So, after all this millennia of patriarchal oppression and one-sidedness we finally have a feminist version of the Bible. It is called: “The Bible in Fair Language” and it should hit the market this fall. A team of 42 women and 10 men toild over this translation for quite some years, but it is finally here.
The guideline for this version is “justice”. “Justice is the main topic of the Bible,” according to theologian Claudia Janssen. “And we're trying to do justice to the topic in our translation. Justice has different aspects: We wanted to do justice to the text and the language about the sexes. Social justice is also an important topic, as well as justice in the Judeo-Christian dialogue.”
Now, I don’t know how you feel about this, but everytime I hear about justice I shiver. In former times “justice” was about accepting your own place in the feudal hierarchy and if that was not forthcoming, then violence was needed to make that happen. In later days “justice” is about making everyone equal, and if that is not forthcoming, then violence is needed to make that happen. This two ways of achieving “justice” through political means (i. e. coercion) is what political conservatism and political left are about. In this case we have an example of gender equality justice, achieved by doing violence to the text. Well, affirmative action and other leftist agression policies do need an ideological boost from time to time, don’t they?
“We are very much used to speaking about God in the masculine,” Frank Crüsemann reminds us “In the new translation, however, the feminine aspect prevails, which I find to be good and exciting.” How does that square with the the intention “to do justice to the text” (Janssen) is something of the field of doublethink. Unless, of course, by doing justice to the text you mean to put the text on the procustean bed of your own social(ist) agenda.
But you should not make much of this event: “Every translator knows that their translation has a limited shelf-life, that the theological decisions in the background are temporary and that the language also changes over time” assures us Janssen. And I believe her. This translation is as lasting and consistent as the ideology behind it.
Deutsche Welle story at: