"The Stealth Bible" and NRSV compared

From: Perry L. Stepp (plstepp@flash.net)
Date: Fri Jun 20 1997 - 01:17:22 EDT

Just an interesting (at least to me) note. I compared the stealth Bible
passages Paul Dixon quoted (and Carl quoted in reply) with the NRSV text.
It appears to me that those <grin> liberals and commies at the NRSV
committee did a more literal job of handling gender inclusivity than did
the evangelicals with the NIVI. Note: (for those without scorecards, >>
come from Paul Dixon, > from Carl Conrad)

> > 1. Rev. 3:20 where the NIVI had, "Here I am! I stand at the door
> >and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in
> >and eat with them, and they with me."
> > The "them" and "they" translate respectively AUTON and AUTOS
> >(both singular in the Greek).
> Is the objection here against translation of the singular pronouns as
> plurals or against translation of masculine pronouns as gender-neutral
> pronouns. And if the objection is the latter one, is the interpretation
> this passage suggested that Jesus in Rev 3:20 will not come in and eat
> women?

I found the NRSV puzzling here: they translate the text "If YOU hear, . . .
eat with YOU, . . ." I guess they wanted to personalize the text, and
ended up out "dynamic equivalency-ing" the NIV and the NIVI. Or is there a
Greek precedent for reading TIS as a second person under certain
circumstances, like following IDOU or an imperative? This seems to me to
be simply a gnomic kind of statement, not requiring any syntactical

> > 2. Num. 8:17a where the NIVI had, "Every firstborn male in
> >Israel, whether human or animal, is mine ..." Here "human" renders the
> >Hebrew ADAM (contrast NIV "man").
> What's the problem here? Isn't ADAM generic for "human" as opposed to ISH
> as distinctly masculine? Or is the objection to any avoidance of "man" as
> now gender-ambiguous noun although traditionally generic?

Here the NRSV has "human being". Must gender be specified (when the
original text does not so specify) in order to sufficiently contrast the
humans from the animals?

> > 3. Acts 1:21-22 where the NIVI had, "Therefore it is necessary
> >to choose one of those who have been with us the whole time the Lord
> >Jesus went in and out among us..." The phrase "one of those" renders
> >ANDRWN ...hENA TOUTWN (contrast NIV, "one of the men").
> Well, here I can understand the objection, whether I agree with it or

NRSV reads "men". It appears that the NRSV committee was more literal and
more sensitive to the context than the NIVI translators.

> > 4. Jn 11:50 where the NIVI had, " ... it is better for you that
> >one person die .." where "one person" renders hEIS ANTHRWPOS (contrast
> >NIV, "one man").
> I suppose the point here is that hEIS is masculine. Nevertheless ANQRWPOS
> is in fact generic rather than gender-specifically masculine. I have seen
> more than one instance of hH ANQRWPOS in classical Attic, but I would
> that the Koine, at least within the NT, retains the masculine gender
> regularly even when one may reasonably suppose that the word is
> gender-neutral.

NRSV reads "man"--again, greater sensitivity to context.

> > 5. 1 Cor 15:21 where the NIVI had, "For since death came through
> >a human being ..." where "human being" renders ANTHRWPOU (contrast NIV,
> >"man").
> I'm puzzled by this objection. Is the objection that one ought to say
> clearly that death came through a male (Adam) or through a woman (Eve)?

Here the NRSV reads "human being". If gender is not a marked feature, and
ANQRWPOU is generic (which it is), then what's the big deal?

Once again (continuing the thought from my other post, entitled "The
Stealth Bible Exposed"), languages change. Translators and communicators
of all types need to remember that.

Grace and peace,

Perry L. Stepp

(Permission granted to quote any or all and to name the writer.)

Pastor, DeSoto Christian Church, DeSoto TX
Ph.D. candidate in New Testament, Baylor University

I've railed against a mountain with a pickaxe and a file
there's no minefield like presumption,
there's no deathwish like denial

there's no gunshot like conviction
there's no conscience bulletproof
there's no strength like utter weakness
there's no insult like the truth
          --Charlie Peacock


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