The presentations at the 2012 Intrepid Lutherans "Church and Continuity" conference commenced Friday evening with Rev. Robert Koester’s comments on the NIV2011 Bible translation matter. He offered an abbreviated review of his paper, "Gender Neutral Translating and the Verbal Inspiration of Scripture."
His expanded treatment of the topic was delivered to the January 2012 Metro-Milwaukee Pastor's Conference, "A Brief Layman's Guide: Understanding the Problems of Gender Neutral Translating."
Rev. Koester also made available last fall an eight page overview of several concerns.
Since even the brief layman's guide is a thoughtful 60 pages, permit me a few paragraphs to highlight only one point of concern out of many offered. (I hesitate to do so because Rev. Koester's research should not go unread.) Biblica Inc.'s Committee on Bible Translation (C.B.T.) was assigned editorial guidelines, and quoting from Koester's paper,
Instructions given the C.B.T. as they set out to do their first gender-neutral translation are public knowledge. Principles C and D of part I, “Basic Principles” reads:
C. Authors of Biblical books, even while writing Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit, unconsciously reflected in many ways, the particular cultures in which they wrote. Hence in the manner in which they articulate the Word of God, they sometimes offend modern sensibilities. At such times, translators can and may use non-offending renderings so as not to hinder the message of the Spirit.
D. The patriarchalism (like other social patterns) of the ancient cultures in which the Biblical books were composed is pervasively reflected in forms of expression that appear, in the modern context, to deny the common human dignity of all hearers and readers. For these forms, alternative modes of expression can and may be used, though care must be taken not to distort the intent of the original text.
Consider again the above section from the Biblica Inc.'s C.B.T. Is the work produced under such filters a translation or an interpretation? Should we shrug off with deliberate indifference the intent to adjust Scriptures to avoid offending sensibilities and to avoid 'denying the common human dignity'?
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Proverbs 30.