The Library Basement
Reading under ground

NIV revision: third time's a charm?

The NIV is getting an update, its first since 1984. This will actually be the third attempted update since then, with the first dying in its early stages in 1997, and the second, the TNIV, dying in a maelstrom of bad press and poor marketing. What ultimately killed both of these efforts was the gender-inclusive language debate, especially in the case of the TNIV.

I am very interested to see how this new translation will come out with respect to gender-inclusivity. The NIV charter requires the translators to update the text as a reflection of developments in English. Once again, I have no empirical data on this, but gender-inclusivity idiom (e.g. the use of "they" as a singular pronoun of generic gender) appears to be dominant in much of the United States, if not the whole English-speaking world. The NIV translators seem to share this opinion, given that they have worked in accord with that assumption twice previously. So the question is: will they attempt again to market a gender-inclusive NIV, or will they shrink away from the controversial topic?

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