Douglas Laycock, a distinguished professor of law at the University of Michigan and expert on the Religion Clause of the First Amendment, examines God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law by Marci A. Hamilton (Cambridge). Writing in the Michigan Law Review , he concludes after seventeen pages: "Occasional errors are inevitable, but here the extraordinary number of errors, often with reference to famous cases and basic doctrines, implies a reckless disregard for truth. I document these errors for a reason. No one should cite this book. No one should rely on it for any purpose. You might use its footnotes as leads to other sources, but take nothing from this book without independent verification." Prof. Laycock really did not like the book at all.
Fr. Paul Mankowski is a friend who teaches Hebrew and Ugaritic dialects at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. In Adoremus Bulletin , he reflects on the perils of Bible translations. He notes along the way that the New American Bible (NAB), an unfortunate translation that survives by virtue of being mandated in this country for reading at Mass, renders Matthew 19:12 without reference to "eunuchs." Instead, we read that some people are "incapable of marriage." Fr. Mankowski wryly observes that "marriage is not the activity of which eunuchs are incapable." On a perhaps more serious level, he points out the problems with employing "inclusive language," which is an ideological imposition on the text. The problem does not go away with the "compromise" of using only "horizontal" inclusive language. In that case, "he" and "him" are used only with reference to God ("vertical"), thus highlighting the maleness of the masculine forms that offend PC sensibilities. But I think he may be wrong about Romans 5. An otherwise inclusive-language translation is compelled, for understandable reasons, to make it "sin came into the world through one man." Mankowski writes: "Precisely to the extent that our expectations are based on the [inclusive] grammar without generic ‘man,’ we will understand St. Paul to be speaking about one male. In introducing exactly the kind of misunderstanding for which they are invoked as the cure, the inclusive devices cut their own throat." I’m not so sure. If I read some of these ideologists correctly, they want to say that sin came into the world through man, as in male. But I could be wrong about that. The above items are from "The Public Square" in a forthcoming issue of First Things . To become a subscriber, click here .