NIV 2011 Update: first impressions

In September last year I was one of the first bloggers to comment on the announcement of the NIV 2011 update, first briefly at Better Bibles Blog and then in more depth here at Gentle Wisdom. See also my post the following month about Bill Mounce joining the committee preparing this update.

Fourteen months later, to the day, the text of the update was released online (it will available in print next year), and I have been much slower to write about it. It was left to David Ker to announce this text at Better Bibles Blog – although I did manage the first comment there. Indeed it is so long since I have posted on this blog that some of you may have thought it was dead. But it was only sleeping, and this issue has woken it up at least for a moment.

So here are my first impressions of the NIV 2011 update. These are based not on extensive reading or other use but on reports and discussion of individual verses and translation decisions. I have found Robert Slowley’s detailed analysis especially helpful.

It seems that the 2011 update is indeed more or less what I predicted last year that it would be. I wrote:

I expect the 2011 NIV to look very like the current TNIV, with at most a few minor concessions to those who have persistently condemned its gender related language. There will of course also be some small improvements of the kind one might expect when updating a translation a few years old. But I am expecting the new version to be much more like TNIV than the current NIV.

And that is indeed more or less what it has turned out to be. According to Slowley’s figures, 60.7% of verses in NIV 2011 are identical to both NIV 1984 and TNIV; 31.3% are the same as TNIV but different from NIV 1984; 7.5% are different from both NIV 1984 and TNIV; and only 0.6% are the same as NIV 1984 but different from TNIV. That shows that the new version is much more like TNIV than like NIV 1984.

Nevertheless, in as many as 8.0% of verses NIV 2011 is different from TNIV. This is perhaps rather more of a change than I had predicted. I am glad that the translation committee has made changes, no doubt many of them in response to the consultation which they held late last year. But I am not happy with some of the changes made. While I did not much like the old NIV (and TNIV) rendering “sinful nature” for Greek sarx, mainly in the letters of Paul, I consider the change back to the traditional “flesh” (2011) to be a step in the wrong direction, making this important concept more obscure to readers who are not theologically trained.

Concerning gender related language, I predicted “a few minor concessions”. I think what we see in the update is a little bit more than that. But it is very much less than the full return to traditional but misleading language which some had feared. Slowley’s analysis of “word changes relevant to the gender language debate” is interesting here. He notes changes in the frequencies of certain words. Here I present some of these data with groups of words combined:

Male words sometimes used generically:

  • Brother(s): 1984: 788; TNIV: 614, down 174; 2011: 633, up 19.
  • Father(s): 1984: 1572; TNIV: 1274, down 298; 2011: 1280, up 6.
  • Forefather(s): 1984: 112; TNIV: 4, down 108; 2011: 13, up 9.
  • He/him/himself/his: 1984: 22675; TNIV: 19686, down 2989; 2011: 19880, up 194.
  • Man/mankind/men: 1984: 4090; TNIV: 2278, down 1812; 2011: 2489, up 211.
  • Son(s): 1984: 3227; TNIV: 3115, down 112; 2011: 3131, up 16.

Gender generic words:

  • Ancestor(s): 1984: 8; TNIV: 336, up 328; 2011: 325, down 11.
  • Human(s)/humanity/humankind: 1984: 51; TNIV: 316, up 265; 2011: 223, down 93.
  • Mortal(s): 1984: 20; TNIV: 58, up 38; 2011: 50, down 8.
  • People: 1984: 2224; TNIV: 2727, up 503; 2011: 2717, down 10.
  • Person(s): 1984: 111; TNIV: 203, up 92; 2011: 329, up 126.

Unfortunately Slowley’s data do not include some words which might have been of interest such as “sister”, “they” and “child”.

These results are interesting for their consistency. From NIV 1984 to TNIV there was a significant increase in the user of gender generic words and a corresponding drop in the use of words which are usually male but sometimes used gender generically. Of course the latter words are still used in TNIV when their referents are clearly male. From TNIV to NIV 2011 there has been a consistent reversal of this trend (with the one exception of “person”, sometimes used in 2011 where TNIV has “human being”) but the size of the reverse change has always been very much less than that of the change from 1984 to TNIV – in most cases less than 10% of the change.

Now figures like this can only give a very rough estimate of how many of the gender related changes in TNIV have survived in NIV 2011. But they reinforce the impression I have gained from looking at some verses with specific changes, that the great majority of the changes have survived, sometimes with improved wording, and only a small proportion have been reversed. The reversals, I have noticed, tend to be in sayings which have a proverbial character; probably the translators considered that generic “man” and “he” are still used in such contexts. It is interesting to see that the singular “they”, which some had predicted would be purged from the 2011 update, has in fact been used more in the new text.

Unfortunately the result of this partial reversal has been inconsistency which may cause confusion. Users can get used to a text like NIV 1984 in which “man” and “he” are consistently used in a gender generic sense. In the 2011 version these words are used in this way, but only rather rarely. The danger then is that in those few places the generic sense will not be recognised and the text will be misunderstood as making a point about gender. An example of this might be Mark 2:27: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (2011 = 1984), one of the few uses of generic “man” in the Gospels.

Related to this is the use of Bill Mounce’s favoured word “mankind”, 61 times in NIV 2011, compared with 36 in 1984 and none in TNIV. This is often used where NIV 1984 had “man” or “men” and TNIV has “human beings”, e.g. Genesis 1:26,27 and 1 Timothy 2:5. “Mankind” is a great improvement on generic “man” or “men”. But sadly this word has become something of a shibboleth among feminists, and so its use is likely to ensure that this group of people in need of God’s word will reject the NIV 2011 update. This problem could have been solved easily by the substitution of “humankind”, used 14 times in TNIV but not at all in the 1984 or 2011 versions of NIV. But then perhaps “humankind”, which Mounce rejects with “What an ugly word!”, is also a shibboleth among anti-feminist conservative Christians to the extent that they would not accept a translation using it.

One rather odd change I noticed, which some might attribute to political correctness: in Matthew 5:32 the “adulteress” (1984, TNIV) is no longer a wrongdoer but has become “the victim of adultery” (2011).

I have been encouraged to see no strident general rejection of the NIV update on the blogosphere. I hope that is not just because I haven’t been looking very widely. All I have found is Denny Burk’s predictable complaint about the rendering of 1 Timothy 2:12, to which Douglas Moo, the chair of the translation committee, wrote a gracious response which really should put this matter to rest. We can hope and pray that those who made such a fuss about the TNIV will this time keep quiet, or at least express their opinions in more measured tones.

I do not want to welcome this new version unreservedly. I do not like a number of the rather few changes that have been made to TNIV. But if, as I hope, this version can become one around which evangelical Christians can unite, rather than dividing and fighting, then it will be a great step forward for advancing the kingdom of God.

0 thoughts on “NIV 2011 Update: first impressions

  1. I predict that complementarians will completely reject the new NIV because of 1 Tim. 2:12, 1 Cor. 11:10, the paragraphing of Eph. 5:21-22, and Romans 16:7. John Piper has already spoken vociferously against the NIV 1984, perhaps to pave the way for a full rejetion of the NIV 2011.

