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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The TNIV and The Leading Men of the City

I really do intend to get back to Laura at the end of this post--but for now, I need to say one more thing about the TNIV.

One of the main arguments the TNIV supporters give for translating 'men' as 'people' (where the YNIV had not already dropped the word entirely) is based on the use of andres in Acts 17:34, in which a named woman is included in a class that is labeled 'men':

Acts 17:34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

The CBT translates andres in such cases as 'people'--never as 'men and women'. But the implication is clearly that women are meant to be included. In literature supporting the TNIV, scholars have defended the idea that Damaris was one of the leading citizens of Athens who heard Paul's address on Mars Hill. But 'people' is, in my opinion, a very poor translation. Other scholars have shown that andres can carry the idea of a 'citizen' of either sex, and I think this is clearly its meaning here. The idea is that this class of andres, of which Damaris is a member, are leading citizens of Athens. Andres in Acts 17:22&34 could be translated 'citizens'. [UPDATE 7/7/2010: Upon further reflection--this being a census year and all--I believe an even better translation of andres into modern American usage would be 'heads of households.']

But what happens when Luke makes mention of some leading citizens of a city, and doesn't use the word andres? Then it would be okay to call them 'people', wouldn't it? Oops, the TNIV calls them "men":

Acts 13:50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city.

There is no word for 'people' in this verse, much less 'men'! A much more sensible--and sensitive--translation would be:

But the Jews incited the religious women of high standing and the leaders of the city.

By translating 'leaders' as 'leading men', the CBT has categorically denied to the women of Pisidian Antioch the very role they assert for the women of Athens four chapters later.

Would Laura Ingalls Wilder have approved?

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