Re: Searchng for an agenda-neutral Bible

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Nov 25 1998 - 11:11:10 EST

<x-flowed>At 9:03 AM -0500 11/25/98, wrote:
> In a message dated 11/24/98 8:16:56 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> writes:
> << Again, we need not assume that the Bible itself is agenda-neutral (that
> seems rather silly, once one thinks about it!) >>
> Is the thread "agenda neutral" (which I agree does sound silly when you think
> about it) or "gender neutral" (of which I'm less sure)? To me, being from New
> Jersey, they sound kinda the same. It seems to me (a very little greek) that
> if the translator believes that the author meant men-the-folks and not men-
> the-guys then s/he should find some way of conveying that fact in a way that
> prevents men-the-guys from assuming (or choosing to assume) that they are the
> only ones meant. Personally, I wish there were some elegant way of avoiding
> the men-the-normative construction which doesn't mess up singular and plurals
> but there doesn't seem to be.

It's a terrible phrase, isn't it--"agenda neutral." How far we do bend over
to make it as unclear as possible just what we're talking about! Of course
the issue in question is gender-specific or gender-neutral language;
frankly, I think the phrase of a couple decades ago was clearer: we're
talking about a "unisex" language--we want (or some want) to represent the
authentic spirit of Gal 3:28 by finding some "unisex" pronouns so that we
can avoid exclusivist pronouns that many believe are gender specific while
many others believe they really are gender-inclusive.

> Now this is getting far from a discussion of Greek, so I'll stop before you
> have to stop me.

Yes; and although we called it "translation theory," it seems to me that
the discussion on B-Greek has been about English rather than Greek.
Certainly the discussion has not focused--and OUGHT not to focus--on what
was in fact a theological issue at stake in that article to which Clay
referred yesterday.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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