Inclusive Language in the NRSV

In case your wondering about the translation of the Bible we read in worship, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), consider this summary from Wikipedia.org

“In the preface to the NRSV, Bruce Metzger wrote for the committee that ‘many in the churches have become sensitive to the danger of linguistic sexism arising from the inherent bias of the English language towards the masculine gender, a bias that in the case of the Bible has often restricted or obscured the meaning of the original text.’ The RSV [Revised Standard Version] observed the older convention of using masculine nouns in an inclusive sense (e.g. ‘man’ instead of ‘person’), and in some cases used a masculine word where the source language used a neuter word. The NRSV by contrast adopted a policy of gender-inclusive language: ‘The mandates from the Division specified that, in references to men and women, masculine-oriented language should be eliminated as far as this can be done without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture.'”

“One of the conventions NRSV uses is to expand gender exclusive phrases. For example, if a translation used ‘brothers’ to refer to a group that is not known to be all male, NRSV may use ‘brothers and sisters.’ Where such adjustments are made the more literal translation is noted in a footnote.”

—Wikipedia.org, “The New Revised Standard Version.”

Note that the statement is “in references to men and women.” In the NRSV, God, even God the Holy Spirit, is still referenced by the masculine pronoun. I hope this provides you with some comfort if the previous two posts were making you nervous.