Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Revised New Jerusalem Bible

I spotted this on the very fine Facebook group, Catholic Bible Fans, via Llywellyn, the DLT (out of the U.K.) will be publishing a revised NJB New Testament and Psalms this November.  No word on whether there it will be published in the US at this time.  I'll look around.

Description:
Presenting the world’s first modern English Bible in a new light.
In 1966, Darton, Longman and Todd published the Jerusalem Bible, the first full translation of the Bible into modern English, with an acclaimed set of study notes. In 1985, it released the New Jerusalem Bible, an update of the Bible text for a fast-changing world. Now, after more than thirty years, DLT is preparing to publish the Revised New Jerusalem Bible – a substantial revision of the JB and NJB texts, and one which applies formal equivalence translation for a more accurate rendering of the original scriptures, sensitivity to readable speech patterns and more inclusive language. The RNJB is accompanied by a new, comprehensive set of study notes and book introductions enabling the Bible to be read with the insight, wisdom and understanding of the most up-to-date biblical scholarship.
The New Testament and Psalms will be published in November 2017, and the Full Bible will be published in the late spring of 2018. Both editions will contain the comprehensive study notes and book introductions.
The RNJB has been translated, and the notes and introductions written, by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and one of the foremost biblical scholars of our day. Fr Henry was the translator and general editor of the NJB.
Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB is a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and one of the foremost biblical scholars of our day. Fr Henry was the translator and general editor of the NJB.

39 comments:

Surly Hermit said...

"the first full translation of the Bible into modern English"

Just because you can say something doesn't make it true. Who writes these press releases?!

Anonymous said...

"a more accurate rendering... and more inclusive language."

Uh huh.

Biblical Catholic said...

Surly Hermit.
"the first full translation of the Bible into modern English"

Just because you can say something doesn't make it true. Who writes these press releases?!

It helps if you don't selectively quote the text, what it actually says, in full context, is

'the first translation of the Bible into modern English, with an acclaimed set of study notes'

In short, they are claiming to have produced the first ANNOTATED Bible in modern English, not the first translation. As far as I can tell, that claim is true. While there were earlier Bible translations in modern English, none of them contain the kind of extensive notes that the 1966 Jerusalem Bible had. If you are aware of another annotated edition of the Bible in modern English that pre-dates the 1966 Jerusalem Bible, I'm all ears.

Devin said...

I am somewhat excited. I presume the Old Testament will not use the Divine Tetragrammaton and use LORD instead. I have avoided the NJB old testament precisely for this issue. I guess the full Bible is coming out next spring.

Timothy said...

And for the point of modern English, it was certainly the first Catholic edition without archaic English.

Devin said...

I wonder if this translation will be considered for use in one of lectionaries, since the negotiations around the ESV & NRSV failed? Probably depends in part on how inclusive the translation is I would imagine. Though with a new Pope, perhaps LA would be interpreted a bit more lightly.

Surly Hermit said...

Biblical Catholic,

It also helps if you understand how commas work in the English language. Let's look at this again:

"In 1966, Darton, Longman and Todd published the Jerusalem Bible, the first full translation of the Bible into modern English, with an acclaimed set of study notes."

(1) In 1966, DLT published the JB, the first full translation etc.
(2) In 1966, DLT published the JB, with an acclaimed set of study notes.
(1) + (2) = the original sentence quoted above.

"With an acclaimed set of study notes" modifies "In 1966, DLT published", not "the first full translation."

My point remains.

Timothy said...

Let's make sure we don't turn this post into an uncharitable argument.

Eric Barczak said...

Hmm not sure on this. I think one of the strengths of the JB (and to a lesser extent, the NJB) was how nicely it read. With the shift to a more formal equivalence, I fear the RNJB will be even less literary. Unlike in 66, we now have numerous bibles with generous annotations, so not sure another annotated bible is necessary. Or, are we getting even more annotations than NJB?

Tim, do you know if this is the official culmination of The Bible in its Traditions? Or, just a tweak along the path to that?

Timothy said...

Unfortunately I do not know at this point. Will let you know when I find out.

Ed Rio said...

Hopefully this revision will have some nice leather editions. Even bonded would be an improvement. Isn't the NJB only available in hard cover? I think the only JB currently being made is as well.

Anonymous said...

Timothy:

Just checked the UK publishers site and looks like the NRJB New Testament and Psalms will be published in paperback---at least in England. Could not find anything about the complete bible in 2018 at this time. Don't know if any US publisher will be publishing this edition. If the past is any indicator Doubleday may be the US publisher. Time will tell.

Also noticed that your friends at Saint Benedict Press / Tan Books will be releasing a themed RSV-CE later this year----The Spiritual Warfare Bible.


Lenny V

Timothy said...

Lenny,
Oh my, did you see the price? Better be more than a few glossy inserts to justify that price.

Anonymous said...

Timothy--

Yes I did see the price and honestly was turned off. Not excited with inserts. Purchased the Fathers of the Church Bible couple years ago with inserts and am completely turned off. Moving forward any new Bibles with inserts (at least for me) must be in-page---Like the Didache Bible.

Lenny V

Erap10 said...

Whoa TAN/SBP is doing that?!? That's so cool! Thx!

JDH said...

I kinda love that they just keep adding words to each revision. I assume the next one will be the New Revised New Jerusalem Bible.

There is something of an absurdity to Bible translation names when you start thinking about it. Best not to, I suppose. The title rarely gives any insight into the quality of the translation.

Timothy said...

Agreed!

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

I am looking forward to this.

Jason said...

"Inclusive language" was already widely and (theologically disastrously) used in the NJB.

A RNJB with even more extensive gender language will be horrendous - no longer a translation, but a modern PC-feminist inspired abomination.

When will we stop imposing modern cultural prejudice on an ancient text? The Bible was written in a very patriarchal culture. It is dishonest to translate it in a way that makes it seem like it was written in an "gender inclusive" manner.

How about studying the Biblical binary roles of male and female? Why impose the modern American heresy that male and female doesn't exist but only It?

Very disheartening. I won't be reading this Bible - I'll stick with my CTS JB or Confraternity or RSV-2CE or NABRE (Which uses inclusive language pretty responsibly) ....

Christopher Buckley said...

Yeah, I'm with surly hermit: The comma sets the meaning, and that meaning is incorrect.

"In 1966, Darton, Longman and Todd published the Jerusalem Bible, the first full translation of the Bible into modern English, with an acclaimed set of study notes."

The commas around the clause "the first full translation of the Bible into modern English" subordinate it to the rest of the sentence around it. In essence, they function like parentheses and the sentence can function without it to read:

"In 1966, Darton, Longman and Todd published the Jerusalem Bible with an acclaimed set of study notes."

The second comma (after "modern English") precludes the other meaning. Without it, it could be a modifying clause.

So, is the statement correct?

The original 1966 introduction to the RSV Catholic Edition states:

"Although twenty years have passed since the Enclyclical Letter [Divino Afflante Spiritu] first appeared, there is still no Catholic translation of the whole Bible from the original languages available to English-speaking readers, though at least two are well on the way to completion. It was in fact with a view to filling this rather obvious gap in the shortest possible time that some Catholic scholars considered the possibility of so editing the Revised Standard Version in 1952, as to make it acceptable to Catholic readers."

Presumably, those two English translations "well on the way to completion" from the original languages in 1966 were the Jerusalem Bible (1966) and the New American Bible (1970).

The Revised Standard Version Bible, Catholic Edition received its imprimatur on May 11, 1966.

The Jerusalem Bible received its imprimatur on July 4, 1966.

It was therefore the second full translation of the Bible from the original languages into modern English for Catholic readers.

Jason said...

Ah, but the RSV-CE was merely an adaptation of a Protestant Bible...

So the debate continues!

Vince A said...

"In 1966, Darton, Longman and Todd published the Jerusalem Bible, the first full translation of the Bible into modern English"

Perhaps by 'English' they meant British English as opposed to American.

Vince

Eric Barczak said...

Well, technically, I don't think the Brits think we speak "English" on the left side of the pond.

Biblical Catholic said...

It would perhaps be best to say that the 1966 Jerusalem Bible was the first authorized of the entire Bible, that is to say, all 73 books, in modern English. There is really no question that this is true.

There were previous Catholic translations in the 20th century, but they were either translations of only part of the Bible, such as the Kleist-Lily New Testament, or they were in archaic English, such as the Knox translation.

All the previous translations of the 20th century in modern English were either translations of the truncated Protestant Bible, such as the RSV, or they were one man translations that were not authorized by anyone such as Edgar Goodspeed translation, or the James Moffat translation.

The Jerusalem Bible actually was the first translation in modern English that included the entire Bible, not just the truncated Protestant canon.

Biblical Catholic said...

"It was therefore the second full translation of the Bible from the original languages into modern English for Catholic readers."

No, the RSV was translated for Protestant readers, by Protestant translators and was later turned into a Bible for Catholic by making small edits to the text in the New Testament. The 1966 RSV CE was identical in the Old Testament to the 1952 RSV OT, and as such, suffered from the same problems, including a bias in favor of liberal Protestantism. The RSV OT is not really a Catholic reading of the OT.

