masculine plural] to their husbands" (Esther 1:20).] it to the one [masc. not infrequently concord is breached and a masculine plural verb is used: for example.

1 shall comment on the two sets of principles. 1 shall comment briefly on a substantial number of passages from the Old Testament (chapter 6) 99 . into corresponding pure and representative generics in English. so in this chapter.98 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE contrast. Then in the next two chapters. Try applying it to Qafar. Even when the criticism is telling with respect to a particular passage. alternatively. Grudem's argument is simply an appeal for formal equivalence. it does not follow that the undergirding assumptions about language and translation are believable. English translations should translate the pure generics in Hebrew and Greek as pure generics in English. And so also one cannot responsibly translate all Greek generics. that is precisely what one cannot do unless the gender-systems of donor and receptor languages are identical. "representative generics" include expressions like "the man" in Psalm 1: 1. Not for a moment am I suggesting that all of the criticisms leveled against gender-neutral translations are misguided. In exactly the same way that one cannot responsibly translate a Greek genitive absolute into English as an English genitive absolute because the syntactical structures of the two languages are different. Moreover. length. because the gender systems of the two languages are different. Both representative generics and pure generics. on these points (I shall argue). one might be a trifle disconcerted by the sloppiness of a principle but regain confidence from the way it is applied. Quite apart from the principles themselves. "are inclusive references. pure or otherwise. It understands neither translation nor gender systems. In any case one should start by evaluating the guidelines. where the distances are instantly more obvious. so one cannot responsibly translate all Greek -specified genders into English as corresponding English genders. one may sometimes endorse a principle and yet be discontent with the way that principle is applied. and. That would preserve their distinctive nuances."IS But if this chapter means anything. As we shall see. But the argument that attaches a particular formal equivalent in gender assignment to faithfulness to the Word of God is profoundly mistaken in principle. he writes. Dr. increasingly diverging. building on what we have gleaned about translation and about gender systems from the previous two chapters. they are not. because the gender systems of the two languages are different. Some of them." But in order "to bring over into English the full sense of these expressions as nearly as possible. the Committee on Bible Translation principles are currently undergoing review. 1 heartily endorse. as will be clear in chapters 6 and 7. even though men and women are included. and comprehensiveness. as I have already indicated. and the representative generics in Hebrew and Greek as representative generics in English. 5 A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES The two sets of principles or translation guidelines printed in chapter 2 of this book are quite different in purpose.

welcome one another-and in Paul's culture. as it were. I can think of several ways this might be done." then. Note the change not only in noun ("flesh" [signifying "penis "] becomes" genitals ") but in number. translators must then decide what themes do run through texts and be honest about the matter. but few citizens of England do. You will find it simplest to keep your finger in chapter 2 to follow the discussion in this chapter. 23:20). that is the cultural equivalent. Thus the principle at stake needs to focus more narrowly than it does: it should not be left open to virtually anything that offends modern sensibilities. or a theology of "flesh" as a metaphor for the penis. of course. in this case." In chapter 1 (under "Recent Developments") we briefly reflected on this text with respect to the relationships between language and larger cultural structures. . I shall mention one. all of them slightly messy. but approach it. I have not seen any written criticisms of the NIV'S "one male" as a rendering of the Hebrew "one who urinates against the wall" (1 Sam. Now we may ask more pointedly: Are Christians sinning against God if they do not obey this literally? Christians in France obey it literally. Kissing is not a repeatedly mentioned act full of complex. and scarcely anyone would take exception to their examples. and only a small percentage of American Christians. is a theology of how Christians should love one another. Consider Romans 16:16: "Greet one another with a holy kiss.C could be understood in a good sense or a bad sense. one of the cultural signs of such warmth was a greeting with a kiss that transcended barriers of race and status and money. Is this failure nothing other than callous disobedience? Few would say so. Does the notion of substitutionary atonement offend modern sensibilities? Change the wording.C Principle I. What one must ask of the examples in the CBT's "note. through the back door. 25:22). build one another up. In chapter 8 I will look at a few passages under dispute that have considerable theological weight. One of the reasons is that the New Testament offers no theology of kissing. but should speak more narrowly of forms of expression that offend modern sensibilities where those expressions are not tied to theological themes that run through the text. Nor have I seen anyone become upset with the NIV'S "whose genitals were like those of donkeys" for Hebrew "whose flesh was like that of a donkey" (where "flesh" in Hebrew is in this instance a metaphor for penis-Ezek. symbol-laden. theological overtones. What Paul does offer. Separate chapters are desirable because the donor languages for the two Testaments are different and cast up rather different problems for the translator. is whether the Old Testament offers a theology of males as those who urinate against a wall. The question answers itself.! To think of rendering what may "offend modern sensibilities" in some fashion that will remove the offense could easily open up a sinkhole into which ahnost any change could be dropped. even though the principle is as broad as the proverbial barn door. accept one another. Of course. The famous paraphrase "Give a hearty handshake all around" may remove the text a bit too much from the historical particularity of the first century. Yet the "note" gives examples of what CBT members had in mind.100 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 101 and from the New (chapter 7). Thus the examples are unexceptional. Reflections on the CBT Principles CBT Principle I. Does what the Bible says about men and women offend modern sensibilities? Modify the text. but it is not wrongheaded: in some of our cultures. Its potential for being understood in a bad sense was apparently what prompted the CBT to include the explanatory note. and therefore also in the number of the verb. It would be wise to try to recast the principle in such a way that the examples in the "note" are accommodated without leaving the way open for less acceptable changes.

must one do so for all puns? In any case. The point is that if we preserve "one who urinates against a wall" and thereby cause a contemporary reader to gasp at the coarseness when the original readers would have detected no coarseness. 25. that "sons of Israel" in Hebrew may be used to refer to groups of both men and women Israelites. In the name of formal correspondence we have achieved a negative result neither intended by the author nor found in the original readers. The problem is that caleb in Hebrew also means "dog" (note the use of "dog" in 1 Sam." a mere dog that urinates against a wall. translation is never a mechanical function. Nabal is introduced as a "Calebite. In English. The expression "he who urinates against a wall" occurs six times in Old Testament narrative texts-twice in 1 Samuel 25 and four times in 1 and 2 Kings. I think. changing themes that are there. In such cases. 36). however. as in the Ezekiel passage. then of course this must be taken into account in the translation. The latter would certaiuly want to reject "patriarchalism" that is nothing more than boorish exploitation of women. 24:14 [24:15 MTl). As Professor John Stek points out in a private communication to me (February 27. including grammatical gender. People of goodwill may disagree about the extent to which English words such as "man" and "he" may still function generically today-I shall say more about that debate later-but all sides will agree. If one includes an explanatory note for this pun. If the author intends to be shocking. 17:43.102 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 103 But that sort of decision goes with the job of translation: as we have seen. the NIV'S "genitals" is a responsible rendering. On the other hand." others take to be God's beneficent ordering of society. To preserve the formal equivalent in a translation into English would be misleading and carry a negative overtone. we may have preserved a more formal correspondence but we have translated badly. no matter how uncomfortable they make some people feel. All of this is obvious enough in Hebrew. It could be using "patriarchalism" to refer to forms ofiinguistic expression. Even so. It may be that by principle LD. One hopes . principle LD could be read in a far more conservative way. But the passage in 1 Samuel 25 carries unexpected freight not easily translated. Here the CBT made a good choice. for instance." in both Hebrew and Greek Scripture. that "sons" and "brothers. There is therefore nothing intrinsically wrong or evil about sacrificing the formal equivalent for something that better captures the meaning of the Hebrew text. the Hebrew euphemism "he who urinates against a wall" is suddenly a euphemism with more than a little complexity for the translator to worry over. but puns are notoriously difficult to translate. and on both these counts be a bad translation." At one level this ties him to a famous ancestor. but it is not the Hebrew word that is shocking. preserving formal equivalence may actually be bad translation. We have already seen. even this relatively minor question of the translation of a Hebrew euphemism can have unexpected difficulties attached to it. that are seriously at odds with the gender system in contemporary English. "penis" is perhaps a more shocking word. the CBT had in view ouly these kinds of problems. for the passage in Ezekiel is shocking not because of the word chosen but because of the nature of the comparison in the extended metaphor that likens spiritual apostasy to unbridled fornication. 25:18. principle LD could be understood in a good sense or a bad sense. Justas the author plays on the name N abal (both "fool" and "wineskin" [he is "full of wine"]: see I Sam. so also does the author point out that Nabal is a "Calebite. but they have learned to be wary of some in the egalitarian camp who use the emotionally laden term to besmirch any view that does not tally with their own egalitarianism. 1998).D In the same way. CBT Principle I. Principle LD is so imprecisely expressed it could be used to rewrite substantial chunks of the Bible. What some people mean by "patriarchalism. not infrequently include people of both sexes.

we are not dealing merely with the grammatical gender of words like "God." "worker. good reason. the principle is not very carefully worded 2 CBr Principles I. is a little hard to fathom." the latter term is preferable simply because the former sounds slightly obsolete. lf "archer" loses the specificity of the sexual gender in "bowman. There is. In the case of the other two persons of the Godhead. that the English language is changing as the CBT people think it is). Even from what has been surveyed in the previous two chapters. One might. while the feminine or neuter gender of the words for "Spirit. if repeated male reference has primarily to do with the nature of the grammatical gender system in the language and has little to do with the sexual gender of the human referents. be happily embraced by the CBMW as well as by the CBT.3 who is the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (and this latter relationship. "bowman"/"archer. That. argue that "archer.G Principles I. since the mother of Jesus is Mary. The CBT's commitment to preserve the maleness of a human referent in cultural contexts where only males would occupy the post is ." including most of the pronouns that preserve grammatical agreement. historically speaking. of course. I. perhaps that is what CBT had in mind. both in Hebrew and Greek. the principle makes good sense and is entirely responsible (granted. namely. however. One should at least ask why the masculine gender of "God" is preserved. CBr Principle 11(8) Principle lI(S) is heavily criticized by the CSG and related documents. I CBr Principle 11(5) The reasoning behind principle lI(5) escapes me. males.F. John 5: 16-30] that it cannot be touched without massive rewriting of substantive content). My only hesitation-and it is a balance of judgments-is that I am loath to lose historical particularity. are rendered in English as masculines. Nor is this a merely "accidental" phenomenon bound up with the peculiar languages in which the biblical revelation was given. On the other hand. and I. they prompt some interesting reflections.E. I suspect. between "the Father" and "the Son.E. So why is an English equivalent that loses that historical specificity preferable? I would argue that in at least one of the pairs the CBT here offers by way of example. I think. as stated. align grammatical gender with sexual gender." but with ascriptions such as "Father" and "Son" which. As we shall see." is worked out in such complex detail [for example. it is difficult to see why the references should be thiuned out. Further. one must tackle this matter case by case. Taken together. commendable. even on pragmatic grounds it is impractical to lose the distinctive "Father" for God himself. and it is unnecessary to send up flags as to what gender the person is. Although God is certainly not a sexual being in the same sense in which human beings are sexual beings." Still.104 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 105 that is the case. and such reference is to people who were. since even though such persons were invariably male in the ancient world that fact makes little difference to the point of this or that passage. would be an argument worth evaluating." so be it. I.F. he has chosen to disclose himself in Scripture as the One who is addressed as Father. which alignment is again preserved in the pronominal gender system of English. for it seems to be implied by the closing sentence: "care must be taken not to distort the intent of the original texts. I suppose. at least.G would. CBr Principle 11(6) Principle lI( 6) needs some expansion or clarification." and "rower" focus on the essential activity of the referent. In my view. and I. If there is repeated male reference in the donor text. But the logic ofthe CBT's position. the critics seem to assume that it is always inappropriate to render a singular by a plural.

English readers apply them individually anyway. since the plural pronoun in English is not marked for gender. when plural statements of this sort are made.106 THE INClUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 107 do not see how that position can be consistently maintained. and several other Old Testament chapters abound in singular/plural switches whose significance is highly disputed among most commentators. is there not a special reason to preserve the singular here. That presupposes that the gender systems... Deuteronomy 12. But one may not responsibly disagree with a translator's choice in such matters in a way that intimates that the other side is perverse. 5: I O)-and each individual believer asks himself or herself (those awkward pronouns again!) exactly how this beatitude applies to him or her (them?).. But his delight is in the law of the LORD. namely. in the view of the defenders of the NIVI. or go with a plural form and lose the individual reference. and that is not what the psalmist was saying. legitimately disagree with a translator's choice in some of these catch-22 dilemmas. for instance. Although doubtless there are some of feminist persuasion who are offended by "man" in the NIV. All sides recognize that the singular form can be a collective. they say. Psahn 1: 1-2 reads. "Blessed are those who do not walk in the counsel of the wicked . is singular. or disrespectful of Scripture. that the psalmist switches to the plural in 1:4--6. are the options? One might try. We have seen how the translation enterprise is riddled with choices of this sort: translation is treason. But even in English.. it is better not to use "man" and the corresponding pronouns "his" and "he" in subsequent verses." The NIVI renders the same passage. but as an alternative stylistic form. What. is not a serious one. So the formal loss of the individual referent. is that "man" is increasingly understood. which has been sacrificed on the altar of a feminist agenda. "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness" (Matt. So for the sake of accuracy in translation.. one does not have the right to assume that singular and plural forms function in Hebrew and Greek exactly as they function in English. Besides. and the wisest of them throw up their hands and say they are uncertain what function these switches have. may not be offered as a contrast to the singular forms in 1:1-3. not a few of the CBT translators are complementarians. To argue that the donor text is singular and therefore that using anything other than the singular in the receptor text is necessariy flawed is a bad argument. the plurals in I :4-6. incompetent. Consider an example that has been repeatedly discussed in the literature. for whatever reason. Moreover. Better therefore to go with the plural. One is dealing with systems of language structures. overtones of words.. we sometimes use the singular generically. This choice may be occasioned by an author's "feel" for something nebulous called "style" in a particular context." The Hebrew. of course. But their delight is in the law of the LORD. of course. The critics say that this is a betrayal of the Hebrew singular. however. number systems. the masculine pronouns are not thereby relieved in verses 2-3 since English's pronominal gender system marks the singular pronoun for gender. why not here? . Moreover.. "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked . and the distinction should be maintained? Defenders of the NIVI respond in several ways. "Blessed is the person who . But even if (and it is a big "if') the purpose of a singular form is to say something about the individual. Their opinion on language use in growing segments of English-speaking America and Britain. "-but although that might satisfy 1:la. and the like are exactly the same in the two languages. if the ouly corresponding individual expression in English is one which is gender-specific and will be read in those parts of the Englishspeaking world where such gender specificity carries overtones of bigotry not carried by the donor text. Jesus says. For instance. then. One may. In the NN. to refer to the male of the human species. then the responsible translator is faced with an awkward choice: Preserve the singular form and project bigotry. these defenders might say..

and delivereth them [plural] out of all their [plural] troubles. The progressives said that "you" should prevail because "thou" conveyed an old-fashioned tone that was not found in the donor text. and the defenders of the NNI go the other way. that disagreement may be painful and difficult. That is the challenge of translation. LXX has "them. But granted the limitations of the English gender system. LXX has "souls. it is extraordinarily difficult to think how all of these number specificities are likely to be preserved in natural English." This was a debate over number." plural] out of them all." plural] bones: not one of them is broken. CBT Principles "( 13) and "( 19) Principle 1l(l3) is nicely put. because it was more respectful. and advance some reasons for this judgment.4 it should be obvious by now that it is betraying iguorance of translation problems and the nature of gender and number systems in different languages. LXX has "their." plural] of his servants [plural]: and none of them [plural] that trust in him shall be desolate. Progressives replied that the donor texts did not convey respect by choosing archaizing forms. LXX has plural]: and they [plural] that hate the righteous [singular] shall be desolate. and give some reasons for their judgment. One cannot fail to note that both the "righteous" and the "wicked" can be in either singular or plural. I suspect that in the light . On these matters some Bible translations went one way. not always well executed. and we would be losing something important of the Word of God if we lost that distinction. 2lEvil shall slay the wicked [singular. 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous [singular. Consider the furor when some translations replaced "thou" with "you. The fact is that "thou" is marked for number (singular). 17The righteous cry [plural]. 20He keepeth all his [singular. and his ears are open unto their [plural] cry. but neither side is thereby questioning the motives or competence of the other side. LXX has plural]: but the LORD delivereth him [singular. It does not add to the clarity of the debate to charge either side with Scripture twisting. Consider another example. quoted from the KN but with the singulars and plurals marked: 15The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous [plural]. That side is merely blessing its own translation preferences with divine sanction. The overwhelming majority have now lined up with "YOU. while "you" is not. to cut off the remembrance of them [plural] from the earth. There may be structural reasons for this switching-the stuff of discussions in commentaries. but as we shall see in the next chapter. and saveth such [plural] as be of a contrite spirit [singular]. by its translation judgment in this instance. some the other. Some conservatives also argued that the archaic form should at least be preserved in direct address to God (in prayer.108 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 109 Now if at this juncture the critics reply that in their view the balance of judgments favors the conclusion that the loss is worse by opting for the plural form. and the two sides agree to disagree. 16The face of the LORD is against them [plural] that do evil. the conservatives argued that both Hebrew and Greek second-person pronouns distinguish between singular and plural pronouns. for example). But if one side insists that the other. 22The LORD redeemeth the soul [singular. not gender."6 simply because the continued changes in spoken English made that choice all but inevitable. and the LORD heareth. 18The LORD is nigh unto them [plural] that are of a broken heart [singular]. 5 Here is a section of Psalm 34. is twisting the very words of God or the like.

compare 17:31-33). nor a servant above his master" (NIv). The second exception (b) does not. CBT Principle 11(20) Whatever one thinks of the final principle. The first (a) makes an exception of passages that are universally applicable. Reflections on the CS Principles By and large. II(20). compare "Students are not above their teachers. Either you will hate . Probably this is as much because of how they were generated as anything else: they were generated not over a sustained period by a group of scholars engaged in the difficult work of translation but comparatively quickly by a group of scholars whose mission was to critique the translation of others. himself' should be employed to translate generic 3rd person masculine singular pronouns in Hebrew. in my view. the application concerns followers of Jesus of both sexes in every time and place. . In this case the solution has been to draw back the second-person pronoun from the last line into the second line. You cannot be a slave to both God and Money. nevertheless. it illustrates perfectly some of the tensions that translators face. these principles in the hands of the NIV and NRSV critics sometimes point out translation weaknesses that should be remedied. You cannot serve both God and Money" (Luke 16:13 NIV.. and the NIV is wrong. I do not find that objectionable in this case. But the three exceptions are intriguing. But the principles themselves do not stand up very well. make a case. This is not to say that they are always wrong: in application. and gives Matthew 10:24 as an example: "A stndent is not above his teacher. one should be suspicious of such assumptions: gender systems differ from language to language. including application even at the time the utterance was first given. On the one hand. If the extended passage loses its gender specificity (as in Luke 14:31-35). Aramaic and Greek" (emphasis mine).." The two examples provided are helpful: "No servant can serve two masters. For further reflection on the move from singular expressions to plurals. his. but the principle as articulated leaves a door open big enough to drive a tank through. the CSG are open to far more and far more serious linguistic objections than the CBT principles. see below. The third exception (c) appeals to universal modem circumstances. even though the formal categories are male. CS Principle AI Principle A. the CBT members rightly wish to preserve the historical partiCUlarity of the biblical cultures and therefore opt to preserve male-specific references in biblical texts where only males would occupy those cultural slots at the time. Either one must introduce a footnote explaining this. What this assumes is that English generic use of such pronouns exactly mirrors the generic use of the pronouns in the donor languages... or one opts for something like the NIVI: "No one can be a slave to two masters. I am happy with the NIVI'S rendering. appeal to principle II(19) might be made much more often in the future: explanatory notes may help to assuage the worst fears. including the first century. Gender-inclusive language in the first line does not handle the pronoun in the second.. nor servants above their masters" (NIVI). why not lose it in English at about the same place? I see little advantage in losing it earlier. given the CBT's commitment to maintaining historical specificity. In general terms. him.110 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 111 of the current debate. I think this is unobjectionable ifby "universally applicable" is meant something like "the utterance is universally applicable." Note the changes. The NIVI has changed "servant" to "slave": here the NIVI is right..I says that "generic use of 'he. The servant in this utterance is male. Either he wiIl hate .

ho pisteuon is often rendered." or the like. observe three factors." NIV: John 6:56 "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me." NRSV: "No one can come to me unless drawn by the Fatber who sent me. Even so." NN: In the first of these tbree passages. and I in him. ho is the masculine article. "However. but so also is the usage generic in many occurrences of the Hebrew or Greek masculine pronoun. First." "his. The CS principle A.'" True. The NRSV solves the problem . In addition to tbe criticisms of this position tbat have already been raised. is masculine as well. such as 'the one who believes' rather than 'he who believes. if the critics of inclusive-language Bible translations were merely articulating their preference for conservatism in English form (like tbose who long preferred "thou" and other archaisms when most English speakers had abandoned them). Second. "him" botb in Greek and in tbe NIV must be understood generically: the text is certainly not saying tbat God draws to himself only male human beings. this is a generic usage. But tbese critics are insisting tbat their position is more faithful to Scripture. In tbat following three passages." John 6:51 NIVI: "If anyone eats of this bread." NIVI: "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain in me. the second part of A." NIVI: "No-one can come to me unless tbe Father who sent me draws them. This introduces a formal breach of concord with tbe singular "no-one" (though certainly some speech patterns are heading in that direction today). holding that "him" is less and less able to function generically." "Whoever eats of tbis bread will live for ever. Of course. since within tbeir own gender systems tbe masculine is retained. Compare tbe "No one can come to me unless the Fatber who sent me draws him. They write. Why the double standard. "tbe one who believes. opts for tbe third-person plural "them. and I will raise that person up on tbe last day. except for the influence of English gloss? The donor languages do not encourage a distinction in translation approaches based on tbe gender of these parts of speech. But strictly speaking. Theologically. each cited first from the NN and tben from the NIVI and the NRSV: 7 John 6:44 NIV: sense principle A. I shall argue in chapter 9 that that is a bit like Canute trying to hold back the tide. and tbe participle. and I will raise him up at the last day." and so on in a generic sense more frequently than is cornmon today.112 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 113 It would be true to say tbat tbe English of two or three decades ago used such pronouns as "he. substantival participles such as ho pisteuon can often be rendered in inclusive ways. the Greek text uses tbe pronoun autos in tbe accusative case. And there. he will live forever. as determined by the article. The NIVI.I betrays the fact tbat tbe critics are thinking at the level of English gloss ratber than at the level of meaning. they are simply mistaken. of course." which is not marked for gender.I is an appeal to conservatism in languagewhich becomes obvious when CBMW scholars devote energy to trying to prove that tbe English language is not changing. and I will raise them up at the last day. tbe insistence on using English masculine pronouns for masculine pronouns in the donor languages hides an ambiguity tbat has not yet been addressed.I demands that we retain "him" in English. in elementary Greek instruction textbooks." NRSV: "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me. and I in them. that would be an acceptable position witb which others might disagree." NRSV: "Whoever eats of this bread will live forever. and I in them.

