Issues with the NAB


#1

Good afternoon, all.

I am a little annoyed with some of the footnotes to the NAB as they relate to apologetics…

There are many, but I will go with my top two here to get us started.

The first one is the commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:27-29

27 ~ Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. 12

28 ~* A person should examine himself, 13 and so eat the bread and drink the cup.*

29 ~ For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment 14 on himself.

Footnotes 12-14 here:

12 [27] It follows that the only proper way to celebrate the Eucharist is one that corresponds to Jesus’ intention, which fits with the meaning of his command to reproduce his action in the proper spirit. If the Corinthians eat and drink unworthily, i.e., without having grasped and internalized the meaning of his death for them, they will have to answer for the body and blood, i.e., will be guilty of a sin against the Lord himself (cf ⇒ 1 Cor 8:12).

13 [28] Examine himself: the Greek word is similar to that for “approved” in ⇒ 1 Cor 11:19, which means “having been tested and found true.” The self-testing required for proper eating involves discerning the body (⇒ 1 Cor 11:29), which, from the context, must mean understanding the sense of Jesus’ death (⇒ 1 Cor 11:26), perceiving the imperative to unity that follows from the fact that Jesus gives himself to all and requires us to repeat his sacrifice in the same spirit (⇒ 1 Cor 11:18-25).

14 [29-32] Judgment: there is a series of wordplays in these verses that would be awkward to translate literally into English; it includes all the references to judgment (krima, ⇒ 1 Cor 11:29, ⇒ 34; krino, ⇒ 1 Cor 11:31, ⇒ 32) discernment (diakrino, ⇒ 1 Cor 11:29, ⇒ 31), and condemnation (katakrino, ⇒ 1 Cor 11:32). The judgment is concretely described as the illness, infirmity, and death that have visited the community. These are signs that the power of Jesus’ death is not yet completely recognized and experienced. Yet even the judgment incurred is an expression of God’s concern; it is a medicinal measure meant to rescue us from condemnation with God’s enemies.

There are three footnotes for these three verses (one per verse), and usually these verses are used to “prove” the ‘real presence’ in the Eucharist (how can someone eat and drink judgement on himself by partaking in something symbolic?). However, there is nothing in these footnotes that have anything to do with the real presence. Are the footnotes wrong, incomplete, or have I been wrong in using these verses for apologetics?

My second issue can ALSO be found in 1 Corinthians… Chapter 3 verses 10-15… These verses are often used to explain the existance of Purgatoty, but the footnotes are NOT helpful.

10 ~ 6 According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,

11 ~ *for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. *

12 ~ *If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, *

13 ~ the work of each will come to light, for the Day 7 will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire (itself) will test the quality of each one’s work.

14 ~ *If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. *

15 ~ *But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, 8 but only as through fire. *

Footnotes 6-8 here:

**6 **[10-11] There are diverse functions in the service of the community, but each individual’s task is serious, and each will stand accountable for the quality of his contribution.

7 [13] The Day: the great day of Yahweh, the day of judgment, which can be a time of either gloom or joy. Fire both destroys and purifies.

8 [15] Will be saved: although Paul can envision very harsh divine punishment (cf ⇒ 1 Cor 3:17), he appears optimistic about the success of divine corrective means both here and elsewhere (cf ⇒ 1 Cor 5:5; ⇒ 11:32 [discipline]). The text of ⇒ 1 Cor 3:15 has sometimes been used to support the notion of purgatory, though it does not envisage this.

How can these footnotes be helpful with apologetics when they won’t help support our arguments? Especially number 8? :shrug:


#2

The NAB is full of problems like this. Its notes are useful for historical and social background, and to get a feel for modern moderate-to-liberal Biblical scholarship, but aren't very useful for apologetics. For this purpose, the RSV-2CE (Ignatius) is more useful. And you aren't wrong in using those verses that way; the Church has done so for centuries.


#3

It is helpful to consider what the point of footnotes in the Bible might be. If the Bible is one which intends to comment on the sources of Catholic teaching or even more specifically for apologetics, we can expect to find the sorts of considerations you are looking for. However, if the footnotes are simply to explain the word usage of the text, as a good number of Bibles have in them, including the NAB, then that's what's gonna happen. You can't fault the NAB footnotes for not including certain material if that's not the point of the kind of notes that are in there; that's sort of like trying to return a weed-eater to Lowes because it was no good at making ice cream (although I can think of ways to make this work, so the analogy's not perfect. But I digress). I would recommend getting a good Catholic study Bible like the one offered by Oxford (which is the NABRE) or Ignatius Press (RSV-2CE) if that's the kind of notes you're looking for. There are others out there, I'm sure.

-ACEGC


#4

From one of my posts in another thread:

"Main issues I have with the NAB and its derivative:

  1. Mary is not full of grace (Luke 1:28)
  2. Paul did not forgive sins in the person of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:10)
  3. Mary's soul does not magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46)
  4. Mary is not blessed for her belief, (Luke 1:45) but only for believing that God would actually do what He said.
  5. The mother of the Messiah, a "young woman" is not described as a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
  6. The word "hell" does not appear in this bible.
  7. Let's not even get started on the horrible notes and intros, non-clerical "theologians" and a Presbyterian pastor (a Calvinist) that were involved in this "Catholic" translation.

As a practical matter, it is far easier to defend Catholic doctrine from a King James Version than it is from this "approved" Catholic bible.

Although some of the notes are fine, others are corrosive to the faith. As well, the entire translation seems influenced by that rascally old "spirit of Vatican II" that lead the Church so far astray, and which we are countering to this day. Even though it is the "official" bible of the US, no other version has ever been "un-officialized." Look at the notes for Luke 1:46 and following: they assume that Luke either made Mary's magnificat up out of whole cloth, or that he essentially copied and pasted Hannah's canticle from 1 Samuel 2:1-10 because it seemed to fit well at that point. Good grief!

I keep beating the drum for the NAB's immediate predecessor, the Confraternity Bible (1941-1969). Far better in all regards, such as Mary being full of grace, Paul forgiving sins in the person of Christ, the actual word "hell" appearing in it, etc. And, in most of my Confraternity versions, the notes and intros are solid and confidence-inspiring. The NT is available new, but complete bibles can be found only in thrift stores and on eBay.

The good news here is that they are dirt cheap. I do not believe that I have ever paid more than $10 for one. The Knox Bible is also very good. The D-R is the old standby, but I wanted 20th century American English.


#5

Thank you for the replies.

Although I do not own one, I cannot help but wonder why the NAB is the "official" translation of the Church in the US. It seems that a rather poor job was done in creating it. I agree with the poster that said that the RSV-2CE would be a FAR better Bible for apologetics, and that makes me wonder why THAT version isn't the official Catholic translation?


#6

There are many examples of poor footnotes in the NAB. Try, for example, the lame footnotes to St. Paul's admonitions on the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. I'm not sure I have ever read any more meaningless notes than those.


#7

[quote="drforjc, post:6, topic:346050"]
There are many examples of poor footnotes in the NAB. Try, for example, the lame footnotes to St. Paul's admonitions on the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. I'm not sure I have ever read any more meaningless notes than those.

[/quote]

That is the worst of all (and one of the two I cited in my original post). I really think they could have done a much better job.


#8

I can't deal with all the issues raised here.

Yeah, I double-checked Luke 1:28 in the NAB and it says "highly favored one" -- yeah, that's what I heard the original greek really said. So, who's been peddling "full of grace" to us? St Jerome? "gratia plena" Well, where did he get THAT from?

The argument (which will never be ended) about Is 7:14 is really a waste of time, to me.

