Tuesday, September 1

Pulling the plug on the TNIV

Zondervan, I suspect concerned about loss of marketshare to the ESV, is pulling the plug on the TNIV translation of the Bible. Instead they will focus on revising the older NIV.

tnivIt's a sad move because the TNIV is already the best balanced translation on the American market (balanced = faithfully navigating between the literal and dynamic aspects of scripture, in clear contemporary English).

It's also sad because I'm afraid that such a move is going to be perceived as a recognition of the primacy of the neo-reformed tribe, which is vying for dominance of the evangelical movement. In a nutshell, they oppose the TNIV because it uses gender inclusive language. Gender inclusive language tends to undermine the theological system they've established -- a system which sees gender roles as a reflection of Trinitarian complementarianism.

Some of us resist such thinking on two levels. First, the system they've constructed involves a lot of unnatural gymnasitcs -- and is internally inconsistent. Second, given the changes in American English over the past 25 years it is imperative that scripture be allowed to speak with a voice that resonates with contemporary readers. So, in areas where it is consistent with the clear intent of the biblical authors gender inclusive language is preferable.

Of course, it could end up that the new 2011 revision of the NIV, which will replace both the existing NIV and the TNIV, will be a faithful and rich translation. But given the EPC (evangelical politically correct) environemnt that is emerging I have a feeling that it will be a step back from the TNIV. That's my concern.


Ted M. Gossard said...

I share your concerns. But from the CT article it looks like this will most assuredly be a good revision of the NIV, keeping much of what the TNIV did, while maybe taking back some, maybe some moves which the CBT may have second thoughts on.

I have too much appreciation of the CBT (Committee of Bible Translating, or something like that) to think it won't be acceptable, but we'll all be interested for sure, when it does come out.

In the meantime I'll continue to use as my primary and really only English Bible (besides the NRSV a little, and sometimes dipping into others) the TNIV.

Unknown said...

Sad, sad, sad. This is the version I use most of the time. I do not like it that the James Dobson & others in his camp have such clout. They put out the word before this edition was out that it was "liberal." You would have thought from some of the publicity that Jesus would be referred to as She or the Great Shepherdess.