Friday, May 18, 2007
The Grammarian, II.
Recently I read a review by Gilbert Meilander of a new translation of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Discipleship, i.e., his classic more commonly known under the title of its older translation, The Cost of Discipleship. Meilander's beef against the obsession of the new translator with being gender-neutral toward God is right on the mark. Not only does it raise serious questions about how one views God; it also ruins the language. So in this case, the ruin of the language is all in service to a rejection of the Biblical depiction of God as Father and Son, and even of the Holy Spirit as He. When God visited Abraham and Sarah, it was in the form of three men.. Most significantly of all, Jesus is quite undeniably Man. But to return to the Grammarian's point in this, it's also degrading of the English language; and anything which degrades the language is just another, if subtle, attack on the Word of God; for if the language we speak suffers, especially when referring to God, then the Word of God comes under assault. Churches worried about offending feminists have bought into this nonsense and, as Meilander documents well with regard to the Bonhoeffer translation, are attacking beauty in language. I've heard some of this jarring omission of pronouns in their references to God, and it's worse than fingernails on a blackboard. It's just goofy to think you can get away with not ever using a pronoun when referring to the Creater. The reasoning, I suppose, is that any prounoun is at least as phonetically long as the vocable god, so why not just always use the latter? But what you get is a clumsy repetition, as, for instance, in this: God is in God's holy temple; God is on God's heavenly throne." The feminists are ruining the English language, to say nothing of virtually everything else they get their hands on. As the title of Meilander's piece puts it, "Enough of God."