Re: NASB italics

From: A. Brent Hudson (
Date: Wed Apr 03 1996 - 14:11:26 EST

-- [ From: A. Brent Hudson * EMC.Ver #2.5.02 ] --

Stephen C Carlson wrote:
> I think the NASB was published before the recent fad about gender- neutral
> language really came along (see, e.g., the NRSV). I understand the point
> Greek words like ADELFOI can encompass females as well as males, but so
> (or did?) English. Maybe I'm no better than King Canute over this issue,
but I
> disagree that "man" is or should be exclusively male.

        I am hardly suggesting that the NASB should be like the NRSV or should
follow a standard that postdates it! Perhaps my point was unclear. Romans
1:17b does not have ADELFOS, ANThROPOS, or ANHR; it is simply a masculine
adjective. Whether these Greek words include male and female is a separate
matter. My point was simply that translators should be more consistent in
not equating grammatical gender with actual gender.
        It is a truism that the word "man" can be (or has been) used synonymously
with "male" and "humankind." The NASB uses "man" in other contexts in a
generic sense and I accept that as representing the time of its translation
(and in the main, the underlying Greek). My point was that the phrase "But
the righteous man shall live by faith" does not strike me as an example of
generic usage (even for 1986).
        Besides, I think most languages use masculine gender for generic references
; thus a masculine adjective does not necessarily substantiate or obviate a
masculine pronoun in translation. Context must be considered and in this
case "man" is hardly justifiable (cf. 1:16 ...salvation to everyone who
believes...). Moreover, my actual point was that the use of italics
perpetuates the myth of the "literal" translation.

Brent Hudson

A. Brent Hudson
 Hamilton, ON, 
 At McMaster University

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