Sunday, November 21, 2010

Translation Forum continued

I deliberately left a pared down comment on a post at the translation forum and I now can see that it has been permitted. Here it is,
But it is nevertheless a move away from what came before.

Jerome used dominari

Erasmus used autoritatem usurpare

Calvin used auctoritatem sumere
I felt that this was not nearly as stimulating as my previous comment, the one which was removed. However, I shall take this under advisement and prepare more succinct comminqués in future. Thank you, Mr (or Madam) moderator.

I know that for other people this issue has become a bit threadbare. But I am rather fascinated by the lack of attention given to the Latin text of Calvin and Erasmus. Both had an enormous effect on the Bibles of the Reformation. However, along with the translation by Pagnini, they don't get a showing in Bible software, as far as I know.

I am planning a trip to Toronto this spring and will perhaps have another chance to photograph more Pagnini's Latin translation of the Hebrew. I think this is arguably one of the most influential translations in the history of Bible translation, and one of the most ignored.

Anyway, that is why the interpretation of 1 Tim. 2:12 has not completely bored me to death. I look at it in the context of the history of interpretation. I have less interest in what Eve atually knew about the tree and whether she or Adam were more responsible for bringing sin on manki... (whoooa baby) I mean "on humankind."

I do wonder, however, why Grudem, who has so vociferously rejected the translation "usurp authority," has so much to say on Eve's "usurpation" of male authority. "Usurpation" has such a harsh sound. It's a bad word, clearly. But try to claim that that is what authenteo really meant, and the switch is thrown, and we are off on another track. A woman cannot "lead in church." Such a delicate and proper phrase, such a good thing, to lead in church, but a woman may not do it. If she does, it is usurpation, because she has taken something that belongs to man. Whew.

(By "man" well, at school the social workers have anatomically correct dolls in order to make sure that of clear communication. I am not sure what to do on the blog. I will not draw a picture.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

CBMW will not commend the NIV 2011

Surprise, surprise, CBMW writes,
So, though we are genuinely thankful for the many positive changes in the new NIV(2011), and though we are deeply appreciative of the very different process by which our friends at the CBT and Zondervan pursued and unveiled this new version, we still cannot commend the new NIV(2011) for most of the same reasons we could not commend the TNIV. Our initial analysis shows that the new NIV(2011) retains many of the problems that were present in the TNIV, on which it is based, especially with regard to the over 3,600 gender-related problems we previously identified. In spite of the many good changes made, our initial analysis reveals that a large percentage of our initial concerns still remain. CBMW will be releasing an exact percentage after we complete our full detailed analysis. We are also still concerned about the frequent omission of the words, “man,” “brother,” “father,” “son,” and “he.”

As the evangelical community turns to CBMW for trusted counsel on contemporary Bible translations that are faithful and accurate in their rendering of gender-language, we will continue to point them to the many translations available today that do a better job than the TNIV and new NIV(2011) – translations like the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), the New American Standard (NASB), the New King James (NKJV), and the English Standard Version (ESV).

If you want more information about gender-neutral translations we recommend that you look at the resources available at Though most of this material was prepared in relation to the TNIV, much of it still applies to our primary concerns about the new NIV(2011), and interested readers can still use it as a help in examining individual verses in the new NIV(2011).

The divorce is final, IMO. Complementarians will not share a Bible with egalitarians or middle of the roadians. Oddly, I consider myself one of the latter, in terms of Bible translation. I would share the Luther Bible, the KJV and the NIV2011 with a complementarian, but they will not share with me.

