3 questions only for those that read greek and hebrew

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by nodak, May 18, 2010.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    Please don't answer unless you actually can read the Greek and Hebrew. I know the response will be limited, but I need your help.

    Here in the American west we often run into and minister to folks out of a very patriarchal (in a bad way) cult.

    So my questions, trying to clarify my personal study and outreach, are these.

    1. Based on the original languages, do you see any reason to maintain the English construct of masculine generic? Why or why not?

    2. Among those translation purporting to be gender accurate, which do you believe comes closest? Not looking to cater to either feminists or male chauvinists here. Example: if the scripture actually reads "all adult male homo sapiens should drink chocolate milk" would the translation say "all men should drink chocolate milk"? What if it really said "all homo sapiens", with no gender or age specified? Would the translation show that? Perhaps "all humans should drink chocolate milk?"

    3. If you toss out the question of gender issues, which translation do you find more accurate to the Greek and Hebrew. I would accept both received text and modern texts--not asking about textual basis but feel free to mention it if that colors your choice.

    Again, thanks for any help you can give but do not answer unless you can read Greek and Hebrew.
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    If you mean the word "man" or "mankind" I don't really have an issue with it. One of the predominate things in the Pauline epistles (or any NT epistolary literature) is the use of a phrase like anthropoi to refer to both men and women in a congregation. Other times where the same word (including case, gender, and number) pertaining specifically to men. Paul was writing in a time where masculine language was the norm (which was accepted practice until about 100 years ago.) It didn't mean he had a preference or was trying to overtly masculine, it was his context. (I think I'm reading you right here.)

    Even depending on the lexicon you use there are a plethora of interpretational options.

    You can continue to the word "man" or "mankind" or neuterize it to humankind or person(s) or people so forth and so on. One of the great difficulties with this abysmal English language is the lack of a good gender neutral word for humanity...well that and its lack of inflection.

    Yeah but why quote Latin where English will do? (Since homo sapien is a Latin phrase...sorry terrible humor.) Why not translate it "all people will drink chocolate milk."

    Maybe we're too sensitive to the gender thing. I remember a prof of mine sent a tremendous commentary manuscript to a noted publisher once. The publisher had been part of a movement to distance themselves from the TNIV due to its "gender neutral" qualities. When my prof received his manuscript back from the editors they had gone through a changed all of his masculine pronouns to neuter or feminine pronouns...even in several places where he was trying to make a specific point about men. He never resubmitted it.

    If you're going to take a phrase and create a gender neutral construct you need to make sure it reads (and speaks) smoothly. "All homo sapiens drink milk" is not as smooth as "All people drink milk." English speakers prefer, and will default to, ease of vocalization over specificity.

    I like the NET a lot because the translators have a consistent pattern of translating gender neutral phrases (in their appropriate context) in a neutral way while offering a TN (translator's note) that the original word was a derivation of anthropoi or teknon.

    No translation, imho, translates these issues consistently. Maybe the ESV is better than others, but in OT it has a different interpretative/translatory framework than in the NT. Its not a bad thing just the way it is.

    If I were working these groups I'd use something like the NASU or even NKJV and have the originals right there with me. I dunno, maybe I'm completely missing the point of your questions. Apologies if I just typed a bunch of nonsense.
     
  3. Deacon

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    There is a similar ambiguity inherent in the Hebrew language.

    A rather basic example is concerns the word for Adam/man.
    “Adam” is a transliteration of the word “man”

    Genesis 5:1–2
    This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.
    Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. (ESV)

    This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
    male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (ASV)

    This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself.
    He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them “human.” (NLT)

    Beyond this, nouns and verbs are assigned a masculine or feminine gender (sometimes seemingly arbitrarily). A translator could translate the distinction but it’s usually not necessary.

    For example in an older style of English we might look at a ship and say, She is a fast ship” or we could say,It’s a fast ship”.
    Both are acceptable expressions and not much is lost when we drop the feminine form.

    I’m not very familiar with this “cult” you mention but would guess they have structured their family structure on what they imagine an ancient patriarchal family would look like. I’m not sure how this decision might be changed by eliminating gender terms.

    Q2 - Among those translations purporting to be gender accurate, which do you believe comes closest?

    The decisions that translators make vary from verse to verse so examining passages on a case by case basis is the best way.
    If I had to make a choice I'd say the NRSV. The ESV (and many other newer versions) often footnote their translational choices when dealing with gender.

    Q3 - If you toss out the question of gender issues, which translation do you find more accurate to the Greek and Hebrew.
    As noted above it's not a matter of accuracy but translational decisions.
    The literal versions are a bit raw; the ASV and the NASB fit this bill but the KJV holds up in its own special way.

    Rob
     
    #3 Deacon, May 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2010
  4. nodak

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    Thanks! I'll be more specific what I am dealing with and maybe you can give me pointers for each situation.

    1. Friends of a girl who got caught up with Warren Jeff's group. Polygamous fundamentalist mormon. They take terms that could be translated brothers and sisters to apply only to the brothers. The friends are not caught up in the cult but are needing to know why the cult's gender issues are not Biblical.

    2. Some folks who are KJVO but take the understanding to the extreme, such as using when the Bible says "What is man that thou art mindful of him" to say God isn't mindful of women.

    3. A gentleman who believes the common generic male construct should determine behavior. Example: women should not be police officers because the proper term is policeman.

    4. This one is just fun to debate, but a gentleman who loudly defends the male generic construct but almost has a stroke if I tease him with "sure, a common generic is great. We've done male for centuries--how about now we use the female as the generic. All police officers are now policewomen regardless of plumbing, that sort of thing."
     
  5. Deacon

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    I'm not sure if this will help the closed minded, you're on your own brother.

    thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; Exodus 20:5 (AV 1873)

    Thank God, the mother’s are spared God’s wrath!

    ********************

    In Hebrew the masculine gender is normative and takes priority when referring to a mixed group.

    Here are some examples of the practice in an older version.

    And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Exodus 21:20 (AV 1873)

    If a man or woman hath a plague upon the head or the beard; then the priest shall see the plague: and behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin; and there be in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a dry scall, even a leprosy upon the head or beard. Leviticus 13:29–33 (AV 1873)

    Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty; Numbers 5:6 (AV 1873)

    If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
    namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
    thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
    9but thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. Deuteronomy 13:6–9 (AV 1873)

    And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. Deuteronomy 15:12 (AV 1873)

    In the above examples you can clearly see the problems inherent in an overly literal translation.

    Rob
     
    #5 Deacon, May 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2010
  6. Dr. Bob

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    Good discussion. Will add just a random thought or two.

    I fuss with the pronouns for the holy Spirit. Of course the Greek is "neuter" so it is accurate to say "it".

    But in today's mindset where "it" is non-personal and just a force/influence, this designation for a member of the Godhead does great damage. We need to continually be emphasizing the personality of God the Spirit and using "Him" instead of "it" works well.

    After all, using "him" to link to andres (male) or anthropos (mankind) is not sexist or gender biased imho.

    The 1901ASV is perhaps the most accurate translation of God's Word to reflect the Greek. But nowhere close to the Vulgate. Of course, Latin is akin to Greek in linguistic function, whereas English is light years poorer and every translation is sadly deficient.
     
  7. nodak

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    Thanks all! Deacon, your examples just might help!

    Doesn't bother me to use generic male, and I am female, but DID torque me major league when it was a BAPTIST preacher claiming God is not mindful of all humans, just adult males.
     
  8. Deacon

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    Opps, pardon me!
    Of course you know I was using the generic male form of the word "brother".

    Rob :laugh:
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    I remember a discussion with a "libber" (Rush's definition = "women who are too ugly and spiteful to ever get married anyway") many years ago. She said she was NEVER going to use "man" again.

    I asked her what she WOULD use that would not be sexist. She started out with woMAN, then corrected it to MANkind, the corrected it to feMALE, then corrected it to perSON, then corrected it to huMANity . . . then walked away.

    I actually felt sorry for it.
     
  10. Mexdeaf

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    I think you handled that huMANely.

    P.S. there are around 1550 English words that contain the word 'man'.
     

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