Now, if we wish to specify a translation of the full Bible into modern English from the original languages by Catholic scholars for Catholic readers, then the Jerusalem Bible doesn't really count because it's production was a rushed process and large portions of the text, especially in the OT, were actually translated from French rather than from the Hebrew, a fact which is acknowledged in the preface to the NJB.

In which case, the first translation of the full Bible into modern English from the original languages written for Catholic readers by Catholic scholars who translated it in such a way as to favor a Catholic interpretations of the Bible, then the first such example would be the 1970 NAB.

Matthew Dow said...

This is almost certainly the English version of the third edition of the "La Bible de Jérusalem", which was published in French in 1998 and obtained an imprimatur in 1999.

As far as I know, the New Jerusalem Bible was a version of the 1973 second edition in French, and the Jerusalem Bible was one of the first edition in French from 1956.

Note that I said "version" not "translation", because the earlier French bible was supposedly merely used as a reference in case of doubt.

So, this is not the "Bible in its Traditions", but simply the English version of the third edition delayed by almost a decade (which is par for the course).

The NJB is still the only bible I've read cover to cover, and I for one will certainly but this new edition.

Biblical Catholic said...

The 1966 Jerusalem Bible was supposed to have been translated from the original languages, using the French only as a guide for style and readability, and of course the notes were supposed to be a translation from the French notes. However, what actually happened is that the translation experienced serious delays due to a lack of qualified scholars to work on it and so towards the end as they were reaching the deadline they got desperate and started translation directly from the French because it was easier and less time consuming. This is admitted frankly in the preface to the New Jerusalem Bible.

The 1985 New Jerusalem went back to the original languages and translated completely, not referring to the French at all, even as a guide, and translating only the notes.

Francesco said...

Are you guys seeing what I'm seeing?

2017
RNJB (NT)

2016
NLT-CE
NCV (NT)

2013
New Community Bible

2011
NABRE

2010
Revised Grail Psalms

2006
RSV-2CE

When this blog started back in 2008 it had been 17 years since the NRSV-CE and the latest revision to the NAB (the RNAB Psalms) came out. The RSV-2CE was new and somewhat mysterious and who knew when we'd get the RNAB OT. It seems, however, we managed to experience the most prolific period in Catholic biblical translation since the 1960s without noticing it.

Timothy said...

Don't forget the MSG-CE, even though it isn't officially approved.

But your main point is excellent.

Francesco said...

The list of Catholic translations grows even longer if you include the non-approved translations. These come to mind:

2013
The Message Catholic/Ecumenical Edition
Nicholas King Bible

2012
CEB-CE

2009
ESV-wA
Catholic Public Domain Version

Am I missing any?

Matthew Doe said...

"The 1985 New Jerusalem went back to the original languages and translated completely, not referring to the French at all, even as a guide, and translating only the notes."

The only way of this being true would be if the English translator team had in fact no knowledge of the French language at all. However, they did translate the notes from the French, so that's not the case.

This is just advertisement bollocks fed to customers who for some weird reason consider it a mark of quality if the translator ignores the hard work of their French counterparts in the same academic project.

Of course any translator who knows enough French to translate the footnotes also looks at what they did for the French translation. It would be silly not to do so.

Biblical Catholic said...

"This is just advertisement bollocks fed to customers who for some weird reason consider it a mark of quality if the translator ignores the hard work of their French counterparts in the same academic project."

What point could there possibly be in consulting a French translation at all?

The point is that they made a genuinely new translation from the original languages which was NOT what was with the original Jerusalem Bible. The original Jerusalem Bible was supposed to follow the French in terms of 'style', in order words, the goal was to reflect the style and tone of the French original. This goal was dropped with the second edition, with the goal being changed to produce a translation that reflected their own style, rather than trying to imitate someone else's style. This change is no doubt a large part of the reason why the NJB is much easier to read and with far fewer clunky or awkward passages compared to the original.

Matthew Doe said...

"What point could there possibly be in consulting a French translation at all?"

Have you ever tried translating anything of substance? The idea that translators would wrestle only with the original language texts themselves given the existence of many prior translations in the target language is ... naive. Without a single doubt, the translators were comparing their renderings against other translations all the time. And given that the French Jerusalem bible is even officially recognised as decisive concerning translation choices, there is just no question that it would have been a constant companion.

"This change is no doubt a large part of the reason why the NJB is much easier to read and with far fewer clunky or awkward passages compared to the original."

I've heard it said that the JB is not particularly good considered as a translation. I've not heard it said that it reads badly considered as an English text. Rather to the contrary, most people seem to agree that the JB reads really well. The NJB improves on the JB in terms of actually translating, not in literary quality.

Anonymous said...

