Jesus, Son of Humankind?
The Necessary Failure of Inclusive-Language Translations
by Paul Mankowski, S.J.
The dispute concerning the existence and extent of gender-exclusivity in natural languages, the relation of such exclusivity to sexism, and the use of so-called inclusive language as a remedy for such exclusion has been heightened in recent years by controversy surrounding the use of inclusive language in translation. This is especially true for the translation of texts considered to be, in some sense, “common property”: the works of ancient authors and other classics, traditional songs and carols, national documents of foundational stature, etc. In the case of new renderings of the Bible and of liturgical texts the passions of the disputants run particularly deep, for the obvious reason that all parties to the dispute recognize that more than sentiment or aesthetics is at stake. 1
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Paul Mankowski is a lector in Biblical Hebrew at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He has published Akkadian Loanwords in Biblical Hebrew (Harvard Semitic Studies #47).
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