NAB seems better to me over time

Like many Catholics, I have not given the New American Bible much credence as a legit Catholic Bible. I have looked first to the Douay Rheims, the Confraternity version, or the RSV-SCE. I have been prejudiced against the NAB mainly for three reasons: the inclusive language negatively impacting the psalms, the Luke 1:28 “hail, favored one,” and the footnotes and chapter introductions. These two perceived flaws shone so brightly to me, along with the constant criticisms of so many Catholics, that I have never really given the NAB a fair shake. I had in fact liked the 1970 version more than the new one, but even that one remained near the bottom of my proverbial pile of bibles. My point here is that I find myself going more and more to the NAB, for the quality of its language, and the clarity and readability of its prose. I conducted a “blind” test on my wife recently, reading several passages from both the NAB and the RSV-SCE and had her pick which one she thought sounded better (i.e. more harmonious, clear, etc.). In each instance she picked the NAB reading, and I found myself agreeing with her. The fact is, that despite its imperfections, the NAB seems to have many qualities to it that I have overlooked. I know it is not approved in the lectionary, etc., but perhaps many of us should give it another chance and look at it with fresh eyes.

It’s the only Bible I know, and the only Catholic Bible I’ve ever had!

It was given to me in 8th grade by our pastor. Seems good enough to me. :slight_smile:

That the NAB failed to write, “Hail, full of grace” it has always ticked me off.

That and its rendering of Psalm 23 are two reasons I asked for an RSV bible for Christmas

the probleams with the NAB are numerous. Here is an excellent summary.

I guess it is a losing battle. The NAB does have its good points. I like its rendering of Psalm 42, for instance, the “why are you downcast my soul” phrasing.


“Bible Babel”
by Richard John Neuhaus
First Things, May 2001 & 2006.

I wish I’d come back to the Church sooner, to have been able to hear & see more of Fr. Neuhaus on EWTN.

Have I misunderstood? It’s my understanding that the New American Bible is what IS in the lectionary.

The Vatican was unhappy with the NAB’s use of inclusive language, so they would not allow it used in the lectionary–so an Amended Revised NAB (see the previous link to the Neuhaus article) was put together to be used in the lectionary. Among other changes, in the lectionary now, the angel says “Hail, full of grace” to Mary.

The biggest issue with the NAB, IMHO, has always been it’s unevenness. This is mostly due to the OT, NT, and Psalms being published at different times with different translation philosophies. Overall, I find the current NAB NT to be quite good, and far more accurate and formal than many of it’s detractors argue. A revision of the NAB OT and Psalm are set to be released, with the current NAB NT, in 2011. It will be known as the NABRE. For more info, follow this link:

I agree that they really messed up on Psalm 23, it is so much better in the 1970 NAB Psalms!
Lets hope that in the revision of the Psalms (and the rest of the O.T.) that they will get it right this time, or just go back to the 1970 version.

I agree, that there are many passages that the NAB reads smoother than the RSV or other more formal translations. I am hoping with the revised version of the O.T. and the Psalms coming out next year that some of the problems mentioned in this thread will be fixed.

If the team working on the OT and the Psalms are as determined as the NT team to maximize the use of gender-inclusive and politically-correct language, then the Vatican will once again have to edit what they submit for Lectionary use.

To be honest, the inclusive language in the NAB NT is actually quite modest, far less than most other translations since 1980. If you read the currently approved NAB lectionary, it routinely uses ‘brothers and sisters’, most notably in the epistles, when the Greek us only ‘brothers’. The issue is with the NAB Revised Psalms which uses both horizontal and vertical inclusive language. That is the problem, which the Vatican rejected. Interestingly, the English language Bible translation on the Vatican website is the current NAB, minus the Psalms.

For me, if the revisers follow the rules established by Liturgiam Authenticam, as well as the translation philosophy of the NAB NT, then the revised OT and re-revised Psalms will be much better.

As a lector, when time I see the phrase “brothers and sisters”, I want to substitute “brethren”, but that’s not allowed.

No, the RNAB NT is not “quite modest” in its gender-inclusive language; the NJB is. But no hierarchy has authorized that translation for the Liturgy, something I still can’t comprehend.

If you read any comparison of inclusive language use the NAB is typically described as being modest. While there are some places, like in the Pauline letter’s use of sonship, where the NJB is better, the NAB has multiple places of not using inclusive language where the NJB does: Matthew 4;19, Jn 1:13, Hebrews 2:6.

I should also point out that the NAB uses the pronoun ‘he’ when appropriate more than the NJB: John 6:54.

“[The NAB] is, not to put too fine a point on it, a wretched translation. It succeeds in being, at the same time, loose, stilted, breezy, vulgar, opaque, and relentlessly averse to literary grace.”

-Richard John Neuhaus

“[The NAB] is, not to put too fine a point on it, a wretched translation. It succeeds in being, at the same time, loose, stilted, breezy, vulgar, opaque, and relentlessly averse to literary grace.”

-Richard John Neuhaus"

I am surprised that some attempt at public censure (that we know of) was not made against Father Neuhaus by some American bishop who is part of the “lectionary group” that just cannot seem to understand Rome’s points about political correctness and “gender equality” (whatever in the world THAT is supposed to mean . . . :rolleyes: ).

I mean, really - how many times is the ICEL going to have to get rejected by Rome to give up on its agenda? :frowning:

I have no problem with the NAB. Of all the criticisms against it, I find “stilted” to be the least credulous. It is a remarkably smooth read which lends itself to reading large passages in one setting. I find it less useful for such things as study and memorization. Dynamic translations have their uses, as do literal translation. My personal favorite of the literal variety is the NASB, especially the New Testament.

Indeed. Luke 1:28 is my pet peeve in any Bible.Although the RSV-CE is the closest to what it should be in modern Bibles

I’m going to have to delve into all of this before I embarrass myself with my ignorance, so I’ll save my choicest commentary for a later date!:stuck_out_tongue:

Must especially read the Neuhaus article. Thanks John & Barb for pointing me toward it.

Dear Santa, I wish for more English majors to work along with the Scripture scholars to make translations of the Bible beautiful and poetic. Not “flowery,” just flowing and memorable. I promise to be a good girl and eat all of my veggies - no, wait - well, to do the best I can to eat a veggie once in awhile. :rotfl:

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