Friday, October 24, 2008

questions from a visitor

My wife and I returned home a couple nights ago from two weeks of travel. This morning I transferred my email messages received on the trip to my desktop computer. Among the messages I discovered the following questions from a visitor named Mike:
Hi everyone, I somehow stumbled on this blog from the accordance web forums, to Rick's site, to this site.

And a long story short, I had been noticing on Bill Mounce's blog how he seems to praise the TNIV for it's adept translation. I know all the hoopla over the gender issues and why I would say (IMHO) I don't agree with some of them. But I am curious about specifically:

1 Corinthians 15:21 (which also seems to have a similar oddity in Heb 2:6)

Where it changes man to human. So instead of getting a parallel between the first man, Adam and Jesus (obviously also a man) we get something that for me seems a bit more mucked up.

I have, for the life of me, tried searching the entire internet (though I probably fell a little short) and so that is where this email is coming from. The site is all about worthless unless I just want to read it - while not bad, it doesn't seem to retain the various "question verses" any more.

I'm just curious to your understanding (or any available material one why this was done that way) for these verses. I also tried searching the blog but couldn't find any instance of this being addressed - my apologies if it was.


Let's answer Mike here on this post to benefit others, as well.


Peter Kirk said...

The "Passages Most Commonly Asked About" search at is indeed not working at present, but I suspect that the problem is a temporary database error as the link to this search is still there.

On this particular issue, I would expect that the translators judged, from the use of the Greek word anthropos here, that the point which Paul is making is that Adam and Jesus shared humanity, not that they shared maleness. Their gender is entirely irrelevant to the discussion, and indeed theologically misleading because introducing this red herring here might suggest that women have no responsibility for the Fall and so no need of salvation. I hope you don't want a Bible translation to teach this!

Indeed I wonder if in this verse Paul is referring specifically to Adam or more generically to all humankind at the time of the Fall, i.e. both Adam and Eve - as in fact the KJV rendering "since by man came death ..." suggests.

By the way, I note that the Anglicised NIV is now online, but for some unexplained reason not the Anglicised TNIV.

Ruud Vermeij said...

All the Dutch versions I could find (from the Statenvertaling 1637 up until the NBV 2004) have mens. Mens means human, like the German Mensch. None of the versions I could find had man (gender specific).
This seems to be a problem of the English language. Clearly the meaning "human" is intended...

WoundedEgo said...

Might it not be better translated as "human race?"