Thursday, August 5, 2010

NRSV with Grail Psalms?

Perhaps one of my favorite things about running this blog are the occasional emails I get from readers who alert me to upcoming Bible releases. It is a real help to me, and so I thank all of you who have contacted me in the past with information on Catholic Bibles. I truly appreciate it! I have learned over the past year, particularly now as I am both married and expecting my first child in October, in addition to my ministry work at the high school, that I don't always have the time to spend hours searching different sites seeking the latest Catholic Bible releases. Yet, the Lord is good and always provides. So, again, I think you for your contributions, not only by emailing me, but also through our conversations on this blog.

Now on to the news at hand. Reader Kenneth emailed me this morning alerting me to a listing at which suggests that Harper will be releasing an edition of the NRSV with the Grail Psalms. Interesting huh? Here is the description found on the site:

A new edition of the Bible aimed especially at Roman Catholics, including both the anglicized Catholic text of the NRSV translation, and the much loved Grail Psalms. For years, Catholics have been waiting for a Bible including both the NRSV Bible and the Grail Psalms. Now, it is here at last. The NRSV is increasingly becoming the most popular translation among Catholics, and it will be used in the new edition of the Lectionary which is coming soon. The much loved Grail Psalms are already in wide liturgical use, and will continue to be. This Bible also includes additional features such as Mass Readings and maps.

With a release date of February 3, 2011, this truly is a fascinating edition isn't it? Of course, we are all familiar with the CTS Bible, which contained the Jerusalem Bible, sans YHWH, with the Grail Psalms. The Amazon listing is for a hardcover volume with 1664 pages, but the Harper website mentions both leather and imitation leather editions. Very cool!

Some things to consider:

1) The Catholic Bishops of the UK are adapting the NRSV, much like Canada did, for liturgical use. Could there be a connection between that work and the Harper volume?

2) I wonder which version of the Grail Psalms will be included? Will it be the original, which is still in use in the Liturgy of the Hours and in the UK liturgy? Here in the USA, the Catholic Bishops, last year, approved the use of a new revised Grail Psalter to be used at Mass in the near future.

3) As I have mentioned before, I am really impressed with what Harper/HarperCollins/HarperOne has been producing, concerning it's line of NRSV Bibles. One doesn't have to be a fan of the NRSV to acknowledge this. Notice that this UK NRSV with Grail Psalms is published in the same month as the HarperOne edition of the NRSV Go-Anywhere Thinline Catholic Bible. The first true Catholic thinline Bible!

4) It is nice that publishers, and even Church leaders, in the UK, albeit Harper or CTS, are willing to develop a Bible for Catholics which generally match what they hear at Mass. Wouldn't that be nice?

I hope to have more information on this as the months go by. I would certainly be interested in hearing from some readers in the UK.


Francesco said...

Hi Timothy,

This is interesting. If the UK episcopal conference were to adopt the NRSV wouldn't this make the CTS Bible obsolete?

I remember reading somewhere that the CTS Bible matches word-for-word the readings in the UK lectionary, in a similar fashion to the way that the RSV-2CE matches the lectionary in the Antilles. However, it is my understanding that Liturgiam Authenticam mandates that only one translation be used for the lectionary - which would mean that if the UK adopts the NRSV, it has to drop the JB.

It would be interesting to know if the periscopes from the NRSV that the UK will use will match those in Canada.

On a separate note, is there some resource that tells us what translations are used in which country?

Shazamaholic said...

Hmmm...something seems odd here. The NRSV is not approved by the Vatican for liturgical use, correct? Why are the UK bishops seeking to replace the JB in liturgy with the NRSV?

If anything, wouldn't they seek to use the NJB, which has less inclusive language problems than the NRSV?

And is it just a sales pitch by the publisher that the NRSV is becoming the most popular Catholic bible, or is the rank and file Catholic laity taking a hard left turn? (hard to tell here in Michigan, since we are, unfortunately, such a hard core "blue" state, and will probably remain such for at least another generation....confirmed in this week's guberatorial primary where the two most liberal candiates in both parties won).

Timothy said...


Yes, the CTS would ultimately be obsolete, in regards to use in Mass. As for the resource, I will take a look around.


The NRSV, in an adapted form, was recently approved for use in Canada. I am sure that is part of the reason for the UK bishop's desire for a new translation for the readings. Truth be told, the JB is almost fifty years old and the NRSV is more literal. Perhaps they are looking for a more formal translation.

rolf said...

