(Answers from NABRE Facebook site.)
Questions on the NABRE and the Liturgy:
1) Why won't the NABRE be used for readings in churches? Will this somehow lead to a revision of the Lectionary?
Preparing a Scripture translation for use in the liturgy is a complicated, multi-step process. First, the text must be formatted for liturgical use. That means that each reading in the Ordo Lectionum Missae (OLM) must be looked up in the Nova Vulgata (the Latin edition of the Bible) and the verses matched to the same passage in the English. (Versions sometimes vary in the chapter and verse divisions which were added to the sacred text quite late in their development and sometimes the liturgical reading will omit certain verses.) Once that is done, brief introductory phrases (called incipits) may be added. These incipits are provided in the OLM and are used to “set the scene” for the reading. Then, the text needs to be reviewed to make sure that there are no pronouns missing antecedents. After all, it wouldn’t help if a reading began “He said to them” and we didn’t know if it was “Jesus said to the crowds” or “Peter said to the other disciples.”
Once that work is completed, the text is presented to the Latin Church bishops of a Conference. At least two-thirds of the bishops must approve the text. Only then can the text be sent to the Holy See for confirmation. The Holy See undertakes its own thorough review of the text and may make certain changes for liturgical use. Only after that review is completed (a process which typically takes more than a year), can the new Lectionary be published and used.
Short answer: Even if the bishops decide they want to use the NABRE in the liturgy, it won’t happen any time soon.
2) How did Liturgiam Authenticam factor into this translation?
The work on the vast majority of the NABRE was completed and submitted to the Subcommittee for the Translation of Scripture Text (previously, the Ad Hoc Committee for the Review of Scripture Translations) before Liturgiam authenticam was released in 2001. In addition, the norms outlined in Liturgiam authenticam apply only to texts intended for liturgical use. Different norms must apply for a scholarly biblical translation, a fact that Liturgiam authenticam notes (cf. nos. 37ff). Since the work on the NABRE Psalter began in 2009, the norms in Liturgiam authenticam were taken into consideration in developing that translation, particularly the use of concrete vocabulary.
That being said, many of the norms given in Liturgiam authenticam are simply principles of good formal equivalent translations. As such, the NABRE will “follow” them, even though it predates them.
Questions on Publishing Formats:
3) Are there any plans for an enhanced NAB website?
Yes! We will be adding resources to the NAB website over the next few months. There will be an entirely new look later this year.
4) Will publishers be allowed to print the text without the commentary and footnotes?
No. Permission is almost never granted to print the NABRE without the introductions and explanatory notes. (The few exceptions are for audio products or certain works intended for scholarly use, such as parallel Bibles.) The reason is two-fold. First, canon law (specifically canon 825) requires that Scripture be “provided with necessary and sufficient annotations.” Second, in undertaking their review of the text, the bishops who recommended the NABRE for approval reviewed the notes and introductions in great detail, often requiring additions to ensure that the note was as helpful as possible.
Also, see the response to question 15, below.
5) Will it be immediately available in electronic forms as, for example, an app for iPhone or audio versions that can be downloaded as an mp3?
The NABRE has been licensed in a variety of audio, electronic, and digital formats. The availability of those products depends on the individual publishers and how quickly the products make it through beta-testing.
6) Will there be editions with the newly Revised Grail Psalms like the "Catholic Bible" NRSV being published in the UK?
No. The NABRE will not be licensed to include any Psalter apart from its own. It is important to maintain a consistency of translation principles.
7) Will it include the apocryphal works that are found in the new Vulgate (but not presently in the NAB) like Psalm 151?
No. The NABRE includes only the canon of Scripture as delineated by the Councils of the Church.
8) Will there be multiple publishers releasing editions on March 9th?
Yes! We will be releasing the list of publishers toward the end of the month. But some publishers have already begun advertising their NABRE line. If you have a favorite Bible publisher, check its website.
9) Will there be a comparison issue basically showing us the changes, like in red ink or something like that?
While we will be posting some “before and after” text examples, showing the changes for the entire Old Testament would be very confusing. Since we don’t have such a comparison text prepared, it would also take a very long time to produce.
