Monday, October 22, 2012

Semi-Regular Weekly Poll

  • Original Douay-Rheims
  • Challoner Douay-Rheims
  • Knox Bible
  • Confraternity Bible (NT + Douay OT)
  • Other?
More polls: snabblånnu


Biblical Catholic said...

I would like a translation of the Neo-Vulgate into modern English myself....and a new translation of the Clementine Vulgate would be nice too....this time let's translate all the books, including the so called 'Vulgate apocrypha'

CJA Mayo said...

Challoner, then Confraternity, then, probably Knox before the Douay-Rheims proper, but those last two are both pretty low, but for opposite reasons.

1. The Challoner is the gold standard of English Catholic Bibles. Enough said.

2. The Confraternity, at least in the Pocket NT, is formatted extremely well, and is easier to read than the Challoner, and is pretty much as accurate. The OT is a mixed bag, with Confraternity Genesis being pretty bad (it's NAB 1970 Genesis for all purposes), the Confraternity Psalms being plain bad (this isn't a problem with the CCD, per se, but one that is endemic to all Catholic English translations I've read, although I've never read the Bea Psalter that comes with some CCD-Douay Bibles), and the rest being quite good to good.

3. The Knox is too loose, much as the original D-R is too literal. St Paul is the highlight in Knox, Knox's translation shedding a fresh light on the Apostle's thought, much as he intended. The Gospels are a bit breezy (not filled with enough "gravitas") for my taste. I've not read but four books of the Knox OT and parts of half a dozen more, which range from terrible (parts of Genesis, some of the Psalms, some Proverbs, the beginning of Sirach about God on his throne) to excellent (narrative history such as Genesis 12-50, Exodus, 1 Kings, 1 Machabees, some of the Psalms*), to "I haven't formed a strong opinion yet" (the first dozen chapters of Isaias and Job).

As usual, loose renderings shine in those areas of narrative history that are devoid of long traditions of prophetic or typological interpretation in the Church (and which also lack heavy doctrinal import, as, since the doctrines generally come from a traditional and literal reading which fed the traditional piety and liturgy, a loose rendering must always consciously re-inject doctrinal correctness if it is to be maintained; in the example of Knox, he would never have maintained correctness in the stereotypical "Catholic parts" such as Lk 1:28, the Beatitudes, etc. if he had followed his otherwise quite iconoclastic** translation philosophy consistently), and fail in those areas that are filled with traditional exegesis and spirituality, an excellent example being "In the beginning God"/"In the beginning [was the] Word", probably the eight-most-commented-upon words in the entire Bible.

In my humble opinion, the original Jerusalem Bible brought Knox's project to completion (disregarding the notes and textual basis, comparing merely translational philosophy, goals, and end results), even if it did away with the "hieratic thees".


CJA Mayo said...

4. The original Douay-Rheims (I have a scan of it in .pdf and have read a few books of it) is unreadable, and not due to the early modern English typography - I can read the 1611 KJV with not problem. It is hyper-literal, it is full of just as many Latinisms as critics indicate ("comparticipant, comheir, concoroporat", "infernals, terrestrials, and celestials"). St Paul is completely incomprehensible. It has, even worse than Challoner, and even worse than the NAB, a complete deafness to good English. On second thought, that's stretching it - it has complete deafness to what constitutes English, full stop. Ultimately the Knox scores higher because, even if loose and in areas far off the mark to my eyes, it is comprehensible, and any book containing the Word of God in a comprehensible form is better than one that even I can not reliably comprehend. This is not helped by the star of the Knox translation, the Epistles, is the low point of the Douay-Rheims proper.

I also took in to my consideration the anecdotal but otherwise reasonable evidence that the Knox Bible is never intended to be a main Bible, but a supplement; the Douay-Rheims was intended to be a main Bible, and I am unable to see how a native Anglophone, untrained in any Latin, could comprehend great tracts of it. (However, this may be moot, because, at the time it was published, if I recall correctly, it was the case that most of those literate at all in the written form of their spoken English were also literate in Latin.)

It has its uses as an interlinear, though, and I love the notes. As good as Haydock, even.

*Oddly enough for me, who still believes the KJV Psalms will never be matched, and that this is evidenced above all else in "The Lord is my shepherd", the most excellent piece of Biblical translation, and one of the most excellent pieces of English spiritual writing and poetry ever written, I love Knox's rendering of Psalm 22/23, "As in honour pledged...", and his rendering of the prophetic parts of 21/22. His alteration of "In sin did my mother conceive me" to remove the possibility of the interpretation of sexuality as the transmission vector of original sin, while laying heavy emphasis on original sin itself, from 50/51, doesn't sit well with me. His Psalm 2 is also poor: more "nonsensical" than anything wrong with its doctrine, as the Vulgate Psalm 2 never has the much better (and, I believe, correct) "Kiss the Son" (although he puts this in a footnote), so, at best, it loses a great deal of prophetic import (even in the DRC). Knox at very many times uses a very odd English syntax, a cross between the "non-English Bible English" he railed against in his essays, and something else entirely that I can't define. (Not that I mind this, as I believe the Bible should be written in dense Biblish.)

**Used in a neutral sense; sometimes iconoclasm (in the modern use of the word, not in the sense of the ancient heresy) can be helpful; Knox certainly thought it was so, as have several commentators on this blog, expressing the sentiment in terms of being jarred out of accustomed traditional phraseology (or, by extension, expressions of piety, or liturgy).

Servus Dei said...

Tim, I think you should have included the Catholic Public Domain Version. For the new generation, I think this version is the most accessible to them, being available in iPhones and other mobile Bible softwares. For me, that's my vote...

CJA Mayo said...

I didn't know the CPDV was translated from the Vulgate. It's not that bad. Much more like a "New Challoner" than I expected in the (very) few verses I checked.

Biblical Catholic said...

I expected that someone would mention the CPDV.....I have never read it because I was put off by the preface...which makes it clear that the guy who made it is something of a nutter when he talks about his prophecy that Rome will be destroyed and the Pope will go into hiding in the year 2020...or whatever year it was....

Timothy said...

Being that it is not an officially approved translation, in whatever way, I didn't feel it necessary to add it to the list. Although I appreciate the discussion of it, since I have only looked at it a handful of times.

CJA Mayo said...

I've never read the preface. Where is it, and does that mean it was actually published as a "Bible-Bible" and not just as modules for YouVersion and eSword?