Thursday, March 8, 2012

The RSV-2CE and the Ordinariate

The Vatican has approved the first liturgical resources for the Ordinariate. According to the website of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England: "The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has published a Decree permitting the use of the Revised Standard Version (Second Catholic Edition) for liturgical use in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. This edition of the Holy Bible allows those Catholics originally from the Anglican tradition, to worship using a version of scripture which is familiar to them. It also promotes the English Bible tradition and recent efforts to renew Catholic liturgy with more accurate translations."

I am unaware if this will apply in the US, under the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

(Hat tip to Fr. Stephen's blog for the news.)


Steve Cavanaugh said...

On page 276 of the book of Divine Worship is written:
"The Scripture readings are taken from the Roman Lectionary for Mass in the translations approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, namely, the Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition), the
New American Bible, and the Jerusalem Bible."

Most Anglican Use parishes, I believe, have been using the RSV-CE all along, and some have been using the RSV-CE2 lectionary published by Ignatius Press.

Abby Johns said...

Hi! I stumbled on your blog while doing a Google search for approved Bible translations for Catholics. You seem like the perfect person to answer a few questions I have.

I am a Catholic returning to the church after a LONG absence (long, long story). In short, I feel like my Catechism experience left much to be desired. I was wondering if you could recommend some books that will give me a thorough understanding of Catholicism. I want to make sure I thoroughly understand my own faith. As of right now, the tradition and long history of the church are what make me feel it is the truth, but obviously I need to dig deeper than just appearances for lack of a better word.

I was also wondering, is the Oxford Annotated Bible an approved translation? I have one from a couple of religion classes I took in college, and I have always preferred it because of its more academic (read "uncolored") approach.

I feel slightly overwhelmed coming back to a church with such rich traditions. I guess I am just looking for a starting point.

Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

If e-mail would be easier you can reach me at abby(dot)l(dot)johns(at)gmail(dot)com

Chrysostom said...

None of the current Oxford Annotated Bibles are Church-approved, but the imprimatur doesn't mean everything. The older ones (the New Oxford Annotated Bible - Expanded Edition RSV - not NRSV or REB, or anything since Michael Coogan took the helm after Bruce Metzger's demise) - are quite good if you have an interest in historical criticism; however, for learning faith, Christianity, or theology, or even theism, the secular study Bibles (HarperCollins, Oxford, etc.) tend to be pretty unhelpful. They have their purposes, and, as I've heard told many times, even if I don't necessarily share the sentiment completely, "the best Bible is the one that you shall read". If you like it because of the style, and not because of the notes, be aware that no current Bibles (and there are dozens) use the old Biblical English; they're all much easier to read now, even the "difficult" ones.

For a Bible, it's generally accepted (at least on this blog and Catholic Answers) that the best easily available one is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, which uses the Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition translation (RSV-2CE, which is far better than the RSV or original RSV-CE); however, only the New Testament is currently available, and Genesis and Exodus. It deals with a balance of theology, historical criticism, and exegetical questions, from a solidly orthodox Catholic perspective.

If you have a bit of coin in your jean, the best is the ten-volume Navarre Bible, which is comprised of the RSV-CE with emendations in the notes, the Latin Nova Vulgata, and extensive Catholic theological commentary and short introductions to each book dealing with historical criticism.

If you like Early Modern English or "Biblish" King James-style, the Haydock Bible (which uses the venerable Douay-Rheims translation) is unbeatable. (Although I still won't read the Psalms in anything other than the King James Bible: when old Jimmy did something right, he did it right. "I walk through a gloomy valley, but am not afraid, because you are with me" is no match for, "YEA, 'THOUGH I walk through the VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I shall FEAR NO EVIL, for thou art with me..." - capitalization purposefully [sic]'d to capture the mood of it.)

The Jerusalem Bible (not the New Jerusalem Bible) is very easy to read, but is not fit for study as it is a loose translation. The New Jerusalem Bible and New American Bible, I would stay away from until I was well-grounded in both faith and reason, if at all, if only because they are sub-optimal translations when compared to the others listed above.

I'm a nut for the written word (of God and otherwise), so I use a few less common translations myself; I have restricted my above recommendations only to those that carry the imprimatur.

Chrysostom said...

For non-Biblical books, now, it's harder to give a recommendation without knowing what specifically you want (such as, defenses of Christianity? of Catholic doctrine? proof of God? histories of the Church or Christianity? historical theology? natural theology? sacred theology? spirituality? mysticism? overviews of doctrine? etc. etc.) but it is always advisable to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (white hardcover with gold edges, about $8; overview of doctrine and the Catholic tradition) if you haven't done so. The Catechism and the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible - New Testament are probably the best places to start, and work well together (the ICSBNT references the CCC). Otherwise, I can only make most general recommendations, to books such as "Introduction to Christianity" and the two-part "Jesus of Nazareth", both by the current Holy Father, an eminent exegete in his own right, Pope Benedict XVI.

