Re: The Stealth Bible Exposed

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Jun 26 1997 - 23:02:15 EDT

At 08:32 PM 6/26/97 -0500, Mark Arvid Johnson wrote:
>Jonathan Robie wrote:
><<In the 1970s, I argued that English used "man" in a generic sense, and
>that this usage was important to teach to children, so that women would not
>feel excluded by such references in the great wealth of American and
>English literature. Today, I think that the language has changed. I have
>written for five computer magazines, and every one of them would remove
>generic masculines. I suspect this is also true in non-technical
>publications. When I was in college, one of my psychology professors
>referred to studies showing that most female children did not think they
>were included by references to "man" or "men".>>
>Many organizations remove generic masculines because of egalitarian
>concerns rather than a serious attempt to track changes in the english
>language. Often the issue is not that some people would misunderstand, but
>that some people would be offended at the use of generic masculines.

Some organizations have been doing that for 25 years now. When I started
publishing articles in 1984, most magazines and journals had already
established such policies. In 1997, I think this has become a rather
established part of our language. Do you have reason to believe otherwise?
Besides, isn't accurate translation the standard that counts? I don't think
you get extra points for making sure that generic references look male if
the translation involved isn't any more accurate.

>I would be very interested in seeing these studies of female children: can
>you provide any references? Even if the they were methodologically sound,
>should a general translation be targetted at mature or immature readers?

I don't have access to the original references. A general translation should
be targetted at the general population. Today, published English generally
does not use the generic masculine. Is there a reason for the Bible to be
translated using English different from the rest of modern published English?

Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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