Modern beliefs into ancient words?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by John of Japan, Aug 7, 2006.

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  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    In the NKJV thread, the subject of gender neutral translations came up, and C4K suggested that we start a new thread on the topics Faith Alone and I were discussing.

    I'm going to make this more general than just the gender neutral discussion. My point here is that modern ideas and beliefs should not be inserted into a translation of our Bible. This does not mean that when we translate we should ignore the culture of the language we are translating into. It means that our translation should not be colored by a filter of a modern belief or philosophy, such as: liberalism, feminism, existentialism, etc. I saw a new Japanese NT that titled the epistles of Paul "The Letters Said to be Written by Paul. That is just plain wrong!

    Here is what I wrote about feminism in the other thread:

    :type:

    As I understand it, the gender-inclusive idea comes from feminism, which comes from the "women's lib" movement of the 1960's, which comes ultimately from the women's suffrage movement of the late 19th century. (I realize I'm simplifying here.)

    In support of this view, note that the infamous feminist theologian, Virginia Mollenkott, "was invited to join the Committee for the Production of the Inclusive Language Lectionary for the National Council of Churches. Her involvement on the committee furthered her interest in inclusive language and the image of God. By 1983 she had written another book, The Divine Feminine: The Biblical Imagery of God as Female. By this time Mollenkott was convinced that naming her own faith with inclusive God-language was necessary for the liberation of women in the church. Furthermore, she noted, inclusive God-language would be a step in the direction of the reconciliation of the patriarchal dichotomies of masculine/feminine, superior/inferior, logic/emotion, etc. At the concolusion of this work, Mollenkott suggested that God be referred to in an all-iinclusive way, as the force in all things and all people" (The Feminist Gospel, by Mary A. Kassian, 1992, pp. 237-238).

    So, inclusive language comes from such radical feminists as Mollenkott, who would have us believe in a "mother/father god," or even a purely female God. Therefore, using such inclusive language in a Bible translation means cooperating in the feminist movement and its political aims. From a Biblical viewpoint, this is an abomination.

    Now, let's look at it from a secular translator's viewpoint. Feminism is a modern philosophy. If I were to translate The Book of Five Rings by famed Samurai swordsman Musashi into English, how would it fly if I made Musashi have an existential viewpoint instead of a Confucian one? Or if I were to translate into English the Kojiki, a Japanese history from the 7th century and the earliest document in the Japanese language, how would it play in Hoboken if I were to translate it with a postmodern view instead of a Shinto view? If these examples are ridiculous, so is translating a first century document with a late 19th-20th century viewpoint such as feminism.

    Sorry to be so shy with my views! :smilewinkgrin: :type:
     
  2. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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    On the flip side...

    On the other hand, should we insist on a 16th century viewpoint for a first-century or older document?
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Uh, oh, Mexdeaf, here it comes! :smilewinkgrin:
     
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