Monday, April 23, 2018

Guest Post: One Approved Translation per Territory (w/ Fr. Neil)


Given some confusion in the discussion about the possibility of using the RNJB as the basis of a new Lectionary, I thought it might be helpful to explain a little the current rationale of having only one Biblical translation per language per bishops’ conference.  So that, for example, the Bishops’ Conference of Canada is welcome to have one Bible translation for their French Lectionary and another for their English, but is not allowed to use both the NRSV and the NAB and have two English language Lectionaries.

Immediately after Vatican II, the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) in Rome approved multiple lectionaries for the same region. So that in the United States three lectionaries were approved: The Jerusalem Bible, The New American Bible and the Revised Standard Version. In Ireland, England & Wales and Scotland, the Jerusalem Bible and the Revised Standard Version were both approved.  I am not sure which translations were approved in other regions. When the current US Lectionary that uses an adaptation of a revision (of a revision) of the New American Bible was approved in 1998 and 2001 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops themselves withdrew permission to use the three older Lectionaries (JB, RSV and NAB 1st ed.).

In 2001 the CDW published Liturgiam Authenticam the Fifth Instruction “for the Right Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council.”

This instruction radically transformed the translation philosophy of the Catholic Church. In number 36 this document says:

36. In order that the faithful may be able to commit to memory at least the more important texts of the Sacred Scriptures and be formed by them even in their private prayer, it is of the greatest importance that the translation of the Sacred Scriptures intended for liturgical use be characterized by a certain uniformity and stability, such that in every territory there should exist only one approved translation, which will be employed in all parts of the various liturgical books. This stability is especially to be desired in the translation of the Sacred Books of more frequent use, such as the Psalter, which is the fundamental prayer book of the Christian people. The Conferences of Bishops are strongly encouraged to provide for the commissioning and publication in their territories of an integral translation of the Sacred Scriptures intended for the private study and reading of the faithful, which corresponds in every part to the text that is used in the Sacred Liturgy.

This desire for a single translation was not retroactive.  But when any new liturgical book was approved in a region, permission to use any older translations was automatically withdrawn. However, in Ireland while the JB Lectionary is basically the only Lectionary used at the parish level, the current JB Lectionary pre-dates 2001, so the 1970 RSV Lectionary is still approved for use. However if a new Lectionary was approved for use in Ireland, the JB and the RSV would automatically be withdrawn.   

So from a technical point of view, the fact that the CDW has approved a Lectionary for one region, that permission does not carry to other countries. So if a RNJB Lectionary was approved in Ireland, technically it could not be used in a celebration in the U.S. This can be seen, for example, in the case of the RSV. Ignatius Press prepared a Lectionary based on their own edition of the RSV (The Second Catholic Edition). This was approved as the Lectionary in the Antilles. However many US parishes considered adopting it.  In the April 2006 edition of the Newsletter of the Committee on the Liturgy of the USCCB carried this clarification:

Approved Editions of the Lectioanry for Mass
The Secretariat has recently received many inquiries concerning the use of an edition of the Lectionary for Mass based on the Revised Standard Version of the Scriptures and available from Ignatius Press. This Lectionary has not been approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America. Only the New American Bible edition of the Lectionary for Mass, published in 1998 and 2001 may be used at celebration of the Liturgy in this country.

However, as I noted in my original post, Pope Francis has officially said that the translation principals of Liturgiam Authenticam are to be revised. So it is possible that a bishops’ conference could ask for more than one Lectionary to be used at the same time. There is no way to know what the guidelines that replace Liturgiam Authenticam will say in this regard. I personally hope that they will allow the bishops to make a pastoral decision that best suits their region. Although it is also worth noting that the market forces of printing Lectionaries, hand missals, devotional books, worship aids, etc. make it impractical to have too many editions in use in a given area.

At the end of the day, if the bishops ask for a particular liturgical bool to be recognized, the CDW may well grant their request. This is the case in English-speaking Africa. They use a 2012 edition of the RSV Lectionary (which form their website looks very like the Ignatius Press Lectionary and a 2009 edition of the Liturgy of the Hours, that uses the New American Bible. Surely Liturgiam Autheticam 36 mandated that they use one translation for these liturgical books that are boith almost entirely composed of scripture passages and published within 3 years of each other, and which must have been in preparation at the same time. This shows that even before Pope Francis said that Liturgiam Authenticam was no longer fit for purpose, during the time-period when many liturgists thought that the CDW was being very inflexible in their supervision of liturgical translation, that it was still possible to have more than one Scripture in use in a given region.


