NAB Luke 1:28

This has been really bothering me. It was briefly addressed in another thread, but why was the “Hail full of grace” changed to “Hail favored one” in the NAB? This really bothered me that a Catholic Bible would change the Hail Mary. This version is the one on the Vatican website (and is the one used at Mass in the US). Strangely enough, the Latin translation linked right next to it is still “Ave gratia plena.” Now this translates directly to “Hail full of grace” in English. My question is, what was the rationalization for the change? I just cannot comprehend why anyone would do this for any legitimate reason.

grace and favor mean the same thing, special gifts from God, so where is the dilemma?

well, if they mean the same thing, why not keep it “grace” and leave the scriptural part of the “Hail Mary” intact? Why bother changing it? It was obviously changed for a reason. What’s the reason?

I mean, being “full of grace” just doesn’t seem the same as being “highly favored.” If the point was to get across that she was full of grace, then “full of grace” would have been used. The apostles were all highly favored too, but I don’t know if they would be considered “full of grace.” Am I wrong in this interpretation?

Maybe I’m just weird, but why would someone mess with such a famous important verse, unless of course “full of grace” was not what Luke intended? But from everything I’ve read on Mary, “full of grace” is the idea that is trying to be presented.

The reason for the “change” is that the NAB is translated from the Greek instead of Latin. The word that Luke used in Greek, κεχαριτωμενη (kecharitOmenE), doesn’t mean “full of grace.” In Greek that would be *πληρης χαριτος (plErEs charitos). *St. Jerome’s translation of this word is problematic. It may reflect the already extant theological tradition that Mary was “ever sinless.” The word itself is a form of *charitoO *-- to show grace. Grammatically the word indicates the present completed, it’s passive (the form could also be what in Greek is called the middle voice, but that would mean she graced herself, so this isn’t likely), and it’s a participle. The form is Attic rather than Koine so it’s unusual in Scripture. The best translation of this word is, in fact, “highly favored” or “highly graced.”

Deacon Ed

Ahhh, thanks. I just found that weird. Is “plena gratia” a correct Latin translation of the Greek then? Haha, I guess I’m just more inclined to trust a saint than whoever does the translations nowdays. Probably fallacious reasoning on my part.:o

It is annoying, and one of the reasons I favor my Douay-Rheims Bible. I have hopes that future editions will see a change back to the original, “full of grace”. I think we’ve had more than our share of text-changing to be more “friendly” and “inclusive”. Bah, humbug!

I’m a woman, for heaven’s sake, but when I heard the Sunday gospel mangling “Man does not live by bread alone” into “One does not live by bread alone”, I really struggled to keep my composure. Especially when the original line of “Man does not live by bread alone” was later used in the post-communion prayer (never spoken in our parish, but at least there in the missal to read). I find “inclusive language” to be such a bowdlerization, such inane, pitiful dreck, and all I can do is “offer it up”.

Rant over (for now). . .

I like the DR too, especially for a reason my screenname suggests. I mean, we all know “she shall crush” is indirect and Jesus is the direct crusher, but I figure Our Lady would not have had the Miraculous Medal struck the way it was if it wasn’t a worthwhile translation. :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote=Genesis315]Ahhh, thanks. I just found that weird. Is “plena gratia” a correct Latin translation of the Greek then? Haha, I guess I’m just more inclined to trust a saint than whoever does the translations nowdays. Probably fallacious reasoning on my part.:o
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Most translators today would say that Jerome mistranslated the Greek. *Gratia plena *would be the correct (and literal) translation of plErEs charitos – both meaning “full of grace.”

As for trusting a saint – realize that while St. Jerome was considered a first rate scholar in his day, he didn’t have access to any of the tools we have today. We have computers to help us analyze thousands of Greek texts of that era to see how words were used and what their authors intended to say. We have a great many mroe manuscripts at our hands than did Jerome.

The other problem is that Jerome frequently slanted his translations to reflect a particular theological position. One example wouild be the use of the term “virgin” in the Old Testament prophecy “behold a virgin shall conceive” (Is 7:14)(Vulgate: ecce virgo concipiet) – the problem is that the Hebrew word he translated as *virgo *is *almah *which simply means “a young girl, a lass.” It is only by connotation that it means virgin (most “young girls” at that time were virgins). BTW, virtually every Christian bible translates this as “virgin” because they are reflecting a theological position. Jewish translations do not because they do not need to reflect the theological position.

Deacon Ed

[quote=Deacon Ed]. The best translation of this word is, in fact, “highly favored” or “highly graced.”
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Deacon Ed

Deacon Ed,

I would add one thing. It’s in the participle is in the Perfect Passive tense,so “completely Graced”, or “entirely Graced” would be a better translation.

