Thursday, February 4, 2010

NABRE Update and Your Questions

Mary Elizabeth Sperry, Associate Director for the Utilization of the NAB at the USCCB, stopped by this blog and made some comments concerning the upcoming revision of the NAB. She revealed that the revised NAB still does not have a publication date and that it is unlikely that it will be this year. However, she did say: "The New American Bible, revised edition (NABRE) will include a revision of the entire Old Testament, including the Book of Psalms. As soon as we have a publication date, there will be a public announcement." Excellent! So that answers the questions about the inclusion of the re-revised Psalms as mentioned in the previous post. In addition, thanks to a question prompted by an anonymous reader, we know that the NABRE's "notes and introductions have been revised."

Mary Elizabeth Sperry also made this request to readers of this blog: "I would also renew my request for assistance from the readers of this blog: We are planning an update of the website when the revised edition is published. We would love to hear your suggestions about what we could do to improve the site: additions, structure, etc. (A better search engine is already #1 on our list.) Readers can send suggestions by email to nab (at) usccb dot org. Please put "website suggestion" as the subject line so that we can keep the ideas together. I can't promise that we'll implement every suggestion, but we will consider them seriously." So I certainly encourage all of my readers to thoughtfully consider any suggestions and send it to the email listed above. She also asked if I could collect any other specific questions here, which I could send along to her. She will do her best to answer them.

So to review, if you have any recommendations for the updated NABRE website, please send them to nab (at) usccb dot org. If you have any specific questions about the NABRE, you can use the comment section of this blog post to ask them.


Anonymous said...

Is there any possibility the New Testament will include the changes adapted for the liturgy??? That way we actually have a Bible that is the same as our lectionary!!!

Raphael said...

Will the New Testament be the altered version that has been approved for Liturgy? Also, any chance it would also restore "gates of hell" in Matthew 16:18-19, restore the word "soul" in place of "life" in Matthew 16:26 and Mark 8:36-37, restore "shall" (or "will") in place of "can" in Luke 1:34, and restore "peace to men (or "those") of good will" in Luke 2:14?

Will it restore the word "charity" in place of "love" when appropriate?

And will the Old Testament match the New in style and translation? Will it restore "Tobias" in place of "Tobiah"? How about "Spirit of God" or "Divine wind" vs "Mighty Wind" in Genesis?

On more of a format side, I have a 1970 edition of the NAB published by Catholic Press and World Publishing Co. that is a favorite of mine. It's 7 1/2" x 9", has a flexible cover, words of Christ in red, and the most unique thing about it, it has THREE columns on each page. Any chance the revised NAB will be published in an edition like this?

Francesco said...

I'd like to ask Ms. Sperry two questions:

1) Will the NABRE replace the NAB for use in the liturgy? If so, how soon after publication will the switch happen?

2) Will publishers continue to produce NABs after publication of the NABRE?


becket said...

The NAB is such a joke, considering we got the RSV CE and the Douay Rheims. Both superior translations.

Anonymous said...

A good idea might to put a 'beta' version of the NABRE (or part of) online before final publication. Like what was done with NET Bible.

Timothy said...

I have a number of questions which I will add over the coming days. Here is a specific one about the translation:

The current NAB OT does reconstruct/rearrange verses in some places like in Ezekiel. Will the new edition follow that same practice? Will the new Psalms follow the same verse numbering as the original?

The reason why I ask is that these different verse arrangments can make Bible study on these books a little difficult when people use different versions.

Matt said...

"In addition, thanks to a question prompted by an anonymous reader, we know that the NABRE's "notes and introductions have been revised."

I wonder if this means notes which are now in the NAB that are unfaithful to the Church will be removed or fixed.

Mary Elizabeth Sperry said...

Timothy, I'll collect all the questions through Friday the 12th and get you answers before Lent begins.

Timothy said...


Thanks for taking the time to look into these questions. If you want to email me your response in the coming weeks, I can then put up a post with your responses. My email is mccorm45 (at) yahoo dot com.

Another question just came to mind:

Who will be publishing the NABRE? I know that one of the frustrations in the past was that most NAB editions seemed to look almost identical, even if published by different publishing houses.

becket said...

Mary you realize that Rome does not care for "Inclusive" language in any translations for liturgical use. So my question will be is the NABRE going to be like the RSVCE and Douay Rheims, and be "Non-Incluswive". So that we do get the same translation that is used in the Liturgy?.

becket said...

Also with Traditional Anglicans now coming into the fold. They are waiting for the new translation of the Roman Missal to be approved before the Book of Divine Worship is revised. They are also not to keen on "inclusive language" translations either. So I hope the NABRE is "Non-Inclusive".

Timothy said...


The Vatican does allow some modest horizontal inclusive language. You can see this most clearly in the liturgical use of the NAB NT here in the US. The NAB is also the English Bible translation on the Vatican website, minus the '91 Psalms. Clearly the the inclusive language translation philosophy used for the '91 Psalms was deemed too much by the Vatican, due to it's use of vertical inclusive language, thus it wasn't allowed to be used in the Mass. However, the NAB NT was permitted and even in it's adapted form still has some modest horizontal inclusive language.

Anonymous said...

Things I’d like to see in the revised NAB

1. Complete sentences with verbs: See NAB Psalm 1:1 as an example of a fragment in need of a verb.

2. Chapter and verse notation which conforms to recognized norms.

3. Vocabulary that rises to a standard worthy of the Trinity: See NAB Isaiah 9:6ff for just one example of English that desperately needs to be elevated.

4. A entirely new and more reasoned approach to gender issues. The NRSV, NLT, NJB are not good examples. However, other modern translations exist which do gender inclusion better, attaining such without changing or obscuring the meaning of the text. Gender inclusion may be here to stay, but the NAB needs to go about it in a different manner than it has in the past.

5. An Old Testament translation which does not exclude a Christian understanding, especially in the Psalms. Example, the current rendering of Psalm 1 is incompatible with St. Augustine’s commentary on Psalm 1 and the fault lies with the translation theory. The English translation should make the magisterial teaching of the Doctors of the Church more accessible not less.

6. A thorough and complete Christian revision of the notes and articles included in the text. The introductions and notes of the NAB should be faithful to the magisterial teaching of the Church.

7. Please, pretty please may we have some cool, high quality paper, fonts, binding, covers, design, etc. See for a fun if evangelical discussion of such things. See especially the notes on non-leather bindings—there are many good possibilities that are not leatherette or bonded leather or 1960-ish vinyl.

8. Margins. Readable type-setting. Smyth sewn. Options.

9. A Greek / Hebrew interlinear

10. At long last, the text in the Bible I buy must match what is read at mass on Sunday. This is a must. It must happen. The published text and the lectionary text must be the same. It simply must.

11. Strive for excellence. The AR-NAB has always been a mediocre translation at best - nowhere near the worst and nowhere near the best; just fair-to-middling. Make it excellent and the critics will be silenced.

Things I’d like to see on a website

1. A fully functional multi-tasking search engine (see, or for examples of what is possible.)

2. Integration of good (read faithful) Catholic interpretive tools such as notes, introductions, commentaries, dictionaries, and devotions.
I spend hours every week studying the Bible online; I will use a website that I can trust to be faithful to Catholic teaching.

3. Utilize font, design, coding and layouts which are easy to read, copy, paste and manipulate to facilitate ease of developing study materials in the parish RCIA, PRE courses.
a. If the goal is to develop a Bible which will inform the masses, then make it a pleasure to use.
b. If the goal is to make a gazillion dollars selling Bibles, then make it so ubiquitous and accessible that it only makes sense to buy a copy of the NAB-RE. (The ESV is free and accessible all over the web yet it has become one of the best-selling Prot Bibles available.)
c. If the goal is to “own the market” for Catholic Bibles (I mean have everyone using, reading and memorizing the NAB-RE) then make a product so excellent no one would want anything else.

4. I’d love a “”, a place where every approved Catholic translation is searchable and comparable: NAB-RE, RSV-CE, RSV-2CE, JB, New Vulgate, Clementine Vulgate, Douay-Rheims, LXX, etc. I’d love to be able to have a site with the NAB, RSV-CE and the Jerusalem Bible all laid out in columns for comparison. That could seriously rock!

Thanks for allowing me to speak out. I look forward to my first copy of the NAB-RE.


Anonymous said...

PS. See for an example of a searchable catholic Bible which allows comparison of the Douay-Rheims and Vulgate with commentary along side.

See the for an example of the Greek - NAB - Latin in column format for comparison.

I'd like for the NAB site to offer options like these, except better and more of them.


Francesco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francesco said...

It seems that many of the commenters here are asking questions that assume the revision process is still ongoing, but that may not be a proper assumption. Is the revision of the text (both scripture and notes) complete? If so, could you show us a sample?

For example the Common English Bible, a translation that is much more than a year away from publication, has posted on its website the Gospel according to Matthew ( Is there any way that the USCCB could do something similar?

Timothy said...


From what I read on the CBA site, it seems that the NAB OT is complete and has been approved by the USCCB. I am not, however, certain as to the status of the re-revised Psalms. So, thus, your point about some of the comments is valid.

In my opinion, we should be asking these questions about the finished text, not about one that is still being worked on.

Francesco said...


That's what I thought, but I didn't know if others had more information than I did.

Anonymous said...

Easily I to but I dream the list inform should prepare more info then it has.

Raphael said...

Will the NABRE include a section for daily Liturgical readings according to the 3 year cycles?

Dwight said...

I know this would be more up to the publisher, but it would be great to take my Bible to Mass with me and be able to follow the readings of the day by simply using multiple ribbons to mark them before I go. This way I can just flip from one to the next using the ribbons. When I was a Protestant I took my Bible to church every Sunday and followed along with the pastor. I know the missals in the pews have all the readings in one spot, but I think it would set an example for some Catholics to be able to use our Bible's as we go through the readings.

Dina Staggs said...

Sweet. :) Thanks for keeping us up to date.