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Friday, May 25, 2007

NET Bible Review 2

In the comments to my first post on the NET Bible, it became clear that this Bible is not valued for its English style but for its notes. In this discussion on the NET bible site, there is no mention of an in-house English stylist; however, on this page Wayne Leman is recognized as a translation consultant and W. Hall Harris III is mentioned as an English stylist. I will let Wayne jump in to comment or post on this as he sees fit. Dr. Wallace concludes his Open Letter with this invitation.

    We continue to ask for your assistance because the mutual cooperation benefits us all. And with nearly three quarters of a million words in the text and notes, the NET team needs all the editorial and proofreading help we can get!
I must mention that, in spite of this generous expression of openness, Dr. Wallace did not respond directly to my 17 posts on Junia but designated Michael Burer to rebut them. I will analyse Burer's response to me in a subsequent post. But first, I would like to discuss the notes in general and a few in particular pertaining to women.

The notes are of three types, the study notes - "sn", the translators notes - "tn", and the 'text critical notes - "tc". When I read through the notes, I have a decidedly different reaction to each distinct type of note. I read through the study notes with non-critical interest, I enjoy tremendously the text critical notes, and I interact in a very critical and discriminating manner with the translator notes, assessing them one by one.

Here are some examples of text critical notes.

1. In John's gospel, there are some extremely interesting issues in chapter 1, verses 18 and 34. Throughout the text critical notes, there is extensive reference to the visual aspects of the manuscripts, for example, evaluating whether the difference was one of one letter or several depending on whether a nomen sacrum was used.

2. There is an lengthly response to Fee's article on 1 Cor. 14:34-35.

3. In 1 Thess. 2:7, the NET Bible has "we became little children among you" rather than "gentle" agreeing here with the TNIV.

4. In Eph. 5:22, the discussion about the ellipsis brings up the issue of page breaks in the lectionaries as a reason for an interpolated verb. It does not impact in any way on the translation or section break but is interesting nonetheless.

5. In Romans 16:7 the note indicates that it is highly unlikely that "Junia" was actually the male name "Junias". However, it does mention the citation of "Junias" in Epiphanius, without including the critical information that Epiphanius also thought that Priscilla was a man. I don't see why space could not have been spared for this tidbit? Why not close the loophole?

In general I find the text critical notes to the point and interesting. However, I am of the opinion that in several places the translation notes are somewhat unfavourable towards women.

For example, there is the question of Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2,
    Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant1 of the church in Cenchrea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and provide her with whatever help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many, including me.
And here is the only note for this verse.

    Or “deaconess.” It is debated whether διάκονος (diakonos) here refers to a specific office within the church. . . . In any case, the evidence is not compelling either way. The view accepted in the translation above is that Phoebe was a servant of the church, not a deaconess, although this conclusion should be regarded as tentative.
The main difficulty that leaps to the eye is that there was no office for "deaconess", nor was there a word for "deaconess" in the New Testament church. The term diakonissa occurs a couple of centuries later. Therefore, to suggest the word "deaconess" for diakonos is a simple anachronism. The rest of the argument seems sound, and it is buttressed by Wallace's study May Women be Deacons, in which he says,
    As I read the NT, I do see deacons functioning in an authoritative capacity. If my understanding is correct, then the only way for one to see women deacons in 1 Tim 3:11 is either to (a) divorce this verse from the overarching principle stated in 1 Tim 2:12 or (b) reinterpret 2:12 to mean something other than an abiding principle for church life.

    On the other hand, if deacons were not in roles of leadership, then what is to prevent women from filling such a role? To be sure, there are some who believe that women can be deacons, but who also believe that a female deacon functioned on a different level than a male deacon2 If such a qualification is made, then I have no problem with the category.

It is clear that 1 Tim. 2:12 is taken as the rule against which to measure other verses in the scriptures regarding women. What is to prevent others from taking a contrasting verse as their rule? There is a certain amount of casuistry involved in this discussion, in my view. Wallace states that in the case where a female deacon functions on a different level, a woman could be a deacon. I don't have a strong disagreement with the NET Bible on this word "deacon", but I want to show the kind of subtle slant and background justification that is behind the notes.

The more puzzling term in Rom. 16:2 is the translation of prostatis as "great help". The ESV has "patron" here. There is no note on this word. It is passed over in silence and yet a significant decision has been made. There is no mention of the fact that the word prostatis is a cognate of the verb in 1 Tim. 5:17 which is translated as "leadership" in this verse - "Elders who provide effective leadership". No mention of that!

Once again, I am not proposing that this word should necessarily have been translated as "leader" but I do want to point out that the NET Bible does not provide the full story on women. If translation tradition had favoured women over the centuries, this verse could have been translated,

    Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon of the church in Cenchrea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and provide her with whatever help she may need from you, for she has been a leader/provider for many, including me.

These options are not discussed. This is really a very minor issue, but I have found several other times when the NET Bible made a decision in the translation, section headings or notes, which diminishes the status of women.

In Eph. 5:22 the note comments on, but does not provide adequate support for putting the break between verses 21 and 22. In 1 Cor. 11:10, the notes do not mention that translating exousia as "a symbol of authority" refering to a symbol of someone else's authority over one's person, is absolutely without precedent in Greek literature and therefore needs a stronger defense. The notes simply don't provide strong support for the translation decision.

In 1 Tim. 2:12, the note for authentein says "to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to" and does not in any way support the translation "exercise authority". I am of the opinion that on occasion these notes serve a decorative function only. They do not put one in touch with the actual translation issues.

In 1 Tim. 2:15, the notewriter waxes eloquent on childbearing and posits that it represents submission to male leadership.

    The idea of childbearing, then, is a metonymy of part for the whole that encompasses the woman’s submission again to the leadership of the man

This runs counter to the narrative of scripture, in which Hannah, Rachel, Ruth, Tamar and others take the initiative in order to bear children. This runs counter to the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and this runs counter to the injunction of Jesus,

    As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

This runs counter to Paul's teaching in 1 Cor. 7 that

    An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.

and this runs counter to the teaching that sexual intercourse is supposed to be a mutual arrangement as taught in 1 Cor. 7:4 (and Song of Solomon, so they say.)

    The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.

I'd hate to see the NET Bible and its notes being used in a marriage prep seminar. The teaching in these notes seem so far from the Biblical narrative that I looked up an article by Wallace to ascertain if he actually approved of this teaching. I was unpleasantly surprised.

I find that Wallace explicitly states his views on women in an article called Biblical Gynecology. Although Wallace intends this to refer only to the "study of women", he cannot be oblivious to the fact that gynecology has exactly one meaning in English,

    The study of the reproductive system of women.

So, once Wallace has women metaphorically under examination, "on the table", so to speak, the question is, does he envision women only in submission to male initiative? Apparently so - women are for Wallace "responders" - that is their function, both in the home and in the church. Wallace does not mean that women respond to God, Wallace means that women respond to men - in the home and in the church. (Funny thing, I was always under the distinct impression that men respond to women.) Women, best discussed metaphorically by "childbearing" and "gynecology", or the study of their reproductive organs, experience the redemptive work of God in their life inasmuch as they submit to man.

Not happy to leave it at that, Wallace goes on to share with the public his views on "egalitarian women" - those who defy being defined by their reproductive organs. On anecdotal evidence, Wallace remarks that egalitarian women are rude, "arrogant" and "disrespectful." Wallace characterizes egalitarian women as "despising women" and "treating women as second-class citizens." In fact, according to Wallace, it is almost without exception egalitarian women who behave this way; complementarian women have never been known to do this.