Strauss' and others have pointed out that sometimes when the New Testament cites the Old. That is what has occurred in John 5:26: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me. Both translations "lose" a little something or "gain" a little something. The NIVI and NRSV circumnavigate the problem by rendering the Greek "if" clause as a "whoever" clause. which is really the negative counterpart to the first principle.2 forbids that other expressions be used. but in the usage of many is semantically tied to sexual gender.2 not only implicitly in the previous two chapters. "he" functioned generically more frequently than it does today. the verbal form might be rendered "he/she/it will live. The subject is established by the inflection of the finite verb zesei "[xl will live. The third example brings up yet another problem. even with the barely conceded exception at the end.I mandates that "he" and so on be used. So far as the mere inflection is concerned.2 In part I have dealt with principle A. has as its primary goal the elimination of renderings that "get around" the use of such masculine pronouns as "he" and "his"-and this becomes clear in the second principle on the list. Principie A. All sides agree that the "him" in Greek is generic. of course. principle A.l does not address such circumstances (which are exceedingly common in the New Testament). they resort to the plural. the next one introduces quite a different problem.l kicks in. one suspects that principle A. A. But I should add a few more observations.l concedes that participial constructions such as ho pisteui5n may be rendered "the one who believes" or the like (even though these constructions are masculine). CS Principle A. Mark L. but not for gender. because the structures of donor and receptor languages are different. Neither the NIV nor the NIVI/NRSV can retain formal equivalence here. The prohibition articulated in A.2.I. Third. Despite the NIV'S rendering with its pronoun "he." But whatever one thinks of this example. But they illustrate the problem of translating across languages with different morphological systems and different gender systems. Both the NNI and NRSV preserve that generic meaning by avoiding an English pronoun that is increasingly viewed as not only marked for grammatical gender in English.114 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 115 by dissolving the first "him" into a passive structure. even though formally marked for grammatical gender. Dr." but then over-specifies gender by choosing a gender-marked personal pronoun (since English does not offer the option of having an unmarked subject specified by verbal inflection). First. it renders a Hebrew generic singular with a Greek plural. does not demonstrate an evenhanded grasp of how gender systems in different languages work and of the kinds of choices translators have to make. when the NIV did so. whether or not one agrees with it) but interprets that position in a framework of orthodoxy that sets those who disagree with it outside the pale. To do this." The inflection is marked for number and person. Moreover." the Greek actually has no pronoun. A. Implicitly. but also in my discussion above of CBT principle li(S). which has not addressed the fundamental issues in which it is enmeshed. but even this turns out to be not much of a concession if a little farther on in the same sentence the referent of such a participle is referred to using a masculine pronoun-for then the first part of A." The NIV inserted "he" because English structure demands a separate pronoun. In other words. We may select three examples from Paul's use of the Old Testament: (1) "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who . the NIVI and NRSV preserve the lack of gender markedness by slightly modifying the subordinate clause. and I in him" (NIV). " Strictly speaking. The NIV preserves a clause with "if-structure. as we have seen. and transmuting the second "him" into the slightly cumbersome but certainly gender-neutral "that person. which then functions as the subject of "will live. it largues for a conservatism in language use (which is a rysponsible position.

is "linguistically unconvincing and contrary to experience. (3) "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven.. 32:1). Behind Dr.. Grudem's humor is an unrealistic caricature. Dr. and the Lord will raise him up. but now it looks like a hospital ward! The meaning has been changed. For example.9 "As it is written. 'Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven. and the prayer of faith will save the sick man. 3:10." In the NRSV. In English there are several choices. (2) "There is no fear of God before his eyes" (Ps. The apostle neither condemns the translation nor reverts to the Hebrew to retain greater accuracy. 52:7)." (a) It is linguistically unconvincing because it fails to wrestle with the way translation works. This is no more "rewriting" the Bible than any translation: translation is treason. and Greek. that the apostle does not think something of truth is lost when he renders a singular by a plural. and the Lord will raise them up. "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church. I invite him to apply the same sort of criteria as what he here presupposes when we translate the biblical texts into some of the more alien languages whose gender systems I briefly summarized in chapter 4. I very much doubt that the rendering of the NRSV makes many readers think of hospital wards. and let them pray over him . Second.. Grudem writes. 'There is no fear of God before their eyes'" (Rom. Grudem's desire to take the Word of God seriously. it is rewriting the Bible.JO The former reads. because our gender systemwhether our gender and number system of the Elizabethan period or of fifty years ago or of the past two decades-does not mesh exactly with the gender and number systems of Hebrew. 4:6.116 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 117 brings good news" (Isa. whose sins are covered'" (Rom. "The situation that comes to mind is entirely different. it does not help the discussion to think of language in the wooden categories of what might be called lexical exegesis. I am certainly not suggesting that singulars may be translated into plurals indiscriminately. (b) It is contrary to experience. He would not be pleased. "11 This strong charge. Moreover. whose sins are covered" (Ps. this has become. I suspect. I said. But let us suppose that English moves on to the place where "he" . one must conclude. He might even reply that they should still be so understood today. Sometimes there is no choice but to lose one way of saying something to get at the heart of the content a somewhat different way. 32: 1 in Rom. "As it is written . "David says the same thing . Certainly it is the case that the errors in judgment are not all on one side of this debate.. The prayer of faith will save the sick... 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news'" (Rom. on this issue his constant insistence that the singular refers to the individual and the plural refers to a collection of people is linguistically unconvincing and contrary to experience. he is quoting the LXX. In due course we shall see some instances where certain kinds of generic singulars should not be rendered as plurals. I greatly applaud Dr. 7).. But at the very least. he compares James 5:14-15 in the RSV and the NRSV. that are then individually appropriated: we have seen instances of this already. This is not accurately translating the Bible. 4:6-7)." Dr... James wrote about a private home with one person sick. if an opponent caricatured the RSV: "What is this? Did the early church have sick men and no sick women? Or was it considered righteous to pray for the Christian men who fell sick. Wayne Grudem has offered some telling criticisms of some inclusive-language renderings: we shall sample some of them in the next two chapters. 10: 15). That is because both in the Bible and in ordinary contemporary English plurals are sometimes used to command or forbid things. 18). In the last of the three cases (Ps. or to hold up examples. Nevertheless. "Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them . The formal plural in such cases does not lose or exclude the individual. from Paul's own habits. None is perfect. 36:1). Aramaic. but not for the Christian women?" He might rightly reply that the male references in the RSV were at the time (1952) understood in a generic sense.

again one should be cautious about blanket condenmations." Dr.. though formally second person (and not marked for number). that he will also reap.. I am sorry to have to keep repeating the point.. as it does. it does not follow that such a switch is invariably wrong or perverse or a rewriting of Scripture. although the change from third-person pronouns to second. if a man says he has faith but has not works?" NRSV: "What good is it .or first-person pronouns (since the third-person singular pronouns in English are marked for gender but not the second." James 1:20 RSV: "For the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. if you say you have faith. Pity the translator turning Greek or Hebrew into one of the North Australian languages. They would be conveying concepts and images not found in the donor texts. translators have only so many choices. We should be grateful that English has as many structural parallels with. "13 I agree that switching persons is at least potentially misleading.118 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 119 refers exclusively to the male. James did not say 'your anger'... '" NIVI: "What goes into your mouth does not make you 'unclean. in the fourth instance above (James 1:20). (a) Once again." Matthew 15:11 NN: "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean. not an evaluation.. then.. Consider some examples: James 2:14 "What does it profit . but do not have works?" RSV: Proverbs 20:24 RSV: NRSV: "A man's steps are ordered by the LORD. (b) "You" in English.." Rather.and first-person pronouns) is a little more difficult. but it must be got across: that is the nature of translation. But in fact Paul is making a much more general statement about human conduct. with respect to Galatians 6:7: "Readers will probably think that Paul is speaking only of something that is true of Christians . For those segments of the population for whom snch changes have already taken place (including more than a few complementarians)." NRSV: "You reap whatever you sow." "All our steps are ordered by the LORD. in some usages functions . Granted. he said 'the anger of man. If the English language is changing in the way the translators of the NRSV and NNI believe it is. and each of them gains and/or loses something. the argument is an attack."'!2 Similarly. Third. Would he himself not then be forced to concede that using "he" in English in this passage would be transmitting positively false information? But some of us are convinced that the language is changing. Greek. say. But in fact James is making a more general statement about the anger of human beings. Nevertheless. they cannot responsibly leave all those gender-specific words in the English text precisely because to do so would be bad translation. Three things must be said. Grudem has objected that.. '" Galatians 6:7 RSV: "Whatever a man sows. that its pronominal gender system has no gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun). and about people generally.. the limitations of English (in particular. the NRSV is not "rewriting the Bible." NRSV: "For your anger does not produce God's righteousness. "readers might well think that James is speaking only about the anger of Christians . it is faced with typical choices facing all translators and offers a solution that carmot responsibly be written off by caricature.

If someone says "You only die once" or "Life is hard and then you die" or "You get what you pay for"14 or "You should brush your teeth after every meal.. The CSG do not specifically mention the former. although the Hebrew word 'ish has a narrower semantic range than 'adam.. nor to a specific human being (male or female). In other words. (c) Implicitly there is also a confusion between meaning and translation gloss-but this latter point I shall pick up again in chapter 8." "a human being. Ironically. (d) singular anthropos should be rendered "man" when it refers to a male human being. Grudem." and so on. The NIV has "man". you do well . nor to male human beings only. finds difficnlty with the NRSvrendering of2: 14. but to the human race save Noah and his family. Hence the NIV'S "mankind. and A. Certainly James himself is not restricting the "you" to Christians. 6:7 RSV). (b) Hebrew 'Ish should ordinarily be rendered "man" (or "men" in the plural). It will be simplest to begin by reflecting on the donor words. the CSG stipulate that (a) "man" should ordinarily be used to designate the human race. I fear that there is a lexical woodenness to Dr.Jiidiim and . but to any human being. Its most important theological connections are bound up with passages in the opening chapters of Genesis: I shall treat them in chapter 8. AA. it is difficult not to conclude that the NIVI is an improvement. one of those places is in James 2." Granted the sensitivities that read "man" in an exclusive sense. 9:6 RSV). the word is not referring to the human race. including "humanity. and (e) plural anthropoi may be translated "people" when it refers to people in general. (c) Biblical writers themselves sometimes use a similar approach. Does one want to give the impression that the imposition of capital punishment for murder is applicable only to the murder of males? Second." and "a male human being. First.120 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 121 very much like on in French or man in German. nor to all male humans. you shallow man. where Dr. some of them distinctly idiomatic. A4. "You" is most likely to function in this way in English in aphoristic utterances-very much like Galatians 6:7. that faith apart from works is barren?" (James 2:19-20 RSV)." and the NIVI'S "human race. (a) The most important is the one we have observed again and again-the assumption that the donor word occupies the same semantic range as the receptor word. in the clause "Whoever sheds the blood of man ['adam]" (Gen.Jzsh (and there are others: see below)." By contrast. Here it will be enough to fasten on the first two linguistic problems. CS Principles A3. The KN ren- . (b) At one point there is an important confusion between meaning and referent. Grudem's interpretations that vitiates some of his criticisms of gender-neutral translations. "I will blot out man ['iidam1whom I have created" (Gen.S because all three have to do with the word "man" and the corresponding terms in Hebrew and Greek. But it is worth reflecting on 'iidam. In sum. A bare five verses later. as we have seen. the two most common Hebrew words often rendered "man" or "men" are . the NIVI has "human being." the "you" in each sentence will not be nnderstood to refer in some exclusive sense only to the person or persons addressed. he is not referring to an individual male human. when the evidence often flies in the face of the assumption. though it is treated in CBMW literature.3." there are many exceptions. James continues: "You believe that God is one." When God says.. Do you want to be shown. To begin with. and may often rightly be rendered "man. three linguistic principles are being overlooked. and AS We may evaluate together principles A. Some first-person plural idioms have the same sort of flexibility: "We have to die some time. Nevertheless the lexica point out that 'adam can have a range of meanings. sometimes in conversation with "theoretical" opponents. Consider the eighty or so times it occurs in conjunction with re'a (often rendered "neighbor"). (c) Greek aner should almost always be so rendered. The clause does not suggest that others may not have to die some time.

" They are: 'iidam (twenty-seven times). in a vision of the night when deep sleep falls on 'an?ishim as they slumber in their beds. although the parallelisms of Hebrew poetry are no sure guide to the way terms work in nonpoetical Hebrew. and his laws" (Exod. and jewels of gold. he brings upon 'fsh what his conduct deserves. and I do make them know the statutes of God.jewels of silver. for instance. four different nouns are used that are commonly rendered into English by "man" or "men. 'enosh gazes/gaze on it from afar. thus losing the formal gender markedness of the Hebrew. So that kol-'adam he has made may know his work~ 10:4. who is only a worm. Third.. wise geber who hear me say to me .. they can be very instructive. 'enosh (eighteen times). 'iinashfm) (forty-two times). a desert with no 'adam in it. or the "people" of the city. The following are easily verified in a Hebrew lexicon. incidentally. In the Book of Job. the KN renders the same pairing. 18:16)-which. In a dream. "When they have a matter. to turn 'adam from wrongdoing and keep geber from pride. Similarly. 'adam breathes his last and is no more. 'ish (and its plural. It is difficult to see how this is misguided. . The word 'Ish on its own is rendered "person" by the NKlV in Deuteronomy 24:16 ("a person shall be put to death for his own sin"). 16:16): it is far from clear that only the men were to do the gathering. 'an?ishfm of uuderstanding declare. Kol-'adam has/have seen it.6 But geber dies and is laid low.122 THE INCLUSIVERLANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 123 dering of Exodus 11:2 is: "Speak now in the ears of the people." Here is the pairing of these two Hebrew words. young and old? There are many such examples where a translator must decide. is often how the LXX renders it. who is but a maggotben-'adam.5 he stops kol-'anshe [or koi-'an?ishfm?] from his/their labor. nor will I flatter 'adam. 38:26 to water a land where no 'fsh lives. and geber (fifteen times). and your righteousness only ben-'adam. and every woman of her neighbour. 62: 12 [62: 13 MT])lS Are only the men afflicted with tumors in 1 Samuel 5:9. Your wickedness affects only 'fsh like yourself. Each person ('ish) is to gather as much manna as needed (Exod. and let every man borrow of his neighbour. 32:21 33:15-17 I will show partiality to no 'ish. Seven chapters later. he may speak in the ears of 'an?ishfm and terrify them with warnings. they corne unto me.. How then can 'enosh be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? how much less 'enosh. 34:11 34:34 35:8 36:25 37:7 He repays 'adam for what he has done. they were first drawn to my attention in an unpublished paper by Professor John Stek: l6 4:17 Can 'enosh be more righteous than God? Can geber be more pure than his Maker? Do you have eyes of flesh (basar)? Do you see as Jenosh sees? Are your days like those of 'enbsh or your years like those of geber? 14:10 16:21 25:4. on behalf of geber he pleads with God as ben-'adam pleads for his friend. the Lord rewards "each person ['ish 1according to what he has done" (Ps. and I judge between one and another.

Further. "someone. Further. the reference is to human beings. see further below. which entails the conclusion that the singular nouns in 4: 17 must be taken as collectives." (On tis. James 1:20 denounces "the anger of man [aner]. is wrong. that occasionally leaves the translator with some difficult exegetical judgments. that is the "default" position." Does James intend to imply that this valuation is not true when applied to women? In other words. every") to signal the intent. But precisely because the "default" meaning of aner is "male human being" or "husband. It follows that sharp distinctions in meaning between any two of these terms of the sort that says they cannot occupy the same semantic space. and that aner here carries an exceptional sense. is he excluding women? Well. In other words. even though the granunatical gender is male. Of course. which the lexicon here cites? The NIV reads: "If anyone is never at fault in what he says. he may be: if this takes place in the Temple court where men are allowed and not women." which "does not work the righteousness of God" (RSV). the CSG make a distinction between the singular and plural forms of anthropos. Moreover.("all. NIV)? Or was it the "people" (NRSV. But there are a few passages that give us pause. I agree that aner most commonly means a "man. I doubt if this can be sustained. note that the singular expressions 'en8sh and geber in 4: 17 are followed in 4:19-21 with plurals. Is it maleness that is fundamentally at issue in James 3:2." even if sometimes there is a stretch toward "human being. the NIVI offers "People of Israel. and in these contexts are semantically equivalent to 'Ish or geber or 'enosh. apart from compelling contextual evidence. or use a modifier such as kol. it would explain this use of terminology. Fifth.4 is too mechanically restrictive. Note that some passages mingle plural and singular forms (33: 15-17). When Peter addresses the crowd on the day of Pentecost as "Men [plural of aner] ofIsrael" (Acts 2:14). we are told that "[a] few men [plural of aner] became followers of Paul and believed" (NIv)-among whom was at least one woman. or "human anger" (NIVI)? In Acts 17:34. NIVI)? It is hard to be sure. On the assumption that Peter was not speaking in that court." it can slip over into the notion of ethical maturity. Unlike anthropos. given the right context. by extension aner has come to mean what we would call a "mature person" or the like. 10:4-5). able to keep their whole body in check. Did only the "men" of Gennesaret bring their sick to Jesus (Matt. because (as the lexicon also points out) aner in some contexts means a "man" in contrast to a "boy. the expression then simply means "people. It normally refers to .) In the plural. Fourth the Greek word aner is more restrictive. the rhetorical sharpness of the singular form is not greatly lost by pluralizing it. the three instances of ben-'adam ("son of man") carry no special messianic overtones. But it is worth noting that the standard lexicon for the Greek of the New Testament and early Christian literature l8 lists as one of the lexical meanings that the word can serve as the equivalent of tis.he male human being. able to keep his whole body in check. when all is said and done. 14:35 RSV. As for singulars and plurals. One . It follows that English cannot be expected to mirror Hebrew singulars and plurals by its own singulars and plurals. Hence the NIVI: "Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect. But that is far from certain. he is a perfect man. a male human being. Certainly one needs to be careful. sometimes to the husband. an idiomatic expression such as "man for man" means something like "individually" without for a moment being restricted to individual males. 17 There are many more such examples in the poetic literature. with the possible exception of Job 34:34. "19 Still. and that principle A." there are some places where the NIVI has probably been too loose (see examples in chapter 7)." Moreover. if there are good reasons intrinsic to the receptor language for doing so (for example.124 THE lNCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 125 It does not seem possible to discover a fixed pattern to the parallelism. there is no reason to think that the referents are all male." It is a judgment call based on a balance of probabilities. In several instances." that is. ethical perfection. Is this dismissing only male anger.

Butis that quite fair? No one. Similarly. 27 As for the prooftexts that the CS principles adduce . By dropping the phrase and writing A. My car is a Ford. the masculine pronoun "himself.126 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 127 must not overlook the frequency with which the Greek singular anthropos actually refers generically to a human being. "How much more valuable is a man [anthropos] than a sheep!" (Matt." Dr. as opposed to "human beings in general. then. This is surely right." Consider. link our humanness to Jesus' humanness. Kostenberger is a capable scholar and a former student whom I esteem highly. Does James think that all his readers are exclusively males when he makes the comparison "just as we are"? Does he really intend to say. The Greek words. "because you. of course. the problem is a confusion over the elementary linguistic distinction between meaning and referent." Doubtless Elijah was a male human being." Dr." There is no attempt to make him androgynous. questions Jesus' maleness: note. not male human being.5. is a male of the species. The meaning of anthropos is human being. not least the NIVI text. Dr. but as always one must not rush to confuse meaning and referent. himself human. Andreas Kostenberger says that this downplays Jesus' maleness during his earthly incarnate state. Arguably.26 We have seen too many examples that tell against including it. the man [anthropos] Christ Jesus. 25 Seventh. The Jews are accusing Jesus of elevating not his maleness to the level of deity. Christ Jesus. 20 Dr. some Jews accuse Jesus of blasphemy. the referent." The NIVI translates the same words. NIVI "human being"). Sixth. accurate. claim to be God. a mere man [anthropos]. for instance.3 in its present form. Kostenberger says the NIVI "dilutes the maleness of Jesus during his incarnate state. the original draft made principle A."23 Others have picked up on the same charge. Surely no one is arguing that 1 Timothy 2:5 makes Jesus out to be a mediator between God and male human beings. whatever else may be said for female human beings? Similarly. hundreds of examples have been deemed appropriate for inclusive language that had earlier been excluded. 12: 12 NN. It often refers to male human beings. more important. but his humanness." The NNI translates the critical expression "a mere human being. the NIVI is more.3 clash somewhat with principle A. But is it his maleness or his humanity that is at issue in the word anthropos? The meaning is simply "human being". James 5: 17 (NIv): "Elijah was a man [anthropos] just like us. an important change made by the CBMW scholars since the first draft should probably be noted. 24 Again. the NNlhas changed the NIV'S "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith" to "For we maintain that a person is justified by faith" (Rom.21 But here he has made a linguistic gaffe: 22 he confuses meaning and referent. 3:28). since the number of instances where it is the human race as such that is in view. my family knows I am referring to what is in fact a Ford." The phrase "or human beings in general" was subsequently dropped. Moreover.3 read that the word "man" "should ordinarily be used to designate the human race or human beings in general. "Elijah was a male human being just as we are"? The same reasoning is critical in some important christological passages. But the word "car" does not mean "Ford. The NIV reads: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men [anthropoi]. No one is doubting Jesus' maleness. In John 10:33 NIV." is rather small. rather than less. it is far from clear to me that anthropos regularly carries the meaning "male human being" as the "default" meaning. the NIVI uses only male pronouns for him. which allows anthropoi to be rendered by "people" instead of "men" when it refers to "people in general"-the same phrase. But one must not confuse meaning and referent. When I speak of my car. Is the point of the passage to assert that male human beings are more valuable than sheep. singular and plural. in this case. then. Kostenberger has raised questions about the NIVI rendering of 1 Timothy 2:5." The NIVI renders it: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings. Originally principle A. "Elijah was human just as we are.

