September 19, 2009 in Features

New NIV will be more conservative

Manya A. Brachear Chicago Tribune
 

Verse vs. verse

A look at passages from the original text of the New International Version, compared to the recent gender-neutral Today’s New International Version:

•Psalm 8:4: NIV: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

TNIV: “What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

Matthew 7:4: NIV: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”

TNIV: “How can you say, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”

1 Corinthians 15:21: NIV: “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.”

TNIV: “For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being.”

This month, biblical publishers and scholars announced that a new New International Version will be unveiled in 2011, the first overall update of the modern translation since 1984.

But don’t look for androgynous vocabulary in the new edition. In fact, soon as it’s published, the gender-neutral “Today’s New International Version” that rankled some evangelicals when it was released in 2005 will vanish.

“If we want to maintain the NIV as a Bible that English speakers around the world can understand, we have to listen to and respect the vocabulary they are using today,” said Keith Danby, president of Biblica, formerly the International Bible Society.

New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, author of “Misquoting Jesus” and “Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible,” doubts the revision has as much to do with the evolution of the English language as the orthodox trends in evangelical thought.

“They are changing the gender- neutral language, no doubt, because their ‘base’ is conservative evangelical Christians who are offended by anything that appears to have a feminist agenda behind it, not because the language has changed,” Ehrman said.

“If (the language) has changed, of course, it has changed toward greater gender neutrality – except in religiously and politically conservative circles.”


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