I just don't think that providing evidence to the contrary would be useful at this point. My experience is that in the public school system and at secular universities, this kind of discourse is not allowed. I have certainly never run into this kind of officially sanctioned sexism in the non-Christian workplace. This does Grudem one better - he merely states, in Ev. Fem. and Biblical Truth, that egalitarian women are "unattractive to the opposite sex".

Probably 500 years from now this isn't going to matter - but now, this matters. My sense is that Christians are so desensitized to sexism that they simply let it go by without comment. What kind of witness is this to the world?

Next, I am going to review Wallace and Burer's work on Junia. Stay tuned.

Update: This line "it is almost without exception egalitarian women who behave this way" has been edited in response to a commenter, to better conform to Wallace's argument in the paper Biblical Gynecology. Wallace also writes, "" I am not saying that egalitarian women always treat other women disrespectfully".

Nonetheless, Wallace pits egalitarian women against complementarian women and makes some unpleasant accusations. It is evident that egalitarian women could easily recount anecdotes which demonstrate the converse, but I don't think it is appropriate for me to try and counter Wallace's arguments, although I could easily do so. The simple fact remains that he should not have sunk to this level of discourse.



At Fri May 25, 11:03:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Wayne Leman is recognized as a translation consultant

I work now as a translation consultant. Perhaps I submitted the most number of email comments to the NET Bible team compared to anyone else. And I had some email exchanges with Dan Wallace about translation approaches.

I feel honored that they called me a translation consultant but I'm not sure that I deserve that title for the NET Bible. I was not part of their translation team.

Like others, I do appreciate the NET Bible notes. Lately, as I have continued charting translation data for English versions, I have paid a little more attention to the NET Bible text itself. I have slowly come to a point of thinking that the NET itself has some value also. The NET team really tried to address a number of translation issues with integrity. I note that they wrestled with how best to express Hebraic and Greek idioms in English. In a number of cases, they come out better in this regard than other English versions which have close to the same degree of literalness. By better I mean that they accurately communicate the figurative meaning of quite a few idioms to English readers. Of course, they also footnote the literal meaning of those idioms, and sometimes even include some other interesting background information on the figurative language.

I hope that the NET Bible team will issue another revision. I have gotten the idea that it is their intention to do so every so many years.

The text of their translation needs further work so that there is a more even level of literary quality. I'm not referring to leveling out literary differences. I'm referring to the fact that not all of the NET Bible was stylistically revised to the same degree. And when different translators were responsible for different parts of the translation, it is inevitable that there will be different levels of literary quality. Over time the valleys can be filled in and the rough places made smoother. Hey, that almost sounds biblical!

At Sat May 26, 07:22:00 AM, Blogger David Lang said...


At times, I read your arguments and find that they are carefully thought out. But when you are responding to a complementarian writer such as Wallace, your arguments get more frenetic and uncharitable.

I'm referring specifically to your rant about Wallace's discussion of egalitarian women who are "rude" and "disrespectful" to other women. First, you make no mention of Wallace's preceding discussion of complementarian men who are rude and disrespectful to egalitarian women, a situation he bemoans just as emphatically. Next, you write, "In fact, according to Wallace, this is without exception; complementarian women have never been known to do this."

This kind of statement leads me to wonder if you actually read the article you cite. Wallace concludes his discussion of attitude by saying:

"Let me be clear here: I am not saying that egalitarian women always treat other women disrespectfully, any more than I am saying that complementarian men always treat women disrespectfully. I am saying that there are extremes in each camp, and both extremes represent an ungodly and unbiblical position. Regardless of which position one holds to, we have no right to treat one another with any attitude other than respect."

Isn't this the exact opposite of what you represented Wallace as saying? Namely, that egalitarian women are rude "without exception".

I would encourage you to be especially careful when responding to those who argue for a complementarian position. At times you seem to be reacting to the meanings you have invested in words like "responder," "initiative," "submission," etc.--meanings which I do not think the authors you argue against intend to communicate by those terms.

