Whay so many Catholic Bibles


#1

Hi all,

Is it just me, or are there way too many “Catholic” versions of the Bible out there? Wouldn’t it be advisable for the Church to sanction one official English language translation?
By having too many different translations we seem to be conceding that what the Bible says is relative, as it can be translated in many different ways(?)

Finally, is NAB the standard Catholic Bible now?


#2

Just from a personal view, I would imagine that as we learn more about the language used at the time the Bible stories were told and then written, then the translations are fine-tuned. Cultures and language change over time which would make it very difficult for us to read a Bible printed hundreds of years ago (especially when S were f’s).

Even the English language varies from region to region and between countries, for example a pavement is called a sidewalk in the USA, a Chemist is a Drug Store and my baby nephews wear diapers, not nappies. There are also differences in the way words are used in Australia and New Zealand (which is always interesting when my relatives visit).

I completed a Bible Study with the online New American Bible, Revised Edition and whilst it was suitable for the study, I would not chose to read it for private study because the Ignatius Press Holy Bible is the one that suits me personally the best at the moment.


#3

It’s probably not just you who feels this way, but I think your feelings are based on a misconception. The reason the Bible can be translated in many different ways is not because it’s meaning is relative but because different languages express the same things in different ways. Greek and Hebrew are not as strict as English is on things like where you place your verbs and your prepositions, and the figures of speech they used are different than the ones we use.

When we see a phrase like “He uncovered her nakedness,” some translators want to translate that literally, others want to translate the figure of speech into a modern one, like “He slept with her.” Neither translation is inaccurate, but that doesn’t mean the Bible’s meaning is relative.

There ought to be at least two approved translations – one for study, which translates literally, and one for devotional reading, which exchanges modern figures of speech for the ancient ones. Then you might want to add a third translation that uses old English stylisms because some people prefer to read the Bible in more dignified language, and you’ve got at least 3 different translations, similar to what we have now: the RSVCE (literal), the NABRE (modern language), and the Douay-Rheims (Elizabethan English).

In answer to your second question, the NAB is not technically an official standard bible for the U.S. Church, it’s just one of a number of approved ones.


#4

My first thought was, “Oh, that’s nothing! Take a look at how many non-Catholic translations are out there!” :wink:

Are the three you mentioned the “standard” translations for Catholics? Are there others? When I first looked at a Catholic Bible for myself a few months ago, I wasn’t entirely sure which translation to purchase. I chose a NABRE with some study elements. I thought it would be closer to the NIV Bible I’ve used most often in my adult life.


#5

=Ontheway;11859017]Hi all,

Is it just me, or are there way too many “Catholic” versions of the Bible out there? Wouldn’t it be advisable for the Church to sanction one official English language translation?
By having too many different translations we seem to be conceding that what the Bible says is relative, as it can be translated in many different ways(?)

Finally, is NAB the standard Catholic Bible now?

Not a bad idea; but two points:

The Church sorta has by ordaining the V=New american Bible BE USED at all Masses

If they went beyond this did you really think the POPE would be obeyed.:shrug:

God Bless you,
Patrick


#6

One thing you should consider is that not all the English translations are translated from the same ancient texts. The Douay Rheims is a translation from the Latin Vulgate. And the newer versions have chosen their own standards to how close they follow certain ancient text, whether to follow a standard text or to be more eclectic and to make their translation more of a blend from ancient versions, especially for the Old Testament where you have the Hebrew Masoretic text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Syriac Peshitta, Latin Vulgate, Greek Septuagint. … then you also have the New Testament manuscripts that a group of translators may follow a standard Greek text closely while some versions may select readings that vary.

Whether its best or not is subjective. I simply prefer the Douay Rheims.


#7

There’s always a problem with a Bible translation. NAB was popular but then there was a groundswell from the clergy about various translations that they don’t like.

The NAB is a paraphrased translation, not to give it to you dead literally, which might make no sense.

There’s another thread about the New International Version, which has been so popular with protestants for years. it takes the exact same word in Greek, whatever it is, and translates it as “traditions” when that word is used in the negative sense – because protestants hate traditions. Otherwise, when there’s a positive statement using the same Greek word, it’s translated as “teachings.” The bias is obvious and anti-Catholic, to say the least. I say anti-Catholic meaning to be in disagreement with both the Roman Catholic and the schismatic Orthodox Church.

For the umpteenth time, and the second time this week alone, I’ll remind that modern translations are copyrighted. So, the translators of a new translation are like hopping over burning charcoal coals, not to use the same words that are use in another copyrighted text.

There’s a lot of the sin of pride that goes in protecting those versions.

I like to use the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition or the NAB Study Bible which are good enough to pass when doing a study. Having a King James Version and a Strong’s concordance around can help you “map” quickly into what the underlying Hebrew or Greek word is, which is useful even for advanced amateur Bible students, like myself.

LIke, a recent post asked for examples of the use of the word “bless” in the Bible. Well, it turns out that the vast majority of these are in the OT (according to Strong’s) and about ten instances in the NT. I didn’t delve into the deeper question about blessing God.

But, there’s practical reasons for many versions. Use an online seller and handle the copies carefully and return the ones you find you don’t like, according to their return policy.

You might want a version that has a lot of footnotes and cross-references, like a study bible. But, even there, there’s a spectrum of quality that you need to wade through.

