Saturday, September 01, 2007

Summary of the Colorado Springs Guidelines

In response to those wondering why an analysis of the creation narrative is so important, there are two reasons. First, a male authority interpretation of creation is a major argument preventing many from putting the subordination of women on the same level as the subordination of slaves. Many argue that the subordination of women is a fact in the pre-fall narrative and claim that those who believe that women should not be in subordination are going against the clear teaching of scripture. The post I have linked to above shows how weak the male authority interpretation of the creation narrative really is.

The other reason this passage is important is because of the Colorado Springs Guidelines. I have been able to understand where all the other guidelines came from and how misguided they are, but now I understand this one and I know how misguided it is,
So, now finally, I have been able to discover the reason for each of these guildelines and I can show how contrary they are to a correct understanding of the Greek and Hebrew.

Sadly, these guidelines form the basis of the Statement of Concern against the TNIV, and the subsequent boycott. These guidelines continue to be taught at conferences, in books, journals and articles.

A. Gender-related renderings of Biblical language which we affirm:
  1. 1. The generic use of "he, him, his, himself" should be employed to translate generic 3rd person masculine singular pronouns in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. However, substantival participles such as ho pisteuon can often be rendered in inclusive ways, such as "the one who believes" rather than "he who believes." (There is no difference in the status of gender marking between ἀυτος - "the same one as" and ὀ πιστευων - the one who believes". There is no linguistic justification for translating the gender in one case and not in the other. This guideline has no linguistic basis)
  2. 2. Person and number should be retained in translation so that singulars are not changed to plurals and third person statements are not changed to second or first person statements, with only rare exceptions required in unusual cases. (In recording the sermons of Jesus, the gospels often record his commands in one place with a singular and in another with a plural. There is no scriptural defense for this guideline.)
  3. "Man" should ordinarily be used to designate the human race, for example in Genesis 1:26-27; 5:2; Ezekiel 29:11; and John 2:25. (Historically the human race has been called Adam, Man and human. There is no scriptural basis for one over the other. The KJV uses Adam, some translations use "Man", and others "human".)
  4. 4. Hebrew 'ish should ordinarily be translated "man" and "men," and Greek aner should almost always be so translated. (I refer to David E. S. Stein's article on ish and for aner, an article by Nyland, and one by myself. There is more than adequate linguistic justification for a gender neutral translation of these words.)
  5. 5. In many cases, anthropoi refers to people in general, and can be translated "people" rather than "men." The singular anthropos should ordinarily be translated "man" when it refers to a male human being. (Then why does the ESV not translate anthropoi as people? And why is no translation allowed to refer to Jesus "a human"?)
  6. 6. Indefinite pronouns such as tis can be translated "anyone" rather than "any man." (Good.)
  7. 7. In many cases, pronouns such as oudeis can be translated "no one" rather than "no man." (Yes.)
  8. 8. When pas is used as a substantive it can be translated with terms such as "all people" or "everyone." (Yes)
  9. 9. The phrase "son of man" should ordinarily be preserved to retain intracanonical connections. (This can be done by ensuring the same translation in each case; it doesn't require "son of man".)
  10. 10. Masculine references to God should be retained. (Yes)
B. Gender-related renderings which we will generally avoid, though there may be unusual exceptions in certain contexts:
  1. 1. "Brother" (adelphos) should not be changed to "brother or sister"; however, the plural adelphoi can be translated "brothers and sisters" where the context makes clear that the author is referring to both men and women. (This relates to #2)
  2. 2. "Son" (huios, ben) should not be changed to "child," or "sons" (huioi) to "children" or "sons and daughters." (However, Hebrew banim often means "children.") (The KJV, Tyndale, Luther tradition has established "children". Since there was no gender neutral term in Hebrew, the masculine term was used to apply to a mixed group. English has a gender neutral term - "children".)
  3. 3. "Father" (pater, 'ab) should not be changed to "parent," or "fathers" to "parents" or "ancestors." (See #2. This would apply to human parents as both mother and father being the "forefathers" or ancestors. It is important to remember that God's promises were made to Eve, to Sarah and to "mothers" in the scriptures, not just the "fathers". )
In writing about Grudem's misunderstandings regarding the creation story, I can now more deeply appreciate where the disagreement which has torn apart fellowship between the translators of the ESV and those of the TNIV came from. It is a very sad thing and remains unresolved.

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