To borrow from Wallace's schema, it would seem that your understanding of these terms has been forged by your personal experience with "extreme complementarianism." If you argue against the extreme view with people who don't actually hold that extreme view, you are unlikely to convince them of anything, since you will merely appear to them to be distorting their arguments and tearing down strawmen.

At Sat May 26, 08:59:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Wallace writes,

The rudest people she has encountered in her job are women who despise her—apparently for being a receptionist. Almost without exception, they are egalitarians.

This is what Wallace wrote and I just didn't want to drag the full quote into my post because it now reflects on the person who told Wallace this and why he thinks it is worth repeating. I thnk quoting this directly seems to me to be even worse.

I find all this hard to believe. In my school we are all egalitarian, and mostly non-Christian, and I just can't imagine treating a secretary like this. She is treated as one of us.

This attempt to pit women against each other is very distasteful no matter how it is couched. I could hardly believe my eyes.

The entire discourse is not appropriate. I can't imagine how anyone could defend it.

Complementarian men do not bear the brunt of Wallace's argument - the women do.

And I wish you to note, that I am not uncharitable to women, nor do I have any kind of mental divide into "complementarian" woman and other women - I just don't think that way. It appalls me that Wallace divides people this way.

I am protesting against the writing of a man who exerts power, in that he has influence and position. He holds himself up as a teacher and so the scripture says

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

I would also like to add that writers of English should respect the meaning that words have in the English language. That does not seem to be too much to ask.

At Sat May 26, 09:25:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


I would like to tell you about a seminar I went to last year in which a panel of 2 men and 2 women spoke. One of the topics was regarding the language of "responder". Both of these men were extremely squeamish about using this term "of the bedroom?" as one asked. They were very self-conscious about the sexual nature of the term and specualated on what era it came from.

Both these men, who are married, did not refer to their wives in the seminar but their sisters. They spoke only of woman as sister, not sexual partner. One of these men started to cry because he understood the depersonalization which this term implies.

Christian men who do not cry for the plight of women who are locked into the role of "responder to men" have been seriously desensitized.

At Sat May 26, 09:54:00 AM, Blogger opinion-minion said...

It seems a pity that such a recent translation would appear to go 'backward' on some of these very important passages. It's not just the TNIV that has decided deacon is a valid translation for Romans 16. Off the top of my head, I can think of the NRSV, New Jerusalem Bible, and probably others that I am forgetting.

I disagree with Wallace, but the link to his one article (Biblical Gynecology) as far as I have read (part one) he seems to have come a lot farther than most complementarians that I've read. I still think that people in such important positions must be extraordinarily careful, especially when their position limits 51% of the human race from living in true equality with the other half.

I've heard many slanders of feminists that really bother me. Most feminists, despite the vitriolic spewings of a few prominent feminists, do not hate men. However, this is rountinely asserted, as well as a host of other claims that feminism has broken up homes, ruined America, blah, blah. Considering that from its inception, America has had primarily male leadership, to take the mess that is American family life and dump it into womens laps is just a bit convenient.

At Sat May 26, 01:42:00 PM, Blogger Glennsp said...

Suzanne, you are misrepresenting the article you linked to.
You leave out that it was Wallace's wife who had had the 'bad' experience.
You pick and choose extremely selectively just what you include and after reading the article that you yourself linked to I have to say that unless you had provided that link I would have thought it the wrong one.
You are trying to imply extreme bias in someone else, but all you are doing is revealing your own extreme bias.
David Lang put it very well and you would do well to meditate on what David said.

At Sat May 26, 01:52:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I chose deliberately to leave out the reference to Wallace's wife. I do not want to put myself in the position of recounting all the incidents in which complementarian women behaved in a certain way to me.

I find it so disturbing that Wallace would communicate this information in such a fashion. I just don't want to implicate another woman in this most distateful discussion, under the heading gynecology, which can only evoke the most unpleasant images for a woman.

