More Instances of Sex Bias in Translation

Sex of accused witchesThe purpose of pointing out translational sex bias is to show how men have written women out of places of authority and honor in scripture.  Through translation, men have relegated women to subservient positions, and inequality, instead of the positions that God gave them.  In abusive religions, it is always the intent of the men to keep women under their control for sexual advantage and power.  This is why it is very important that these errors be pointed out. These are not new to scholars.  These errors in translation are well-known to many scholars, and have been, for centuries. The problem lies with “theologians” that desire to continue to propagate a very “deceptive lie” to maintain power, advantage, control and sexual dominance. All these changes in translation do is bring upon women everywhere sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, and death. The Inquisition is a testament to the corruptions and how they affected women when the King James Translation, fraught with sexual bias, errors  and corruption, was published and used as a weapon to subjugate, control and demean women; while the Church of Rome placed on them the “label” of “witch” and associated them with “Satan” and anything “bad” that happens. None of this is in scripture, but man’s own sex bias has caused this abuse. Anywhere women have been given authority and honor and autonomy in scripture, men have seen fit to change the manuscripts to give themselves the power, control and dominance.

The following is an excerpt from Katherine Bushnell, a Hebrew and Greek Scholar. This comes from her lesson 79 teaching:

  1. Isaiah 2:9 reads, “The mean man boweth down and the great man humbleth himself’.
  2. Isaiah 5:15, “The mean man shall be brought down, the mighty man shall be humbled.”
  3. Isaiah 31:8, “Not of a mighty man, . . not of a mean man.”

“Perhaps it will surprise the reader to be told that within these three short passages adjectives to the number of six have been added to the translation that do not exist in the original text, and no one but a Hebrew scholar can discover this for himself or herself.

We have been taught to believe that wherever words of importance are inserted into the English translation that do not exist in the original text, in order to convey the correct meaning to the English reader, those words are printed in italics, that all may understand that they are not in the original, and thus judge for themselves, by the help of the Spirit, as to their appropriateness. Thus, in verse 7 of this second chapter of Isaiah we read: “Neither is there any end of their chariots,” and we know that the three words in italics, — “is there any,” — do not belong to the original.

Not so, in these three passages. No word in them is printed in italics, and yet, the adjectives “mean,” “great,” and “mighty” have been added in every instance. . .

4.  Again, Psalm 49:2 reads, “Both low and high.”

5.  Psalm 62:9 reads, “Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie.”

Within these two short passages eight words are added to the text, and two words are left out, yet only a Hebrew scholar can discover it without aid, because the added words are not italicized as they should be, neither is there any indication of omitted words.

What does all this mean? . . . In most languages there are at least two words for “man,” one indicating the adult male, and the other meaning “mankind.” In Hebrew, as we have already explained, the adult male is indicated by the word ish; on the other hand, “mankind” is meant where adham (Adam) is used, when not of the person who first bore the name.

These passages should have been translated respectively something like this:

  1. “Man boweth down (or mankind boweth down), and the men humble themselves.”
  2. “Man shall be brought down, and the men shall be humbled.”
  3. “Not of the men . . . not of mankind.”
  4. “Both mankind and the men.”
  5. “Surely humanity (or mankind) is vanity, and the men are a lie.”

The best we can do, it is a little difficult to express the thing smoothly in English, because it lacks words which can always be used elegantly to distinguish between the adult male and mankind generally. The word we translate “the men” to conform to English usage, ish, is in the singular number. But a marginal note could have made this clear, without a dishonest translation of the text. And who but a set of pedants, inflated with intellectual pride, would have agreed that men were “great” when their mothers and wives did not appear in the same category, and “mighty,” “of high degree,” and “high;” but if the female sex and children get mixed with them, they must then be described as “mean,” and “low,” and “of low degree?”  These are not instances of faulty translations, but of unwarranted corruption of the meaning of the original text. The Hebrew has words for “high” and “low;” “mighty” and “mean,” If those were the ideas to be expressed; while ish is such a common word to be given these exalted meanings, that it is often rendered “each,” “everyone,” “whoso,” and “whosoever,”–referring to both sexes, sometimes to inanimate things, but mainly to the male.”

For further reading on corruptions made in translation, and more of Bushnell’s research, see the following Religion’s Cell articles on this blog:

Sex Bias Influences Translators – Part 1

Sex Bias Influences Translators – Part 2

The Conclusion of the Matter!

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