Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rod Decker's review of the NIV 2011

Update: I said that I would comment on the treatment of Romans 16:7 in Decker's review. Above all, I felt that it lacked clarity. What he does not state clearly is that while early manuscripts lack accents, there is no manuscript with masculine accents for Junia and many with the feminine. All references to Junia in Greek from the early church to present day are feminine. Junia was a common Latin name for a woman, and Junius for a man. There is no instance of a masculine name Junias in Latin or Greek. The one exception is in a text attributed to Epiphanius, who also turned Prisca into Priscas. This is routinely discounted.

Decker also cites the NET Bible note on 'well-known to' without a critical assessment of this note. Since the note does not treat the citation from Pss. Sol. 2:6 consistent with its context, this note is invalid. Decker does not discuss this. He gives the impression that there is a reasonable chance that Junia was not a female apostle, but, in my opinion, the review does not offer adequate support for this. I appreciate that it is difficult to treat such a complex issue in a comprehensive review.

Rod Decker has just posted his review of the NIV 2011. Overall it is a favourable review. I notice that he has cited Calvin with regard to "assume authority" in 1 Tim. 2:12. The Committee on Bible Translation also cited Calvin on this point in their response to the CBMW on June 9, 2011. I have some reason to believe that it was my mention of Calvin's translation of 1 Tim. 2:12 that enabled this point to become widely known.

I have written about this here, here, here, here and here. I am not sure how it happened but somehow, by this June, Douglas Moo had become aware of Calvin's translation auctoritatem sumere and was able to encorporate this into his response.

Decker also comments on Romans 16:7. However, I am having some difficulty understanding his discussion of Junia, so I will work on it tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dan Wallace on 1 Tim. 2:12

Dan Wallace has finished his four part review of the NIV 2011. Overall it has been a positive review of the NIV 2011, giving the NIV as a tradition top marks for readability and 8 out of 10 for accuracy. My major disagreement with his review is the remarkable fact that he assigns a 10 out of 10 for accuracy to the NET Bible, when it contains certain interpretations of verses referring to women that do not have scholarly consensus.

The question of accuracy is crucial here. Is accuracy something attained by a revelation from the Holy Spirit to an individual translator? Is accuracy a hypothesis put forward in the hopes that other scholars will recognize it? Or is accuracy the consensus of scholars in the international biblical studies community?

I would appreciate any contributions on this especially if possible also from those in the scholarly community.

Accuracy in Bible translation seems like a modernist notion that is in reality unattainable. I can say that both tradition and scholarly consensus lead us to believe that several choices made in the NET Bible, either in the text or in the notes, were not made according to either tradition or consensus. How, in this case, does Dan Wallace measure the accuracy of a Bible?

If you notice the thread on this post, you will see that Dr. Wallace declines to discuss 1 Tim. 2:12. This was a passage that I attempted to debate with him on his blog. But that is not allowed according to the rules of his blog. I was blocked not long after that.

I wonder if Dan Wallace is aware that the word in 1 Tim. 2:12 is best translated as either "dominate" or "usurp/assume authority" but for some reason, he has decided not to share this on his blog.

However, that is conjecture. I wish I knew what was really happening. I think you can see that some people feel that the phrase "assume authority" instead of "exercise authority" is reason enough to reject the NIV 2011. I wonder if that means that the same people will also reject Luther, Calvin and the King James Bible, which use "be the lord of" "assume authority" and "usurp authority" in that order.

Night Train to Lisbon

This Swiss novel by Pascal Mercier is proving to be my reading highlight of the summer. The main character, a professor in a gymnasium, (a university prepratory high school) is experiencing middle age existential angst. He is a professor (or teacher, as we would say in English) of Hebrew, Latin and Greek. Of course, one question is why he never became a university professor.

But the central theme revolves around our connectedness to others, and our freedom to think for ourselves, to express ideas which stand in tension with those around us. It is written by a man, about a man, who is researching the life of a man. Yet the message is about the human soul, and whether such a thing exists.

Gregorius is a middle-aged divorcé, who through a series of happenstances, encounters a book written in Portuguese by Amadeu de Prado, a Portuguese physician who lived in Lisbon during the dictatorship of Salazar. He leaves his home and his job by night train to Lisbon to pursue the life and times of Prado. In order to do so, he must use his skills as a linguist, as one who reads Hebrew, Greek and Latin, and who speaks German, French, English and Spanish - in order to learn Portuguese.

In this book the Biblia Hebraica features as a central point around which much of the action takes place. Imagine Gregorius in the headmaster's office in the abandonned lycée which Prado had attended years before. He finds the Hebrew Bible in a desk drawer and wraps it in a sweater against the damp. With the light from a single round window and a camp stove, he sits and reads the papers of Amadeu de Prado.

Imagine this scene then, and the main character, Gregorius, reading the words of Amadeu de Prado's valedictorian speech as a 17 year old. Here are excerpts from the opening,
I would not like to live in a world without cathedrals. I need their beauty and grandeur. I need them against the vulgarity of the world. I want to look up at the illuminated church windows and let myself be blinded by the unearthly colors. I need their luster. I need it against the dirty colors of the uniforms. I want to let myself be wrapped in the austere coolness of the churches. ... I want to read the powerful words of the Bible. I need the unreal force of their poetry. I need it against the dilapidation of the langauge and the dictatorship of the slogans. A world without these things would be a world I would not like to live in. ...

