Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Guest Post: NABRE vs. NRSV vs Neither (Part II)

We now move on to part II of this series initated by guest blogger Dominic.  He wants to open it up to those of you who have a different favorite translation, while also referencing the NABRE and NRSV.  This is part II in a multe-part series.

Part 2 allows for dissent of one or both of the aforementioned transitions. Also, you now have an opportunity to speak more on your favorite translation if it’s neither. Please follow the guidelines.

Ground Rules:
1) State your favorite translation

2) Even if you do not like either, please give pros and cons to both in a charitable and respectful way. You can express dislike without being “ugly.”

3) Why is your choice of translation preferable? Please be detailed. 

4) If you chose “neither” then which translation do you still think is better between the two (NRSV vs. Nabre) even if you don’t like either and why. 

5) If you are critical, please do it in a respectful and understanding way. It’s easy to get “ugly” behind a keyboard but don’t lose track of the decor you would show if you were face to face with those you disagree.

Once again, your comments will only be posted if you fill out all five parts.  You are encouraged to cite any references if possible.  


Steve Molitor said...


I'm not sure how "Part II" is different from "Part I". In "Part I", question 2 asked:

"State your favorite Bible Translation (doesn’t have to be the NRSV or NABRE)"

So, many of us who have a different favorite translation already answered most of these questions in "Part I".

I didn't address new question 3, why is my translation preferable. But you said comments will only be posted if all questions are answered. Do I answer #3, and then copy and paste my other answers over from "Part I" (because my answers haven't changed since yesterday ;) )

A little confused here....

Ronny Tadena said...

1. Knox Translation

2. I prefer this translation because so far as I know, it was the last translation that I'm aware of, Catholic or Protestant, that uses archaic language. I prefer archaic language (thee, thou, ye, etc) though I understand that it isn't everyone's cup of tea. I would prefer a translation that uses this language but was based on the most recent textual discoveries, but sadly, I'm not aware of any such translation. So, the Knox, as the most recent, wins in my book by default. I also appreciate that the Knox is based on the Vulgate, so I get a different textual perspective then a lot of what's out there, I'm also interested in how closely Knox appears to have been keeping an eye on the Septuagint as well. Again, it saddens me that the Vulgate and the Septuagint don't seem to be prevalent textual traditions as the basis for translations anymore. I understand that change was mandated by the Vatican in the 1930s but is there a reason that translations for private reading and study couldn't still be generated? This isn't to say that the Knox doesn't have outstanding qualities regardless of its unique textual pedigree, I think Knox's translation is a literary marvel rivaling the KJV itself (another favorite and frequently read translation for me).

4. In keeping with what I said above, I actually greatly appreciate and respect that both the NABRE and the NRSV are both more eclectic translations that at least consult the Vulgate and the Septuagint and other textual traditions. That being said, my understanding is that both ultimately strive to be translations of the Masoretic text, however much they might peek at the other textual traditions for clarification. I'm open to being corrected on that though if someone more knowledgable knows differently. Of the two, I'd probably prefer the NABRE because I appreciate that they incorporate inclusive language in a way that seems to be more respectful of the source texts.

So that's my two cents. And if anybody knows of a translation that utilizes archaic language but is based on more recent scholarship than the 1940s/50s PLEASE let me know! I'd love to dig into something like that!

Unknown said...

My favorite translations are the RSV2CE and the Jerusalem Bible. The RSV2CE probably does win by a nose, simply because the Jerusalem needs updates to its language (but I'm generally not a huge fan of the NJB). I enjoy the RSV2CE because it is a very trustworthy translation that I find perfectly easy to read that also lacks any jarring translation choices that interrupt my study/devotion wondering, "Why did they change that?" By and large, the RSV2CE is simply how I expect Scripture to sound. With the JB, I go in knowing that the translation is unique, and it is good for a refreshing change of pace with the text (plus I like the notes). I also have really grown fond of the Revised Grail Psalter, similarly in that it makes the Psalms easy to pray.

The NABRE is growing on me. There are some parts of the Old Testament in particular where it really brings the text to life. The NAB is heavily tied to the liturgy for me, naturally, and all the readings from the Easter Vigil are superbly done, especially Exodus 15 (along with the other OT canticles). The Psalms, likewise, are a huge improvement. Isaiah 9:6 still bugs me, though.

I find the NAB NT awkward in many places, with odd usage of modern English - something neither quite sound from a literary perspective nor expressive idiomatically. I've read others more knowledgeable about languages than I mention that they find the NAB NT very "Greeky," which I find strange for a translation for liturgical use.

I honestly haven't worked much with the NRSV since the NOAB was required in a class or two in college. The politicized language has mostly just kept that one on my shelf.

Between the two, I would choose the NABRE, even without having much experience with the NRSV. This is because there are so many other options in the KJV tradition, and the NABRE is certainly more unique from the RSV2CE than the NRSV would be. My optimal Bible bookshelf would have the Vulgate, Knox (though I still don't have one! - when will it come to Verbum?), JB, NABRE, and RSV2CE.

Anonymous said...

"State your favorite Bible Translation (doesn’t have to be the NRSV or NABRE)"

To be honest, I'm not very partisan when it comes to Bible translations. I tend to switch around and read a variety just to keep things interesting. I love listening to the KJV by Alexander Scourby because the language is so beautiful and he's a masterful reader with a wonderful voice. 

My current NT is the Kleist & Lilly translation, which is quite enjoyable. Over the years, I've read them all and they all have their good points and their bad points. However, at the end of the day I'm a Catholic and I want a Catholic translation. With all the books in their proper order. So the NABRE is my main Bible for that reason. 

Having said that, most of my Bible reading comes via the Office. I'm a Benedictine Oblate and I usually chant five of the seven Offices a day. So I'm continually using the 1963 Grail translation and over the years I've really come to love it! So that's my favorite (partial) translation. ;-)  

Timothy said...


Do you use Benedictine Daily Prayer?

Anonymous said...

Hello Timothy,

I use the four volume Liturgy Of The Hours.


Jason Engel said...

As an oblate, also, I read from Benedictine Daily Prayer several times a day. It’s use of the NRSV for office readings and short prayers is one of my top two reasons for using it.

That said, I’ve wanted to move up to the 4-volume LotH, but have not yet made the time.

Anonymous said...

For those who may be interested in trying out the four volume LOTH you might want take a look at this:


It’s free and easy to use and also comes with a daily Missal.
If I remember correctly, you do need to have either an iPad or a iPhone.


Unknown said...

My favorite version is the Confraternity Bible. That means the Confraternity New Testament, with either the Douay or the original New American Bible Old Testament (including a different translation of Genesis), since the Confraternity version project was interrupted by the change in Catholic translating from the Latin Vulgate to the Greek. Anyways, I find the New Testament to offer the best of both worlds, in that it uses reverent and traditional biblical English, combined with a degree of modern scholarship. The 1940's were an excellent period in Catholic scholarship, with so many fine apologetical and biblical works that blended orthodoxy with a boldness in addressing modernist objections to the faith. The Confraternity Bible fits this description. There is also an excellent New Testament commentary that compliments this version. This is the sort of Bible that perfectly fits both serious study and devotional reading.