Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ESV in Aussie Lectionary?

This news comes from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn in Australia. During his reflections on the year 2011, archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge mentioned the following:

"Some years ago, I was asked to chair a commission which would prepare a new English-language Lectionary, using a modified form of the NRSV and a revised Grail Psalter. That seemed straight-forward enough, and the expectation was that the new Lectionary would be ready for publication at the same time as the Missal.

However, we struck problems with the copyright holders of the NRSV and have had some difficulties in our dealings with the Holy See. All of this so becalmed the project that there is now no hope that the Lectionary or any part of it will appear at the same time as the Missal. In fact, we have decided to move away from the NRSV and to prepare the Lectionary using a modified form of the English Standard Version (ESV), still with the revised Grail Psalter.

On this new basis, the project has progressed well; and the hope now is to have at least the first volume of the Lectionary (Sundays and Solemnities) ready for publication as close as possible to the appearance of the Missal."

Very interesting news! I wonder if this means an official Catholic edition of the ESV could be on the way? An edition of the ESV w/Apocrypha has already been translated and published by Oxford University Press. What I find most interesting is the last line, which seems to indicate that this project is almost complete. I would assume, then, that they have received approval from the creators of the ESV, whether that be Crossway or Oxford University Press, as well as tacit approval from Rome? Interesting....

Hat tip to Joel at Unsettled Christianity for the link.


Dwight said...

I'm a convert from the Southern Baptist tradition, and the ESV was my favorite translation before my conversion.
I sent an email to Crossway a couple of years ago asking if there was a Catholic version of the ESV in the works, and the answer was a polite but firm "No." They didn't seem to be too thrilled I was even asking. Who knows, maybe something has changed since then?

Timothy said...


Are you familiar with the ESV w/ Apocrypha that Oxford University Press published in early 2009?


Francesco said...

This raises so many questions!

1) What do the Australians want to do to the NRSV? And how does it differ from what the Canadians have already done? Why are those differences really so important to either the NCC/HarperCollins, Rome, or the ACBC?

2) Does it mean that projects in the UK & Ireland for an NRSV lectionary are similarly in trouble? Or is this an Australia-only phenomenon?

3) I wonder why they decided to work on creating a lectionary off the ESV when the RSV lectionary exists already. Are the RSV-2CE and the ESV+A really so different?

4) Why would the ESV rights-holders be amenable to a lectionary but not to an ESV-CE?

Jeff said...

Why not just use the RSV-2CE... it's fairly close to what a Catholic ESV would be like.

Fr Fessio, star contacting the Aussie bishops!

Jeff said...

(Tim - a link for you, you might want to do a post on this:

Jimmy Fallon interview, with some very interesting things he says about the Mass. Seems like he would be drawn to the EF, and he hits the nail on the head as to why an abused OF drives Catholics away from the Church)

Dwight said...

Hi Tim,
Yes, I'm familiar with the ESV/Apocrypha from Oxford, but I was looking for an actual Catholic Edition, not one in which the Deuterocanonicals were shoved in the back. :)

Here's the response I got from Crossway back in July of 2009:

"Dear Dwight,
Thank you for your interest in the ESV Bible.

There are no Roman Catholic editions of the ESV Bible currently in print.

We appreciate your taking the time to let us know that you would benefit from such a publication."

Chrysostom said...

Change Lk 1:28 to the Angelic Salutation, add "only-begotten" in John 3:16, change "episkopos" and "presbyter" to "Bishop" and "Priest", take the indefinite article out of 1 Tim 3:15, and change a few words to "husband" instead of "man" ("not by the will of a husband..."), etc. to remove some overtly Calvinistic interpretations, and I think the ESV would be a good Catholic translation.

The ESV OT is already very good (especially in the Psalms) in the top two or three Bibles out there, and the best one that has the full Canon in modern English.

It's a little less inclusive in its language than the NAB NT, but it's far more inclusive than something like the RSV or DRC - so maybe it will appease the feminists? Although I don't see the feminists being satisfied before the Lord's Prayer reads, "Our Mother who art in...", and I don't see the Patriarchalists satisfied before women are referred to as "it".

Anonymous said...

I read a couple of years ago that the revision of the lectionary used in the United Kingdom based on the NRSV was dropped because the copyright owners refused to accept the proposed changes.
Mike D.

Anonymous said...

Here's a report from New Zealand on the lectionary:

Mike D.

Theophrastus said...

Just to clarify:

* Archbishop Mark Coleridge is chair of the ICPEL (International Commission for the Preparation of an English-language Lectionary). His committee's decisions represent not only the lectionary for Australia, but for the Churches of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and other countries that may join in the ICPEL lectionary.

* The rights to the ESV and the ESV Apocrypha are held by different organizations (Crossway and Oxford University Press). The rights to the Revised Grail Psalter is held by yet another organization, GIA publications.

* Even if the ESV-Lectionary were approved, it is not at all clear that the ESV-Bible would receive imprimatur. Bible translations are governed by Canon 825.1 and 835.2 while the liturgy/lectionary is governed by Canon 828.2 and 838.3.

* In the end, it seems that the failure of the NRSV-ICPEL lectionary project mainly lays with the National Council of Churches, which resisted the changes proposed by the ICPEL to the Catholic Lectionary edition of the NRSV.

rolf said...

I don't know why they didn't go with the RSV-2CE, it doesn't need to be 'tweaked' and it already exists as an approved Catholic Lectionary?