  2. To me it seems like a reasonable compromise. I know many people think of me as an unreasonable feminist, but that, of course, is a figment of their own imagination.

  3. When I mentioned the update to a BT consultant passing through South Africa on his way to Mozambique his beef with the NIV was the rendering of “Sheol” as “grave.”

    My beef is just that the style is still very wooden. The Psalms are very difficult to read with much archaic vocabulary. Most of my Bible reading these days is on the computer and I use NET which scans better in the Psalms and is more comprehensible. I would like to love the NLT but I’m too tied to the KJV in my head (and heart?) to be able to read it with pleasure.

  4. Well, Sue, we’ll see.

    David, I’m surprised you prefer the style of NET – but then I haven’t used it in Psalms. To me, the NIV series is the best we have in terms of style without departing rather far from the form of the original, and from the KJV tradition. As for “grave”, it seems to be used quite a lot less in NIV 2011 than in 1984, but I don’t have time just now to check how sheol is rendered.

  5. I’m glad you’ve found my comparison useful.

    The changes for gender words page only lists a few words yes, but there are two other pages which list all of the words in the Bible, so you can find out about other words on those pages.

    There is…

    The complete list of word counts / word changes (warning: large page)
    The complete list of word counts / word changes where there has been a change

    In this case “sister”, “they” and “child” all appear on the latter page.

    On the issue of the reaction to the NIV2011 — I suspect it might be that it’ll take a bit longer for (relevant / interesting) people to process the changes and comment. I suspect (but don’t know) that the more or less silence we have at the moment means that people have not come to a conclusion yet rather than that they have no serious issues. That’s just a guess however.

  6. Robert, thanks for the advice. I’ll look for the extra data later when I have time. As for reactions, it is at least a positive thing that many people are taking their time rather than rushing to print (or electrons) with ill-considered condemnations.

  7. Robert, I just looked into how long it took for negative reactions to appear to TNIV. I found in my e-mail archives that the TNIV NT text was released on 28th January 2002 (there was an update with the full Bible in 2005). By 7th February a group of scholars including Al Mohler, Wayne Grudem and John Piper had issued the following statement:

    In light of troubling translation inaccuracies — primarily (but not exclusively) in relation to gender language — that introduce distortions of the meanings that were conveyed better by the original NIV, we cannot endorse the TNIV translation as sufficiently accurate to commend to the church.

    Also CBMW had already released a list of changes from NIV to TNIV which included the word “Mistranslates”, and Word Magazine had published an article entitled “Playing Word Games: IBS Unveils Gender-Normed NIV Under New Name”. This from an e-mail I received on the Bible Translation; sadly the original links are now broken. In reply to this on the same day, Wayne Leman, now of Better Bibles Blog, wrote about the CBMW website:

    I’ve just been there and found myself feeling quite angry about a number of the accusations made against the TNIV, several of them based on faulty linguistics and poor understanding of the Greek of the NT.

    So I think we see here some ill-considered and provocative negative comments about TNIV being made within ten days of its release.

    The same time has now passed since the release of NIV 2011. But I have not seen similar condemnation. I hope we never will. Of course some negative reaction is to be expected – every new Bible version has received some. But words like “mistranslation” and “Playing Word Games” are not appropriate.

  8. It’s interesting to see that those scholars (in the interests of full disclosure, I’m very grateful in my own life for the work of Wayne Grudem and John Piper) came out with a response after only a week of the TNIV being released. Did they have access to the text before it was made public? Or possibly, because the changes were so uniform it was not necessary to look at every instance of change because you can just look at the general rule and decide that you disagree with the rule itself.

    The NIV2011 probably needs more careful analysis because (it seems to me) it’s really a modified TNIV, so rather than looking at the general rules you need to look at the specifics.

    I think mistranslation is a fair word for a scholar to use in a debate like this – of course we can (and do) disagree about what is and isn’t a mistranslation, but the term itself does not seem to me to inappropriate.

    I don’t know the details of Wayne’s anger that you refer to (I quite like reading Wayne’s stuff on BBB), but I doubt that the Wayne Grudem (for instance) has a poor understanding of the Greek of the NT.

    Personally I can see the arguments made by both sides about the TNIV, and I see some validity in what each side has said. I use the TNIV along with the NIV in my bible study group (although I primarily use the NIV). I must admit though that my personal feelings are more in line with those of CBMW on the TNIV issue than with the egalitarians, but that is another (largely subjective) matter 🙂

  9. Thanks for this, Peter.

    From what I’ve seen so far, on balance I prefer the TNIV and will probably continue to use it from time to time. Always lamenting that gaping lack of an Apocrypha…

  10. Tim, I would not disagree. I think you saw what I wrote last year about NIV and the Apocrypha.

    Robert, I suspect the issue with TNIV was that some people took it, rather too quickly, to be almost identical to the infamous NIV-I of 1997(?), never published in USA. There were in fact significant differences, but people failed to take account of them. This time the CBT has made it very clear that NIV 2011 is not the same as TNIV, so people will have to look for themselves to find the differences. Your table will of course be very helpful for them, especially as you have highlighted words of interest to CBMW. They haven’t by any chance asked you to do this, have they? Of course your results are also useful to people like me who take a different view.

    Here is the whole of the message which Wayne Leman sent to CBMW on 7th February 2002, and copied to the Bible Translation list (which is public, but has no accessible archives):

    Randy Stinson accuses the TNIV:

    “Another example is found in John 11:25. Jesus in the TNIV says “Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Again the plural “they” is substituted for he generic “he.” Not only does this convolute the personal nature of the relationship between a person and Christ, but it betrays the fact that Jesus himself used the generic “he” even though he was speaking to a woman (Martha).”

    My Greek New Testament has no generic “he” in John 11:25. Where does Randy find a generic “he”? There is no generic “he” in the Greek language. Greek verbs are not inflected for gender.

    Let’s be honest, folks! Let’s not be driven by any ideology, whether it be be that of the male representation camp or feminists. Let’s simply translate the Bible accurately.

    A concerned Bible translator myself.

    There are a number of linguistic inaccuracies on your CBMW website about the TNIV. One of them is confusing English grammatical number of “they” and “them”
    with referential number. If you would do a careful linguistic analyis of current English, you would discover that many English speakers use “they” as a generic pronoun, referentially number-indifferent, just as “they” has functioned that way in the past in English and impersonal pronouns and “they” pronouns so function in other languages.

    Please, please, dear brother and sisters, do not accuse your fellow Christians of things which they have not done. Let’s be accurate when we speak about the Greek language of the NT. And let’s be accurate when we speak about English. Let’s not impose our own views of English on those who may speak a different dialect. There is no single correct way to speak English.

    I happen to be currently critiquing a gender-new gender-noninclusive Bible translation. By that I mean the team that is translating is dead-set against translating gender references in the Bible according to modern social movements. But even this team, due to their scholarly honesty, has to translate truly gender-inclusive referential meaning in the Greek with English which is gender-inclusive. And this is allowed for by the Colorado guidelines.

