Thursday, October 27, 2016

What's Wrong With Gender-Inclusive Translations?

Gender-neuter or gender-inclusive language has its root within modern feminism. It is a style of writing adhering to certain rules first proposed by feminist language reformers in universities during the 1970s, which have been accepted as normative in many schools since approximately 1980. These rules prohibit common usages which are deemed to be "sexist." Instead of words like fireman, policeman, chairman, spokesman, they recommend fireperson, policeperson, chairperson, spokesperson. Let us be clear that political "correctness" is really political stupidity, going overboard with their ridiculous nonsense.

So what is the problem with gender-neuter/gender-inclusive language? One word. Heresy! Gender-inclusive translations remove or feminize anything that could possibly be interpreted as having a masculine connotation. However, all feminine forms remain in tact. Having apparently skipped English class all through their schooling, in their ignorance these people fail to realize that man, depending on the context, includes women. Hence the fact humanity is called mankind.

They argue that the Greek word anthropos (ανθρωπος) does not and cannot mean man and that it should be translated as people, person, or human(s) (among others). The NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) is a gender-neuter/gender-inclusive translation, but it is also filled with great heresy because of this. Examine Hebrews 2 and you will see a glaring example of heresy. Verse 6 uses anthropos (ανθρωπος) twice. Since Greek does not have an indefinite article, anthropos (ανθρωπος) can mean either man or men. In this context, that is precisely how it should be translated.
But one has testified somewhere, saying, "WHAT IS MAN (ανθρωπος), THAT THOU REMEMBEREST HIM (αυτου)? OR THE SON OF MAN (ανθρωπου), THAT THOU ART CONCERNED ABOUT HIM (αυτον)? THOU HAST MADE HIM (αυτον) FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; THOU HAST CROWNED HIM (αυτον) WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAST APPOINTED HIM (αυτον) OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS; THOU HAST PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS (αυτου) FEET." For in subjecting all things to him (αυτω), He left nothing that is not subject to him (αυτω). But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him (αυτω). (Hebrews 2:6-8 —NASB)
By making this text gender-neuter, all of a sudden a passage clearly speaking of Christ Jesus is now speaking of mankind (humanity). It implies that we have a divine pre-existence and that our lowly predicament is now over. That sounds like something we would find in the Book of Mormon.

Practically every language uses masculine forms when speaking of mixed gender. Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc., etc., etc. Even English. In Spanish, a group of men is referred to by using Los, while a group of women is referred to by using Las. When the group is a mixture of men and women, they are referred to by using Los. Much the way mankind includes women.

The gender-neuter/gender-inclusive nonsense does not stop there. Greek language has grammatical gender. These translations change the word son, which is grammatically masculine, into the gender-inclusive child. All because of their foolishness regarding perceived "gender bias." By doing this, their rendering of the text is destructive. The Greek word child is grammatically neuter, taking adjectives with neuter endings. When a word is clearly grammatically masculine, why are these people removing or feminizing it? There is no need for it, and there is certainly no excuse for it!

An example of feminizing the text is changing "Christ the king" to "the reign of Christ." Somehow king is "offensive." King and reign are not synonymous! Reign is a country, king is a person. One refers to the person, Christ Jesus, while the other refers to His kingdom. If modern feminists are "offended" by so-called "sexist" words such as kingdom, why have they not done something about their own designation? In Hebrew, the word for man is ish, while the word for woman is ishah. In English, you have woman and women. Since woman is of man, taken from the rib of Adam (Gen. 2), it makes sense that the two should be related and that, as in most (if not all) languages, the masculine should be applied to a group of mixed gender.
The Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible often use generic masculine nouns (adam and anthropos, both meaning “man”) and generic masculine pronouns in a gender-inclusive sense, in reference to persons of unspecified gender. In the Epistles, believers in general are addressed as adelphoi, “brethren.” Such usages are not merely figments of “sexist” English translations; they are a normal feature of the original languages, just as they are normal in English and many other languages. In most cases the inclusive intent of the writer is obvious from the context, and when the intent is not inclusive, this is also obvious enough from the context. The interpreter must not proceed mechanically with the idea that every occurrence of adam and anthropos is to be understood in a gender-inclusive sense, because the Bible for the most part records the names and actions of men, uses male examples, assumes a male audience, and in general focuses on men and their concerns while leaving women in the background. This feature of the text is obviously related to the cultural situation and expectations of the original authors and recipients, and so any movement to disguise it in translation runs up against the academic qualms already being expressed by Bruce Metzger in 1976: “How far is it feasible to eradicate from an ancient text those features that belong to the patriarchal culture in which its narratives had their origin?”
Context in the English Bible, as well as every other language Bible, determines whether just men are in focus or a combination of men and women. In their foolishness to translate the text post-modernly, these fools ignored the context and gave birth to heresy, such as found in Hebrews 2 of the NRSV.
There are two parties to any written communication: the reader and the writer. Translation is the process of putting the words of the writer into a form that the reader can understand. There’s no point to translation if the reader doesn’t understand, so the translator has to pay careful attention to the meanings, connotations, and usages of words in the target language. There’s also no point to translation if it does not accurately convey the meaning of the writer, so the translator has to pay just as much attention to the meanings, connotations, and usages of words in the source language. Inclusive language translations put too much stress on what the reader does not want to hear, and too little stress on what the writer wants to say. Sometimes the inclusive-language translator is completely off-topic, making the passage about the reader when it is not, such as in the mistreatment of Hebrews 2.
A translation must strive to remain true to the target language while at the same time it must strive to remain true to the source language. It is impossible to translate from one language to another with 100% accuracy. For example, in Spanish, among friends, they will often say "Te quiero," which means "I love you." The literal meaning, however, is "I want you." "Te amo" is literally "I love you," but is used of couples. The English word love fails to grasp the depth and meaning of the four Greek words for love, especially agape, which indicates and conveys a selfless, self-sacrificing, unconditional love.

Gender-neuter/gender-inclusive translations even take issue with the word brother. John Piper wisely remarks:
Most inclusive language versions translate “brothers” at the beginning of the epistles, “brothers and sisters” and explain it like this: “It is clear that these epistles were addressed to all the believers—male and female. Thus, we have usually translated this Greek word [brothers] “brothers and sisters” or “Christian friends” in order to represent the historical situation more accurately” (from the preface to the New Living Translation). The problem with this is that it does not ask why the writers used “brothers” when they could easily have written “brothers and sisters,” since that is clear and simple Greek which was used other times (1 Corinthians 7:15; James 2:15). Something of the writer’s intention is lost in presuming to change his wording so dramatically.
Piper continues:
Another example is the translation of the Hebrew word adam which is both the word for “human” and the proper name for the first man, Adam. This is probably not without significance. Therefore it is helpful to translate adam in a way that reveals this masculine orientation of the original writer in giving the first man (not woman) and the human race the same name, Adam. So we read in Genesis 5:1-2 (NIV [1984]), “This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man [Adam], he made him (masculine pronoun) in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ‘man’ [Adam].” The significance of the man’s role in bearing the name of the race is obscured when inclusive language translates as follows: “This is the history of the descendants of Adam. When God created people, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and he blessed them and called them ‘human’” (NLT). The word translated “people” and “human” is, in both cases, adam, as it was used in verse 1, Adam. Something deep and important is being obscured here in the cause of gender inclusiveness.
There are many other issues that could be addressed that corrupt the meaning of the text in these gender-neuter/gender-inclusive translations. For example, their rendering household as family instead. A household did not merely consist of kin. A house was often a place of residence and a place of business. The first floor contained the business while the upper floor was where they slept. A household could consist of other relatives, servants, employees, or even strangers. Take Abraham for example, and the command to circumcise everyone in his household. This was not limited solely to his family, those directly related to him, as the context informs us. The ignorance of rendering it as family instead of the more correct and precise household is without excuse. It destroys the concept and limits the reality. When you refer to my place of residence as my household, it includes anyone under my roof. Government censuses still use this language with this intelligent understanding behind it: "How many people are in your household?"

Some of these gender-neuter/gender-inclusive translations even go so far as to change "God our Father" to "God our Parent." While not being physically masculine, because "God is Spirit" (John 4:24), nevertheless, whether these people like it or not, God is masculine and He is our Father. He is not feminine nor is He our "Mother." People need to stop feminizing the Holy Bible and start approaching it with the utmost reverence and respect. Anyone who tampers with the Word of God and leads the least of His children astray will have to answer to Him and will likely spend an eternity in Hell separated from Him.

Most inclusive-language translations are over-enthusiastic, failing to make important distinctions, generalizing statements that are specific, and obscuring ancient legal institutions. If translators create meaning instead of just conveying it, they are being irresponsible.

I will never recommend a gender-neuter/gender-inclusive translation because it is reckless and irresponsible (both my doing so and the translation itself). I will also not recommend paraphrases because they are not Bibles. They are really poor commentaries at best. If it does not strive to be true to both the target language and the source language, I will not recommend it.

Gender-specific Bible versions
Gender-neuter Bible versions
Wycliffe Bible (1382)
Tyndale NT (1526)
Matthew's Bible (1537)
Great Bible (1539)
Geneva Bible (1560)
Bishop's Bible (1568)
Douay-Rheims (1609) [Roman Catholic]
KJV/AV (1611)
RV (1885)
ASV (1901)
RSV (1946, 1952, 1971)
NASB (1963, 1995)
JB (1968) [Roman Catholic]
NEB (1970)
NIV (1973, 1984)
GNB (1976)
NKJV (1982)
NIrV revised (1998)
ESV (2001)
HCSB (2004)
NJB (1985) [Roman Catholic]
ICB (1986)
NAB (1988) [Roman Catholic]
NCV (1987, 1991)
NRSV (1989)
REB (1989) [partially gender-neuter]
GNB revised (1992) [presently GNT]
CEV (1995)
GW [God's Word] (1995)
NIrV (1995)
NIVI (1995, 1996)
NLT (1996)
NLT revised (1996)
TNIV (2002, 2005)
NIV (2011) [repackaged NIVi/TNIV]
TLB (1971)
TM/MSG [The Message] (1995)