But there is also another world that I don't want to live in: the world where the body and independent thought are disparaged, and the best things we can experience are denounced as sins. The world that demands love of tyrants, slave masters, and cutthroats, whether their brutal boot steps reverberate through the streets with a deafening echo or they slink with feline silence like cowardly shadows through the streets and pierce their victims in the heart from behind with flashing steel. What is most absurd is that people are exhorted from the pupit to forgive such creatures and even to love them. Even if some really could do it: it would meand an unparalleled dishonety and merciless self-denial whose cost would be total deformity.
And the closing paragraph,
I would not like to live in a world without cathedrals. I need the luster of their windows, their cool stillness, their imperious silence. I need the deluge of the organ and the sacred devotion of praying people. I need the holiness of words, the grandeur of great poetry. All that I need. But just as much I need the freedom and hostility against everything cruel. For the one is nothing without the other. And no one may force me to choose.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Junia, the apostle: Index

I note that I remain the "go to" person for Junia, an apostle. Here is the index to my posts on the Better Bibles Blog. Here are some follow up posts on this blog. Somebody told me that I have written at least 37 posts on Junia altogether so searching both the BBB and here might produce more results.

In brief, Greek literature from the church fathers, to modern Greek Bibles, all reflect that Junia is an apostle. Information in the NET Bible note is inaccurate. Here is the short version,

When, however, an elative notion is found, ἐν (en) plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon (cf. Pss. Sol. 2:6).

In Pss. Sol. 2:6, the word episemos does not seem to mean "well-known to" but rather "with a mark." Here is the Greek with a literal translation,
    οἱ υἱοὶ καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ἐν αἰχμαλωσίᾳ πονηρᾷ, ἐν σφραγῖδι ὁ τράχηλος αὐτῶν, ἐν ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν

    The sons and daughters were in harsh captivity
    their neck in a seal, with a mark among the nations
    Psalm of Solomon 6:2 NETS
I am aware that there is a suggestion that this can be translated as "in a prominent [place]" among the Gentiles, but the result is the same - the suggested "place" is still among the Gentiles.

Although ἐν plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ἐν plus) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.

There also does not seem to be any word of perception in the Greek. It would help if the word of perception could be pointed out.

The Net Bible notes - full of unpleasant little surprises

I feel that somehow the clickability of the NET Bible makes it very attractive to some people. I have to admit that it is a lot of fun.

But I don't like it. I find that there is significant bias, and the notes do not give equal space to egalitarian views, but are tilted strongly in the direction of complementarianism. Here are some examples.

The note on Romans 16:7 on Junia contains a significant amount of completely inaccurate material. I just don't understand how it remains up there. I refuse to discuss it today.

In Eph. 4:8, we read "he gave gifts to men." I actually expected the note to mention that the word translated "men" is, in fact, in the Greek, the gender inclusive word for "people." But no, that information is not there.

In Gen. 3:16, the woman will "desire to control" her husband and he will "dominate" her. Not only is "desire to control" a dubious translation, but the note for "dominate" (mashal) leads the reader to believe that it has a negative and sinful connotation and "is part of the baser human nature." Not so! Here is an example of a purely innocent use of the word, "And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled (mashal) over all that he had," Gen. 24:2. The fact that a man rules his wife, in any way at all, is wrong, and occurs here as part of the consequences of the fall.

I refuse to continue with this. How can I communicate that this is insulting and degrading to women? The NET Bible notes are full of unpleasant little surprises. I don't like reading them.

Homosexual orientation is "deeply sinful" CBMW

The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has upped the ante. No longer is homosexuality a pathology to be cured, but rather homosexual orientation itself is now "deeply sinful."
The New Testament reveals that a homosexual sexual orientation, whatever its shape or causation, is essentially wrong, contrary to the Creator's purpose, and deeply sinful.
Please read the entire article. As one who works with children, I am primarily concerned for children with an innapropriate sense of their own entitlement. Children who consider their needs to be important enough to cause harm to others. These children flail out, hit and cry, bully and intimidate. My concern for the boy who dons a dress to play in the toy kitchen is that he not be bullied.

In case you ask why the views of CBMW are so important, I will explain. I had never heard the name of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood mentioned in my church. I did not think of it as having a significant influence. But when I challenged the view of the clergy on the subordination of the wife in the home, the minister cited from Wayne Grudem verbatim. I later learned of his connection to Bruce Ware. The CBMW and those associated with it have a broad influence. Mark Driscoll also credits these two men with influencing him. Unfortunately it all happened in my own home town.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dan Wallace compares the NRSV and the ESV

I am not too sure what to make of this. In part 3 of his series on the NIV 2011, Dr. Wallace compares a list of translations with respect to elegance, accuracy and readability. He suggests that elegance and readability exist in tension with each other. He writes,
By choosing clarity and readability above the other objectives (even though accuracy is listed as its first priority), the NIV stumbles over elegance. One can’t have everything in a translation, but it is possible to have two of the three major features. The NIV is strong on readability and somewhat strong on accuracy, while the ESV is strong on elegance and somewhat strong on accuracy and, less so, on readability. The NET is strong on accuracy, somewhat strong on elegance (though this is patchy), and semi-strong on readability. Perhaps a chart of major English translations with these objectives in mind would help the reader.
The following is an excerpt from his chart showing only the rating out of 10 for the NRSV and the ESV. I am surprised to find that the NRSV is considered to be both less elegant and less readable than the ESV, although equally accurate. I will explain the reason for my surprise.












