About that Desire: Eve and the ESV Bible Controversy
“In any case, the triumph of traditionalist gender politics in the new ESV Permanent Text is devastating for egalitarian evangelicals—it is complementarianism’s most dramatic power play yet.”
Crossway publishers recently sparked controversy with their announcement that they have released a Permanent Text (PT) version of their English Standard Bible. There are two main reasons why this is a controversial decision. First, there is the issue of whether the attempt to safeguard the biblical text against any future change is a reasonable translation philosophy. Second, some of the specific changes made have drawn criticism from the evangelical community for being politically rather than academically motivated. This is especially true for the modification made to Genesis 3:16, where the Hebrew preposition el is translated as “contrary to” rather than “to, towards, for,” as all other translations have it. Here is what the ESV-PT has done to this verse:
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to [Hebrew=el] your husband,
but he shall rule over you.” (ESV-PT)
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