    The matter of he/they is not based on solid descriptive linguistic analysis. It is based on the opinions of those who speak a form of English which I was taught, also, but which has changed over the years, just as all languages change. And PLEASE do not keep accusing me or anyone else of being a willing or unaware participant in any feminist movement. You’re simply wrong and falsely reading our minds and hearts, if you do that.

    I beg of you to remove all inaccuracies from recent posts about the TNIV. It’s not a perfect translation. And for sure the ESV isn’t (it is a very poor translation, with many lexical ungrammaticalities). Let’s try to listen to each other, rather than practicing mind-reading and divining motives.

    And, most of all, let’s have accuracy as our highest goal in translation, not accuracy as defined by our own ideologies (including those of Wayne Grudem) but accuracy based on the how the oribinal biblical language really work. Let’s not confuse important linguistic issues like grammatical categories with referential semantic categories. I would encourage each of you who want to criticize another English version to first absorb one or two good textbooks on linguistics and Bible translation. By doing so, there can be more genuine discussion about the issues and a lot less confusing smoke.

    So it is Randy Stinson whom Wayne Leman is suggesting “has a poor understanding of the Greek of the NT”. Actually I think that charge is misleading, that Stinson is referring to a generic “he” in NIV and other English versions. But that suggests to me that he is giving more weight to the tradition of English translation than to the inspired original language text.

  11. Denny Burke (one of the people posting on the Perspectives in Translation blog set up by Zondervan about the NIV2011) asked me to make the cbmw_words.html page. Of course I’d make a similar page for anyone that asked (with the caveat that I don’t want 100 different pages where individuals have asked me…). Of course anyone can get the information for all the words on the other ‘all words’ pages.

    I actually have been contacted by quite a few different people / groups about my stats, but in most cases I’ve given them the information they wanted without making new pages (an exception to this is the proper noun changes page, which was requested by Tyndale publishers).

    I don’t know the details, but yeah maybe Randy Stinson has a poor understanding of Greek – but many of the other people like Grudem who have criticised the Greek do have excellent understandings of the Greek, and indeed much ink has been spilled in popular and technical / specialist books and in theological journals about whether TNIV translations are good or bad (looking at various levels of the translation philosophy / evidential support / etc).

    I guess what I’m trying to say here in response is that while some may have written off the TNIV without having a sufficient understanding of the issues and the original languages, that’s certainly not true for the main responses which have been at both the popular and scholarly levels.

    That’s not to say those responses are the correct ones of course (although I tend to favour those personally), but the criticisms of the TNIV have not just been by uninformed popular level people, but by experts using their relevant expertise.

  12. BTW – I think it’s unfortunate that people (on both sides) tend to eventually turn this debate in to an ESV vs NIV or formal equivalent versus dynamic equivalent type argument. While those debates and arguments are interesting and maybe important, they are really separate from the concerns some have had over the TNIV.

  13. Robert, thanks for your last two comments. Sorry that the first of them was stuck in moderation for a while. And thanks for clarifying who asked you to do this.

    I realise that a lot more study went into TNIV which took more than a week. My concern is that people jumped in with snap judgments before making that study, and then felt obliged to present those results as supporting the snap judgments. Whether or not that actually happened with TNIV, I think we can agree in hoping it won’t with NIV 2011.

    Indeed the gender issues should be separated from the translation philosophy. I note that NRSV is to RSV as TNIV is to NIV. ESV is an update of RSV largely bypassing NRSV (as it had to be for copyright reasons). I am glad that NIV 2011 does not fit the pattern of ESV by going back largely to NIV 1984.

    By the way your proper noun page could do with a column for TNIV as well. Then we could compare NIV 2011 with TNIV, which is printed (at least sometimes) with a list in the back of proper name spelling changes from NIV 1984. It should also be easy to eliminate the commonest English words listed here to make the list more usable.

  14. To clarify – the comparison site / tool / pages were something I made myself for fun the day after the NIV2011 was released. I didn’t make them for Denny Burk or anyone else. After I’d put them online I started to have various people / organisations ask me if I could do an analysis of this or that, and various bloggers were using the stats to write posts about the NIV2011.

    When that happened I decided to put more energy in to the comparisons to make them more correct and useful. My general philosophy was to add anything that was generally useful to the church/body, so when Denny asked me to list information relevant to the gender debate I did so.

    I also happen to be a complementarian, but if Denny hadn’t asked me to make that page and CBE asked me to provide a similar list I’d have done just the same for them.

    Maybe the proper noun page could do with some improvement. The person who asked me to produce it went through and hand curated the data there to produce a definitive list (which is being used to update the Life Application Bible? for the NIV2011), so I should probably put that on there.

  15. Here are the word counts for the extra words I mentioned, based on Slowley’s data:

    Sister(s): 1984: 130; TNIV: 275, up 145; 2011: 283, up 8.

    Child(ren): 1984: 575; TNIV: 642, up 67; 2011: 629, down 13.

    They/them/themselves/their(s): 1984: 15683; TNIV: 17727, up 2044; 2011: 17534, down 193.

    I note that child(ren) and they/them/themselves/their(s) follow the pattern for gender generic words: a large increase from 1984 to TNIV and a much smaller drop from TNIV to 2011. The increase of over 2000 they’s etc from 1984 to TNIV is unlikely to be a matter only of singular they’s, but may reflect gender related changes from singular to plural. The additional singular they’s in 2011 are probably where the referent has been changed back to a singular but the referring pronouns have remained “they”.

    Sister(s) has continued to rise from TNIV to 2011, but not as much as I expected, suggesting that there are only a few extra uses of “brothers and sisters” for Greek adelphos in the plural.

  16. but many of the other people like Grudem who have criticised the Greek do have excellent understandings of the Greek

    In the light of this statement, can you comment on the fact that Dr. Grudem was unaware that the basic lexicon entry for adelphos plural was “brothers and sisters” and that anthropos means “human being” and aner can also possibly refer to “person/people” in general. He claims that he was not aware of these entries, both in LSJ and BDAG. He informed me that the references in the LSJ, some of them at least, were not available to him. They were from well-known classics, some from Plato. Dr, Grudem was 49 years old when he drafted the gender guidelines in Colorado Springs without the beneift of checking a lexicon.

    As I stated earlier, I do not consider gender language in general to be nearly as significant as the divergent translations of Rom. 16:7, 1 Cor. 11, 1-, 1 Tim. 2:12, and oddly Phil 2:29, where the ESV has inserted the word “men.” I don’t think that most egalitarians would spend much time counting gender language throughout the Bible.

    Of course, if we are divulging our background, I cannot tell you how outright damaging and painful this stuff is. I would like to see arbitrary functional inequality based on gender completely obliterated.

  17. I guess what I’m trying to say here in response is that while some may have written off the TNIV without having a sufficient understanding of the issues and the original languages, that’s certainly not true for the main responses which have been at both the popular and scholarly levels.