A few years back, the difference between the NIV and TNIV was discussed and researched. Two charts were produced which indicated that the ESV and NRSV are considerably more similar to each other than the NIV and TNIV. Here are the two charts thanks to Mike at ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ.

I am not sure if I am imagining things, but I sometimes get the impression that somewhat unfavourable things are said about the NRSV simply because it is not an "evangelical Bible" or perhaps because it was the trail blazer for gender inclusive translations. What do you think?

These charts only measure similarity to each other. They do not measure any specific features, if I understand correctly. Look at how similar the NRSV and ESV really are.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two posts on gender

Tonya and Kurk have written fantastic posts about gender and blogging.

Gobsmacked at Dan Wallace

I have not yet finished reading this post. HT BBB. (Thank you, Peter, for your own response to this post.) But so far, I am astonished!

Dr. Wallace rightly critiques a choice of wording in the NRSV. He writes,
In Matt 18.15, the NRSV is an ugly translation. This is due to an overriding principle of making the translation gender inclusive, even if the English ends up being terrible. Who speaks like this: “If the member listens to you, you have regained that one”? In this respect, the NRSV has gone retro, mimicking the homeliness of the old RV, but without its accuracy. Ironically, the NRSV committee’s attempt at avoiding sexual connotations by replacing ‘brother’ with ‘member’ results in creating sexual connotations of another sort! (One of the major tasks of Bible translators these days is to get rid of what one scholar calls the ‘snicker factor’—those places where bathroom humor or sexual innuendo need to be changed, making the translation junior-high-boy foolproof. The NRSV succeeded on several fronts, changing what the RSV had—e.g., Ps 50.9 [“I will not accept a bull from your house” vs. “I will accept no bull from your house”]. But not all: see, for example, Matt 8.20.) Further, by stretching the limits of gender inclusiveness to the breaking point, the NRSV distorts the text here: ‘brother’ is a familial term, and in the context of church discipline has connotations of warmth and commitment to each other that ‘member’ lacks. What is left is a cold harshness in the context of discipline, far removed from what the Matthean saying originally intended to convey.
All very well and logical. A little funny even. But I didn't laugh. Am I a humourless feminist? Some days I am. Here is why.

Early on, I had read some of what Dr. Wallace had written. I came accross this essay called "Biblical Gynecology". I do read Greek, it wasn't that. So far in my life, I have never used the word without spreading my legs. I think of the gynecological theologians as "spread leg" theologians. That is, they spread the legs of women, they measure women by their womb, or by extension, by their submission to the man. Here is the note for 1 Tim. 2:15 in the NET Bible. "The idea of childbearing, then, is a metonymy of part for the whole that encompasses the woman’s submission again to the leadership of the man." It evokes a certain view of sexuality that I cannot bear to read.

I am writing about how it feels for this woman to read the words of a "respected" theologian.

Let me be clear here. There are few enough women who have not had an unknown male grope, grab or pinch their private parts in a public place. And I don't mean the cheeks. No, I mean intrusive sexual grabbing of the private parts. How many men have been groped and had their "member" grabbed in public by an unknown female? But I am a woman, and I know all about being grabbed in public while wearing modest clothes. Men need to be sensitive to the fact that women are subject to the crude violence of males in their every day life. And it isn't funny.

I appealed to Dr. Wallace to change the title of his essay and he did not. Some time later, in response to a male biblioblogger, Dr. Wallace did change the title. But the question is why did Dr. Wallace not respond to a request from a female.

And my next point is that being called a "brother" evokes absolutely zero "warmth." It reminds me that some believe that the Bible is written for men, and women exist in harsh subordination. I have suffered enough outrageous deprivation of my own self, body and soul from subordination. I cannot bear to know that some people have no idea how painful this kind of writing is.

I can't interact with Dr. Wallace's post because I have been blocked for not backing down on points of accuracy in Latin and Greek, or something like that. But there is no way on earth that reading "brother" and "he" gives me the feeling of a family or recalls in any way at all, my own family, which was an old-fashioned, Brethren family of "brothers and sisters."

There is a need for women to wake up and say that they are not "brothers" and what is more important is that nobody treats us like brothers. In fact, most places where men predominate, women are not treated as one of the men. There is a family with all the females left out. That does not make me feel very good.

It breaks my heart. We are "sisters" expunged from the text, or we are "brothers" but not treated as brothers, or we are wombs and child-bearers, in the gynecological position.

In conclusion, I acknowledge that Dr. Wallace writes fairly and favourably about the TNIV and NIV 2011. He writes,
Finally, the TNIV (2005) and NIV 2011 should be mentioned. These are gender-inclusive translations or perhaps gender neutral, but not nearly to the extent as the NRSV. And on the translation committee—indeed, the chairman of the Committee on Bible Translation, Douglas Moo—are those who would be styled ‘complementarians.’ That is, these translators (by no means all, but a good portion of them no doubt) generally believe in male leadership in the home and church. The opposing group is known as egalitarians, those who believe essentially that men do not have the sole rights as leaders in the home or church. The remarkable thing about these two newer translations is that such scholars could work together to produce them. And all of them are evangelicals. This speaks very highly for the TNIV and NIV 2011 and serves as an implicit endorsement of the translation by both groups. Although ‘over 100 scholars’ seems like overkill for a good translation (a much smaller group could do as good a job if not better), the NIV’s multinational and multidenominational workforce removes it from any charges of sectarian bias. This really has to go for the gender issue, too, because of both complementarians and egalitarians on the translation committees.
All this does is break my heart all over again. How could he write such sensible words, when he is the one responsible for removing Junia from her position as apostle, on a misreading of the Greek? I just don't get it. Link

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Scriptio Continua

Early Greek manuscripts were written without word breaks or spaces between the words. This is consistent with writing in many different languages today. Word spaces are not a universal feature of writing or advanced literacy in society. Neither are word breaks a feature which emerged with the printing press.

