Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Question to NAB Readers

The New American Bible is the Bible used by most Catholic Americans. It is also the most widely available, at both Catholic and secular bookstores, and it comes in many different editions. As my non-scientific poll has shown, it remains in the top 3 popular Catholic Bible translations used. So, which edition of the NAB do you use and why?

As some of you know, I have been critical of some aspects of the NAB in the past. This has largely been due to its unevenness in translation philosophy and inclusive language. The OT leans more dynamic/mediating in the translation scale, while the revised NAB NT leans more on the formal side. The OT has no inclusive language, while the revised NT has a moderate amount, certainly less than the NRSV. The revised '91 Psalms....well....they are clearly the biggest eyesore to the NAB. The Psalms are all over the place in regards to translation philosophy and use of inclusive language. Just read Psalm 23. However, let it be known that I think the revised NAB NT is quite good!

So why do I bring this up right now? Well, there are two main reasons:

1) I am somewhat hopeful that the ongoing revisions of the NAB OT and a re-revised Psalms will produce a better NAB. Perhaps I am naive, but I pray that I am not. Everything that I have read from the Catholic Biblical Association seems to indicate that the newly revised NAB will conform, in some way, with Liturgiam Authenticam. That would be a very good thing. Also, there is no getting around the fact that the NAB will be the "official" translation of the American Church for the foreseeable future. It will continue be the translation heard at Mass and used by the vast majority of Catholics who come to Bible studies. In any case, let's keep praying that the CBA and USCCB will provide Catholics in American with a solid translation!

2) In August, I will be starting a new ministry position at a local Catholic school. There, I will be teaching some Scripture courses, as well as handling the campus ministry duties. The text we will use is the NAB, so I have decided to make a commitment to using the NAB as my full-time Bible. As many of you have read in previous posts, I have been flip-flopping between various translations for years. A number of months ago I decided to take up the NRSV. While I will certainly use the NRSV on occasion, the NAB will now be with me daily.

So, again, which edition of the NAB do you use and why do you like it? The more specific the better! Thanks!

12 comments:

Joe M. said...

I don’t get a lot of exposure to the NAB because I live in Canada where the NRSV is used at Mass – thankfully!

When I do reference the NAB it’s from the Fireside Personal Study Edition paperback. I also picked up a paperback copy from the American Bible Society for $6.00 when I gave my last copy away.

I strongly dislike the NAB’s version of Romans and also don’t like the numbering in Psalms but the notes in Psalms are very helpful. Other these two complaints I do like the NAB and would place it 4th in my favorite translations after the NLT-2004, NRSV and NET.

Joe M.

Raphael said...

The NAB I currently use is a 1970 edition. I have not bought one of the revised editions because the NAB is in a transitional state. I will wait until the NAB is completely revised and comforms to
Liturgiam Authenticam.

My hopes for the latest revision of the NAB? The Liturgical version of the NT (which is different from the NT found in the NABs you get at your local bookstore) is used, with some minor revisions (such as "gates of hell", "...to gain the whole world but lose his own soul", etc) to better perfect the text, while the new revision of the OT (including Pslams) will be equal to the NT in style, reverence, and accuracy.

rolf said...

I have four different NAB Bibles, they are all the latest version. I use a St. Joseph NAB Bible with the Giant print (hardback) when I lead my Bible study group, since I do a lot of reading from a small podium. I use an Oxford large print addition (genuine leather) and the Oxford Catholic Study Bible (genuine leather) for home reading. And I have a World Press NAB Bible (synthetic leather w/zipper) which is a very thin red letter edition which is great for travel and I keep it in my car. I think that is all?

john said...

I have the St. Joseph's Medium Size NAB with the 1986 NT and the revised 1991 Psalms. I agree the 1986 NT is actually pretty good, and no it is not "Dynamic Equivalence" it is a "formal equivalence". I would put the 1986 NAB NT in with the ESV or RSV as far as translation methodology. I have reservations about the RSV-CE and the NRSV. The joke about them in Evangelical circles is that are referred to as the "Liberal Standard Version" and the "New Liberal Standard Version".

As Catholics I think perhaps it might be a good idea if we stuck with translations from our own "household of Faith" IE translations done by Catholics for Catholics.(No, the RSV-CE and the RSV-CE 2 don't count) This would limit us to the New American Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible, and the Douai-Rheims-Challoner.

If one MUST pick a "Protestant" Bible because its better than what is done by Catholics then the clear choice is the English Standard Version with Apocrypha, not the RSV-CE, NRSV, or the RSV-CE 2. But unfortunately it is not "approved" by the Church like the RSV or NRSV is.

john said...

I have the St. Joseph's Medium Size NAB with the 1986 NT and the revised 1991 Psalms. I agree the 1986 NT is actually pretty good, and no it is not "Dynamic Equivalence" it is a "formal equivalence". I would put the 1986 NAB NT in with the ESV or RSV as far as translation methodology. I have reservations about the RSV-CE and the NRSV. The joke about them in Evangelical circles is that are referred to as the "Liberal Standard Version" and the "New Liberal Standard Version".

As Catholics I think perhaps it might be a good idea if we stuck with translations from our own "household of Faith" IE translations done by Catholics for Catholics.(No, the RSV-CE and the RSV-CE 2 don't count) This would limit us to the New American Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible, and the Douai-Rheims-Challoner.

If one MUST pick a "Protestant" Bible because its better than what is done by Catholics then the clear choice is the English Standard Version with Apocrypha, not the RSV-CE, NRSV, or the RSV-CE 2. But unfortunately it is not "approved" by the Church like the RSV or NRSV is.

Anonymous said...

Hello Timothy,
I've used the NAB for years, and while I rather the RSV, I find the NAB footnotes and OT/NT referances
helpful.
A good choice would be the Oxford Study NAB because it has a reading guide of over 300 pages.

Timothy said...

Anon,

Yes, I have been thinking about getting one of the 2nd editions of the Catholic Study Bible. Unfortunately, two things give me pause:

1) New translation of the NAB OT and Psalms in the near future

2) I have been looking for a genuine leather edition of one, but in many places it is out of print. I even went to a local Catholic Book store who had one in stock. While it said on the box that it was genuine leather, after closer inspection it was clearly the bonded leather edition. The ISBN # confirmed my suspicion afterwards.

So, we shall see!

Carl Hernz said...

I currently use the latest edition of the NAB, with the Revised New Testament. But I do not use the NAB Psalms, and likely won't even after they are revised.

Since I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the Grail has been my version of the Psalms. You can't help but memorize that version when you use those Psalms throughout the day, everyday, seven days a week, year after year.

With the upcoming revision of the Grail Psalms, it has already been planned to be used in the revision of the LOTH, according to those I know who are connected with that project.

And being that the revised Grail will be the Psalms used in Mass, being the liturgical animal that I am it is unlikely that I will ever use the NAB Psalter much (nothing personal, NAB Psalter).

I do use the NRSV as a backup when a rendering is difficult in the NAB, and the NJB when a question of idiomatic expression comes up.

Chase said...

I use the most recent edition of the NAB ('70 OT, '91 Psalms, '86 NT) simply because it's what is used in nearly every instance outside of my personal prayer. It just makes life easier to have the same translation as everyone else at retreats, classes, etc. - not to mention the Liturgy. The actual version I use is the "School & Church Edition - Regular Print" published by Fireside (ISBN 978-1-55665-493-0)

I do have a very strong opinion in regards to which publisher you get your NAB from. I would highly recommend anything published by Fireside. I've used various St. Joseph Editions by Catholic Book Publishing and the quality doesn't seem as good... plus the illustrations randomly stuck in random places throughout the Bible dives me absolutely nuts!

All that being said, I often find myself drifting to the CTS New Catholic Bible. I enjoy the Jerusalem translation very much and since I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the Grail version is rather dear to me.

Timothy said...

Chase,

Thanks for your input. I agree that Fireside does a good job in their production of NABs.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I use the NAB, the original 1970 version. Mine doesn't seem to have the controversial notes that everyone talks about on the internet; in fact, there are few notes at all in the one that I have. Plus, in my younger days, I memorized parts of it and I'm just used to it. I know no translation is perfect. I also have the RSV-CE, which seems to have differenet verse-numbering and that confuses me. I also own JB and NJB and the new CTS Bible. But I keep coming back to NAB 1970. I like it so much that I want to check ebay and other venues to get other original NAB editions to give to my children as they grow up and get confirmed. If anyone wants to sell one or knows where I can get one, let me know!

Anonymous said...

Hello Timothy I was wandering if you were still interested in buying the NAB 1970 edition if so email me at mye1 les2@aol.com