Thursday, May 12, 2016

NLT-CE in the USA

Many of you were wondering if the NLTCE would be available in the US at some point.  I had attempted to purchase a copy of it from Amazon India but without success.  However, I am happy to report the following news from my sources at Tyndale House:

Tyndale was granted the Imprimatur thru the Catholic Church in India, which gives them the ability to take this worldwide.  (Unlike their first attempt a decade or so ago.)  The first edition to be available in the States will be a hardcover edition (ISBN 978-1-4964-1401-4) that is scheduled to release in April of 2017.  Price has not been set, but will likely be in the $20-25 range.  It is set to be a straight text Bible.  

I would imagine that future editions will be dependent on how well the intial hardcover version sells.  This is great news, and I look forward to getting a copy next year.  


Anonymous said...

"It is set to be a straight text Bible."

Meaning no notes?


Timothy said...

I believe there will be textual notes.

Biblical Catholic said...

I wonder how a 'Catholic Edition' of a Bible can get an imprimatur without marginal notes when canon law requires explanatory notes be included in a Bible to get Church approval.

Carl Hernz said...

A Tyndale "straight text" Bible means that it is not printed in its other formats, such as the One Year Bible or Chronological Bible. Depending on how well this edition sells, Tyndale will likely make it available in its various formats. The previous Catholic NLT was released as a straight text Bible and in its popular One Year format.

Tyndale's One Year Bible versions is one of the most creative, simplest, and convenient yearly reading formats I have ever seen. So it will be a great thing if they released it in more than just straight text.

Carl Hernz said...

The requisite for explanatory notes is satisfied in the introductions that have been added to the beginning of each book in this Catholic edition of the NLT. Canon law does not demand that these notes be marginal, exist as footnotes or even as an appendix to each book nor do they stress how many notes must exist and which texts must have such notations. Many ecumenical/interconfessional editions have only introductory notes.

Timothy said...

Like the NRSV

Deacon Dave said...

Thanks fir the update! Great bews but was hoping for at least bonded leather...not a fan of hardcover Bibles no matter what translation. Tad disappointed that we have to wait a year though!

Timothy said...

Deacon Dave,

The reality is that there is a risk to publishing a Catholic Bible in leather. Cost are higher and too many Catholics still don't care about having a quality bible to read from. I think that if you really like the NLT, it becomes important that you not only purchase the edition when it comes out but also promote it in whatever way you can. If they see a market, they will certainly do more editions. I think this is a very good step.

Dave Awbrey said...

Carl, what is your view of reading Bibles that are ecumenical but do not have an imprimatur such as The Message Catholic Ecumenical Edition? I like to read these at times but am not sure if I'm being in violation of Cannon Law. I was told by my priest that for personal use I could read whatever I like. Dave Awbrey.

Carl Hernz said...

Catholics are not forbidden to read any Bible, imprimatur or not, interconfessional or not. In fact, at times, there may be specific reasons where research or evangelizing requires the use of other versions.

The Message version may be read by Catholics, whether it has the Deuterocanonicals or not. However for personal use in the study of Catholic religion, personal catechesis, and personal prayer the Church has made provision with certain translations of Sacred Scripture. These Bibles are approved for catechesis in all things Catholic when used for such a purpose. Other Bibles, though each with its own unique merits, do not have the Church's guarantee that they do not have something that goes contrary with or lacking in full Church teaching. With most modern Bibles today being produced with high levels of accuracy and very little to no bias in the text, most of the time this only goes as far as having little to no guidance in explanatory notations or the lack of the full Catholic canon, both of which are necessary for Catholic education.

Because of that you can read any Bible you like. You just have to know that you are not getting the full and unified Catholic picture unless it is an approved text.

The Message is the result of the great talent and love behind it. My own personal "gripe" with it (and it is a personal view, since you asked) is that it is marketed as a tool to help Catholics understand the Bible with greater ease. In my humble opinion, only an approved text or commentary can guarantee to help Catholics grasp Scripture in such a way. A text, no matter how well-intended and well-designed, created with the purpose of being read alongside an approved Catholic Bible, cannot guarantee proper Catholic catechesis without proper Church authority ensuring such.

This does not mean The Message can't, won't or doesn't help in this. I'm saying that a text that claims it can or will help Catholics understand Scripture better or easier (which for Catholics means we want such an understanding in full communion with the Magisterium) but was not composed by a Catholic or at least checked and approved by proper authority has to be approached with full knowledge that it may not truly deliver what it purposes or promises.