    Grudem’s page on aner in the TNIV offered a challenge for scholars of the TNIV to produce evidence for aner meaning “person/people.” I provided several pages of evidence culled from the LSJ which has been around for some time. I emailed this to Grudem and this is what he said was not available to him. At first, he linked to my page on this topic which was posted by Wayne Leman. However, I don’t know if it is still available. But eventually he took down the link, although he had said in his own post that he would acknowledge the evidence if it were provided.

    I simply gave up believing that anyone involved in CBMW would acknowledge contrary evidence. As you may know, Denny Burk has not allowed egalitarians to comment on his recent post.

    This has enabled him to say many things in his post which are contrary to fact. First, “assume authority” is NOT a “novel and suspect” translation, regardless of what Grudem says. The KJV has “to usurp authority” Calvin has auctoritatem sumere, and the 1855 Calvin translation into English had “assume authority.” These facts are not hard to come by.

    Next, Kostenberger has admitted that there is no lexical evidence that authentein can have a positive connotation. This is wrongly reported in the ESV and by D. A Carson in the gender blog.

    Also in Kostenberger’s post on 1 Tim 2:12, he admits that H I Marshall disagrees with him that authentein has a positive connotation. It is not true that egalitarians agree with Kostenberger on that. Many egals agree that didaskein and authentein must have the same force in this passage, but they note that didaskein has a negative force in Titus 1.

    I find that Denny Burk is not willing to put all the facts on the table. I have never found a complementarian who was willing to look at all the facts.

  18. I have lost trust, and on top of living for 27 years in quasi slavery, I find that I was lied to and cheated on by the theologians. That’s how I feel.

  19. The fat that Kostenberger denies is that didaskein can have a negative force, as it does in Titus 1. I really don’t get it. How do they live with this kind of obfuscation?

  20. Hi Sue,

    (I assume you’re the same Sue who comments on Denny Burk’s blog)

    I’m sorry but I don’t have a point by point level refutation of particular instances where you claim Grudem has failed to be aware of something, but of course no one could expect me to have that. Given my broad experience of Grudem’s work I would consider his level of understanding of Greek to be excellent, and I’ve seen scholarly work by him where he has exhaustively looked at the use of various greek words, so I consider the fact that he has an excellent understanding of Greek not to be an issue worthy of debate.

    I’m sure if we got in to an argument about the specifics you would be able to show convincingly that Grudem in some particular instance got things wrong, however it wouldn’t be a very fair or fruitful sort of discussion because of course the only way to get ‘both sides’ of that discussion would be to have Grudem here responding to you. Regardless of particular instances of your experience, my experience of reading Grudem’s work and the things he has published lead me to believe beyond doubt that he has an excellent understanding of Greek, and of course the statement I originally made was not specifically about Grudem, but referring to the fact that scholars have poured enormous amounts of research and ink in to the writing of papers on these issues (on both sides).

    I have seen people try to argue that group X who disagree with them really don’t understand the issues at all / lack the proper qualifications / haven’t done the appropriate background research etc. I’m not sure if you’re making that sort of argument with regard to complementarian scholars in general or just with respect to Grudem, but I don’t find those sorts of arguments terribly persuasive. I work from the assumption that those who have received PhDs/published papers/received seminary posts are extremely qualified to comment on these sorts of issues, whichever side of the debate those people are on.

    I’m sorry that you find the ESV to be a worse translation, but as I stated above I consider statements about the ESV to be irrelevant to the discussion at hand about the NIV2011. It could well be the case that the ESV is very badly translated in some places (not that I think that’s true myself), but that would have absolutely no bearing on what we’re discussing here about the NIV2011.

    I’m also sorry to hear that you find this all very painful and difficult. I must admit personally that I find references to father and fatherhood in the Bible to be very painful and difficult because of my own personal experience of my (very bad) father, but I’m sure we’d both agree that what’s important here is accuracy of translation (the specifics of what that means I suspect we’d disagree on), not how we might personally be emotionally affected. At least I’m sure you’d agree that it would be quite wrong for either of us to be significantly influenced on these issues by our own personal experiences of bad husbands / wives / mothers / fathers or to make arguments that are at bottom based on our emotions.

    I don’t know what Denny Burk’s editorial policy is on comments, but as a blogger myself I don’t think that a “let everyone comment whenever they like” policy is necessarily the only acceptable one. I do definitely believe in freedom of speech, but restricting who can comment at times does not in my opinion infringe on that. We are all able to comment on our own blogs, but that doesn’t mean we have a right to do so on other people’s, and I respect Denny’s right (like your own, and mine, and so on) to allow commenting as he finds it appropriate. Being able to stand in someone else’s house and talk to their friends (so to speak) is a privilege rather than a right I think. It is my own conviction that the best way to respond to these things is two write responses in one’s own blog and to respect the policy on allowing comments in other places.

    I’m sorry that you find Denny Burk to be unwilling to put all the facts on the table (I guess that means you think he’s dishonest?), and that you have a similar feeling towards other CBMW people. My own reading of their intentions is quite different, but I don’t think I could easily convey to you why or persuade you of that – at least not by by means of electronic communication here.

    It is very saddening to me to hear of your quasi slavery experience. Whatever it is you experienced is clearly terrible, but given that what I understand complementarianism to be does not entail quasi-slavery I don’t see how your experience terrible although it may have been really has any bearing on the truthfulness of the complementarian position.

    I can really see the danger here of getting in to a very extended debate here with you about this. I just want to be clear that I don’t want to engage in such a debate, my reason for commenting herein the first place was to try to help Peter Kirk by pointing him to bits of my tool that I thought he’d find useful. So I apologise that I won’t engage with / reply to any further comments along these lines in this post.

    -Rob

  21. I think that I have been very clear in saying that Dr. Grudem himself published the fact that he did not look up the word adelphos in a lexicon in preparation for the meeting on gender guidelines in 1997.

    S A Carson has said that authentein has a positive connotation when in fact no scholar actually says that it does.

    Wallace has said that episemos en is a word of perception, in the NET Bible notes, when of course, it is not.

    I have not found complementarian scholars to deal with facts. Surely you can comment on some of these things.

    The way I see it, a man may be concerned with a) treating a woman as a neighbour, b) seeking facts in translation or both a) and b) or neither a) or b).

  22. I meant D A Carson. I feel universally lied to, by all of them. I look up the evidence from Wallace’s paper on episemos, and the facts are quite different from what he publishes. THis is becuase someone else extracted small phrases from a database and sent them to him. He wrote his paper from that.

    I find that Grudem says that “to assume authority” is a novel and suspect translation without bothering to reference the Bible of the Reformation.

    I simply do not understand how you can think of these people as scholars. Do you elevate a Ph.D. over the facts? Why would anyone do that?

  23. I don’t think that most egalitarians would spend much time counting gender language throughout the Bible.

    Sue, obviously I am not a typical egalitarian!

    By the way, Sue, the link you give in your comments is broken, presumably because you have mis-spelled your blog address.

    Rob, thanks for your comment and for its helpful tone. I’m sure that in general Grudem is a good Greek scholar, but he and others do seem to have made a few lapses and Sue has documented these. The sad thing I see (and sadly it is all too common among Christian leaders) is a reluctance to admit to making a mistake, and a refusal to listen or debate with to those who point out mistakes which often leads to deletion of important comments. I see Sue’s frustration here. And that is why I rarely reject comments on this blog, although sometimes I feel I have to to avoid complicity in publishing libel.

