Re: "The Stealth Bible Exposed"

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Mon Jun 23 1997 - 13:22:25 EDT

On Mon, 23 Jun 1997 07:33:33 -0400 "Carl W. Conrad"
<> writes:

> I'm also disturbed by the tone of the subject-header in
>connection with the content, insofar as it appears that a polemic
>"gender-neutral" translations is projected here as a topic for
>This is not a proper forum for the conduct of polemics between groups
>holding opposed theological views.

The term "stealth" was taken from the title of the article in World
magazine, so I certainly cannot take credit for its use.

If this is not the proper forum to discuss "gender-neutral" translations
of the Greek NT, then I am shocked. Maybe I need to be reminded of just
what is considered proper for discussion.

>On the other hand, five passages have been offered, and these do raise
>interesting questions.


>>John Piper brought forward at least 5 passages of "serious
>>mistranslations." I submit them for your consideration:
>> 1. Rev. 3:20 where the NIVI had, "Here I am! I stand at the
>>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 of this passage suggested that Jesus in Rev 3:20 will not
> come in and eat with women?

Speaking for myself, not John Piper, I would say this. Certainly "him"
 "he" would be good and safe translations of the Greek. Now it is true,
that "him" may mean and refer to "them" and "he" may mean and refer to
"they," but this is far from certain in every passage. Why not leave
determination up to the interpreter, and not give the impression by the
translation that such is necessarily implied by the Greek?
>> 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 a now gender-ambiguous noun although traditionally
> generic?

Good point. Piper probably was interpretive here. Better to stay away
from interpretation in translation, as much as possible.

>> 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
>> 4. Jn 11:50 where the NIVI had, " ... it is better for you
>>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 guess that the Koine, at least within
> NT, retains the masculine gender regularly even when one may
> reasonably suppose that the word isgender-neutral.

Yes, I doubt that we can make too much of a case for the male sex
here. That probably was not the point.
>> 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

While ANQRWPOS can be generic, it can also be specific. Certainly in
this context where the first ANQRWPOU in v. 21 is explained (hWPER
GAP) in v. 22 as ADAM and the second ANQRWPOU in v. 21 explained
as XRISTW in v. 22, the translation ought to be "man" and not "human

Thanks, Carl, for the stimulating interaction.

Paul S. Dixon

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