1984 and the complementarians

When I was in high school I read the dystopian novel, 1984, about a society where information was controlled and no one was free. It seemed like a remote and unlikely future. But it turns out that 1984 was the year that God was going to reveal his truth about 1 Tim. 2:12, and seal that dystopian future. Denny Burk writes,
I think a better way to render authentein would be exactly the way it was rendered in 1984 “have authority”—or an even better way would be “exercise authority.” I think “assume authority” gives a negative connotation to the word, and Andreas Kӧstenberger has shown that a negative connotation is not possible in this particular grammatical construction.
It turns out that these two youngsters, Burk and Köstenberger, have found the dystopian foundation for the subordination of women. Dr. Kostenberger has, of course, found a new interpretation for 1 Tim 2:12, one never revealed to the human mind before. He has proven, so he says, that authentein can only be positive because of its conjunction with didaskein. He was cited on Justin Taylor's blog saying,
The first word linked by the Greek coordinating conjunction oude (“or”) is the word “teach,” didaskein, which is frequently used in the Pastoral Epistles and virtually always has a positive connotation, referring to the instruction of the congregation by the pastors and elders of the church (e.g. 1 Tim 4:11; 6:2; 2 Tim 2:2).
However, didaskein does not always have a positive connotation, even in the pastoral epistles as Titus 1 shows,
They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
I know, I know, Dr. Kostenberger has a complicated formula which he runs this verse through to prove that didaskein has a thoroughly positive connotation in this verse. However, modified by dishonest gain, didaskein becomes thoroughly negative. Since this modifier does not occur in 1 Tim 2 that means that didaskein must be thoroughly positive there, and authentein likewise. Don't worry that authentein does not occur with a positive connotation elsewhere in Greek literature. Never mind that this is another place where the word authentein is used,
Therefore, everyone will walk according to his won desire, and the children will lay hands upon their parents, a wife will hand over her own husband to death and a man his own wife to judgment as deserving to render account. Inhuman masters will authentein their servants and servants shall put on an unruly disposition toward their masters.
Sweet, isn't it? But it's like this. If somebody says "she has cruelly abused me" then that means that the word "abused" is a thoroughly positive word with a positive connotation because it is the modifier which makes it negative. I hope you remember this the next time you tell someone to stop making an awful racket. Remember now that a "racket" must be a good thing, otherwise there would be no need to modify it with the word "awful." That is Dr. Köstenberger for you.

Anyhow, the fact is that "big brother" over at is suppressing comments and making sure that certain facts are not given too much air time. A few comments have been allowed and mine were originally published but then removed. I don't think there is much interest in anything preceding 1984, the beginning of history.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

my ticket #

I attempted to contact Biblegateway, and received this response,

Your request has been received and assigned a ticket number of 8588. Our support staff works M-F from 9am-3pm EST and will review and respond to your ticket as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience.


Monday, November 15, 2010

my comment on the translation forum

Update: I am profoundly shocked that this comment did not pass moderation. I felt that I went to extreme lengths to include only information from traditional and complementarian sources, and checked to make sure that each item was factual. The only revision that was needed, and I made this revision on the Translation forum, was that the Wycliff translation has "have lordship on the husband" rather than "be the lord of."

Otherwise, this comment includes only relevant facts. I will attempt to contact someone at Biblegateway.


Here is the comment I made on the translation forum. It is currenlty awaiting the moderator's approval. -

The history of interpretation can be traced easily from the time of the Vulgate. The Vulgate used dominari which had a negative overtone, as it was the verb also used in 1 Peter 5:3 when the author desribed how not to lead in church. From the Vulgate, the Wycliff version and Luther translated "be the Lord of" and the Douay Rheims 1610 "to have dominion over."

Erasmus translated authenteo into Latin as autoritatem usurpare, with a note added for cogere "to compel." This was the foundation for two divergent traditions, "usurp authority" and "use/have/exercise authority." The editor of the KJV, Lancelot Andrewes, in his many sermons, used the term "usurper" to describe a person guilty of a capital crime, an act of treason. There is no reason to suppose that "usurp authority" in the KJV did not have a very negative overtone.

Calvin translated authenteo as auctoritatem sumere, which lead to the French translation assumer autorité, and the English "assume authority," which is found in the 1855 Calvin Bible.

In the absence of any lexical evidence that the word had a positive overtone, the NIV does well to stand in the majority tradition.

Dr. Kostenberger has offered a syntactic argument that didaskein and authentein must have the same force, either positive or negative, and many agree with him. However, some believe that didaskein can have a negative force in certain circumstances as is found in Titus 1.

The most compelling argument for a negative overtone, is the notable lack of any occurences of authenteo with a positive connotation within several centuries of the writing of the NT.

However, given Calvin's commentary on this verse, I do not believe that "assume authority" was ever intended to be an egalitarian interpretation of this passage. It is, at least, ambiguous and so that leads to the question of whether this scripture can, in fact, be interpreted in such a way that women can be treated as men would wish to be treated.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

1 Tim. 2:12 in the NIV cont.

In the translation forum at Biblegateway, the topic of 1 Tim. 2:12 is on the floor this week. Just to provide a little food for thought, here are Drs. Kostenberger and Carson on the topic of authenteo.