the indefinite Greek pronoun tis is masculine or feminine." Up to this point.28 CS Principle A6 Principle A6 is valid. CS Principle AS one" why not translate it that way?29 CS Principle A7 The same sort of things can be said about principle A 7. This pronoun does have a feminine form. 29:11. once again the problem ofthe English gender-marked third-person singular pronoun returns." The CSG allow the tis to be gender inclusive: "human testimony" is better than "man's testimony.128 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CBT AND CS PRINCIPLES 129 here to support A. anthropos carries precisely the same semantic content as tis in the phrase. Moreover. 16:24 NIV). for he knew all men [pantas]. I shall comment on the Genesis passages in chapter Sand on John 2:25 below. for he knew what was in a man [to anthropo]. above. principle A 7 is valid. When anthropos means "any- pisteuon. John 2:25). what is the advantage? What the left hand giveth. One suspects. 6:1 NIV).. and no foot of beast shall pass through it" (RSV). Dr. oudemia. so far as it goes. again. Consider John 6:44: "No one [oudeis] can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him [auton]" (NIv)." but tis may be translated "anyone" or "someone" is another classic confusion of form and meaning. Some of these matters come together in an interesting passage at the end of John 2 and the beginning of John 3. The two instances of . for he knew what was in people. Gen. In the NN: "Jesus would not entrust himself to them. He did not need human testimony about them. But surely this does not mean "no foot of humanity [considered as a raceJ" or the like. The only other text in this list.3 in its final form (namely. is part of an oracle against Egypt: "No foot of man shall pass through it. "If anyone (tis) would come after me . namely. He did not need man's [tis] testimony about man [tou anthropou]. Strauss points up another anomaly. the right hand taketh away. " (Matt. for he knew all people. Nevertheless. 1 :26-27. 5:2. although there is a complicating factor. In other words." Arguably the NIVI is more accurate than the NIV in rendering pantas by "all people" rather than by "all men. the real problem is that this word is often used in a sentence where a pronoun is also required-and that drives us toward the usual difficult choices. while in the plural it is a two-termination word (masculine and feminine have the same form). If we grant gender inclusiveness to "no one. it simply means "no human foot" (NRSV). Once again. one can make a powerful case for either the NIVI or the NRSV renderings of this verse (cited earlier in this chapter). Grammatically.. In the phrase "if someone (anthropos) is caught in a sin" (Gal. Ezekiel 29: 11. Ezek. the NN has used "man" twice when even on the most formal reading of the text the word is not found in the original. but at least in part for the wrong reason. Contrast the NIVI: "Jesus would not entrust himself to them. Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus. with yet another wrinkle: pas has a feminine form in the singular (pasa). He observes that words like tis are often really no different than the sense of masculine generic terms like anthropos and 'adam. Now there was a man [anthropos] of the Pharisees named Nicodemus" (2:24-3:1).l). To claim that anthropos must be translated "man. Greek distinguishes only neuter from masculine/feminine. in my discussion of CS principle A." even though the Greek word is grammatically masculine. in some two-termination substantives. that translation gloss has prevailed over meaning (as with ho Principle AS is very much like A7. and forbid it to the pronoun that refers to it and must be grammatically masculine to preserve agreement. I need not repeat the implications.

on "son of man." Is Jesus restricting the sanction to anger toward a brother. here referred to by the use of the generic singular. whether singular or plural.2 recognizes. It is partly a question of their slightly different semantic ranges." Dr.I 4: I NIv) and immediately start addressing two of the women in the church (Phil. One must proceed case by case. but to all human beings. CS Principles A9 and AI 0 Principle A. see also 1 Cor. 4:2-3. though formally mascnline.130 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE csr AND CS PRINCIPLES 131 anthropos are probably not referring to the human race corporately.l implicitly recognizes these points." and it insists that Greek huioslhuioi ("son"/"sons") can never mean "child''l''children'' or include "sons and daughters. But there is plenty of unambiguous evidence. One could use "man. Small wonder the NNI renders the expression "my brothers and sisters. choices: translation is treason.l is much improved in the revised guidelines." Thus within the New Testament.I 0 is certainly valid-though as I indicated above in discussing the CBT principles. Earlier we saw that Hebrew banfm ("sons"). Principle A. This makes a connection between the Nicodemus narrative and the generalizing statement in 2:24-25. 30 He argues that the New Testament authors "were able to speak of .9. the reasons for driving toward this conclusion are more complex than first meets the eye." This is not flawed translation: rather. James 2:15). in its latest draft (though not in its first). both in the New Testament and outside it. even though the meaning connection is retained. But it forbids translators to render the singnlar Hebrew ben as anything other than "son. Paul can address the Philippian believers as "my brothers" (Phil. Principle B. CS Principle B. because the English words simply do not link up the way the Greek words do. the expanded English expression is including people who would have felt included in the Greek adelphos but who by and large do not feel so included in English "brothers. Would we ever introduce someone with an expression such as "there was a man of the Democrats" or "there was a human being of the Republicans"? So the NIVI opts for idiomatic smoothness and loses the word connection.2 Principle B. CS Principle B. the word connection is lost. The sticky point is the use of anthropos in 3:1. but very little can be said in favor of still using "brothers" generically. partly a question of their respective idiomatic usages." since that is the referent. that "brothers" very often meant what we mean by "brothers and sisters. frequently includes both sons and daughters. makes an inclusive reference. But it is difficult to credit the principle that denies the possibility of such reference to singular forms after conceding the possibility of such reference to plural forms. though strictly speaking the Greek word refers to Nicodemus as a human being. translators have to make choices. of course. Why it insists on excluding inclusive language for the singular form quite escapes me. "But Itell you that anyone who is angry with his brother [adelphos] will be subject to judgment. This point principle B. for the plural form of the word. But if we use "man" in 3: 1 while using "human beings" or "people" in 2:24-25." I shall evaluate in chapter 8. Originally neither the singular adelphos ("brother") nor the plural adelphoi ("brothers") was to be rendered "brother or sister" or "brothers and sisters" or the like. Grudem provides a rationale for this position. Why concede the point for the plural and deny it for the singular? This does not mean that every instance of adelphos. Choices. 7:15. In Matthew 5:22 NIV Jesus says." One may argue about the extent to which the English word "man" may still be used generically. Once again. but not toward a sister? The NIVI'S "brother or sister" is surely preferable.

the God of your ancestors ['abOt].16-17. [T]he creation itself will be .3 forbids translators from rendering the Hebrew and Greek words for "father" (. Paul can switch back and forth between teknon and huios in the same passage: "because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons [huioi] of God. principle B. which came into play when a man died leaving no teknon ("child. Each passage mnst be examined carefully." but it is difficult in the flow of this context to detect significant semantic distinction between the two terms. But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that principle B. . "The LORD. "obscures the fact that we all (men and women) gain standing as 'sons' and therefore the inheritance rights that belong to sons in the Biblical world.pateres) as "ancestors. brought into the glorious freedom of the children [tekna] of God" (Rom.." In the latter passage.'). by overtones of what it means to be an heir.. was hid for three months by his pateres"-which here surely cannot be rendered as "fathers. Here the NIV consistently renders huioi by "sons" and tekna by "children.32 But enough evaluation of the CBT and CS principles. "By faith Moses. Once again. As soon as we do this. Moses is told to tell the Israelites. not the current range of "fathers.' and faithful translations should not change this to 'sons and daughters' or 'children' as the NIVI did in Galatians 4:7." In other words." he writes. . It is to suggest that principle B. Now if we are children [tekna]. .2 does not stand up very well to hard data." and here surely an heir) to carry on his name. then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. 'He gave them power to become children of God.pater) as "parent" or theirrespective plural forms (.."3! But this is methodologically mistaken.3 is too restrictive." but must be rendered as "parents. Just because some passages in the New Testament can distinguish between huios and teknon does not necessarily mean that the two words cannot share identical semantic ranges in pragmatic circumstances-for otherwise we have returned again to "illegitimate totality transfer. CS Principle B.. 8:16-17. To flesh things out a bit. Such examples will occupy us for the next three short chapters.' and Rom. 'bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God." The context suggests the reference is to many generations in the past.l32 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE A BRIEF EVALUATION OF THE CST AND CS PRINCIPLES 133 'children' (tekna) when they wanted to (as in John 1:12. perhaps. the rendering "children.." impelled. Zechariah and Elizabeth long for a teknon to carry on the family name (Luke 1:7). Acts 7:5 says that God promised Abraham the land "even though he had no teknon"-which here must refer to an heir. Note that tekna is closely tied to what it means to be an heir." Once again.. Jesus is questioned about levirate marriage.." In Exodus 3:15 NRSV.3 forbids.21 NN). I must venture a few more examples of various kinds.. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children [tekna].ab." The word "ancestors" appears entirely suitable. In Mark 12: 19.19. everything I have is yours" (Luke 15:31 NN). close inspection of every occurrence in the Old and New Testaments suggests there are some instances when a competent translator ought to do exactly what B.. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons [huioi] of God to be revealed. 8:14. one must proceed case by case. when he was born. The older brother in the parable of the prodigal son is addressed by his father. "My son [teknon] .. one must inspect usage in passage after passage to see if huios always means "son" as distinct from "child. But in other verses the Bible spoke of us as 'sons.abOt. Thus Hebrews 11 :23 RSV tells us. has sent me to you. the position collapses.3 Finally.. but increasingly that is becoming an archaizing expression in such structures... This is not to suggest thoughtless or wholesale transmutation of "father''l''fathers'' into some inclusive-language alternative. Older versions usually have "fathers" here..

and in the next. Because the English third-person singular pronoun is marked for gender ("he/she/it"). Nevertheless. passages from the Old Testament. if the material from the previous chapters has not been absorbed. Critics object that this loses the 135 .SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES Neither in this chapter nor in the next do I intend to break much fresh ground. More on Singulars and Plurals We have already discussed this complicated issue somewhat. which is of course not marked for gender ("they"). it might be useful to provide some brief comments on some more passages-in this chapter. one of the expedients used by translators to avoid it is to switch to the plural. from the New Testament-to show how some of the linguistic and interpretive judgments articulated up to this point work out in practice. the arguments marshaled here may prove less than compelling. My comments here are brief.

All the commanding verbs are secondperson singular except for those in italics (which are plural): Obey what I command you today.136 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES 137 individualism implicit in the singular. with the result that even if the criticism is judged valid in a particular passage.. "Speak to the Israelites [literally sons of Israel] and say to them. 'When any ["adam] of you [second-person masculine plural pronoun] brings an offering to the LORD. in the block of material that constitutes Exodus 20-23. 6:17.. with rare exception. " Stek comments: Now given the facts noted above. 1:2 NIV)-which is then immediately followed by third-person masculine singular terminology that is syntactically controlled by the function of "adam in the verse just cited: "When an "adam of you brings an offering . and in the clause "Love him as yourself" (NIV) in verse 34 (though in Deut. viz. Deuteronomy 1:31. that passages must be assessed on a case-bycase basis. 34:11-16 NIV).. But even this block begins with a second-person construction: "These are the laws you are to set before them: 'If you buy a Hebrew servant .. is a jealous God. 20:3-17) are all in second-person masculine singular form (though surely they were to be obeyed by men and women alike).. 1 In this they are different from comparable ancient law codes. even though these clearly refer to the entire covenant commnnity. and Jebusites. Professor John Stek has tracked not only the complex interplay of second. for the LORD. but one finds remarkable singulars in. for example. smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. He is to . for . The 2nd m. or they will be a snare among you. By contrast.... The commandments of the Decalogue (Ex ad. But even the prologue (20:2) contains only second-person masculine singular constructions. they will lead your sons to do the same. it is not surprising that 2nd-person language found in the regulative instructions is everywhere masculine. 32. that generic singulars abound. Do not worship any other god. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods. What is somewhat disconcerting for translators.. I have argued that this is too univocal an explanation of the singular. their form may owe rather more to suzerainty treaties.. singular is used almost as freely for referring to the whole community of Israel as for referring to an individual 2 Some examples drive this home. 2:24. Again. especially the heads of households. the regulative instructions begin and end with second-person address. whether Hittite or Assyrian.and third-person forms of address in regulative stipulations but also the strange shifting between singular and plural. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land. observe the switching back and forth in the following passage (Exod. For example. whose name is Jealous.. . Be careful notto make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going. it does not necessatily follow that it is a compelling criticism in every passage where translators have rendered a Hebrew singular with an English pluraL In an unpublished paper. bring [second-person masculine plural verb] as your [second-person masculine plural pronoun] offering an animal from either the herd or the flock' " (Lev.. Break down their altars. is the fact that in this literature no discriminating pattern can be shown in the use of the 2nd m. In Deuteronomy. that the Pentateuch is made up of public documents that are regulative of the Yahweh-Israel covenant relationship and that in the ancient world public affairs were. at least initially. in Leviticus 19:23-37 all the second-person references are plural except those in 19:29.. the domain of the men of the community. ' " (21:1-2 NIV). singular verbs and pronouns. The collection of regulations found in the first major block of Leviticus has a similar interesting mix. Third-person constructions are restricted to Exodus 21:1-22:20 (22:19 MT). 10:19 the verb is plural!). the plural dominates. I will drive out before you the Amorites .. they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.. He is to ..

Of course. I set them apart for myself. not merely assumed. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt. and I admire his ministry. Piper a good friend. does not. But I must say that this charge is misguided." a document prepared by Dr.4 several Old Testament texts were mentioned. Stek comments: "But even if such invention should be attempted. Where differences in form coincide with differences in semantics in both languages. as far as translation into English is concerned. of course." Since the referent here is to warriors. and only under the most extraordinary circumstances were warriors women. Those that are dealt with elsewhere in this book. NIVI: "Every firstborn male in Israel. whether human or animal. Dr. Piper lists this among the "gratuitous changes which mute obvious masculinity of persons." and asks. But such coincidence must be demonstrated. translators have not felt it necessary to invent some device in English for preserving the constant number switches. is that Dr. By and large. . the NIVI translation is not wrong in the sense that it is saying something false: it does not suggest that any of the warriors were women." Numbers 8: 17 NN: "Every firstborn male in Israel. That is precisely why we need some gender-neutral translations." Dr. is mine. is mine. so to that degree the pursuit of formal equivalence is unhelpful." "SO the five of them left and came to Laish. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt. But the "whether" phrase establishes the pool from which "every firstborn male in Israel" must be drawn: it includes both the human species and the (domestic) animal species. the gender systems of the two languages are to some degree incommensurate. The remainder I shall now bring up in canonical order. even when the donor word. that is very helpful. and have therefore not tried to preserve formal equivalences in English. however. 2nd-person pronominal forms [in English] that distinguished singular from plural. Piper is right. implicitly concedes what the NIVI and NRSV translators are constantly saying: the English word "man" often does have male overtones. however mistaken in this context. Nevertbeless."3 Or. it is difficult to see how this "mutes" anyone's masculinity. there is no good reason to change from "men" to some genderneutral form. Both the NN and NIVI explicitly speak of "every firstborn male in Israel". Hebraists have long recognized the mismatch between Hebrew and English on such points. the distribution of these in accordance with Hebrew forms would leave the English reader who has no know ledge ofthe Hebrew merely perplexed. I set them apart for myself. John Piper with help from Dr. The NNI is obviously superior. What is intriguing. whether man or animal.138 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES 139 Of course. contemporary English is marked for neither gender nor number in second-person imperative forms. 1997. to use the language of linguists. for example. as here. No translation gain would result. "Why give gender neutral translations to persons or groups that are obviously male?"5 I count Dr. I need not mention again here. Problems in Gender Changes In the list of "problems in gender changes. Piper's insistence that the move from "man" to "human" mutes the maleness of the referent. Judges 18:7 NN: NIVI: "SO the five men left and came to Laish. Wayne Grudem and presented to the group that met in Colorado Springs on May 27. the change is unnecessary and leaves open a possibility that would have been culturally closed. either explicitly or implicitly.

6 Dr. namely. and was saved from every trouble. and the NRSV introduces the same unnecessary ambiguity. Piper observes that the change from "his" to "their" introduces a difficnlty. Grudem objects that this fairly frequent device of the NRSV. for the one who obeys them will live by them. and in any case the NRSV'S bias is probably reflected in the shift from "not a man" to "not one." NIVI: "Keep my decrees and laws. Leviticus 18:5 RSV: "This poor man cried. but it is not required. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Who can discern their errors? Forgive my hidden faults. "doesn't tell us whether the person was saved by the Lord or by circumstances or by some other means. and the LORD heard him. One could paraphrase the offending line: "Who can discern your servant's errors?" A couple of other possibilities corne to mind." NRSV: "Your servants have counted the warriors who are under our command. and the intended forcefulness of NIV: "Keep my decrees and laws. and was heard by the LORD." See my comments above on Judges 18:7. but the ancient Israelite army wasn't. Similarly the NRSV. in keeping them there is great reward. If "man" increasingly has male overtones. the NLT opts for "you. If they are right." Psalm 34:6 More Old Testament Examples I turn to a list." NIVI: "By them is your servant warned. The modern Israeli and American armies may be coed." . the switch from an active to a passive voice in order to get rid of a troublesome pronoun. the ordinances of the Lord referred to by "them" in verse 11. Piper is right. One could simply leave this masculine singular pronoun alone. My own linguistic antennae. have occasionally so focused their attention on this particular desideratum that they have introduced some glitches that need fixing. This is one of them. and saved him out of all his troubles. however. It appears that the translators. One or two colleagues have suggested that "warriors" has replaced "men of war" for no other reason than that the latter expression is obsolete. of a number of other Old Testament passages that have been introduced into the discussion in various quarters. The Lord's salvation may be suggested by the NRSV. for the man [hil-'ildilm] who obeys them will live by them. however laudable or otherwise their aim of producing a faithful genderinclusive translation. and there is not a man missing from us. of course. There is only one obvious plural antecedent. The NIVI is surely superior: the charge to keep God's decrees and laws is not laid on male human beings alone. then the NRSV is acceptable on these broader grounds. several ways around this. in keeping them there is great reward." NRSV: "This poor soul cried. do not confirm that "men of war" is obsolete." Dr. One could read the NIVI to be saying that there are errors in God's ordinances. and not one of us is missing.140 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES 141 Psalm 19:11-12 NIV: "By them is your servant warned. in canonical order. the NIVI preserves a form of expression without that restriction." Dr." Numbers 31 :49 RSV: "Your servants have counted the men of war who are under our command. There are.

But here.." I note with gratitude that the NIV! here retains the wording of the NIV. the charge reflects a failure to understand translation and its limitations. English usage reverses these priorities. warnings against being deceived by an adulteress make "son" far more likely to be a male than will generic labels for people of both sexes. just as gender systems differ from language to language.' who is the son being warned by his father in the previous text. The NIVI preserves "My son" throughout. The pronoun "you" can function. the conclusion that the NRSV is here "rewriting the Bible" is unjustified.. that a weakness found in one gender-neutral translation does not necessarily condenm all gender-neutral translations? Proverbs 5: I." "For your ways are in full view of the LORD. many proverbs are addressed to men and women without exception. 8 There is nothing unseemly (in contemporary English) about David referring to himself as "this poor man." these verses find a father addressing his child (in the NRSV): "My child. be attentive to my wisdom . was heard by the Lord. presumably because it observes the context more carefully than does the NRSV. but the LORD directs his steps.. It cannot be a valid objection to a translation in principle that it opts for one voice when the donor has another: there are too many system factors that must be evaluated. Proverbs 5:21 NIVI: NIV: "For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD. much the way on does in French or man in German (compare "You get what you pay for"-which certainly does not mean the statement is true only for the "you" being addressed). Proverbs 16:9 RSV: "A man's mind plans his way. Grudem's conclusion that the NRSV rendering is unacceptable." NRSV: "The human mind plans the way. Even the passive construction establishes that the "poor soul" was "heard by the LORD. But to suggest that the text does not make it clear that the Lord saved the "poor soul" who cried surely reflects leaden exegesis. something of the vitality of the active is lost." I cannot imagine a reader understanding this to mean (especially in the flow of this psalm) that this "poor soul" cried. That is bad reading. Keep your way far from her. "9 I find this unconvincing." . Elegant Greek prefers passives (it is more colloquial Greek that opts for an abundance of actives).142 THE INCLUSIYEMLANGUAGE DEBATE SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES 143 the text is lost. and then saved by circumstances quite apart from the Lord." Dr. Is it worth mentioning. there may be legitimate objections to a change of voice in a particular location. the text no longer affirms God's observation of the ways of every person. in passing. Grudem's opinion that this is an unacceptable translation. I find the objection a bit strained. 7-8 Instead of "My son. especially in aphorisms. and the charge unfair. so also do voice systems."7 I agree with Dr.. and do not go near the door of her house. but the NRSV no longer tells us.. That is the problem with translation. because in this context the "poor man" is the psalmist. Of course.. it is rewriting the Bible.. this is not translating the Bible. To take the NIV! this way is surely unimaginative. So far. and her speech is smoother than oil . but for quite different reasons. Yet I entirely concur with Dr. listen to me . Once again. In other words. my child. The Bible told us that the Lord saved him. but the LORD directs the steps. Grudem objects that the NIV! "restricts the text to 'you. And now. True. In this instance.. The superscription establishes who the author of this psalm is: none other than David." Of course. and was saved. for the lips of a loose woman drip honey. 3. even if there cannot be a legitimate objection to all changes of voice. Some languages do not have passives.