And that is my only "problem," if you will, with it. Otherwise it is no different than using a non-Catholic Bible or non-Catholic reference in study, which is often necessary and can be very advantageous and helpful. You should not feel you are doing anything wrong by reading it, even if it is your version of choice, as long as you keep to all your Catholic studies with the full knowledge that the version you employ as a personal Bible may not give you the fully accurate Catholic picture.

Interconfessional Bibles, according to the directive from the Holy See regarding their creation and Catholic participation in their production, do not always require a formal imprimatur or rescript. "In some circumstances it may be wise to consider a preface including a joint recommendation by ecclesiastical authorities instead of a formal nihil obstat and imprimatur." (Guiding Principles for Interconfessional Cooperation in Translating the Bible--Revised 1987) So it depends on the Bible you are using whether or not it actually needs such approval.

While The Message is not such an interconfessional work, you did the right thing in asking your priest if you had a question of conscience about its use. When in doubt, always ask a priest.

Dave Awbrey said...

Thank you for your response Carl. I appreciate your input and respect your insight in this matter. Dave Awbrey.

Erap10 said...

Since you could not purchase a copy on Amazon, would you turn to India mart as recommended in a previous post?

Erap10 said...

The photos from a previous post does not show footnotes like the ones one sees in the NABRE. So it looks like the introductory notes (as already mentioned above) would definitely be the only Catholic notes. Furthermore, one of the formats that it comes in in India is a deep (yet bright!) blue cover. Finally something that is not just straight up navy blue!!! I was so happy to see that because a bright blue binding reminds me of the Virgin Mary and this would definitely be appropriate for encasing the word of God.

Timothy said...

The kind folks at the Asian Trading Corporation are sending me some copies.

Deacon Dave said...

Excellent point Timothy. Will do.

Mark D. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Would love to have my copy from thr bookstore John Francis provided within the week. Pray for me that I may have a copy within the week.

Feel free to leave here some questions such as features, additional materials, sample verses.

I would love to make a review from your questions...

Jason Engel said...

Mark D. asked what advantage an NLT:CE has over a MSG:CE. This is merely my humble opinion, but I prefer the NLT over The Message. The NLT is a translation by a team of experts, whereas The Message is a paraphrase by one expert. The NLT almost always reads like common modern American English, while The Message reads like some old guy in an ivory tower writing what he imagines is the hip cool language of today's youth not realizing he sounds 3 decades behind the times and wouldn't have been cool back then either. The text of the forthcoming NLT:CE not only has the deuterocanonical content, but the common content was tweaked in several places to align with Catholic rather than Evangelical theology; the MSG:CE simply adds in the deuteros.

The big drawback to me with this use of the NLT is that Tyndale has changed the text of the translation 4 times in 20 years, 3 times in just the last 9, 2 times in the last 3. The translation is not stable. A Catholic edition of it will end up being an unsupported fork (to use the vernacular of my IT world) suffering greater divergence from the source translation over time.

I'm also feeling a bit of unease that the only way this happened was that a group in India - people for whom English is a second language - did the work and gave it an imprimatur. It seems to me no English-speaking Catholic group had any interest in doing this, possibly for good reason. But, because I've always been too rebellious for my own good, this is also a big selling point for me :)

I like the NLT. I'm excited by this.

Biblical Catholic said...


You've done a good job of summarizing why I dislike The Message, and why I'm skeptical of the NLT as well.

But, well, here's where I disagree: I'm not entirely certain the NLT is more of a real translation than The Message.

I've never done the comparison myself because I've never read the original Living Bible and I'm not deeply impressed with the NLT, but from what I have read, a lot of experts don't think that the original 1996 NLT was a real translation. There's a lot of scholarly criticism that has been directed at it which says that all they really did was update the 1971 text and slap the 'translation' label on it. Then, the criticism says, that the first REAL translating and revising began with the second edition in 2004, which made the text more literal. Each subsequent revision, and I don't even know how many there have been, I know there was one in 2007, and I think there was one in 2009, then again in 2014, but each revision has made the text more literal, because it was only in 2004 that they started doing real translation work and realizing just how bad the original text was in terms of accuracy.

