HT: Shane Raynor
UPDATE (Feb. 21): Today the ESV Bible blog responded to Ben Witherington, denying his "second hand tale" of how the ESV came to be. I suspect that we have not heard the end of this one, since I seem to recall hearing Wayne Grudem publicly give one or more accounts of the origin of the ESV which differ from what is now posted on the ESV blog. I recall hearing Dr. Grudem state that the ESV was created in response to the decision of the CBT for the NIV to continue revising the NIV including updating its masculinist language to be more gender-accurate, many of the updates which are now the same as gender-accurate wordings in the ESV. My impression from the quality of the revisions of the RSV is that the production of the ESV was something of a rush job. Perhaps those on the ESV team who were most vocal against the TNIV, such as Dr. Grudem and Dr. Vern Poythress, were pushing hard to publish the ESV before the complete TNIV Bible was published.
I would like to see an independent statement from Dr. Grudem giving his account of how the ESV came to be to see how that compares with the account just given on the ESV Bible Blog.
On Dec. 19, 2005, Jeremy Pierce posted on this same topic.
Update (Feb. 22): Today blogger Denny Burk takes Ben Witherington to task over his post. Unfortunately, Burk's post is subjective, stating his own opinions, and does not present empirical data, which are always essential for supporting or refuting claims. For instance, Burk claims:
Witherington is in error when he says that translating anthrōpoi as “men” misrepresents the meaning of the word. In English usage, as in Greek, everyone knows that the plural form “men” can refer to mankind or people in general without respect to gender. A quick perusal of any English dictionary will confirm that this is in fact a long standing English idiom.Burk makes the unsubstantiated claim, that "everyone knows ..." My own observations as a linguist supported by empirical field testing, casts doubt upon Burk's claim. Everyone today does not know that the English word "men" "can refer to mankind or people in general." The appeal to the dictionary only supports the claim that Burk makes, namely, that the generic usage for "men" is "long standing." It does not support the claim that the longstanding usage is continued among "everyone" of today's speakers of English. The empirical facts can only be determined by scientific field testing, not from personal statements believed to be true of "everyone."