Monday, January 31, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

More from section 12 of Verbum Domini:

"Jesus’ mission is ultimately fulfilled in the paschal mystery: here we find ourselves before the “word of the cross” (1 Cor 1:18). The word is muted; it becomes mortal silence, for it has “spoken” exhaustively, holding back nothing of what it had to tell us. The Fathers of the Church, in pondering this mystery, attributed to the Mother of God this touching phrase: “Wordless is the Word of the Father, who made every creature which speaks, lifeless are the eyes of the one at whose word and whose nod all living things move”.Here that “greater” love, the love which gives its life for its friends (cf. Jn 15:13), is truly shared with us.

In this great mystery Jesus is revealed as the word of the new and everlasting covenant: divine freedom and human freedom have definitively met in his crucified flesh, in an indissoluble and eternally valid compact. Jesus himself, at the Last Supper, in instituting the Eucharist, had spoken of a “new and everlasting covenant” in the outpouring of his blood (cf. Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20), and shows himself to be the true sacrificial Lamb who brings about our definitive liberation from slavery."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spot Check: NAB(RE) or RSV

Today’s spot check comes from this coming Sunday's second reading from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. It really shouldn't be difficult figuring out which is which, but there are some interesting differences between the NAB and RSV versions. Which one do you like best and why?

Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God. It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”


For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

NABRE Psalm 23

If you are a subscriber to the newsweekly Our Sunday Visitor, you will have already noticed that there is an article in this week's edition about the NABRE. The fine article by Sarah Hayes gives some interesting information about the upcoming revision, which will be released on Ash Wednesday. Included in this article is a short interview with Mary Sperry from the USCCB, a sidebar on the long process of the NABRE revision, and the complete version of the NABRE's Psalm 23.

Psalm 23 in the current NAB was one of those areas that was heavily criticized by some for its use of vertical inclusive language, as well as some occasional odd renderings. Most notably verse two which says "In green pastures you let me graze" and verse 6 which concludes "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come." According to the OSV article, the new NABRE version of Psalm 23 is a definite upgrade to the older version:

NABRE Psalm 23 (snippet)
Verse 2: "In green pastures he makes me lie down"
Verse 4: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death"
Verse 6: "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for endless days"

I should also point out that the use of "you" to make the passage conform to vertical inclusive language standards has been removed as well. Again, if you are an OSV subscriber and would like to see the entire Psalm and article, you can go here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NRSV Thinline Available Next Week

Next week, February 1st to be precise, will be the release date for the HarperCollins NRSV- Go-Anywhere Thinline Bible Catholic Edition. It will be published in bonded leather, paperback, and hardcover XL editions. If you would like to see a sample, follow this link. From what I can tell, this edition looks similar to the full Apocrypha version that was released back in October. The only major difference being the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books in their proper order. If you would like to see my review of the earlier edition, you can follow this link. I am not sure, at this point, whether or not I will be picking up a copy, but since I have been asking for a true Catholic thinline for the longest time, perhaps I am obliged to do so.

This NRSV edition includes:
Less than 1 inch thick
Easy-to-read 9-point type in a double-column setting
Bonded leather with craft-sewn binding for added strength and long life
Fine Bible paper to maximize readability and portability
Concordance for finding key verses
Gilded edges and a ribbon marker
Presentation page and maps

Monday, January 24, 2011

NABRE Sneak Peak #1

In honor of todays March for Life in Washington, the NABRE Facebook site has released a full version of Psalm 139. You can view that here. It includes not only the new text, but also the notes/commentary that will accompany it. I cannot reproduce that version here, but for comparison purposes, below you will find the '91 NAB Psalms version of Psalm 139:

For the leader. A psalm of David. O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
2 you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.
3 My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all.
5 Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach.
7 Where can I hide from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee?
8 If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, you are there too.
9 If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea,
10 Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light" --
12 Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one.
13 You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew;
15 my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.
17 How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them!
18 Were I to count, they would outnumber the sands; to finish, I would need eternity.
19 If only you would destroy the wicked, O God, and the bloodthirsty would depart from me!
20 Deceitfully they invoke your name; your foes swear faithless oaths.
21 Do I not hate, LORD, those who hate you? Those who rise against you, do I not loathe?
22 With fierce hatred I hate them, enemies I count as my own.
23 Probe me, God, know my heart; try me, know my concerns.
24 See if my way is crooked, then lead me in the ancient paths.