I am surprised to see that men are so completely desensitized to this that it doesn't even register. I was grateful to note last year that Canadian men who spoke at the seminar I attended were not desensitized to this but were deeply moved.

I assume that there are other men, both complementarian and egalitarian, who comment here, who actually have the imagination to perceive how disturbing this article is to women.

At Sat May 26, 03:37:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

It is rather hard for me to follow your argument here. I cannot distinguish to what extent you are criticizing the nominal subject of your review: the notes of the NET Bible, as opposed to the personal belief of Wallace, or whether you suggest they are indistinguishable.

Furthermore, I think you taken items out of context in ways that falsely strengthen your argument. For example, here is the portion you omitted of the notes to Romans 16:1:

One contextual argument used to support this view is that Phoebe is associated with a particular church, Cenchrea, and as such would therefore be a deacon of that church. In the NT some who are called διάκονος are related to a particular church, yet the scholarly consensus is that such individuals are not deacons, but “servants” or “ministers” (other viable translations for διάκονος). For example, Epaphras is associated with the church in Colossians and is called a διάκονος in Col 1:7, but no contemporary translation regards him as a deacon. In 1 Tim 4:6 Paul calls Timothy a διάκονος; Timothy was associated with the church in Ephesus, but he obviously was not a deacon. In addition, the lexical evidence leans away from this view: Within the NT, the διακον- word group rarely functions with a technical nuance. [emphasis added]

From this, it is clear that the annotators view deacon and deaconess as synonymous (in the way that we normally treat actor and actress as synonymous.)

Similarly, in your criticism of Romans 16:2, you fail to note that every translation (with the exception of Young's Literal Translation) fails to use "leader" here -- and with a good reason, since using it here would imply that Paul was a follower of Phoebe, which seems to be uncharacteristic of Paul. Even the vacillating Amplified Bible does not mention this as alternative meaning here.

At this point, I stopped evaluating your arguments.

In many cases, your criticisms are negative -- that the NET Bible has failed to note a preferred reading of yours. I believe that imposing a burden on a Bible that it agree in every place with your judgment and opinions is a test to which any Bible would fail.

Perhaps your criticisms have some merit, which makes it all more regrettable that you engage this work in a polemical way, thus neutralizing the force of your arguments.

At Sat May 26, 04:28:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Let me respond to each of these.

First, regarding "deacon".

There was later an office of διακονισσα which was essentially the wife of a deacon. This is usually translated "deaconess". I have spent many hours in translation classes discussing the impact of translating from French into English the feminized form of the title for an office. There is an impact and I don't think it should be ignored. I find the intrusion of the word "deaconess" for a word that means "deacon" in this note to be unnatural to the context and an anachronism.

Regarding the word προστατις, in the Greek this word is cognate with a verb for leading and the male term applies to a worship leader. There is scholarship supporting the view that the woman is also a worship leader.

I recommend to you this article by Kenneth Bailey.

Other translations use "benefactor" or "patron" to indicate that this word had a meaning which extends far beyond that of "helper".

It is not a matter of "preferred reading" but a matter of the most literal meaning, the meaning which is the most consistent with Greek lexicons and Greek literature.

I do not see that one could translate the word "ombudsman" (Do you have those in the States?) as "helper" and then say "well, that is one way to say it". Imagine the difference between putting "ombudsman" and "helper" on your resume. Maybe it is all the same to you!

And yes, I do believe that Dr. Wallace's personal views are relevant. Shouldn't there be standards?

I am not concerned that it agree with me in every place. I am concerned when I see that in every place where there a debated reading which concerns women, this Bible choses a less literal and more interpetive translation in order to withhold status from women.

"Deacon" is simply more transparent, "patron" as in the ESV also more transparent to Greek.

At Sat May 26, 04:29:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I don't believe you read my comment.

At Sat May 26, 04:41:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

From this, it is clear that the annotators view deacon and deaconess as synonymous (in the way that we normally treat actor and actress as synonymous.)