10) Are you going to provide an E-book style bible so we can have a Catholic version now?
We have licensed such editions and will continue to do so. How quickly editions will move from print to E-book is up to the publishers.
11) Is there a publication that guides you through reading the entire Bible from cover to cover?
Some publishers will be bringing out Bibles that help readers read through the entire Bible in one year. In addition, several one year reading plans for the Bible are available on the Internet.
Specific Questions on the Translation:
12) What revisions were needed and why were they needed?
Revisions were made for three major reasons:
First, to get closer to the original text. Portions of the Old Testament are over three thousand years old. Trying to find the manuscripts with the most reliable versions of these texts is no easy endeavor. Some scholars spend their entire careers working to reconstruct a critical edition that is as close as possible to the original text. Fidelity to that original text is always the standard by which a translation must be judged. Since the original edition of the NAB was published in 1970, new and better manuscripts have been discovered and we have made significant achievements in our understanding of biblical languages. The NABRE takes advantage of all these discoveries.
Second, to more closely express the meaning of the original. In some places, the translation provided in the 1970 NAB may not be as clear as it might be. In such cases, the translation was revised to clarify the meaning of the original. For example, much of the concrete poetic language of the Psalms has been restored and more care was taken to ensure that Hebrew and Greek words are rendered consistently.
Third, the changes reflect modern English usage. The most notable change in this regard is the consistent substitution of “burnt offering” for “holocaust,” a word now reserved for the sacrilegious attempt to destroy the Jewish people by the Third Reich. The Holy See required a similar change in volumes II-IV of the Lectionary for Mass.
13) Will theological terms like “Son of Man” and “Netherworld” used in the NAB New Testament be translated in the same way in the NABRE Old Testament?
The term “son of man” is used in the Psalms, Ezekiel, and Daniel as appropriate. “Netherworld” is used when the original text calls for it. More commonly, the Hebrew original uses the proper name, Sheol.
14) Why have the editors chosen to go with “holy” Spirit instead of “Holy” Spirit?"
This usage appears only in the New Testament which remains in its 1986 edition. The editors chose this capitalization pattern to avoid reading later theological developments into the Scriptural text.
15) Will the commentary and notes be new for the Old Testament? How about the New Testament?
All introductions and notes for the Old Testament have been revised or at least re-examined. Some remain unchanged because the underlying material remains unchanged, e.g., a note that explains a play on words in the original Hebrew. The note s in the NABRE Old Testament are far more extensive than those in the 1970 edition and will provide a very helpful resource to those seeking to undertake the canonical exegesis recommended by Pope Benedict XVI. Many of the notes provide very helpful information about how a specific verse is interpreted in other parts of the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Combined with the extensive cross references, readers will be able to interpret the text in light of the unity of Scripture.
The New Testament notes remain unchanged.
16) Concerning John 18:37, when Jesus says "You Say I am a king", will the new translation correspond more closely to the original Aramaic? I know a priest from the Syro-Malabar Rite, which still uses Aramaic liturgically, who says a better translation is "As you say it," which would be a stronger affirmative response to Pilate's question.
The NABRE New Testament is translated from the third edition of The Greek New Testament, edited by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo Martini, Bruce Metzger, and Allen Wikgren, and published by the United Bible Societies in 1975. The Greek text uses the word for “king” in both Pilate’s question and Jesus’ response.
17) In the book of Ezekiel chapter 1, 10-22 of the NAB, "there is the changed order of the verses, and the omission of the textually uncertain verses of 14 and 21. Such changes also occur elsewhere in this book." Will this also be the case in the New American Bible Revised Edition?
There is no reordering of Ezekiel 1:10-22 in the NABRE. There is some reordering of verses in the NABRE to better reflect the original text. Keep in mind that the chapter and verse notations were added long after the original books were written.
18) Is Jeremiah 15:12-14 going to be included in NABRE?
Yes. Here it is:
12Can one break iron,
iron from the north, and bronze?
13* Your wealth and your treasures
I give as plunder, demanding no payment,
because of all your sins, throughout all your territory.
14And I shall enslave you to your enemies
in a land you do not know,
For fire has broken out from my anger,
it is kindled against you.