New American Bible vs RSV, ESV, KJV etc


#1

I saw this post on the First Things website lamenting the NAB as a translation of the Bible. Would be interested in thoughts of any interested Catholics, as I have also had these thoughts about the NAB. I use the RSV-CE daily and also a small ESV for a pocket Bible, which I know is a Reformed translation but which I really like for its word-for-word translation.

firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/02/a-bible-that-keeps-us-apart

Of course, if you think the NAB is a good translation, please refute. While I have never liked the NAB, especially its liberal footnotes, I am open to persuasion.

Thanks as always.


#2

The NAB does not even match the “Hail, Mary” in Luke 1:28! Are you kidding me? The hidden blessing is that, since the introduction of the NAB, average Catholics have pretty much ignored it. Was the typical Catholic scriptural indifference actually God’s preparation for that horrible translation with its toxic introductions and footnotes?

I have both NAB and NAB/RE, but use them solely for reference. I bought the cheapest paperback versions, as I plan on taking them exactly nowhere. My favorite is a 1949 Confraternity bible (1941-1969), a little known, never-published-in-completed-form update of the D-R*. But, even it seems to have suffered from creeping modernism in its later (1950s-1960s) editions.

I find it far easier to demonstrate Catholic doctrine from the KJV than from the “official” Catholic NAB. That, to put it succinctly, is a shame.

  • the completed Confraternity bible was eventually published, but in separate volumes rather than under a single cover.

#3

Thank you very much. That is very helpful. That is a great point about Catholic disinterest in the Bible perhaps sparing us the bad influence of the NAB. I first read the NAB when I was 15-16 and I can say that I found it spiritually deadening, especially the footnotes.

I have only just heard of the Confraternity Bible but I have never actually seen or held one and read the contents.

I do like the ESV and hope that there will be a Catholic edition.


#4

Check local thrift stores for bibles. I have also picked up a couple of excellent bibles on eBay for about $10. Just look for a Catholic bible by year, from 1941-1952 for the best of the Confraternity bibles. Those years have the updated Rheims-based NT combined with the straight Douay OT. The Knox Bible is another very good one, written in British English.

A quick comparo of the NAB/RE alongside a Confraternity shows that the NAB translation is very clumsy and perhaps even counter-poetic.

Just as a side-note: the greatest exodus that has ever occurred from the Catholic Church has been since the introduction of the NAB. Coincidence? Not that it made them go, but (in combination with tepid preaching) neither did it encourage them to stay.


#5

I haven’t read the article yet but here’s my opinion:

The NAB has a poor reputation around the world and in america where it was translated.

In the UK the translation used at mass is the New Jerusalem. this is similarly not a good translation. it uses dynamic equivalence, and has poor translations in places.

Most of the English speaking world will be converting to a modified ESV for use in the Liturgy in 2 years time. the lectionaries are being prepared now. The USA and Canada will be sticking with the NAB for some unknown reason.

For my personal bible study and prayerfull reading I like to compare versions when I have the time

I use:
Dynamic equivalnce version: Christian Community Bible
(This is a catholic translation with detailed pastoral commentary written by priests)
Formal Equivalence version: RSV-2CE (Ignatius Bible)
I rather like the “Ignatius Catholic Study Bible”, but at the moment the Old Testament is not yet finished. The New Testament is a lovely bible with excellent commentary.

I will also refer to the NRSV, the Jerusalem, the KJV, the DRC, The ESV and others using on-line and digital sources.


#6

[quote="anruari, post:5, topic:313990"]
I haven't read the article yet but here's my opinion:

The NAB has a poor reputation around the world and in america where it was translated.

In the UK the translation used at mass is the New Jerusalem. this is similarly not a good translation. it uses dynamic equivalence, and has poor translations in places.

Most of the English speaking world will be converting to a modified ESV for use in the Liturgy in 2 years time. the lectionaries are being prepared now. The USA and Canada will be sticking with the NAB for some unknown reason.

For my personal bible study and prayerfull reading I like to compare versions when I have the time

I use:
Dynamic equivalnce version: Christian Community Bible
(This is a catholic translation with detailed pastoral commentary written by priests)
Formal Equivalence version: RSV-2CE (Ignatius Bible)
I rather like the "Ignatius Catholic Study Bible", but at the moment the Old Testament is not yet finished. The New Testament is a lovely bible with excellent commentary.