This is technically innaccurate. It sounds okay if you don't know Greek, but the Greek reader knows that deaconess was the wife of a deacon. Phoebe was not that and for the NET Bible to introduce the term confuses the ancient practice with our practice today, in which a woman could be a deacon, if she held the office with the powers allowed to a woman. But the Greek does not differentiate between male and female in this case.

How can I say this more clearly? It is not a matter of how the annotators view it. It is a careless use of language, regardless of the conclusion they come to.

At Sat May 26, 04:43:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am trying to explain why they shouldn't use the word "deaconess" at all in this note. They misuse it. It is careless.

At Sat May 26, 04:46:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but "deaconness" is an English word, not a Greek word. And here is its primary definition in the OED:

1. Eccl. a. The name of an order of women in the early church, ‘who appear to have undertaken duties in reference to their own sex analogous to those performed by the deacons among men’ (Dict. Chr. Antiq.). b. Also, in some modern churches, of an order of women having functions parallel to those of the deacons in the same, or intermediate between these and those of the women in sense 2.

In any case, the use of the term is clear enough from the footnote. Let me ask you ... why have you in every case omitted the portion of quotes that would make your case weaker? It makes you sound like an advocate rather than an objective observer.

At Sat May 26, 04:49:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Similarly, in your criticism of Romans 16:2, you fail to note that every translation (with the exception of Young's Literal Translation) fails to use "leader" here -- and with a good reason, since using it here would imply that Paul was a follower of Phoebe, which seems to be uncharacteristic of Paul. Even the vacillating Amplified Bible does not mention this as alternative meaning here.

Although there is a great deal of discussion to be had concering the meaning of the word προστατις the NET Bible simply leaves it unmentioned. The notes are deficient. It is not simply that the reading in the NET Bible provides less status than for example the TNIV, but that the notes don't even mention the wide range of meaning for προστατις.

Considering that fact that the ESV has "patron" and the NET Bible "great help" I continue to see this as a serious lack in the NET Bible notes. I am critiquing the notes - they are neither adequate nor carefully written when it comes to these pasages.

At Sat May 26, 05:00:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

If you are simply going to repeat your arguments, then I can repeat my statements:

In many cases, your criticisms are negative -- that the NET Bible has failed to note a preferred reading of yours. I believe that imposing a burden on a Bible that it agree in every place with your judgment and opinions is a test to which any Bible would fail.

At Sat May 26, 05:09:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

the NET Bible has failed to note a preferred reading of yours

That is what I am saying - the notes do not provide the full range. They don't mention προστατις at all.

At Sat May 26, 05:37:00 PM, Blogger Glennsp said...

My wife doesn't follow your reasoning regarding the term 'gynaecology'.
She thinks you are trying to manufacture a mountain out of a very, very small mole hill.
Also, having read the article in question, she is unsure how you managed to arrive at the conclusions you have stated as they bare little if any relation to the actual article.

At Sat May 26, 06:28:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

See the dictionary and here.

At Sat May 26, 08:55:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

First, let me say that I assumed that people would read the notes. I know they are online. I am not trying to hide them.

By using the word deaconess, the notes are suggesting both English meanings, but in the Greek only one meaning is in view. So by using a different English word, an ambiguity is introduced that is not in Greek.

So I do believe that in a subtle way, as I said, the notes are less technical than I would expect, and are suggestive of certain things that are not part of the Greek.

[This comment was removed and edited to correct a typo.]

At Sat May 26, 10:12:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Sat May 26, 10:18:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

I believe that if you have a point to make, you could have made it with quotes in proper context and without ad hominem attacks.

At Sat May 26, 10:44:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


Thank you for that. I'm working on it.

I often assume that people will read the articles in question and set the quotes in context. It seems to take up too much space to provide the context. Once again, I am not trying to hide it. I link to it. However, I will try to provide more context next time.