Dr. Kostenberger, in June of 2006 writes,
At the heart of the book were the two chapters devoted to lexical and semantic analysis. In the former, the likelihood was suggested that “exercise authority” (Grk. authentein) carries a neutral or positive connotation, but owing to the scarcity of the term in ancient literature (the only NT occurrence is 1 Tim. 2:12; found only twice preceding the NT in extrabiblical literature) no firm conclusions could be reached on the basis of lexical study alone.
Dr. Carson preaches in the fall 2009,
the verb authenteo in most instances has a neutral or positive overtone. But there is a handful of instances where you can at least make a case that it can have a negative overtone.
Fascinating. I will skip the commentary for this evening.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

John Piper against the NIV

It is not quite accurate to state that there is no negative advertising against the NIV. Here we see John Piper doing his best to insinuate that because the translators of the NIV have used a different but entirely valid way to translate the Greek word, γὰρ, they are "troubled." Piper is clearly attempting to undermine people's trust in the NIV.

When Piper says that he needs all the words in the Bible, he is clearly not referring to all the words in the Greek Bible.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trusted by Leaders

The ESV has revamped its website with a new motto "trusted." In particular, it is trusted by leaders.

When the TNIV was launched in 2002, only a few weeks passed (comment #8) before the ESV editor responded with a full scale negative attack, and soon following that, a leaders' statement of concern was signed that the TNIV was not "sufficiently trustworthy." Now we see that same rhetoric, that the ESV is "trusted" and by implication, other Bibles are not.

This time the new websites for both Crossway and ESV were ready within a week of the Biblegateway publication online of the new NIV.

My prediction is that the NIV 2011 will never become a trusted Bible for complementarians due to its translation of the gender verses, Rom. 16:1-2, Rom. 16:7, Eph. 5:21-22, 1 Tim. 2:12, 1 Cor. 11:10, and Phil. 2:29. In addition to this, the NIV lacks footnotes that are to women's detriment, in Gen. 3:16, and adds a few, 1 Cor. 14:34, which are to their benefit. The paragraphing of 1 Cor. 14 also causes concern for some complementarians.

The NIV2011 is almost identical to the KJV in these gender verses, so there is no reason at all that a complementarian could not in good conscience use the NIV 2011. However, I have seen that many complementarians prefer to use a Bible which has been modified in the direction of their own doctrine.

I continue to believe that the KJV has been the only Bible which has unified Christians across the spectrum. I cannot think of any other Bible which has had such a wide appeal. It truly was trusted, in spite of the fact that it has its own quirks. If you are looking for a translation which is faithful to the Greek, for the gender verses, I continue to recommend the KJV, and by extension, the NIV2011.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Denny Burk on 1 Tim. 2:12 cont.

I can post but not comment at the moment, so here is more on Denny Burk on 1 Tim. 2:12. Denny writes,
By the way, I should mention that Baldwin lists “assume authority” in his range of possible meanings for authentein, and he even says that the idea is “not intrinsically negative” (p. Women in the Church,” 45, 47). He includes it, however, as a sub-meaning of “to act independently” which he says “carries the idea of being one’s own authority” (p. Women in the Church,” 47). This appears to me as a contradictory point in Baldwin’s survey. “Assume authority” cannot be neutral if it is subsumed under the negative idea of “acting independently.”
Baldwin offers no examples in the centuries preceding or directly following the writing of the NT which show authentein to have a positive connotation. The one citation which Baldwin offered, in the Philodemus fragment, was shown to be incorrect. The fact is that D. Carson and the ESV study Bible and the Baldwin article have all disseminated false information.

Denny Burk and Douglas Moo on 1 Tim. 2:12 in the NIV2011

I recommend that readers visit Denny Burk's blog to see the interaction between these two men. So far, neither of them have acknowledged that the Calvin Bible of 1855 had "assume authority" from Calvin's Latin "auctoritatem sumere." The argument seems to be based on whether or not the translation is a clear complementarian translation.

