The Neutering Of “Man” In The NIVI -- By: Andreas J. Köstenberger

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 02:3 (Jun 1997)
Article: The Neutering Of “Man” In The NIVI
Author: Andreas J. Köstenberger


The Neutering Of “Man” In The NIVI

Andreas J. Köstenberger

The Translation Of Anthrōpos And Anēr In The NIV And The Inclusive NIV

Discussions of the merits or demerits of the planned (now abandoned) “genderinclusive” NIV in the US in recent weeks have frequently suffered from insufficient data. The following comparative study of the translation of the Greek words anthrōpos (“man,” “human being”) and anēr (“man”) seeks to provide such data. The results of this study must be made public even subsequent to IBS’s decision to forego the development of an “Inclusive Language Edition” of the NIV in the US, since it is still insufficiently known—and acknowledged—that the UK edition (published by Hodder & Stoughton and still available at this time; from here on NIVI) is fundamentally flawed and inaccurate at several significant points.

The terms anthrōpos and anēr are, of course, not the only relevant words at issue; changes such as those from “non-inclusive” pronouns or participles to “gender-inclusive” ones also contribute to the changed landscape of “gender-inclusive” translations such as the NIVI. Nevertheless, anthrōpos and anēr are among the most important gender-related terms in the New Testament. anthrōpos occurs a total of five hundred and fifty times, anēr two hundred and sixteen times. Surveying the changes of translation from the NIV to the NIVI, one is at once struck by the fact that the translators had to resort to no less than twelve different ways to eliminate the English word “man” and replace it with a more “gender-inclusive” term.

It must be noted at the outset that some of these changes are helpful. Still, one is overwhelmed by the magnitude of change to which the conventional NIV was subjected in order to “gender-inclusivize” it.

The Translation Of AnthrōPos

Of the five hundred and fifty instances of anthrōpos, a full two hundred and forty-five (or 44%) were changed in order to make them “gender-inclusive.” The percentage further escalates dramatically when one realizes that ninety- five references are already translated gender-inclusively in the current NIV and ninety-three references are to individuals who are undeniably male.

The following five types of alterations account for over four fifths of all changes in the NIVI:

  • from singular to inclusive plu...
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