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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bible concern survey

It's been quite awhile since I posted a new survey on this blog. I have just posted one in the right margin where you can indicate what your greatest concern is about English Bible versions today. As always, there are probably ways that this survey could be worded better. But maybe you can find one answer on the survey which comes closest to your biggest concern. And if your greatest concern is not listed, you can choose the last answer, "other."

If you believe that there is a great deal of inaccuracy in English Bibles today, and this is your greatest concern, choose "accuracy" as your response.

If you believe that English Bibles are being neutered, that the masculinity of the Bible is being removed by gender-neutral (also known as gender-inclusive) language, and this is your greatest concern, choose "gender neutralization."

I hope that the other answers are self-explanatory.

The results of this survey should be interesting.


At Sat Sep 02, 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

What is the practical difference between "reading level too high" and "uneducated readers"?

Probably none. It may be that I could post better surveys if we produced them by committee, with good input from each of you sharp thinkers out there. OTOH, I have done committee work and sometimes it can be rather frustrating to arrive at consensus.

At Sun Sep 03, 12:53:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

So, it seems from the first day of polling with this unscientific survey that there is no clear consensus on the biggest concern about English Bible versions today -- except that no one is most concerned about "other."

Yes, far from scientific. Self-selection does not a scientific poll make.

However, I still find the results interesting, and I hope they will become even more interesting as more people respond.

At Mon Sep 04, 07:08:00 AM, Blogger lingamish said...


I woke up thinking about testing! I wondered if there wouldn't be a way to collaboratively devise a survey or test that fellow bloggers representing the spectrum of thought on translation issues could use to actually try out their hypotheses. I'd rather see a survey that people could actually perform "on the street" so to speak, and then post results online.

It would be interesting to see what kinds of questions people from both sides of the gender debate would propose for example. Are we asking the same questions? Also, a "naturalness" test using unlabeled versions might be illuminating.

The "Waiters/Waitresses and Mail Carriers" mentioned in Justin's post might be a good representative sample.

At Wed Sep 06, 07:08:00 AM, Blogger Trevor Jenkins said...

I can't vote. ... Only one choice, which should it be: reading level too high, or unnatural English, or uneducated readers. Um, I want to have all three. The first, because I believe that most English translations require a reading skill higher than that of the average reader. Readability studies consistently put the reading levels of these translations around school grade 8, whereas average reading skills are down between grades 5 and 6. The second, because for those versions following a literal philosophy of translation the grammars of the source languages are exposed and these can be different from English. Also some traditional wordings, beloved by some, are no longer good contemporary English and in some cases the meanings are 180degree opposed now to what they were for the traditional renderings. The third, because Bible readership has declined over the years and, according to recent surveys, is still declining. So some of what could be taken for granted by earlier generations of translators can no long be relied upon.

At Thu Nov 02, 11:11:00 AM, Blogger Spiritual StarScaper said...

If you believe that English Bibles are being neutered, that the masculinity of the Bible is being removed by gender-neutral (also known as gender-inclusive) language, and this is your greatest concern, choose "gender neutralization."

...Are you serious?... "the masculinity of the Bible"??? I wasn't aware that God plays favorites to the male gender. Who would possibly want a gender-exclusive language when that's clearly not the original intent of God's heart of His Word to us? That seems a little silly sense people in the Bible's day and culture would have automatically understood the full meaning of God's Law and message, whereas the English translators were the ones who came along and translated literally and placed the "masculinity" into God's Word in the first place. Sometimes "men" just means "humankind", not a group of male people. It should say what it means, not what we're used to hearing. The last I checked, God made both men and women in His image. Neither one is a favored or superior gender over the other - certainly God didn't inspire a "masculine" Bible any more than He inspired a "feminine" one.

At Tue Mar 06, 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

My biggest concerns with translation are: assumption of piety in the ancient text; and failure to preserve structure - parallelism, chiasm, etc; I have done some translation from Hebrew (see


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