ReligionProf Podcast with Ruth Hayhoe about Suzanne McCarthy, Transcripted

ReligionProf Podcast with Ruth Hayhoe about Suzanne McCarthy, Transcripted February 19, 2020

I am extremely grateful to Kurk Gayle for taking the time to transcribe the podcast that I recorded with Ruth Hayhoe about her sister Suzanne McCarthy’s amazing book,

As I say in the podcast, as transcripted,

the book really does draw attention to something that is really pernicious and can really have a detrimental effect on anything from the self-esteem and self-understanding of women who are involved in Christian communities and are reading the Bible, to how churches engage with social issues, to even how effective those who are trying to advocate for women equality can do so. Because if people turn to an English translation and think, “Oh, the Bible says this,” it can close down the argument from their perspective. When in fact, what they’re reading is a translation that might be twisted intentionally to have that very effect.

And then again later,

I do want to include a recommendation of the book for academics, simply because we often work in the original languages. And then whether through church involvement or just because it’s often faster to skim a translation in English, we work with the translation at least some of the time. Work with it in the classroom. And it’s almost like the two, unless you’re actually engaged in the act of Bible translation, you may not realize that, “Oh, in that passage, that’s the same word, but it’s being translated differently.” Unless you have the two side by side. So the book really does highlight some instances of that and make us aware as a discipline, as an area of the academy, to really give much more thought to that.

And I think particularly with the technology we have now, where can go to a manuscript, can look through it for particular keywords and can check what we’ve done against original language terminology and things like that and see whether we’ve been consistent, whether inconsistencies are there. That at the very least those of us who are adamantly in support of women’s equality and recognize that that’s there in the biblical tradition and in the history of the church, not inadvertently provide things that will run counter to that by maybe just following an earlier translation custom or doing something like that. So I think this is an important book for academics to read.

The podcast was a wonderful experience, and among other things highlighted the positive role the biblioblogosphere has played and can play in inspiring and supporting efforts to write books as well as to address important issues in other ways. Please do listen to it as well as reading it!

Since Bart Ehrman mentioned on his blog that he would be offering an audio version of his blog posts, I’ve been wondering how many readers of this blog would be interested in something similar. It probably would not take that much time to read my blog posts aloud once I’ve written them, recording them and making those recordings available online. I’d probably do it if more than one or two people thought it would be useful.

Back to the starting point, see my post on the podcast episode, and now in the WIT blog post that features the transcript:

The story of Suzanne McCarthy’s book, as told to James McGrath by her sister, Ruth Hayhoe

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