Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A New Poll for You to Consider

What will be the most popular English language Catholic Bible in 2022?

  • RSV-2CE (or CE)
  • NRSV
  • ESV-CE (speculative)
  • Other?


More polls:

Please make sure to comment in the comment box!


Mike Roesch said...

Hard to say by 2022 (and I'm speaking only for the US), but I think eventually the majority of the USCCB will be of a generation that despises the NAB and will shift the Lectionary to something with an RSV basis. My guess is, even though it's currently fraught with marketing issues and Mrs. Murphy doesn't know it exists, it will be the RSV-2CE. No matter how poorly Ignatius markets to the rank-and-file, the fact is that seminarians swear by anything they publish, and it's the future bishops who will be choosing translations.

This may be optimistic for 2022, but I'd bet by 2032 the NAB will no longer be used for the Lectionary.

Diakonos said...

I chose "other" and am thinking of the CRNAB (its new designation: Completely Revised New American Bible)which will include some changes to reflect those of the lectionary and a thorough revision of the annotations, footnotes and introductions, overseen by Hahn, Mitch & company who got frustrated over waiting ANOTHER 10 years for Ignatius Press to publish an attractive, decent sized Catholic Study Bible. :)

Dwight said...

That's a wonderful dream, Diakonos, but alas, it's still a dream... :)

Anonymous said...

I think the answer to this depends largely on Ignatius Press. If they get their act together and start producing various, well-made, editions of the RSV-2CE, in addition to completing their study bible, then the RSV-2CE will be tops. If they don't, it won't matter if the RSV-2CE is used in the lectionary.

I don't see the RSV-CE ever being widely accepted due to the "dated" language (thee, thou, etc.).

If Ignatius Press fails (see above), and an ESV-CE is approved by the Church and ends up being used in the lectionary, then all other translations will slowly fall away to the background.

I think the NRSV has had it's chance and won't ever get more popular than it is now.

Considering the NABRE is a solid translation and available in many attractive editions, as well as used in the USA for the lectionary, I think it will remain number 1 for the next 10 years.

rolf said...

The NABRE shows no sign of slowing down (adding new publishers), I think it will remain #1 for awhile!

Dan Z said...

Due to the USCCB owning the copyright to the NAB, and all the money that goes along with that, there will ALWAYS be a NAB, and it will ALWAYS be the version used in Mass in the US.

They question is, though, will it always be the same translation we have now? In 10 years, according to the original question, yes. But in 20 years? I think the NAB will be totally different from today's NABRE. Look at the original 1970 NT vs the NABRE NT. The revised version is more of a revision of the older Confraternity NT than it is of the 1970 NT. My guess is, in 20 years the NAB will be a hybrid of the RSV-CE and the Douay Rheims Challoner/Confraternity (also reflected in totally overhauled footnotes and commentary), and it will be the most popular Catholic bible, not just in the US, but in the English speaking world.

But the original question was in 10 years. It may be a toss up between the NABRE and the RSV-2CE. If a deal were to be made for an ESV-CE, I doubt it would be ready to publish in 10 years considering how slow these things seem to take, unless Ignatius makes a deal to re-brand the RSV-2CE as the ESV-CE.

Francesco said...

In the US or in the world? Baring some totally unpredictable event (like Liturgiam Autheticam getting repealed) in the US it will be the NABRE.

Globally the answer will probably depend on what English-speaking conferences in Africa and Asia use. It seems that several African conferences have chosen the RSV-2CE and the rest of the English-speaking world is going with the ESV-CE, so I'd say its one of those two.

Biblical Catholic said...

I have high hopes for the third edition of the Jerusalem Bible....whatever they choose to call it when it is published.

Biblical Catholic said...

One thing to keep in mind about the NAB is that it has literally been in the process of being revised for nearly 70 years.

The NAB was originally supposed to be just an update of the Douay Rheims, but then in 1944 it was decided to give up on revising the DR and instead create a brand new translation directly from the original languages. The first volume, Genesis-Ruth was published in 1952, and it was published in volumes until 1969 when the New Testament was completed and the entire thing was collected into one volume in 1970. At this point, it was immediately decided that the New Testament was inadequate, far too idiosyncratic, for liturgical use, and it was ordered that the New Testament be revised. The Revised New Testament was published in 1986, then the decision was made to revise the Psalms, and the revised Psalms were published in 1991, at which it was decided to revise the entire Old Testament, including another revision of the Psalms. The revised Old Testament was published in 2011.