If it didn't mean "virgin" then why was it rendered that way in the Septuagint as I think it was? I thought the Hebrew "almah" mean young woman, but that it would be inclusive of virgins, too.

The Jewish Study Bible itself (Oxford press) asserts the verse says "young woman" but then it stops cold questioning why a young woman with a child would be a sign? So, "uncle" if you say Is 7:14 doesn't say "virgin" then what does it say? Modern Jews don't know what that verse means, notwithstanding that one issue. Of course, they think it's absurd that a virgin would have a child (asexually), to boot.

The five-volume series on the development of Christian doctrine by Yaroslav Pelikan discusses this "virgin" issue at length, and how the "virgin" interpretation upheld the broader point, that the child Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit -- in other words, it established who Jesus is. If you don't wrap divinity into Jesus' conception, than you crash into the Arian heresy. Jesus didn't BECOME divine after his birth, he was divine from the moment of his human conception, by virtue of this special intervention of God.

This all crashes into the higher-order argument that the nativity accounts are fiction, to begin with, just sentimental or pietistic wishful thinking at best.

The NAB can't handle this in its footnotes.

This all crashes into the even higher-order argument that we're all supposed to be evangelists now, and the church hasn't catechized us for that, for sure in my lifetime. So, I don't expect a Johnny-come-lately Bible like the NAB to support lay evangelization work. We're all victims of centuries-old of clericalism, where the priests and even nuns did everything.

It makes you wonder what all these catholic universities and educators and priests, etc. have been doing all these years, without producing such orthodox evangelization materials, which is what this thread started out talking about.


#9

[quote="rfournier103, post:5, topic:346050"]
Thank you for the replies.

Although I do not own one, I cannot help but wonder why the NAB is the "official" translation of the Church in the US. It seems that a rather poor job was done in creating it. I agree with the poster that said that the RSV-2CE would be a FAR better Bible for apologetics, and that makes me wonder why THAT version isn't the official Catholic translation?

[/quote]

I understand the reason for the NAB as the "official" translation is that the USCCB owns the copyright to it and they get a royalty when ever it is used. :shrug: In other English speaking countries another translation is used for Masses and stuff. I can't remember what it is, but it is not the NAB.


#10

[quote="LegoGE1947, post:9, topic:346050"]
I understand the reason for the NAB as the "official" translation is that the USCCB owns the copyright to it and they get a royalty when ever it is used. :shrug: In other English speaking countries another translation is used for Masses and stuff. I can't remember what it is, but it is not the NAB.

[/quote]

NRSV in Canada. Original Jerusalem Bible in most of the other English speaking countries.


#11

My wife gets Magnificat and on the back for ordering information, it mentions an edition that features the Jerusalem translation for other countries outside the US.


#12

OP,

I agree with you 100%. Honestly, I think the NAB is just terrible as a translation. I don't use it at all, and the footnotes are almost always unedifying.


#13

[quote="rfournier103, post:5, topic:346050"]
Thank you for the replies.

Although I do not own one, I cannot help but wonder why the NAB is the "official" translation of the Church in the US. It seems that a rather poor job was done in creating it. I agree with the poster that said that the RSV-2CE would be a FAR better Bible for apologetics, and that makes me wonder why THAT version isn't the official Catholic translation?

[/quote]

The USCCB holds the copyright to the NAB and NAB/RE and generates operating funds from their sale. Seems a little stinky to me.


#14

[quote="po18guy, post:13, topic:346050"]
The USCCB holds the copyright to the NAB and NAB/RE and generates operating funds from their sale. Seems a little stinky to me.