I will also refer to the NRSV, the Jerusalem, the KJV, the DRC, The ESV and others using on-line and digital sources.

[/quote]

Yes precisely about both the NAB and the Jerusalem series. Even the NRSV looks wonderful by comparison.

It is sad that English-speaking Catholics has to go to either the RSV or ESV and ask for Catholic editions of Protestant translations rather than have the bishops or Vatican care enough to create a proper Catholic Bible for the English-speaking world.


#7

Actually there are a few errors here:

  1. The Jerusalem Bible with Grail Psalms is used in the UK Lectionary.
  2. An adapted edition of the NRSV is used in Canada.
  3. The USCCB announced last summer that they would be initiating a ten year project which
    will result in a new edition of the NAB that will be produced for use in the liturgy. It is going to be translated along with cooperation with the Liturgical offices in Rome so that when finished one will be able to have a Bible that matches the readings heard at Mass. It will utilize the Revised Grail Psalms.

#8

I don't mind the NAB. I have many Catholic friends who are orthodox and devout, who use the NAB. I also have many friends who have left the Church, who never read the Bible anyway. I am not aware that the translation negatively effected them. It is possible, I suppose. As to Protestants, I HIGHLY doubt that a switch in translations will appeal to many Protestants. Our dogma is what they attack most, and they will accuse us regardless of the translation. If it has "Catholic" in the name (like the RSVCE2), then it becomes heretical and part of the great Babylon.

However THIS did irritate me: the stance she took against the bishops:

"The NAB’s jarring phrasing alienates.** It discredits any claim the Catholic bishops would make to have authority*: Their recommendation of an inadequate text* proves them to be untrustworthy** in the only area the Protestant is qualified to judge."

In reading the early Church Fathers, I have discovered that, while communication was so limited in the early Church, the local bishop was of utmost importance. Even now, when communication is better and, and the churches can be addressed instantaneously through email and electronic communication (rather than hand-delivered epistles), the position of bishop still demands utmost respect. We should not be so quick to condemn the bishops for their decision of using the NAB: if the Catholic laity had been doing their part for the last century or so (as the parents are the primary source of catechesis), the faith of Catholics would be far stronger, and they would not lapse at the current rate because of a dynamic equivalent Bible (if it is because of the Bible at all).

Even if there are legitimate concerns with the NAB (much of the notes come to mind), the bishops should not be slandered. Rather, the issue should be brought to the attention first of parish priests, and by the priests to the bishop of the diocese, and by the bishop to the conference of bishops, and if the conference fails to address anything, then to the Vatican. This should be done while respecting the bishops as our shepherds. We must be obedient to them in all things, except when they go against dogma (and even then, the same steps must be taken: local pastor > local bishop > council of bishops/archbishop > Vatican).

Ignatius of Antioch: "See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God."

"Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, (Matthew 24:25) as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."

Please, if you have any qualms about the NAB, then by all means, let them be known. Take them to your parish pastor and request that he address the bishop. But, for the sake of obedience to the Authority that Christ has given the bishops, be silent on blame and on gossip as to their motives and competence. The author's tone towards the bishops was unacceptable.


#9

[quote="PeaceInChrist, post:8, topic:313990"]
I don't mind the NAB. I have many Catholic friends who are orthodox and devout, who use the NAB. I also have many friends who have left the Church, who never read the Bible anyway. I am not aware that the translation negatively effected them. It is possible, I suppose. As to Protestants, I HIGHLY doubt that a switch in translations will appeal to many Protestants. Our dogma is what they attack most, and they will accuse us regardless of the translation. If it has "Catholic" in the name (like the RSVCE2), then it becomes heretical and part of the great Babylon.

However THIS did irritate me: the stance she took against the bishops. In reading the early Church Fathers, I have discovered that, while communication was so limited in the early Church, the local bishop was of utmost importance. Even now, when communication is better and, and the churches can be addressed instantaneously through email and electronic communication (rather than hand-delivered epistles), the position of bishop still demands utmost respect. We should not be so quick to condemn the bishops for their decision of using the NAB: if the Catholic laity had been doing their part for the last century or so (as the parents are the primary source of catechesis), the faith of Catholics would be far stronger, and they would not lapse at the current rate because of a dynamic equivalent Bible (if it is because of the Bible at all).

Even if there are legitimate concerns with the NAB (much of the notes come to mind), the bishops should not be slandered. Rather, the issue should be brought to the attention first of parish priests, and by the priests to the bishop of the diocese, and by the bishop to the conference of bishops, and if the conference fails to address anything, then to the Vatican. This should be done while respecting the bishops as our shepherds. We must be obedient to them in all things, except when they go against dogma (and even then, the same steps must be taken: local pastor > local bishop > council of bishops/archbishop > Vatican).

Ignatius of Antioch: "See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God."

"Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, (Matthew 24:25) as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."

Please, if you have any qualms about the NAB, then by all means, let them be known. Take them to your parish pastor and request that he address the bishop. But, for the sake of obedience to the Authority that Christ has given the bishops, be silent on blame and on gossip as to their motives and competence. The author's tone towards the bishops was unacceptable.

[/quote]

There is much wisdom in what you write. I would also recommend that people actually compare verses between the translations. Rarely, particularly on this site, do people actually look at a wide variety of passages to do a comparison. Most only look at Is 9:5 or Luke 1:28 to justify their complaints against the NAB. In reality, the NAB is not all that bad, and I always reference it with the RSV when doing study. There are a number of places, like in the Gospel of John, where it is superior to the RSV: Jn 1:18, 'Amen' sayings, and the 'I AM' sayings for example. The NAB is not going to win any literary awards to be sure, and a handful of the notes need to be reworked, but overall the claims against this translation are oftentimes highly exaggerated.


#10

[quote="PeaceInChrist, post:8, topic:313990"]
I don't mind the NAB. I have many Catholic friends who are orthodox and devout, who use the NAB. I also have many friends who have left the Church, who never read the Bible anyway. I am not aware that the translation negatively effected them. It is possible, I suppose. As to Protestants, I HIGHLY doubt that a switch in translations will appeal to many Protestants. Our dogma is what they attack most, and they will accuse us regardless of the translation. If it has "Catholic" in the name (like the RSVCE2), then it becomes heretical and part of the great Babylon.

However THIS did irritate me: the stance she took against the bishops:

"The NAB’s jarring phrasing alienates.** It discredits any claim the Catholic bishops would make to have authority*: Their recommendation of an inadequate text* proves them to be untrustworthy** in the only area the Protestant is qualified to judge."

In reading the early Church Fathers, I have discovered that, while communication was so limited in the early Church, the local bishop was of utmost importance. Even now, when communication is better and, and the churches can be addressed instantaneously through email and electronic communication (rather than hand-delivered epistles), the position of bishop still demands utmost respect. We should not be so quick to condemn the bishops for their decision of using the NAB: if the Catholic laity had been doing their part for the last century or so (as the parents are the primary source of catechesis), the faith of Catholics would be far stronger, and they would not lapse at the current rate because of a dynamic equivalent Bible (if it is because of the Bible at all).

Even if there are legitimate concerns with the NAB (much of the notes come to mind), the bishops should not be slandered. Rather, the issue should be brought to the attention first of parish priests, and by the priests to the bishop of the diocese, and by the bishop to the conference of bishops, and if the conference fails to address anything, then to the Vatican. This should be done while respecting the bishops as our shepherds. We must be obedient to them in all things, except when they go against dogma (and even then, the same steps must be taken: local pastor > local bishop > council of bishops/archbishop > Vatican).

Ignatius of Antioch: "See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God."

"Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, (Matthew 24:25) as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."

Please, if you have any qualms about the NAB, then by all means, let them be known. Take them to your parish pastor and request that he address the bishop. But, for the sake of obedience to the Authority that Christ has given the bishops, be silent on blame and on gossip as to their motives and competence. The author's tone towards the bishops was unacceptable.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#11

All disappointments with the NAB, and all criticisms, must be offered in the spirit of pleading with the Bishops for a better scripture translation and better notes. We in America alone are currently saddled with this peculiar translation - and even then, only in the brief bits we hear in the liturgy. I am certain that notice has been taken at the episcopal level, and that relief is on the way for those who are patient.

In the meantime, many viable options remain on the table. As to our local Ordinaries, we are in Francis' words, to "obey him in all things but sin."