Since I have not been allowed to post on this post of Denny's I would appreciate if any reader here would communicate the information regarding Calvin's Bible to the readers there, in defense of Dr. Moo. It is also worth mentioning that the Vulgate had dominari, and the KJV had "usurp authority."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Denny Burk on the NIV 2011

I am not surprised. As I thought, in the NIV 2011, it is the translation of 1 Tim. 2:12 which has complementarians outraged. It is the most important verse in the Bible, is it not? Women must be kept in place in order for men to collect their thoughts - or so some seem to think. Dr. Burk writes,
One cannot underestimate the importance of 1 Timothy 2:12 in the intra-evangelical debate over gender roles and women in ministry. There is a reason why countless articles and even an entire book have been written on the interpretation of this single verse. In many ways, this verse is the most disputed text in the debate. It is clear that Paul is prohibiting something, but just what he prohibits has been fiercely contested.
In response I wrote in a comment on his blog,

"Are you aware that “assumer d'authorité” was Calvin’s own rendering of this verse. (Docere autem muliere non permitto, neque auctoritatem sibi sumere in virum, sed quietam esse.) I am surprised that you and Grudem part so vigorously with Calvin on this point.

And the KJV had “usurp authority.” We know from the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes that to “usurp” was treason, a crime to be punished with death.

There is also a significant point which you have missed regarding Köstenberger’s conclusion. While many, both egalitarians and complementarians agree that both verbs didaskein and authentein must have the same force, not all agree that that force is positive.

Here is the discussion from Köstenberger’s website,

A case in point is I. H. Marshall. In his 1999 ICC commentary on the Pastorals, Marshall at the outset indicates his acceptance of the findings of my study by noting that it has “argued convincingly on the basis of a wide range of Gk. usage that the construction employed in this verse is one in which the writer expresses the same attitude (whether positive or negative) to both of the items joined together by oude.”

Yet Marshall proceeds to opt for a negative connotation of both terms “teach” and “have authority,” because he says false teaching is implied in the reference to Adam and Eve in verse 14. This, however, is hardly the case. More likely, Paul’s concern was with women being the victims of false teaching, not its perpetrators (see esp. 1 Tim. 5:14–15). Also, Marshall fails to adequately consider the above-mentioned point, that teaching is virtually always construed as a positive activity in the Pastorals and that it should therefore be construed positively also in 1 Timothy 2:12.

But “virtually always” is not at all the same as “always.” In Titus 1 didaskein is construed negatively, and this negates K’s argument. In fact, there are no clear positive occurences of authentein, and one clear negative example of didaskein in the pastorals, so we are obliged to consider the possibility that authentein is negative, as the BDAG indicates."

And in a further comment, I wrote,

"The history of interpretation on this verse should not start in 1984.

Vulgate – dominari
Erasmus – autoritatem usurpare
Wycliffe – have lordship on the husband
Tyndale – have authority
KJV – usurp authority
Calvin – assume authority [1855]
Luther – herr sei"

To be honest, I do not have an English translation produced by Calvin. There is, however, an English version which is called the Calvin Bible, and it appears to be an English translation of Calvin's Latin commentaries. For 1 Tim. 2:12, it has, "But I suffer not the woman to teach, nor to assume authority over the man, but to be silent." This is from the 1855 Calvin Translation Society. I have no record of what English translation Calvin would have approved. Nonetheless, we can see that the rendering of the NIV 2011, "assume authority" does not originate in 2005, nor is it a novel and suspect translation. And yet, Denny Burk writes, "As you can see, the crucial change occurred in the TNIV 2005." Oh dear.

Update: Denny has deleted all my comments on this post. He has not acknowledged that "assume authority" is a translation option with a good history. Douglas Moo has now commented in defense of the NIV2011. This is déjà vu. I can hardly believe it. Everyone else is off analysing this and that in the NIV2011 but for some the only significant verse is 1 Tim. 2:12. Complementarians are not afraid to cast aspersions on their own people.

"Honor such men"

Those who campaigned against the TNIV, lead by the editor of the ESV, like to use the following verse as a foundation for their disapproval of the TNIV.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, Rev. 22:18
Wayne Grudem concludes his summary of concerns against the TNIV with these words,
If the TNIV should gain wide acceptance, the precedent will be established for other Bible translations to mute unpopular nuances and details of meaning for the sake of "political correctness." The loss of many other doctrines unpopular in the culture will soon follow. And at every case Bible readers will never know if what they are reading is really the Word of God or the translators' ideas of something that would be a little less offensive than what God actually said. "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it" (Deut. 4:2).
However, I cannot help but notice that Grudem was himself responsible for adding the word "men" to the ESV. In Phil. 2:29 it reads,
29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men,
In fact, this phrase, "honor such men" is now a quotable Bible phrase, one that was not available in the KJV. It is clear that Grudem, the editor of the ESV, feels that no words should be added to the word of God with the exclusion of the word "man" or "men." How silly of me not to understand this the first time around.