  24. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for pointing out my broken link. I did not consciously want to link back to my own blog. I have rarely met a complementarian who would discuss why certain things which are not factual are used against women on a regular basis. I don’t think debate is any use. I really do believe that the need to keep women under is far far higher than any interest in discussing facts. They just don’t compare. There is no appeal at all that speaks to men who wish to have authority over a woman. Look at the popularity of porn. There is simply no force short of the law that will speak to this primal urge to control the object of one’s physical need. It is a lost cause.

  25. Thanks, Sue. Certainly sexual urges are very strong, and when repressed can be redirected in this kind of way. I’m not suggesting that is true of any individual complementarian teacher, just that it could be a partial explanation of the urge to control women which is sometimes seen among complementarians.

    Of course women and egalitarian men also have sexual urges which can be repressed or redirected inappropriately, so we should watch for the pride that comes before a fall.

  26. Peter, I was very interested to read in the comments to your original post about the Apocrypha that the director of Biblical UK seemed to suggest they would be producing a translation of it. Did you ever hear back from him on that?

    Overall, do you think NIV2011 is an improvement on the TNIV, or not?

  27. Tim, I haven’t heard anything more on this from Biblica UK. Their website is still “launching soon”. The limited information about their UK work at the Biblica global website is out of date as it still mentions the Wesley Owen stores which have closed down.

    For myself I think I still prefer TNIV, but I am happy to go with NIV 2011 for the sake of Christian unity, and because that is probably the future.

  28. Peter,
    You mentioned NIV in Matt 5:32 as odd: “victim of adultery”. I think they may be trying to reflect that the Greek word here is in the passive.
    The society at the time of the NT was not egalitarian, and that is reflected in the Greek language as used in the NT.
    For instance, only a man can marry. A woman is given or taken in marriage.
    A man can divorce (send away) his wife, but a wife cannot divorce (send away) her husband. She can only be divorced or sent away. Of course, she can also run away from her husband on her own volition (1 Cor 7:10).
    Likewise, only a married man in the Bible can “commit adultery” (MOICEUW). It means that he is unfaithful to his wife. So, if this verb occurs in the active form, a man is the subject. If a woman is being referred to, the verb occurs in the passive as it does here and in John 8:4. In John 8, the self-righteous, and dare I say chauvinistic, Pharisees only brought the woman for punishment and not the man who was really the one who had committed adultery, although probably with the woman as consenting to it.
    In Matt 5:32, it is the man who is being spoken to. If he sends away his wife for no good reason (a good reason seems to be that she is the one who has already broken the marriage by being unfaithful, that is a matter of PORNEIA) then he forces her to become a victim of adultery in the sense that she needs to be married to another man in order to manage in the society of the time. When she is taken in marriage by another man, then that man is committing adultery with her against the former husband, since they are legally still married. (This is a bit clearer in Luk 16:18).

  29. Iver, thank you for the explanation. This confirms for me that the NIV 2011 rendering is exegetically justified. Somehow I don’t think the Bible teaches that every woman involved in adultery is a reluctant victim – certainly not in Proverbs 5 and 7. But in the scenario in this verse the woman does seem to be a victim – and the passive implies that she is not being seen as guilty of anything. I can’t help wondering if the traditional rendering calling her a guilty adulteress comes from the same kind of chauvinistic attitude you ascribe to the Pharisees in John 8. The new rendering in which she is a victim is certainly an improvement.

  30. NIV in Mt 5:32 “victim of adultery” is a mistranslation probably from misunderstanding the text.

    I would read the text:

    whosoever does divorce his wife,
    — even on a ground other than her marital infidelity —
    he actually turns her a de facto adulteress,
    — [that is, tantamount to taking her as actually guilty],

  31. Actually, Oun, I think it is you who have misunderstood the text, although in the good company of most past translators. Your translation “adulteress” implies that the woman is the subject of the active verb moicheuo. But in fact, as Iver pointed out, she is the subject of a passive form of the verb, which implies that she is some kind of object of the active verb. In other words, she is not so much an adulteress as a victim of adultery.

  32. Peter,

    You may be going a bit too far in saying that the passive implies she is not guitly of anything, and I doubt you actually meant that. In the case of Matt 5:32, she can be seen as a more or less innocent victim, but I wold say this is derived from context rather than the passive. In John 8:4, the passive is also used, but the woman is not considered without guilt, probably because she consented to the act that they were both caught in. Jesus says: Sin no more.

    So, I agree with you that not every woman involved in adultery is a victim. In different situations it may be the man who coerces the woman, or it may be the woman who seduces a married man, or both may be equally to blame.

  33. Yes, Iver, perhaps I was going too far with “not … guilty of anything”. A better way of putting it would be that the focus in this short passage is not on her guilt, but on the guilt of the man who put her in this situation. The same may be true in John 8, where part of the point surely is that the man involved was just as guilty as the woman but was not brought for stoning.

  34. Oun,

    Are you referring to an English translation? I was referring to the Greek text which has the feminine present passive participle μοιχευομένη.

    I can see that, say, the NET, translates it as “committing adultery”, but a literal rendering would have been: “she has been caught in the act of being committed adultery to.” That is too clumsy, so many English versions translate the participle with a noun: (the act of) adultery, which is neither active nor passive.

    English does not have a verb for this, but if as an illustration I take the verb adulterate, then the man adulterates the woman and she is being adulterated.

  35. Hi Peter,

    Great to see you blogging again – I’ve been checking in on Gentle Wisdom periodically, and was really pleased to see this post today. From your previous writings I expected that the release of the NIV2011 might prompt something from you!

    I’ve enjoyed reading your insights here, and the degree of cautious welcome that you have given to the new NIV. As a local church pastor I suppose the recent history of the NIV/TNIV gives rise to other more practical (possibly mundane) issues about translations. I use the NIV for preaching, and we have copies of it as our pew Bibles so we won’t be changing over to NIV2011 anytime soon. I just wonder what the percentage changes listed by you will mean for someone who comes to our church say in 2 years when the NIV1984 is off the market and the new NIV is all that’s available. Will the two texts be easy to follow side by side? I also wonder will *any* publishing houses continue to produce the NIV1984 or will there be a blanket ban on it being produced?

    Now that I’ve posted a completely tangential comment to the actual content of what you’ve written here, I’ll go back and read your post again re the more technical aspects of the NIV2011.

    As I say, great to see you back in the blogosphere – aside from your comments elsewhere.

  36. Thank you, Andrew.

    I think people reading one version while hearing another will be surprised occasionally but not too confused. Most of the differences I have seen are quite minor.

    According to the original announcements of the 2011 update, editions of the 1984 text will be phased out, but there was no commitment to discontinue all of them. Anyway that applied only in USA and I have seen no statement about what Hodder plans to do in the UK and EU. I’m not sure anyone else has the right to publish full Bibles. Presumably extracts from the 1984 version will still come under the regular copyright rules.

