Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Gender Neutral Bible Controversy

Mike is reading The Gender Neutral Bible Controversy byVern S. Poythress and Wayne Grudem (you can download it HERE, if you’d like). I extend to him my sympathies. Mike makes the point that when reading the Liddell Scott Jones lexicon entry for aner, Poythress and Grudem cite "man as opposed to God" without recognizing that this is the normal indication of that the word refers to a generic human being, male or female. He then asks,
    So, why do we claim that these sorts of generics are still understandable today, when we don’t understand them today?
I have certainly noticed that male generics are not understood today. Many readers will approach any use of "he" in the text and assume that it refers to men. Typically, if the word is used in the context of salvation then the reader assumes a generic meaning, but if it refers to someone who leads, teaches, protects, provides or bears responsibility then the assumption is often that it refers to males only. This was the case with 1 Tim. 5:8.

I work hard every day to lead, provide and protect my family, and I am insulted by the juvenile attitude of those who treat women who care for their families as if they did not exist. Yes, ideally it is nice to be part of a couple. I agree. But consigning single women who care for their own families to the round file, is simply not an indication of a Christian religion.

What I was going to say is that Ann Nyland wrote about Grudem's utter confusion with regard to the generic use of aner in this article. She had an email dialogue with Grudem in 2002. I had an email conversation with him in 2006 in which he stated that he was unaware of the generic use of aner. This is not possible because Nyland clearly provides it.


J. K. Gayle said...

I had an email conversation with him in 2006 in which he stated that he was unaware of the generic use of aner. This is not possible because [she] Nyland clearly provides it [in 2002].

Suzanne, This is totally unfair. You know how we men tend to have such lapses of memory. Or that we tend not to read things that are written by writers who are women! :)

Jeremy said...

Thanks for posting this with the link to the Nyland article. The shredding of Grudem's arguments is so thorough that it would definitely be something that he might want to forget.

Mark Baker-Wright said...

Sounds like selective memory to me!

Kristen said...

That article was extremely illuminating, especially as to Grudem's attitude. I knew how masculinist he is, but it was a shock to me that he wants to exclude me from such encouragements as James 1:12 -- Blessed is the man [person] who perseveres under trial." Even more astonishing is that Grudem apparently wants to exclude women from James 3:1-9, about taming the tongue! Given the stereotype about women and talking too much, you'd think he'd balk at making these verses not apply to us! But perhaps he believes women are beyond hope when it comes to admonitions to control our tongues?

Kristen said...

Ironic, also, that the masculinists (love that word!) insist that Bible translation should not be ideologically driven, when it is quite clear that it is their translation principles, not the TNIV's, that are driven by ideology.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, I kind of like the thought that I as a woman don't have to control my tongue. Now I won't feel so guilty if I let my tongue loose around those who say the verse doesn't apply to women.