Sunday, October 18, 2015

Knox vs. The Message: Isaiah 53:10-11

This week, we compare the translations from the first reading for 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Ay, the Lord’s will it was, overwhelmed he should be with trouble. His life laid down for guilt’s atoning, he shall yet be rewarded; father of a long posterity, instrument of the divine purpose; for all his heart’s anguish, rewarded in full. The Just One, my servant; many shall he claim for his own, win their acquittal, on his shoulders bearing their guilt. 

The Message:
Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.
Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
will make many “righteous ones,”
as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
he took up the cause of all the black sheep.


Biblical Catholic said...

This is yet another example of when I read The Message and wonder "what was Eugene Peterson smoking when he wrote that?"

He took up the cause of all the black sheep?

What does that even mean? It certainly doesn't have anything to do with the actual text of Isaiah 53.

David Garcia said...

Hey Tim
So I have a question for ya. I have been spending time with the NLT of late as part of some Tyndale email devotions that I receive and I have to tell you I really really like it. Makes me wonder why it hasn't seen more attention here? There is a Catholic edition out there although I think it's out of print and is the first edition (the NLT just had its 4th revision to make it more accurate while retaining its smooth and very readable wording). Any thoughts?

Biblical Catholic said...

The New Living Translation "Catholic Edition" is out of print because it's not really a "Catholic Edition", sure it has the Deuterocanonicals, but it never been given an imprimatur, and could probably never get one. I don't know if they tried to get an imprimatur, but if they did, the attempt failed and they had to withdraw it from publication for that reason.

Christopher Buckley said...

You keep saying that, Biblical Catholic, but it's just not true.

I own this hardcover edition from 1977.

You're right, it's not in Catholic order and places the Deuterocanonicals by themselves at the end.

But as you can see in Photo #4, it has a 1976 imprimatur from Leo A. Pursley, Bishop of Fort Wayne - South Bend, and a Nihil Obstat from Rev. Lawrence A Gollner.

It is absolutely a fully approved Catholic Bible, and is in fact still available online today, typically listed as "The Catholic Living Bible."

However, it should NOT be confused with the "New Living Translation" which Tyndale issued to replace it. This newer translation also comes in an ecumenical edition, I believe, but has NOT received an imprimatur.

Biblical Catholic said...

The New Living Translation is not the same thing as The Living Bible.

The Living Bible was published in 1971, the New Living Translation was not published until 1996, and the Catholic Edtion was published in 2004 and has never been given an imprimatur.

Russ said...

David, I'm with you. I've always enjoyed the NLT, much more than The Message. And I believe I heard that there might be a Catholic Edition of the NLT in the works. I hope so. I would definitely buy it.

Biblical Catholic said...

The NLT is available in a Catholic Edition, or it was at one time

I believe that it has been withdrawn from publication because they were not able to get an imprimatur

As far as it goes, the NLT is much better than The Message, and probably better than the Good News Translation as well, and the best part is that with each revision, and there have been 3 (2004, 2007, 2013) the translation gets a little more literal, and therefore, better.

rolf said...

Since we started talking about these paraphrases and this Catholic Reference Edition of the NLT, I found one online in like new condition for $8.75 (free shipping). I bought it because I have seen it on ebay over the years and since we have been talking about it I thought what the heck!
It was published in 2001. It is a hard cover, a apparent glued binding and has 1319 pages, about size 8 or 8.5 font, dark print and readable. All books of the Bible are in the Catholic order (same as NAB). It has a Bible verse finder (by subject) in front, double column text with plentiful references on the outer edges of the page. In the back of the Bible there is a section called 'where can I find it' which lists important subjects in the OT such as: 'God creates the world, Israel cross the Red Sea', etc. In the NT it lists: Magnificat, Benedicts and Birth of Christ, among others. There is a 47 page Dictionary/Concordance, the Sunday Mass readings (ABC) and Major Fiests, a List of Popes and four pages of color maps.

Christopher Buckley said...

Biblical Catholic is right: like the Message, like the Common English Bible, the NLT was published in a so-called "Catholic" edition by the publishers, which I find to be blatant false advertising, since none have received ecclesial approval. Having the Church's imprimatur is what makes a Bible "Catholic," not merely being in "Catholic order."

My point is that, while Tyndale hasn't gotten it's NLT approved by the Church, anyone who likes it (or similarly, the Message) has the original Catholic Living Bible as a fully approved alternative.

The publisher has replaced the original Living Bible with its New Living Translation, in much the same way the NRSV "replaces" the RSV, or the Good News Translation "replaces" the Today's English Version (Good News Bible). But unlike the NRSV or the GNT, the NLT is NOT available in an approved Catholic version.

If you're partial to the NLT, then get yourself a copy of the Catholic Living Bible, which is still widely available online.

rolf said...

I agree that marketing a Bible as 'Catholic' with out approval is deceiving, but I don't think there is any problem for Catholics to use Bibles such as the REB, NRSV (ecumenical study Bibles),ESV, KJV, CEB or NLT for private study or comparison. Would I use the NLT to teach my RCIA sessions?- no I would (and do) use an approved Bible.

Biblical Catholic said...

While the Revised English Bible does not have an imprimatur, it was authorized by the Catholic bishops of England, Ireland, and Wales, and there were several Catholic scholars who participated in the translation work. The NRSV was not commissioned by any Catholic bishops, however nearly half the scholars on the committee were Catholic. And even though it has never (outside of Canada) been authorized for the liturgy, I'm pretty sure the Catholic edition does have an imprimatur.

So those two examples are quite different in character from the others you mentioned.

Christopher Buckley said...

Catholic NRSV definitely carries an imprimatur.

I always confuse the REB with the CEV. The CEV NT, Psalms, Proverbs I know all carry imprimatur separately, though not apparently as an entire Bible.


And agreed with Rolf: as I understand it, comparative reading of nonapproved translations is not forbidden. But, relying on one for a primary reading of scripture, even for personal study and devotion, risks taking in variant readings often chosen specifically to refute dogmatic teachings of the Church.

That's precisely what makes the RSV-CE such a special experiment: it's not just the RSV with the Church's stamp of approval. It's the RSV with alterations suggested by the Church and approved by the translators to restore preferred Catholic renderings of a number of places when the text could support either interpretation.

I so wish we had the same kind of collaboration between the Church and translation teams on new editions today. How great if we could collaborate with the translators of the CEB or the Message to actually suggest the alterations needed for a rendering fully consistent with Church teaching and get the translator's approval to issue as an official Catholic edition.