Here is the Greek for this verse, no "men" in sight.
προσδέχεσθε οὖν αὐτὸν ἐν κυρίῳ μετὰ πάσης χαρᾶς, καὶ τοὺς τοιούτους ἐντίμους ἔχετε,
When Paul writes about Epaphroditus and then says honour "those who are like him," we have to look at what it is about Epaphroditus that is significant in this passage, and whether women could meet the same criteria. Here is the passage in Philippians about Epaphroditus, and I then follow up with a similar passage in Romans 16, written about Phoebe and Priscilla.
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
I cannot imagine any rationale at all for saying that Phil. 2:29 should be translated as "honor such men." It is very difficult for me to feel that the commentary promoting manhood in the Bible ought to be taken seriously. Very difficult indeed.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Rachel and Mary

Far from dying down, the gender debate is developing in some very entertaining directions. Rachel Held Evans has plans to spend some time with Mary Kassian at Southern Baptist Seminary. Naturally I am deeply concerned that some people may get the wrong impression about Canadian women from Mary Kassian. I personally cannot identify with the come thither sexuality latent in her photo shoot. I tend to a more casual look myself, and am not into leather. Oh well, I always think of Canadian women as a down home bunch who don't aspire to much more than a well-fitting pair of yoga pants and Uggs.

I am following Rachel Held Evans blog with avid interest although I do think the entire effort bears an uncanny resemblance to the Julie and Julia fiasco. In this case, Held Evans is imitating the stereotypical 1950's housewife, as she is represented in Mary Kassian's book, but as she never existed in real life.

As Kassian says, "Pornography and rape and homosexuality, sexual perversion, sexual addiction, sexually transmitted diseases were uncommon and rarely encountered" back in the world of her childhood, that world which never existed. And of course, "once married, a woman could normally count on her husband to financially support her and the children." This is why there were so many orphanages. Orphanages where children were sterilized, back in the idyllic world of the 1950's in Alberta, and probably all across Canada, back in the good old days of Mary Kassian's youth.

Um. Just in case it sounds as if I am being hard on Kassian, this is what she has to say about those who don't hold to her view of womanhood. "Now days, the epitome of empowered womanhood is to live a self-serving, self-righteous, neurotic, narcissistic, superficial, and adulteress life."

She completely disregards the fact that many single women want to be empowered to care for their parents, their children, their pets and their house, as well as reach out to others.On top of that, most of them wish to support themselves - what a selfish and adulteress desire. Did I just write that? Will some save me from this kind of spelling blunder! I wonder who edited this sermon of Mary's?

Monday, November 01, 2010

NIV 2010

The NIV 2010 is available today on the Biblegateway website. There are some fascinating changes - I would love to have seen the inside trading on some points.

Here is the fun stuff . In Hebrews 2:17, the phrase "brothers and sisters" was tossed to the cutting room floor and replaced with "them."
For this reason he had to be made like them,k]">[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17 (Or like his brothers) NIV 2010

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. TNIV
In 1 Tim. 2, "Christ Jesus, himself human" (TNIV) was replaced with "the man, Christ Jesus." HT Dave Ker, Better Bibles Blog. Some loss of meaning and literalness there, but in 1 Tim. 2:12, the NIV 2010 retains the wording of the TNIV, "to assume authority" thus rendering it a 'novel and suspect' translation, according to Wayne Grudem. In fact, "to assume authority" is close to the KJV, "to usurp authority" and identical with the English translation of the French Bible that Calvin was associated with (called in English Calvin's Bible.) Congratulations to the NIV 2010 team on keeping the TNIV wording here.

In Romans 16:7 Junia remains "outstanding among the apostles" but a footnote offers "esteemed by the apostles." In spite of the fact that there is no support for the translation offered in the note, this seems like a reasonable compromise. I find the compromises very cleverly done.

For other commentary, view this list.