…a group of evangelicals has produced a new gender-inclusive Bible.
The bi-weekly magazine Christian Century continues to be my source of choice for news about liberal religion, particularly in the area of same-sex marriage, the intersection of politics and theology — and feminist theology.
In the most recent number (March 8, 2005), Christian Century reports that Zondervan, a publishing house with a bit of a tilt towards the evangelical side, has just issued a new version of the New International Version of the Bible (NIV), called Today’s New International Version (TNIV), which uses gender-inclusive language. Politely, Christian Century refrains from mentioning that the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation of the Bible, used by many liberal Christians, accomplished the same thing years ago. (Christian Century also refrains from mentioning that the allegedly liberal New York Times has stopped using gender-inclusive language, but I am happy to point that out.)
The report adds that “The TNIV text… was produced by an independent committe of evangelical schalors whose members are associated with institutions such as Wheaton Graduate School….” Those of us who live in and around Geneva know Wheaton College well, in part as the alma mater of Billy Graham, and in part as our near neighbor.
The old New International Version used to be the Bible I recommended to Unitarian Universalist youth and young adults who were interested in reading the Bible on their own. I always thought the NIV translation was clearer and less academic than the New Revised Standard Version. But a few years ago, I stopped recommending the NIV because it didn’t use gender-inclusive language.
So I’m one of the people who welcomes this new version of the Bible — and if a young Unitarian Universalist in your life decides he or she wants to read the Bible, it looks like the TNIV would be a good translation to recommend.
I can’t resist adding that our little church here in Geneva has been working on including women in positions of prominent leadership at least since 1893, when the church called its first woman minister. I also can’t help but wish for a gender-inclusive translation of the Bhagavad Gita, but maybe there is one out there that I haven’t found yet.