Thank you to Javier for this wonderfully helpful essay!
Before the Encyclical Letter Divino Afflante Spiritu of 1943, all
catholic bibles in spanish were translations of the Vulgate. There were not
many of them either: only two, as far as I know: the Petisco-Torres Amat Bible, and the Scío de San Miguel Bible. Very few lay people had a Bible in
their homes up to that date, and even fewer ever read them.
From that date on, translations into
Spanish from the original languages (hebrew, aramaic, and greek) began to
appear. The first such translation to reach the market was the Nácar-Colunga Bible. It was
first published in Spain in 1944 by BAC (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos), and
its translators were bible scholars Alberto Colunga Cueto O.P., and Fr.
Eloíno Nácar Fúster. It has been revised and reprinted several times (there
have been 30 editions so far). Its latest revision was in 2010. (Pictures are
from the 1961 edition).
The second translation to be released was
the Bóver-Cantera Bible. It
was published in 1947, in Spain (also by BAC). Its translators were José María
Bóver, S.J., and Francisco Cantera Burgos. It is considered the first critical
edition of the Bible in spanish, translating (of course) from the original
languages. It is not being reprinted, as it was superseded -so to speak- by the
Cantera-Iglesias Bible, in 1975.
Biblia de Straubinger (The Straubinger Bible): Next there was a translation published in
Argentina (my country, of all places), in 1951, by Mons. Johannes Straubinger.
This german priest was living in Argentina due to the political turmoil in
Germany (he fled the nazi regime, narrowly escaping arrest by the Gestapo). In
Argentina, he translated the Bible from the original languages. His version is
considered to be a very orthodox and reliable version (particularly because of
its notes and introductions). It is very well liked by Trad Catholics in
Argentina. In fact, this is the Bible that the SSPX recommends in Argentina.
Straubinger also wrote several essays on
biblical translation, and on theological matters. He could well have been our
Ronald Knox, had his Bible not been abducted by the Trads (and then, because of
it, automatically shunned by the Church in Argentina).
In 1964, La Santa Biblia, translated by Evaristo Martín Nieto (and
his team of 15 members) was published in Spain. It is said to be in a very
In 1966, in Barcelona, Editorial Regina
publishes la Sagrada Biblia,
translated by claretians Frs. Pedro Franquesa and José María Solé. This bible
is extremely rare. It has been praised for its fidelity to the original
languages (so, formal equivalence I guess).
In 1967 appears the spanish version of the
Jerusalem Bible, known as La Biblia
de Jerusalén. There were revisions in 1975, 1998, and 2009. It is
claimed it translates the biblical text from the original languages, and the
notes from the french edition.
Biblia Latinoamericana (The Latin American Bible), is the brainchild of french Fr. Bernardo
Hurault. He was a missionary in rural areas of Chile. He noticed that the
evangelical protestant faithful were well equipped with their own bibles, and
read them, while catholics didn’t usually have a bible, and those bibles they
could eventually have access to, were translated into a spanish that was
cultured and from Spain, and thus sounded unnatural to Fr. Hurault intended
target audience. So, with the help of chilean Fr. Ramón Ricciardi, he began
translating the bible from its original languages. It was not easy for Fr.
Hurault to get the “Church License” to print his bible. He finally found a
Bishop that gave him his authorization, and the Bible was published in 1972. It
is a dynamic equivalence translation. As its notes and illustrations were -at
least in the early editions- heavily reminiscent of marxism and third world
liberation, it stirred at first a great controversy. Subsequent editions have
polished the translation, and gave less political flavor to the notes.
This Bible inserts the deuterocanonical
books in a separate section between the Testaments.
This might well be the best-selling
catholic bible in spanish speaking Latin America.
(Some years later, Fr. Bernardo Hurault
would move to the Philippines, where he published his Christian Community Bible).
Biblia Cantera-Iglesias: Translated by
Francisco Cantera and Manuel Iglesias, it was published by BAC in 1975. It is a
formal equivalence translation. It is highly valued as a tool for approaching
the underlying meanings of the original languages.
Biblia Española (New Spanish Bible): this translation is the work of bible scholars Juan
Mateos and Fr. Alonso Schökel. It was published in Spain in 1975, by Ediciones
Cristiandad, and it was quite revolutionary. It is clearly a dynamic equivalence
translation. And it strived to use a natural spanish language, that the reader
could approach without previous knowledge of specific “biblical” terminology.
