RSV-2CE and the NAB-RE


I am sure, and I am sorry for, someone has already answered these questions, but what is your opinion of the RSV-2CE verses the NAB-RE? Why isn’t the RSV-2CE approved by the USCCB?


If I’m not mistaken, the RSV-2CE is on the USCCB’s website on their list of approved Bibles.

Do you perhaps mean why isn’t it used in the lectionary at Mass?

I do not like the NABRE very much. It was meant to be an ecumenical Bible that both Catholics and Protestant can read. I don’t like that because I feel you’re going to have to compromise some Catholic dogma to try to have a “broader appeal”, and the NABRE does. For example Our Lady is not full of Grace, among other things. I just can’t reconcile it doesn’t say “Hail, full of grace!” It uses the Protestant “Hail, favored one!”

The NABRE was translated at a 7th grade reading level, as such much of the language is very blunt, basic, unpoetic, etc. Not to mention there is a lot of politically correct gender neutral and inclusive language (and don’t get me started on the footnotes!) in it which the Vatican takes issue with. That is why what is read for the lectionary at Mass is a modified version of the NAB edited by the Vatican.

As for my opinion, as far as ecumenical Bibles go, the RSV has been the most successful translation to date. the RSV is read by many Protestants and Catholics alike. With separate Protestant and Catholic editions available for either.

The RSV-2CE is a much improved version of the RSVCE in my opinion. It is more in line with Liturgical Authenticam. For example, Isaiah 7:14 now reads as a Virgin will conceive rather than “young woman”.

I still have some issues with the translation however. In 2 Corinthians 2:10, Saint Paul is forgiving sins in the presence of Christ rather than In Persona Christi. In all classic Catholic translations, Saint Paul is forgiving sins In Persona Christi.

I also take issue with Our Lord saying “Truly, truly I say to you” rather than “Amen, amen I say to you”.

Overall, I do much prefer the RSV-2CE over the NABRE, but my favorite translations remain the Douay-Rheims, and the Confraternity Edition.


Even apart from the softened and “inclusive” language used in the NABRE, the footnotes remain a major problem - demythologizing, skeptical, contradictory, and in opposition to much Catholic tradition and teaching. For this reason alone, I avoid the NAB and NABRE.


It is approved. Its just not used as the source of the lectionary.

The “best” bible is the one you read!


The New American Bible is a much more modern and what is called thought-for-thought translation, and it makes very good use of modern historical, linguistic, and cultural understandings which give it quite a few unique interpretations compared to most other versions. It is easy to read, at least in the prose sections, and very many notes, although from a much more literal/critical than spiritual angle.

The RSV and related editions is a much more old fashioned style - many times seeming to unnecessarily use excessive archaic style/words mixed with some surprisingly modern sounding parts. It is much more word-for-word than the NAB/re, though far from completely literal. It is related to the King James Version, and many verses are the same or similar. It uses some modern scholarship, however not nearly as much as the NAB, and many verses are not updated even if they do not have a good rendering. It seems more protestant on the whole to me.

I prefer the NAB to the RSV/ce, but neither of them are my favorite or always the most accurate.


I’ve never had a big problem with the gender-inclusive language and I don’t find it to be politically correct. It’s just using words like “humankind” vs “mankind.” It’s not a really big deal until you start using gender-inclusive language for God, which the NABRE does not, to my knowledge.


Sorry, but that’s my hot button phrase. If it isn’t a big deal then why did they change it? If it was reworded because it was incorrect or difficult to understand that would be one thing, but changing it to be inclusive is another. I would rather read it as written rather than as modified - I usually find modified wording to be slightly more ambiguous and I end up reverse-engineering it in my mind to clarify it.


Here’s another complaint against the NAB RE, and this one really surprised me: the subject of the verse in the NAB - Abraham of much faith - is a radical departure from my other Bibles, which reads Sarah as the subject of the verse, and having much faith.

RSV - Heb 11:11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

NAB (same verse - Heb 11:11)- By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age—and Sarah herself was sterile—for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.

Commentaries admit there are difficulties in the Greek, but still…


The NCCB and the USCC combined in 2001 to form the USCCB.

The imprimatur of the RSVCE was given by Bishop Bertholome of Saint Cloud, Minnesota, USA (May 11, 1966). The “Second Catholic Edition approved under the same imprimatur by the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, February 29, 2001.”


In this verse, in the Greek, there are actually no pronouns at all, except for the first reflexive one, which is feminine.


Sometimes they changed it in a way that made it unclear, for example by making singular to plural, which can make it hard to read the passage as symbolizing our Lord, but many times what is called gender-neutral language is actually the way the passage was originally in the languages it was written. Unfortunately English did not use a separate word for human and man for centuries, which caused a lot of misunderstanding. Many other languages do. E.g. German Mann vs. Mensch, Greek άνδρας vs. άνθρωπος, Latin vir vs. homo, etc.


The New American Bible is a product of the US Catholic bishops. They had input into the principles behind the translation, the selection of translaters and annotators, and even into some of the translation. It is used for the US lectionary. If you are a traditional Catholic, ie wish to adhere to what the bishops teach, this is the bible for you.

The RSV was translated by the National Council of Churches (USA) in the 50s and 60s. It was revised in the 80s to produce the New Revised Standard Version. It was also the basis for the English Standard Version (2001). The NRSV is used for the Canadian lectionary. If you want a Protestant bible, this is a good choice; translators included catholics and it was intended for use by all Christians.


I’m certainly not saying there’s no problems with the NAB. The footnotes are questionable and there’s some debatable translations. But this is an issue of translation, not of modifying the meaning. Using my previous example, the words “mankind” and “humankind” mean essentially the same thing. It’s the translator’s prudential judgement to decide which term they want to use. It’s up to the reader to decide which translation they prefer. That’s why I have multiple Bibles. I like to see what approach the translator took for each version.


Except than “mankind” is a real word and “humankind” is newspeak. Actually, the NABRE lost me at Luke 1:28, “Hail, favored one!”


Language changes over time, it’s not stagnant. Humankind is certainly valid. Though I prefer mankind. And I prefer “Hail, full of grace” as well.


These are the version used in RCIA. :disappointed:


While I generally prefer the RSV2 to the NABRE, I do think there are some very good choices in places. I like the phrasing in Gen 1 (evening came, and morning followed) and in John 18 (I AM instead of I am he). Whether these are the best translations I cannot say, but I really like those places.


I like the RSV-2CE.

In regards to why it isn’t approved by the USCCB: it actually is approved. The reason it’s not on the website is because the RSV-2CE is grandfathered with the imprimatur from the original RSV-CE. The translation didn’t change enough to consider it a new translation.

The national bishop conferences only have to approve Bible translations that don’t have imprimaturs and are not approved by other bishop conferences for liturgy.

Also, the RSV-2CE is actually approved for Mass in some Caribbean, English nations and some English speaking nations in Africa.

So, the RSV-2CE is totally approved by the USCCB. However, they are going to continue pushing the NABRE since the CCD owns the copyright.

God Bless


I also really like in the NAB when Christ says “Amen, I say to you” instead of the normal “Truly, I say to you.” The NAB is the only place where I’ve really seen that, other than the Douay-Rheims.


Yes, what a tragedy. But supposedly it’s supposed to come across as more “educated” if we all pretend that miracles and prophecies never actually happened. The NAB reduces the divine actions of God to just some legendary tales passed down by a primitive culture.

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