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Re: [mythsoc] Re: Louis Markos's petition about The C. S. Lewis Bible

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  • David Bratman
    Well, language changes. Any linguist will know that. My understanding is that, in Anglo-Saxon, there was a male equivalent to woman/wifman meaning
    Message 1 of 49 , Apr 20, 2011
      Well, language changes. Any linguist will know that. My understanding is that, in Anglo-Saxon, there was a male equivalent to "woman/wifman" meaning specifically "male human", and that it was "wapman" or something like that.

      True enough that it disappeared and, since then, we went for centuries with one word, "man", meaning both "male human" and "undifferentiated (by sex) human," but many people, of both sexes, have come to feel in recent decades that the possible confusions and unconscious assumptions engendered by this practice had gone on for long enough, and new terminology was necessary. And when new terminology is adopted by enough people, language changes.

      Whether enough people have done so in this case is perhaps still an arguable question. And what translation should be used in a "C.S. Lewis Bible" (assuming there should be a "C.S. Lewis Bible" at all) is a question of its own. But it's possible to consider the problem without defending the status quo on the grounds that that's how it's always been (because it hasn't, and because tradition per se carries no truck with language), and without sneering at the presence of the syllable "man" in "woman" (which, considering the origin of the words, has no irony in it at all), and which has in any case been addressed by the more extreme change advocates with spellings like "womyn" (and, for that matter, "herstory").

      Nor is this a case of preserving the integrity of a particular historical text, as with the arguments over preserving a certain objectionable word in _Huck Finn_. Any translation of the Bible is of course a translation, and in the 21st century we should have a 21st century translation (again, as I said, leaving aside the question of what's appropriate for a "C.S. Lewis Bible"). If you want to read the original text of the KJV for historical or literary interest, it's still easily available, and in any case it itself has been updated several times before.


      -----Original Message-----
      >From: "Carl F. Hostetter" <Aelfwine@...>
      >Sent: Apr 20, 2011 3:07 PM
      >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Louis Markos's petition about The C. S. Lewis Bible
      >
      >As a _linguist_, I reject the notion that the words "man", "mankind", "men", "he", "his", etc. are always exclusive of women. These are also the historical English forms used when no sex is specified, in addition of course to when the male sex is specifically intended (with context making the meaning clear when necessary). When used generically, these terms were not regarded as "exclusive" until very recent times, when certain parties ignorant (or disdainful) of the history of the English language began to assert that they referred solely to the male sex. I personally refuse to accept their assertion, and prefer Bibles (and other texts) that likewise refuse to accept this manufactured linguistic novelty and the unlovely verbal contortions it imposes.
      >
      >Carl
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >------------------------------------
      >
      >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
    • lynnmaudlin
      Diana Glyer doesn t usually take part on this list but she has taught Inklings courses as well as dedicated JRRT and CSL courses. I would think her book, The
      Message 49 of 49 , Apr 21, 2011
        Diana Glyer doesn't usually take part on this list but she has taught Inklings courses as well as dedicated JRRT and CSL courses. I would think her book, The Company They Keep, might be an interesting tool in the case of an Inklings course...

        -- Lynn --


        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Swain" <theswain@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > On Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:30 -0700, "dale nelson"
        > <extollager2006@...> wrote:
        >
        > >>Larry, Till We Have Faces always goes over well in my British
        > Novel course. The other authors have been Brontë's Jane Eyre,
        > Dickens (Bleak House or Our Mutual Friend), perhaps Gaskell
        > (Wives and Daughters), Conrad (The Secret Agent), etc. The
        > authors are all interested in families -- or the absence
        > thereof. TWHF works well as a novel about a family (as Lewis
        > intended).<<
        >
        > Thanks for all the responses! I've taught various Lewis and Tolkien
        > texts, more Tolkien than other though. I've taught "Tolkien and LoTR:
        > Influences and Influence" which I confess I used as a tie in to Medieval
        > literature with brief forays into Classical literature (Odyssey Bk XI,
        > Aeneid Book 6, some Hesiod), and two or three dashes of examining
        > modern, post-Tolkien, Tolkien-inspired Medievalisms. Then there was the
        > Understanding Literature course which I cheated and made all about Epic
        > literature reading the Odyssey, Aeneid, Beowulf, selections of Dante and
        > Milton, and the last half of the class was LoTR. Another version of the
        > Understanding Literature course was on the themes of journey in which
        > The Hobbit and Out of the Silent Planet played a part. This last fall I
        > taught a course called British and World Prose, subtitled Old Tales
        > Retold: the first half of the semester was the three I mentioned:
        > Hobbit, Till We Have Faces, and Once and Future King.
        >
        > I haven't done a course just on "Inklings" or "Inklings and Friends (so
        > I could include Sayers and/or Chesterton among others).
        >
        > I have also used Lewis and Tolkien's scholarship: again here Tolkien
        > more than Lewis. I routinely use Tolkien's translations of Pearl, Sir
        > Gawain, and Sir Orfeo; and I routinely use Tolkien's translation of
        > Exodus. I'd love to use his Beowulf but must content myself with
        > selections from Monsters and the Critics. From Lewis the two works that
        > continue to stand the test of time are Discarded Image and Allegory of
        > Love. While the latter has been bypassed in many ways, it remains a
        > good introduction to Romance lit.
        >
        > While I've read most of Williams, I've yet to include him in a course.
        > And I've read very little Barfield. I don't teach the period, but
        > Warney's books I've always found a very nice read and have recommended
        > them a few times to the curious.
        >
        > Larry Swain
        > ____________________________________________________________
        >
        > --
        > http://www.fastmail.fm - mmm... Fastmail...
        >
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