So, what do you think?

Mondays with Verbum Domini

"Those who know God’s word also know fully the significance of each creature. For if all things “hold together” in the one who is “before all things” (cf. Col 1:17), then those who build their lives on his word build in a truly sound and lasting way. The word of God makes us change our concept of realism: the realist is the one who recognizes in the word of God the foundation of all things.[31] This realism is particularly needed in our own time, when many things in which we trust for building our lives, things in which we are tempted to put our hopes, prove ephemeral. Possessions, pleasure and power show themselves sooner or later to be incapable of fulfilling the deepest yearnings of the human heart. In building our lives we need solid foundations which will endure when human certainties fail. Truly, since “for ever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens” and the faithfulness of the Lord “endures to all generations” (Ps 119:89-90), whoever builds on this word builds the house of his life on rock (cf. Mt 7:24). May our heart be able to say to God each day: “You are my refuge and my shield; I hope in your word” (Ps 119:114), and, like Saint Peter, may we entrust ourselves in our daily actions to the Lord Jesus: “At your word I will let down the nets” (Lk 5:5) (VD 10)."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Select NABRE Cover @ Saint Benedict Press

You can help Saint Benedict Press select a cover for their upcoming NABRE paperback releases at their Facebook site. The one I picked is here on the left, which is "The Baptism of Christ" by Fra Angelico. You can also choose from the "Disputation of the Holy Sacrament" by Raphael and "Pentecost" by Titian. No matter which one you choose, they are all quite beautiful and befitting of a Catholic Bible. So bravo, once again, to the fine people at Saint Benedict Press! The NABRE will be released on March 9.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spot Check: NAB or RSV

The Gospel reading for Mass today comes from Mark 3:7-12. Below, I have placed two different translations of it, one from the NAB(RE) and the other from the RSV. Without cheating, which one is which? Which one do you prefer and why?

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him; for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.


Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him
because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down
before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Upcoming Releases (First Half of 2011)

Here is a short list of some upcoming releases related to Catholic Bibles, study tools, and other books:

Revised Grail Psalms (Already available)

NRSV Catholic Thinline Edition (2/1/11)

NRSV Catholic Gift Bible (black) (2/1/11)

HarperCollins UK NRSV Catholic with Grail Psalms (3/3/11)

NABRE (Multiple publishers and editions) (3/9/11)

HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (revised and updated) (3/8/11)

Jesus of Nazareth: Part II by Benedict XVI (mid-March)

New Collegeville Bible Commentary: NABRE (May)

Little Rock Study Bible: NABRE (June)

Catholic Study Bible: NABRE (Summer)

NABRE Concise Concordance (Summer)

If you see anything missing, which I am sure there are a few, feel free to comment or send me an email. Is anybody aware of anything new coming for the RSV/RSV-2CE or Douay-Rheims?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

Let's continue reading this wonderful and important document from the Holy Father:

"For us, this proclamation is a word of freedom. Scripture tells us that everything that exists does not exist by chance but is willed by God and part of his plan, at whose center is the invitation to partake, in Christ, in the divine life. Creation is born of the Logos and indelibly bears the mark of the creative Reason which orders and directs it; with joy-filled certainty the psalms sing: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth” (Ps 33:6); and again, “he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth” (Ps 33:9). All reality expresses this mystery: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Ps 19:1). Thus sacred Scripture itself invites us to acknowledge the Creator by contemplating his creation (cf. Wis 13:5; Rom 1:19-20). The tradition of Christian thought has developed this key element of the symphony of the word, as when, for example, Saint Bonaventure, who in the great tradition of the Greek Fathers sees all the possibilities of creation present in the Logos,[23] states that “every creature is a word of God, since it proclaims God”.[24] The Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum synthesized this datum when it stated that “God, who creates and conserves all things by his word (cf. Jn 1:3), provides constant evidence of himself in created realities”.[25]"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Revised Grail Psalms Review

"The Lord is my shepherd:
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me;
he revives my soul.

He guides me along the right path
for the sake of his name.
Though I should walk in the valley
of the shadow of death,
no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
Your crook and your staff will give me comfort.

You have prepared a table before me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord's own house shall I dwell
for length of days unending."
- Psalm 23 (Revised Grail Psalms)

So there you have it, Psalm 23 of the Revised Grail Psalms. As many of you know, the USCCB decided to go with the Revised Grail Psalms for all future liturgical books. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments gave its recognitio last March, so any future editions of liturgical books, like the Liturgy of the Hours, will contain this Psalter.

I received this lovely little paperback Revised Grail Psalms yesterday, and have spent some time looking at some of my favorite Psalms. The book comes with a copy of the recognitio from the Vatican, a short foreword by Cardinal George, and a very helpful introduction by Abbot Gregory J. Polan OSB of Conception Abbey. This 11 page introduction gives not only an informative history of the Grail Psalms going back to the 1963 edition, but also discusses why the Psalms are so important to Christian prayer. Abbot Polan rightly states: "How often in this quest do we find ourselves struggling to find words to express the manifold movements of the human heart! The Psalms provide a way into a unique chamber of the heart where one stands most free and open to God (xi)." I love the Psalms like many of you, so when I am looking at a particular translation usually the Psalms are the first place I go.

This new Psalter will read fairly close to the original 1963 edition, although there will be some noticeable differences. The Revised Grail Psalms follows the principles of the document Liturgiam Authenticam. This will become immediately noticeable when one looks at Psalm 8:5, where the more messianic "son of Man" translation is used. The primary source for the Psalter is Masoretic Text, but they do refer to the Septuagint and Vulgate when necessary.

Overall, this is a fine little book. Certainly those of you who love the Psalms and are daily readers of the Liturgy of the Hours, this book is for you. Anyone else who is interested in getting a preview of what Psalms will be sung at Mass in the future should also consider picking up a copy. Copies can be purchased online at the Printery House site in both a standard paperback edition, as well as a singing version.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Where You Going First in the NABRE?

So, which Bible passage(s) are you going to look up first once you get a copy of the NABRE? This question has been hinted at a bit in some of the comments from previous posts. For me, I am going to go straight to the Book of Psalms, where I will look up Psalms 1, 8, 23, 110, and 139. I really want to see how they are rendered in comparison to the revised '91 Psalms. (Psalm 139 is a favorite of my wife, so I will be interested to see what she thinks of it.) After looking at the Psalms, I will be interested to see how the NABRE renders Genesis 1:1-2 and Isaiah 7:14 and 9:5. Will the NABRE follow the LXX of Isaiah 7:14 as in the original NAB? Will they change the rather awkward/notorious rendering of Isaiah 9:5? After looking up these passages, I then plan to do some more comprehensive reading of larger portions of the text to see how it flows. So, what about you?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NABRE Editions

So, what editions will the NABRE come in? I am going to use this post to add those publishers who will be producing editions of the NABRE sometime this year. I hope to update this as I learn new information. If you see anything, let me know!

Oxford University Press
They will be publishing a number of volumes, beginning with a compact edition of the NABRE in March. The unique thing about this edition is that the notes/commentary will not be on the page with the Sacred Text, but at the back of each book. They did a similar thing with the current NAB Readers edition. Also, the Catholic Study Bible and Personal Study Edition will be published with the NABRE in July. They will come in hardcover, paperback, and bonded leather. A large print edition of the NABRE is also scheduled for publication. Finally, there will be a Concise Concordance keyed to the NABRE to be published in July.

Liturgical Press
Liturgical Press will be publishing the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible this coming June. Those of you who read this blog are already aware of the Four Gospels edition which came out last year. At this time, it will only be released in hardcover and softcover editions, although I was told by a Liturgical Press representative that a leather cover edition would be possible in the future if there is interest.

Fireside Catholic Publishing
Although not listed, I have talked with a representative from Fireside who told me that the NABRE would be available in their Youth and Religion Class Bibles very soon.

Our Sunday Visitor
Thanks to a readers tip, it appears Our Sunday Visitor will publish their popular The New Catholic Answer Bible with the NABRE at sometime in 2011.

Saint Benedict Press
Thanks to a comment by Lauren at Saint Benedict Press, we know that "Saint Benedict Press will publish the NABRE in multiple editions and formats, beginning in March with a Value edition for the school and parish market, in one or more beautiful covers. Also in March Saint Benedict Press will publish Hardcover and Premium Ultrasoft editions of the NABRE. Later in 2011 will come a larger Easy Read edition, a compact New Testament and Psalms, and one or more study or devotional editions yet to be announced." Very cool!

Monday, January 10, 2011

NABRE Answers (from Facebook Site)

(Answers from NABRE Facebook site.)

Questions on the NABRE and the Liturgy:

1) Why won't the NABRE be used for readings in churches? Will this somehow lead to a revision of the Lectionary?

 Preparing a Scripture translation for use in the liturgy is a complicated, multi-step process.  First, the text must be formatted for liturgical use.  That means that each reading in the Ordo Lectionum Missae (OLM) must be looked up in the Nova Vulgata (the Latin edition of the Bible) and the verses matched to the same passage in the English.  (Versions sometimes vary in the chapter and verse divisions which were added to the sacred text quite late in their development and sometimes the liturgical reading will omit certain verses.)  Once that is done, brief introductory phrases (called incipits) may be added.  These incipits are provided in the OLM and are used to “set the scene” for the reading.  Then, the text needs to be reviewed to make sure that there are no pronouns missing antecedents.  After all, it wouldn’t help if a reading began “He said to them” and we didn’t know if it was “Jesus said to the crowds” or “Peter said to the other disciples.”

Once that work is completed, the text is presented to the Latin Church bishops of a Conference.  At least two-thirds of the bishops must approve the text.  Only then can the text be sent to the Holy See for confirmation.  The Holy See undertakes its own thorough review of the text and may make certain changes for liturgical use.  Only after that review is completed (a process which typically takes more than a year), can the new Lectionary be published and used.

Short answer:  Even if the bishops decide they want to use the NABRE in the liturgy, it won’t happen any time soon. 

2) How did Liturgiam Authenticam factor into this translation?

The work on the vast majority of the NABRE was completed and submitted to the Subcommittee for the Translation of Scripture Text (previously, the Ad Hoc Committee for the Review of Scripture Translations) before Liturgiam authenticam was released in 2001.  In addition, the norms outlined in Liturgiam authenticam apply only to texts intended for liturgical use.  Different norms must apply for a scholarly biblical translation, a fact that Liturgiam authenticam notes (cf. nos. 37ff).  Since the work on the NABRE Psalter began in 2009, the norms in Liturgiam authenticam were taken into consideration in developing that translation, particularly the use of concrete vocabulary.

That being said, many of the norms given in Liturgiam authenticam are simply principles of good formal equivalent translations.  As such, the NABRE will “follow” them, even though it predates them.

Questions on Publishing Formats:

3) Are there any plans for an enhanced NAB website?

Yes!  We will be adding resources to the NAB website over the next few months.  There will be an entirely new look later this year.

4) Will publishers be allowed to print the text without the commentary and footnotes?

No.  Permission is almost never granted to print the NABRE without the introductions and explanatory notes.  (The few exceptions are for audio products or certain works intended for scholarly use, such as parallel Bibles.)  The reason is two-fold.  First, canon law (specifically canon 825) requires that Scripture be “provided with necessary and sufficient annotations.”  Second, in undertaking their review of the text, the bishops who recommended the NABRE for approval reviewed the notes and introductions in great detail, often requiring additions to ensure that the note was as helpful as possible.

Also, see the response to question 15, below.

5) Will it be immediately available in electronic forms as, for example, an app for iPhone or audio versions that can be downloaded as an mp3?

The NABRE has been licensed in a variety of audio, electronic, and digital formats.  The availability of those products depends on the individual publishers and how quickly the products make it through beta-testing.

6) Will there be editions with the newly Revised Grail Psalms like the "Catholic Bible" NRSV being published in the UK?

No.  The NABRE will not be licensed to include any Psalter apart from its own.  It is important to maintain a consistency of translation principles.
7) Will it include the apocryphal works that are found in the new Vulgate (but not presently in the NAB) like Psalm 151?

No.  The NABRE includes only the canon of Scripture as delineated by the Councils of the Church.

8) Will there be multiple publishers releasing editions on March 9th?

Yes! We will be releasing the list of publishers toward the end of the month.  But some publishers have already begun advertising their NABRE line.  If you have a favorite Bible publisher, check its website.

 9) Will there be a comparison issue basically showing us the changes, like in red ink or something like that?

While we will be posting some “before and after” text examples, showing the changes for the entire Old Testament would be very confusing.  Since we don’t have such a comparison text prepared, it would also take a very long time to produce.

10) Are you going to provide an E-book style bible so we can have a Catholic version now?

We have licensed such editions and will continue to do so.  How quickly editions will move from print to E-book is up to the publishers.

11) Is there a publication that guides you through reading the entire Bible from cover to cover?

Some publishers will be bringing out Bibles that help readers read through the entire Bible in one year.  In addition, several one year reading plans for the Bible are available on the Internet.

Specific Questions on the Translation:

12) What revisions were needed and why were they needed?

Revisions were made for three major reasons:

First, to get closer to the original text.  Portions of the Old Testament are over three thousand years old.  Trying to find the manuscripts with the most reliable versions of these texts is no easy endeavor.  Some scholars spend their entire careers working to reconstruct a critical edition that is as close as possible to the original text.  Fidelity to that original text is always the standard by which a translation must be judged.  Since the original edition of the NAB was published in 1970, new and better manuscripts have been discovered and we have made significant achievements in our understanding of biblical languages.  The NABRE takes advantage of all these discoveries.

Second, to more closely express the meaning of the original.  In some places, the translation provided in the 1970 NAB may not be as clear as it might be.  In such cases, the translation was revised to clarify the meaning of the original.  For example, much of the concrete poetic language of the Psalms has been restored and more care was taken to ensure that Hebrew and Greek words are rendered consistently.

Third, the changes reflect modern English usage.  The most notable change in this regard is the consistent substitution of “burnt offering” for “holocaust,” a word now reserved for the sacrilegious attempt to destroy the Jewish people by the Third Reich.  The Holy See required a similar change in volumes II-IV of the Lectionary for Mass.

13) Will theological terms like “Son of Man” and “Netherworld” used in the NAB New Testament be translated in the same way in the NABRE Old Testament?

The term “son of man” is used in the Psalms, Ezekiel, and Daniel as appropriate.  “Netherworld” is used when the original text calls for it.  More commonly, the Hebrew original uses the proper name, Sheol.

14) Why have the editors chosen to go with “holy” Spirit instead of “Holy” Spirit?"

This usage appears only in the New Testament which remains in its 1986 edition.  The editors chose this capitalization pattern to avoid reading later theological developments into the Scriptural text.

15) Will the commentary and notes be new for the Old Testament? How about the New Testament?

All introductions and notes for the Old Testament have been revised or at least re-examined.  Some remain unchanged because the underlying material remains unchanged, e.g., a note that explains a play on words in the original Hebrew.  The note s in the NABRE Old Testament are far more extensive than those in the 1970 edition and will provide a very helpful resource to those seeking to undertake the canonical exegesis recommended by Pope Benedict XVI.  Many of the notes provide very helpful information about how a specific verse is interpreted in other parts of the Old Testament and in the New Testament.  Combined with the extensive cross references, readers will be able to interpret the text in light of the unity of Scripture.

The New Testament notes remain unchanged.

16) Concerning John 18:37, when Jesus says "You Say I am a king", will the new translation correspond more closely to the original Aramaic? I know a priest from the Syro-Malabar Rite, which still uses Aramaic liturgically, who says a better translation is "As you say it," which would be a stronger affirmative response to Pilate's question.

The NABRE New Testament is translated from the third edition of The Greek New Testament, edited by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo Martini, Bruce Metzger, and Allen Wikgren, and published by the United Bible Societies in 1975.  The Greek text uses the word for “king” in both Pilate’s question and Jesus’ response.

