Gender-neutral pronoun use in KJV?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Logos1560, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    Does anyone know why the makers of the KJV used a gender-neutral plural pronoun "themselves" with the pronoun "each" [singular in number] as its antecedent at Philippians 2:3 instead of a pronoun singular in number?

    A Beka Book's Handbook of Grammar & Composition by James A. Chapman noted: "Use singular pronouns to refer to the singular indefinite pronouns: each, either, neither, one, everyone, everybody, no one, nobody, anyone, anybody, someone, somebody" (p. 60).

    Philippians 2:3 [then himself--1560 Geneva, 1602 Bishops]
    each … better than himself (1842 Bernard) [NKJV]
    each … better than themselves (1769 Oxford, SRB) [1769 Cambridge, DKJB]

    Since the 1560 Geneva Bible and the 1602 Bishops' Bible were already in agreement with standard English grammar today at Philippians 2:3, it was also evidently correct English grammar in their day.

    Are the same exact measures or standards applied to other English translations if they do the same thing [using a gender-free or gender-neutral plural pronoun where a singular [masculine, feminine, or neuter] pronoun should be used in order to agree with the number of its antecedent]?
     
  2. HankD

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    Hmm, the New American Standard Bible (1977) has "himself" while the 1995 Version has "yourselves".

    HankD
     
  3. Logos1560

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    I have been informed by a Greek scholar that the Greek for "themselves" (EAUTWN) is plural, and that the Greek for "each" is plural (ALLHLOUS -- a word that is always plural).

    The Greek grammar would be consistent. On the other hand, the English grammar in the KJV would evidently not be because of the use of a singular pronoun "each" for a Greek word plural in number and because that singular pronoun "each" does not agree in number with the later pronoun ["themselves"] for which it serves as an antecedent.

    Since the early English Bibles [the Geneva Bible and the Bishops' Bible] used a singular "each" for a plural Greek, they may also used a singular for the second Greek plural [keeping the second pronoun in agreement in number with the first, which was the antecedent in English for the second].
     
    #3 Logos1560, Apr 3, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2014
  4. Deacon

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    Yep, I was just looking it up.

    It has to do with faithfulness to the Greek trumping English grammar.

    Rob
     
  5. Van

    Van
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    Not exactly sure what the issue is here?

    1) Do those advocating the KJVO, attack other translations for translating singular as gender neutral plural? Yes.

    2) Does the KJV translate a plural pronoun as singular at Philippians 2:3? Yes, each is considered singular, i.e. each one of a group.

    3) The KJV reads, "let each esteem other better then themselves."

    4) The NASB95 reads, "regard one another as more important than yourselves."

    5) The ESV reads, "count others as more significant than yourselves.

    6) The KJV split the word "each other" or "one another" into each [esteem] other, which confuses the issue. However "each other" refers to more than one, so it refers to a plural. Thus I think grammar would allow "esteem each other better than themselves" and thus to claim some sort of violation is weak at best.
     
  6. ktn4eg

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    While not specifically addressing the OP's reference, I've often wondered why the KJV translates the reflexive pronoun "itself" in the first part of Romans 8:16 ("The Spirit itself....") when referring to the Holy Spirit.

    Since the Holy Spirit is a "person," shouldn't that reference to Him be rendered "Himself"?

    I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a Greek scholar, but in my rather limited Greek language reference resources, it would seem that even the Greek manuscript(s) upon which the KJV is supposedly based [The so-called "Textus Receptus.] also used a neuter pronoun auto (Strong's numbering 846).

    Maybe my real question ought to be this:

    Did the person(s) who produced the "Textus Receptus" err in their rendering of "itself" [auto] in Romans 8:16s rather than using a the singular third person masculine reflexive pronoun (Whatever that would be.)?

    If any of you Greek scholars out in BB Land have any information on this, I'd certainly like to read what you know about this.
     
  7. Van

    Van
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    Since the word translated Spirit is neuter, then an associated pronoun would be in neuter to point to the object of the pronoun. However a difficultly arises in the lack of a personal pronoun in the neuter. Thus the grammatically consistent translation, Spirit - itself, robs the Spirit of personhood. So many if not most modern translations accept that "autos" points to Spirit, but does convey a lack of personhood. Therefore "himself" is the best way to convey personhood. Note that many times the grammatical "gender" designation does not reflect the physical gender in koine Greek. See the Wikipedia entry here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_of_the_Holy_Spirit
     
  8. Logos1560

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    How is faithfulness to the Greek displayed by the translating of a Greek word plural in number with a singular English pronoun "each"?

    How does faithfulness to the Greek which has agreement in number between a pronoun and its antecedent displayed in the KJV when it does not have agreement in number between its pronoun "themselves" [plural in number] and its antecedent "each" [singular in number]?
     
  9. Jerome

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    Though obscured by the OP's incomplete presentation, Geneva and Bishops contain the word man in the antecedent ("every man esteem...") which leads to a masculine pronoun later on ("...himself").
    KJB doesn't. It has just each as antecedent ("each esteem...").



    You only need to get as far as Genesis 32:16 to see all three Bibles in disagreement with the "SINGULAR ANTECEDENT-SINGULAR PRONOUN!!!!!" schoolmarm grammar notions expressed hundreds of years later in the uber-authoritative 'A Beka Book' publication cited by the OP:

    Bishops: "every drove by them selves"
    Geneva: "every drove by themselves"
    KJB: "every drove by themselves"

    MVs: NIV "each herd by itself"; NKJV/ESV "every drove by itself"; NLT "each group of animals by itself"
     
  10. prophet

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    Phi 2:3
    3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
    (ESV)

    Phi 2:3
    3 Nada hagáis por contienda ó por vanagloria; antes bien en humildad, estimándoos inferiores los unos á los otros:
    (RV09)

    Phi 2:3
    3 Nic nie czyniac spornie, albo przez prozna chwale, ale w pokorze jedni drugich majac za wyzszych nad sie.
    (Gdansk)

    Phi 2:3
    3 non facendo nulla per contenzione, o vanagloria; ma per umiltà, ciascun di voi pregiando altrui più che sè stesso.
    (Ital_Diodati1649)

    Phi 2:3
    3 Que rien ne se fasse par un esprit de dispute, ou par vaine gloire; mais que par humilité de coeur l’un estime l'autre plus excellent que soi- même.
    (FrenMartin1744)

    Phi 2:3
    3 [let] nothing [be] in the spirit of strife or vain glory, but, in lowliness of mind, each esteeming the other as more excellent than themselves;
    (Darby)

    . Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
    (NKJV)
     
    #10 prophet, Apr 5, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2014
  11. Jerome

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    From Numbers 6:2

    Bishops: When either man or woman doth seperate them selves

    Geneva: When a man or a woman doeth separate them selves

    KJB: When either man or woman shal separate themselves


    It's too bad all those translators didn't have the OP's 'A Beka Book' to set them straight.
     
  12. Deacon

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    Sorry to take so long to respond, I've been quite busy.

    First off, I'm a novice at Greek. I've studied enough to realize I don’t know much.
    I made the post from work without the text in front of me.

    I see I might have made an error in connecting the "each" with the singular, feminine, ταπεινοφροσυνη (te tapeinophrosyne) - the whole beginning portion of the verse displays a singular word form, changing to plural at the point where the word in question is placed.

    Studying it further I've found the Louw Nida Lexicon notes:
    Rob
     
  13. Van

    Van
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    Missing part of the message of the reciprocal pronoun is easy. Are we to count others as more important than ourselves? Not what it says. The idea is not one way, i.e. how we consider others, but two way, which includes how others are commanded to consider us. The idea is that everyone in view (believers) are to consider other believers as superior to themselves. The man in the pulpit thinks of the man cleaning the bathroom floor as superior to him.

    Another part of the message is that the command does not extend to non-believers. This does not take away from the command to love our neighbor which would include non-believers, but they are not to be esteemed above believers.

    The theology of "one another" when believers are in view can be found in many passages: Romans 12:10; 15:5; 15:7; 15:14; Gal. 5:13; 6:2; Eph. 4:2; 5:21; 1Thess. 5:11.
     
    #13 Van, Apr 6, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2014
  14. Van

    Van
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    The KJV frequently mushes two words together, creating towords. We get one another (one word in the Greek) divided and another word tossed in between. Thus from one another becomes one from another, and with one another becomes one with another, and so forth.

    Some sources say "each other" should be used when two subjects are in view, but one another should be used with three or more subjects are in view. Thus at Philippians 2:3, esteem one another would be the superior translation.
     
  15. Logos1560

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    Are you suggesting that English translators should not use consistent, standard English grammar?

    Do you suggest that the grammar rules of the language into which the Scriptures are translated should be ignored or dismissed at will by translators?

    Are you suggesting that if later editors of KJV editions made some changes or revisions to the 1611 edition in order to make some places be in agreement with standard English grammar that it was wrong?
     
  16. Van

    Van
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    When the KJV split the reciprocal pronoun (each other or one another) and jammed "esteem" into the pronoun, the action created the difficulty being addressed in the thread. Each is singular but themselves is plural. However if we consider the antecedent of "themselves" to be "each[]other" then the "singular" (each) goes away. As I said, much ado about very little.
     

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