  37. Pingback: Opinions on the New NIV « Pastor Brett

  38. Having integrated the NIV11 text into my study modules, I reckon the blog very well put. The NIV11 has some backward steps but mainly forward steps. Backwards steps are fine if getting back to truth.
    I’m sad that friendly fire confused many ontological friends, who dithered in welcoming the TNIV until it relapsed into its fatal coma. Yes it wasn’t perfect though I judge the best on the market.
    Vis à vis Wayne Grudem I wish to note some comments by, like Grudem, complementarian scholar Don Carson. Carson called Grudem’s comments on huios, “methodologically mistaken” (Carson’s The Inclusive Language Debate 1998:132), and on examining the disparity between Poythress & Grudem’s at times excellent theory & their translation choices, implied “their argument [was] ideologically driven” (Scorgie, Strauss, & Voth’s The Challenge Of Bible Translation 2003:81 ). “Sue” might say Carson’s simply less so! That Grudem’s NT Greek is great is not to say he always chooses to use it or finds “sorry” easy to say.
    I use Grudem’s Systematic Theology with my students, & have enjoyed Poythress on Revelation, but feel their results came before their research and with other sincerely misguided voices diminished evangelism & maturation for nigh on a decade. My guess is that they might lie low about the NIV11 under a certain guilt of not publicly accepting correction over the TNIV. Maybe they will one day unplug from Colorado Springs Guidelines as did Köstenberger.
    The NIV11’s likely to be my main English Version. I think it’s slightly more functional than the TNIV (good), and that any retrograde errors in it must be lumped if not liked. Incidentally with Mounce (thank you) I dislike ‘humankind’ & prefer ‘man/mankind/humanity’.

  39. Thank you, Dr Steve. Mostly I agree with you. I guess other people have given Grudem a good talking to. I agree “mankind” is a better sounding word but regret that its use will cause some to reject NIV 2011.

  40. CBMW has publicly disowned the NIV2011 today with these words,

    “we still cannot commend the new NIV(2011) for most of the same reasons we could not commend the TNIV.”

    I don’t think that most people really get what this is all about. I have interacted with Grudem and Kostenberger and many others. I know that Grudem told me that the most basic information in the Liddell Scott Jones lexicon was not available to him at the time that he wrote against the TNIV. There is no excuse for this. None at all.

    Carson quotes the ESV study Bible on the meaning of authentein, and the ESV Study Bible cites nobody at all but simply writes some convenient fiction. I know this all sound ridiculous. Sadly it is all of a piece with Grudem’s insistence that God is in a subordinate position to man. page 462 Yes, for Grudem God is subordinate to the wishes of man. But that is no excuse for the rest of us.

    Peter,

    I truly doubt that the word “mankind” would stop a woman from reading anything at all. But it certainly makes me chuckle at the fragile male ego who insisted on that instead of humankind. I doubt that this change was motivated by euphony, and there is quite a move in the opposite direction, when introducing the accurate but clumsy “that person.”

    I don’t mind the NIV 2011 but it won’t find any friends among complementarian theologians who will not like the fact that most gender verses do not have the latest complementarian slant written into them.

    And yes I call myself “Sue” because I had an internet stalker for a while. Women have to worry about things like this.

  41. Pingback: I’m liking the updated NIV 2011 « New Epistles

  42. Sue, there is a good reason why CBMW opposes NIV 2011 as well as TNIV. That is because it clearly points out the lack of proper basis for their heretical and generally repugnant theology. I refer to their novel concept of “male representation”. The basis of this is certain people’s misunderstanding of English Bible translations, misunderstanding what the translators intended as generic use of “he”, “man”, “brother” etc. These half-baked theologians, reading English translations like RSV in the late 20th century, misunderstood the words as intended to have male meaning components, and read their misunderstanding back into the Greek. And one of these people is considered one of today’s leading systematic theologians!

  43. I have now read CBMW’s response to NIV 2011. As I said in the previous comment, I am not surprised that they do not welcome it. After all, it undermines the basis of their theology.

    Nevertheless I have a positive impression of the tone of this response. It is good to read things like:

    we are genuinely thankful for the many positive changes in the new NIV(2011), and though we are deeply appreciative of the very different process by which our friends at the CBT and Zondervan pursued and unveiled this new version.

    This is very different from the words like “mistranslates” which were bandied around concerning TNIV, and the following accusation still on the CBMW website:

    The TNIV distorts the meaning of Scripture in hundreds of such changes … merely to avoid five simple words that many in our culture find offensive: “man,” “father,” “son,” “brother,” and “he/him/his.”

    Indeed it seems that CBMW have largely withdrawn their objections to the generally very similar avoidance of these words in NIV 2011, on the basis of some relatively minor adjustments of the TNIV wording.

    The continuing objection of CBMW seems centred on just one word in NIV 2011: “assume” in 1 Timothy 2:12. It is interesting that their argument here completely ignores the traditional KJV rendering “usurp authority”, whereas in the next paragraph they criticise NIV 2011 largely for departing from the KJV rendering of Psalm 23:4.

    I would hope that CBMW will leave the issue there and not try to make something major out of this. Perhaps they will publish an analysis of NIV 2011 and conclude that it is somewhat better than TNIV, as I am sure it is from their point of view. We must certainly hope that they don’t try to restart the old Bible wars. But I think the tone of this article suggests that they are not going to.

  44. Peter, when you say

    ‘The basis of this is certain people’s misunderstanding of English Bible translations, misunderstanding what the translators intended as generic use of “he”, “man”, “brother” etc. [They …] misunderstood the words as intended to have male meaning components, and read their misunderstanding back into the Greek.’

    I’d completely agree with you. For evidence of that you need look no further than the “review” you linked to, where we read:

    ‘For instance, in many passages “man” and “mankind” replace a gender-neutral equivalent’

    Now I thought “mankind” was a “gender-neutral” term, as indeed is the case with “man” when used generically. My guess is that they think that “mankind” and generic “man” have some “male meaning component”, which is of course completely wrong (the generic meaning of “man” being earlier than the meaning “adult male”, and so not derived from it. Similarly, it was the (earlier) generic meaning that “mankind” was coined from. But as they say: “where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

  45. John, thanks for the clarification. I see I was somewhat guilty myself in the text of this post, when I classified “mankind” under “Male words sometimes used generically”. But I spent some time deciding on that wording. I think the other words listed there are all most commonly used today with a male meaning, and only secondarily, if at all, generically. But perhaps “mankind” has a male meaning only in feminists’ imaginations.

  46. Peter,

    The Oxford Dictionary of English gives two meaning for “mankind”:

    (1) “human beings considered collectively; the human race”
    (2) “men, as distinct from women”

    but it marks (2) as “archaic”. It also states that they are pronounced differently, with the stress on the 2nd syllable for meaning (1), but the 1st for meaning (2).

