Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Desert of Translation

There is a new translation of the New American Bible, and it's being promoted at the USCCB Website. I'm not sure about this translation, as I haven't seen it yet--I'm not even hopeful that it will be better than what they're currently using. For example, from today's Gospel reading as posted at the USCCB Website:

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”

Um, USCCB, I have a question: ONE WHAT? One door? One dog? One elephant? One tree?  Are we really serious about using "One" now as the gender-neutral pronoun for human beings?  "One does not live on bread alone." How unremarkably innocuous; how utterly unprecise.

I'm as irritated by this as I was on Ash Wednesday when some random lay person smeared ashes so high on my forehead it was in my hairline and said, "turn from sin and live the gospel".  What happened to remember, Man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return?  Yes, lent is about repentance, but Ash Wednesday is about the REASON for repentance: that the flesh dies. Again, safety trumps precision.

Yes, I know, gender neutrality, oppressive language and all that.


We can't simply ignore the fact that languages developed over thousands of years, and that gender in language is much, much more about sound, meaning and precision than gender. We also can't ignore the fact that written language has always been far more structured, as the desire for precision and clarity call for formality. So when members of the Church buy into the dumbing down of Scripture, the very book containing the teachings of Christ and His apostles, in favor of not offending us women folk, I am a little more than insulted to be perceived a bigot.

Here is the definition of the word "bigotry" from m-w.coma person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.  Isn't altering the words of the gospels because certain people don't like to be associated with males--at the expense of clarity--an example of treating a group with hatred and intolerance? We should be more concerned with accuracy than anything else when it comes to working out our salvation, yet people worry more about the he's and she's than about what is actually being said. Isn't this an example of devotion to opinion and prejudice?

Of course uberfeminists wouldn't dare put it into these words, but that's what it is. It's the worst kind of bigotry there is--bigotry against the self.  The modern ideal of feminism promotes self-loathing in women to the point that being feminine is a woman's mortal enemy. What I can't figure out is why so many of our members--Priests, Deacons and laity alike--can't see this.

I, for one, long for the days when on Ash Wednesday a Priest (not a lay person) puts the ashes on my forehead saying, "Remember, MAN, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  Until they return, though, I'm going to stop using the USCCB's Online Bible on this blog, convenient though it may be.

Click Here for the RSV Online

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