I’d like a Bible with more pictures in it, quite frankly. Or, better, one that is both in book form and in computer format, so I can search a lot more quickly. Like to have links to the Catechism of the Catholic Church handy and also to the early Church fathers. Haven’t found what I want, yet.

But, then, there’s that expensive Verbum bible study, that I know little about. around $1500, last I checked.


#8

While this is just my personal opinion, I am amazed that the NAB is the translation approved for use at Mass, by so doing it seems that by default it becomes the “official” Catholic Church approved version for everyone to use.
In fact I am amazed that it is recommended for Catholic use. Not that I feel that it should be banned or anything, It is just a poor translation compared to others that are available and are translated more accurately with superior scholarship regarding footnotes etc.


#9

Different people have different preferences. I’m that way. One day I’ll be in the mood for Shakespearean English, and I pick up the Douay. Other days I want a very nice smooth read (when I’m tired and want to read but don’t want to have to sort through the archaic language) and I pick up the 66 Jerusalem Bible. I also use different translations for different things. When I need a fire lit under me, I read from the Knox; if I want to get a literal but easy to understand for apologetics work, I’ll read the RSV. And so on. I’ve got 6 I currently rotate through (Douay, Confraternity, Knox, Jerusalem, RSV-2CE, and NABRE).

Actually, the number of English Catholic translations is very few compared to the numerous Protestant translations. I count around a dozen and a half translations and sub-translations (Douay-Rheims, NAB, and NABRE as translations, NAB with Revised NT & Psalms and Douay-Westminster as sub-translations). Total. Including at least one that’s not printed anymore by anyone (Douay-Westminster). Plus there are a couple of just New Testament translations (Kleist-Lilly, Spencer, neither in print that I know of). You could probably find that many Protestant ones at Barnes & Noble this evening (or close to it) if you wanted to.

Ultimately, which translation one prefers is subjective. If all we had was one translation and it didn’t agree with a reader, would a more casual reader plow through it, or perhaps turn to something else on the coffee table? The old adage is the best translation is the one you actually read, and if having a choice means you’ll read scripture more, that’s worth having a few choices rather than a single one.


#10

There is no official standard that I know of, but those are the most popular Catholic bibles on Catholic Answers Forums, from what I can see.

Are there others?

A list of approved Bible translations is published by the USCCB: usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/index.cfm

That list also mentions that it’s only covering Bibles from after 1983. There are other approved Catholic Bibles from before that that aren’t covered in that list, including the Douay-Rheims Bible, the Knox Bible, the Jerusalem Bible and the Confraternity Bible. The above link also mentions that any Bible approved by other Catholic dioceses can be used too – I think honorable mention should be made here of the Christian Community Bible, which is widely used among missionaries of the Claretian order and is formally approved by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

When I first looked at a Catholic Bible for myself a few months ago, I wasn’t entirely sure which translation to purchase. I chose a NABRE with some study elements. I thought it would be closer to the NIV Bible I’ve used most often in my adult life.

I’ve always thought the NAB and the NIV were translated with very similar translation philosophies. How do you think they compare?


#11

My intention is not to criticize, but what you write does illustrate my point exactly. Your statement suggests that there is a selection of Catholic bibles to choose from, depending on what “suits you personnaly at the moment.” So you could have one bible with morning coffee, one on wednesday afternoons, one for bedtime reading, etc. Is this becoming just an extension of the “cafeteria catholic” concept. Are we now moving to the idea of reading a bible of your choice?

There are several shelves of bibles in the bookstore I visit from time to time. When people come shopping for a bible they are faced with so many choices that the decision is actually impossible. They usually just walk away, or ask a sales clerk who is not exactly a bible expert.

Choice can be good, but it seems to me that there should be one word of God and not many flavors of the same.


#12

Hi. I thought it might be best to clarify a little further. The Bible Study I followed was American, therefore they used the New American Bible, but I am British and the Jerusalem Bible is read at our Mass. No disrespect to Americans, but the language seems different (to put it politely) and as I mentioned, we have different words for the same thing. If we had one English Bible, who would decide on whether it would be American-English, British-English (Queen’s English or the ever changing vernacular), Australian-English etc.

As for my Bible at home, is the only large print Catholic Bible I could find as I need the larger print for ease on the eyes.


#13

[quote=Ontheway;11862610 Is this becoming just an extension of the “cafeteria catholic” concept. Are we now moving to the idea of reading a bible of your choice?
]

Whether the flavor is differeny, you’re still getting ice cream. Look at it a different way: the meaning is the same, but expressed with different words. A building could be a 1200 square foot craftsman, or it could be a sturdy two-story with dormers. Both describe the same building, but in a different way. A construction guy will be able to visualize a craftsman house differently than an accountant might (you mean…the house was sold by Sears!!! ). And we know the meaning is the same through the imprimatur-someone reviewed it and made sure that where the term craftsman was used, it did indeed refer to a sturdy two story with dormers).
[/quote]


#14

But meaning hinges on the choice of words, their order, semantic fields within which they function, etc.
How can we be certain that the meaning remains the same?
A house is a house: roof, walls, windows, etc. Both, a log cabin and the White House fit the definition. But you wouldn’t mistake one for the other.
The same can be said about the Bible. All the books are there, but it is the quality of each passage that determines the meaning.


#15

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