17) In the book of Ezekiel chapter 1, 10-22 of the NAB, "there is the changed order of the verses, and the omission of the textually uncertain verses of 14 and 21. Such changes also occur elsewhere in this book." Will this also be the case in the New American Bible Revised Edition?

There is no reordering of Ezekiel 1:10-22 in the NABRE. There is some reordering of verses in the NABRE to better reflect the original text.  Keep in mind that the chapter and verse notations were added long after the original books were written.
18) Is Jeremiah 15:12-14 going to be included in NABRE?

Yes.  Here it is:

12Can one break iron,

iron from the north, and bronze?

13* Your wealth and your treasures

I give as plunder, demanding no payment,

because of all your sins, throughout all your territory.

14And I shall enslave you to your enemies

in a land you do not know,

For fire has broken out from my anger,

it is kindled against you.



Mondays with Verbum Domini

Let's continue on, as we do every Monday, with a short passage from the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini from Pope Benedict:

"While the Christ event is at the heart of divine revelation, we also need to realize that creation itself, the liber naturae, is an essential part of this symphony of many voices in which the one word is spoken. We also profess our faith that God has spoken his word in salvation history; he has made his voice heard; by the power of his Spirit “he has spoken through the prophets”. God’s word is thus spoken throughout the history of salvation, and most fully in the mystery of the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Son of God. Then too, the word of God is that word preached by the Apostles in obedience to the command of the Risen Jesus: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15). The word of God is thus handed on in the Church’s living Tradition. Finally, the word of God, attested and divinely inspired, is sacred Scripture, the Old and New Testaments. All this helps us to see that, while in the Church we greatly venerate the sacred Scriptures, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book”: Christianity is the “religion of the word of God”, not of “a written and mute word, but of the incarnate and living Word”. Consequently the Scripture is to be proclaimed, heard, read, received and experienced as the word of God, in the stream of the apostolic Tradition from which it is inseparable."(7)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

NABRE Facebook Reminder

If you would like to submit a question about the NABRE, you have until Sunday to post them on the NABRE Facebook site. If you are not on Facebook, feel free to post a question in the comments, which I can then post on the Facebook site for you.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Random Thoughts on the NABRE Announcement

I want to devote this post to talking about the big news yesterday regarding the NABRE. Below are just some random thoughts that have come to mind since yesterday:

First off, it is pretty exciting that we are just over two months away from the publication of a major Catholic Bible revision. When are we likely to see something like this again? I am not aware of any other new Catholic translations in progress, perhaps the only exception being the Bible In Its Traditions project. Of course, there is the NRSV, which Harper UK may publish in its adapted liturgical form at some point. (A version of the current NRSV with Grail Psalms will be published in February from Harper UK.) So, I look forward to analyzing the NABRE in comparison to the original NAB, as well as the RSV and NRSV.

Also, I am encouraged to see that on March 9th the NABRE will be launched in various formats. This includes print, as well as audio and electronic. Having the NABRE on the Kindle will be a definite bonus. In addition, it will be interesting to see what publishers will be producing the NABRE. One of the areas that kept the NAB somewhat stale in the past has been its general uniformity in look no matter the publisher. With all of the attractive formats and designs that publishers like Zondervan, HarperCollins, and Crossway put out for their Bibles, the NABRE certainly needs to be licensed by a major publishing house. I am certain that we will see a new edition of Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible in the near future. Reader Sharon alerted me to the new Little Rock Catholic Study Bible which will be released in June with the NABRE. They had earlier published an edition with just the Gospels.

One of my hopes for this new NABRE is that it will provide a uniform translation philosophy from Genesis to Revelation. As I mentioned in a comment on another post, one of the areas that hurt the NAB in the past was that it was so uneven. If it sticks to the translation philosophy of the revised NAB NT in regards to being fairly formal/literal and using moderate horizontal inclusive language, the revision will be a much needed upgrade. Will it be as accepted by more conservative Catholics who tend to stick with the RSV-CE? My guess is probably not. But if the final product is a better version of the NAB, the Catholic Church in America will benefit. Of course, we will have to wait and see what the translation looks like before jumping to any conclusions.

