Re: ANQRWPOS in Jn2:25-3:1

From: A K M Adam (
Date: Fri Jun 27 1997 - 09:24:06 EDT

Jonathan wrote:

>And if educated people like you and some others on
>this forum can get confused about this, that's all the more indication that
>we have to be very careful about translating using English forms which
>imply gender reference in contexts where gender reference was not implied
>in the original.

Jonathan has gotten to the heart of the issue here. It does no good to say,
"People (or, as one contributor wrote, 'women') ought to learn not to
misinterpret the generic use of 'man' for a gender-specific usage." If the
public sphere of communications no longer uses "man" in a generic sense,
then the reading audience will--appropriately--not expect "man" to be
generic when they read their Bibles.

"Man" isn't generic unless readers and hearers expect it to be generic.

Many readers and hearers no longer expect "man" to be generic.

Thus, our translations ought not deliberately adopt a usage that will
confuse many Bible readers--especially when there is a fitting,
lexically-sound alternative available ("person," "human").

That may be frustrating to some; I myself am still, reluctantly, getting
used to split infinitives, to the use of "hopefully" to mean "I hope," and
to our sisters' and brothers' persistent proclivity to forge verbs from
nouns ("dialogue," "image," "impact").

Let's not dialogue this to utter death, though, lest it impact ourt other
discussions. Hopefully, we can move on from here.

Grace and peace,
A K M Adam
Princeton Theological Seminary

"Fiction brings truth to history."--Walter Moseley

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