Neil Xavier O'Donoghue is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He currently ministers in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland, where he serves as vice rector at Redemptoris Mater Seminary. He has studied at Seton Hall University, the University of Notre Dame, and St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctorate in Theology from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

Friday, April 20, 2018

DLT's New RNJB Website

Darton, Longman, & Todd have created a lovely new website to showcase the upcoming release of the full Revised New Jerusalem Bible.  On the website, you can find info regarding the various editions (RNJB, NJB, JB) that are currently in print by DLT, but I would image that future editions of the RNJB will be posted as well.  You will also find a three part interview with Fr. Henry Wansbrough along with some other biographical and historical information.  Some really good stuff there, so make sure to check it out.

We will be hearing back from Fr. Henry at some point in the future after he is finished answering the questions we submitted to him.  So, stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Third Sunday of Easter: Liturgy of the Word Comparison (w/ Fr. Neil)

First reading

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary

Acts 3:13-15,17-19 (additions to Biblical text in Lectionary are underlined)

Peter said to the people: 13 ‘You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. 14 It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer 15 while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses.
17 ‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; 18 this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. 19 Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.’



Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

Acts 3:13-15,17-19 (additions to Biblical text to match the original JB Lectionary are underlined)
Peter said to the people: 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had given the verdict to release him. 14 It was you who rejected the Holy and Righteous One, and asked that a murderer should be released to you 15 while you killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead, and to that fact we are witnesses.
17 ‘Now I know, brothers, that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers; 18 but in this way God has brought to fulfilment what he foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19 So you must repent and be converted, so that your sins may be wiped out.


I am not sure where the original JB found the first phrase “You are Israelites.” Maybe it comes from the previous verse. The repetition of the name “Jesus” in the JB is not in the Greek. In V. 14 the Greek Dikaios changes from “Just One” in the JB to “Righteous One” in the RNJB. Personally its not a big deal for me, but I know that some people have strong preferences for one or the other translation of the word. It is worth noting that V. 17 retains the word “brothers.” I imagine that this is because Peter is addressing an exclusively male crowd, but it is interesting to see that the “inclusive language” is not applied indiscriminately, but rather is an attempt to truly translate what the original author meant in the language of today. In V. 18 it is worth noting that the RNJB changes the translation of Christos from “Christ” to “Messiah.” This is perhaps an example of the original JB being more literal than the RNJB, although it could also be argued that we are dealing with an Old Testament allusion and that, in this context, Messiah is a better translation than Christ. In V. 19 in the RNJB uses “be converted” which is a more literal translation that the JB’s “turn to God.”


Second reading

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary


1 John 2:1-5 (no changes to Biblical text in Lectionary)

1 I am writing this, my children,
to stop you sinning;
but if anyone should sin,
we have our advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ, who is just;
2 he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away,
and not only ours,
but the whole world’s.
3 We can be sure that we know God
only by keeping his commandments.
4 Anyone who says, ‘I know him’,
and does not keep his commandments,
is a liar,
refusing to admit the truth.
5 But when anyone does obey what he has said,
God’s love comes to perfection in him.



Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018


1 John 2:1-5
1 My children, I am writing this so that you do not sin;
but if anyone does sin,
we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ, the righteous.
2 He is the sacrifice to expiate our sins,
and not only ours,
but also those of the whole world.
3 In this way we know
that we have come to know him,
if we keep his commandments.
4 Whoever says, ‘I know him’
and does not keep his commandments
is a liar,
and truth has no place in him.
5 But anyone who does keep his word,
in such a one God’s love has truly reached perfection.


In V.1 we have another example of the RNJB preferring “righteous” to “just.” The use of “expiation” is probably a more technical and exact translation in V.2. In V.4 “refusing to admit the truth” of the JB has been replaced by “truth has no place in him.” This is slightly more literal, but there is no real word for “place” in the Greek original. In V. 5 the JB’s “God’s love comes to perfection in him” I replaced by the more inclusive “in such a one God’s love has truly reached perfection.”



Gospel

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary


Luke 24:35-48 (additions to Biblical text in Lectionary are underlined)

The disciples 35 told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
36 They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ 37 In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ 40 And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. 41 Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42 And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, 43 which he took and ate before their eyes.
44 Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ 45 He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses to this.’



Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

Luke 24:35-48 (additions to Biblical text to match the original JB Lectionary are underlined)

The disciples 35 recounted what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
36 They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ 37 Staggered and frightened, they thought they were seeing a spirit. 38 But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these misgivings rising in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves; a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ 40 And as he said this he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 As in their joy they still could not believe it, and were amazed, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42 And they offered him a piece of grilled fish; 43 he took it and ate it before their eyes.
44 Then he told them, ‘This is what I said to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, ‘It is written that in this way the Messiah should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses to this.’

