Brilliant Translation Decision

Brilliant Translation Decision January 17, 2013

In working through the edits for the commentary on the Sermon on the Mount I saw a change in the NIV 2011 I had not noticed because when the 2011 came out I was already beyond Matthew 5:31-32. I have read the NIV 2011 on the Sermon a number of times but this one translation just didn’t jump out at me the way it did last Friday.

TNIV:  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

NIV2011: But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

TNIV: she is caused to become an adulteress because she remarries, but the “causes her” leaves open the why she is caused. Historical context suggests she would have needed to be remarried in order to survive etc.

NIV2011: The blame becomes much more clear because the blame here is on the male, the woman illegitimately divorced becomes vulnerable and therefore a victim. I like it. (I would, however, suggest the “a” in “a divorced woman” could suggest “any” divorced woman, but a legitimately divorced woman was free to remarry so to remarry a legitimately divorced woman would not be adulterous.)

So the “a divorced woman” is the illegitimately divorced but now victimized woman? Blame the man for marrying her but not her fault?

What do you think?


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