I am not sure whether it is accurate to call this an ad hominem attack, when I quote directly from someone's published work that bears directly on content included in a Bible note.

Possibly there is a significant difference between the US and Canada, but I don't think this kind of writing is acceptable here - certainly not in the secular workplace. There seems to be a cultural difference. I am not convinced that the kind of writing which I quote should be permitted to pass without censure.

However, it is worth considering that others think this kind of thing is acceptable. That provides me with much food for thought and suggests that I should restrict my travel itinerary accordingly.;-)

I will have to leave it with this.

I personally feel very uncomfortable with this kind of discourse. It seems inhospitable. It somehow makes me feel that women are objects of examination. It was extremely upsetting for me to read the article in question.

At Sun May 27, 12:48:00 AM, Blogger anonymous said...

You can certainly criticize Wallace, but cloaking it in a review of the NET Bible seems inappropriate

At Sun May 27, 01:14:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I didn't realize at first that I was going to find all this. I had assumed from some other things that it wasn't that bad. Everything just added up.

The really sad part is that I like Wallace's work on text criticism. It seems even worse to think that he can do some really good stuff in one area and then this.

I know that I have messed up the review. I regret that.

But, once again, as with the ESV, there are some things that are so shocking to me, I just don't know how to handle it. Maybe when I am through reacting to the sheer misery of finding women objectified over and over, I will be able to write in a more neutral manner.

At Sun May 27, 06:03:00 AM, Blogger Glennsp said...

You protest too much and create problems where none exist on the basis that they must exist because you say they do, ummmmmm

At Sun May 27, 06:06:00 AM, Blogger Glennsp said...

Oh yes, my wife found your sarcastic response (dictionary links), shall we say, unnecessary.
She is well aware of the meanings of the word in question, it was your refusal to take on board the meaning outlined in the article that she found strange and, shall we say, deliberate.

At Sun May 27, 11:22:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Qohelet said...

Very nice post. I have often been confounded by certain tendencies in the NET Bible's translation in regards to women. Having some of Wallace's other statements in regards to women is quite helpful. All I've really known is that the project seems to be unofficially linked to DTS.

Wallace's original comments and those of Glennsp remind me strangely of Monty Python's Life of Brian: "I am Brian of Nazareth and so is my wife!" Really folks, hiding behind anonymity or your "wife"? It boggles the mind.

Once again, great post.

At Sun May 27, 12:02:00 PM, Blogger David Lang said...

Sigh. If these discussions illustrate anything, it is how quickly we depart from sound reason to resort to ad hominem attacks and declarations that this or that argument is somehow unfair or cowardly or insensitive.

Dr. Qohelet has accused Glennsp of hiding behind his wife, yet as I see it, Suzanne has left him no choice. Rather than recognizing that she overreacted to and misread much of what Wallace wrote, Suzanne implied that any man who couldn't see what she was so upset about must be "desensitized" to Wallace's sexism.

What is Glennsp left to do? He can either acquiesce in the face of the implied accusation of sexism; or he can turn to his wife and say, "Am I missing something here?" When he reports back that his wife also thought Suzanne overreacted and misread Wallace, he is then accused of hiding behind his wife!

This all serves to illustrate the point I tried to make to Suzanne at the very beginning. If she wants to preach to the choir of her fellow egalitarians, she may be able to continue to speak and write as she does, twisting the arguments of complementarian authors by ignoring much of what they write and deriving meanings they never intended from the rest.

If, however, she wishes to persuade and instruct people who currently hold a complementarian perspective, she must keep her emotions in check and do her best to understand what they mean when they use certain terms or make certain arguments. Only then will she avoid looking like she is merely tearing down straw men of her own construction.

At Sun May 27, 12:14:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Sun May 27, 12:19:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

I can hardly conceal my mirth at the wonderful irony of someone who calls herself "Dr. Qoheleth" inveighing against those who are "hiding behind anonymity." I hope some day she learns the word h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y. Or maybe she'll get around to reading Matthew 7:1-5.

