I have really enjoy having Dave blog along with me. I’ll be away for a bit so I hope he will have more great insights. Just before I pack I want to mention a few comments and responses that I have noticed.
- On a more general point I live in one francophone country – France – and work in another – Switzerland – they have rather different approaches to inclusive language – the Swiss churches certainly make much more effort to use inclusive language and to use the term La pasteure for a woman minister. Try to find a French translation of sisterly in a dictionary though and you’ll come up with “fraternité”!
I blogged on Sisters in Resistance last year remarking,
- One of the central quotes in this movie is from André Malraux, “Face au mal absolu, une seule réponse : la fraternité.” This phrase is often translated “The only response to absolute evil is fraternity.”
I am happy to report that the TV translator of this piece chose not to translate the relationship of real sisterhood in time of intense suffering as fraternité but as a ‘bond of friendship’ or just ‘friendship.’ Tim suggested at the time, that ‘solidarity’ would be an excellent choice.
And in a related post, TC writes,
- With all these exciting and, at times, controversial discussions surrounding gender-accuracy in bible translations, I wonder if we need to reinterpret Philly, you know, Philadephia, that city on the East coast, “The City of Brotherly Love”?
Well, both the NRSV and TNIV have “mutual affection” or something like that for the Greek φιλαδελφία, philadelphia, wherever it appears in the New Testament (Rom 12:10; 1 Thess 4:9; Heb 13:1; 1 Pet 1:22; 2 Pet 1:7).
Now some may wonder why all this fuss. For a start, I was raised Plymouth Brethren and understood that the Brethren were the collective, the group as a whole. But as boys turned 18, they began to attend the “brothers” meetings and they were recognized as “brothers.” A young woman was recognized as a sister, but only as a silent and covered attendee. There were no “sisters” meetings.
I was, in many ways, very happy raised in the Plymouth Brethren since there were many university educated women in my own family and a lot of Bible teaching was centred in the home, where, in my case, women were not subordinated. As I get older, I am more and more aware of how blessed I was to have parents who, although they had different roles, operated without hierarchy, as functional equals. (It was not until later that I experienced complementarianism in an extremely negative way.) But I digress.
In the Brethren, the word “brothers” was a term of absolute exclusion. A woman could never attend a “brothers” meeting and could never have the privilege of speaking that a “brother” had. It was impossible. In fact, I have never been part of a group where the term ‘brothers” included women.
Now I realize that it is incredibly petty for me to want the Bible to speak to me as an individual, but oddly I do. I am not aware of anyone who would feel excluded by the use of “brothers and sisters” although clearly this offends some people, but does not exclude them. However, an old fashioned fundy-raised woman like myself can probably attend a reeducation retreat and be instructed in how “brothers” means women also, as long as they do not want to do any of the things that “brothers” who are men get to do.
But I was especially encouraged and touched by Nathan’s post on this topic,
- While I have my own opinion on how to translate adelphoi I can hardly claim to be an expert on Greek vocabulary and grammar. I believe that the generic masculine still has a place in the English language, and will for some time. However, I view inclusive renderings as having an eye to the future when this will cease to be the case.
Of particular interest in Nathan’s post are his scripture comparisons of the TNIV, ESV, NEB and the Inclusive Bible. I highly recommend his insightful post.
I am really grateful for all the great posts on Bible translation and have been reading, well, everyone on our blogroll. Thanks for all the “mutual affection.”