Sunday, November 22, 2009

Do Bible Translators have a Liberal Bias?

Apparently, the authors of the conservapeida think so. Apparently it's because the scholars who translated the NIV were too educated for their own good.

The committee in charge of updating the bestselling version, the NIV, is dominated by professors and higher-educated participants who can be expected to be liberal and feminist in outlook. As a result, the revision and replacement of the NIV will be influenced more by political correctness and other liberal distortions than by genuine examination of the oldest manuscripts. As a result of these political influences, it becomes desirable to develop a conservative translation that can serve, at a minimum, as a bulwark against the liberal manipulation of meaning in future versions.

Dang those pointy-headed professors.

Keith Parsons has some responses on the Secular Outpost. Please, please, don't invoke Poe's Law.

Conservatism deserves better than this.

16 comments:

steve said...

You know, Victor, one doesn't have to be a conspiracy theorist to detect liberal bias in academia. It's pretty in your face.

(I'm not commenting right now on the pros and cons of the NIV.)

Victor Reppert said...

Yes, there is a liberal academic bias, and I am a right-winger by those standards. But I was under the impression that the NIV was translated by evangelical scholars. I wouldn't think evangelical Bible scholars would reflect the overall political climate of secular academe.

Clayton said...

You know, there's a conservative bias in conservapeida.

Arboreal octopus. Are you guys saying that the site isn't satire?

steve said...

Victor,

Within evangelicalism, you have a raging debate over things like unisex language. Should a translation between gender-neutral or gender specific (e.g. the masculine singular plural).

Egalitarians typically favor unisex renderings, while complementarians generally defend gender-specific renders.

That's an example of the way in which political considerations can affect or infect a Bible translation. The World Magazine expose of the "stealth Bible" several years ago is a case in point.

Keep in mind, too, that it's not just a question of the translation board. It's also a question of marketing. What the publisher thinks will sell.

Likewise, a Bible translation which ay be sufficiently "conservative" in the UK might be too "liberal" in the US.

Once again, I'm not debating the merits or demerits of the NIV right now.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Maybe it will make some of them less conservative to closely read the entire NT in the original language. Or it will make them reject Christ when they realize what a pinko commie he is.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Conservapedia Translation:Jesus Seminar
::
Duane Gish:PZ Myers

Mike Darus said...

There IS a difference between politically conservative and theologically conservative.

Victor Reppert said...

The issue of gender is an issue that arises in the political arena but also in the theological arena. But the conservapedia people seem to want a Bible that emphasizes an apologetic for free-market economics. Aren't they proposing doing the very thing on behalf of conservatism that the accuse liberals of doing on behalf of liberalism.

Gordon Knight said...

The NIV is the "liberal"
translation? what planet am I on?

I guess these folks must think the NRSV is Satan inspired.

steve said...

Gordon Knight said...

"I guess these folks must think the NRSV is Satan inspired."

You're slowly catching on. I guess there's still hope for you :-)

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

When I want to STUDY the Bible, I read the Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition), but when I want to READ the Bible, I prefer the Authorized (KJ) Version.

Victor Reppert said...

Bob: Is the Jerusalem Bible still around?

Kevin Jackson said...

They are clearly over the line where they want to cut out verses. However, some of their stuff seems reasonable (like translating a word "resourceful" instead of "shrewd"). In cases like these, whichever word best fits the context should be used.

Gordon Knight said...

ersonally I prefer the language of the king james. "and you will fish for people" is not quite "and you will be a fisher of men."

It would be nice to have a modern not so prosaic translation. This is great literature we are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

Victor,

I gave my copy of the Jerusalem Bible to my daughter Lisa some years back, as it was her favorite translation. My other daughter Anna prefers the NIV. (Kids, what can you do?)

I also find use for the J.B. Phillips translation of the NT, although I realize it's a paraphrase.

Anonymous said...

I have a little concern about what the NIV says, But I have enormous concern about what it doesn't say. It says very little about the diety of JESUS CHRIST, IT removes the king ship of JESUS, IT removes reference to HIS rightful place at the Judgement Seat.I do believe that the committee that wrote this translation will realize that at the end time I pray for thier salvation.