Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Song Title for Our Translations

So, if you were to assign a song title for the various Catholic Bible translations what would they be? I started to think about this yesterday and came up with a few.

NABRE: "I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking For" by U2
This translation has been so unsettled during its 40+ year history. There have been three major updates since its first publication in 1970 and now we have to look forward to a new revision in ten years. I have a burning desire to see the USCCB and CBA produce something that will serve the Church in America well.

RSV-2CE: "Who are You" by The Who
This translation just doesn't seem to get the support from its publisher that it deserves. It attempts to "correct" the original RSV-CE but with little documentation as to what has been changed and by whom. This translation is truly an enigma. I really want to know if you think this as well?

NRSV: "Mixed Emotions" by The Rolling Stones
For me, at least, the NRSV does a number of things very well, but makes some poor choices along the way, mostly in the way of excessive inclusive language. Am I not the only one who feels this way?

Jerusalem Bible: "If I Should Fall Behind" by Bruce Springsteen
Published in English in the 1960's, the Jerusalem Bible was a fresh rendering of the Holy Scriptures.  To this day, it remains beloved by many who experienced the changes after Vatican II, Mother Angelica, and many in the charismatic community.  And while the NJB improved on the original in some ways, it never quite caught on as well as its predecessor, at least here in the USA.  Now with a clear move within the Church for more formal equivalent renderings, for both liturgical and scriptural texts, one wonders if any one will wait for and embrace the Jerusalem Bible in future years.

Douay-Rheims: "Alive" by Pearl Jam
Over four hundred years since the publication of the New Testament (in its first edition), the Douay-Rheims is still alive. Although, like Pearl Jam, one of my favorite bands back in the '90s, its popularity continues to slowly fade away.  Now a days, it has a small, but fiercely loyal fan base.

So how about you? 


Jonny said...

How about for the RSV-CE: "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles?

Also released in 1966, the song seems to be about life carrying on in the midst of an abyss, and seems fitting for the RSV-CE; which has heretofore remained relentless amongst various attempted supplanters.

rolf said...

The Douay-Rheims: 'Yesterday' (of course performed by the Beatles). We reminisce about the good old days.

NABRE: 'Born in the USA' by Bruce Springsteen.

NRSV: 'Lola' by the Kinks, because we don't know if that verse refers to "a boy or a girl."

Anonymous said...

NABRE: "Where do we Go From Here" by Chicago
Will it ever be just right? You know, good translation, with good notes, with good layout, with good paper, with a good cover and binding?

RSV-CE:"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
Powerful translation, my favorite!

Douay-Rheims:"We are the Champions" by Queen
This bible will always be around.

Jerusalem Bible:"I'll Always Love You" by Michael Johnson
This bible was my first Catholic Bible and will always hold a special place in my heart. :)


Biblical Catholic said...

The NAB is a lot older than 40 years....they've been working on it, almost without interruption, since 1936

But 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' does sound like a good theme for it...

Timothy said...


It is quite true that the NAB OT has its origins back to older Cobfraternity Bible, but officially the NAB was a product of 1970.

Timothy said...

Make that 'Confraternity' Bible.

Amfortas said...

But the Cobfraternity Bible sounds so interesting

Thomas D said...

The Ronald Knox Bible: "Tubthumping" by Chumbawumba, for its chorus of "You're never gonna get me down." You can't put a good translation down, and while Msgr Knox's version has its occasional quirks and rare infelicities (Ecclesiastes 3, anyone?), it is on the whole a reverent rendering.

The New American Bible: "Frankly, Mr Shankly" by the Smiths, for its lyric "I didn't realize you wrote such bloody awful poetry."

The Revised English Bible with the Apocrypha: "Have You Never Been Mellow?" by Olivia Newton-John. It's a feasibly OK translation, very "smooth" in the '70s AM radio sense. Not brilliant, but inoffensive, most of the time. (It's also the handsomest English-language Bible I own).

Biblia Sacra Vulgata: "Just Like Heaven" by the Cure. If we don't speak Latin in Heaven, then we certainly hear it being chanted by angels and saints.

King James Version with the Apocrypha: A Herman's Hermits medley of "I'm Henry VIII, I Am" (Anglicans!) and "Mrs Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" (because the translation really is lovelier than Mrs Brown's daughter).

TS said...

NABRE - "Major Tom" by David Bowie because any translation needing so many versions seems to have "something wrong". 

NRSV - "YMCA" by Village People, because both the translation and the song are pretty cheesy.  Plus "N - R- S- V" goes with the lyrics.  

DOUAY RHEIMS - "Macho Man", because New Oxford Review folks are Douay fans. . 

NEW JERUSALEM - "Jersey Girl" by Springsteen. Romantic, enchanting and easy going down. 

RSV-CE - "Seasons in the Sun" because I'm not sure it has a viable future. 

Dan Z said...

NABRE- I Can't Get No Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones

RSV-CE/2CE- Happy Days by Pratt & McLain

NRSV- You're The Devil In Disguise by Elvis Presley

Jerusalem Bible- Mellow Yellow by Donovan

Douay Rheims- How Great Thou Art by Elvis Presley

Anonymous said...


Just some music trivia: "Jersey Girl" was written and first performed by Tom Waits. Bruce Springstein made it popular with his version, but I always preferred Tom Waits' version better.

Michael P.