Market research

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 01, 2004

The Quixote Center in Maryland proudly announces the completion of its project to render a translation of the entire Bible in inclusive language. Yes, folks; Volume II: The Prophets, will soon be available at your local bookstore.

Well, actually you won't find it at most bookstores, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Volume III: The Writings, came out four years ago. and Volume I: The Torah followed in 2001. These Quixote people aren't stuck on the notion that I should precede II. And they avoid calling any these three volumes the "Old" Testament; they're given the non-judgmental title "Hebrew Scriptures." Their version of the New Testament, with every masculine pronoun carefully vetted, has been on the shelves since 1994.

But again, you probably haven't seen these books on the shelves, because they're not exactly best-sellers. Bookstores don't generally stock them, because book-buyers don't generally buy them. That's why this project was undertaken by a small fringe group in Maryland, and the publisher is little Altamira Press. The market of discerning readers isn't exactly clamoring for an "inclusive-language" Bible.

Now this puts us in a curious position.

The most common argument in favor of using "inclusive language" translations is that the English language has evolved, and this is the way ordinary people speak today, But "ordinary people"-- whether or not they go his-or-her-ing their way through life-- clearly don't feel a desire to have such language in the Scriptures.

Which leaves us with the second-best argument in favor of inclusive language. Feminists want to change the way we talk, as a way of changing the way we think, and toward that end they're determined to change the Scriptures whether we want it or not.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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