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Y'All Shall Not Kill

This is just hilarious.

A seminary director has come up with a plug-in to have Scripture say things like "y'all" instead of "you." He says that the word "you" may confuse people into thinking the Bible is talking directly to them. We wouldn't want that, would we?

The thing that gets me isn't how stupid this plug-in is. It's how stupid does the guy think Bible readers are that need it?

A Dallas Theological Seminary Web director who likes to "tinker with the Bible," has developed a plugin that allows readers to draw out the plural "you" in Scripture by rendering the pronoun as "y'all," "youse guys" or "you lot."

"Here in Texas (and in the Southern U.S. more generally), I tell my audience that we have a perfect equivalent to the original Greek/Hebrew second person plural: 'y'all' the contraction of 'you all.' This of course always gets me a good laugh. And this is not unique to the Southern U.S. – many other areas of the English speaking world also have spoken forms of you plural such as 'you guys,' 'yinz,' and 'you lot,'" explains John Dyer.

Dyer, the executive director of communications and educational technology for DTS, found that there are at least 2,698 Hebrew verses in the Old Testament and 2,022 Greek verses in the New Testament in which the second person plural appears as "you" in English translations – "which could lead a reader to think it is directed at him or her personally rather than the Church as a community."

In an effort to help readers be mindful of these points in the Bible, Dyer developed a plugin or extension that can only be used in Google Chrome, for popular Bible reading websites like youversion.com, biblegateway.com and his own website, www.biblewebapp.com (where the plugin can be used on any browser without downloading). In addition to choosing in which vernacular they would like "you all" displayed in the text, Bible readers can opt to have verses that include the name of God, commonly appearing as "LORD" in English translations, to instead appear as "Yahweh."

*subhead*Dumb.*subhead*

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12 comments:

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

First, the commandment should read, "You shall not murder," NOT "You shall not kill." If God is the Author of life and death, then He has the prerogative to determine the conditions under which life may be taken.

Augustine said...

That is actually why I like archaic pronouns in the bible. "You" is plural; "thee" is singular.

English already has a distinction between the plural and singular...even though we don't use the singular "thee" very often anymore. It seems that in translating from a language that still makes a distinction, it is fitting to use the existing, though rarely used, English equivalent.

This is also why I really dislike the decision in the RSV to use 'thee' only when talking to God. If you're going to go with the modern singular use of "you" everywhere else in your translation; then don't switch to "thee" for singular when referring to God. Either decide to use the singular "you" throughout, or don't; don't switch the method you use because you think God is impressed with your 16th century use of the familiar singular form of "you". It gives modern readers some sort of false notion that using the familiar form of the singular "thee" is a way of showing respect to God; instead of what it actually is, a way to distinguish singular and plural "you".

TerentiaJ said...

Most, if not all, my evangelical friends are very ambiguous when interpreting "you." When Jesus, on the cross, says "Behold your mother" they interpret that as being spoken directly to St John only. When Jesus says, "I give you the keys to the kingdom... What you bind..." they think this was spoken directly to them and does not refer to Peter at all. English has no word to differentiate between second person singular and second person plural, yet an accurate reading of Scripture requires such differentiation. "Y'all" or worse "youse guys" is just silly, to be kind. Still, I wish there was a way to express the accurate meaning.

TerentiaJ said...

Most, if not all, my evangelical friends are very ambiguous when interpreting "you." When Jesus, on the cross, says "Behold your mother" they interpret that as being spoken directly to St John only. When Jesus says, "I give you the keys to the kingdom... What you bind..." they think this was spoken directly to them and does not refer to Peter at all. English has no word to differentiate between second person singular and second person plural, yet an accurate reading of Scripture requires such differentiation. "Y'all" or worse "youse guys" is just silly, to be kind. Still, I wish there was a way to express the accurate meaning.

Steve2Saints said...

Oddly enough when I took Biblical Greek (in California) we often used you(all) to indicate 2nd person plural as distinct from snd person singular, I totally agree.

Proteios1 said...

I like youse guys. Clearly that is the way to mutilate the beauty of the language of the Bible.

Nick D said...

In Latin class, we use y'all to distinguish 2nd person plural from 2nd person singular...then again, we do live in Texas...

Douglas said...

I think such an app serves a useful function and that much was lost when English dropped the plural you.

Anneg said...

Augustine, you (thou, tu, du) are correct. I've explained that to a lot of English speakers. But, what makes English such a useful language is its plasticity. In which case it is about time that the obvious innovation of y'all be accepted and all y'all Yankees need to get used to it.

Mack Hall, HSG said...

We're Catholics; we don't read the Bible.

Donna M said...

Mack, your killin' me here!...;)

Harry Seldon said...

I hear Tim Staples make exactly the same comment more than once, about y'all being a superior translation of the plural you. I guess Tim is stupid too? I'll let you tell him, Matt.

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