Friday, March 16, 2012
The NABRE after 1 Year
March 9th marked the one year anniversary of the publication of the NABRE. Over the past year, I have done some posts that have analyzed some of the unique features of the NABRE. For the most part, I have found the NABRE to be a definite upgrade to the original NAB. While not as consistently literal/formal as the RSV, I find that it does more things right than wrong. For example, I was doing some research this week for a lecture on 1 Kings 1-11, and while comparing the NABRE with the RSV, I spotted a couple of areas where I think the NABRE is better.
The first was in 1 Kings 3:4-11, where Solomon asks for a "listening heart" instead of the more typically translated "understanding mind". Not only is the translation of "heart" instead of "mind" more literal, it also helps to maintain the parallel with verse 6 where Solomon says to the LORD that "You have shown great kindness to your servant, David my father, because he walked before you with fidelity, justice, and an upright heart." We also know that David is describes as being a "man after his own heart" throughout 1-2 Samuel. Solomon's "heart" remains an important theme throughout 1 Kings, where by the time we get to 11:9, we see that "The LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart turned away from the LORD."
The second is found in 1 Kings 4, which describes the domestic organization of the Solomonic kingdom. 4:1-6 lists the "officials" that Solomon had in his service, most likely high officials of Solomon's central government in Jerusalem. (The RSV refers to them has "high officials".) Then in verses 7-20, we are given the twelve administrative districts of the kingdom. The RSV and NRSV refers to those who are put in charge of these districts as "officers" while the NABRE translates it as "governors". As Jerome T. Walsh points out in his volume on 1 Kings in the Berit Olam series: "The NRSV (RSV) calls them "officials", but this is misleading, since the word is entirely different from the "high officials" of 4:2 (87)." I admit that this is a very subtle difference, but I do believe it is important nevertheless.
There have been some areas where I do think the NABRE could have been better, for sure. Most notably, I feel that there are a number of decisions in Genesis 1-3 which could have been better. Also, there is that notoriously final part of Judges 3:22 that was not translated in the NABRE.
Overall, I find the NABRE to be a considerable improvement over the original, not to mention the re-revised Psalms. I am interested to hear from those of you who have spent some time in the NABRE over the past year. What are your thoughts? What do you like? What do you dislike?