In this sense, I think the New Living Translation is a lot like the English Standard Version. The ESV is ostensibly a completely new translation made by revising the 1971 RSV. The reason I have difficulty believing that is because the 'translation' was authorized in 1999, and it was published in 2001. I don't care how good their translators are, it is not possible to accurately translate a book as large and difficult as the Bible in only two years.

Statistical analysis of the ESV text has revealed that approximately 94% of the text came directly, word for word, from the RSV. I am strongly inclined to think that all the ESV 'translators' really did was go through the RSV verse by verse and changing the ones that they thought were 'too liberal' to make them fit better with their evangelical theology, and remove some words, like 'unto' that they thought were archaic. You just can't convince me that they actually went back to the original languages and translated anew from scratch and by pure accident wound up with a text that is 94% identical to the RSV.

And since the original publication in 2001, the ESV has been revised repeatedly, once in 2004, again in 2007 and then again in 2011.

I think that, much like he NLT, the apparently compulsive need to constantly revise the text, reflects the fact that they never REALLY did a real translation in the first place.

But then, maybe I am a cynic. :-)

Carl Hernz said...

I'm quite familiar with the NLT. First designed to be a revision of The Living Bible (popularly known in Catholic circles as "The Way" edition), the work was somewhat of a cross between paraphrase (which the original LB was) and standard "dynamic equivalent" translating. The new NLT text was very easy to read and quite different from The Living Bible in many respects, mostly where a lot of the original phraseology of the paraphrase was abandoned for actual translation work. This meant the NLT was now a single volume capable of being used for more in-depth Bible study, something you could not do with a paraphrase alone. It's popularity and use for such purposes moved the translation to become more literal in a further major revision, which is the NLT text from which the Catholic Edition is built. Subsequent revisions have been quite minor however, the last two dealing mostly with punctuation and a few tweaks to some words.

Today the text is more literal than the first NLT, somewhat along the lines of the NRSV but slight freer in more places. The original idea was to avoid being just "formal" or "dynamic" equivalent but to present a transmission of the text that is was like natural translation in day-to-day circumstances (which is a mix of both, never totally word-for-word but never totally thought-for-thought). In its current form it is still literal enough for serious Bible study and thus can be recognized by readers of more formal traditions, but free enough to make sense to the non-religious and modern English reader.

There is also no reason for readers to distrust the Conference from India (or any other Catholic Conference of Bishops) in their work of approving a Bible in English. There are two official languages in India, Hindi and English, and English is as much a native language to many there as it is to Americans and the British.

One has also to take into account that other English-speaking Catholic Conferences are not producing their own Bible translation from scratch like the CBA and the USCCB. These others can therefore invest what they can in making the Word more available as the need arises. Some people are being quite implacable about the situation, demanding that the USCCB invest time, effort, and funds in approving practically every new Bible on the English market that dares to stamp the word "Catholic" on it while at the same time complaining that the US bishops and the CBA are doing a terrible job translating the Word of God.

The CBA and the USCCB and those working with them have done an exceptional job in the face of much negativity and complaint. And it seems that whatever they do, it is never enough. And when other completely valid episcopal bodies which are well-equipped to do the job get involved, it seems there is distrust there too. Have we become like the implacable generation spoken of by Jesus at Luke 7.31-34?

We should be greatful for the CBA, our worldwide bishop conferences, and faithful scholarly Catholics who have made the Bible available to us in a plethora of versions that not merely give us one way to read Scripture but in styles that can fit various tastes (which they don't have to do). Without them most of us would never be able to read the Bible because most don't read Hebrew or Greek or even Latin.

If all we do is collect Bibles but do not read them and apply what we read from them, then we have became like the man in James who hears but does not do, who peers into the Word of God, but like looking in a mirror, "goes away and at once forgets what he was like." (James 1.22-25) I trust we are all more than that. This is the time for being grateful and obedient to the Word. Now that we have various translations and editions so readily available we will have no excuse for not knowing what God is requiring of us when the Day arrives.

Biblical Catholic said...

Despite my skepticism about the project, I intend to buy it when it is released because I believe it is important to try to prove that there is a market for Catholic Bibles.

Jeff S. said...

I just called Tyndale House Publishing at (800) 323‑9400
and asked about when the NLT-CE would be released here in the USA
by them. And the woman I spoke to said it would now be mid-SEPTEMBER.
and NOT April.

Here's the link to their contact page: