The results were discussed last night by a panel of theologians at the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham. In 1 Timothy ii, 12, St Paul is quoted thus: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”
In second place is the order by Samuel, one of the early leaders of the Israelites, for his people to commit genocide: “This is what the Lord Almighty says … ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel xv, 3).
For me, the whole point of this is to show that the Bible can be used to justify all sorts of horrible things: homophobia, sexism, racism, etc. It’s not a book we need to look to as a great source of wisdom.
And the list provides plenty of ammo to use when Christians try to quote the Bible at all out of context
Coincidentally, some Christian publishers are trying to make a revised, more gender-neutral Bible:
The changes did not make all men “people” or remove male references to God, but instead involved dropping gender-specific terms when translators judged that the original text didn’t intend it. So in some verses, references to “sons of God” became “children of God,” for example.
Supporters say gender-inclusive changes are more accurate and make the Bible more accessible, but critics contend they twist meaning or smack of political correctness.
Acknowledging past missteps, the NIV’s overseers are promising that this time, the revision process will be more transparent and that they will actively promote what they describe as a long-held practice of inviting input from scholars and readers.
It would be better scholarship, I think, if they left the “original” version as is, with little footnotes to indicate the revisions, instead of purging the text everywhere it appears sexist.
Plenty of documents in American history are sexist and racist, too. But no one seriously goes around changing the originals. We leave them as they were and modify our laws or add new ones to include more of those people who were originally left out or denied rights.
But the Bible? Apparently, it took over 2000 years to figure out that the Bible wasn’t sexist and we only now figured out what the writers intended to say…
Or, more likely, the publishers want to sell more copies so they’re changing the text to suit the times.
Reader Scott predicts future changes:
I’m betting in future versions the talking snake will morph into an atheist, Noah’s flood into a washed out beach party, the book of revelations into a night in San Fran’s Castro district, and the tower of Babel will transform into the Burj Dubai.
(Thanks to everyone for the links!)