So it took 26 years to create the first edition.

It took another 16 years to revise the New Testament.

It took 5 years to revise the Psalms, and then 20 years to revise the Old Testament.

So, the 2011 NABRE is the result of 67 years of work, dating back to 1944. This is literally the first time since 1944 that no further revisions are being prepared.

If the decision was made today to completely revise the NAB, which I would like to see, experience shows it would take around 25-30 years for it to be completed.

So there won't be a new edition of the NAB by 2022, or even by 2032. There might be a new edition by 2042, if it was authorized today. But it won't be authorized today, or any time soon.

Whether we like it or not, the 2011 NABRE is the edition we will be using for the next generation, its use in the liturgy will not be replaced because it is a consistent source of revenue for the USCCB, and as other sources of revenue dry up, they will rely more and more on the NABRE for funds.

It's not going to disappear in our lifetimes.

Timothy said...

As I outlined in a post a week or so ago, I think a light updating of the NABRE NT would be a good thing and one which should not take too long.

Anonymous said...


I think the reason why a light update of the NABRE NT will not happen any time soon, even if it could be done relatively quickly, is that I believe part of the agreement the publishers have with the USCCB is that the USCCB has agreed not to make any changes for X number of years. Otherwise, the publishers put up a ton of money printing bibles with no guarantee that it won't be changed next year and be stuck with bibles they can't sell. They need assurances that if they spend the money to print them, they won't be obsolete for X number of years.

Timothy said...


You are likely right. However, I look at the ESV which has been updated/tweaked a number of times since it's first publication. While they do note the updates on their site, the actual published editions don't mention anything explicitly about the changes, except the different copyright dates.

Anonymous said...

Because the lectionary doesn't match-up with the NABRE anyway, I don't see the USCCB being in any rush to make any revisions to the NT, regardless of how minor the changes may be.

Jake said...

In 10 years, the world of Catholic Bibles will be exactly the same. The NRSV will still have its small fan base of liberals and scholar/geeks and be useless to everyone else... the NABRE will still be the version we have now... the latest revision of the Jersualem Bible will still be uncompleted... and there will be no ESV-CE published, unless as someone else noted, Ignatius rebrands their RSV-2CE as the ESV-CE, which would actually be a very smart move on thier part.

I think a much more interesting poll would be "what will be the status of the Roman Missal in 2022?"

From what I have read, I firmly believe in 10 years the revised missal of Paul VI that we have now will be supressed and no longer be the "ordinary form". I believe and predict the 1965 vernacular Roman Missal, revised and adapted to fit the modern liturgical calander and 3 year cycle of readings, will be the new "ordinary form", while the 1962 Latin Roman Missal with the pre-Vatican II calendar, will remain the "extraordinary form".

There is a blog, Southern Orders, written by Fr Allan McDonald, pastor of St Joseph in Macon GA, that has the reform of the reform for the Holy Mass on spot. Coincidently, this post spotlights some "ugly" altars from your hometown of Michigan. In the comments, "William B" has links to more Michigan "ugly" and some "beautiful" altars... is your parish among them? lol

The comment by "Andy Milam" hits the nail on the head as to the problems that caused the ugly churches and poor liturgies of today.

Biblical Catholic said...

How could Ignatius 'rebrand the RSV CE-2 as the ESV CE?'

Not only do they not own the rights to the name 'ESV', which is owned by Crossway Publishing.....wouldn't it actually be a lie, because...well....the RSV CE 2 isn't the ESV, nor a revision of the ESV?

I'm sorry but...I don't get it....that suggestion doesn't make any sense to me.....

jake said...

Ignatius rebranding the RSV-2CE as the ESV-CE would really just be a business deal, plain and simple. Both the RSV-2CE and the ESV are revisions (and very similar ones, though certainly not identical) of the RSV. Suppose an altered ESV is made for the Lectionary. But suppose Crossway does not want to publish a proper ESV-CE containing the alterations (similar to the situtation we have with the NABRE vs the Lectionary version of the NAB). Crossway and Ignatius could make a business deal where Crossway gives Ignatius permission to use the ESV branding on new printings of the RSV-2CE. Again, remember both the ESV and the RSV-2CE are revisions of the source material, the RSV, so it would just be the using of a branding, especially when you consider the speculative ESV revision for the Lectionary may be almost identical to the RSV-2CE.

