Translation or Edition?

So, I discuss this issue on my site from time to time. What do you feel is more important, the translation you read or the actual edition it comes in? The reason I ask is that many of us are very loyal to our favorite translation, say the RSV or Douay, but as we know most Catholic publishers don’t produce premium Catholic Bibles. We are more likely to find a Missal or prayer book in sewn binding and wrapped in leather, before we find a Catholic Bible of the same quality. I even own a small pouch for my rosary that is labelled “calfskin leather.” There are, of course, one or two publishers that make quality Bibles, I am thinking of Baronius Press who make outstanding editions of the Douay and Knox Bibles. My favorite Bible edition is the Knox Bible due to its quality production and clear/readable text. I tend to study and teach with my NOAB2 NRSV, which does not come in a quality Catholic edition. So, back to the question, what do you feel is more important, the translation or the actual edition it comes in?

*]The Translation
*]The edition
*]The format & binding


Translation comes first for me, although I do appreciate a nice edition. I’m trying to focus more on the translation, and tamp down my “ooo, pretty!” reactions. :smiley: Because, after all, it’s the Word that is important.

Forgot to mention – love your blog!

I agree with this order, because if you have the translation you like in a good edition, you can always send the Bible out and have it recovered in leather!

Translation is everything.
I’m not a fan of the archaic language. Just give it to me straight, no flowery words. :wink:
Also, solidly Catholic footnotes. :thumbsup:

I think those requirements have been finally met (for me) in the new ‘Didache Bible’. It uses the RSV-2CE translation (thees and thous removed) and has wonderful (theological/liturgical) notes based upon the CCC. :thumbsup:

Yup. I’ve ordered one. Good point!

Both are crucial for me.

I love the RSV-CE in both its editions, but the format I enjoy reading most is the RSV-CE Ultrasoft published by St. Benedict Press.

Depends. Some translations I just don’t warm up too (Good News, New Jerusalem, NRSV, etc.). But, after taking those off the bottom, then edition becomes a factor.

My 6 translations I use: Douay, Confraternity, Knox, Jerusalem (1966 full edition), RSV-2CE (Didache Bible), and NABRE (Little Rock Study Bible)

I’m not a fan of the NABRE translation, but yet with the very accessible format and helpful inserts of the Little Rock Study Bible, it gets a lot of use despite my distaste. I would rank my most used Bibles as:

  1. Douay-Rheims (only at #1 because I’m doing all of my devotional reading in it this year)
  2. Didache Bible RSV-2CE
  3. Little Rock Study Bible NABRE
  4. Jerusalem
  5. Knox
  6. Confraternity (It could be higher, but the binding is shot and needs a re-bind. I used it as my portable Bible but it goes nowhere until fixed)

No such thing. Translation is an art, not a science.

That’s not what I meant, and I think you know that. I was referring to all the added flowery language.

Seems vague. Are you referring to dynamic translations?

De gustibus…

Translation is the most important, materials come and go. Whats important is to understand the Gospel.


My favorite is the one on thecatholicbibleproject. It uses the RSV as well without the thees and thous, but it also incorporates the suggestions from Liturgiam Authenticam.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit