Over the past weekend, while I was attending the 2008 Letter and Spirit Conference, I decided that I may have been a bit too harsh on the NAB in the previous post. Why? Well, I was able to listen to a few lectures by some solid Catholic Bible scholars who at times referred to the NAB in their papers. So, it made me re-think the whole usefulness of the NAB. Are there still thinks about the NAB that I don't like? Yes! I still don't like the '91 Psalms at all and some of the verse numbering in the OT is odd.
However, I think the NAB New Testament is generally quite good. While it is slightly less "literal" than then RSV, it compares quite well to the NRSV, without the NRSV's excesses in inclusive language. Also, there are some translation decisions in the NAB NT that I think are quite good. Here are just three that come to mind immediately:
1) "I AM" sayings in the Gospels: John 13:19 "From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM."
2) Literal translation of "εξοδον" in Luke 9:31 "who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem."
3) The "Amen, Amen" sayings: John 16:20 "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy."
In addition, while I was at the conference, I was introduced to the first two volumes in the new Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. This commentary series is edited by two professors at the seminary I attend, Dr. Peter Williamson and Dr. Mary Healy. They are both gifted teachers and have a wonderful ability to combine important exegetical information with pastoral concerns. So, I was very excited to purchase the new commentary series and was somewhat surprised to see that the main text used is the NAB. So, who knows, perhaps with a revised OT/Psalms, the NAB could become the standard Catholic Bible in the USA in the future. But until then, there will be plenty of people who prefer to use the RSV-CE.