The last thing I want to mention is the NAB commentary/notes. Oftentimes in the past (and present), one of the chief complaints that I have read against the NAB is the commentary. From my experiences, when people criticize the NAB it is the notes and commentary, more so than the translation itself, which is the issue. In general, while I do think they tend to focus too much on the historical-critical method and spend way too much time on issues like the “Q” hypothesis in the Gospel, overall I think they are OK. Are there some stinkers? Yes, there are a few, most notoriously in Matthew 16:21-23. But as Pope Benedict has said, the historical method is an “indispensable tool” for exegetes, so it is important that issues like that is included. However, I think those who produced the NAB(RE) notes would do better in recognizing the need to provide solid commentary that is both historical, but also faith affirming. It must be remembered that for the vast majority of Catholics, the NAB(RE) will be the only Bible they read.

Either way, it is going to be a lot of fun examining the NABRE.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

NAB Revision (NABRE) Official Announcement!

Breaking news from the USCCB website:

Revised Edition of New American Bible Approved for Publication, Will Be Available in Variety of Formats March 9

"WASHINGTON (January 6, 2011)—The New American Bible, revised edition (NABRE), the first major update to the New American Bible (NAB) translation in 20 years, has been approved for publication. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, then president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), signed the canonical rescript approving publication on September 30, 2010. The NABRE will be available in a variety of print, audio and electronic formats on March 9, Ash Wednesday.

The new translation takes into account advances in linguistics of the biblical languages, as well as changes in vocabulary and the cultural background of English, in order to ensure a more accurate translation. This issue is addressed in the apostolic exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, in which the pope says, “The inculturation of God’s word is an integral part of the Church’s mission in the world, and a decisive moment in this process is the diffusion of the Bible through the precious work of translation into different languages.

The new translation also takes into account the discovery of new and better ancient manuscripts so that the best possible textual tradition is followed.The NABRE includes the first revised translation of the Old Testament since 1970 and a complete revision of the Psalter. It retains the 1986 edition of the New Testament. Work on most books of the Old Testament began in 1994 and was completed in 2001. The 1991 revision of the Psalter was further revised between 2009 and 2010.

The revision aimed at making use of the best manuscript traditions available, translating as accurately as possible, and rendering the result in good contemporary English. In many ways it is a more literal translation than the original New American Bible and has attempted to be more consistent in rendering Hebrew (or Greek) words and idioms, especially in technical contexts, such as regulations for sacrifices. In translating the Psalter special effort was made to provide a smooth, rhythmic translation for easy singing or recitation and to retain the concrete imagery of the Hebrew.

The NABRE is approved for private use and study. It will not be used for the Mass, which uses an earlier, modified version of the NAB translation.”

The long wait is almost over. Comments to come shortly, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, you can submit questions about the NABRE on its new Facebook site here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ICSB Genesis Now Available!

According to Ignatius Insight Scoop, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The Book of Genesis is in-stock and available for order. There is also a sample page from Genesis 13 for your viewing pleasure. The sale price on the Ignatius site is $8.46. Let's hope we see more of the Old Testament volumes published this year. How about a complete, one volume Ignatius Catholic Study Bible in 2015?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"New Year, New Testament, New American Bible" Series

Indeed it is 2011, which from all indications will be the year that the NAB gets a makeover. As we learned last year, the NAB Old Testament and Psalms have been in the process of revision, and will join the previously revised NAB New Testament to form the New American Bible Revised Edition or NABRE. If you are looking for a refresher of what is going on with the NABRE, Mary Sperry, from the USCCB's NAB team, was kind enough to answer some reader questions, which you can view hear. As I mentioned late last year, I will be spending some additional time with the NAB NT and blogging about it in a series of posts.