Grudem says it would have been appropriate to change the RSV to the following: "A person's mind plans his way. above. Incidentally. can be appropriate for such utterances: "In your heart you may plan your course. this sort of criticism is precisely why the original CBT of the NIV wanted to maintain the right to keep introducing corrections as they came in."!O But this does not address the intrinsic limitation of English: only in the third-person singular is the pronoun marked for gender. One could opt for the plural and drop "mind": "Human beings plan their ways. But I have already wrestled with the problem of changing the text of a wellestablished Bible (see chapter 3. it appears that where the critics are right. 3." Compare comments on Proverbs 5:21. as we have seen. insist it is not a translation problem." NIVI: "Those who love wisdom bring joy to their parents. they have not been so on the ground of a linguistically informed critique of gender-inclusive translations. It remains to assess some gender-inclusive renderings of New Testament passages. especially in aphoristic contexts. and here that troublesome "his" resurfaces. with Dr. but the LORD directs their steps. they cannot be followed. even though we must thank them for exposing the more egregious mistakes that remain. At the risk of anticipating final conclusions. What is immediately obvious is thatthe critics of gender-inclusive translations of the Bible have sometimes administered some telling blows. "you" in English. In this instance." NIV: The person likely to visit prostitutes and squander wealth on them is a man. because.144 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES 145 Dr. but on the ground either of the CBT's occasional "loose" principle or of rather shoddy application now and then of the good guidelines that have . but the LORD directs his steps. but the LORD determines your steps. there are only so many ways around it. point 8 under "Implications and Conclusions"). I rather favor the NIVI'S move to the second person. 7-8. But for those who believe it is. One can. "A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father. but companions of prostitutes squander their wealth. Grudem. Here the NIVI falls into the same sort of trap as did the NRSV at Proverbs 5:1. Where the critics have offered evaluations on the basis of an insecure linguistic foundation." I doubt that this would please him. at other times they appear to have missed the mark rather badly. Proverbs 29:3 been constructed. but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

provided those references are not discussed elsewhere in this book. Matthew 8:27 NIV: "The men were amazed and asked.7 SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES In this chapter. Piper in the paper he prepared for the May 27 meeting in Colorado Springs (mentioned in chapters 1 and 6). I do not intend to break much fresh ground. 'What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!'" 147 . Problems in Gender Changes I shall begin with the New Testament references advanced by Dr. from the New Testament-to show how some of the linguistic and interpretive principles articulated up to this point work out in practice. the arguments here may not seem compelling. as in chapter 6. if the material from chapters 1-5 has not been absorbed. as in the previous one. My comments are brief. My purpose once again is to provide some brief comments on some more passages-in this chapter.

and AS'). but those who lose their lives for me will find them. a "disciple" asks Jesus a question that exposes the limitations of his discipleship.3. For instance. There is no reason whatsoever to think this was one of the Twelve. then no Matthew 16:24-26 NIV: "Then Jesus said to his disciples. The NIVlhas apparently chosen to read 8:23-27 with the larger possibility kept open. In this case. 'If anyone would corne after me. two verses before this pericope. As explained in chapter 5 (under "CS Principles A. 5:6. Certainly we know from elsewhere in the Gospels that women were included among the many who "followed" Jesus and who were "disciples" in that sense. should an attempt be made to find an alternative construction to the third-person singular pronoun. If by "disciples" in 8:23 only the Twelve or some subset of them is meant. yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?'" NIVI: "Then Jesus said to his disciples. In short. The trouble is that English does not use "human beings" or even "persous" or "people" in this sort of context to refer back to those whose identity has aheady beeu established. Since 8:23 specifies them to be disciples. and the change from 'a man' to 'you' may give the impression that it relates to Jesus' hearers rather than beiug a universal statement. Whether this is wise may be disputed. The question behind the question is invariably the same: Granted the current trends in English usage. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world. but I wonld be the first to concede that the evidence is not clear either way. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it. 'What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!' " The Greek word is anthropoi. then the obvious word to use for anthropoi in 8:27 is "men" as in the NIV. A. Piper comments that in the NIVI "the individual thrust and personal responsibility of Jesus' words are lessened in this plural renderiug. Suffice it to say that formal plurals often have personal application intended by the speaker/writer and picked up by ordinary readers (for example. the most common meaning of the word is "human being. that "you" not infrequently has the value in English of a French on or a German man.4. which in English is marked for gender. he must deny himself and take up his . For those who want to save their lives will lose them. their choice strikes me as unlikely. cross and follow me. and does not strike me in this context as restrictive in the way suggested by Dr. But there is a not-uncommon uncertainty in the Synoptic Gospels as to whether "disciples" refers only to the Twelve or to some broader group of Jesus' followers. yet forfeit your soul? Or what can you give in exchange for your soul?'" Dr. What good will it be for you to gain the whole world. Matt."l I have repeatedly responded to these objections (see chapters 5 and 6) and will not repeat all the arguments again. but whoever loses his life for me will find it. plural of anthropos. wherever the meaning of the original is not gender-restrictive? If the answer is no." which if anything increases "personal responsibility. the NIVI simply repeats the word in 8 :27. 'Those who would corne after me must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Many of the texts adduced by the critics of all gender-inclusive translations are of this type. Piper." even when the referent is male (see also comments below on Acts 1:21).148 NlVI: THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 149 "The disciples were amazed and asked. that in this instance the suggestion that "personal responsibility" is lessened by the switch to the plural is in any case overturned by the "you. in this instance I would have stayed with the NIV. but I cannot find sufficient evidence to warrant an attack on the NIVI. 10).

1 Timothy 2:5. At no point does the NIVJ deny Jesus' masculinity.3. That is the perennial problem with all translations: you must use the structures of the receptor language to convey the meaning you find in the donor language. theologians have wrestled with how best to articulate the simultaneous truths that Jesus was truly "God" and truly "man"-with "man" in such discourse meaning "human being. Through Adam's sin. and so forth. When referring to Jesus' humanity. Piper views these as an instances in which the "masculinity of Jesus is downplayed. he was a human male. the question is whether the choice oflanguage here emphasizes his maleness or his humanness. 3:20. not because we are changing the . Saying that the change from "man" to "person" or "human being" downplays Jesus' masculinity presupposes that the word "man" is tied to maleness.' So I shall not return to more of these kinds of texts. even though the structures of the two languages are sufficiently different that you are forced into over-specification and under-specification and so forth. Granted such (unwitting) concessions. but Dr. If the answer is yes. But the primary focus of theological integration was how simultaneously to affirm Jesus' deity and his humanity."3 This is a repeat of the misconception advanced by Dr. it was Adam's role as federal head of the human race that was critical." A similar change occurs at John 18:14. At one time it could be used in a purely generic sense. it is faithfully translating into current English the primary meaning of anthropas. Adam also was of course a male human being. that entirely fits this context. and virtually all readers would take it that way. the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. Not only is the NIVI'S translation not pernicious. and similar passages (see chapter 5 under "CS Principles A. Throughout the history of the church. John II :50 NIV: "it is better for you that one man [anthropas] die for the people than that the whole nation perish. and AS'). As for 1 Corinthians 15 :21. Piper unwittingly concedes the very point that the NIVI translators and others are trying to make. Compare also 1 Corinthians 15:21: "For since death came through a man [anthropas] . to masculinity. then it is not enough to say that you do not like the alternatives to "he" and related pronouns. no matter what they are. the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. the son of Mary. The only exceptions will be where additional factors come into play (as in John 14:23: Gal. Piper concedes that even for him "man" does not here carry genderneutral reference to "person" or "human being"-which is precisely what anthropas here daes mean. Rev. But by arguing that the move away from "man" reduces Jesus' masculinity. then we could argue about whether or not the English language has changed (see chapter 9). 5:10. Kostenberger regarding Philippians 2:8. below). AA. the word "man" (in English-language theological discussion) was universally used." That he was a particular "man" (that is. If Dr.150 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 151 change is necessary or helpful." NIV: Dr. theologically. human being) was also affirmed-a male human with a particular first-century Jewish identity. death came upon all human beings. Lexically' anthropas primarily means "human being". I insist that the NIVI is in this case more accurate than the NIV." NIVI: "For since death came through a human being. This is not "downplaying" Jesus' masculinity." NIVI: "it is better for you that one persan die for the people than that the whole nation perish. since the answers will always be the same. Piper had argued that "man" still has this sense unambiguously and a change to "human being" is therefore unnecessary. The fact remains that Jesus was not only a male.

Galatians 5: I0 NlV: "The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty. On balance. clearly tilts to the latter. It is always important to remember the limitations of translation and to walk humbly. that the move from the singular to the plural in most instances entails very little loss of individual application: many plurals in English work that way anyway. I see no reason for removing the reference to men. the criticism in this instance is sound." though its referent is often male-sometimes incidentally so and sometimes crncially so. aner most commonly means "man" (that is. an important one. That is the "default" understanding of aner. "Jesus" or "God" or the "Holy Spirit" entertains relations with. and AS') that anthropos normally means "human being. male human being) or "husband." NIVI: "Therefore it is necessary to choose one of those who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us. What to do about it is another matter. This is not to say that the NIVI or NRSV is always right. Still. sometimes the believing community and sometimes the individual believer." The implication in the change. here strengthened by the fact that the issue is replacing one of the Twelve."4 In this case the critics have a point. in this instance. especially those more theologically informed but with no knowledge of the original languages. But in this case there is an additional factor. suppose that once again the corporate sense is found in the original. This is one of the passages which. is that Jesus and the Father dwell "with a group rather than with a person." There are some remarkable exceptions where even this word must be understood to include both men and women." The word for "of the men" (NIV) is andron. I have earlier argued. therefore. a shift to the plural may make some readers. perhaps with an explanatory note (as the NRSV in one or two places finds no graceful way out of gender-specific language in English that is not really mandated by the original. We saw in chapter 5 (under "CS Principles A. A. whoever he may be. one might simply leave the NIV in place.4. I have criticized some of their renderings and will criticize others. several times. Because the more corporate emphasis is well known. and we will come to them and make our home with them. in Greek. but they are relatively rare." .152 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 153 Word of God or rewriting it. My Father will love them.3. charge the critics. Of course. the genitive plural of aner. the two suggested replacements likewise being male. It is to say that some of the critics' charges are too sweeping or sadly misjudged. but because the English language is changing such that older translations sometimes give a false impression that gender-neutral translations actually correct. In the New Testament. By contrast. or lives in or dwells with. My Father will love him. but leaves it that way because of the limitations of the receptor language). and we will come to him and make our home with him. all of whom were males. there are several options apart from the alternatives offered by the NlV and NIVI. Acts 1:21 Nlv: "Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us. John 14:23 NlV: "If anyone loves me. In this context." NIVl: "Those who love me will obey my teaching. There are other options. he will obey my teaching.

Once again." door. Grudem comments: "Trying to make 'they' singular impoverishes English by leaving us no clearly plural pronoun. knocking. whoever that may be. if you hear my voice aud open the door.154 NIVI: THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 155 "The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty.) Jesus could easily have said 'brother or sister' if he had wanted to (see 1 Corinthians 7:15). Languages are constautly going through changes of one sort or another. "impoverishes English. forgive him. I will come in to you aud eat with you." NIVI: "Rebuke a brother or sister who sins.'" True. Luke 17:3 NIv: "If your brother sins. and you with me.." Dr.. the NRSV here tackles the gender-specific pronoun by switching to the second person: "Listen! I am standing at the . Dr." Incidentally. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door. (And the lack of agreement in many verses like this creates dissonant English as well." But the point is that English is already impoverished by not having a gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun. Revelation 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door aud knock. rebuke him."8 It is difficult to respond to this series of criticisms without referring to the whole of this book so far written. certainly belongs to those "agitators" whom Paul. As for obscuring the personal relationship. aud if he repents. this list is not exhaustive." NIVI: "Here I am! I staud at the door aud knock.s In the context. which is equally grammatically inconsistent aud now almost universally judged acceptable. but understanding 'they' as plural mistranslates the singular Greek pronoun autos and corresponding singular verb. and he with me. I find this mistaken not only on the general ground repeatedly mentioned in this book-that quite demonstrably many grammatical plurals carry au individual application that is recognized by all but the most unperceptive readers-but also on the ground that the "grammatical inconsistency" preserves the "anyone. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door. aud if they repent. By and large I do not here treat verses I have discussed elsewhere in this book. To use "they" this way. driven by various factors: shall we insist on using archaisms so as not to "impoverish" the language? Shall we continue to use "thou" aud related forms because by dropping them we have "impoverished" the English lauguage by losing a clear distinction between second-person singular aud second-person plural forms? In any case we do not thereby lose power Dr." NIV: More New Testament Examples We may now pick up on a number of other New Testament verses that have been introduced into the discussion. Piper objects that "the grammatically inconsistent trausition between 'anyone' aud 'them . Piper sees this as one of the "gratuitous chauges. I will come in aud eat with them."7 Dr. they' obscures the personal relationship with Christ offered in this verse. forgive them. It is hard not to grin and conclude that the CBT got carried away with its guidelines aud did not keep its collective eye on the context. two verses later. the individual here referred to." I do not much care for it-but then I am enough of a traditionalist that I do not much like "It's me" either. and they with me. this construction is "grammatically inconsistent. I will come in and eat with him. whether a kind of collective singular or not. wishes would go all the way and "emasculate themselves" (5:12)." and I agree with him. Grudem suggests.

Dr. NIVI: "Jesus said to her. why therefore does any woman have the right to be offended today? But again. even though that same writer might choose on occasion to write "brothers" and thereby mean what we mean when we say "brothers and sisters. He who believes in me will live. Having admitted that "brothers" in Greek can in the right context mean "brothers and sisters. 10 Martha was apparently not offended. Precisely because it was understood to be generic. so the context shapes the word. Dr." Dr." Here it is what is in parentheses that draws our attention. double accusatives compounded with aorist infinitives. Jesus (in John's report) did use the Greek generic "he. and therefore how translation works. Grudem's analysis is that it assumes that the gender and number relationships internal to contemporary English are exactly the same as in Greek. would she have been offended? And in any case. double negatives.' But the deeper problem with Dr. this line of argument entirely misses the point." He also used genitive absolutes. as we have seen. Similarly if a modern woman went back .156 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 157 to communicate: spoken language is a living thing and finds ways to get across needed distinctions." In other words. Similarly here: for exactly the same reasons. even though he dies. 1997). 'J am the resurrection and the life. As the word shapes the context. Those who believe in me will live. In the revised form of the CSG. This does not mean that every instance of "brothers" has this larger compass." even when talking with a woman. and a host of other constructions all of which would be either incomprehensible or seriously misleading if rendered into English by a merely formal equivalent. Grudem says that the forcefulness of the promise to an individual person is lost and that the text "mistranslates" four singular Greek words. this is the terminology that Jesus used: he chose the generic singular "he. for it is extraordinarily rare that the entire semantic range of a word is carried by that word when it is in syntactical flow. Then he adds in parentheses: "Note that Jesus did not hesitate to use generic 'he' even when speaking to Martha. Jesus did not use generic "he". To speak of what the NIVI has done here as "mistranslation" betrays an unfortunate misapprehension about how languages relate to one another. In this instance. Grudem argues with Dr. the statement "Jesus could easily have said 'brother or sister' if he had wanted to" is of course correct-and entirely without weight in this particular argument. Kenneth Barker along the same lines: Why should a woman be offended by such language today? If she lived in Jesus' day." The same is true (J argued in chapter 5 under "CS Principle B. True. it could not cause "offense" (though in my view that is not the primary issue at stake) or incomprehension precisely because Martha understood the pronoun in this context to be broad enough in its semantic range to include her. 'J am the resurrection and the life.' " Dr. there may be such semantic overlap between "brothers" and "brothers and sisters" that in certain contexts the two expressions mean the same thing. in one sense we may argue that "Jesus did not hesitate to use generic 'he' even when speaking to Martha"-in precisely what sense we shall see in a moment. he used generic autos. Grudem must also surely see that Luke or Paul or any other New Testament writer could have written "brothers and sisters" (and sometimes did so). True. Grudem and his colleagues now rightly concede that sometimes "brothers" in Greek may include both "brothers and sisters. it does mean that the context must be evenhandedly examined.' " John II :25 NIV: "Jesus said to her. even though they die." J have already said more than enough to question the argument about the "forcefulness of promise" to the "individual person. On the radio program Open Line (May 13.l ") of the singular "brother" in Greek.

" The Greek is andres." NIVI: "When I became an adult. convincing evidence that New Testament deacons included women). Here Dr.3." Dr. and there is no convincing textual evidence that New Testament elders included women (as there is. he is at perfect liberty to do so-indeed. 11 This change is silly." NIVI: "Those who were travelling with Saul stood there speechless. Revised principle A. I shall come to that question in chapter 9. I do not see any warrant for changing the NIv'S "men" in this passage. they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Acts 20:30 "Even from yonr own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. that is in effect precisely what he argues when he adduces instances where generic "he" still operates. and as in Acts 1:21. Grudem wrote these lines before the revision of the CS principles. she would be unlikely to take umbrage.158 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 159 in time to that cultnre with a profound grasp of the language and literature of that cultnre. plnral for aner. of aner1to say that the false teachers coming at Ephesus would be 'men'. a male human being. and AS'). Grudem. by contrast. since Paul is at this point addressing the elders at Ephesus.3."12 I imagine Dr. A. Someone might reply. it is prejudicial to hint otherwise. Kostenberger is right in his objection to the NIvI translation. With Dr. and A. but aren't you now being inconsistent? Elsewhere (in chapter 5 under 'CS Principles A.4 says that aner should "almost always" be rendered "man" (or "men" in the plnra\).5') you say that sometimes a Greek . A." NIVI: "Even from yonr own number some will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after NN: them. I put childish ways behind me. unless there is convincing contextual counter-evidence. Moreover. But he is not at liberty to use the form of argument he has inserted in his parenthesis here. That confuses receptor and donor languages and betrays a misconception as to the relationships between languages and therefore of the natnre of translation. they heard the sound but did not see anyone. That is correct (see the discussion in chapter 5 under "CS Principles A. "Yes. or we lose some part of what the original text says. But if "he" in English. Grudem wishes instead to argue that "he" still has enough generic force in a sufficiently large part of the English world to retain use of that pronoun in this context. and 'some' is a mistranslation. complete with gender specification. If Dr. On the long haul that sort of argument can only lessen the credibility of the valid points of criticism he offers with respect to some passages.4. Grudem charges tbat this change "obliterates the fact that Paul used a specific Greek noun andres [plnr. is used in a generic sense somewhat less frequently than it used to be. one should assume the reference is to male human beings. this word never refers to women. I put childish ways behind me. then fidelity to the original demands the choice of an expression that is less formally proximate." 1 Corinthians 13: 1 1 NIv: "When I became a man [aner1.4. Paul grew up to become a man. even though his claim that aner "never refers to women" is quite demonstrably too strong. Acts 9:7 NN: "The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless. and if for some sections of the reading populace "he" is never or almost never used in a generic sense anymore. to which I have already referred.

they will receive the crown of life." NIVI: "Blessed are those who persevere under trial. "14 James I: 12 NIV: "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. It might be better to find another alternative or include an explanatory note. With Dr. Couldn't the same thing be said here?" No. however.3. because when he has stood the test. the "default" meaning of the former is "human being". 1 Corinthians 14:28 NIV: "If there is no interpreter. AA. RSV). Grudem says the change could "easily be understood to encourage groups of tongue-speakers to go off togeth~r and speak in tongues 'to themselves. my comments on John 14:23. the NIVI "[mllstranslates three singular Greek words which Paul wrote. the change of smgle person to plural in a moralizing or ethical context entails no loss: English-speaking readers apply such texts personally anyway. ". In this instance. the speakers should keep quiet in the church and speak to themselves and God. that stubborn aner is used here. one is already conceding that the word in this context demands a rendering that i . See. "15 But in chapter 5 (under "CS Principles A. Dr. PreCisely the opposite is the case with the latter word: a male human being is normally in view.160 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 161 word has the meaning of 'humau being' while it refers to a man. and must not be ignored. 'married only once' (NRSV). which of course could include women elders as well as men. he will receive the crown oflife. I have argued. But moreover. The two words can occupy the same semantic space in specific contexts." Dr. for example.'" Moreover. and you need a good contextual reason to extend beyond that restriction. and AS') I tried to show convincing evidence that although aner most commonly means "man." Several have objected to the NIVI rendering." I need not respond again to the charge of "mistranslation" of three Greek words: the same fundamental misconceptions are still operating. Here and there. "Paul tells Titus to appoint elders in Crete who meet the criterion. partly because behind the word "man" is Greek aner. because the word in chapter 5 with which I was dealing was anthropo~. Grudem then advances various arguments." NIVI: "If there is no interpreter. In most instances. Grudem. the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Titus 1:6 According to Dr."13 Dr. 'the husband [aner1of one wife' (Titus 1:6. nevertheless both in the lexica and in texts some extension is occasionally found. you need a good reason to think that maleness is being conveyed. it is quite possible that some tonguesspeakers might understand the plural rendenng of the NIVI as sanction "to go off together and speak in tongues 'to themselves. Kostenberger is especially hard on those who opt for any rendering of this Greek word other than "man. above." that is. Grudem's first point is worth thinking about. male human being. But as we have seen. but NRsvtranslates. But Dr. I doubt that the peculiar Greek expression means "married only once" anyway. Grudem has put his finger on another instance when the plural can be misleading: granted contemporary practice. Grudem. The NNI renders the phrase "the husband of but one wife. because when they have stood the test. Here Dr. is James really saying that only male human beings are blessed if they persevere under trial? If one responds that he is using the male to refer to both men and women. I have argued that the cntics may have a point because of (1) the peculiar way that the English plural functions in a specific context or (2) the odd overtones it carries there. here it is aner.

it appears that the critics have scored some points in particular passages (and in others that have not been discussed). in that which is not corruptible. Indeed."16 Many more passages could usefully be explored. "But let it be the hidden man [anthropos1of the heart. 1 am almost prepared to say that in the peculiar idiolect of James.162 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES 163 is similarly comprehensive. but it's not a mandate for biblical femininity. The undergirding understandmg of language and translation (and occasionally even exegesIs) IS sufficiently flawed that the attack will not I prove successful or widely convincing. ong Before we leave these examples. the sweep of the criticisms against the NIV1 and other gender-inclu- .: pages to passages where some of the most important doctnnalIssues are raised in debate. even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. It is important to remember that the passage in question is talking about Christian wives and about that in which their beauty consists. I Peter 3:4 To put some things in perspective. to consider a select number of passages from the Old and New Testaments in order to determine how valid are the charges leveled against inclusive-language translations. KJV: sive translations will not stand. however." NIV/NIVI: "Instead. although 1 would not go to the stake for it. I should devote a fev. my aim has been. and the CBT should take the most telling of these criticisms seriously and be even more careful in the future than they have been. but one must draw the line somewhere.' It might be the premise for a modern sitcom. it should be that of your inner self. At the risk of a simplistic summary when the data themselves are enormously complex. aner in his usage functions the way anthropos does among other writers." As Kohlenberger says. "1 don't want my wife to have a 'hidden man of the heart. the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. We can all learn from one another. In these two chapters (chapters 6 and 7). building out of the linguistic and translation theory of the previous chapters. I include this last example. On the other hand.

