Friday, October 27, 2017

RNJB NT and Psalms

Just a friendly reminder that the Revised New Jerusalem Bible (NT and Psalms) will be released in the US at the end of November.  The publisher is Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and it will be 624 pages in length.  The price seems quite affordable.  Will be interesting to compare this with the NJB.  

Presenting the world's first modern English Bible in a new light. In 1966, Darton, Longman and Todd published the Jerusalem Bible, the first full translation of the Bible into modern English, with an acclaimed set of study notes. In 1985, it released the New Jerusalem Bible, an update of the Bible text for a fast-changing world. Now, after more than thirty years, DLT is preparing to publish the Revised New Jerusalem Bible - a substantial revision of the JB and NJB texts, and one which applies formal equivalence translation for a more accurate rendering of the original scriptures, sensitivity to readable speech patterns and more inclusive language. The RNJB is accompanied by a new, comprehensive set of study notes and book introductions enabling the Bible to be read with the insight, wisdom and understanding of the most up-to-date biblical scholarship. The New Testament and Psalms will be published in November 2017, and the Full Bible will be published in the late spring of 2018. Both editions will contain the comprehensive study notes and book introductions. The RNJB has been translated, and the notes and introductions written, by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and one of the foremost biblical scholars of our day. Fr Henry was the translator and general editor of the NJB.


Devin said...

I will probably wait for the entire Bible in the spring. But is there a sample text at all floating in ether of the internet?

Ronny Tadena said...

I was excited about a new version of the NJB but I"m very turned off by how this publishing blurb seems to highlight "more inclusive language," as a feature of this new translation. It seems to me that the "old" NJB got the inclusive language question more or less correct. While I'm not a fan of inclusive language in biblical texts in general, I do think there are places where the use of it could make sense. The NJB always seemed like a nice middle ground between the no inclusive language at all vs extreme inclusive language camps. I really hope they didn't go too overboard with the use of it in this new revision.

rolf said...

I pre-ordered this from Amazon and with a couple of discounts my total cost for this NT + Psalms is $2.39 plus free prime shipping! Can't go wrong with that!

Steve Molitor said...

Does this have anything to do with "The Bible and its Traditions"?

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

This is one I would love to get when the full version comes out. The original Jerusalem Bible was the first Bible I read in detail (it came out during my high school years).

Evergeen Dissent said...

They really do need to come up with a better set of naming conventions for these translations. "The Revised New..." is a terrible title for any translation. The New English Bible folks got this right, I think. The NEB didn't become the RNEB -- it was titled the Revised English Bible. Why couldn't this be the Revised Jerusalem Bible?

Anonymous said...

This looks interesting but I’d rather have it in a hardcover edition. So I’ll wait and see if one comes out later.


Jason MSpyridonP said...

I'd prefer if they did a more professional sounding "first, second, third, etc. Edition"

"Jerusalem Bible, 1st edition", "Jerusalem Bible, 2nd edition", you get the point.

It makes more sense because with how fast the English language is changing, constant discoveries in scholarship and new manuscripts, rapidly changing technology and rapidly paced world, it's pretty much a guarentee now that Bible translations will be revised every couple two or three decades or so.

Jeff S. said...

Per the Darton,Longman & Todd website

The NT & Psalms is no listed as being January 2018
and the "Full Bible will be published later in 2018."

And it does NOT have a button that let's you order it now.
It of course has that for other Bibles and books.

Biblical Catholic said...

"Why couldn't this be the Revised Jerusalem Bible?"

While it is an awkward title, I do think it is important that these editions be given names which make it absolutely clear which edition is the most recent.

Imagine you're in a used book store ten years from now and you see three books on the shelf

The Jerusalem Bible
The New Jerusalem Bible
The Revised Jerusalem Bible

How are you going to know which one is the most recent? The title alone should make that clear 'Revised Jerusalem Bible' makes it sound like it fits between the JB and the NJB.

It is the same thing with movie franchises. In the 80's, each sequel was given a number 'Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III', this makes it really easy to determine the proper order to watch them in.

But look at modern movie franchises, 25 years from now, how is anyone going to know whether 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' comes before or after 'Captain America: Civil War'?

Biblical Catholic said...

"It makes more sense because with how fast the English language is changing, constant discoveries in scholarship and new manuscripts, rapidly changing technology and rapidly paced world, it's pretty much a guarantee now that Bible translations will be revised every couple two or three decades or so."

I know that those are the reasons publishers give for constantly revising Bibles or publishing new translations. But let's be honest, those reasons are nonsense.

The English language is NOT changing anywhere near as rapidly as Bible publishers claim. I mean, think about it, it is still for people to read works of literature written hundreds of years ago, but we're supposed to believe that the English language has changed so dramatically since 1985 that no one can possibly understand the New Jerusalem Bible anymore?

The NIV came out in 1978, this is about the same time that popular movies like Star Wars, Jaws and Rocky were released. And yet, the NIV has been revised 5 times on the basis of the claim that 'the English language is rapidly changing.'

But when was the last time you heard someone say 'I tried to watch Star Wars last night, but I couldn't understand it, the English language has changed so much since 1977 that I couldn't understand a word of it'?

And the whole 'new manuscripts and advances in Biblical scholarship' excuse is similarly bogus.

The truth is that in the last 50-100 years, there have been few truly significant advances in Biblical scholarship. Any advances there have been are not the kind of thing that is going to make a difference in the way that the Bible is translated.

To the extent that the constant revisions of Bible translations can be justified at all (and I'm not sure that it can) it is because they are responding to complaints from readers about certain passages that were ambiguously worded or awkward to read.

It would be a little easier to believe publishers claims about why they revised an edition is 'we are perfectionists, and we got some feedback that gave us some ideas that made us think we could do this a little bit better.'

But of course, the real reason for the constant revisions is $.

Timothy said...

Two words: inclusive language. That has been the major change.

Biblical Catholic said...

Inclusive language is not a change in how the English language is used, it is simply a change in political ideology. Translations of the Bible should be above such things.

But until we read it, we don't really know just how much the RNJB has changed in terms of inclusive language.

Timothy said...


It is a change in how the English language is taught and one can clearly see at all levels of communications. It simply a reality. Almost all translations since the 70s have employed inclusive language to some extent, some more than others.

The RNJB description says there will be more inclusive language . We await to see how much that will be.

Biblical Catholic said...

"It is a change in how the English language is taught and one can clearly see at all levels of communications. It simply a reality. Almost all translations since the 70s have employed inclusive language to some extent, some more than others"

But that isn't a 'natural evolution in the way English is used', it's just some people who have arbitrarily decided to attempt to force people to speak differently. Virtually no one uses inclusive language in real life in day to day casual conversation.

Inclusive language is not a natural way of speaking, and it tends to result in forms of expression which are forced, awkward and tortured and it is very easy to find examples of extremely awkward wording in Bible translations that use inclusive language heavily, such as the NRSV. For this reason, inclusive language translations tend not to be very quotable or very idiomatic.

Inclusive language is a political fad that even now is already starting to die out. The only time anyone ever uses it, is when they are forced to do so.

Timothy said...

I disagree. Most people don’t use “men” to refer to both males and females any more. “He” is rarely used in any publication I read to refer to both males and females. Instead, I will more often see “he or she” in print. Consequently, I think you see this reflected in pretty much every post 1985 translation and revision. You even see some inclusive language in a translation like the ESV.

Biblical Catholic said...

Many people live in fear of being singled out and having their lives destroyed by politically correct fanatics if they fail to use the exact politically correct word forms, so they capitulate or appear to do so, to protect themselves. When you have the option of conforming your speech to the official 'speech code' or having your career destroyed, guess what people 'choose' to do? They conform.

I understand completely why people do this, I work in academia, so I am very skilled at regurgitating politically correct gobbledygook because if I don't, I can get fired. So I can spout nonsense about 'white privilege' and the evils of 'heteronormativity' and the importance of 'inclusion' and 'diversity' and all the rest of it, more or less on command, we all do it. But few of us actually mean it.

But even while we say the things we are supposed to say, the overwhelming majority of us know that this 'inclusive language' stuff is nothing more than a modern form of Orwellian Newspeak, and when we are alone in the faculty lounge or the bar and know that we won't be judged, we all make fun of it.

I imagine it is a little like what it must have been like to live under communism in the old Soviet Union, where everyone had to mouth Marxist-Leninist pieties when in public, but privately almost everyone thought it was ridiculous.

Matthew Doe said...

I don't understand the point of this particular publication. When I heat "NT+psalms", I think of a small and thin pocket book convenient for carrying around. This one instead is a regular "brick" of a book, apparently because it contains the full study notes (and presumably has not been optimised for size).

Why would I buy this, rather than just waiting for the entire bible (with study notes)?

Biblical Catholic said...

But by far the best argument against the use of inclusive language in the scriptures is that it distorts the scriptures. To translate St. Paul in such a way he sounds like a modern 21st-century feminist is simply dishonest and unhistorical.

The cultural world of the Bible was not a modern, progressive, feminist society, it was a sexist, patriarchial society, this is simply historical fact, to try to hide this fact through translation is just dishonest, it's an attempt to whitewash history.

Javier said...

I'm not aware this inclusive language thing has any relevance to the translation of the Bible into spanish. And that is quite curious, because feminist pc language does exist in spanish. It is just that I have never heard 'inclusive language' being publicized as one of the positive features of a new spanish translation of the Bible. In fact I have never ever heard or read any native spanish speaker discussing this in relation to Bible translation (I am not saying it does not exist. I'm just saying I have never seen it).


Neil Short said...

Really cool.
Does anybody know if they will keep the YAHWEHs? I kind of like that feature of JB/NJB.
Does anybody know if there will be any editions that don't contain the study notes?

Jason MSpyridonP said...

I would imagine not since the Pope said that makes a translation unusable for public proclamation.

Neil Short said...

That will be a bummer. I am not hip on using Bibles regularly that have interpretive notes included. The Bibles are either too thick or they have onion-skin pages.

Unknown said...

I couldn't disagree more BC, maybe people don't use 'inclusive language' in your circles, but as a young Australian person I am so utterly used to the use of inclusive language that I find things like the generic use of masculine pronouns really jarring. I have no intellectual objection to these, as I understand they weren't truly masculine, but I think I was in my twenties before I encountered an instruction booklet which used 'he' instead of 'they' and it really surprised me and definitely distracted me any my friends from the content of the instructions.

For me, in my world and that of my whole generation, as well as those about a decade or so older than me and everyone younger than me there is nothing artificial or forced about 'inclusive language', it is completely natural and non-inclusive language (for lack of a better term) sounds as odd and old as the royal plural.

If a translator wants to engage with people of my age group, in light of the reality that the huge majority probably don't understand the old use of masculine terms in a non-gendered manner, and an equally great majority have probably not read anything published before 1995 since high school, it would be a fatal mistake to not use gender inclusive language which would hamper use and understanding enormously.

Biblical Catholic said...

Actually, you provide an excellent example to prove my point about how inclusive language results in tortured and awkwardly worded sentences. Trying to turn the word 'they' into a singular results in atrocious grammar and sentences that are so awkwardly worded that they degenerate into outright self parody.

Francesco said...


"Atrocious grammar" leading to "self parody" like this:

"Inclusive language is a political fad that even now is already starting to die out. The only time anyone ever uses it, is when they are forced to do so."


Timothy said...

As a Gen X’er, I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this standalone or based on the recent French edition and just trying to line up our English version with that.

Also, the "Bible and it's Traditions" is the current project the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem is working on.. I wonder if this is related to that?

Timothy said...

A source told me that it is separate from “The Bible in Traditions” project.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Ugh, sorry.. just deleted a comment. I needed to edit, but couldn't figure out how.

In any case, thanks for the heads up. Both sound interesting.

As for inclusive language, I'm a Gen-X'er too. I still find this language awkward. Habitually, I still use more traditional words. Although I'm also a Texan, so we have some of our own neutral words too. lol. "Hey Y'all!"

One other thing to mention is I think English scholars overcompensate and go too far. Some languages already have built in gender neutral terms, but since English doesn't, we create new ways of speaking that just sound clumsy. This also leads to overthinking and overcompensating, as I said. They create new Bible terms like "The Human One" instead of the "Son of Man" like in Daniel. This is silly. Not even European countries known for their left leaning and socialist politics overcompensate this much. You'll find that French bibles still say "Son of Man", for example. They have no need to announce how "enlightened" and feminist they are.

Timothy said...

Thanks for the comment here. Just be a bit careful in your comments, particularly that last sentence. I really strive at keeping a peaceful dialogue on this blog. Not all feminist theology is bad. I want to make sure all feel comfortable to comment here.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about that. It isn't that I'm against their motivation or political angle, to be clear. Just the overcompensation. There's another phrase my Gen-X people have coined: "Trying too hard".

To further add, I think it's also a cultural thing. People who grow up in America, for example, may see heavier patriarchal influence than elsewhere (especially these scholars who came from fundamentalist Protestant denominations... even if they themselves moved more to the Mainline wing later themselves).

But France, for example, has need to announce their respect for females. They have one of the most beloved saints in the world as their patron! And she herself came from a tradition where she found inspiration in Saint Mary and Margaret (Jeanne d'Arc said she was visited by Mary, Margaret, and Michael, if you recall). The church itself has honored women from time immemorial, and this idea that it's something modern or new is hogwash. No one else honors Christian women more and considers them as sisters than the Church.

But if you came from another tradition or area, not knowing any of this, it's possible you may lash out. And overcompensate, as I said.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant Catherine. Not Mary (but that may be true too).

Point is, humanity is not "progressing" nor has it been in the dark ages so "enlightened" ones can drag us out. That whole mentality is a grave insult. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life". God is the same today and forever. All of the so called modern causes are not new. They are mere imitations and nuggets of things God already told us. God blessed "male and female", God called us to be "stewards of the Earth", God called for social justice, God was no distinguisher of persons or races, God enacted a plan to bless all nations through his seed... who is Christ. These causes do not belong to the left nor are they enlightened. They are timeless truth and always have been. And no one comes close to acknowledging women in particular than the church. I dare any other tradition to come up with as many favored women/saints. Only those who are deprived come up with novelties - and they clumsy in doing so.