The NRSV (tweaked version) is approved by the Vatican for use in the Liturgy in Canada. I had heard rumors awhile back that the U.K. was thinking of switching to a reworked version of the NRSV.

Shazamaholic said...

1. So, is it the same situation as the NAB in the US? An altered version of the text, so that if you have a NRSV, it will be different than the version you would hear at Mass?

2. But why the NRSV, and not the New Jerusalem Bible?

Timothy said...


1) I think so. Perhaps some of Canadian readers can assist.

2) The NRSV is a more literal/formal translation which is probably what they are looking for.

Shazamaholic said...

I wonder if Ignatius Press is going to pitch using the RSV-2CE to the UK bishops, unless they already committed to the NRSV?

Francesco said...


I think the decision to use the NRSV was made a a long time ago. Here's a link that suggests they've been working at it since before May 2003:

Diakonos said...

On a related side note: is the NRSV still forbidden by Vatican/Us Bishops for use in catechetics? I know that was a reason why St Mary's Press came out with their Youth Bible in NAB and not only NRSV as it originally done.

Also...I checked the Haprer One link and didn't see ANTYHING in the blurb about the NRSV Thinline having cross references. Hmmm...does Harper have an aversion to these?

Finally (and not related at ALL to the topis). i just discovered the Revised English Bible (REB) with Apocrypha approved by UK bishops. Seems it came out in 1989 and was overshadowed by the NRSV debut that year. I really like it. I read it is a revision of the NEB that was promoted by Venerable Archbishop Sheen over the NAB and JB. Any thoughts on the REB?

Diakonos said...

DOH! How STUPID of me to leave this out...CONGRATULATIONS on being a new dad Tim!

Timothy said...


Thank you! We are very excited!

I wasn't aware the NRSV was banned for catechetical use. Particularly since the translation is approved, although not for liturgy, by the USCCB.

As for the youth bible, I just assumed it came in both versions because they wanted to market it to Canadian youth.

Yeah the crossreferences thing continues to be an anoying issue with the NRSV. But let's see what HarperOne does over the next year.

As for the REB, I do own a copy. Haven't used it much however. Perhaps a future post?

Charles said...

Adoremus Bulletin and elsewhere had previously reported that there is an international commission "ICPEL" (something like "Internationsl Commission for Preparing an English Lectionary"), which includes UK, Australia and other English speaking countries (US and Canada chose not to participate) to prepare a new English Lectionary. ICPEL had chosen to work with the NRSV (which would have to be reworked as per Canada's experience) and the Revised Grail Psalms. I know that they had run into copyright problems on the NRSV and then there has been radio silence on the internet for a long time. I wonder if this publication date indicates that this process is moving forward. And I do hope they use the approved liturgical versions of the Lectionary pericopes when they publish this Bible.

Diakonos said...


Here is what I read years ago about the NRSV and catechetics, maybe it has been rescinded since 1995.

Bradford said...

Will the Grail Psalms replace the NRSV Psalms or be added? Also, when was the CTS New Catholic Bible first published?

Timothy said...


I wonder what they will do with the NRSV guess would be that they simply replace then with the Grail ones.

Here is some info on the CTS Bible:

Sam Richardson said...

Hi there, I'm the editorial director at Collins, I can confirm a few points about this Bible. It will contain the current versions of the NRSV and the Grail Psalms that are used in the UK - if and when CBCEW approve revised versions for a new lectionary (as is happening in the US with the Grail Psalms and in Canada with the NRSV) then we will update this product accordingly. However, as the timings on this seem rather up in the air at the moment, we have decided to push ahead with this Bible now, as our survey data suggests catholics in the UK are now mostly buying NRSV for their personal study rather than JB. The Grail Psalms will be added at the back rather than in place of the NRSV Psalms.

owenswain said...

This Canadian just keeps returning to the NRSV. Recently spent time with the NABRE and liked it a good deal more than I expected, including the much maligned notes. On the whole though my appreciation of the NRSV, the fact that it is the base for our Lectionary and the plethora of support materials [all be it, little of it exclusively Catholic] and the connection it gives with our brethren across the Pond I just keep returning to it.

I love what I see of the Revised Grail Psalms and am excited for the eventual inclusion of the RGP in the LoTH.

Being Canadian an NRSV that is Anglicized is big bonus and an even greater boon, given my above note, would be the very same with the *Revised* Grail Psalms.

As it is, I've elected for a single volume RGP to go with my (sadly non Anglicized) NRSV and my 1970something edition of the 4v LoTH.

Oh, bible geekery can be such a burden ;-)

Timothy said...

A true burden! ;)