I can see consistency of translation requiring reference to a "standard" not in the original language. For example, what moved on the primordial formless ocean: God's spirit (trinitarian), God's breath (Knox, very lovely), a mighty wind (meh?). Apparently all three are legitimate translations. The Vulgate uses "spiritus" so if I wanted a "Revised New Catholic Bible tranlated from the original languages with reference to the Vulgate" I'd choose "spirit." How is the RNJB referencing the French any different?- AJ

Biblical Catholic said...

"The idea that translators would wrestle only with the original language texts themselves given the existence of many prior translations in the target language is ... naive."

Except that the receptor language is English, not French. If they were trying to translate INTO French, then yes, looking at other French translations would be useful, but if you're translating into ENGLISH then there is no more point in looking at a French translation than there is in looking at translations into any other language. Why stop with French? Let's look at translations into German, Italian, and Spanish as well! The Bible has been translated into 250 languages, let's look at all of them!


Yes, in graduate school I translated a 400 page textbook in Algebraic Geometry from French into English, and this book had never been translated before, so my translation was the first. It took me nearly two years, and that was a technical textbook for which there was really very little ambiguity and very little real question of how to translate it, as almost every word in the text had an exact one to one equivalent in English, I rarely had to search for what word to use.

Translation is hard, there's no way around that, even translating something as simple and transparent as a very technical textbook is hard and it takes a very long time.

If you're taking the task seriously, then translating the Bible is a task that is going to take decades, not years, but decades.

The New English Bible took 24 years. The 1970 NAB took 26 years.

Now, if you're going to start randomly comparing your translation to random translations in other languages, let's look at this was translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, just for no reason whatsoever, then the only thing that is going to happen is that it's going to exponentially increase the length of time it takes to complete the project. Now it is not a project that takes merely 20 years, it could take 50 years, or longer.

Llywellyn O'Brien said...

But it isn't random, this Bible was meant to be in the same spirit as the French one, like a sibling. They didn't just pick any translation, they simply set out to be guided where there were a few acceptable English renderings by the choices of the French version (which was alrady known to be a good one) in order to retain some shades of the original style.

This makes total sense to me, not every translation needs to, or should, reinvent the wheel, whether translatiors are guided by another English translation (see the RSV et al) or another language doesn't seem a problem to me.

Matthew Doe said...

Biblical Catholic, while the translation is into English, not French, it is part of a bigger academic project, led by a particular institute: "École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem". Note the words at the end there? And that French institute always first produces a French translation with its brand name ("Jerusalem"). For the JB, the influence of that French translation is so strong that some people (including the editor of the NJB and now RNJB) claim that much of it was more a translation from the French rather than from the original texts. For the NJB, it has been explicitly stated by the translation team that the French translation would be consulted where translation choices needed to be made.

This might seem like a small thing to you if your translation experience is limited to a technical text that basically allowed a one-to-one translation (i.e., where Google translate nowadays could do your job in milliseconds). However, for complex works of literature, like the bible, many choices must be made all the time. The statement by the NJB team hence simply means that they were consulting this particular French translation throughout and very regularly. They may have consulted other French translations, or translations into other languages. But we do not know that. We know, however, that they consulted the French Jerusalem bible copiously (1st edition for the JB, 2nd edition for the NJB).

It stands to reason that the very same will happen concerning the RJNB, i.e., that the translation process will be accompanied by frequent references to the 3rd French edition. There is little doubt that the RJNB is coming into existence only because that French 3rd edition has been published (almost a decade ago). It's the same brand, the same academic project and institute, and indeed, the same editor of the English translation. And I bet any future English version of the "Bible in its Traditions" (the next venture of that French institute) will once more follow a prior French one.

Leighton said...

I think Matthew is correct. In the introduction to the NJB, Fr. Henry Wansbrough gives the impression that he had to consult with the director of the French version, Pere Benoit, when translating, in order to be true to the vision of the project. The NJB is an English translation done in a certain translation tradition, and so consultation with the French version makes sense. While the Jerusalem Bible was criticized for being much more influenced by the French than the original languages, and for being pedestrian at times, it was especially praised for the exceptional, scholarly notes that accompanied the biblical text. This tradition of excellent scholarship continued in the NJB, and one hopes it will, too, with the next English edition.

Mark D. said...

I'm a fan of the New Testament translated by Richmond Latimore. In the preface, Latimore explains that when he translated literally, just putting the text down in the way a Greek scholar would, it often came out pretty close to the RSV. The point being, it is hard to make a "unique" translation at this point if one is going to follow a literal translation style. So, it wouldn't surprise me that the Jerusalem Bible "family" of translations would seek to incorporate insights from the French translation tradition. Otherwise, what's the point of having it?