#12

:signofcross:


#13

I respect a difference of opinion but this is an overheated condemnation and rather ridiculous, frankly. The First Thing article’s author is a Protestant and she raises many valid objections to the NAB. She is allowed to do this. I am also allowed, as a Catholic, to raise these matters for discussion and debate. If St Paul rebuked St Peter (Galatians 2:11) then I think we are allowed to question the style and accuracy of the NAB, especially as better translations such as the RSV and ESV are suggested as replacements.

Please calm down.


#14

Jimmy Akin is also “not a fan” of the NAB:

jimmyakin.com/2005/01/the_new_america.html


#15

[quote="KnightIHSV, post:13, topic:313990"]
I respect a difference of opinion but this is an overheated condemnation and rather ridiculous, frankly. The First Thing article's author is a Protestant and she raises many valid objections to the NAB. She is allowed to do this. I am also allowed, as a Catholic, to raise these matters for discussion and debate. If St Paul rebuked St Peter (Galatians 2:11) then I think we are allowed to question the style and accuracy of the NAB, especially as better translations such as the RSV and ESV are suggested as replacements.

Please calm down.

[/quote]

St. Paul and St. Peter were not only bishops, but apostles. They have the right to debate with one another until the matter is decided upon.

As for the Protestant author, again, the disrespect she showed the bishops is not acceptable. Perhaps she is misguided in her heresy, but still, if she were to look at the importance that the Church has always emphasized of respecting the authority Christ has given to them, she might not be so quick to say they have none.

As for Catholics who disagree with a decision of the bishops, I even said that concerns should be made known, but that the name of the bishops shouldn't be slandered and their motives or decisions judged or questioned ("they did this because they make money from it", "they can't come up with a competent translation", ect.). And, if you read closely what I wrote, it was her attitude that I condemned, and that of Catholics who speak openly against the bishops (of which I haven't seen many).

If you could point out where I was ridiculous, I would much appreciate it.


#16

[quote="po18guy, post:2, topic:313990"]
The NAB does not even match the "Hail, Mary" in Luke 1:28! Are you kidding me? The hidden blessing is that, since the introduction of the NAB, average Catholics have pretty much ignored it. Was the typical Catholic scriptural indifference actually God's preparation for that horrible translation with its toxic introductions and footnotes?

I have both NAB and NAB/RE, but use them solely for reference. I bought the cheapest paperback versions, as I plan on taking them exactly nowhere. My favorite is a 1949 Confraternity bible (1941-1969), a little known, never-published-in-completed-form update of the D-R*. But, even it seems to have suffered from creeping modernism in its later (1950s-1960s) editions.

I find it far easier to demonstrate Catholic doctrine from the KJV than from the "official" Catholic NAB. That, to put it succinctly, is a shame.

  • the completed Confraternity bible was eventually published, but in separate volumes rather than under a single cover.

[/quote]

Translations should be judged based on their honesty to the original, not whether or not they adhere to a theological agenda.


#17

Starting in 2014 or 2015 (depends on how long it takes to prepare it) the Lectionary for England, Wales, Australia and New Zealand will be based on the ESV.


#18

Speaking as a teenaged Roman Catholic:

The New American Version of the Holy Bible is difficult to read, especially the Old Testament. I asked my parents for a RSV-CE as a birthday present, and I have to say it has been a boon for my Scriptural reading. I like it so much that I bought a travel-sized one to put in my car. Theological agendas and translational quirks notwithstanding, the RSV is simply easier for me to understand. Perhaps more Catholics my age would read the Bible if they knew there was an alternative to the New American Bible :gopray:


#19

Not just in America but elsewhere in the English-speaking world, there have been some attempts via the RSV ecumenical process, to produce a good translation of the Bible. I do think, however, that the Church's leadership should have more emphatically taken charge of this project. Thankfully, here in Australia, we had Archbishop Coleridge push through the use of the ESV for the liturgical readings (we use the Jerusalem Bible here, as I understand it). My understanding is that there will be some attempt to look at a Catholic ESV, but for now I think RSV-CE is probably the best translation.


#20

The NAB was affordable so my sister got it, My mom got me the Good News Translation:Catholic Edition..and I don't really like how it is worded.

I would like a new one but they are charging a lot for a bible, which should be an abuse.


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