Furthermore, the translators tried to keep the peculiarities of each genre in
the target language, so that poetry, when translated, still read as poetry. It
even translated into spanish the hebrew names of cities and places (when those
names meant something specific in the original hebrew).
Until recently, this was the translation
chosen for official liturgical use in Spain.
Biblia, published in 1975 by Editorial Herder,
in Spain, and translated by a team directed by Fr. Serafín de Ausejo, OFM. The
team included catholics as well as protestants, from Spain and Latin America.
Biblia de Magaña: Published in Mexico in 1975,
it was translated by mexican Fr. Agustín Magaña Méndez. It seems to be very
popular in Mexico. He translated the Old Testament from the LXX. This is
unique among Catholic translations into spanish.
Biblia de “La Casa de la Biblia”: First
published in 1966, by “La Casa de la Biblia” from Spain, this translation was
completely revised in 1992. It is still being published.
Libro del Pueblo de Dios (The book of the People of God): This is an argentine translation, by Fathers Armando Levoratti and
Alfredo Trusso. It is official for the Lectionaries (and for all liturgical
use) in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It is also the only bible in
spanish featured in the official Vatican site (and in case you ask, this
happened way before an argentinian was elected as Pope). The translation uses a
neutral latin american spanish. It is a very readable -but by no means
beautiful- translation. At times it can be a bit prosaic. (This is, so far, the
only Bible I have read cover to cover).
This Bible inserts the deuterocanonical
books in a separate section between the Old and the New Testament.
del Peregrino (Pilgrim’s Bible): Published in 1996, by Editorial
Mensajero, in Bilbao, Spain. This translation was the work of a team directed
by the late Fr. Luis Alonso Schökel -Professor at the Pontifical Biblical
Institute in Rome- who had previously translated the Old Testament for the Nueva
Biblia Española. It is a dynamic equivalence translation. As with the Nueva
Biblia Española, the translator wanted a Bible that sounded natural in the
target language. Many consider this translation to be the most beautiful
version of the Bible in spanish. (I’m currently reading this bible. I could not
say if this is ‘the most beautiful’ spanish translation. But it certainly makes
for very pleasurable reading. Fr. Schökel did have a superb command of
Americana San Jerónimo (revision of the Vulgate
translation of Fr. Felipe Scío): Published in 1994, by Edicep, in Valencia,
Spain. This a very strange translation: Fr. Jesús María Lacea, S.P., took a
translation into spanish from the Vulgate, dating from 1793, and corrected it
by comparing it with the Bible text in the original languages (hebrew, aramaic,
and greek). The target audience seems to be the catholics of Latin America. But
I have never seen it in a bookstore (or anywhere else, for that matter).
Habla Hoy: Published in
1979, by Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas (United Bible Societies). The translation
team included evangelicals and catholics. It has a catholic edition, with
deuterocanonicals and with official Church approval, by the CELAM (Latin
American Bishops Conference). It is a dynamic equivalence translation. Its
language is natural and not particularly sophisticated. Its target audience is mostly
latin american catholics. It is sold in catholic bookstores, and it is widely
accepted by the catholic faithful. It is published by Ediciones Paulinas, with
the cover title La Biblia, Palabra de
Dios (The Bible, Word of God).
de América (Bible
of the Americas): Published in Mexico, by PPC, in 2001. It is an initiative
of La Casa de la Biblia publishing house, from Spain. It was translated
by a team coordinated by Santiago Guijarro Oporto and Miguel Salvador García.
It is intended as a Bible for the Catholic Church in spanish speaking Latin America.
The translation team includes prestigious scholars from the different language
areas of the continent.
- Traducción en Lenguaje Actual (Bible - Today’s language translation):
This is a translation by Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas (United Bible Societies), whose
goal it is to simplify the language in order to reach a wider audience. It is a
paraphrase. This is an ecumenical translation with Church Approval. The edition
I own is approved by Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, Archbishop of
Tegucigalpa, President of CELAM. It also includes a recommendation letter from
2006, signed by none other than Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ.
de Navarra - Edición Popular: From 1997 to 2004, EUNSA (Ediciones Universidad de Navarra, S.A.)
published the five volumes of the “Sagrada Biblia”, translated by the Theology
School of the University of Navarra (affiliated with Opus Dei). The translators
team was led by Fr. José María Casciaro. This one volume Popular Edition is a
joint initiative of the Midwestern Theological Forum (MTF) and EUNSA. It was
first published in 2009.
Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo (Our People’s Bible): This 2009 bible,
is the ‘pastoral version’ of the “Biblia del Peregrino”. It takes its excellent
translation, and changes the notes and introductions -which were more of an
exegetical nature in the Biblia del Peregrino-, to make them more
pastoral and relevant to the everyday problems of a latin american audience. It
is published by Ediciones Mensajero, and printed in China.
Católica para Jóvenes: This version, published
in 2005 in the USA, was originally aimed at the american youth of latin
background. It takes the text of the Biblia de América, but uses
different notes and introductions. It sells in all of spanish speaking Latin
Biblia - Traducción Interconfesional (BTI) (The Bible - Interdenominational Translation): This
ecumenical Bible was published in Spain in 2008. It is the result of a long
joint effort between Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas, and La Casa de la Biblia,
which had began in 1973. The introductions and notes are of a linguistic,
historical, and literary nature, as opposed to a denominational approach. In
2014, the version for Latin America -Biblia
Hispanoamericana- was published. The evangelical version of this
translation, without deuterocanonicals, is the Bible La Palabra (The Word).
Biblia - Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española (Holy Bible - Official
Version of the Bishops Conference of Spain): This version has been
published in 2010, in Spain, by BAC (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos). The
translation project began in 1996, as an initiative of the Bishops Conference
of Spain. The goal of this version is to be the one and only version to be used
by the Catholic Church in Spain for every official use of scripture: Mass
Lectionaries, catechisms, liturgy of the hours, etc.. It was translated by a
team of twenty four scholars, from the original languages. While translating,
they took also into account the already existing liturgical translations, and
the latest edition of the latin Neovulgata. This version, of course, has full
backing of the Bishops Conference of Spain.
Católica de la Familia (Family Catholic Bible): Published in 2012 by Editorial Verbo
Divino, this Bible uses the text of the argentinian El Libro del Pueblo de
Dios translation, with different notes and introductions. Its intended
audience are the spanish speakers of the Americas.
Just as the El Libro del Pueblo de Dios
does, this Bible places the deuterocanonical books in a separate section
between the Old and the New Testaments.
de la Iglesia en América - BIA (Bible of the Church in the Americas):
This is the latest catholic translation project of the Bible into spanish that
I’m aware of. It began by a request of the United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops to the Bishops Conference of Latin America for a new bible translation
that could be used by the US spanish speakers. The translation team itself
began working in 2004. The project eventually expanded to become an initiative
for a common catholic bible in spanish for the Americas. The New Testament is
to be published during the second half of 2015.
List of Catholic Bibles published in
spanish after the release of the Encyclical Letter Divino Afflante Spiritu, in 1943, by Pope Pius XII:
1-. Biblia Nácar-Colunga
2-. Biblia Bóver-Cantera
3-. Biblia de Monseñor Straubinger
4-. La Santa Biblia (Evaristo Martín
5-. Biblia Regina (Franquesa-Solé)
6-. La Biblia de Jerusalén
7-. Biblia Latinoamericana
8-. Sagrada Biblia Cantera-Iglesias
9-. Nueva Biblia Española (Schökel-Mateos)
10-. La Biblia de Herder (Serafín de
11-. Sagrada Biblia de Magaña
12-. La Biblia de “La Casa de la
13-. El libro del Pueblo de Dios
14-. Biblia del Peregrino
15-. Biblia Americana San Jerónimo (revision
of the XVIII century translation of the Vulgate by Fr. Felipe Scío)
16-. Dios Habla Hoy (Sociedades
17-. Biblia de América (by La Casa
de la Biblia)
18-. Biblia - Traducción en Lenguaje
Actual (Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas)
19-. Biblia de Navarra - Edición
20-. La Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo
21-. Biblia Católica para Jóvenes
(text of “La Biblia de América”)
22-. La Biblia Traducción
23-. Sagrada Biblia - Versión Oficial de
la Conferencia Episcopal Española
24-. Biblia Católica de la Familia
(text of “El Libro del Pueblo de Dios”)
25-. BIA (La Biblia de la Iglesia en