Church English?

R eading this provocatively titled post (“Are sisters brothers?”) on Better Bibles Blog, I wondered again about Bible translation and the flux of language. A couple of things caught my attention in Wayne Leman’s musings.
First, the poll results about the reference to “brothers” in this scenario, “Susan is a 20-something Christian. She recently returned from a church conference and said, ‘I enjoyed meeting my Christian brothers there.'” The results are evenly split among the 5 options presented, including she was referring to males only or she was referring to both males and females. I do wonder how much this actually reflects society at large. I expect that it is skewed by poll participants who are conversant in “church English.”
Second, this notion of “church English.” Hearing it expressed in this way caught my attention. I’ve thought before of the language we use to describe Christian experience and theological constructs, but never thought of it as a “dialect.” Wayne asks these questions:
bq. Should English translations be targeted at those who speak church English? Or should they be translated so that all speakers of English can understand the Bible?
To which he answers:
bq. I do not believe that English Bibles should be written in a special dialect of English.
Hmmm… when are sisters brothers?

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