[quote=Brendan]Deacon Ed,

I would add one thing. It’s in the participle is in the Perfect Passive tense,so “completely Graced”, or “entirely Graced” would be a better translation.
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I think you are taking the word “perfect” too far. The perfect has three “classes”: the “specific perfect” which indicates a completed action in the present time, the “gnomic perfect” which indicates a general truth, and the “present simple condition” which indicates a conditional statement. One guide to Greek grammar says: “The Perfect tense describes a process, that took place in the past, with the results continuing to the present. It is usually translated in English by using the auxiliary verbs has or have*.” *In this case, then, “has grace” would be a correct translation. The connotation is that of “beyond normal” so “highly favored” (which is what being graced means) is adequate. “Full of grace” is not, however, a good translation since there is a Greek expression which means precisely that.

Deacon Ed

[quote=Deacon Ed]The reason for the “change” is that the NAB is translated from the Greek instead of Latin. The word that Luke used in Greek, κεχαριτωμενη (kecharitOmenE), doesn’t mean “full of grace.” In Greek that would be *πληρης χαριτος (plErEs charitos). *St. Jerome’s translation of this word is problematic. It may reflect the already extant theological tradition that Mary was “ever sinless.” The word itself is a form of *charitoO *-- to show grace. Grammatically the word indicates the present completed, it’s passive (the form could also be what in Greek is called the middle voice, but that would mean she graced herself, so this isn’t likely), and it’s a participle. The form is Attic rather than Koine so it’s unusual in Scripture. The best translation of this word is, in fact, “highly favored” or “highly graced.”

Deacon Ed
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Deacon Ed,

I know that this is a modern way of looking at the Greek word, but this word is actually unique in the way that it is applied to Mary, so I do not know if I can accept the explanation that you give on the change.

Also I tend to think as another has already asked if you are going to say “highly graced” then one might as well keep with the original DR “full of grace” or as written by St. Jerome “gratia plena”.

I am not sure that I can agree with the comment about modern techniques compared to the techniques of translation used by St. Jerome, since he lived in a time that was closer to the source of the original manuscripts.

I would really to see more on the history about how the wording was changed, for it is my understanding that the change was first made by the KJV translators and that the purpose was to downgrade the role of the BVM. The truth is, that the watered down “highly favoured one” has led people in to error or at least has contributed to their lack of understanding of the title given to Mary by God.

MaggieOH

Being another user of the DRV, I would have to agree with Maggie and Genesis3:15 on this. Especially since Jerome was also using 2nd and 3rd century texts that have long since passed out of hand. I honestly like some things about the NAB, but it’s commentary has
some serious flaws in it and its inclusive language makes me itch. I guess if I had to pick a middle ground version to use it’s be the RSV-CE., though it too has the more modern transalation. "28: And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
sigh…I’ll keep my DRV thanks all the same.

Maybe we should think of it this way.Mary was more “highly favored” or “highly graced” than anyone else in all of history. After all Gabriel’s greeting to her is unique in all of hsitory, is it not? No one else has ever been so addressed by an angel of God…
Pax vobiscum,

Commentary on Luke 1:28 from the Haydock Douay-Rheims Bible:

“Ver. 28 *Hail Full of Grace: *by the greatest shares of Divine Graces granted to any creature. This translation, approved by the ancient Fathers, agrees with the ancient Syriac and Arabic versions. There was no need therefore to change it into gracious, with Erasmus; into freely beloved, with Beza; into highly favored, with the Prot. translators. For if the seven Deacons (Acts vi. v. 3.) are said to be full of the Holy Ghost, as it is again said of S. Stephen, (Acts vii. 55.) and the same S. Stephen, (Acts vi. v. 8.) that he was full of grace, (as the learned Dr. Wells translates it in in his amendments made to the Prot. translation) why should anyone be offended at this salutation given to the blessed mother of God; who would not have been raised to this highest dignity, had not her soul been first prepared for it by the greatest share of divine graces?–The Lord is with thee, by his interior graces; and now, at this moment, is about to confer upon thee the highest of all dignities, by making thee truly the mother of God. Wi–The Catholic Church makes frequent use of these words which were brought by the archangel from heaven, as well to honor Jesus Christ and his virgin Mother, as because they were the first glad tidings of Christ’s incarnation, and man’s salvation; and are the very abridgment and sum of the whole gospel. In the Greek Church, they are used daily in the Mass. See the Liturgy of S. James, and that of S. Chrysos.”

[quote=Deacon Ed]The reason for the “change” is that the NAB is translated from the Greek instead of Latin. The word that Luke used in Greek, κεχαριτωμενη (kecharitOmenE), doesn’t mean “full of grace.” In Greek that would be *πληρης χαριτος (plErEs charitos). *St. Jerome’s translation of this word is problematic. It may reflect the already extant theological tradition that Mary was “ever sinless.” The word itself is a form of *charitoO *-- to show grace. Grammatically the word indicates the present completed, it’s passive (the form could also be what in Greek is called the middle voice, but that would mean she graced herself, so this isn’t likely), and it’s a participle. The form is Attic rather than Koine so it’s unusual in Scripture. The best translation of this word is, in fact, “highly favored” or “highly graced.”

Deacon Ed
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No. This is wrong. It is the modern Liberal translations of the bible that are at fault.

The word used of Mary in Luke 1 is Kecharitomene. It is a complex participle. The root of this word is Charis, meaning Grace. The prefix **Ke **means that the grace was already perfectly present before the angel appeared. The suffix **mene **means that Mary was the recipient of this grace.

In other words Kecharitomene shows that Mary was a **recipient **of a fullness of Grace. The grace was **given **to her. The perfect tense indicates that this filling with grace is a continuous event that was ongoing before the angel appeared.

The alternative form Pleres Charis. Pleres means “full” or “lacking nothing” (and is applied also to “truth”). Charis simply means “Grace”. This would not however express the fact that Mary’s Grace is something given by God as Kecharitomene does.

The translations which state “highly favoured” instead of “full of grace”, are largely motivated by a doctrinal desire to downgrade Mary. The key version to use this translation was the King James Version, where the translators noted that “highly favoured” was used instead of “full of Grace” in order to show that Mary was not a source of grace. (Tyndale’s version on which the KJV was largely based, used full of Grace).

Most protestant bibles followed the KJV. The JB and NAB translators decided to be “ecumenical” and use the protestant wording. Fortunately other Catholic versions like the Christian Community Bible, have stuck to the original.

SO WHICH IS RIGHT?

In secular Greek, Charis can be translated simply as “favour”. So “Highly-favoured” could be a conceivable translation - but this would only be acceptable if the word “favour” were used as a translation for “Charis” everywhere else in the New Testament. But THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN. Even those bibles which translate “Charis” as Favour" when referring to Mary, translate it as “Grace” everywhere else. This is highly misleading because in the New Testament the word “Grace” has a particular meaning distinct from “Favour”. In the New Testament “Grace” is a gift of God that saves from sin and its effects. So translating the word any differently is wrong. The correct translation is rightfully “Full of Grace”.

[quote=Deacon Ed]I think you are taking the word “perfect” too far. The perfect has three “classes”: the “specific perfect” which indicates a completed action in the present time, the “gnomic perfect” which indicates a general truth, and the “present simple condition” which indicates a conditional statement. One guide to Greek grammar says: “The Perfect tense describes a process, that took place in the past, with the results continuing to the present. It is usually translated in English by using the auxiliary verbs has or have*.” *In this case, then, “has grace” would be a correct translation. The connotation is that of “beyond normal” so “highly favored” (which is what being graced means) is adequate. “Full of grace” is not, however, a good translation since there is a Greek expression which means precisely that.

Deacon Ed
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Deacon Ed,

I would still stand by the translation. But the passive nature of the participle would indicate that the action has been done on the her, fully, completely and permanently.

And yes, Chaire does mean ‘favor’, but we have an English word that directly corresponds to Chaire. It is ‘Grace’. If we are to translate chaire as ‘favor’ here, why not all the other places of the Bible and just get rid of the word ‘Grace’ at all?

The Church has accepted both the word and the Idea of Chaire\Grace and it’s use is consistent here.

Sure Greek has a direct expression for ‘Full of Grace’ but Gabriel is using a Title here. This isn’t just an adjective describing Mary’s state, it’s a Title describing her Office, Her very Essence.

It is who Mary IS; Fully, Completely, Permanently Filled with Grace.

[quote=Axion]No. This is wrong. It is the modern Liberal translations of the bible that are at fault.

The word used of Mary in Luke 1 is Kecharitomene. It is a complex participle. The root of this word is Charis, meaning Grace. The prefix **Ke **means that the grace was already perfectly present before the angel appeared. The suffix **mene **means that Mary was the recipient of this grace.

In other words Kecharitomene shows that Mary was a **recipient **of a fullness of Grace. The grace was **given **to her. The perfect tense indicates that this filling with grace is a continuous event that was ongoing before the angel appeared.
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No, from your own analysis it simply shows that Mary was the recipient of grace. Because the word is in the perfect tense it shows that the action was completed in the past (that is, Mary already has that grace) and the effects of the process (Mary being graced) continues into the present. There is nothing that indicates a “fullness” of grace – that would be a theological interpolation. While I certainly don’t disagree that she was “full of grace” the issue is how best to translate a particular word. I disagree with your conclusion because you go beyond the linguistic framework. This has nothing to do with being liberal and everything to do wtih being faithful to the original language.

The alternative form Pleres Charis. Pleres means “full” or “lacking nothing” (and is applied also to “truth”). Charis simply means “Grace”. This would not however express the fact that Mary’s Grace is something given by God as Kecharitomene does./.QUOTE]Again, I agree with this analysis. Yet, consider this, it is Jesus Himself who is referred to as being pleres charis – where did that grace come from? Neither in the case of the angel’s greeting nor here is the source specified. It is our implication that it is from God. The difference between the two (besides the tense: present vs. perfect) is that in Mary’s case it’s passive meaning that someone else gave her that grace.

[quote]The translations which state "highly favoured

" instead of “full of grace”, are largely motivated by a doctrinal desire to downgrade Mary. The key version to use this translation was the King James Version, where the translators noted that “highly favoured” was used instead of “full of Grace” in order to show that Mary was not a source of grace. (Tyndale’s version on which the KJV was largely based, used full of Grace).Now we shift from fact to as assumption. There is no indication that this is the case. The KJV’s commentary is correct. Because the word is passive she was acted upon rather than being the actor and, therefore, was not the source of the grace that she possessed. It was given to her. Since the reason stated clearly has nothing to do with your assertion (a “…desire to downgrade Mary”) I wonder why you made the assertion at all.

Most protestant bibles followed the KJV. The JB and NAB translators decided to be “ecumenical” and use the protestant wording. Fortunately other Catholic versions like the Christian Community Bible, have stuck to the original.

Actually, they haven’t “stuck to the original” but, rather, to the Vulgate’s translation which, because of its common usage in the Hail Mary, is part and parcel of our Catholic tradtion (note the lower case “t”).

SO WHICH IS RIGHT?

In secular Greek, Charis can be translated simply as “favour”. So “Highly-favoured” could be a conceivable translation - but this would only be acceptable if the word “favour” were used as a translation for “Charis” everywhere else in the New Testament. But THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN. Even those bibles which translate “Charis” as Favour" when referring to Mary, translate it as “Grace” everywhere else.

This is highly misleading because in the New Testament the word “Grace” has a particular meaning distinct from “Favour”. In the New Testament “Grace” is a gift of God that saves from sin and its effects. So translating the word any differently is wrong. The correct translation is rightfully “Full of Grace”.Actually, I would submit that “highly graced” would be an equally valid translation, although it is not normally considered good English. Highly favored is an equally good translation.

Deacon Ed
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I would also like to point out that the Lectionary uses the “Full of Grace”.

Even though it is based on the NAB, to get Vatican approval, “Full of Grace” was the required translation.

1 Like

[quote=Deacon Ed]As for trusting a saint – realize that while St. Jerome was considered a first rate scholar in his day, he didn’t have access to any of the tools we have today. We have computers to help us analyze thousands of Greek texts of that era to see how words were used and what their authors intended to say. We have a great many mroe manuscripts at our hands than did Jerome.
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On the other hand, St. Jerome had access to oral testimony as well as lost manuscripts that we do not have today.

[quote=Deacon Ed]The other problem is that Jerome frequently slanted his translations to reflect a particular theological position.
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How does one know what his motivations were? Perhaps he was translating as best he could with the information available to him. Perhaps he was guided by the Holy Spirit. Without a smoking gun it would be difficult to say. All we know for certain is that modern scholars’ translation differs from the Vulgate translation. Perhaps scholars 5 centuries from now will have the opinion that the Vulgate translation of Luke 1:28 was more accurate than those of the 16th—20th centuries. But we don’t know that the Vulgate translator was trying to “slant” anything.

[quote=Deacon Ed]One example wouild be the use of the term “virgin” in the Old Testament prophecy “behold a virgin shall conceive” (Is 7:14)(Vulgate: ecce virgo concipiet) – the problem is that the Hebrew word he translated as *virgo *is *almah *which simply means “a young girl, a lass.” It is only by connotation that it means virgin (most “young girls” at that time were virgins).
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And hence, virgin may be the correct translation for this verse. St. Jerome interviewed Jewish students and teachers, and was generally sympathetic to Jewish interpretation. Moreover, from studying St. Jerome’s life it would be safe to say that he did not overly exude a spirit of obedience to doctrine and authority. It would be rash to assume that he altered his translation to conform to Catholic doctrine.

God bless you all!

[quote=Brendan]I would also like to point out that the Lectionary uses the “Full of Grace”.

Even though it is based on the NAB, to get Vatican approval, “Full of Grace” was the required translation.
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I could be wrong on this, Brendan, but I think that the approved lectionary does not have a consistent translation of Luke 1:28 throughout the year. In some parts of the year, it is translated as “full of grace” and in others it is translated as “highly favored daughter.”

The phrase “full of grace” appears in the more recent lectionaries published after the Vatican began cracking down on English translation.

God bless you all!

That’s a big problem for me as well. I also can’t swallow the “highly favoured” translation. She’s full of grace - period.

I take Saint Jerome’s word on it :wink:

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