We have already had reason to reflect on whether several passages refer to Jesus as a "human being" or as a "man." that is.SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES WITH IMPORTANT DOCTRINAL ISSUES AT STAKE There is a sense. of course. The critics of the NIV! and other gender-inclusive English versions are doubtless motivated by the highest concerns to preserve the truth of Scripture and to treat God's words with respect: that itself is a doctrinal matter. a male human being: certainly it is difficult to think of topics more important than Christology. So not for a moment am I suggesting that the limited number of topics I shall briefly comment on in this short chapter constitute the only important doctrinal issues in the debate. in which the entire discussion of this book carries with it important doctrinal issues: we do not have to wait for this chapter before coming upon important doctrines. But what sets the following few issues apart is the intertwining of linguistic/translational matters with theological fac165 .

rna e an . and let them rule .. in our likeness." "human beings. Dr. female created he them. in various translations: Genesis 1:26-27 KJV: "And God said. m the lIkeness of God made he him.. he had a son in his own likeness. first. after his image. and it is sometimes used to refer to man in distinction from woman (see Gen. "the man and his wife were both naked. ." When Adam had lived 130 years. . he called them 'human beings. and he named him Seth.. 'Let us make man m our I~age. And when they were created.. male and female he created them. So God created man [ha-'adam] m hIS own lOn. after our likeness: and let them ha:.. 'Let us make man ['adam] in ~ur image. The problem is that "humankind. 'Let us make man iu our Image. And God created man in His own image. male and female he created them· and blessed them. We can conclude from this usage of 'adam that it is not wrong. in his own wage. m the Image of God He created him. Consider. . And when they were created.. He created them male and female and blessed them.166 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES 167 tors sufficiently complex that we find ourselves comparing several passages and evaluating several themes at once. When God created human beings.. ' So God created man in his own image.." giving as examples of such texts." .. or a male human beiug). I d image. two passages. and let them rule . When God created man. Adam and the Human Race The issues are complex." NIVI: "This is the written account of Adam's line. among others.." . and begat a son in his own likeness. m our likeness. m the Image o. .. Genesis 1:26-27 and 5 :2. because the Hebrew word 'iidam is also used to refer to Adam iu particular.~ God he created them. Nevertheless. In the day that God created man ['adam]. Each of these issues could easily call forth a book." NASB: "And God said.. he made him in the likeness of God. and were not ashamed"). in the day when they were created. God himself does this in his Word . he called them 'man. He created them male and female and blessed them.. . .'! When Adam had lived 130 years. NN: "Then God said. male and female he created them. And Adam . in the wage of God created he him. So God created human beings in his own Image. Grudem contends: The name "man" is placed on both male and female. or discourteous to use the same word to refer to male human beings in particular and to name the human race. . and called theIr name Adam ['adam]. as together they constitute the human race. The translation "man" is accurate. in his own image. a few paragraphs each may help to clarify some of these matters.. 'Let us make human bezn~s m our wage. according to our likeness.e domm. and let them rule. insensitive." Principle A. he had a son in his own likeness. ['adam] lived an hundred and thirty years. and called his name Seth. in the image of God he created hzm.3 of the CSG asserts that '''man' should ordinarily be used to designate the human race.. male and female He created them. he made them in the likeness of God. NJVI: "Then God said." and "human" are not names that can also refer to man in distinc- Genesis 5: 1-3 KN: "This is the book of the generations of Adam ['adam]." NIV: "This is the written account of Adam's line. The English word "man" most accurately translates 'iidam because it is the only word we have that has those same two meanings (the human race. and he named him Seth. 2:25.

Grudem wants to assign it." That's the problem. the collective singular 'adam can control either a singular or a plural pronoun. "human bemgs (CEV). I must postpone discussion until chapter 9. "Man" (ASV. One way out. Another option is. the word refers either to the human race as corporate race or to human beings generally. 2:10. 14:15. m some languages even this is not possible: some languages have different words for "man" [that is. NIV." The male overtones of the Hebrew word are lost 3 Dr. Strictly speaking. is to include more notes to draw attention to the Hebrew word and its range. Jonalt 4:11: "And should I not spare Nineveh. along with the notes.' That surfaces. right through these chapters. Blessed is 'adam whose [singular] strength is in you. namely. we merely spell it in letters as close as possible in sound to the Hebrew letters and try to pronounce It more or less the same way as in Hebrew). however.. of course. Consider. try to preserve something ofthe connection.e do. wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons ['adam] that cannot discern between their [mascu- . In some passages in the opening chapters of Genesis. Clearly. namely. Or again. Everywhere else.") In part the question is whether or not "man" in English is becoming so restrictively male that it does not function well in the two semantic slots that Dr. 16:17. Lev. In Hebrew 'adam has no plural. until very recently. one resorts to bene 'adam (literally "sons of Adam"). But when 'adam is used absolutely. the human race and the male of the human race. in whose [plural] heart are pilgrimages" (author's translation). Shall we then insist on maintaining "man" because two out of three is better than one out of three? There is something to be said for that view. God called it 'adam. some strange wobbles in the number of the related pronouns are introduced (as is clear even from the quotations above). 7:28). Josh. and then use other words in most of the other biblical passages where people of both sexes are referred to. Our problem is that "Adam" represents a transliteration of the Hebrew word (that is. by theIr footnote in 5:2. of course. it may refer to the individual whom we call "Adam" or even in a few instances to some other individual male human being (Gen. he will deny that "man" is no longer suitable. the proper name "Adam. strictly speaking both the NIV and NIVI. Grudem is partly right: it would be nice to use an English word that would cover both senses. but one that will include a third as well. and it is not minor. they [plural] are ever praising you. So we have already lost one of the three uses of 'adam in these chapters (its use as a proper name). and regardless of what option is finally chosen. Did God call the race "Adam" or "man"? In fact. and frequently collective. and thus they are a less accurate translations [sic] of 'adam than the word "man. for instance. REB). versions variously opt for "Adam" (KN). in Genesis 5 :2: contrast the KN and NN. JB)'. That was in fact the practice. to preserve "man" here. for instance. But as the quotations above indicate. the overwhelming preponderance of usage is generic. (Of course.. Once again. NASB. out of a total of 562 occurrences in the Old Testament. no matter what w. and for at least some readers "man" is no longer the best word to use to render 'adam when the Hebrew word is referring to the human race. Of course. whereas "man" and any of the other renderings are not transliterations but translations.168 THE INCLUS1VEwLANGUAGE DEBATE SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES 169 tion from woman. Psalm 84:4-5 (84:5-6 MT): "Blessed are those [plural] who dwell in your house. male human bemg] and "humankind. "Humankind" (NRSV). Eccles. In other words. Of course. Neh."man" (NEB. that great city. But that too will demand some lengthy explanatory notes. If one explicitly wishes to pluralize it. There are other complicating factors. there is considerable dISpute as to precisely when 'adam is to be understood as a proper name and when it refers to the human race as a whole. what is really required is not a word that will include only these two senses. in English. I will merely say that in my view the language is changing. 16:12. Yet because the form of the word is singular.

ItS Old Testament roots are obscured if the title is preserved in the New Testament (which is what an the gender-inclusive translations do) while obliterating the expression in the Old Testament by hiding it under "mortal" or "human being" or something else. in my view. and the peculiar sphere of relative sovereignty that God assigns to his image bearer.9 of the CSG asserts that "t~e phrase 'son of man' should ordinarily be preserved to retam mtracanomcal connections. The Greek equivalent. Thus a dlstmctlOn IS drawn between God's overarching sovereignty over the whole of creation. I shan offer six brief reflections. mght. The NIV therefore often rendered the Hebrew expression "sons of men" by "men"6 or by "mankind. In each case the word can refer to the individual. Try and maintain formal equivalence in a passage like that! One must also point out that in the Hebrew Bible. it still does. heavens/sky. Not every Old Testament passage with ben-'adam in it is messianic. No one doubts that "son of man" (ben-'adam) means "human being" in the Old Testament. however for it is more complex than he anows. glory and sovereign power: all peoples. and the balance of j~dgments. . When It carries a conective sense. it can control either singular or plural . pronouns. the plural bene 'adam means "human beings. and AS'). He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 5 ". to "new Adam Christology"? B~t my pomt is that the matter is clearly complex. there has been strenuous objection to the ninety or so instances of "mortal" mstead of "son of man" in God's address to Ezekiel in the NRSV (the NIVI retains "son of man"). Son of Man Principle A. Other factors could be introduced: IS this Issue tledto Christology. of course. Edom (Esau) of the Edomites. the names of other progenitors of "tribes" can function the same way.adam to 'fsh.9 is too narrow. and AS') provides parallels in Job where the expression is clearly paranel to one of the other Hebrew words for human being. Moab is the father of the Moabites. . He was given authority. 4. and also much cattle?" (KJv). sounds almost as strange in Greek as "the son of man" does in contemporary English. for instance. 2. By contrast. earth/land. and there before me was one like a son of man. (NIV. ho huios tou anthropou.170 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES 171 line singular pronoun] right hand and their [masculine singular pronoun] left hand. Similarly.3. The most obvious Old Testament antecedent to "son of man" as a christological title for Jesus is Daniel 7:13-14: In my vision at night I looked. is that it is a christological title with a range of meanings beyond mere "human being. The expression is unambiguously Semitic." At the same time. chapter 5 (under "CS Principles A. emphasis mine) ."7 It fonows that principle A. AA. Space constraints forbId a detailed analysIs of G. or it may be a conectlve. As for the importance of "nammg thmgs." 3. an the creatures God brings before him.3. Dr. and so forth. the parallels in chapter 5 (under "CS Principles A. 1. and Israel of the Israelites. . The second reason.4. m GenesIs 1-3 God "names" or "cans" other things besides 'adam: day. coming with the clouds of heaveu. So in part we have stumbled again into the tension between form and meaning. A. I do not think it is a black-and-white issue. Grudem s case has some merit." Moreover.. See. where eventually the author of GenesIs moves from ha. But the biggest issue is that while "S?n of Man" is one of the commonest messianic titles of Jesus. nations and men of every language worshiped him. he aSSIgns to Adam the responsibility to "name" or "can". That is one of the reasons why the expression is retained in translations of the New Testament.:n:~ls _2. that is.. comes out a different way. In modern Hebrew.

When the NRSV first appeared. or something important is lost at the level of canonical coherence. rendered formally into Greek and then into English. The exceptions might be (for instance) some of the occurrences in the poetical wisdom literature. Of course. and not merely the meaning. or whatever. but there I remain unconvinced: see the next section." In the former case a wider preservation of the (English translation of the) form. of course. by contrast. But because the expression. this is yet another instance of the tension between meaning and form. in this case the form must be preserved. and that in any case it would have been wrong to ignore the sensibilities of the Jewish scholars on the NRSV committee. The Hebrew or Aramaic expression "son of man" means human being: on that point there is virtually no disagreement. So I prefer the NNI to the NRSV at this point." with a footnote that reads: "Aram[aicl one like a son of man. is because the New Testament Greek translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic form of "son of man" is preserved. African American.172 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES 173 The NRSV has "one like a human being. preserves "one like a son of man" in the text. in the latter. translations should not needlessly offend the sensibilities of readers.' I never doubted that "son of man" means "human being. and that form has come down to . is defensible. I criticized it on this point. When Jesus applies "son of man" to himself." the constant use of the expression in the Old Testament to refer to a human being is precisely what lends some of the ambiguity to Jesus' use of it. But if the only "son of man" that is preserved in the Old Testament in this form is the apocalyptic figure of Daniel 7 . then the basis for the ambiguity on which Jesus' use relies is largely dissolved. below. "son of man" in the "Similitndes" of I Enoch might also have an interest in preserving the linguistic form of the expression in Daniel 7.IO but there may be losses as well. on many occasions it means very little more than "I" (as a perusal of the Synoptic parallels attests)."9 As for Jewish sensibilities. there is no particular merit in retaining the form. say. in others the reference is unambiguously to the apocalyptic "son of man" coming on the clouds of heaven (Mark 14:62). conservative Christians. and was told by one of the Old Testament scholars on their committee that "son of man" really means "human being" and they were after meaning. Some would immediately adduce Psalm 8. "From the translator's point of view." In one sense." Moreover. whether Jewish. therefore. As cumbersome as it is. The difficulty resides in the fact that even if not one Old Testament passage is explicitly picked up in the New Testament technical term "son of man. the question to be considered in this case is the instrument by which the translation should preserve the linguistic form of an expression so that the appropriate inner-biblical link can be spotted by someone without access to the originallanguages. Subsequently I responded in print." at least in the majority of its Old Testament occurrences. sometimes those two goals clash! But in any case my point was a technical one. so long as the meaning is preserved. In some contexts there are overtones of weakness and impending death. one must frankly recognize that Jewish and Christian communities do not share exactly the same canon. A further question is how many other Old Testament passages with "son of man" in them should preserve the form. at least some Jewish scholars interested in. on the whole I favor a retention of "son of man. women. Bibles are attached to communities. Translations that cross communities usually make gains in terms of fairness and rigor. Why the difference? The reason. That is an extraordinarily difficult question to answer. " The NIVI. In this case. has become in its application to Jesus Christ ahnost a technical term and certainly an established title. 5. At this point it is worth reflecting for a moment on the different approaches I have advocated for "son of man" and "sons of Israel. saying that ironically I agreed with both points. on the ground that they too provide something of the necessary background to the title applied to Jesus. and probably with a brief note to accompany most of them. and in its footnote reads: "Or a human being.

though it still occurs: for example.." Intriguingly. Nevertheless. 13:1). and I will speak with you" (Ezek. the NRSV becomes monofocal and sometimes forgets that other issues are at stake beyond merely linguistic matters. So an additional theological and historical wrinkle has been added to the challenge of translating this particular expression. Dr. to what Dr. we may be grateful to God. and not of a mortal!" (Acts 12:22). Gr~dem calls "liabIlIty to death. is quoted by the apostle Paul in 2 Connthians 6:18 With the plural "sons and daughters. for the word mortal shifts the emphasis from one's humanity to one's mortality (that is. " man. not of a mere mortal" (Acts 12:22)." Semantically. for helping us to go about this business of translation more prudently and with wider horizons. under the noun listing of" morta. "Stand up. There is a perfectly good Greek adjective which means "mortal. he is not God. One may question the NIVIjudgments here and there (as I have). "If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels. 'son of man']. however. regardless of how "un-English" it is-and this fonn has itself become reified in Christian Scripture to a christological title. but by and large the CBT translators are more sensitive to these additional factors than their counterparts behind the NRSV. In pursuit of gender-neutral English. "This is the voice of a god. My Webster's unabridged dictionary offers eleven lIstmgs under "mortal" as an adjective and all of them are tied. but that is not the word Peter uses.. we must probe the wisdom of rendering "son of man" by "mortaL" The NRSV is especially lavish in its use of this term as a replacement of "man" or "men" or "son of man": for example. that New Testament writers citing the Old Testament frequently change person: for example. if Webster's has it right. but do not have love . he will live forever). " (1 Cor. then even if we disagree profoundly with their approach to language and translation. One cannot fail to note. 2: 1). If the critics of gender-neutral versions have forced us to reflect on some of these matters more carefully. Here the NNI has been more sensitive than the NRSV. "0 mortal [literally. we shouJd be careful about insisting on an exactitude of form that actually masks meaning or on a precisIOn offonn m which the apostle himself has little interest.. The Use of the Old Testament in the New In chapter 1 (under "Some Historical Perspective"). the noun seems to be i~ the nght ballpark.174 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE SOME CRITICAL PASSAGES 175 us in English. then. whether or not it would be my own preferred rendering. and to them. More important is the matter of semantics. 6. This usage is much less frequent in the NIVI. with its singuJar "son" (referring in the first mstance to Solomon).. I noted that 2 Samuel 7: 14. one's liability to death)." Already that warns us that in the case of Old Testament texts Cited m the New. I am only a mortal" (Acts 10:26). Finally. stand up on your feet. This matters because the emphasis is different. but a man . directly or indirectly. Peter [in Acts 10:26] does not refuse worship because he is "mortal" or one who is subject to death (in fact." I confess I rather dislike "mortal" in the vocative as God's tenn of address to Ezekiel: I find it slightly stilted. Exodus 13:2 (second person) = Luke 2:23 (third person) 1 Samuel 13:14 (third person) = Acts 13:22 (first person) Psalm 68: 18 (second person) =Ephesians 4:8 (third person) Psalm 97:7 (second person) = Hebrews 1:6 (third person) . as well. "The voice of a god. He refuses worship because he is a creature made by God.. Grudem objects. a being subject to death' 1" vve ster a human being. nT b ' s says. On that ground I find It hard to object to using "mortal" as a noun in passages like Acts 10:26 and 12:22. I quickly confess that that reaction may just be my ears: someone else may not find it so. subject to death" (phthartos).

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Isaiah 28:11 (third person) = 1 Corinthians 14:21 (first person) These points make one hesitate before accepting CS princi. . ples A.1 and A.2. But that is only one side of the matter. The other sIde IS that it is possible to lose an inner-canonical link by inattention to details. Here the issues are so complex I carmot agree wIth formulas offered to resolve this challenge. I shan briefly comment on four passages. First consider 2 Samuel 7: 14, referred to above-not only in its u~e in 2 Corinthians 6:18 (as above), but in the broader stream of "son" language in the Old Testament. As early as Exodus 4:22, Israel is caned God's "son." Here in 2 Samuel 7:14, the king in the Davidic line is God's "son," and his appointment as king, his enthronement, is the moment when he becomes God's son, the moment when he is "begotten" (Psalm 2). Thus the king becomes the son par excellence among the people who are also caned the "son" (see also Hosea 11:1). But eventuany in the Old Testament there IS nsing hope for a "son" in the Davidic line who will properly and thoroughly mirror his "Father." That is precisely how the prophecy of Isaiah 9 is cast: to us a child is born, to us a son is given who will not only "reign on David's throne and over his kingdom," but who will also be called "the Mighty God, Everlasting Father" (9:6-7). . . In other words, the "son" language at some pomt m the stream of redemptive history becomes overtly typological. Doubtless in God's mind it was always thus: in Exodus 4:22, we must suppose, God knew where the "son". language would ultimately wind up, and he begms by preparmg the w.ay WIth a growing pattern of biblical texts that finany explode m pregnant contexts that armounce the coming of the "son" -meSSIah. There is intentionality in all of this-not merely a pattern into which Jesus conveniently fits but a divine intention to create

a growing pattern that Jesus actuany fulfills. It is important not to skew or mask such typologies. Second, we must ask if a passage such as Psalm 34:19-20 fits into this pattern: "A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers hinl from them all; he protects an his bones, not one of them will be broken" (mv). The latter part is cited in John 19:36 with reference to Jesus at the tinle of his crucifixion: he was speared in the side rather than having his legs broken, and this was to fulfin this text from Psalm 34. Does not then the plural of the NIVI obscure the connection? "The righteous may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers them from them all; he protects all their bones, not one of them will be broken." The thrust of the psalm at this juncture concerns righteous people in general (for example, Ps. 34: 15ff.): note the plurals in 34: 15-18: "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. ... The righteous cry out [plural], and the Lord hears them." True, verses 19-20 revert to the singular (a not uncommon phenomenon in the Psalms, as we have seen). Yet in an fairness this is likely a collective singular, for the psalm ends, "The LORD redeems his servants [plural]; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in hinl." In this instance, then, the ground upon which Jesus fulfills Psalm 34: 19-20 is bound up with his being the archetypical righteous person. It is unclear to me that either Psalm 34 or John 19 demands that we hunt for some more teleological linkageY I do not understand why the plural "their bones" in Psalm 34:20 NIVI "makes the New Testament messianic use of the Psalm problematic. "13 It would be so only if every fulfillment quotation in the New Testament is related to the Old Testament source in one specific way, namely, as predictive utterance with univocal referent that is fulfilled in an explicit and exclusive event. Not for a moment do I deny that there are prophecies like that. But there are also types (of various kinds), examples, and an array of other kinds of connections.

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Third, things are quite different in Psalm 69. This psalm, like Psahn 34, claims to be written by David. But much more of this psalm is written in the first-person singular. Several passages from this psalm are implicitly or explicitly said to be fulfilled in events in Jesus' life (ps. 69:8, compare John 7:5; Ps. 69:9, compareJohn2:17,Rom.15:3; Ps. 69:21, compare Matt. 27:48, Mark 15:36, Luke 23:36) or in the early church (Ps. 69:25, compare Matt. 23:38, Acts 1:20). In some of these instances there is greater precision on very specific details. I would want to argue that in these instances a tightly controlled typology is operating. The implicit argument is something like this: Granted that David is the paradigmatic king, the son of God, how much more shall what he suffered be fulfilled in the ultimate king, great David's greater son? Indeed, this line of thought ties in with the "suffering servant" motif in the New Testament. I would not want to lose such connections. Mercifully, in this case because the psalm was written in the first-person singular, which in English is not marked for gender, the singular has been preserved in our English translations (for example, both the NIV and NIVI), so there is no problem. But the challenge of handling typology responsibly is sometimes difficult. Great attention must be paid to the multitude of factors that properly contribute to the best translation. Fourth, consider Psalm 8:4--6 and its use in Hebrews 2:6--8. I shall first set out the texts in the NIV and NIVI: Psalm 8:4-6
NIV:

a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned them wIth glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet." Hebrews 2:6-8 "But there is a place where someone has testified: What IS man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels;. you crowned him with glory and honor and put everythmg under his feet. ' In putting everything under hIm, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Ye;,at present we do not see everything subject to him." ~I: But there IS a place where someone has testified: What IS a human being that you are mindful of him the son of man that you care for him? You made him ~ lIttle lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honour and put everything under his feet.' J5 In puttmg everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everythmg subject to him."
NI'::

"what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet." NIVI: "what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?l4 You made them

The NIVI more or less exchanges text and footnote in the Hebrews 2:6-8 passage. Dr. Piper asserts, "The muting of masculinity in Psalm 8 is not preserved in Hebrews 2 when the Psalm is quoted, because It Isevident that the writer of Hebrews sees messianic meanmgm the wording of the Psalm."J6 I shall make several observatIOns about these two passages and Dr. Piper's assertion' . 1. These passages bring together several of the translati~n Issues we have already dealt with: the meaning of" " d " f " man an . son 0 man, how to handle personal pronouns, the suitabilIty of the rendering "mortals," and the various ways the New Testament cites the Old. 2. When Dr. Piper says that the NIVI of Psalm 8 mutes masculImty, once again he is conceding more than he may wish.