The evolution of features of writing and writing systems are not unidirectional as Tim Bulkely comments,
The changes in chunking and in extra textual cues have not at all been unidirectional, and are fascinating to track.
In order to provide some context for Tim's remark, I offer these two images. The first is the Cuthbert Gospel, more information here, a 7th century Latin text in the style of the Lindisfarne Gospels. In this Latin text, there are word spaces as well as line spacing which reflects phrasing in the text.

The second is the Khitrovo Gospel, 14th century. In this text, there are no word breaks although there are punctuation marks and other diacritics. It is evident, however, that the lack of word spacing does not reflect a need to conserve paper. It is difficult to draw conclusions about the function of literacy in a society by the presence or absence of word spacing. However, it is safe to assume that as a particular style developed, it became an identifying feature of writing for that culture or subculture.

Note. I had orginally found this image of the Khitrovo Gospel on this site. However, it is no longer there, but I have retained a copy of this image since 2005.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Early Christian Literacy

I attended a lecture by Larry Hurtado at Regent College last night, and enjoyed hearing a lot about early Christian literacy. I only wish I had access to the images he used for his presentation. However, I have found a couple of examples of what he was talking about. On a post of his dating back to last August he writes,
There is a constellation of features that mark off early Christian manuscripts in the book-culture of the time. I have proposed that these comprise our earliest evidence of an emerging early Christian “visual and material culture”. Some of these manuscripts are dated as early as the late second century CE, making them perhaps the earliest (and certainly among the earliest) physical artifacts of early Christianity.

The early Christian preference for the codex, the curious scribal devices known as “nomina sacra”, the various features that comprise what appear to be “readers’ aids” (e.g., early forms of punctuation, wide line-spacing, use of spaces to mark off sense-units) all are noteworthy features of early Christian book-production.

The only example I can provide at the moment is this image from the first page of the Gospel of John in P66 about 200 CE. Here we can see wide line spacing, and several high dots, the first in line 2 after ὁ λόγος and the second is in line 3 before the καὶ. There is also a blank space in line 7 marking off a sense unit between verse 5 and verse 6 beginning Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος. There is a diaresis over the "I" at the beginning of John's name, Ἰωάννης, in line 9 ad in line 2 there is a nomen sacrum for God, a theta and sigma with a line above.

PS Click on the image to enlarge it. Right click to open it in its own window.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Junia with a moustache

Kurk has always made blogging so much fun. He writes again about Junia, giving her a moustache, and links to many of my far too long and detailed posts on the topic. Not to bore you any longer, I just wanted to supply the actual photo and not some mock up girl with a fake moustache. Why not have the real McCoy, Kurk?

Ah yes - the point. The point is that male bias is a reality of life in Bible translation. It always has been and perhaps it always will be. What a pain!

top biblioblogger

The Top 10 Biblioblogs reports that I have been voted number 1! (No artwork, though.) I don't know how to interpret this, since I have no idea how many people vote. But let me say that I sincerely appreciate the response.

I take this two ways. First, I personally should keep on blogging. In spite of my single issue blogging, some people still want to read it. Second, I choose to read into the results that the biblioblogosphere wants to affirm the participation of women. I don't think I am far off there.

There are still few women biblioblogging, and there certainly is a lack of women with an academic background blogging in biblical studies. No doubt. I can't fill that slot, and I won't try. I can only be myself. I have many other things on my plate, that have no relation to biblical studies, so I can't expand much in that direction.

I truly feel that there is a great deal of friendship and empathy expressed for women in the biblioblogosphere. Thanks to James for this comment,
Congratulations to Suzanne McCarthy of Suzanne’s Bookshelf for being Number 1 on the June 2011 Top 10 Biblioblogs. Certain conservative Christians have moderated her out of their blogs, or have shed crocodile tears over her spiritual condition. It is for both of these reasons that I root for her success as a blogger! Anyone who draws gasps from right-wing Christians cannot be that bad!
So, lots of friendly interaction and I appreciate that. But the question remains, why would anyone blog about my spiritual condition? Women, effeminates, and atheists routinely draw fire in some very unpleasant ways. There are nasty things said about our status and right to exist and function alongside the "real men" all the time. Although only a very small proportion of bibliobloggers are mean, this has some dampening effect. Most of the negative comments are said by those who are not actually bibliobloggers, but these more outspoken authors are often affirmed by bibliobloggers.

