FEATURE: New Translation Of Bible "Politically Correct"

By Arthur Spiegelman

NEW YORK (Reuter) - The New Testament gets a major facelift next month with a new English translation eliminating references to God the Father, turning the Son of Man into "the human one" and removing accusations that Jews killed Christ.

The new translation says children should not "obey" their parents but heed them. Wives are no longer "subject" to their husbands but committed to them. "Darkness" is no longer equated with evil because of racist overtones and the "Lord's Prayer" now begins "Our Father-Mother in heaven."

References to the right hand of God are also deleted, eliminating possible embarrassment to left-handed people. It now becomes God's mighty hand.

The editors of "The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version" deny they have spent the last five years producing a "politically correct" bible but admit that a legion of traditionalists are waiting in the wings to "cast the first stone" and begin one of the biggest bible debates in years.

Some critics have already charged that the editors have censored the bible in order to order to make it fit the political trends of the day.

The book will be published Sept. 11 by Oxford University Press, a major publisher of biblical translations.

"This translation is aimed at churches and Christians who are thoughtful about the way the bible includes everyone. I think political correctness is a perjorative term which is used by people who want the bible to produce obedience not thoughtfulness," said Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite of the Chicago Theological Seminary, who is one of the six editors.

"I have had people say to me: 'If the King James version of the bible was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me,"' she added. Thistlethwaite said the editors were proud of the way they handled the anti-Semitic overtones of the New Testament. For example, they have eliminated all references to the Jews killing Jesus as in Thessalonians 2:14-15, which in standard translations says: "... for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets." That becomes in the inclusive translation: "... for you suffered the same from your own compatriots as they did from those who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets." "I believe we are one of the first translations to take on the issue of anti-Semitism," Thistlethwaite said. "The New Testament consists of Jews talking to Jews. They are not saying the Jews are bad, they are saying 'We Jews over here disagree with you Jews over there.' When John talks of Jews he means Jewish leaders." The translation also makes a great effort to reduce the number of times God is referred to as Lord because lords as a ruling group are passe. "The Lord God doesn't cut it these days because we don't have lords. I thought of using the phrase 'The One to Whom You Swear Allegiance,' but frankly that was awkward. We often use the phrase 'Most High,' because it is