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He is implying that "man" and "son of man" in his view do carry at least overtones of masculinity. But that is preCIsely why the CBT and others are pushing for gender-neutral translations: ifpeople think that "man" carries masculine overtones even in a passage like Psalm 8, where the focus is on human beings as such or conceivably the human race as such, then It is time to abandon "man" in such contexts. 3. On the other hand, the CBT does not seem to have got its act together very well. Here Dr. Piper has a point. One could make a case for the NIVI text of Psalm 8 and the NIVI footnote of Hebrews 2, or one could make a case for the NIVI footnote of Psalm 8 and theNlvl text of Hebrews 2, but the actual combination strikes the reader as rather strange. After making all reasonable allowances for the difficulty of handling some Old Testament texts that are cited in the New, one does not expect translators to introduce unnecessary problems. Still, it is encouraging to observe how the CBT scholars were prepared to put aside their commitment to inclusive language when they were convinced that certain technical categories (above all, "son of man") were at stake. 4. Yet some of the criticisms that have been advanced against inclusive-language renderings ofPsahn 8 in Hebrews 2 have been, in my view, a tad unfair. The commentanes are divided on the point I am about to raise, but the majority of the major commentaries adopt this stance, and I am persuaded they are right-even though I could justify this view only by a lengthy exegesis for which there is neither time nor space here. Hebrews 2 (they argue) does not present Jesus as the "son of man" in some technical, messianic sense. Rather, it presents Jesus as a human being, a true human being. He did not become an angel (2:5, 16-and no redeemer has arisen for fallen angels). Jesus had to belong to the same "family" as those he came to redeem (2:11); he had to become their brother (2: 12). Since they have flesh and blood, that is, since they are human, he too shared in their humanity (2: 14). ThIS is the first necessary ingredient to his serving as a faithful

high priest for them (2: 17). The author of Hebrews has already pointed out that along some axes human beings are "higher" than angels, for angels are "ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation" (1:14). After all, the world to come has been assigned not to angels, but to human beings: God has put everything under their feet: that is the point of the quotation from Psahn 8 (Heb. 2:5-8). The trouble, of course, is that we do not yet see everything under the feet of human beings. But what do we see? We see Jesus (2:9). He became one with us humans, and thereby brings many "sons" (NIV; "sons and daughters," NIVI-an entirely reasonable rendering) to glory. Thus if I understand the flow of Hebrews 2 aright, Psalm 8 is not a "messianic" psalm in the sense that, say, Psalm 110 is a messianic psalm. I still want the gender-related decisions made in one of these two passages to prevail in the other as well, but I am not convinced that those critics are right who say that terrible damage has been done by inclusive-language translations of this passage because they have somehow squeezed Christ to the periphery.

or have changed very little. If spoken and written English have not changed. since the push must be coming from somewhere. and if (on this reading) it is not coming from changes in the language.BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING? The Debate The question that is the title of this chapter raises the issue that lies behind so much of the rest of the debate. Alternatively. On the other hand. then two options are possible. The latter course is being pursued by the critics of genderinclusive translations. We may update our translations to accommodate the changes so that our Bibles will not be linguistically out of date. it must be coming from feminists who are in charge of publishing houses that are pushing inclusive-language conformity down our throats. if the language is changing. then why this push to change translations that have served so long and well? In that case. we may ascribe whatever gender changes that are developing in the language to feminist influence and then heartily oppose them. At the risk of caricature (in which on 183 . of course.

1997.. writes: Few human tasks can be as important as translating the Bible from its originallangnages into contemporary vernacular languages. and including such prestigious writers as Addison... both to my fellowChristians and to those outsiders who thereby have a nongospel stumbling block placed in their path towards faith 2 So which side has the truth of the matter? Some Reflections History of the Issue The issue is not entirely new.! He begins with about two and a half pages of examples of generic "he" and related pronouns. indeed almost shocking. Several essays and short articles have been put forward along these lines. and Scott. One of the best summaries of earlier discussion is found in the work of Baron.' In 1770 Robert Baker recommended the construction "one . Chesterfield. It simply will not do to target "secular feminism" alone. when grammarians became a little more purist on the matter of formal agreement and therefore insisted on generic "he." In the same way. Lillian E. regardless of the details of the agreed guidelines.184 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING? 185 this issue I really do not wish to indulge). Professor D. But I am dismayed that the over-reaction to it in Colorado Springs evinced so little sensitivity to the cultural and social changes that have brought about significant linguistic shifts in common English. It is therefore remarkable. "Clean air and ozone obey no manmade boundaries" (Chicago Tribune. Fielding. even though it took quite a while to win the entire populace. News and World Report. In the event.. Carlton (1979) recommends "As anybody can see for one's self. all drawn from recent newspapers (Chicago Tribune. an evangelical historian at the University of Edinburgh. some see things differently. In all fairness. magazines (Crain's New York Business. some authorities argue that this option was more common before 1850 or so. we should oppose the changes because the feminists are behind the changes. Wright." originally restricted to the plural. and hold no brief for it. 1 headline). Canute-like. or not changing much. will reinforce the tendency of some evangelical communities to dwell in cultural ghettos. For example. "Every man and woman is the architect of one's own fortune" (Wolstan Dixey. but at some point during the fourteenth century "you." There is also a strong tradition that uses the plural pronoun in the singular: not only the first-person plural "we" for "I" (which can be traced back to Old English). plus various authoritative sources on correct grammar. F. singular "they" has a long history. his" if not balanced by "one . stretching back to the sixteenth century. I have not seen the inclusive-langnage version NIV. Indeed. hers. Ruskin.. December 30. supplanted the second-person singular "thou" in some circles. p. A century later. 45-47). however. Numerous Bible-believing evangelicals now find the traditional use of "man" and "men" in contexts where male(s) are not indicated variously gratmg. Austen.. Reader's Digest). one's" rather than "one . . TV news programs (Nightline). This surely must be said. Thus in a letter to the editor. 1884). For example. one should not be surprised to find them seriously inadequate. Then a slightly shorter section (a page and a half) treats the word "man" more or less the same way.. The nub of the argument is nicely summarized by Dr. 1996. May 12. To ignore these shifts. embarrassing and inconsiderate.S. and the like. (2) If it is changing. "every college professor doesn't need to put his main energy into expanding the frontiers of knowledge" (U. their argument runs something like this: (1) The English language is not changing. For many others. Grudem.. it wIll shorten the shelf-life of the NN.. USA Today)." This has been picked up repeatedly: for example. that sweeping guidelines on one of the most sensitive demands of the translators' task should emerge from a single meeting at Colorado Springs .

I have tried to show that what the original sources actually say can always be got across in the receptor language. "sets the literary man's teeth on edge. By the early twentieth century. including such blendings as thon. and probably not reversible. the lexicographer Alma Graham (1973). Fowler (1926) admits that singular "they" is popular in British usage." But granted the sheer diversity of gender systems in languages around the world. A New English Grammar (1891. even if not the same way. First. W. I am persuaded that in the Western English-speaking countries we are undergoing changes in the area of grammatical gender that are deep. and even if in particular constructions one may sometimes provide a for- . My point is simpler. I would argue: a. Henry Sweet. it looks as if we are stuck with "he. On the other hand." Edward D. the underlying pressures for change have been there for centuries. Some who defend generic "he" and related pronouns have nevertheless conceded that this solution is not ideal: so. and that is being done all the time. Nevertheless. with simple wrong-versus-right prescriptions. it betrays a serious ignorance of language structures. and even if some explanatory note is required. W. The substance of Scripture can be conveyed in any language. A Higher English Grammar (1879).1931). Regardless of the source of the pressure for linguistic change. Otto Jespersen. shem-have all sunk without a trace. A Grammar of Contemporary English (1972). That was one of the purposes of including chapter 4. when a shift in the system of a receptor language is tagged with evil epithets. there is no downplaying the importance of feminist influence. Nevertheless. G. Causes of Language Change For reasons still to be advanced. A Grammar of the English Language (1931). Of course. or the resulting translations are judged mistranslations. he' er. Certainly the various attempts to create an alternative pronoun-more than eighty attempts. But at the popular level "they" has held its own for centuries. Although I would not want to minimize the influence of various feminist lobbies on English usage. and it is now in resurgence. citing many examples). only the plural personal pronouns will do in such a case. H. H.186 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING? 187 Baron notes that some grammarians "approve of the singular they. as Baron acknowledges. some anomalies not only persist but are universally acknowledged. and that many of these systems change slowly with time. George Crume. Johnson (1982) takes much the same line. for instance. Fowler in The King's English (1906). even in languages with gender systems far. "Everyone liked the dinner but he did not care for the dessert" is." so we might as well make the most of it. "impossible English. Fowler and F. Doubtless there are others. Some authorities now support it: for example. apart from the tensions in the language already present and straining for relief. fairly widespread. no translation is perfect: "translation is treason. it is important to recognize that alternative grammatical gender systems are not intrinsically evil. far removed from those with which we are familiar in the Indo-European family. and of the nature of translation. including gender systems."5 What are we to make of this? Critics of gender-inclusive language might well conclude that on the long haul. 6 We should therefore be exceedingly careful about monocausational analyses of the changes taking place. A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles (1922. resistance to singular "they" appears in the eighteenth century and gains strength into the nineteenth. The problem of the gender-marked English personal pronoun has thus been discussed for a long time. but he insists that the construction "anybody can see for themselves."4 These include Alexander Bain." although popular. and Randolph Quirk. What has brought them about? Here I shall mention two factors.

some use "he" generically and then a few pages on use "she" generically. does not fairly assess how far the changes have gone. So also with respect to the changes taking place in the English language. Without exception. Further. increasingly. Sooner or later. we cannot deny. English. we cannot change this trend by merely defensive postures that legislate against things. all on one side. thirty years ago? I know of no study that has tried to probe this carefully. Since starting to write this manuscript three or four weeks ago. Above all. what is the balance of gender-neutral usage in current English as compared with. Generic "He" As for the evidence adduced that English still uses "he" and related pronouns in a generic sense.188 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING? 189 mal equivalent to one element in a construction but not to another. I must say two things.? I mourn the loss. I can see many reasons for helping the oppressed on the one hand and for insisting on biblical structures and role relationships on the other. But on the long haul. to quote examples like this." Eventually Torah itself is no longer heard. Second. Second. this does not justify a cultural swing to the "right" that fails to deal firmly with genuine injustice. Every pastor has had to deal with battered wives. Surely no Christian with a concern for justice wishes to support unequal pay for equal work performed by people with equal experience and competence. since as far as I can see I can convey the truth of Scripture regardless of gender system (even if in different ways). how many of these same sources alternate between gender-neutral language and more traditional language? For many publications the changes are not fixed. many examples around of the unreconstructed generic "he. the translator's job is always the same: translate the Word of God into the current language." No one is arguing that the change has been universal. we have to work with. First. c. examples of gender- . this is the language that. the third-person singular pronoun is by far the most difficult thing to handle for those who wish to write genderinclusive English. we who are complementarians will often prove more convincing if we frankly acknowledge the degree to which ungodly sexism has hurt women. we will fall under judgment. It is therefore unsurprising that there are still many. Qafar. If that is the case. as that has been mediated to us by various English Bibles. say. I worry about the swing of the pendulum. but I would be surprised if such a study did not reveal a very substantial shift indeed. Those things are mandated regardless of whether I am working in Hebrew. In wishing to preserve what we understand God to be saying about the relationships between men and women in the horne and church. I think. that some of the pressure for change springs from a profound abandonment of the Bible's worldview. the Bible's culture. In short. I see little reason to fight a modification in the gender system of the English language. b. In short. Regardless of the source of the pressure for linguistic change. Because in my view egalitarians and other feminists interpret certain Scriptures poorly and succumb to current pressures. or by the grace of God we will reverse trends by the powerful proclamation of the life-transforming. I worry about "putting a fence around Torah. What other authorities are there? More important. the changes (I shall argue) are here. or Kikuyu. even if we may not approve all the reasons that have brought these changes about (even as some did not appreciate the reasons for dropping "thou" and "thy"). culture-changing gospel. I have read several books on the side. the Bible's story line. whatever the reasons for the changes in the English language now taking place. It dawned on me to start checking. and so forth.

over "thee" and "thou. myself included. anyone can make up her own list. The nature of incremental changes entails the policy that only the latest edition is kept in print. The desire of the CBT and the copyright holder to keep the NIV up-to-date by incremental changes was a good one for all kinds of reasons. Nevertheless. the critics of the NIVI have their subcultures and constituencies as well. The Illusions of P ostmodernism. even if not as far advanced as some feminists think. I found consistent care taken in this respect by Carl Sagan in his last book. by seeking to eliminate want. in some conservative circles.190 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE BUT Is THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE CHANGING? 191 neutral language were not hard to find. vocabulary. many "Englishes. because university missions form part of my constituency. the analysis of trends is even more difficult. various English translations have constituencies. of huge swaths of the world's population. But I also read the award-winning book by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. now that the KJV no longer dominates the Protestant world. at least in part. Eagleton is capable of writing a sentence such as this: "First of all."!2 Then to top it off. or the language of education. of course.' Ah. I do not want the old NIV when I am expounding the earlier chapters of. Older readers of this little book will remember how heated some discussions were fifty years ago."lO Still. but I have very little idea about what is happening to it in. We thus return by another route to a discussion I began earlier in the book. and after supper reached for the latest Time magazine.' He is not."13 Eventually I arrived home. and the degree to which a region is on the "front edge" of change or on the "back edge" of change. When a language is right in the middle of a major transition. Yet I acknowledge that concerns about gender-neutrallanguage are more common in universities than in blue-collar factories. But the changes are farther advanced in the English language than the critics think. It includes idiom. He is a well-informed socialist. and too much is lost. that is when the most virulent disputes will break out as to how to proceed in a translation. say. I am influenced by the fact that I have spent a fair bit of time during the past decade taking my turn in university missions and the like. at certain levels of analysis. I think I have a pretty good feel for what is happening to the English language in half a dozen countries. on the way home I turned on the radio in the car and learned from CBS news that Voyager I is now "humankind's farthest object in space. more common in the New England states and in the Pacific Northwest than in the Bible belt.. you say. Nothing is gained by it. you say. Whether we like it or not. But doubtless I think this way. Billions and Billions. one finds counterbalancing clauses such as "this child may take her vengeance thirty years later. Too true." This is more than a matter of pronunciation. Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary ofSin. I'd much rather use the NIVI. When we extend these parameters to wherever English is spoken worldwide. say. Romans in an evangelistic settiug in a university. a Christian writer. Within a minute my eyes fell on the sentence. But I also read Terry Eagleton. "If the conspirators get their way. Even when "he" is used generically (as it sometimes is). which like widespread virtue is only feasible if you are reasonably well-heeled as a society." Varieties of English We have to face the fact that even within America or Great Britain there are. that is not distinctively Christian writing. will the next President have to sign an affidavit about whom he or she has ever slept with?"!4 In short. Nigeria. this book is "reactionary" against the powerful trends toward postmodern thought in our culture. That affects all of us. for English is the second or third language. And likewise.1I There I found a book without a trace of the more traditional gender system. socialism. and so forth. After using "he" in a generic sense on several occasions. But the vast share of the evangelical market occupied by the NIV doubtless ensures that anything . would considerably augment the primary goods available to each individual for her pursuit of happiness. what do you expect? Carl Sagan could not be accused of having conservative sympathies.

Inclusive language has not swept everything in front of it away. the move toward inclusive language in the English-speaking world has not yet come close to cresting. But as far as I can read the situation. Do you want readers to believe you simply because you adopt "conservative" positions on most issues? In that case. 1. the tenor is grating. in fact. are in part a good thing. the times they are a-changing-and the English language with them. Ten years ago many of the instances of "humankind" or "human beings" or generic "her" I found in contemporary literature struck me as strange. your journalistic standards must be beyond reproach. But frankly. But if you wish to convince others who are not (yet) in your camp.192 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE more than incidental changes would eventually stir up at least some negative reaction. But if not. Whether changes to the NlV are possible in the future I cannot say. perhaps constituency Bibles. World bills itself as a weekly news magazine like Time. It may be that something like the NIVI will be produced under its own name in due course and find its own constituency. sooner or later it will fade in its popuIarity. as in the case of the original article by Susan Olasky. I have to look for them to spot such occurrences. and in this case something still more furious. and the focus obscure. the argument a long way from being evenhanded. that says as much about what you have been reading (or not reading) as anything. displaced by some other version. Of course. except that readers can believe what it prints. In an essay allegedly on Bible 193 . By "us. Let us aim to raise standards of journalistic integrity. with the extraordinary variations now operative in worldwide English. I cannot predict what the next step will be. As I am not a prophet." I mean Christians. perhaps for a long time. For exactly these reasons. I wish Bibles did not have constituencies. It does mean that this weapon of labeling should be used with some restraint. If all of them strike you as strange. On all kinds of issues I badly want the voice of World to be heard. I wish there were one English Bible used everywhere. even if inevitable. I have many friends to whom I would never recommend World. you will convince the convinced. A deep reactionary movement is not impossible. The fact is that this wishful thinking cannot be imposed. Now I rarely notice them. perhaps indefinitely. But that day is past. the research shoddy. this does not mean that no expression should ever be condemned as cumbersome or inept. arguments about what "sounds" right turn out to be remarkably SUbjective. Moreover. 10 PASTORAL CONSIDERATIONS How TO AVOID BIBLE RAGE Suffer a word of admonition-a half dozen of them. for linguistic fads sometimes change public perception on such points remarkably quickly. precisely because. Yet so far as I can see. Doubtless all kinds of inconsistencies and traditional forrns of expression will remain.

Just swallow some humble pie on this one and resolve to be more careful and much kinder on the next issue. But I do tltink I have demonstrated that these matters are complex. Not for a moment am I suggesting I have all the answers. worked out by many com- petent people over a long period of time. But these principles are profoundly flawed. are we more interested in winning . I have recently read again all the World articles on this subject. and the scholars who make up the CBT. even when they disagree with you? Your credibility will go up. and (c) conservative organs. when in the minds of many. Ms. Yet the article managed to get a good man fired from his seminary and incite enough hate that destroyed Bibles were mailed to IBS headquarters. without sacrificing journalistic punch. Of course. Enduring and binding guidelines are hammered out in a hotel room overnight. even when they are saying some important things. I'm not asking you to change your editorial opinion. I know the convictions on the issues are deeply held. But on the long haul. in effect. experienced. also have some flaws. The guidelines of the CBT. and I am grateful. and on the long haul we will do less damage to our credibility and prove more helpful to the church of Jesus Christ if we discern when issues are sufficiently complex that it is the part of wisdom to go slowly and softly and to consult with others with demonstrable expertise in the area. and I am grateful. to withhold money. including complementarians. Apply the Golden Rule to the way you treat your opponents: would you not want them to treat you fairly. they believe that the end justifies the means. Let us avoid impugning the motives of the other side. (b) the way that some of the critics forced Zondervan to back off its publishing plans was by denominational threats. let us slow down. and I for one will be able to start recommending you to friends. 4. Some of World's later treatments of the matter. But instead of insisting that they did nothing wrong. Each side needs to try harder to avoid demonizing the other side. The only reason Zondervan wants to put out an inclusive-language translation is so that they can make a lot of money. as these articles present them. we might reflect that (a) ifZondervan is going to make a lot of money by inclusive-language translations. of course. the two issues. the article displayed no grasp at all of the most basic elements of linguistics and translation. tltis line of argument plays well with certain kinds of troops. Suddenly everything has to be resolved in a matter of weeks. but I know quite a few of them. doubtless enjoyed a boost in circulation out of tltis as well. they said. 3. it would be a great help in this fray if the publisher and Susan Olasky published an apology for that first piece-unless. are separable). many people. included more substance and at least a show of evenhandedness. irnaginecontrolling and domesticating translation policy of God's most holy Word so as to make money. Some of them are among the godliest. there are people of integrity on both sides of tltis issue. Let me address World directly. I know that some issues demand urgent action. are pretty horrible people. Of course. or it will be too late. 2. complete with an attention-grabbing cover that impugned the motives of all those with whom World disagrees on tltis issue. though I disagreed with them. mature Christian thinkers and scholars I know-and not a few of them are complementarians to boot. We bang the drum to get a lot of people to sign these guidelines. then the English language has changed a lot more than the critics admit that it has. Olasky referred to precisely three Bible texts and then devoted far more space to Willow Creek and women's ordination than to Bible translations (thereby linking the two topics irrefragably. But inclusive-language Bible translations have been around for about a decade. most competent.194 THE INCLUSIVE-LANGUAGE DEBATE PASTORAL CONSIDERATIONS 195 translations. though related. On complex issues. including World. Let us try to avoid entrenched positions that demonize the other side. But I found articles that lambasted Zondervan for its money-grubbing greed. But quite apart from its meanness. I do not personally know all the members of the CBT.

I have heard more tban a few critics insist tbat there must be at least some measure of conspiracy going on. But tbat is anotber way of warning one anotber that especially when we hold strong theological convictions in some area. he usually managed to do it witb compassion. While that which often bears the name Is self in a disguise. And note tbe irony: tbe most manipulative arguments in some of tbese kinds of debate are tbe "spiritual" ones. I shall lose friends on botb sides of this issue. That may be. Let us try to avoid manipulative language. The false is headstrong. which the critics believe to be biblical. I cannot tell. and the preface to the NIVI does say some pretty sloppy things. While zeal for truth the Christian warms. Its party to increase. He knows the worth of peace. Can pity and forbear. you yourself would happily acknowledge to be orthodox. And breathes revenge and war. But we ought to strive with extra diligence to be evenhanded precisely in tbose areas where we feel most strongly about matters. I cannot tell. But equally. 5. 6. fierce and wild. In the heat of debate. But one of the things I liked about tbe late Francis Schaeffer is that even when he was uttering strong dennnciations. in your best moments. But arguments that tie your opinion to Christian orthodoxy in such a way that believers who are no less orthodox but who read the evidence another way have tbe effect of marginalizing and manipulating people who. since some of the CBT members are egalitarians. . than by an evenhanded and competent desire to get translations right. That may be. Let us be careful what we sign on to. But self contends for names and forms. Avoid arguments like that. At a guess. not because tbey claimed to know much about linguistic tbeory and translation theory.196 THE INCLUSIVE~LANGUAGE DEBATE PASTORAL CONSIDERATIONS 197 brothers and sisters to tbe trutb as we understand it or in scoring points witb our own constituencies? We all fall into tbese traps. we all slip sometimes. we need to be careful about transferring those convictions to adjacent or related areas where closer inspection may inform us that tbe ties are not as close as first appeared to be the case. and in any case I have no desire to be unkind. True zeal is merciful and mild. If I include samples here. John Newton says it best: Zeal is that pure and heavenly flame The fire oflove supplies. of course. quite a few of those who signed the CSG did so because they felt strongly about issues surrounding complementarianism and egalitarianism. it is difficult for defenders of inclusive language not to conclude that at least some of their critics are far more motivated by a certain social agenda regarding men and women.

1997). "Understanding the Current Controversy over Bible Translations" (paper presented at the international convention of the Christian Booksellers Association.. Or owing simply to the perception of shifts in English usage: the result is the same. but that distinctions are made that assign complementary roles in home and church. Mass. July 14. Ga. These figures can easily be verified with the appropriate Bible software. 1997).NOTES Preface 1. Of course. KohIenberger III. 4. but it was John KohIenberger III who brought them to my attention.8 (July 14. See John R.worldstar. I shall return to the question of how much English actually is changing in chapter 9. 199 .79. Reminiscences of an Octogenarian (Peabody. Atlanta. Chapter I: The Making of a Crisis: Bible Translation and Bible Rage 1. a handful of Bible translators working in so-caned third-world countries have paid with their lives for the privilege of translating the Word of God.htm. "Egalitarians" believe that the Bible teaches that men and women are so equal that no distinctions in role should be maintained-whether in home or church or elsewhere-that are grounded in their respective genders.com/~jrk3/inclusive. I shall make occasional reference to this debate before chapter 9.: Hendrickson. As I have said. A slightly edited version of this paper is available online at http://www . and it would become tedious to qualify every mention of shifts in the language by adding an additional "or perception of shifts" or the like.62. but I beg the reader's indulgence on this point for the time being. this judgment is specific to the West: even during the past few years.1997). "Complementarians" hold that the Bible teaches equality of importance and significance (for both are made in the image of God). See the report in Christianity Today 41. Bruce Manning Metzger. 3. 2. I cannot keep alluding to that chapter.

See ErnstR. owing to some further research in Greek lexica and literature. 23:20). The words from "and that some" to the end are added in this revision.1997). Ill. Ibid. 1997]." Chapter 3: Translation and Treason: An Inevitable and Impossible Task 1.5 [May 1997]. The CBMW explanation (CBMW News 2." Reformed Theological Review 50 (1991): I-II. 18.4 (September 1997).' aHebrew euphemism for penis (for example." in small print. "Understanding the Current Controversy over Bible Translations" (paper presented at the international convention of the Christian Booksellers Association. I Sam. It is a suitable sign of affection only between a mother and her baby. 6. From the preface to the NRSV. 10. 2.14-15. To make this point clearer. 20.: Crossway. World 12. Adopted August 1992. . 1987). 25:22) or 'genitals' for Hebrew 'flesh. there are three women in this list of names: Vonette Bright. and Dorothy Patterson. 12.12 (October 27. With two others. as follows: "This 'principle' articulates a basic principle of translation actually followed by CBT in its work on the NIV but not stated in the original 'Translators' Manual' adopted in 1968 (enclosed). The review was subsequently published as "A Review of the New Revised Standard Version. but only as informed individuals. Perhaps I should add that> also disagree with some of the principles adopted by the CBT. latest form available to me. But anyone who has talked at length with representatives from these groups knows that technical questions about translation principles dealing with gender language are emerging from complementarians among them no less than from egalitarians. All the words from "however" to the end have been added in this revision. The May 31/June 7 edition of World reported the earlier developments and offered a brief critique of one element of the translation principIes of the Committee on Bible Translation. Dr.22 [October 18. World 12. Barker and Dr. Christianity Today 41. NIV translators knuckle under to a British partner whose concern is neither accuracy nor truth. 1:2 RSV) would be understood by the average Tonga reader to be an utterance by a notorious prostitute. but I will indicate in the notes the changes from the initially agreed on draft. It had in view the use of euphemisms in translation such as 'one male' in place of the Hebrew expression 'one who urinates against a wall' (forexamp1e. but money! And this comes out of England. 6. 7. II.. 14. as it is applied to Hellenistic Greek. 1993). The "or all" hints at a major dispute among Greek specialists wrestling with a branch of linguistics called aspect theory. even more openness to the killing of preborns in the wombs of their mothers?" (National Liberty lournal 26. 7." The additional words were deleted "because the phrase was confusing and widely misunderstood.." 8. 2. 61-63.. 9. Howard Clark Kee (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International. " (Song of So!. 1997).' which we surely did not intend!" (CBMW News 2. 9) says that the endorsers "recognize that there may yet be new information or more precise ways of formulating certain things. Many people thought we meant that women should always be called 'men. Youngblood went to Colorado Springs not as duly appointed representatives of the CBT. 22. This example is also developed by John R. Kohlenberger III.200 NOTES TO PAGES 22-35 NOTES TO PAGES 36-55 201 5. The mention of the "mouth" in the context of "kissing" is vulgar. 5.. In deference to their convictions. Wendland. Thus a passage such as "0 that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For yonr love is better than wine .2 (March 29.4 [September 1997]. There the practice of kissing is inappropriate between adults of either sex. 9). 22). CBMW News 2. 13. Mary Kassian. 17. 12. but was apparently unable to include the events of May 27 in its pages.12-15. The copy of the CBT policy I was sent includes at this point a parenthetical "Note. ed. 15. 3. which since Spurgeon's death has basked in its liberalism and has become so deficient in its evangelistic efforts as to lose its own nation . Wheaton. titled "To the Reader. 19) promptly branded this group the opposition. The original added "or human beings in general" after "the human race.4 [September 1997]. 16. but they would only be refinements. I should acknowledge that I was one of those who resigned. I am providing the. 21. Ezek. For example. I use this tenn in its generic sense...5 (April 19. What will be next at Willow Creek--openness to same-sex maniages. 1991. I reviewed the NRSV when it was first presented to the Society of Biblical Literature. Ibid. The Cultural Factor in Bible Translation. 9. "Think about it. I set these out in chapter 2.1997). I have provided concrete figures comparing the sales of these two Bibles and several others in "New Bible Translations: An Assessment and Prospect. one might introduce traditional Tonga culture. World (12. 19." 4." in The Bible in the Twenty-First Century. Chapter 2: Conflicting Principles: The CBT and CSG on Inclusive Language 1. From the preface to the CEV. 16. 1-2. not fundamental changes. UBS Monograph Series 2 (London: United Bible Societies. titled "Welcome to the Contemporary English Version" (emphasis original).

Robert Martin. unless the fOTID is an essential part of the message. Budd (New York: Library of America.coml-jrk3/ inclusive. I am grateful to Dr. 20. 1997). 1989). Speeches. The bibliography is now very substantial. The Theory and Practice of Translation. the NIV renders. 590. Eugene A. 42: "There is always some loss in the communication process. IS. As an aside. "I who speak to you am he [that is.htm. it ignored what are in fact very considerable difficulties:in some biblical texts. but it can also be viewed online at http://www.. technical. Strictly speaking. 24. The turning point was the book by de Waard and Nida. 19-20. 5.2 (1996): 239-56. The translation programs are becoming remarkably sophisticated. JJ 17.588.. The latest contribution by Ernst-August Gutt is "Implicit Information in Literary Translation: A Relevance-Theoretic Perspective. The closest thing would be the kinds of interlinears where. 1974). despite the title. Mark Twain: Collected Tales. Bruce. the one speaking to you"~that is.org/netbib1e/index. The Samaritan woman has been talkmg about the Messiah.htm. ed. "Ego eimi ho lalOn soi. 1996). For example. as its footnote states. when we had so smoothed out the complex passage Galatians 2: 1-10 as to conceal completely the tensions and confusions which underlie the apostle's twisted grammar. Hebrew lines are interleaved with English renderings that try to convey the semantic contribution not only of each word but of each morpheme. 589. Nida. of course. 1992). cited also in Kohlenberger.4: "Anything that can be said in one language can be said in another." 19. Sketches. 9. 3. full of standard technical expressions. say. By "absolute" I mean that these two words alone constitute the clause under discussion. for example. See Barry J. Nida and Charles R." 13." because of its capitalization policy. this could be rendered." In other words." with "the one speaking to you" providing the complement. 14. 1991). Accuracy a/Translation (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust. available online at http://www." 10. Formally. Recall the shrewd remark by Bishop Stephen Neill. in this context. It is simply a matter of drawing attention to aspects of language that are often overlooked." 12. 598. say. F. Brill. who presumably approve of what he is saying. As it develops. "the one speaking to you" is now in apposition to "I. Compare John 4:26. 1978).29. the NASB offers "I am He." Churchman 90 (1976): 287: "I remember once exploding angrily in the Tamil Bible translation committee. which. "Exodus 3:14 and the Divine Name: A Case of Biblical Paronomasia. "Understanding" (under the heading '''Word-far-Word' vs. yet from the beginning the plan has been to make it available on the (Inter)net. or an adverb. For example. 11. for sources and receptors never have identical linguistic and cultural backgrounds . that the "I am" part most naturally reads as "I am (the Christ).. 8. (New York: Oxford University Press. 16. The result is not a translation at all. Hall Harris III for showing me some of the page proofs." 22. Ga" July 14. 7. scientific. components of meaning). and Jesus claims. History a/the Bible in English: From the Earliest Versions. that the text is literally "I am. John Beekman and John Callow. It is possible to abuse what is in fact an elementary principle by imagining a narrow group of readers with a special focus. stereo- . the NET Bible will become available in print. Thus after the Samaritan woman's mention of the Christ. 23. but this has nothing to do with translation: the same could be said for first-century Greek-speaking homosexual pagans. "Translating the Word of God. No translator who wrestles with the performative aspects of language or with speech act theory wants to Mench such matters to the fore and sacrifice other semantic components (that is. the way Paul's language about homosexuality functions in Romans 1 among heterosexual Christian readers. 1974). "I am the one speaking to you. But that is so unbearably trite that almost everyone takes it to mean (still rendered pretty formally). 3d ed. From One Language to Another: Functional Equivalence in Bible Translating (Nashville: Thomas Nelson. 21. "where I am" (Jo1m 7:34---and here the two critical Greek words are in reverse order). 29-31 and throughout. Taber. There are many other instances when ego eimi is part of a larger expression that includes a complement." Trinity Journal I (1980): 5-20. "[ am the bread of life" (John 6:35). W. Ibid. Another weakness in the initial definition of "dynamic equivalence" was that by focusing on the ability of the reader to comprehend and respond. 'Phrase-for-Phrase"'). 6. Obviously "NET" is a pun: it is an abbreviation of New English Translation. but a crib for Hebrew students.202 NOTES TO PAGES 55-64 NOTES TO PAGES 67-72 203 Atlanta. "I am. Translation andRelevance: Cognition and Context (Oxford: Blackwell. 1986). Louis J. examines many examples. 1 should mention contemporary efforts to get around this blanket statement by computer translations.bible. See Jan de Waard and Eugene A.. 1 have tried to wrestle at some length with the theoretical issues in The Gagging a/God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan.worldstar . 4. The translator's task. cannot be preserved.." Target 8. not just one. This we had no right to do. Quoted by F. Ibid. the italics also indicating.. Ibid. 18. however." But that means. the Christl. See especially Ernst-August Gutt. for example. True enough. J. is to keep such loss at a minimum. 1852-1890. Helps for Translators 8 (Leiden: E. The best of them now produce more or less readable results when they are translating material that is factual. Translating the Word o/God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. among contemporary English-speaking homosexual pagans. and Essays. Beitzel. the complement is established by the context. Ibid. From One Language to Another.

" Chapter 4: Gender and Sex around the World: A Translator's Nightmare I. 6. but the Greek masculine or feminine plural subject must take a plural verb. Gennan nouns are always capitalized. that option. 321). They are far less effective when it comes to well-crafted novels. Ibid. Under the impact of postmodern epistemology. part of particular cultural expression). of course. What makes Chinese difficult for Westerners is not its syntax but (I) phonologically. (2) more important. In my view. Grammar and Gender (New Haven: Yale University Press. creative writing. As computers become more powerful they will be able to check results not only against the priorities of the translation program itself. More than eighty different forms have been proposed by those attempting to create such a pronoun in English. That is. special genres. the Greek neuter plural subject may take a singular verb. and Declensional Class Assignment in Russian. Omniscience may see things that way. 1995). The entailment of the view well represented by Lakoff is a further strengthening of the position that no translation of extended text is ever mechanicaL It always involves an interpretive element. Gender. Martin's Press. ed. for example. of course. Baron. 123-50. 2. Animacy. The two that follow I draw from Corbett (Gender. it is thus concrete. usually with well-understood structures. though in fact they appear elsewhere as well. 11. Fraser and Greville G. to which I have already referred.. IS. See Norman M. 310-18. Nonnan Fraser. Grammar and Gender. may be imaginative. so far as this could be done without distorting passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture and soci- I . with respect to the NRSV: he and the committee intended to eliminate "masculine-oriented language concerning people. 26. A hybrid option is just barely possible. and to some extent on Dennis E. In this section I lean heavily on Greville G. see Corbett. Biblical Semantic Logic: A Preliminary Analysis (New York: St. 15. as guidelines to the committee as it switched over to inclusive-language translation. Corbett. This side of the Enlightenment. Briefly. poetry. they would take us too far afield if we were to probe them satisfactorily here. I here borrow an example from Baron. One is not tapping into disembodied truth that has been captured in one language one way and in another language another way. 25. 101-18. its use of pitch. 315. Gender (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. That would be a kind of self-restricted option c. This is really a secondedition of a circulated paper. Compare the intention of Bruce Metzger. a standard text. "Gender. cannot endure for more than an edition or two. but against larger and larger databases that provide appropriate and inappropriate matches. Chapter 5: A Srief Evaluation of the CST and CS Principles 1. 5. Compare Moises Silva. this is the edition to which I refer. 9 (emphasis his). abstract. Rodney Venberg. Gender. Women. 2. scientific terminology. and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. that is. 7. 1994). 9. to notes sent by Dr. and is inevitably tied to specific language structures (which are themselves.2 (1971): 68-70. extrinsic to any particular cultural expression. I keep saying "nonnally" and "generally" because many complex exceptions exist. Unless otherwise specified. and (2) orthographically. symbolladen works.47-59. "What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Translations?" (Libertyville. George Lakoff. rev. The niceties need not detain us here." Bible Translator 22." "Abraham" like a Hebrew phrase meaning "father of a multitude. doubtless more care would have been taken in their wording to avoid the possibility of misunderstanding. 8. For example. the postmodern critique of virtually autonomous post-Enlightenment human reason is largely correct (though elsewhere I have criticized various facets of the postmodern enterprise: see my Gagging of God [Grand Rapids: Zondervan. "Moses" sounds like a Hebrew word meaning "to draw out. IT the CBT guidelines had been intended for public consumption. atomistic. 3. Biblical Words and Their Meaning.: CBMW. many linguists and cognitive scientists have thought of reason as disembodied. Ill. Corbett. Important as these issues are. 12. See. 1997). IBS and Zondervan could make incremental changes in the current NIV as long as such changes did not touch anything related to gender-inclusive language. another view is gradually establishing itself among linguists: thought is necessarily embodied in this or that language system. 4. But (1) it is difficult to see how such programs will ever overcome all the problems when the text is not cast in stan- dard. 1991). Realistically." in Yearbook of Morphology 1994. see Corbett. Perhaps it should be said that the CBT principles were prepared for in-house use. even if pursued for a while. and Arthur Gibson. 1986)-in addition. ''The Problem of a Female Deity in Translation. and so forth. 13. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Fire. 1996]). 1981). Behind these observations is an array of far more complex issues that I cannot take the space to deal with here. 14. Geert Booij and Jaap van MarIe (Dordrecht: Kluwer. 27. but finite language users cannot. Wayoe Grudem. the ways in which computers solve these problems are not open to human translators anyway: our minds cannot perform the massive sorts for matches essential to the procedures of computers. It must be admitted that some authors use "meaning" and "sense" in slightly different ways. elements in a coordinate structure. its thousands of characters. 195. 1987). and expanded ed.204 NOTES TO PAGES 74-90 NOTES TO PAGES 90-104 205 typed-such as scientific papers. 10. On this last point.

it translates it into some fonn of anthropos. Moreover. Strauss (. 6. 9. he is never addressed as "Mother" in Scripture. 3. not Hebrew.: CBMW. Danker. Ronald Youngblood for the documentation. and other phe~o~­ ena that are radically different in English-and further that EnglIsh IS changing. H. ." 4. 1979)." Most emphatlcally IS that not ~e case. Mark L. 7. is the most technically competent study of this passage now available. The evangelical doctrine of Scripture is that every word of the original is exactly what God wanted it to be. In a private communication as well as in his unpublished paper ("A Response to Mark L. 3: 16). We must not 'substitute' other words with different senses" (Wayne Grudem. 4. We cannot so easily escape the problem of differing semantic ranges. 21.. we have since discussed the matter personally." 5-8). Schreiner and H. 18. Calif. Ga. This one I have culled from John R. not Hebrew )lidlim. 23. Arndt." kindly sent to me by the author in December 1997. 12. available online at http://www. Kostenberger." CBMW News 2. "What's Wrong. William F." 10. Trying to handle that pesky gender-specific English pronoun. Wayne Gmdem in his influential Systematic Theology ([Grand Rapids: Zondervan. For even if it were right (and I do not think it is). As in all Scripture quotations in this book." 3) has picked up on this same point. Occasionally a simile dravro from motherhood is applied to God. Yet the fact remains that this text is written in Greek. Wilbur Gingrich. then we should reflect the sense of those words in English translation. For example. These have disappeared in the NRSV. which are tied to semantic ranges. 5. I shall return to the confusion between translation and transliteration in chapter 8. italics signal emphases that I have inserted to draw attention to some linguistic phenomenon in the text.89). "Understanding the Current Controversy over Bible Translations" (paper presented at the international convention of the Christian Booksellers Association. I am grateful to Dr. Santa Clara. This particular example is from Strauss. Strauss' Evaluation of the Colorado Springs Translation Guidelines. the RSV (1952) still preserved the archaizing forms in direct address to God.. For example: "I strongly disagree with this procedure. Andreas Kostenberger coauthored with Thomas R.9-but I shall return to that one in chapter 8. doubtless made ill good faith. 9. Elsewhere a slightly different case has been put forward for the preservation of "men . 8-13. II). Grudem. and the word at issue is Greek anthropos. 1997]. The argument advanced by some-that this is an instance of a representative male. The common problem is the failure to recognize that preserving God's words in Psalm 1 means preserving Hebrew words. November 20-22. Ill. were withdrawn. "Linguistic and Hermeneutical Fallacies in the Guidelines Established at the (So-Called) 'Conference on Gender-Related Language in Scripture'" (paper presented at the forty-ninth arumal meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. That is exactly the argument used to defend the preservation of singular "thou" a few decades ago.worldstar . 6.206 NOTES TO PAGES 104-20 NOTES TO PAGES 122-27 207 ety" (Reminiscences of an Octogenarian [Peabody.3 (June 1997)." 16. Grudem. 22.'Guidelines. 27. Grudem's views on translation are dis~arag~g or ignoring "the evangelical doctrine of Scripture. Strauss ("Guidelines." doubtless he or she could include an explanatory note. "What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Translations?" [Libertyvi!le. it is under the heading "The Humauity of Christ." 10. Stek. Andreas J. 8. "Neutering. because 'all Scripture is God-breathed' (2 Tim.. 1995). Strauss.: Hendrickson. Ibid. 1997).com/-jrk3/inclusive. 1997]. "The Neutering of 'Man' in the NNI. The NN (not NIVI!) has already chosen to render this "are the feet of those who bring good news. Women in the Church: A FreshAna/ysis of1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Grand Rapids: Baker. "A Study in the Language of Old Testament Wisdom Literature with Special Focus on Gender Concerns. on a related topic. gender and number systems. 26. p. J. the opts for "Surely you will reward everyone Ffsh] according to what they have done. 13. Dr.. 14. Ibid. syntactical structures. Kohlenberger ill. IT God caused Psalm 1 to be written with singular nouns and pronouns. the book Dr. 17. and Frederick W." 25. "What's Wrong" (1996 edition). Atlanta. II. F. 1994]. 5. If some translator felt strongly about the need to make a connection between 1 Timothy 2:5 and "new Adam Christology. So also A. Walter Bauer. "Guidelines. Scott Baldwin." 6) shrewdly observes that when this passage is discussed by Dr. 20. Wayne Gmdem insists that the framers of the CSG meant by "or human beings in general" nothing more than "or genNNI . and it would be exceedingly helpful if the charge. 5. This emotive way of putting things implies that those who disagree with Dr. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. IS. 1997). 24." 10. man" in this instance. Kostenberger. esp. yet still a male-is not compelling. the NIVI has it right. 541). But as to the meaning of the Greek. For example. Some scholars take this passage to hint at "new Adam Christology" and therefore want some way to preserve "man/Adam" in the English translation. it would not address the problem that the English receptor word may not enjoy the same representative status. July 14.htm. When the LXX thinks of )lidlim as a name. Whether or not "new Adam Christology" is in view here I shall not dispute. Mass. (1997 edition). it transliterates it. morphology. 19. when as a reference to a human being or to human beings.

commands and invites its members to obedient faith even if the church as a whole does not follow. The NIVI contracts the two clauses: "No foot of people or animals will pass through it. 14. 32. II. Wayne Grudem and presented to the group that met in Colorado Springs on May 27. Ibid. The phrase was dropped because it was constantly being misunderstood and was not (as Dr. J. 9. Ibid. 9.. see chapter 1 under "The Current Crisis. "Problems. I doubt that the "but" is justified here either.'" A slightly edited . 28.5 (April 19." the language would require that goneis be used. 15. 5. "Guidelines. I accept his explanation. Of course. "Understanding the Current Controversy over Bible Translations" (paper presented at the international convention of the Christian Booksellers Association. I am arguing." 17. Wayne Grudem. 3." 16. 1997). 4. hold the same semantic turf. but I have retained my brief discussion above because most readers do not have access to such private communication. "Problems in Gender Changes" (document prepared by Dr. under the heading "Translation of the Words for 'Man." 9. 7. John Piper with help from Dr. Ibid. Piper. Kostenberger. 6. This does not mean that the total semantic range of one word has the total semantic range of another word. 4." 5.: CBMW. But to argue that the two words must therefore be translated differently in specific contexts is to fall once again into "illegitimate totality transfer." sent me by the author in December 1997.208 NOTES TO PAGES 128-42 NOTES TO PAGES 143-62 209 eral human nature. Chapter 6: Some Old Testament Passages 1. Chapter 7: Some New Testament Passages 1." briefly discussed in chapter 3 under "Context and Contexts. In certain contexts. That different words do have the same meaning in particular contexts should not come as a surprise. after the loss of "thou. 7-8. Jesus. but loses the sonorous quality of the repeated clause for no semantic clarity or other gain. Moreover. 5. Wayne Grudem. of course. "The Neutering of 'Man' in the NIVI." namely.. 6. At least the NIVI has in my view properly understood aner. Atlanta. Jesus is knocking at the closed door of a proud church content with her sinful self-sufficiency. "Problems in Gender Changes" {document prepared by Dr. But this obvious pattern is surely as protected by the NIVI as by the NIV. But it does not follow that if a New Testament writer had wanted to say "parents" and not "fathers. while addressing the whole church. H." World 12.. 1996). this concern for an emphasis on the individual is doubly misplaced. nevertheless as in several of the letters to the seven churches. 4. I notIced that I had used the pronoun "you" three times without for a moment supposing that I was restricting the reference to you. and one must vvrestle with what published documents actually say. for this exchange. For example. they conclude. Grudem avers) well worded. 6. but the door of the church at Laodicea-and therefore. See Wayne Grudem.5 (April 19. "NIV Controversy: Participants Sign Landmark Agreement. 2. 6-7. For the history. 16. Ibid.3 (June 1997). Grudem. ~. John Piper. 1997). Kohlenberger ill. gentle reader. "Wbat's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Translations?" (Libertyville. 8. this is the terminology Jesus used as John reports him. 1997). "Comparing. 2. 22:41--46. 13. Some defenders of gender-inclusive Bible translations have charged the NIVI'S critics here with misunderstanding Revelation 3:20." throughout. after miting the sentence bearing this note number. Certainly the Lord Jesus thought that the superscriptions to the Psalms gave historically reliable information: see Matt. John Piper with help from Dr. Il1. lli. Jesus himself may well have been using Aramaic. Wayne Grudern." World 12. "Comparing the Two NIVs. the "door" on which the exalted Jesus is lmocking is not the door of the individual's heart. there is another Greek word for "parents. 10. 3. Ga. "Wbat's Wrong" (first [1996] edition). 12. 31." Of the like. "Comparing the Two NIVs. John Piper. Strauss. that is. goneis. Ibid. "Wbat's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Translations?" (Libertyville. where the validity of Jesus' argument depends on that assumption." 30. 1997). 1997).." CBMW News 2.. but that is another question. But although the observation about the door is correct. Strictly speaking. 16. Kostenberger. 1997). Wayne Grudern and presented to the group that met in Colorado Springs on May 27.. Once again. "Neutering. 15.5. 29. 3. 10. not Greek." This contraction eliminates the possibility of using "human" as an adjective: "no human foot of animals will pass through it" obviously will not fly.9-10. Wayne Grudem. The NIVI is not semantically wrong. JohnR." a sudden shift from secondperson singular to second-person plural may be marked by a change from "you" to "you people" as in John 3: 11 NIV. Incidentally. 3.3 (June 1997). Ibid. "A Study in the Language of the Regulative Toroth of the Pentateuch with Special Focus on Gender Concerns. Stek. Ibid.5.: CBMW. I would like to think my linguistic clarifications may be useful to some. 7. July 14. 8. goneis and pateres." CBMW News 2..7. Andreas J. 5. Grudem. In the context.

