The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version. Ed. by Gold, Hoyt, Ringe, Thistle-Thwaite, Throckmorton, and Withers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. 55 pp. Cloth, $14.95.
Since this book is a further revision of the NRSV in the interest of even more inclusive language than was there allowed, perhaps it would be germane to mention that half of the editors are men (numbers one, two, and five) and half are women (three, four, and six).
A detailed review of the NRSV by the present reviewer will be found in the Autumn 1990 issue of JOTGES. The strong and weak points of that version are present here, but with a more radical attempt to demasculinize the Father and the Son, as well as to eliminate many references to persons.
A sample of how our Lord might have sounded had He gone along with the inclusivist “editing” of this version occurs after the [bracketed] adulterous woman passage: “‘Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father-Mother who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father-Mother who sent me testifies on my behalf.’ Then they said to him, ‘Where is your Father-Mother?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father-Mother. If you knew me, you would know my Father-Mother also’” (John 8:16-19). Notice how even Jesus’ enemies are politically correct enough to use inclusive language in asking Him, “Where is your Father-Mother?” (italics supplied).
In the Psalms, the desire to reject the dangerously masculine words Lord and LORD (=Yahweh or Jehovah) and the proper pronouns that go with these words, produces one GOD and four Gods in three verses: “GOD is my shepherd, I shall not want. God makes me lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside still waters; God restores my soul. God leads me in paths of righteousness for the sake of God’s name” (Ps 23:1-3). Unfortunately, the Hebrew text has nary a one, just The LORD (23:1).
Most of our readers are committed to a clear-cut presentation of the Gospel of grace. While the Gospel itself is still there in John 3:16, the strict avoidance of Son, He, His, and Him, makes it unlikely that many Bible-memory groups will adopt the following: “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Human One. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up, that whoever believes in that One may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Child, so that everyone who believes in that Child may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Child into the world to condemn the world, but in order that through the Child the world might be saved. Those who believe in the Child are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Child of God” (John 3:13-18).
Although this reviewer’s beloved kindergarten teacher at P.S. 21 wisely taught me to use scissors with the right hand, I must confess I am a southpaw. In spite of this, reading the Bible regularly since the age of seven never made me feel like an abused minority. Therefore this book’s change of “right hand” to “powerful hand” and “at the right hand” to “beside” or “near” seems needlessly hysterical to at least one southpaw.
Arthur L. Farstad
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society