One of the things I want to do is focus on the NAB text itself, with little attention on the commentary or notes which sometimes get discussed more than the translation itself. Also, I will try to point out places of similarity and difference with other translations like the RSV and NRSV. This will not be an exhaustive study, but rather a collection of some of my thoughts and experiences with the NAB NT text. So let's begin with the infancy narrative in Matthew:

Matthew 1:1
"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (NAB)

"An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham." (NRSV)

** I tend to like the NAB version, which uses “book” and “Christ”, rather than “an account” and “Messiah”. The RSV is similar to the NAB in this case. Certainly the Greek behind going with “Christ” makes more sense, and seems more natural in my reading.**

Matthew 1:18
“Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit.” (NAB)

“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah* took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” (NRSV)

**I prefer the use of the more traditional “betrothed” to simply “engaged”. I think in todays culture, where engagements are easily broken off, one looses the full meaning of what betrothal was back in 1st century Judea if it is simply translated as “engaged”. The NAB note on this is actually quite helpful: “Betrothal was the first part of the marriage, constituting a man and woman as husband and wife. Subsequent infidelity was considered adultery. The betrothal was followed some months later by the husband's taking his wife into his home, at which time normal married life began.” (Yes, I am aware that I referenced the NAB notes.)**

Matthew 1:20,23 & 2:1,13
**I like the NAB’s (and the RSV’s) use of “behold” to “see” or “look” which is found in many modern translations, like the NRSV. For me, it just sounds better and more immediate.**

Matthew 1:25
“He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus” (NAB)

“But knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.” (RSV)

**Like the NRSV, the NAB went with “no relations” instead of the more literal “knew her not”. The reasons are certainly due to a desire by the translators to be clearer to the reader. The other notable instance, albeit in Hebrew, comes in Genesis 4:1. I tend to like the more traditional rendering here, simply because “knowledge” of a person seems to portray a little more depth to the relationship. While the renderings in the NAB or NRSV aren’t wrong or even bad, they tend, IMHO, to not portray the fullness of the marital relationship. (There is a nice article on “knowledge” in the Catholic Bible Dictionary edited by Scott Hahn.)**

Matthew 2:1
“When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.” (NAB)

“In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.” (NRSV/RSV)

**As The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (p.635) points out, magi were a caste of wise men specializing in astronomy, astrology, the interpretation of dreams, and sometimes magic. I tend to like the NAB’s decision to translate the term “magi” literally because it forces the reader to spend a little more time figuring out what a “magi” is and does. Why they may certainly be wise, it seems too generic of a way to describe this group. We shouldn’t do the same with other groups in the New Testament, like the Herodians or Judeans or Scribes. The NASB and NIV currently use “magi” as well. **

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

Happy new year to all of you! Blessed Epiphany to those who have celebrated this wonderful feast already or who will be in the coming days.

I wanted to start the year 2011 with a new weekly feature. I am calling it "Mondays with Verbum Domini". The plan is to post each Monday a small selection from the recently release Post-Synodal Exhortation Verbum Domini by Pope Benedict. It is a fantastic document which really should be read by all Catholic Bible readers. It certainly is an important compliment to Divino Afflante Spiritu, Dei Verbum, and the Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.

To start off, I have selected the final paragraph from the introduction. It gives forth the background and structure for the entire document. In particular, the Holy Father's emphasis on all Catholics developing a "personal relationship with the sacred Scriptures" is a theme that he will come back to again and again throughout.

The Prologue of John’s Gospel as a guide
With this Apostolic Exhortation I would like the work of the Synod to have a real effect on the life of the Church: on our personal relationship with the sacred Scriptures, on their interpretation in the liturgy and catechesis, and in scientific research, so that the Bible may not be simply a word from the past, but a living and timely word. To accomplish this, I would like to present and develop the labours of the Synod by making constant reference to the Prologue of John’s Gospel (Jn 1:1-18), which makes known to us the basis of our life: the Word, who from the beginning is with God, who became flesh and who made his dwelling among us (cf. Jn 1:14). This is a magnificent text, one which offers a synthesis of the entire Christian faith. From his personal experience of having met and followed Christ, John, whom tradition identifies as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20), “came to a deep certainty: Jesus is the Wisdom of God incarnate, he is his eternal Word who became a mortal man”. May John, who “saw and believed” (cf. Jn 20:8) also help us to lean on the breast of Christ (cf. Jn 13:25), the source of the blood and water (cf. Jn 19:34) which are symbols of the Church’s sacraments. Following the example of the Apostle John and the other inspired authors, may we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to an ever greater love of the word of God.