Iyov has rather surprised me with his review of The Inclusive Bible. This is a complete new translation of the Bible (Hebrew Old Testament, deuterocanonical books, and New Testament) with detailed study notes. What surprised me was Iyov’s generally positive reception of this Bible, although it is a dynamic equivalence translation with gender-inclusive language, two features of translations which Iyov has repeatedly attacked in the past. It seems that in Iyov’s thinking these negatives have been counterbalanced by the Jewish-friendly rendering of divine names and the fact that
this translation is unabashedly liberal.
It is not really fair to evaluate a translation on the basis of just a few verses. But, since all I have read is the short passages quoted by Iyov, I will do just that. Here is the Inclusive Bible’s rendering of Genesis 2:20b-22:
But none of them proved to be a fitting companion, so YHWH made the earth creature fall into a deep sleep, and while it slept, God divided the earth creature into two, then closed up the flesh from its side. YHWH then fashioned the two halves into male and female, and presented them to one another.
This gives a flavour of how this version avoids specifying the gender either of God or of the first human being. I consider this to be a reasonable translation option, considering that in the Hebrew text neither being is assigned natural gender, only grammatical gender which is arbitrary.
But I must take issue with this translation for inaccuracy in implying that the first human was divided in a purely equal way into male and female. This may reflect oriental mythology, but not the biblical text. In the Bible it is clear that the woman was taken out of the man, that there was not full equality here.
If this is how this Inclusive Bible handles matters like this, I have to say that it is not an acceptably accurate translation. This goes beyond inclusive language, into distorting the message of the Bible by making it reflect a generally inclusive philosophy. This is a distinction which Iyov does not seem to have noticed in his enthusiasm to endorse this Bible, rather than TNIV and NRSV which put translational accuracy before inclusiveness.
There is a lot more to Iyov’s review which I have not covered here, so read it for yourselves.