ESV translators are not misogynists
It is likely that most, if not all, of the married ESV translators are loving husbands who do not lord it over their wives in an unbiblical way. Wayne Grudem, a highly visible member of the ESV translation team, and one of the most vocal critics of the TNIV, has lovingly sacrificed for his wife. And that, according to Eph. 5:23-25, is a defining characteristic of what it means for a man to be head of his wife:
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.Dr. Grudem taught at Trinity Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois, for many years. He had an important tenured position on the faculty. His wife increasingly struggled with a respiratory ailment which was exacerbated by the Illinois climate. Not too long ago Dr. Grudem sacrificed his well-established position at Trinity and moved to Arizona, so that his wife could be in a better climate for her illness. He now is on the faculty of a much smaller seminary in Arizona. Dr. Grudem sacrificed an important part of his own career for the sake of his wife. That is loving, sacrificial biblical headship.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (ESV)
I have also listened to sermons preached by Dr. Grudem. There is no hint of misogyny in what he teaches. I get no idea that he thinks of women as second-class citizens. Egalitarians can differ with Dr. Grudem on what roles are appropriate for a woman to have in the home and church, but it would be inappropriate for anyone to accuse, a priori, Dr. Grudem or any who believe strongly in divinely ordained complementary roles for women and men, of being misogynists, wife-beaters, etc.
I have wanted to post on this for some time. It is my desire that debates of any kind be conducted in a biblical way, graciously, lovingly listening well to each other, with sincere respect for each other, even while differing on some matters. One of my passions is that biblical teachings about interpersonal relationships and speech be especially followed when it involves the Bible that is at the heart of our faith, the faith shared by people who may have some differences in theology or ideology, but are all still orthodox in their beliefs.
Let us not accuse the TNIV translators of heresy, as some have done. They are not heretics, nor is their translation heretical. The TNIV translators seek to honor God through translating as accurately as possible. And let us not accuse TNIV opponents, several of whom produced the ESV, of being heretics, or women-haters, or anything else which might easily slip off our tongues but for which we have no proof.
Above all, in any discussions, but especially when debating how best to translate God's Holy Word, let us follow the instruction of Paul:
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ. (TNIV)or more idiomatically:
Instead, as we lovingly speak the truth, we will grow up completely in our relationship to Christ, who is the head. (GW)
UPDATE: Henry Neufeld has posted helpful comments which add nicely to mine. Henry has correctly read the spirit of my post. He goes on to point out what I perhaps should have in my post above, also, namely, that some of the translation wordings in the ESV are unfortunate and contribute to some unhealthy traditional views toward women. For instance, translation of adelphoi in Rom. 12:1 as "brothers" when almost all exegetes recognize that the word referred to both males and females, is an example where masculine words were retained which reinforce the idea of excluding women from the Bible (the ESV does footnote the meaning "brothers and sisters" but that accurate meaning should be in the text, not in a footnote). There are other examples like this in the ESV where masculine words were retained when probably most on the ESV team recognize that both women and men were referred to in the biblical text. This practice in the ESV isn't misogny, per se, but it definitely causes many females to feel excluded from versions such as the ESV where the Bible itself does not exclude them.
I stayed away from the translation deficiencies of the ESV in my post above, choosing only to address the issue of the spirit of our debates over Bible versions. I have addressed deficiencies of the ESV a number of other times in BBB posts, as well as in the ESV section of this blog and the ESV links webpage, but I can see that my post might allow readers to infer that the ESV is an acceptable translation. It is, IMO, not an acceptable translation, but I do not believe that I should question the motives of those who produced the ESV. I do believe that it is proper to question the ESV translation itself.
I have found many problem wordings in the ESV and likely will continue to do so. As an editor myself, the ESV strikes me as a translation that was rushed to publication without adequate care taken to be consistent to its own translation patterns. For instance, the ESV team only revised a few of the obsolescent inverted negatives of the RSV. From private communication I know that the ESV team was made aware before publication that the obsolete negatives should be more consistently revised, but for whatever reason they were left in the translation. With today's computerized search routines it would have taken only a few more minutes or at most, perhaps two or three hours, to have completed that revision job. Had the ESV team completed revising the negative word orders to standard English usage since 1750 A.D., the ESV would have less of a strange, out-dated sound to it.
Categories: ESV, misogyny