Friday, March 16, 2007

Have you stopped beating your wife?

I hope you married men who read this are uncomfortable with the wording of the title to this post. Why should you be uncomfortable? Well, the question is worded with the assumption that you do beat your wife, and whether you answer "yes" or "no" you are stuck with that assumption. That's the way it's been for many of the accusations against the TNIV and its translators.

Without a shred of objective evidence, the TNIV has been accused of being a feminist Bible. It has sometimes been called a feminazi Bible. And there are other accusations made against the TNIV which have no basis in fact.

The TNIV translators have been accused of, at minimum, caving in to social pressures to conform to feminist restructuring of society and the English language. And where is the objective evidence? It's nowhere. The accusers find verses in the TNIV which they disagree with in terms of how generic terms are translated, and they make the logical fallacy that the TNIV translators must have been motivated by feminism or at least giving the nod to feminism in the way that they translated.

But that's just mind-reading.

What if the actual truth is as the TNIV translators have stated, that in each case of gender-inclusive language in the TNIV, they were motivated by the desire for translation accuracy? If we are going to speculate about the motives of others, we could speculate that the TNIV translators have been telling the truth.

We have choices in life about whether or not to believe people. Some people are so filled with certain kinds of ideas that it is nearly impossible for them to believe others when others say things that go fly in the face of all of their own ideas and assumptions. I have spent years grieving over this.

Rather than speculating about the motives of the TNIV translators, it would be better if we objectively examined each verse with which there is a difference of interpretation. In most cases we will discover that good Bible scholars differ on the interpretation of those verses and that the TNIV wordings are supported by lexical and exegetical evidence from the Bible itself as well as from good scholarship.

Have you stopped beating your wife?

Is the TNIV still a feminist Bible?

I hope that we know what the truth is for answering each of these questions. Let's not assume the truth of the presupposition behind either question. Let us base our debates on more objective evidence.


Glennsp said...

"Have you stopped beating your wife" is a statement masquerading as a question.
Whereas "Is the TNIV still a feminist Bible" is an actual question.
"....TNIV wordings are supported by lexical and exegetical evidence from the Bible itself as well as from good scholarship."
I fail to see where there is "...lexical and exegetical evidence..." for the outbreak of pluralisation that has impacted parts of the TNIV when the original languages were clearly in the singular. (as evidenced by the lexicons & exegesis to which you refer) They have been clearly documented elsewhere so I wont extend this comment by repeating them here.
There exists no lexical or linguistic proof for changing singulars to plurals in the cases to which I refer.
Hiding behind a 'nom de guerre' does not inspire confidence in the motives or intentions of the writer either.

Kevin said...

I don't believe that there a feminist agenda going on. We have to look at the historical context of the original writers who addressed both men and women. I cannot honest say that the apostle Paul addressed only the men in the church. Can you? It is not a matter of conforming to any liberal social agenda. It's really a matter of scholarship and proper exegesis and interpretation of the scriptures.

Wayne Leman said...

Glenn commented:

"Have you stopped beating your wife" is a statement masquerading as a question.
Whereas "Is the TNIV still a feminist Bible" is an actual question.

Glenn, the point is that both questions contain a presupposition which the speaker believes is true. You recognize the problem with the first question because you do not (I assume) beat your wife. You do agree with the presupposition in the second sentence, so you regard it as an actual question. I do not agree with the presupposition in the second question, as you can tell from my blog post.

As for singulars being translated by plurals, I hope to address them in future posts when I deal with the thousands of claims of inaccuracies in the TNIV which have been listed by Dr. Grudem and those who worked with him.

For myself, I'm not a great fan of changing singulars to plurals. I do not consider the TNIV nor any other English translation without any faults. I started this blog so that we might tell the truth about the TNIV. In some cases, I believe, the truth will call for some modifications in TNIV wordings. I have been working with the TNIV team to suggest some changes which I think would be helpful. Truth will also deal with the many inaccurate statements which have been made about the TNIV. In each case, we hope to deal with evidence, not simply opinions. You are welcome to continue to comment here, but as on the BBB, we would request that when you do so, you support your stated opinions with objective evidence of some kind. This is the path to truth.