Sunday, September 20, 2015

The First Gender Neutral Account in the N.T.?

Today's Gospel reading was from Mark 9:30-37, and the translation most heard in the Episcopal church (NRSV) leaves an interesting first impression,

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Did you notice that the child was referred to as an "it"? In the Authorized translation "it" was translated as "him".

I vaguely remember a time as a child when I was unaware of gender.  I cannot remember exactly when I learned about the difference between little boys and little girls, but it was probably around age 3 or so, or about the time I started to read (I was a bit precocious).

I remember my first opposite sex attraction. It was in the first grade, and I faced a little bit of derision from my classmates at the time, but later, in college, my friends were quite impressed that my first kiss was with an individual whom they identified as a "hottie".

Today, with gender differentiation being left entirely up to the individual child (who is not to be influenced by his parents in any way), what are children to think?

I know this is politically incorrect to say, but I think we should raise girls to be girls and boys to be boys.

In interpreting Mark's account, it matters not whether the child is a he or a she as the end result is the same, but the fact that this is an issue (how we translate this passage) points out a shift in our culture where we are more likely to assume that a gender neutral translation is preferable to the gender specific one that our parents learned.

Is that a good thing for children?

If your answer is no, then why do we stay silent as gender neutrality is shoved down our throats (I am thinking about the upcoming revision of the Book of Common Prayer among other things).

1 comment:

  1. In the New King. James Versiion and the ESV, it reads "him". Also true in the Amplified Bible and in the Jewish Bible