[/quote]

That's what I mentioned on a previous post. And, like you, I have the feeling something is stinky also See post #9


#15

He got it from the most ancient documents that were available to him in the late 4th century. None of those exist today. Yet, even St. Jerome had no originals to go on. He worked from copies of copies of copies of copies. As well, Mary’s language was Aramaic and it is “reasonable” to assume that Gabriel spoke Aramaic to her. When we seek to base revelation on what was translated from Aramaic into Greek into Latin into numerous other languages, it is my worthless opinion that “the older, the better.” The Vulgate nailed it down. Look at the variation that has crept into the various agenda-driven bibles we see today. The dirty little secret of modern bible scholarship is that the “original” or “ancient” languages have subsequently been cherry-picked for wording that validates non-Catholic teaching. Jerome labored under no such assumption other than the teaching of the early Church.

I think that no one before or since Jerome has studied the scriptures as much, as long or as deeply as he did. As well, do we discount the factor of the Holy Spirit leading him as he accomplished this formidable task at the request of Pope Damasus? It takes committees of modern scholars at least 5 years to develop a translation that is only a freshening of the English language! I give St. Jerome his due here.

Actually, Mary is only “favored” in the NAB/RE. From the USCCB web site:

"And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

The protestant King James Version describes Mary thus:

"And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Certainly, while Mary was “favored” or even “highly favored”, is it not much more complete and accurate to describe her as filled with God’s grace? She bore the Flesh of Jesus Christ! IMO, it is far beyond time for the “spirit of Vatican II” ecumenical-to-a-fault NAB/RE to be sent out to pasture.


#16

[quote="LegoGE1947, post:14, topic:346050"]
That's what I mentioned on a previous post. And, like you, I have the feeling something is stinky also See post #9

[/quote]

What LegoGE1947 said! :thumbsup:


#17

The criticisms here are absolutely spot-on. Bottom line: the NAB can be read as a historical curiosity (I doubt it will endure the way the KJV or even the RSV or Jerusalem will), but it's no good for apologetics. The best for that purpose, if you want modern English, are the St. Benedict's RSV Study Bible (chock-full of essays) or the Ignatius. :)


#18

[quote="RPRPsych, post:17, topic:346050"]
The criticisms here are absolutely spot-on. Bottom line: the NAB can be read as a historical curiosity (I doubt it will endure the way the KJV or even the RSV or Jerusalem will), but it's no good for apologetics. The best for that purpose, if you want modern English, are the St. Benedict's RSV Study Bible (chock-full of essays) or the Ignatius. :)

[/quote]

I'm not too fond of the New RSV either since it has some of the same problems as the NAB, Somehow to me, it just doesn't "read" the same as the RSV, has the same inclusive language, also when they are talking about what time a certain event happened, they use modern time instead of, say "the third hour" or etc. We were told at our local Catholic book store that they will no longer be carrying the traditional RSV Bible, only the New RSV.:confused:


#19

[quote="LegoGE1947, post:18, topic:346050"]
I'm not too fond of the New RSV either since it has some of the same problems as the NAB, Somehow to me, it just doesn't "read" the same as the RSV, has the same inclusive language, also when they are talking about what time a certain event happened, they use modern time instead of, say "the third hour" or etc. We were told at our local Catholic book store that they will no longer be carrying the traditional RSV Bible, only the New RSV.:confused:

[/quote]

Agreed with you on the New RSV, which has tons of inclusive language.

The RSV-2nd Edition, though, is much better.

And the St. Benedict edition I referred to above is the Old RSV. It's called the "Catholic Scripture Study Bible":

tanbooks.com/index.php/Catholic-Scripture-Study-Bible-RSV-Large-Print-Edition


#20

[quote="RPRPsych, post:19, topic:346050"]
Agreed with you on the New RSV, which has tons of inclusive language.

The RSV-2nd Edition, though, is much better.

And the St. Benedict edition I referred to above is the Old RSV. It's called the "Catholic Scripture Study Bible":

tanbooks.com/index.php/Catholic-Scripture-Study-Bible-RSV-Large-Print-Edition

[/quote]

I have an RSV-2nd Edition and really like it, since it eliminates the Shakespearian English when addressing Deity, but doesn't have that inclusive language that can be annoying. Good translation:thumbsup:


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