At Sun May 27, 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Qohelet said...

Dr. Qohelet has accused Glennsp of hiding behind his wife, yet as I see it, Suzanne has left him no choice.

Interesting interpretation, but I can't really see it from her comments. She acknowledges men at a conference who were not as dessensitized, I don't think she's simply saying "it's a womyn thing, you wouldn't understand!" [burns bra, blah blah]. I could be wrong here, but I'm not getting that vibe.

As far as what Glennsp could do. here's a funny little idea: why not actually have his wife comment? Or does a woman remaining silent also entail that she can't even comment for herself on a blog? (I'm sorry. It's snarky, but that's how it looks.) It's just not good form for argumenting to have a third-party involved.

Anon: First, I'm a guy. Second, don't spirantize my tav. And third, pseudonimity is different from anonymity. This is my blogger account. You can see my blog, and guess my gmail based of my assumed name. You, however, are a complete mystery. Are you the same anon that's been here the whole time? Who knows! Sure, you can't google my home address with ease, but I've had friends who have gotten death threats from online stalkers and I don't really want to think of folks kidnapping my kids. So, I run with a nom de plume.

Back on topic, I still find suzanne's post fascinating. She gives links to particular articles I wouldn't have bothered to find otherwise. I think she did a good job at showing the impetus behind some of the NET's translation choices.

At Sun May 27, 01:41:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I had no intention of being sarcastic when I posted the link to the dictionary. I regret that it was perceived this way. We often resort to quoting dictionaries and lexicons here and I hope that this practice can continue with impunity.

The dictionary meanings hold us together as a linguistic community. It would be very sad if people felt they could not refer to a dictionary to clarify their comments.

I would also like to respect Glenn's right to talk things over with his wife and share those comments here.

At Sun May 27, 03:08:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


If, however, she wishes to persuade and instruct people who currently hold a complementarian perspective

I am honoured by what you write here. I intend to post about Junia, possibly tomorrow, and I hope you will comment on that post.

At Sun May 27, 04:30:00 PM, Blogger Glennsp said...

Dr. Qohelet, for your information my wife did not write the comment herself because she couldn't see why she should take time out from what she was involved in to type something that I was perfectly capable of doing on her behalf.
That you chose to interpret that in the way that you did merely displays your extreme prejudice & bias.
Ah well, at least people will be aware of that aforementioned prejudice and bias when next you choose to make a 'comment'.

At Mon May 28, 04:38:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Wayne, I am concerned that the NET Bible team has named you as a translation consultant. Those who know who you work for could easily misunderstand this as a claim by the NET Bible team that you have given to their product a proper translation consultant check and approval of the kind recognised by well known Bible translation agencies. If this has not happened, you should not be listed as a translation consultant.

At Mon May 28, 10:22:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

There are many NET Bible discussion forums accessible from the NET Bible website.

I'm sure people would be welcome to raise some of the questions which have come up here on the appropriate forum there.

At Mon May 28, 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Peter recommended:

Wayne, I am concerned that the NET Bible team has named you as a translation consultant. Those who know who you work for could easily misunderstand this as a claim by the NET Bible team that you have given to their product a proper translation consultant check and approval of the kind recognised by well known Bible translation agencies. If this has not happened, you should not be listed as a translation consultant.

Yes, Peter, you're right. I don't know how many people understand the term "translation consultant" in the way you and I do. And not very many people know me on the Internet. I'm not, like, a big name guy and I'd just as soon keep it that way. I suppose I could ask the NET team to change the way they refer to me to something like "Reviewer". I'll keep thinking about it.

At Wed May 30, 06:52:00 AM, Blogger Alastair said...

I have to admit, this is one area I feel the NET bible notes/text have let me down...I agree with Suzanne, there does seem to be a bias here. At the very least the notes could more fully discuss the other options, as Suzanne has discussed.


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