The New International Version of the Bible will be given a makeover later this year that will incorporate gender-neutral wording in the New Testament, in an edition titled “Today”s New International Version.”
Published by the Grand Rapids-based Christian communications group Zondervan, the NIV is currently the most widely read translation of the Bible in the world. The TNIV will debut the revised New Testament in April, but the full Bible is not expected until 2005.
Campus Chapel Rev. Tom Watts said he is “glad to hear” a new gender neutral version will be printed.
“A lot of translations in the past have made scriptures seem more “male” than they were originally,” Watts said.
For years, many conservatives have argued against changing the wording to make it politically correct.
According to a Zondervan press release, generic language is translated in the TNIV, where the meaning of the text intended the inclusion of both men and women. When translators find places in the original text that make any specific gender references, like “sons of God” or “brothers,” the passages will be changed to “children of God” and “brothers and sisters,” respectively.
Rev. Graham Baird of the First Presbyterian Campus Ministry said the TNIV is not the first attempt at making a gender-neutral translation of the Bible.
“In the New Revised Standard version a real attempt was made to do something gender inclusive in terms of language,” Baird said. “I”m all for including all perspectives and all people, and any way we can help more people feel included by God is a good thing, if we do it carefully.”
Baird said women have contributed to theology and biblical tradition for centuries with little recognition, and a gender inclusive version of the Bible seems like an attempt at making up for lost thanks.
“I feel maybe it”s over-compensation, but probably appropriate,” Baird said.
English Prof. Ralph Williams, who currently teaches English 401 “The English Bible: Its Literary Aspects and Influences,” thinks the issue of biblical translation is complex.
“Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, the Biblical languages, variously have inflections on adjectives and nouns and have pronouns which indicate grammatical gender which is not necessarily the same at all as biological gender,” Williams said.