Translation debate narrows to even 2 words, 'the Jews'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Even two simple words -- "the Jews" -- reflect the debate over changes in the Today's New International Version over its 1984 predecessor, the widely used New International Version translation of the Bible.

According to the International Bible Society, the TNIV seeks "to incorporate the most advanced biblical scholarship. Scholars today have a better understanding of the biblical languages and the historical context in which the Bible was written."

A key example cited by the Bible society, which holds the copyright to the TNIV and NIV, is the Greek word customarily rendered "the Jews" -- "Ioudaioi."

"Like many Greek words, Ioudaioi has a range of meanings," the IBS stated in a May 16 news release in behalf of the TNIV. "Depending on the context, it can refer to Jewish people in general, a localized group of Jews or Jewish religious authorities. In John 9:22 Ioudaioi refers to the religious authorities interrogating the blind man's parents (who were also Jewish) in 9:13-34.

"The TNIV's careful translation helps the reader understand the precise meaning of the text," the IBS stated.

Meanwhile, a statement signed by 100 Christian leaders in opposition to the TNIV also notes biblical references to the Jews as among the "serious problems with the TNIV."

In changing "Jews" to "Jewish leaders" in Acts 13:50 and 21:11, the statement coordinated by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood asks, "How do the TNIV translators know [that the change] does not make a false claim, and obscure a possible corporate meaning?"

The TNIV's New Testament, which was published this spring, will be followed by the complete Bible, "expected in 2005," according to IBS and the TNIV's publisher, Zondervan, which also noted that the NIV will continue to be published.


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