Toward a Better Reading: Reflections on the Permanent Changes to the Text of Genesis 3:16 in the ESV – by Wendy Alsup and Hannah Anderson
Wendy Alsup and Hannah Anderson have started a series on the ESV change to Genesis 3:16. Here is Part 1: Toward a Better Reading: Reflections on the Permanent Changes to the Text of Genesis 3:16 in the ESV. It is top notch. We encourage readers to follow Wendy and Hannah’ series.
Here is an excerpt:
The point here is not to expose some secret cabal or suggest nefarious motives on the part of the initial translators. The point is to highlight our shared commitment to the careful translation of potentially controversial passages. As users of the ESV, we have always known that the translation of the ESV occurred in context of concerns about gendered language. We understood the concern as such: Because Bible translators can read meaning into gendered words based on current sociological agendas, we want to be constrained by the actual words of the text even if it makes us uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, the ESV’s permanent change to Genesis 3:16 seems to move away from this shared commitment. Instead, it favors an interpretative reading that elevates a specific interpretation of a gendered passage–one that is not shared across the spectrum of conservative thought. Even worse, this change also has the potential to undermine the very conservatism it ostensibly seeks to protect.
Just as [the medicine] Coumadin interacts with ibuprofen to put a patient at risk, a shift in translation philosophy necessarily interacts with gender philosophy. We can only reach and sustain a conservative reading of gender through a conservative approach to translation. If the Scripture is not carefully guarded from sociological constructs (both conservative and liberal), we risk losing the very authority on which we base our understanding of gender. How can we call the Church and the world to reflect the Scriptural teaching on gender if we lose the Scripture itself? Without the Scripture, liberalism devolves into androgyny and conservatism into misogyny.
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