Also, CS Lewis (everything); GK Chesterton (Orthodoxy, Heretics, Everlasting Man).

One can never go wrong with St Augustine's "Confessions" or Kempis' "Imitation of Christ" as works of spiritual writing, nor with the works of St Catherine of Siena.

If you have prior philosophical training (especially as it pertains to Aristotle), I also always recommend St Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae and Summa contra Gentiles.

Beyond knowing more about your specific needs, it's hard to try to tailor a reading list any further, without just throwing out reams upon reams of names of books that I appreciate and have found useful (and my taste in books is very - distinctive - veering sharply towards many neglected or niche corners of everything), like the Texas Sharpshooter: shooting at the side of a barn and then painting a bull's-eye where the bullet hit, causing you to have to, if I may mix my metaphors, separate the wheat from the chaff.

Russ said...

Abby: Welcome home. For bibles I would recommend the New American Bible with Revised Old Testament, also known as the NABRE. The revised edition was published in 2011.

As for a book to get re-acquainted with the teachings of your Catholic faith, I would suggest you consider "The Catholic Way: Faith For Living Today", by Bishop (now Cardinal) Donald W. Wuerl. It is a wonderful resource. From the back cover: "The Catholic Way is an up-to-date reflection on what it means to be a Catholic today. It is a clear, intelligent, and authoritative guide to the perennial faith of the Catholic Church as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Written by Bishop Donald W. Wuerl, the chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Education, he is recognized internationally and nationally for his teaching and writing, and for producing video presentations on the Catholic faith, this indispensable book illuminates the riches of the Catholic Church, guiding readers - whether recent converts or lifelong Catholics - to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Church.
In concise, easy-to-understand language, Bishop Wuerl explores what the Church's Catechism is and how its content touches our life. He explains the words of the Sacred Scripture, the meaning of Jesus' life and ministry, Mary's place and significance within the Church's teachings, what the articles of the creed mean, what the sacraments signify, and how the commandments apply to us today. His insights provide answers to the questions "What do we believe?" and "Why do we believe that?" There is both a softcover and Kindle version.

Whatever you decide, welcome back.

rolf said...

I would recommend the New American Bible- revised edition (NABRE) or the RSV-2CE. And they come in different study editions, (all NABRE Bibles have chapter introductions and verse notes). For a general book on what Catholics believe, I like 'Catholic and Christian' by Alan Schreck.

Chrysostom said...

Note that the Vatican itself uses the RSV-CE in all documents it publishes in English (such as the Catechism, encyclical letters, Papal books, etc.), not the NAB/RE. And the liturgical NAB/RE (the lectionary) is heavily modified from the one sold as a Bible.

Timothy said...

Of course, the English language Bible on the Vatican website is the NAB, albeit the older one.

Chrysostom said...

With the 1991 Psalms that were explicitly rejected by the Vatican? That's hard to believe!?

Timothy said...

The '91 Psalms are the one book that is not on the site actually. It would be nice if the put the new NABRE Psalms, which are vastly superior.

Chrysostom said...

As is known, I dislike the NAB/RE intensely, both in translation and annotation (the former mainly because of bad English, although some parts of the NT, as you pointed out - the trumpet-blast translation of ego eimi - are quite excellent), but even I am forced to admit if one used the 1991 Psalms only, and then saw the 2011 Psalms (or any other translation), one would not be remiss in thinking that heaven had broken in to earth, such is the superiority - the distance between heaven and earth.

Whereas the difference between the 2011 Psalms and the KJV or ESV Psalms is only the distance between earth and moon.

PS Can you do anything about these RIDICULOUSLY hard captchas? Is it a setting you changed, or something that Blogger did for no reason? You have no need of them since you already moderate comments, or, little need even if you have to moderate out bunches of spam, because not even a native English reader can handle one in three of these, let alone any machine - back the difficulty dial off from 11!

Timothy said...

I haven't changed anything. Once I get on my work computer, I'll take a look.

Glebb said...

It seems to me the wonderful Knox translation would be ideal. Maybe it can be an option.

Chrysostom said...

It is a great translation to start with - easy to read, very faithful. It's not ideal for in-depth study, but is in the top three Catholic Bibles in my estimation (DRC, Knox, Confraternity), and one of the top ten of all (DRC, KJV, Knox, Confraternity, ESV, NKJV, NASB, OSB, NETS, RSV-2CE New Testament).

But - good luck finding it. Baronius is supposed to be reprinting it now for availability in a few months. Right now, only NTs are available, even used, on Amazon. It's harder to find a full Knox translation than it is to solve one of these captchas.