D. McMahon. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans." 292-99. Stek for reminding me of this obvious fact in an unpublished paper. 15. traditionally man. 9.. Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 9. 4. 18-23. 1995. 8.. 2:3.7. Eccles. The NIVI includes a footnote: "Or What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them. 1994). Word without End: The Old Testament. 7. The MVI here includes a footnote: "Hebrew adam. you crowned them with glory and honour and put everything under their feet. and so forth. "What's Wrong. 1:13. J. See especially Jean Aitchison. 1990). ed. Carl Sagan. 3. 1997). 21:10. 7. Oxford: Blackwell. 57. Evangelicals Now 12. Wayne Grudem. 12. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 42 (Leiden: E. "Did God 'Call Them Man'?" (sent to me by the author in December 1997).: CBMW. Most recently and competently. 1997). especially chapter 20. occasionally adding the title." 6. 13. 10.htm. Both the NIV and NM normally retain "son of man" in poetic passages when it is in parallel to "man. 50:40. 31:19. I am grateful to John H. 33:13. 6. ed. John Piper. That is why the CBr includes Calvinists and Anninians. 10. Time 151. Joel I :12. 1998). Chapter 9: But Is the English Language Changing? 1. 12. 8. Language in Society 17 (Oxford: Blackwell. 11 :5. 193. an Abiding Theological Witness (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 5. Ill. Gen. 5. 1997). Howard Clark Kee (Philadelphia: Trinity Press InternationaJ. Billions and Billions: Thoughts on L(fe and Death at the Brink o[the Millennium (New York: Random House. 195. J. For example. 1997). lations?" (Libertyville. Ps. 145:12. 11. Piper. A. 2:28. Ibid. 13. "What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Trans- 4." 16. Ill. 14. 1993). Baron.. "New Bible Translations: An Assessment and Prospect. 1992). 17.7 (February 23... Chapter 8: Some Critical Passages with Important Doctrina/lssues at Stake 2.56-57. I think those were the exact words. Grudem. 1986).9 (September 1997)." in The Bible in the Twenty-First Century. 1-15. Ibid. 1996. human beings that you care for them? / You made them a little lower than the angels. All of the sources briefly cited in the lines that follow are documented in Baron. see Richard S. April M. D. 1991).worldstar . Here I provide only the name of the author and the date of the publication.: CBMW.8. Wayne Grudem. The NIV here includes a footnote: "Hebrew adam. Emerton. 56. 8. Some scholars draw other connections. "Problems. Ibid. 3:10. Dan. 1. I definitely heard "humankind's". See especially Christopher R. My assumption is that John 19:36 is indeed referring to PsaJm 34. A. II. 14. Hess. Baptists and Paedo-Baptists. "Splitting the Adam. John Piper with help from Dr. 6. James Milroy. Seitz. 3.7. Jer. Ps. S. Language Change: Progress or Decay? 2d ed.comhrk3/inclusive. Provo 8:31." 3. "Reader Competence and the Offense of Biblical Language: The Limitations of So-Called Inclusive Language. 83." in Studies in the Pentateuch." 8." 2. 12:1. F. Brill. Grammar and Gender (New Haven: Yale University Press.." so as to preserve interesting poetical synonymy rather than collapse them into identical expressions. . The NIVI offers a footnote: "Or what is a human being that you are mindful of him. Dennis E. Psalm 8:4-6.1998). Carson. I the son of man that you care for him?" and continues to footnote masculine singular alternatives for the plural pronouns in verses 5-6.210 NOTES TO PAGES 167-84 NOTES TO PAGES 185-90 211 version of this paper is available online at http://www. Wayne Grudem and presented to the group that met in Colorado Springs on May 27. 191-97. Understanding Language Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. "What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Translations?" (Libertyville. Wright. the rest may not be quite right. Ibid. for I was in heavy traffic at the time and could not get it down before memory failed. Linguistic Variation and Change: On the Historical Sociolinguistics of English. Ibid. "Problems in Gender Changes" (document prepared by Dr.

143-44. 120-28. 33 BeekInan.149. Tim. Christianity Today.23. 202 Carlton. Alexander.210 purpose for.197.28.201. 36 Colorado Springs Guidelines (CSG). guidelines for translators intracanonical connections and the preserving offorrn. 19. 36. 38.196. 162.. Gilbert. 150-51.191 translation guidelines. 16. translation guidelines Colorado Springs meeting. F. 45. guidelines for translators historical particularity (or historical specificity). 40.73 Bain.207-8 aphoristic or universal statements using man or masculine pronouns. 133 substantival participles.111-33. 112. 116.165. 45.156 changes in voice (active to passive). See translation theory.John. 29. 147. 213 .136. 140. 166--70 Aitchison. 211 American Standard Version (ASV). 158-62.154-55.32. 114 third-person masculine singular pronouns changed to plural pronouns. John.• j GENERAL INDEX Adam. 151. 26.26. 45.179-81 parent(s) or ancestor(s) in place of father(s). 44. See translation theory.211 Bayly. 111-15..160 third-person masculine singular pronouns changed to second-person pronouns. 19. 20.204-5. 202 Beitzel. 189-90 humankind or human being(s) in place of man. 185-86. 20. 207 Barker. 33-35. 41-44.157-58. 176 generic use of the pronoun.152. 25.39-40.194. 32-34. Scott. 45-46.186. guidelines for translators male-specified professions 141-42 child/children instead of son(s). 141. 166--70 indefinite pronouns. F.44-46. 153. 37. See translation theory.130-31. 118-120 See also Committee on Bible Translation. 46. 199 members of. 30 Bruce.. 131-33.157. 185 126--27.135-38. Jean. 139.38.105-8. 205 contextual particularity (or contextual specificity).45. Barry. 130. Lillian E. 36 Bilezikian.144. 157.145. H.200 Baron. 186 Baldwin. 149 brother(s) and sister(s) in place of brother(s). 202 Bible League. 184 Committee on Bible Translation (CBT).184. 55..116. 201. 202 Callow. 43. Kenneth L. 33. 148.150-51. 55.100-111. Dennis E. 35-36 Christians for Biblical Equality. 128-30 Jesus' humanity or masculinity.39--40.

153 shift in usage. 19-20. 23.106.33.42. 21. 38.117. 202 Dobson. 193-94 Open Line. See translation theory gender-accurate version.29. 199 historical perspective.21. 27.184. Hall. 86 Tamil gender system.207. 16. John. 30. 35. See gender-inclusive language translations. Norman.184.214 changed to a more generic title. 16.27. 150. Christ (NCCC).194. Jerry. 26 National Liberty .. 183-92. language referring to.36.188 French gender system.209 Kostenberger. contextual particularity Corbett. 41.27. See gender-specific gender-inclusive definition of. 155. 11. 18-19. 89 Russian gender system. 31. See also literary context. 186 journalistic integrity. 203 New American Standard Bible (NASB). 64 Living Bible (LB).194 definition of.205 Milroy. 18. 202-3 Olasky. 30 National Council of the Churches of 179-80 third-person masculine singular pronouns changed to secondperson pronouns. 19. 32 Paul. 83-85 on semantic basis. Otto.194-96. social context. 62. 80-83 problems with. 24. 73 male-specific references.21. 185-87 pronominal gender systems.204 Jespersen. 95 German gender system. 43 See also Colorado Springs Guidelines meeting concerning NIVI.107. 104 Hess. 71.161.132. 20. 35.138. 37. 109.109.173. S. Wayne.73 New Testament's use of Old Testament. 195. 158.107. 102 gender complexity.187 gender-neutral language. 93. George. W. Richard S. 85-87. 100--102 son of man. 17. 75. G.188. 33. 193-94 King James Version (KJv). 45. translation theory. 87-88 grammatical gender. 84-85. 186 Grudem. 73 New English Translation (NET Bible). Albert.93-95. 33. 64 immediate context. Terry. New International Version (NIV). 31 gender and translation..201 Contemporary English Version (CEV). 197.30. 30 Dunberg. 97-98. 17-18.. 1.119 Rumanian gender system. 84 Spanish gender system. 81. See gender in language. 35. 31.103.167-70.. 19-20 singular to plural pronoun changes. 199. 36. 19. Grant. Andreas. Robert.73 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). 61-62 linguistic theory.97-98. 30. J. April M.202-3 Harris ill. 96--97 Latin gender system. Paige. 18 See also Committee on Bible Translation. Bruce. Dan.29. 28. See inclusive-language translations gender in language. 186 Johnson.115-16. 34 162-63. 28-32. 80. See translation theory literary context emotional overtones of certain expressions. 189-90 translations. 71. 81 Greek gender system.73-74. W. 26-27.112.43. 151. 126--27. 36 dynamic equivalence.205 Patterson. 23.175-81 Newton. complementarian.191-92 New International Version: Inclusive Language Edition (NIVr). 75 God.203 New International Readers Version (NIrV).72. 95-96. 196 Nida.. 18 Focus on the Family 91-93. 186 Fraser. 89-90. 33 relationship to CSG. 63. 101 Currne. 204-5 Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). H. Arthur.116-21.28.180-81. 16--17 link. the apostle gender-inclusive changes. 16--17 language.186 gender systems. 203 Hebrew language euphemisms. 40 formal equivalence. See translation theory formal equivalents.71. 103-4.73. Cook Church Ministries. 98 Hebrew gender system. Stephen. 42.26. 79-80 gender-marked languages.209 Lakoff.29. 78-79.. 36.31. 85-89 gender agreement. Howard Clark.34-36. 63 literary genre. 122-24 singular and plural distinctions.118. 23.Tournai.188. 77. 33. 44 Martin.. 73 New English Bible (NEB). 155-61.73 Kee. Susan. 32 Neill. 191-92 Evangelical Press Association. 35 Falwell. 157 Osborne. guidelines for translators. egalitarian debate. 88 pronominal gender systems. Alma. 66. See translation theory gender-exclusive.28. John R. James.27. 114. 32. 211 Metzger. 61-65.Eugene.112.103. 38. 169.119. 11.186--87 questions raised by.103-4. See inclusive-language translations 206.104 Graham. 22. Edward D.192 New Living Translation (NLT). 31 patriarchalism.174-75. 77 assigning gender to words on morphological or phonological basis.32. 186 Fowler.201 English language changes in. 79-80.201 cultural equivalent. 157 Fowler. 20.127.24-25. George.199. 22-23 context. 96-97 masculine plurals in place of feminine subjects. 152. 36 Packer.40. 186 David C. 33 Doriani. 32 de Waard. 64. James. 211 Mohler. See also translation theory. F. 200 Kohlenberger III. Greville G. 69.97-98. GENERAL INDEX GENERAL INDEX 215 lexical meaning.. See translation theory Eagleton.201. Lars.28. 190 egalitarian.63. gender systems varieties of. 122-24 Spirit as a feminine noun. 18 Gibson. gender-specific. 37. 88. 112 resolutions opposing. 204 functional equivalence. 202 McMahon. 187 English gender system. 96 parallelism in Hebrew poetry gender distinctions.27.41. 35 types of changes. 205-10 Gutt. translation guidelines.78-80. 132 inclusive-language translations. 170-75. 16. to complementarian vs. Jan. 17-18. 78. 32. 205 language groups.162-63. Colorado Springs Guidelines International Bible Society (IBS). 80-83 115-16 . 62.104.141-44. 31. 210 illegitimate totality transfer.20.71. historical particularity offensive language. 130. 27-28. Ernst-August. 204 gloss. 91-93. 32 feminism as a driving force behind gender-neutrallanguage.

23. Jobn. translation guidelines history of translation theory. 75. 71 representative generics.58-59 multiple uses of single word (sarx). 66 sociolinguistics. 35 127 meaning vs. 65-67 son of man. 196 Schreiner. 20. 90-91 . MarkL. William. 35 speech act theory. 71.. 93. 111. 32. 47~51 functions of gender systems. 33 Presbyterian Church in America. 17 Septuagint (LXX) gender-inclusive changes.. paraphrastic translations. GENERAL INDEX GENERAL INDEX 217 Wright. 102 pure generics. 43 World. D. See Committee on Bible Translations. 16 Ryskamp. 63 Quirk. 62 speech act theory. Carl. 75. See gloss translation theory. 29.206-8 Taber. 91 ~93 See also gender in language.216 Petersen. 112. 116 Silva. Cornelius. Committee on Bible Translation. 36 Youngblood. 70-71. 26. John.52-56 wordplays. 56 unisex language. Bruce. 71-72 role of theological themes. 106. 93-98.31 United Bible Societies. R. 36 Thomas Nelson Publishers. 33.138--40. 200 Willow Creek Community Church. 60.108.122 singular to plural pronoun changes. 90 differences in gender systems. 184. See translation theory Sproul. 154. 186 relevance theory. c. 36 translation equivalent. See translation theory Revised English Bible (REB). 204 social agendas. 207 Seitz. gloss. 28 Roman Catholic Church. 36 typology. 122. 110.138 functional equivalence. 64-65. 63 loss in translation literal vs. 97-98 relevance theory. 68 challenges translators face. 30 Piper.208-10 Plantinga Jr. 71 guidelines for translators contextual particularity (contextual specificity). 193-95. Jobn. 29. Charles R. 102.180-81. 36. Mark D.200 112. 16. Ernst R. 93.204 linguistic gender differences. 195. Moises. Rodney. Dean.112. 33. 176-78. 197 social context. 69 meaning vs.159 intracanonical connections and the preserving offorrn.103. 37. 36 Sagan.. 148. 33-34.138 differences in language. 190 Poythress. 67. 203 Taylor. 36 Stek. See also New Testament's use of Old Testament TWain. 63 Wyc1iffe Bible Translators.102. 128. 30-36. 200. Mark.74.211 Wyc1iffe. 70-71. 70 Tyndale. 21. referent. 89~98. Vern. 20--21. 211 semantic equivalents. 203 temporal necessity of all translations and need for revisions. 190.147.211 Schaeffer. 170-72.121. 205 Weigle. 35 Purvey. 16 Wendland.73 role distinctions. E.210 Strauss.207-8. 115. 89 problems with a pronominal gender system. 159 historical particularity (historical specificity). Jonathan. 73-74 thought-for-thought translation. 144.149-51. Thomas. 73 Revised Standard Version (RSV).114 changes in gender systems. Randolph.. gender systems dynamic equivalence. 126-27 multiple uses of single phrase (ego eimi). 22. translation guidelines Southern Baptist Convention. Francis. John. 105. Ronald. 30. 29. Venberg. 207 Zondervan. 143. 28-31. 101-2 semantic overlap. 139.. Christopher. 30. 121. 141-42. 203 formal equivalence (formal correspondence). 154. 16 Tyndale House Publishers. 194 Wisdom Literature. 176 See also Colorado Springs Guidelines. 33 Stealth Bible. 98 role of interpretation. 136.

SCRIPTURE INDEX Genesis Numbers Nehemiah 1-3 170 1:26 29 1:26-27 45. 124 35:8 123 36:25 123 37:7 123 38:26 123 Psalms 7 19 7:14 19.128.128.124 34:11 123 34:34 123.166. 3 25:25 102 25:36 102 2 Samuel 4: 17 122.107 1:1-2 106-7 1:1-3 107 1:2-3 107 1:4-6 107 2 19. 181 219 .201 n.141 1 Samuel 1:2 136 16:17 169 18:5 140 19:23-37 137 19:29 137 19:32 137 19:34 137 5:9 122 13:14 175 17:43 102 24:14 102 25 102 25:18 102 25:22 100. 124 4:19-21 124 10:4 122 10:4-5 124 10:5 122 14:10 123 16:21 123 25:4 123 25:6 123 32:21 123 33:15-17 123.176 1 2060.13 1:31 137 2:24 137 6:17 137 10:19 137 12 106 24:16 122 Joshua 3:15 133 4:22 176 11:2 122 13:2 175 16:16 122 18:16 122 20-23 136 20:2 137 20:3-17 137 21:1-2 136 21:1-22:20 136 34:11-16 137 Leviticus 14:15 169 Judges 18:7 139.20.6 5:6 97 8:17 138-39 31:28 29 31:35 96 31:49 141 Deuteronomy 2:10 169 Esther 1:20 96 Job 16:12 169 Exodus 3:14202n. 180.175.4 1:1 98.167.168 6:7 121 9:6 121 11:52100.176 2:7 19 8 173. 179. 167 2 170 2:25 167 5:1-3 166-67 5:2 45.

6 12:8 210 n.210 n. 6 32:1 116 33:13 210 ll.60 8:28 59. 14 12:121On. 15 8:5-6 210 n.129 6:51 113 6:56 113 7:5 178 7:34 202 ll.201 n.149 5:22 131 8:23 148 8:23-27 148 8:27 147-48 10:24 44.152.153-54 5:12 154 5:16 54 6:1 128 6:7 118.9 4:26 202 n. 160 17:2 52. 7 34177.55 7:15 131. 6 Proverbs Song of Solomon SCRIPTURE INDEX SCRIPTURE INDEX 221 1 Corinthians Titus 1:2 200 n.54 8:14 133 8:16-17 132.210 n. 6 19:11 140 19:11-12 140 21:10 210 n.178.55 13:1 174 13:11 159 14:21 176 14:28 160 15:21 150.158 2:14 125 7:5 132 8:20 64 9:7 158 10:26 174. 7 7 173 7:13-14 171-72 Hosea 1 20 2:420 11:1 176 Joel 1:12 21On.176 Galatians 2:28 210 n.175 12:22 174. 175 13:22 175 15:1 25 17:34 124 20:30 159 Romans 3:3 53. 17 3:10 116 3:18 116 3:28 126 4:6 116 4:6-7 116 4:7 116 7 63 8:6 52-53.60 8:58 58.175.110 17:34--35 66 23:36 178 11:50 150 14:23 31.153. 7 16:9 143 20:24 118 22:6 23 29:3 144 31:29 96 Ecclesiastes 4:11 169 Matthew 1:13 210n. 150. 7 3:16206n. 10 6:44 113.180 2:5-8 181 2:6-8 178. 7 Jonah 5:1 143.149 5:9 19 5:10 107.181 2:5 29. 12 5:16-30 104 5:26 114 664 6:35 202 n.110 15:31 132 16:13 110 16:33 44 17:3 155 17:31-33 44.128 3 129 3:1 130 3:11 209n.151 2 Corinthians 1:6 161 Hebrews 6:14--7:1 19-20 6:18 20.54 14:62 173 15:36 178 Luke 1:7 132 2:23 175 14:31-35 44.179 2:9 181 2:11 180 2:12 180 2:14 180 2:16 180 2:17 181 11:23 133 James 4:8 175 Philippians 1:12 161 1:20 118.207 n.120 2:15 131 2:19--20 120 3:2 125 5:14--15 116 5:17 126 1 Peter 2:8 150 4:1 130-31 4:2-3 131 1 Timothy 3:4 162 2:5 127.220 8:4-<i 178-79.180.144 5:21 143.144 5:7-8 143. 6 3:10 21On.21On. 10 Isaiah 3:12 96 9 176 9:6-7 176 28:11 176 41:4 58 43:10 58 52:7 115-16 Jeremiah 16:24--26 148-49 22:41-46 208 n.54 16:24 128 John 1:12 132 2 129 2:17 178 2:24--25 130 2:24--3:1 129 2:25 45.150. 12 44:24--25 96-97 50:40 210 n.155 9:11 53. 6 Ezekiel 2:1 174 23:20 100.38.12 34:6 141 34:15 177 34:15-18 177 34:15-22 108-9 34:19-20 177 34:20 177 36:1 116 41:5 25 62:12 122 68:18 175 69 178 69:8 178 69:9 178 69:21 178 69:25 178 84:4--5 169 97:7 175 109 25 110 181 127:1 60 127:3 60 145:12 210 n.144 8:31 210 n. 3 29:11 45. 6 2:3 210 D. 21 2 Timothy 1 John 1:3 61 Revelation 3:20 150.119. 111 12:12 126 14:35 124 15:11 118 16:17 52. 6 7:28 169 5:6 38. 25 2:9-15 207 n.59. 21 4:7 132 4:13 54 5:10 150.4 .209 n.144 5:3 143.119.54 18:14 150 19 177 19:36 177. 154. 7 31:19 210 ll. 8 23:38 178 25:14 24 27:48 178 Mark 2:27 24 12:19 132 14:38 52.120 Ephesians 1:6 175 1:14 181 2179.133 8:19 133 8:21 133 10:15 116 11:14 53 15:3 178 16:16 101 2:1-10 203 n.128 Daniel Acts 1:20 178 1:21 148.124 2 120 2:2-3 55 2:14 119. 10 8 59 8:24 59.60 9:9 60 10:33 126 11:25 156-57 1 203 n.

. A. The author or editor of over forty books.r D. he has written major commentaries. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. including How Long 0 Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil. and Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14. works of theology covering personal Christian concerns. Illinois. Deerfield. and biblical reference titles. including The King James Version Debate: A Pleafor Realism.

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