Sunday, August 14, 2011

Removing mighty men from the NIV

Complementarianism has surely gone to the very top of the public consciousness by now. Those women friends of mine who claimed that it would never impact on the larger society are now beginning to scratch their heads in dismay. That is not because they are not conversant with the Bible. It is because they are.

For example, Denny Burk writes against the NIV 2011 pointing out various changes from the NIV 1984, which he claims are "inaccuracies,"

12. Removing "man" when the original Hebrew means "a male
human being" ('ish, gibbor, zaqar, bahur, and also 'adam [but only
when 'adam refers to a specific male person]) (247 inaccuracies)

a. The Hebrew nouns gibbor and gibborim when previously
translated "mighty man/men" (21 inaccuracies)

But in the Genesius Lexicon, 1846, (click on the image to enlarge) "mighty warrior" which is what the NIV 2011 uses, is indeed found among the usages of gibbor. In fact, we can see that gibbor does not actually mean "man" at all, since it is used of a lion. Why should one translation be called inaccurate just because the choice among the several possible ways to render a Hebrew or Greek word in English varies from one translation to another?

I have to say that I feel Dr. Burk is misleading his readers in accusing the NIV 2011 of inaccuracies. It is sad to see so many comparisons between the NIV 1984 and the NIV 2011. We were once raised to think of 1984 as the dystopian future, but according to Dr. Burk, it may be thought of represented as the gold standard of Bible translation.

6 comments:

Don said...

I think Denny simply does not see his bias in this area.

Suzanne said...

Its a lousy way to treat the translators of the NIV.

Don said...

Anyone who investigates both sides sees what is going on. The problem is that some just imbibe without using their God-given filters.

believer333 said...

It seems that trashing the NIV may be becoming just 'the thing to do' that will help establish one's social status among comps.

diamondnell said...

That could really backfire, though. They are banking on the comp brand name being bigger than the NIV's, without ever having developed the comp brand name as such. They portray themselves as the only ones who really believe the Bible, but that lie is coming unravelled.

Of course, human reputations shouldn't rule the day.

goulablogger said...

It's rather sad, really.

"Mighty warrior" isn't gender specific enough? How many Xena Warrior Princesses are there in the Bible?

You don't have to translate foreign languages to know words frequently have ranges of meaning, which must be narrowed down by context. And the context can be hard to pin down in everyday life, never mind a document written millenia ago.

To use another word within the range of meaning should be a legitimate thing, a topic of debate and discussion at most.

But speaking of mistranslations, apparently Christ said in John, "Everyone will know you are my disciples by this: that you despise one another's translations".

Sad.

Chuck Grantham