    So as I see it, the problem with “mankind” isn’t that it has a “male meaning component” when used generically (with meaning 1), but that it’s capable of confusion with a male term (i.e. that some will think it’s derived from non-generic “man” + “kind”). Now although “humankind” is sometimes criticised for “sounding odd”, to me it has the great strengths of being clear and unambiguous, and I would have much preferred it if the revised NIV had used it instead of “mankind”. I also think they should have done that (and avoided generic “man”) with an eye to the future. I strongly suspect that “mankind” and generic “man” are both on their way out.

    Incidentally, I also find it interesting that as regards derivation “human” (of Latin origin) is unconnected with “man” (Germanic). And under “Origin” for “female” the ODE says: “Middle English: from Old French femelle, from Latin femella, diminutive of femina ‘a woman’. The change in the ending was due to association with male, but the words male and female are not linked etymologically”

  47. John, thank you for clarifying that I didn’t get things wrong the first time, that “mankind” does indeed have a gender specific sense. But I wonder whether this already obsolete sense arose. Could it have started and finished within the 20th century?

  48. I’m afraid I haven’t got any usage with dates; I can’t justify the expense of buying or subscribing to THE Oxford English Dictionary. By if I find out, I’ll let you know.

  49. Well the, John, I will have to answer the question for you. Webster’s 1913 dictionary offers these senses of “mankind” as a noun, as well as an adjectival sense:

    Man`kind” (?), n. [AS. mancynn. See Kin kindred, Kind, n.]

    1. The human race; man, taken collectively.

    The proper study of mankind is man. Pore.

    2. Men, as distinguished from women; the male portion of human race. Lev. xviii. 22.

    3. Human feelings; humanity. [Obs] B. Jonson.

    Presumably Leviticus 18:22 KJV is intended:

    Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

    (I think “Pore” is an error for “Pope”.)

    So that clearly contradicts my suggestion that this gender specific sense is recent. Well, in NIV 2011 “mankind” does not lie with me, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying it is an abomination.

  50. Pingback: Adultery in Matthew 5:32 « God Didn't Say That

  51. Thanks, Peter, for pointing out the new translation, “victim of adultery.”

    Iver: While it’s true that in John 8:4 we see a passive Greek verb for a woman who “commits adultery,” we see an active Greek verb in the LXX for women in Hosea 4:13-14, so I’m not sure that women always have adultery committed to them in contrast to men who commit adultery.

    I have more here (“Adultery in Matthew 5:32“).

    -Joel

  52. Thanks, Joel,

    Whereas Hos 4:13 at first glance appears to be a lone exception to the rule which seems to be still valid in the LXX, (cf. Sirach 23:23 and Lev 20:10 where the death sentence is pronounced on both the adulterer and the woman who is committed adultery to – she is not considered an innocent victim, but more or less innocent in Hos 3:14) the case is complicated by the fact that Hos 4:13 is religious prostitution connected to worship of other gods.
    In Jer 3:9 we have a “woman”, the people of Juda, committing adultery with stone and wood. In this sense of spiritual adultery, it is the men who are considered mainly responsible, so even though it is expressed in the language of a woman, the active is used.

    Hos 4:13-14 is a combination of “normal” adultery and spiritual adultery. I might propose the meaning here to be “your daughters-in-law present themselves for (religious) adultery”. It is not the case that one man is committing adultery with one woman, rather the woman is presenting herself to be used by several men. It is parallel to the unmarried daughters presenting themselves for prostitution (PORNEIA). I don’t know whether it is the extended sense of religious adultery or the more active role of the woman in presenting herself for this activity that causes the active be used. I would suggest the latter. Rather than invalidate the rule, it calls for an elaboration of it to take into account special and abnormal cases. Such special cases do not change the normal usage.

  53. Iver, did you see what I wrote in comment 2 on Joel’s post, about Deuteronomy 22:22-29? While I don’t think the adultery word is used here (I don’t have LXX to hand), the point is clear that in cases of adultery with a young betrothed girl the girl was not always considered guilty.

  54. Pingback: Biblical Studies Carnival נז (November 2010) | Bulletin for the Study of Religion

  55. My concerns for the long term future of the church (its credibility to itself, its own members and to the wider community) are always deepened whenever I witness the influence upon it of the contemporary Christian Left. These have been deepened yet further by two statements made here in a posting by ‘Sue’ as I put them into context with both the entire issue being discussed on this thread of debate along with, additionally, something Professor Howard S. Schwartz of Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA, wrote several years ago: –

    “I have no doubt that, someday, the distortions of the truth by the radical feminists of our time will be seen to have been the greatest intellectual crime of the second half of the 20th century. Meanwhile we still live under the aegis of that crime and calling attention to it is an act of great moral courage” – Revolt of the Primitive, 2001.

    Sue writes:-
    ‘But it certainly makes me chuckle at the fragile male ego…’

    ‘And yes I call myself “Sue” because I had an internet stalker for a while. Women have to worry about things like this.’

    Whether ‘Sue’ considers herself to be a feminist or not is beside the point. Her jargon reveals enough of the relevant mindset. And I do think ‘Sue’ needs to consider the contemporary female ego as it is encouraged to function at the beginning of the 21st century and to put that into context with peoples responsibility to their fellow human beings. It might help her, in this endeavour, to place in the background the reality of what is actually happening in our society to the institutions of marriage, the proper care of children and, most importantly, the family unit – the bedrock and foundation of all civilised society from which everything of cultural value ultimately draws its strength.

    As for the reasons you give for your pseudonym – well, all I will say about the credibilty of this claim is that I will file it where my gut feeling and the words of Professor Schwartz suggest is most appropriate.

    But, ‘Sue’ aside, and back to the thread of debate and to the issue of gender and the use of language in the Bible. It deeply saddens me that some people believe that biblical language should be altered to reflect passing trends, social illusions and contemporary politics. Particularly as the zeitgeist of today, which is dominated by a very destructive form of egalitarianism (which is largely irrelevant to the very nature of humanity), is likely to be looked upon with abhorrence by most people in the future. And as far as the issue of this debate is concerned, that will badly damage the church if it weakly chooses to continually chase the coat tails of politcians and the left wing intelligentsia – people likely to be deemed, although the powerful of today, the fools of tomorrow.

    In this respect, and in the context of this debate, I share the certainties of Professor Schwartz. Consequently I am very concerned about the future of the church. Ultimately the modern, politically corrected, Christian Left are as destructive as the ‘burn the Koran’, ‘hang a fag’, Christian far Right. Please wake up.

  56. Peter, please can you retract any suggestion you are making that Sue is not telling the truth about the Internet stalker. I will not allow people who comment here to call other people liars without good reason. I know that Sue has good reason to be afraid of men, and to want to conceal her identity from anyone who might then use it to find and hurt her. Even if her fears are exaggerated, and I don’t think they are, they are real to her. I assume you would not want me to publish the e-mail and IP addresses from which you made your comment, or your physical address if I knew it, as these might help undesirable people to find you. If you wouldn’t want that then you should understand why Sue also values her privacy.

    I think I have already made it clear that I consider the kind of “Christianity” which you profess to be profoundly anti-Christian and evil, far more destructive than any Qur’an burning antics because it is dressed in sheep’s clothing. I am very happy that the chauvinistic kind of “church” which you value is under threat, and hope it collapses completely and quickly.

