Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gender Inclusive language

Been doing some thinking about Bible versions recently, and whether they
include "gender inclusive" or "gender accurate" language (I wonder if
what you call it shows what side of the argument you're on).

Not sure if there's anyone out there reading this blog (since i haven't
posted in months!) but if you want to send me your thoughts I'd be

Planning on blogging more on this soon.


  1. I reckon gender "accurate" should be the goal. Gender "inclusive" can carry the wrong implications (ie. *changing* the original to be inclusive) whereas I think what we should be after is *accuracy* - we want to accurately convey the intended gender of the original, which may be specifically male/female, or may be neutral/inclusive.

    Are you after thoughts on different bible versions?

  2. Hi Donna
    We need Bible versions which show what the original author intended, but also who the message is intended for today.

    If the original author used a generic masculine term, but meant to include men and women, this should be reflected in the translation.

    If the passage of Scripture had men in mind, but the message is intended for men and women, this should be reflected in the translation.

    It is wonderful to be so blessed with the variety of translations which English readers and speakers have available.

    I don't think any one translation is a one-size-fits-all and don't understand those who stick rigidly with one translation.

    I'm pleased that all popular, recent translations [say over the past 20 years] are attempting to be gender-accurate, though the committees tend to have somewhat different understandings of what this means.

    It is great that Bill Mounce, who worked on the ESV translation [with its fairly conservative approach to gender accuracy] is now on the NIV2011 committee [with a more inclusive approach] and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next year.

  3. I have been shockingly tardy in replying to these comments.

    Sam C: I agree that "accuracy" with use of pronouns should be the goal. I think some advocates of more literal translations argue that 1. in some cases it's not clear whether the author meant to refer to only males, or males and females. And that 2. the intertextual meaning of a word will be lost of gender accurate language is used (for example, changing "my son" in psalms, to my child, loses some of the Christological overtones). In that sense, it is a shame that English no longer works as it used to that "he" or "man" was understood to be generic. However, English is changing and we should work with it.

    I know it's a bit late, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on different translations.