Friday, March 30, 2007

Don't Like Inclusive Language?

From Jeff Mirus,
Trinity Communications

When it comes to Scripture, we don’t like inclusive language either. Apart from mere clunkiness, the full meaning of a text in Scripture is often obscured by substituting generic forms for masculine or feminine nouns and pronouns. This is very obvious, for example, in Old Testament texts with multiple layers of meaning, one of which might be to foreshadow Christ Himself. It’s hard to foreshadow Christ with “people” or “them”.

But I’m not an expert in ancient languages, so to illuminate this question turns to Fr. Paul Mankowski, SJ, who wrote an outstanding article way back in 2002 on why inclusive language can’t work. See Jesus, Son of Humankind? The Necessary Failure of Inclusive-Language Translations.

It’s All About Truth

Ultimately, if language doesn’t express the truth, it is useless. Any time we choose our words to favor social acceptance over truth, we erode the fundamental responsibility we have as human persons. I’ve been using my blog in our new Commentary section to explore various aspects of the “truth question”.

Another article from 2002
on why inclusive language doesn't work.

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