  57. No Peter, I will not retract this suggestion. Many mens lives have been, and are still being, ruined by this sort of unchallenged feminist fuelled paranoia. As the Archbishop of Buenos Aires commented in Argentina several years ago – ‘feminism is a message of division, hatred and death’. What is happening throughout the world at the beginning of the 21st century fully substantiates this statement.

    My traditional Christianity is not evil dressed in sheeps clothing Peter. It is as near to the truth of this world and to the true message of Christianity as I am able to interpret.

    Your own brand of Left wing Christianity, particularly that which exults and defends everything women like ‘Sue’ claim (and are continually slapping the world around the face with like a wet kipper) is as evil and as destructive in my, and my other peoples, eyes as any aggressive fundamentalist organisation of the extreme Right.

    Both totally remove human dignity from the equation. The far Right aggressively and deliberately from others, the far Left, equally aggressively, from the self. Evidenced by your reply to me here and the reference you make to a ‘chauvinistic’ “church”.

    Without human dignity true humilty and a genuine offer of love and compassion cannot possibly be offered because it simply wouldn’t be real – be it from a secular or a Christian perspective.

    I sadly recognise that you, like many others, are brainwashed Peter. And your faith has been rendered largely artificial because you view it through the lens of human politics.

    If you doubt this – please reflect upon your own honesty and your own prejudices. Think, perhaps, of the statement you made in one of your debates here about the controversy surrounding Peter Broadbent and Royalty and the ridiculous suggestion you made that his suspension may have actually been by royal order – or words to that effect (your tongue may have been close to your cheek. I do not know. But it is irrelevant)

    Perhaps the fleece of my ‘sheeps clothing’, you refer to, is the emperors new suit – visible only to those who are truly enlightened – or so they are told.

  58. Finally, Peter, can I ask you to fully reflect upon something you said. And when I say ‘fully’ I mean that form the perspective of your own brand of ‘Christianity’.

    You said – ‘Sue has good reason to be afraid of men…’

    What you are saying, uneqivocally, is that a human being has good reason to be afraid of other human beings, not because of what they are, individually, but because of the human grouping to which they belong.

    You need to think very hard about this Peter. And, in this context, you need to think very hard about the definition and meaning of your own faith (and, as the two are clearly connected, your own politics).

    Lastly you need to think about the words of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. There is clearly much that you have yet to come to terms with as far as real truth and the real message of Jesus Christ is concerned.

    I will pray for you. I mean that. That is not a phoney grandiose public entry on a moral score card, nor am I being sarcastic. You are clearly fundamentally mistaken about some very important things.

  59. Sad to see things getting unpleasantly personal. Folk, assuming true names, can feel let down by deception, howbeit justified: though perhaps “Sue” only meant she’s withholding her surname.

    A bigger issue to me is pigeon-hole bashing. Eg on the generic word feminism, it’s useful to consider Elaine Storkey’s What’s Right With Feminism (1985). She analysed at least 4 subdivisions (Liberal, Marxist, Radical, Christian) and argued that the latter is biblical, therefore part of the solution, not the problem. “If Feminist, therefore evil” is perhaps as blind as “if Feminist, then good”. We might agree with Marxist Feminists that individualism oppresses both genders, yet disagree with, unless modified, their remedy of a collectivist society. It is well to critically examine with biblical glasses the range of feminist complaints & suggestions. The worst aspects in the feminist sector capitalise on a broader rebellion against God (Ps.2:3). Terms like Ms, gay, partner – all relativising the concept that marriage alone offers the moral framework for interpersonal sex – simply happen to be in the advance guard of this bigger army. Philosophically, any ethical model beyond deontological ethics is insupportable and will, without divine intervention, crush many.

    It is a linguistic fact that many masculine terms sound sexist & ageist to many under 30, and misrepresent God. Whatever controversial texts there be (all EVV have such), in general for the sake of younger Christians, and non-Christians, this issue must be sorted within biblical parameters. In my own analysis for this the NCV scored 92%, the TNIV 88, the NIV2011 71, many (eg NJB/NAB/ESV/HCSB/ISV/WEB/NET) below the average of 37, and a few (eg NKJV/NWT/NASU) around the 3 mark. EVV have a long way to go for the sake of the people for whom Christ died and are surfing on the old wave. The best is far from perfect, and none should be adjudged best simply on the criterion of gender (eg for overall scores I give NJB 63%, NCV 54).

    Incidentally Don Carson, arguing the TNIV as the best overall English translation, noted that both egalitarians & complementarians were on the TNIV panel, and vis à vis ‘humankind’ said that as a Complementarian he could get used to the word – let’s drop the frail ‘male ego’ propaganda. As well as we can we must put Scripture into best accessible language without squeezing it into any mould.

  60. Iver and Peter:

    It seems to me that there are two questions:

    The first is whether, as a matter of grammar, moicheuo means “commit adultery” or “man commit adultery against a women.” This influences how we translate the passive.

    The second question has to do with the issue of guilt, and I don’t think the grammar necessarily helps us here. But even so, two reasonable options seem to present themselves: the woman is always guilty, or both the man and the woman are equally guilty. I still don’t see any support for the NIV’s translation that the women is the victim of adultery.

  61. Peter

    Thanks for the dictionary information (comment #56) – you beat me to it. (FWIW, the first usage illustration the OED gives for male-specific “mankind” is Tyndale in 1Cor 6:9.)

    So it would seem that the generic and male-specific meanings of both “man” and “mankind” have run in parallel for some considerable time. Of course, that doesn’t mean that when used generically/inclusively either carries over a “male meaning component” from its other meaning. (I doubt anyone would suggest that, when used in a male-specific sense, either term had a female/generic/inclusive “meaning component”.)

    Personally, I think translations should choose terms solely on the basis of what is likely to communicate most clearly and unambiguously to the greatest number of people, rather than being swayed by considerations of “political correctness” – whatever the flavour of politics that might be. Consequently, I think rejecting “humankind” because some consider it a “feminist” term is a mistake.

  62. Peter Charnley, please do not comment again on this blog, unless with an apology to Sue and others you have written off as caricature feminists. Also please ponder Dr Steve’s comment about feminism. If you do continue to comment unacceptably I will take steps to block you.

    Dr Steve, Joel and John, thanks for your comments – I have nothing to add for the moment.

  63. I assure you Peter this will be the last time I comment here – a website of ‘gentle wisdom’ that defends mistrust and fear between different groups of human beings whilst openly acknowledging that they, themselves, suspect the claims of one individual to be exaggerated.

    This corner of the World Wide Web has got nothing to do with the God of Christianity. Don’t bother to block me, it won’t be necessary.

    As promised I will pray for you, and the people you represent, as I consider it an ogligation as a Christian.

  64. Just a late voice popping up here–the Presbyterian Church in America has been (quietly–in some cases, at least) switching over from the NIV to the ESV as its standard translation.

  65. Pingback: Left-brainers don't understand right-brained Rob Bell - Gentle Wisdom

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  68. Pingback: NIV 2011: Denny Burk condemns it, most are lukewarm - Gentle Wisdom

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