Timothy said...


It is an interesting possibility, but one which I think is highly unlikely to happen. First of all, while it is true that the RSV is the source for the RSV-2CE and the ESV, they are different in their revision philosophy. The ESV is a more extensive revision of the RSV than the RSV-2CE. Also, the ESV, engages in more use of inclusive language than the RSV-2CE. (Certainly no where near to the extent of the NRSV, but it is nevertheless acknowledged in the translation and textual notes.)

I would also be interested to see how far Crossway is willing to go in allowing the ESV to be used for Catholic purposes. I am not sure to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see an ESV-CE.

Jake said...

If I were in the position to give advice to Fr Fessio, I would advise him to make a few "tweaks" to the RSV-2CE, such as restore the "amen I say to you" phrases in the NT, restore "gates of hades" to "gates of hell", and I would advise him to then drop the "RSV-2CE" branding, and relaunch the translation as the "Catholic Standard Version" (CSV) and agressively pursue the world's English speaking bishops to use the CSV in thier Lectionaries instead of the NRSV, ESV, or NJB.

And on that note, where is Mary Sperry? The USCCB should be offering the NABRE to the world's English speaking bishops for Lectionary use. The NT is already altered to fit LA. Work on the revised NT is all that needs to be done. If there is some kind of leeriness to using a translation with the word "American" in it, perhaps the USCCB should grab the trademark for CSV to publish the NABRE as internationally.

Timothy said...


I don't think that is at all possible at this point. Most every English language bishops conference has decided on what they are going to go with. I just don't see most of them being willing to go with a translation that is so poorly promoted and resources, to the great cost of them making the switch.

Also, any changes to the RSV-2CE would still need approval from not only the USCCB, but also the NCCUSA which holds the copyright to the RSV. If recent events are any indication, the NCCUSA may be more likely to protect their properties more so than in the past.

Biblical Catholic said...

I don't really see any value in 'rebranding' the RSV CE-2 as the ESV CE, for one thing, the 'RSV' brand name recognition, and the respect for that name, is very very strong, especially among the kind of conservative, traditional Catholics who buy stuff from Ignatius Press....

The RSV is a translation which is loved and admired by people of all religions and all ideological, theological inclinations, save for the KJV or Douay Rheims Onlyists....

Let's remember that the RSV is not even supposed to be in print at all....when the NRSV was published in 1989, the RSV was supposed to be permanently pulled from the shelves and never offered for sale ever again....the reason why it is still in print, in so many different editions, is because the Bible buying public refused to allow it to die. Because so many people were complaining about the RSV going out of print, the National Council of Churches, which owns the RSV, reversed its previous decision and decided to continue to publish the RSV along with the NRSV for as long as there was a demand for it. And for years, until Harper One started aggressively pushing the NRSV, the RSV was actually outselling the NRSV...

And it is not just the RSV itself....even the Oxford Annotated Bible, using the RSV, is still in print alongside the New Oxford Annotated Bible which uses the NRSV.....

I like the English Standard Version, and I would love to see a Catholic Edition published....but the ESV brand name simply does not have cachet of the RSV brand name.

The ESV has a, mostly undeserved, reputation as a 'sectarian' translation, one pushed by a small band of ideological extremists, most of them Calvinists, who are trying to push a sectarian agenda.

Again, I think that reputation is undeserved, but nevertheless, that's the way it is widely perceived.

The fans of the RSV are not just people who grew up with it....but many young people who weren't even born when the NRSV was published have discovered the RSV and use it because it such a good translation.....

And I am among them....I didn't discover the RSV until 1992, after the NRSV had been printed....when I was cleaning out a book that was taken out of my great grandmother's apartment before she died and found a copy of the 1952 first edition. It was a couple more year, after I had read it all the way through 2-3 times before I discovered that it had technically been superseded by the NRSV.....

The RSV is still a good translation because it is readable, and uses an elegant, dignified English, and it sounds excellent when read aloud. And it uses a very natural language style which rolls easily off the tongue and is very easy to memorize.

People will buy a Bible BECAUSE it bears the RSV name.....these people are less likely to buy a ESV CE, or a 'Catholic Standard Edition' or any other branding....

The name 'RSV' is important, carries great weight simply in and of itself, and Ignatius needs to stick with it.

And they probably couldn't drop that name even if they wanted to, because they don't own either the translation itself or the name, but are merely licensing it from the NCC.