On the up side, here are some positive things being said. Bob Cargill wrote,
The use of religion to suppress women is wrong regardless of the religion used to do so. This – THIS! – is precisely why non-Christians hate fundamentalist Christians: because they use scripture to keep women down, when all Jesus ever wanted to do was lift them up.
Steve Caruso wrote about the qualifications to be a biblioblogger,
3) Civility – It must — barring traditional sarcasm or banter — keep proper decorum, free of disrespect for other bloggers. Direct personal attacks against other bloggers will result in disqualification.
On the other hand, Mark Driscoll is now going to redouble his efforts to get across his views. He writes,

So, we are working on a new website where I can speak to these real issues in a fuller context. Lord willing, sometime in September, after my trip to Europe with my family and a lot of other people, and then some recovery time, we will launch a new website.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Luther and my dog

reflections on my dog dying. In the second chapter of Genesis, the human and the animal are both called nephesh chayah, living beings. In the Greek Septuagint, in the Latin Vulgate, in Pagnini, and in Wycliff, man and beast, or human and animal, are called by the same name - nephesh chayah.

So who was it that first called the animals "animals" and the human a living "soul?" The only culprit that comes to mind is Luther. He translated lebendige Seele for the human, and lebendige Tiere for animals.

I suppose that if you believe in scripture alone, sola scriptura, you might want to make sure that the Bible translation reflected the doctrine that you already hold. I suppose you would not want readers to be lead astray. Even if you are lead astray yourself.

Here is a story about Martin Luther. I don't know if it is true or not. But it probably is. He had a daughter Magdalena who died at the age of 14. Here is the story,
Martin Luther's young daughter asked her father, as she lay dying, 'Will there be horses in heaven?' To which Luther replied, 'If you need for there to be horses in heaven to be happy, then there will be horses in heaven'.
The lesson to be learned is that sometimes there is no lesson to be learned. Sometimes you take away the x-ray machine and the stethascope and you lay your cheek down on the furry beast and listen to him breathe. Give up exegesis, my dear friend. Give up the dead law, and listen to the breath of life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Bible translation is messy. Life is messy. My dog died. So did Kurk's.

Here is Genesis 2:7 and 17.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
You know by now that the "man" is the earthling, the human being, a creature of the dust. But did you know that the "living soul" and the "living creature" are exactly the same phrase in Hebrew? Identical. נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה nephesh chayah.

The human, and the animal, are described by exactly the same term. Who will make a doctrine out of this? Not me. I don't make doctrine out of dust. We are Janus - on the one hand, we can lie down and hug the earth, belong to the dirt. But also we lie stretched out to the sun, or angels in the snow. We need to remember what we are created out of. Enough of the word, the text, the argument - breath and dust is all I know today.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Sibling Gods

In this image, we can see clearly that Ptolemy II and Arsinöe II were called 'Siblings.' The Greek word for "siblings" is adelphoi - ΑΔΕΛΦΟΙ. This article about the incestuous marriages of the Ptolemies reads,
"On the reverse of coins dedicated to their parents as gods, they put their conjoined portraits with the added word 'siblings' (Adelphoi) -- just in case you missed the point. In fact, both king and queen took the title Philadelphos, 'Sibling-lover' -- used thereafter on documents and coins -- which deliberately highlights their incestuous union."

For some reason, there are those who claim that adelphoi means "brothers." But this is an image of a man and a woman.

Several couples in history and mythology were called Theoi Adelphoi - siblings gods - Cleopatra and Ptolemy, Zeus and Hera, Isis and Osiris, and Ptolemy II and Arsinöe II.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Female beauty matters ...

This was such an important discussion last month. As if this is what biblical women should really care about. However, I believe my natural beauty shines through, so here are a few fun facts. You can consider them "Suzanne's fashion tips."

I go to the hairdresser three times a year, whether I need it or not.

I last used lipstick to mark the point where the drill needed to go into the doorframe. Here is what you do - rub lipstick on the end of the bolt, push the blot against the frame and the lipstick leaves a mark in the right place.

I haven't bought a new pair of jeans, shorts, etc. in a year. It takes way too much time. Get a couple of decent pairs of jeans and accessorize.

I sometimes go around with a little garden dirt under my nails.

I actually do know how to sew - I made a full set of slipcovers for a couch recently, but I would never sew clothes these days. It would cost too much.

I consider it a very dangerous move to own more than one purse. I would lose my keys for good.

I enjoy wearing polka dots. Clothes, when you think about them, should be fun.

I am a totally involved mother but I made a commitment not to discuss my family on the blog. That is not a fashion tip, but it relates to sharing clothes with my kids.

I am watching Nyles and Daphne profess their love to each other.

I have two cashmere sweaters, one is in decent shape for wearing out, the other has a whole in it, so I wear it for comfort, when doing chores, reading in bed with the window open and a wind blowing. It goes in the wash. Everyone should have a cashmere sweater that can be tossed in the wash.

Thank you for voting for me. I am touched - I have read some of the comments - once again thank you all.

He stayed and worked with them ...

I feel that his kind of teaching, deprives women of basic human dignity,
"Likewise, men and women have different responsibilities as equal image-bearers of the Triune God. Men are made to be cultivators—creators and stewards of family and culture (cf. Gen. 1:26,28, 2:19-20; 3:8-20). Men are commanded by God to provide for their families (1 Tim. 5:8 ...

God the Father is the Cultivator, creating all that exists and will exist (Gen. 1:1-2:3). God is the Provider, ....

