Saturday, November 28, 2009

Son of Man or Human Being?

I just finished the Barry Joslin’s article, “’Son of Man’ or ‘Human Beings’? Hebrews 2:5-9 and a Response to Craig Blomberg” recently published in The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Fall 2009). From my perspective it is the best article in the volume and made this year’s subscription worth it.

Although the article deals with the exegetical issues surrounding a proper interpretation of Hebrews 2:5-9 and delves a bit into problems involved with gender-neutral translation, ultimately the article is a well reasoned argument for why Bible translators should avoid venturing too far into the realms of interpretation when in the act of translating.

In this article, Dr. Joslin interacts with Craig Blomberg’s defense of the TNIV’s handling of Hebrews 2:5-9. Though I have not had the chance to read Dr. Blomberg’s paper, it is apparent that Blomberg not only finds the TNIV’s approach with this passage acceptable, but preferable.

For his part, Joslin does an excellent job of demonstrating from the context of the epistle, as well as the broader context of the New Testament and the majority of biblical interpreters throughout church history, that the TNIV actually undermines the predominate interpretation of the passage.

Ultimately, Joslin argues that, when a passage is ambiguous enough to reasonably permit multiple ways of interpreting it, it is the obligation of a good Bible translator to leave the text as close to the original as possible without prejudicing the reader one way or the other.

In my opinion, this short article is a must read for all Bible translators. It is balanced and very persuasive.

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