Monday, May 25, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 11)

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, I will be posting twice a month, on Mondays, a paragraph from this important document.  There are a total of 26 paragraphs, so this will take us through to the Fall when we reach the anniversary of its promulgation by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965.  I look forward to our discussion.  May I suggest a helpful book by Fr. Ronald D. Witherup called The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum published by Liturgical Press.

11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.  In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted.

Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writing for the sake of salvation. Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind" (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).


Javier said...

Timothy, this paragraph of Dei Verbum is particularly refreshing.
I'd like to venture a bit into an off-topic: while putting together the article on catholic spanish translations, I couldn't help noticing how many of them there are, particularly when compared to how few english catholic post-1943 translations you have in the english speaking world. In fact, when pressed, I can think only of the NAB and its revisions, and the Knox Bible (and I can include here Fr. King version too. And I think that’s it). The RSV and NRSV are probably very good bibles. But they are certainly not the fruit of a catholic initiative.
This, for me, is very unexpected and counterintuitive. English speaking catholicism has far more material resources than spanish speaking catholicism. Plus, there is the strong anglo Protestant tradition of bible translation and reading, which one might expect would prompt catholicism into action. And yet, this has not happenned. To me, as a native speaker of a foreign language, this is a mistery.

Timothy said...


You forgot to mention the Jerusalem/New Jerusalem Bibles and the Christian Community/New Community Bibles. But your point is well taken!

Javier said...

you are formally right. But the Jerusalem/New Jerusalem where originally french initiatives. And the Christian Community Bible was the project of a french priest in the Philippines (I don't know much about the origins of the New Community Bible).
One would have expected english speaking catholicism as such, to generate more action in the area of bible translation.

Anonymous said...


The New Community Bible is an initiative from India to bring the Bible closer to the people. Perhaps aside from the RSV-CE and the Jerusalem Bible, the New Community Bible is the Bible version that stands in the "very dynamic translation side" available in India. This can be comparable to the Good News Translation in the US and the Philippines.

BTW, I am the Verum Laicus before who tipped Timothy about the New Community Bible.

As far as I know, the major changes between the Christian Community Bible and the New Community Bible are:

* The Tetragrammaton being rendered as "Lord" not as "Yahweh"
* The Biblical arrangement of books follows the canonical arrangement of most Catholic Bible version (No idea where 1 and 2 Maccabees are located, either after Esther or after Malachi)
* The Biblical notes are geared towards Indian culture.

Javier said...

Hi Gerald,
thank you for the information!.