As we await official word from the USCCB about the sure-to-be lengthy revision process of the NABRE, I wonder where this leaves us for the next ten years? It is strange that within a week of my posting the poll about what will be the most popular Catholic Bible in 2012, we get this news about the NABRE which will likely take ten years to complete. Many of you have brought up some good discussion points in the previous post, most notably Biblical Catholic, who reminds us of all the different "hoops" that the translators will have to go through, via the USCCB and Rome, before an approved text, for both Mass and study, can be published. But hasn't that been the case for the NAB all along?
When we think back to the origins of the NAB, with the Confraternity edition, it was a long process to get to the final publication of the original NAB in the early 70's. At that point, parts of the Old Testament portion had been previously translated almost twenty years prior. Once published, it became clear that the NT needed an overhaul, thus prompting the 1986 Revised NAB NT. Soon after, there was a push for a revised Psalter, with extensive inclusive language. The result was that in 1991, with the publication of the '91 Revised Psalms, the NAB was a mishmash of translation philosophies and textual foundations. (It should be noted that the Confraternity Bible suffered from this as well.)
Now comes 2011 and the publication of the New American Bible Revised Edition, almost twenty years after the process of revising the OT began. In many ways, this revision remains a marked improvement over the prior edition. The '91 Revised Psalms were properly re-revised and the OT was made more formal/literal in the same way as the revised NAB NT. Simply put, the 2011 edition of the NAB was/is the best edition of this translation. I have spent considerable time over the past year reading through large portions of the NABRE, and with only a few exception, most notably in Genesis, I have come away being very impressed by it.
Now, fast forward barely a year later, and we hear that there will be another revision, the fourth since 1970, which will take "a long time" to complete. I applaud the Cardinal's desire to have a unified text which will: “provide us one source of language when we speak the Word of God.” Many people, including myself, have been advocating this very thing.
Logistically, I wonder how this is actually going to happen. For instance, what about the Revised Grail Psalms, which were approved for liturgical use only a few years ago? Is this going to be a NAB w/ Revised Grail Psalms? Wouldn't it need to be in order to meet the Cardinal's criteria of having one text? Also, what part will Liturgiam authenticam play in this new translation? Neo-Vulgate? Then, of course, is the waiting. I freely admit that I am a man of Generation X, which makes me very impatient, so waiting "a long time" is not very appealing to me personally. Add to my impatience is seeing Bibles like the ESV, NLT, or NIV updated every couple of years.
So where does that leave us? Again, if we look at the current landscape of English language Catholic Bibles, there is quite a bit of movement, although very little certainly as to what is going to get published and when. The ESV will be the basis for the lectionary in Australia and the UK at some point in the near future. Will there be an ESV-CE published along side of it? No clear answer. The RSV-2CE will remain the lectionary of the Ordinariates, the Antilles, and some parts of Africa. Ignatius Press continues to minimally promote this translation, even with the ICSB will being completed by 2015, in either one or two volumes. But where does that leave the future prospect for the RSV-2CE? Is is possible, particularly with all the lectionary news going around, that the RSV-2CE will remain a fringe translation? What about the NRSV? Will it continue to be the basis for the lectionary in Canada? What role is the NCCUSA playing in all this revision/lectionary news? It appears that they have begun to protect their product more so than in past years. Will the NRSV be revised in the coming years?
So many questions, with very few answers at this point. Who knows if this blog will even be around when the new NAB is completed.