Women are made to be helpers of men. Today, if you say that a woman is a helper, a listener is liable to think you’re saying that women should be barefoot and pregnant, never go to college (or learn to read for that matter) and not have opinions. And that is pure nonsense. When you read “women are to be helpers,” please don’t fall prey to the notion that that means women are to be subjugated. The subjugation of women is an affront to God. Rather, please see it for what it truly is: That women are to embrace their role that is modeled by the Holy Spirit, who is called the Helper (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7).

By being a helper, women follow the guidance of their husbands (or fathers) ...."
Women I know, including myself, spend so much time and effort putting family first, providing for our families both financially and caring for them in many other ways. I feel sick when I see this kind of teaching. Even though the Bible has patriarchal passages, it would be greatly helped if one could read a Bible for what it does say, and realize that the Bible presents both the hierarchy of its own cultural context, and the recognition that both men and women have basic human dignity.

Women as well as men worked in the scripture. Paul worked with both Priscilla and Aquila, or did Priscilla only sit by and thread Aquila's needle?
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Acts 18:3.
There is a kind of Christianity which denies that women are providers, creators and cultivators. This demeans and insults women over and over again. Those who promote this teaching are diminishing the basic human dignity of women. I don't think there is anything wrong with either a man or a woman staying home to care for children. But when women work, in order to provide financially for their families, then it is mud in their face to deny it.

A gender accurate translation would make it clear that 1 Tim. 5:8 does not teach that men only are providers, but rather all of us are to care for each other.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The death of the masculine generic

I would have thought that "fellow" was a gender neutral term, a word that might have been used for males, but has come to be a masculine generic, a masculine term which could refer to women also. And as such, I would not complain. I have no specific problem with the use of masculine generics, as long as they are intended as such and used as such. I am not concerned with the use of masculine terms in the original languages.

However, the masculine generic is being suffocated, eradicated, slowly and surely. Michael Patton, in comments on his post, writes,
Yes, that is right Nate. The fellow could be egalitarian. I would certainly not have a problem with this.

But, again, there are certain things that the stand must be taken one way or the other when the rubber meets the road in establishing something like this. If we allowed to have women, for better or worse, we would be percieved as taking an egalitarian stand. If we don’t allow for women, then we are percieved as taking a complementarian stand. Either way, the perception of a stand is there no matter what. Therefore, since I am a complementarian (as are most of the board members), this is the side we have to fall on.
So, I understand that a "fellow" can be egalitarian, but a "fellow" can not be a woman. This means that there is a brotherhood between men, both complementarian and egalitarian, that does not extend to women. This is very hurtful and is displayed in the abysmal participation of women in the biblioblogosphere.

Later in the comments, Michael goes on to explain that a "fellow" is a fella, and a "monk" is a gal. That's fine, but how is a reader supposed to know this? This is a specialist language, known to only a few. Does Michael hand out a dictionary with his posts?

There is one rule for decoding this language that I could suggest. If the term refers to a position which entails authority, it is for men only and if it refers to being a support worker, then women can fill it. This is similar to the way that Bible translation decisions are made in some versions.

Michael then links back to his post on head pastors, where he wrote,
Now, let me give my short and sweet answer as to why Paul did not allow women to teach:

Paul did not let women teach due to the often aggressive and combative nature that teaching must entail concerning the confrontation of false doctrine. Men must be the teachers when combating false teaching. However, because the role of a teacher in the church is so often to combat false doctrine, and because false doctrine is always a problem, generally speaking, the principles are always applicable. The “exercising of authority” is inherently tied to teaching and its necessary condemnation of false doctrine.

The combative nature of teaching is particularly relevant to a broader understanding of the characteristics of men and women.

If you read the rest of Michael's post you will appreciate what I have to say here. Women my age do NOT dress in a Cinderella costume. Many to NOT have a man to turn to if they am burgled in the night. Some have been considered to be sufficiently aggressive and combative to combat false teaching.

I daresay that Michael might explain that he moderated me from his blog for being "aggressive and combative." I don't want to put words in his mouth, so I apologize to him if this is not the case. But, often enough women are told NOT to be agressive and combative, but here, Michael says that women cannot be head pastors because they do not have the characteristic of being aggressive and combative.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Broadly Evangelical?

On the one hand, I feel some empathy for this ministry and those leading it. On the other hand, I feel sad about this. First, I am convinced that complementarians are pushing language change and causing us to lose more masculine generic langauge than we otherwise might. In this case, "fellow" ought to function as a generic, a word that may have been masculine but now refers to both men and women. But on the keyboard of Michael Patton, a fellow is male only. He writes,
The Credo House “Fellow” is the concept we have come up with to describe the ministry leaders of future Credo Houses. Each Credo House will be run by 1) a “Fellow” and 2) a coffee house/book store manager called the Credo House “Monk” (since monks invented coffee!). In a sense, the Fellow is like the pastor of the Credo House carrying many the unique giftedness of which such a job would demand. But the Credo House is not a church so we have to be careful with this.
While one might think that certain gifts that are unique to men would be listed as qualifications, in fact, none are. The qualifications are simply to be well-educated, peaceful, a caring leader, and so on. Nothing that women are not known to be.

When language is used in this way, who can be surprised that those who read the Bible assume that any and all uses of the generic masculine pronoun, really do refer to males.

Michael begins his description of the ideal "fellow",
1. Evangelical in confession: contrary to what some may believe, this will not be an issue of Reformed/Arminian, Dispensational/Covenant, Cessationist/Continuationist, Young Earth/Old Earth, etc. In fact, the more diversity we can get in these areas, the more I feel that we will represent our evangelistic mission of majoring in the majors. The person and work of Jesus Christ, salvation by faith alone, and the final authority of the Scriptures will be the non-negotiables.
And then in the comments he counters this open-mindedness with this rebuttal,
Yes, while we seek to be broadly Evangelical, there are certain commitments such as our complementarian stand that will necessarily be evidenced in the planting of Credo Houses. We don’t seek to make a dividing statement by this and understand that there are many good evangelicals who are egalitarians, but the choice has to be made. If we were to be “open” to having women as Credo House Fellows, that would be taking a definite stand in the other direction. Therefore, you can’t really be neutral in this area, if you know what I mean.
I admire the work of Credo House, but I hope that complementarianism will not be accepted as "broadly evangelical."

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Kate and William and Anne of Green Gables

Tomorrow Kate and William will visit PEI, the home of Anne of Green Gables.
Beguiling royalty is entirely in keeping with Anne’s range of influence. Anne of Green Gables has been translated into more than 36 languages, and Anne’s idiosyncrasies have proved endlessly adaptable. Swedish readers “responded to her abilities to see through sham,” says Mary Rubio of Guelph University. In Poland, her loyalty to homespun family values won her a devoted following. Young women in Japan, where Anne of Green Gables first appeared in a 1952 translation, welcomed the wise girl who defied authority – behaviour considered unwomanly in postwar Japanese culture.

A malleable character who can be all things to all people clearly has value as a lure for visitors. Margaret Atwood, a long-time fan, listed 32 reasons why Anne attracts Japanese readers in an article for Britain’s Guardian newspaper. They include: her passion for cherry blossoms, her exotic red hair, her willingness to work hard (while still being able to dream), her respect for elders, her appreciation of poetry and her talent for escaping the Japanese taboo that tempers must be held in check.

This, in the end, is the most universal of Anne’s good qualities, says Ms. Epperly. “Anne personifies all the things we think, but dare not utter. She’s this vibrant spark that you hope can change the rigidity and insularity around her rather than be dampened by it


Saturday, July 02, 2011

My prophecy on Peter Kirk's blog came true ...

I am sure that Peter will be gratified to realize that the prophecy I made on his blog has come true. Sometimes I may appear to be cynical, but I would rather be prepared if disappointment is inevitable. Kurk Gayle has reminded me that I commented on Peter's blog,
I predict that complementarians will completely reject the new NIV because of 1 Tim. 2:12, 1 Cor. 11:10, the paragraphing of Eph. 5:21-22, and Romans 16:7. John Piper has already spoken vociferously against the NIV 1984, perhaps to pave the way for a full rejetion of the NIV 2011.
Peter had said in his post,
I have been encouraged to see no strident general rejection of the NIV update on the blogosphere.
Enough time had not passed. The steam was building. The negative responses came and keep on coming. I was especially disappointed to find the Biblical Studies Carnival link favourably to a negative post on the NIV 2011. Notably that post included this passage,
In Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist contexts – the largest church polities in the US – a reaction against gender-sensitive translation has set in. Both faith traditions seek to retain a degree of independence from prevailing cultural trends. This is no doubt salutary.
I believe that it needs to be said, that not all women find the ways in which the RC and SBC counter cultural trends to be salutory. In the past, it was slavery, now it is the rights of women to be treated as equals. What is salutory about that?

I feel that a woman should not read the Biblical Studies Carnival. I try to withdraw from time to time, to protect myself from the awareness of what others think. I don't want to know how many bloggers in the bibliosphere, who, in spite of knowing that adelphoi was listed as "brothers and sisters" in the lexicons of the 19th century, who, in spite of knowing that "brethren" includes women and "brothers" does not, - how many of those bloggers still resent the fact that women want to be addressed according to the best lexicons, as "and sisters."

So, whoever you are, whatever you think - I am not some new age, liberal, radical whatever comes into your mind. I am a person, who, as a teenager, many years ago, was taught that adelphoi meant "brothers and sisters" since the beginning of time.

I want to have in my Bible, the same verses that I had growing up. I want 1 Tim. 5:8 and 2 Tim. 2:2 as they now appear in the NIV 2011, as they were understood up until the recent past. This is what they meant when I was young, and this is what they mean to me now.
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
So, don't offer women a Bible shot full of holes. Offer her a complete Bible. That is the kind of Bible men want. Why shouldn't women get a complete Bible also? I realize that some bloggers promote gender accurate Bibles, although they may wish to question some details in the NIV2011. I believe it is time to promote gender accuracy in the bibliosphere.

The most contested verse in the NIV 2011

This was my guess from the beginning, and I think it needs to be known. There is one verse which is determining the acceptance or non-acceptance of the NIV 2011. This one verse is the most important contested verse in the translation. Here is what Denny Burk has said about 1 Tim. 2:12 in the NIV.
One other item worthy of note on this rendering. By their own admission, “assume authority” is neutral where the previous rendering “have authority” was not. In other words, the 1984 NIV favored an interpretation that supported a complementarian point of view. The 2011 NIV now has a rendering that can be used to support an egalitarian view. If we accept the translators’ argument that “assume authority” is neutral (which I don’t), the translators have nevertheless acknowledged that the egalitarian view is no longer excluded by the NIV’s rendering of 1 Timothy 2:12. This is a tremendous reversal on the most contested verse in the gender debate.
If Dr. Burk speaks as a representative of CBMW and SBC, which it appears he does, then he is expressing their view that they do not want a Bible that is without complementarian doctrinal input. The egalitarian viewpoint is no longer excluded by the NIV. They cannot live with that ambiguity.

It is important to realize that the word which he wants translated as "to have authority" has a varied history. Here are the relevant variants,

Jerome - dominari
Erasmus - autoritatem usurpare
Calvin - auctoritatem sumere (translated in 1855 as "assume authority")
Luther - Herr sei

Dr. Burk traces the history of the translation of 1 Tim. 2:12 from the NIV 1984 to the present day. When I was young, 1984 was in the dystopian future, but now it is considered by some as the beginning of time.

Old spice guy and me

Now for a bit of fun, a commercial break so to speak. Isaiah Mustafa was in Toronto recently and that reminded me of how much we have in common. I happened to catch the segment last year when Isaiah Mustafa talked about his diet on the Jay Leno show. We are on exactly the same diet. Remarkably, this has not made me look like him, even though I like the way he looks.

So, here is his diet. No alcohol, no coffee, no sugar, no gluten, no meat. I understand that this was a time limited enterprise for him - he is not a career vegan. Neither am I. At least, I am not philosophically vegan at the moment. Perhaps it will come to that.

But it works! Like old spice guy, I now am now the ideal size for my height and age - and sex. I don't count calories, I eat voraciously, I enjoy desert when tempted by others, and it all feels too good. I just wanted to put that out there, because a lot of us struggle with health and weight issues. I am swearing by this one. Quinoa, parsley, green vegetables, root vegetables, legumes, avocados, squashes, nuts, seeds and fruit - and ummmmm - yup, and coffee. On and off.

Ancient Hebrew Poetry Pt 6

Although this series is almost entirely about Pagnini's Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible, the title does not indicate that. Here is a little rationale. First, Pagnini appears in Google also as Pagninus, and Pagnino. Second, Pagnini's name is about the last thing that anyone would ever put into Google anyway. More than one Hebrew expert has remarked that they have never heard of Pagnini apart from this blog. Third, I intend to return to certain features of Hebrew Poetry when I need a break from Pagnini. I hope that this series will be somewhat broader than Pagnini.

In any case, I first became acquainted with the Pagnini translation when I was reading a Hebrew-Latin Psalter that had been left to me by my mother. It had been in her family for many generations, and had originally been printed in Lyon, France in the 1600's. This is at least a century after Pagnini published his entire Latin translation of the Bible, so it may very well have some revisions in it.

Subsequently I have learned a fair amount about the time in which Pagnini lived and wrote. I have become acquainted with the incredible influence that the study of Hebrew had on the Reformation and Reformation Bibles. However, there is a significant lack of detailed study of this translation. Apart from the fact that every Bible translator in Europe referenced almost every translation that preceded the one that they were working on, I don't have much specific data about the particular ways that Pagnini's translation influenced following translations.

In addition to Pagnini's translation, there are several other Latin translations that were made subequent to his. Another one is by Tremellius and Junius, and the book of Genesis can be viewed here. The unique and important factor regarding Pagnini's translation is that it was the only Latin translation other than the Vulgate to have been used by Coverdale, who produced the first translation of the entire Bible into English. As such, the history of the Bible in English must reference the Vulgate, Pagnini, Luther (who also used Pagnini) and the Zuercher Bible.

This is a rough timeline for translations of the Hebrew Bible available at the time.

Vulgate 4th century
Pagnini - 1527
Zuercher Bible - 1531
Luther - 1534
Coverdale - 1535

I do not have information as to how much these translators shared among themselves before their translations were printed as complete Bible. Coverdale and Luther both refer to Pagnini's translation so we do know that they used it as a source.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Ancient Hebrew Poetry Pt 5

Here is Psalm 77: 4-6 in Pagnini's translation and Jerome's translation from the Hebrew.

Recordabar Dei, & tumultuabar: loquebar, & angustiis afficiebatur spiritus meus. Selah.

recordans Dei conturbabar

loquebar in memet ipso et deficiebat spiritus meus.

אֶזְכְּרָה אֱלֹהִים וְאֶהֱמָיָה; אָשִׂיחָה, וְתִתְעַטֵּף רוּחִי סֶלָה.

Tenuisti vigilias oculorum meorum: contritus sum, nec loqui potui.

prohibebam suspectum oculorum meorum stupebam et non loquebar

אָחַזְתָּ, שְׁמֻרוֹת עֵינָי; נִפְעַמְתִּי, וְלֹא אֲדַבֵּר.

Tunc supputavi dies qui fuerunt a principio, annos seculorum.

recogitabam dies antiquos annos pristinos

חִשַּׁבְתִּי יָמִים מִקֶּדֶם-- שְׁנוֹת, עוֹלָמִים.

Here is this passage in the King James Version,
3I remembered God, and was troubled:
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
Thou holdest mine eyes waking:
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I have considered the days of old,
the years of ancient times.
In comparison to Jerome's translation, Pagnini has retained more of the parataxis, that is the use of "and" or "&" rather than using subordinate clauses. Pagnini also kept the "selah" and stays closer to the Hebrew for holding the eyes awake, or "on watch."

In verse 5, he struggles with Hebrew expressions which he interprets as "from the beginning" and "of eternity."