4 Maccabees 18:23 in Translation

There are some strange anomalies in the NRSV’s translation of 4 Maccabees considering its typical perspective on grammatical gender with words that refer to people and men in particular.

The Greek text is this:

οἱ δὲ Αβραμιαῖοι παῖδες σὺν τῇ ἀθλοφόρῳ μητρὶ εἰς πατέρων χορὸν συναγελάζονται ψυχὰς ἁγνὰς καὶ ἀθανάτους ἀπειληφότες παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ.

And the NRSV provides this translation:

But the sons of Abraham with their victorious mother are gathered together into the chorus of the fathers, and have received pure and immortal souls from God…

I find this rather strange. The NRSV everywhere else is rather emphatic about its gender neutrality. But throughout 4 Maccabees there are numerous places where the translation “ancestors” or “forefathers” would be significantly more appropriate.

Now I’m fine with the translation maintain the gender here. The author of the book is extremely Aristotelian in his views of men and women. Men are far superior in his mind. So I have no problem with a translation maintaining that perspective, but even still, the translation “forefather” here and in other places simply makes greater sense. And there’s nothing wrong with “ancestor” or “ancestral” here either when we take into consideration that ancient Greece was culturally patralinear.

The NETS does the same thing here and again I don’t understand it.

My translation:

But the sons of Abraham with their victorious mother are gathered together into the choir of our forefathers, having received pure and immortal souls from God…

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