Gender-Neutral Linguistic Transformations of Messianic Scriptures in the Modern Anglican Homiletic Literature

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Actuality. Our time is characterised by the penetration of egalitarian ideas of Western liberalism and political correctness in the sphere of language. Language, speech, communication practices are reviewed and revised to determine if they are politically correct. Religious and sacred texts of Christianity and Judaism do not stand aside from the careful examination of the followers of the ideas of compiling a politically correct Bible. The purpose of this article is to find out if it is possible to change the texts of English translations of the Christian Bible, from a theological and linguistic point of view, and if it is possible to consider gender-neutral versions of Messianic passages of the English Bible as authentic, suitable for the correct transmission of meaning, i.e. reading, theological and historical analysis, as well as liturgical practice. The object of the research is represented by the texts of several widely used in modern Anglicanism gender-neutral English versions of the Bible: The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation by Priests for Equality (IBFET, 2009); New English Translation (NET, 1998); New International Version Inclusive Language Edition (NIVI, 1995). King James’ Bible original version (KJV) of 1611 edition is used as a reference point. Research techniques include the method of contextual analysis, comparative method, structural method, comparative historical method. Such taxonomic units of sacred Messianic texts as son of God, son of man, the lord, the master, the king, heaven kingdom , constructions of common grammatical gender are analysed. It is demonstrated that in almost all cases of gender-neutral constructions use, the meaning of the text changes: from insignificant changes to the reproduction of openly heretical views from the viewpoint of traditional Anglicanism. Our study shews that gender-neutral language introduces new feminist meanings into Messianic sacred texts, which were not previously contained there. Gender-neutral English translations of the Christian Bible cease to be canonical from the point of view of Christian theology. Nevertheless, gender-neutral philological strategies of modifying the ways of modern Anglican preaching can be an extremely interesting and instructive example of the fact that in the modern world certain social and political discourses can stand behind Christian homiletics.

About the authors

Konstantin S Sharov

Moscow State University

Ph.D., Senior Lecturer at M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University 27 bld, 4 Lomonosovsky ave., Moscow, GSP-1, 119991, Russia


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