Sunday, September 16, 2012

RSV-CE vs. RSV-2CE

I spotted this minor change during the second reading of this morning's Mass.  The reading came from James 2:14-18, which I was reading in my pew with the original RSV-CE. 

The RSV-CE reads: "If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food"

The RSV-2CE reads: "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food"

The change in the RSV-2CE is preferred to the original because very few people, if any, uses the term "ill-clad."  While this is certainly not a major change, it is a reminder that the RSV-2CE has been revised more than simply getting rid of the "thees" and "thous".  I have tried, over the past few years, to chronicle those differences, including not only the use of "chalice" in the Gospels and Psalms, "virgin" in Is. 7:14, and "exodus" in Luke 9:31, but also some of the additions and changes found in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament.  I know that there are many more. 

If any of you happen to spot any other changes, I am always interested in taking note of them.  So please let me know.  The only real way we can note the difference are through comparison reading of both editions, as well as by using the Emmaus Road RSV Concordance. 

While I think the RSV-2CE remains the best translation available for English speaking Catholics, I continue to be dismayed at how little Ignatius Press does to promote it and to show, in detail, the changes that were made to the Second Edition.  Perhaps this will change in the coming years with the completion of the the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, slated for completion in 2014 or 2015.  I just hope that they realize that this completed study Bible needs to come in a one-volume edition that is able to be brought to Bible studies and classes.  Fr. Fessio has hinted that that it may only come in two volumes, which will ultimately make the ICSB simply a reference book, not a true study Bible IMHO.  If the NIV and ESV Study Bible, which have just as much commentary and come in color, can come in various sizes, so should the ICSB.  Also, since it seems that the RSV-2CE will never become the main lectionary in larger English-speaking dioceses of the world, they should use their resources on maintaining the RSV-2CE as the best translation for serious study.  So, focus on providing additional study aids to work with and suppliment the RSV-2CE and study Bible.(OK, I am done.)

25 comments:

Biblical Catholic said...

Given how much commentary is there just in the New Testament, a one volume Ignatius study Bible is likely to be approximately the same size as your standard Calculus textbook....which does not make it very practical....I believe these are intended to be portable, easily stuffed into a backpack or whatnot....a big 10-15 pound single volume edition would be anything but...

Timothy said...

Very true, but study bibles with comparable commentary and other study aids, like the NIV, ESV, or NLT study bibles, are published in various sizes and editions. Ignatius should be able to do the same. If they can't, then have someone else publish it.

Anonymous said...

Timothy,

I think you're absolutely correct: it can be done. The font would have to be smaller and the paper thinner, but it can be done. However, I'm not holding my breath. If they only print an OT to go with the NT, I won't get it, plain and simple.

Michael P.

CatholicMom said...

I am enjoying your blog, and am learning so much! Thanks.

Jonny said...

Tim:

I must agree with you, the RSV-2CE offers a vast number of improvements over the original RSV-CE. There are myriads of changes that improve clarity, accuracy, and simply make the text more traditionally Catholic and/or liturgically correct. The 2CE is also in a more aesthetically-pleasing format; the chapter and subject headings throughout are beneficial for study and reference, and the inclusion of the notes within the text (instead of in an appendix) is helpful as well.

I do lament that some of the older english words and phrases are gone. I am already familiar with them via the KJV and the D-R, so they do not present a problem for me. I do also like the older english in the prayers, especially in the Psalms. However, it is my opinion that the older english is used unevenly in the RSV. It is at least confusing to some readers, as to why it is used in the NT in when quoting certain Psalms that are applied to Christ, but the modern english is used in the OT text. Also, it can be confusing because the older forms are not used when someone is speaking to Jesus in person. On the other hand, it is helpful in long discourses, such as in Job, to have those older forms to help the reader know right away when the speaker is talking to God. The use of the old english that seems uneven or even inappropriate to me is when it is used in reference to a state or condition, or a geographical location. For instance, the older forms are used for Babylon in Revelation 18:10-14 but not in Matthew 23:37-38 in reference to Jerusalem. And the older forms are used for death in 1 Corinthians 15:55, but not for death in Sirach 41:1-2. Perhaps in the first example it is because it is Jesus who is speaking, and he does not regard a city to have a greater dignity than himself? And in the second example, perhaps it was simply overlooked because the Deutrocanonical books were added on to the RSV later? But still, if a translation were to use more dignified speech in reference to death and Babylon, wouldn’t it be appropriate to use the same for the Son of God? Perhaps the older english is better off left in its natural habitat, in Bibles translated when it was vernacular.

The one thing about the original RSV-CE I truly miss in the RSV-2CE is the full phonetical pronunciation marks on most of the proper names. I was at a weekday Mass recently where someone pronounced the name “Elisha” four different ways in the same reading! Alas, at least the RSV-2CE usually does a better job at indicating the pronunciations than the NABRE and every other modern Catholic edition I am aware of. General rule of thumb is: the vowel before the accent mark is long!

So my conclusions regarding the RSV-2CE? If Ignatius can get the study version of the whole Bible printed in one volume, then the pros should drastically outweigh the cons for anyone considering switching to the new version. My black, leather-bound NABRE from World Publishing (CBPC) is amazingly sleek, just slightly thicker than most Protestant slimline Bibles, with very little bleed-through, so I am confident it can be done! I would rather have the RSV-2CE and notes in a slightly larger volume to accompany my Haydock at my Bible study than a slimline NABRE.

rolf said...

I agree Timothy about the RSV-2CE being the best overall translation for study and the lectionary. And I also agree with you about the one volume study Bible. If Ignatius wants to compete in the study Bible market, they need to go to the one volume. Ignatius can always contract Thomas Nelson again (and like the Orthodox Study Bible) if the logistics are too complicated for them.

Francesco said...

Tim,

I seem to recall the NRSV-CE winning by a hair in your rankings from a few years ago. Has the RSV-2CE crossed the miniscule gap it had to become first?

Timothy said...

Nope. If you look at last years rankings, the RSV was first, followed closely by the NABRE and NRSV. All three were within a point of each other.

Prochorus said...

Tim, my wife saw the NIV Life Application Bible and liked it but I was concerned about footnotes failing to accord with Catholic teaching. She liked the "application" aspect of it and is not into "Bible Study" per se.

Do you have a recommendation of a Catholic Bible that comes close to the Life Application Bible?

Timothy said...

Prochorus,

It is unfortunate that there are really so few Catholic bibles that are like the Life Application one you mentioned. Perhaps in the coming years that will change, but here are a couple that might meet your needs:

I would recommend, for your wife, the Catholic Women's Devotional Bible, published by Zondervan in the NRSV translation.

There is also the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible (NABRE). It has a nice mixture of historical and pastoral information. The down side is that it is massive.

Fireside Catholic bibles also has a number of thematic Bibles. Unfortunately, the additional info is not integrated into the text, but rather are glossy inserts:
http://firesidebibles.com/ShopBibles/ThematicBibles/

Anonymous said...

Timothy,

Enjoying your blog tremendously. Very informative. Thanks for providing such information.

In reading a past blog from 2010 I noticed you mentioned your hopes for a men's catholic devotional bible. I recently sent OSV press an email asking them to consider such a bible. Their response was that they had considered it for awhile then dropped it. Maybe if you and some of your readers were to send emails to OSV they may reconsider.

Thanks--

Lenny V

Timothy said...

Lenny,

Thanks for reading. You would think with the growth of men's group in the Church that a men's fellowship Bible would be published. So yes, do contact the various Catholic bible publishers, they need to hear from us.

Jonny said...

I remembered a couple of places where I noticed an interesting use of the archaic english in the RSV-CE. 2 Samuel 1:19, "Thy glory, O Israel, is slain upon thy high places!" Following in verses 21 and 24 are two of the three places the RSV uses the plural nominative form of "you": "Ye mountains of Gilboa" and "ye daughters of Israel." This was, according to verse 18, taken from the book of Jashar (non-canonical.) But yet, in Micah 5:2, the archaic forms are not used: "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah"; nor do the Gospel passages which quote it use the archaic forms; see Matthew 2:6, for example.

Has anyone seen an article or statement from someone in the RSV translation team that comments on a translation philosophy regarding archaic language? I am surprised I have not seen any detailed comments on this anywhere, but perhaps that it is because there were no well-defined guidelines.

I must say that after reflecting on this question, "RSV-CE or 2CE"; I do still prefer the original. The same peculiarities the 2CE have updated are, ironically, the very things that endear it to me! I consider the 2CE to be a "liturgical edition" rather than a complete replacement.

Having mused on these things, I then wondered this: when the liturgically correct NABRE is released with the Grail Psalms, will there still be a substantial number of people who still prefer the current NABRE? Or will the current NABRE pummel into obscurity with its older brothers: the Confraternity Bible and the 1970, 1986, and 1994 editions? Perhaps if the current NABRE is banned from print there might even be an increased demand for the original RSV-CE!

Biblical Catholic said...

I wonder if we could get e-book editions of the RSV CE first and second editioms and write a computer program that could compare the texts and list all the difference....

Timothy said...

Jonny,

Once the future NABRE is published, I would guess they would cease printing the current NABRE soon after. That is what is suppose to be happening now with the previous NAB. I am guessing the current NABRE will end up in obscurity like you mentioned, which is a shame. Keep in mind, how many publishing companies would want to take a chance on a translation that is already scheduled to be obsolete.

Timothy said...

Biblical Catholic,

If you did, I would be very interested in posting your results. :)

Francesco said...

Tim,

I did something similar when comparing the Intro essay to the Song of Songs in the NAB and NABRE when Ms. Sperry answered our questions. It was a very... interesting experience.

On the topic of NABRE 1.0 obsolescence: hasn't every edition of the NAB been on the road to being replaced? The NT revision process started only a few years after the NAB came out, and the RNAB Psalms were just the first part of the revision of the OT, which took another 20 years or so.

Also, they might be giving the publishers more information about their timeline than they are to us, in order to assure them that their products will get enough time on the market.

Biblical Catholic said...

Given that Wuerl (who is not that old) seems to think he'll be dead before the revision is done....I wouldn't be throwing in the towel just yer 10-20 years or more is not a short life span for a Bible....

Anonymous said...

"Also, since it seems that the RSV-2CE will never become the main lectionary in larger English-speaking dioceses of the world."

Is there any reason for that? And why do those English-speaking dioceses, which are to replace the Jerusalem bible for lectionary, prefer to adapt ESV (or NSRV), instead of choosing RSV-2CE?

A.

Biblical Catholic said...

The reason they gave is because the RSV is based on out of date scholarship. What they really wanted was to use the NRSV, but the NCC wouldn't allow them to edit the text to make it work for the liturgy, so they had to look elsewhere, and the only other Bibles based on the Tyndale tradition that are in print are the NASB and the ESV....the NASB is out of the question because it does not include the Deuterocanonicals...

CJA Mayo said...

Jonny, is "myriads" a word? I thought it was an uncountable Gk noun. :-D

CJA Mayo said...

There are no Catholic Bibles that are like the Life Application series, which is a shame, as I personally like and use them, and, in my experiences, the majority of other people - men and women - prefer them as well. In seminary, I have studied the Bible critically year-in, year-out, and it is like a breath of air after having been suffocated to be able to read the Bible not through the eyes of tradition, form, source, or redaction criticism - which, for the most part, is what "Study Bibles" do, with a smattering of notes (vis a vis "History of the Jews in the Time of Jesus Christ") of a somewhat objective, but at best tentative, historical nature, that always, without fail, piss off one or the other camp by being too conservative or too liberal.

I have Tyndale LASBs in KJV, NKJV, and NLT (the notes are identical in each). I use the KJV one quite often, especially in the Psalms (mainly because I think David Norton butchered the Psalms in the NCPB by taking out "mine"). Life Application Bibles are the single-most-requested version of Scripture from me.

As a matter of fact, I was thinking upon this exact question earlier: there is a pressing need for someone to write an "application"-type commentary to some of the deuterocanonical books - there are none but secular commentaries on those books in existences; none that treat them as the Word of God, outside of the minimal commentary in Haydock.

As Biblical Catholic has noted, somewhat incorrectly, don't let a Bible be out of play because it doesn't include the deuterocanon (and they shouldn't either - the original RSV didn't have it); one can always do a fresh translation of them (if the Church), or use a separate volume of them (if an individual).

Owen said...

Hello Timothy,

Having spent a good amount of time with the RSVCE again I agree with Jonny who writes: "I must say that after reflecting on this question, "RSV-CE or 2CE"; I do still prefer the original. The same peculiarities the 2CE have updated are, ironically, the very things that endear [the RSVCE] to me! I consider the 2CE to be a "liturgical edition" rather than a complete replacement."

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,
I am currently reading the RSV-2CE and I am increasingly bothered by the footnotes in this Bible, which tend to sometimes have an extremely protestant stance... (take John 6:52, for example, but there are many more...) I wish you would write a post about this. Does anyone else feel this way, or am I reading too deeply into things?
Thanks.

Timothy said...

Anon,

Are you speaking of the standard RSV-2CE or the Ignatius Study Bible based off it? Any other examples?

Feel free to drop me an email: mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com