Greg Cohoon (drmellow) wrote,
Greg Cohoon
drmellow

The TNIV Debate

I finished reading the article in the latest edition of Christianity Today that I mentioned in an earlier post. I didn't see it before, but they've got the article online now, so anyone can read it themselves and come to their own conclusions.

A couple of people indicated they were interested in what I thought about the question of gender identity in TNIV, so I'll sum it up here. After reading the article, I haven't really changed my mind on the issue. And, in some respects, I think both camps are right. Many people find that gender-specific language in the original text is incompatible with common language usage because while it might be clear that the gender-specific language in the original text was being used in a generic way, the generic aspect may be lost in a gender-specific translation. On the other hand, when translating some passages to be gender-neutral, the translations often lose the specific individuality that was intended in the original. The discussions in the article do a much better job of explaining this than my little summary here.

The problem is that any translation is imprecise -- if you attempt to do a word-for-word translation, you'll lose some of the intended meaning. If you attempt to do a meaning-for-meaning translation, you'll probably miss at least some of the nuances, if not the main point. So if you really want to study the text, it's best to do it in the original language (Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew in this case). Since I don't know those languages, I'm happy that there are a variety of English translations that I can use in my studies. When I look at a passage in various translations, I get an idea of what different translators were wrestling with. And what I'm most thankful for are footnotes. That's where the translators get a chance to explain themselves, as it were.

From what I've seen of the TNIV, I'm not very impressed. To me, it seems that the question of gender identity caused the TNIV to mis-translate more passages than not. I'm still not very excited about the TNIV, but will probably pick up a copy at some point to add to my library.

FWIW, I generally prefer the NASB for my general-purpose Bible. But I usually teach my Sunday School classes out of the NIV, since most of the people in the class have an NIV.
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