In V.37 “ghost” is replaced by “spirit” is probably a better translation of pneuma. In V. dialogismoi is translated as “doubts” in the original JB. Now it is translated as “misgivings.” The Greek means “reasoned thinking,” I’m sure “doubt” is not the best translation. However, I’m not sure if the new translation is perfect either, although it does get the meaning across. In V. 46 se again see the word “Messiah” replacing “Christ.” Both versions are correct translations. Chrsitos is the Greek translation of the Hebrew māšîaḥ. In English both Christ and Messiah can translate either term, but it is interesting to note this preference of the RNJB for Messiah. In this case we are not in the same Old Testament context as we saw in the first reading.


Again this week I think that the RNJB retains much familiar language, but that it is a good updating of the original JB translation. There is no radical difference between the two versions, but the newer one is more precise. Given that sooner or later the Lectionary needs to be revised, the RNJB does seem to be a more usable translation that is in touch with contemporary speech patterns and is more literal in a technical sense. Unfortunately, many people wouldn’t notice if the Biblical translation used in the Lectionary was changed.  But for those that would, I think that this new edition does so in as painless a way as possible.


Neil Xavier O'Donoghue is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He currently ministers in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland, where he serves as vice rector at Redemptoris Mater Seminary. He has studied at Seton Hall University, the University of Notre Dame, and St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctorate in Theology from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: Angelus Press 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Top to Bottom: Angelus Press EF Missal, MTF OF Missal,
Baronius Press EF Missal

Over the years, I have attended the Extraordinary Form of the Mass on probably a little under a dozen occasions.  I happen to live in an area where there are a number of options each weekday and Sunday for the EF.  One of the things I enjoy doing, particularly before Mass, is to see what Missal is the most popular in the congregation.  By far, at least in the EF Masses I have attended, the Missal I have seen most often is the Angelus Press 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal.  And since I know that there are at least a couple people who read this blog and attend the EF, I contacted Angelus Press to see if I could obtain a review copy of their 1962 Missal.  They graciously accepted that offer.  I am happy to post some of my random thoughts and photos of this Missal after having spent some time with it.  All of these observations come from someone who is a bit of an outsider to the Extraordinary Form, one who will likely only attend on occasion.  When I do attend the EF, this Missal will certainly accompany me and be an exceptional aid to participating in the Mass.

One of the things I have noticed in many of the pre-Vatican II missals that I have seen is that they are true works of art.  They typically have a classic look and feel to them, along with being accompanied with many beautifully rendered images.  This missal is no exception.  The total page count is 1980 (not counting the endpages) and the size is 6.75 x 4.2.  It fits very well in the hand, and in many ways I prefer the size and feel of the Angelus Press missal to the Baronius missal, even though they are very similar.

Note the extensive introduction
The volume is smythe sewn, which should be mandatory for not only Missals but every Catholic bible (in leather) that is produced.  This will ensure that it will last, which for something as personal as a daily missal, is a necessity.  One of the things I treasure most is an Italian language prayer book/missal which was brought to the United States by one of my relatives.  It is over 100 years old now but remains in great shape due to it being sewn.  I think about it often as I, myself, have young children.  What better gift to pass down to a son or daughter than a well-made missal or bible, that has been lovingly used and prayed with by a parent?   The smythe sewn binding is very firm and tight.  At first, it may seem to be a bit too tight, at least in comparison to, say, the Baronius 1962 Missal. Over the time I have used it, it has loosened up a bit and isn't really an issue.  In regards to the cover, it is a leather-like Skivertex polymer gold-embossed flexible cover.  Like the binding, it is a bit stiff at first.  It will soften a bit over time.  There are five liturgically colored ribbons which fit the needs for the occasional flipping that any daily missal (EF or OF) makes necessary.  To round out the ascetic quality of this volume, it comes with gilt edges which are also rounded.  (For some reason, I particularly like the feel of rounded edges on my higher quality book.)  

Angelus Press edition on top
When you open the missal, the first thing that will strike you is that the color of the page is a bit yellow-ish.  When you compare it to the Baronius Missal, the differences become quite evident.  This will be, perhaps, the biggest issue one will have to decide on if they are deciding between the two.  Depending on the type of lighting there is at your local EF parish may ultimately be what decides it for you.  After using it on a couple of occasions, I have found that I'm quite ok with the Angelus Press (yellow-ish) pages.  It was not an issue for me in any way at Mass.  The lighting in the church where I attended the EF wasn't particularly great, but I still had no issue reading along with the Mass parts.  

This is an new typesetting and not a photographic reproduction, which was often the case before release of Summorum Pontificum.  All the liturgical texts are in Latin and English, with the biblical texts coming from the venerable Douay-Rheims (Challoner) translation.  The words are in black, with the rubrics being in a the traditional red.  The liturgical text is that of the 1962 typical edition of the Missale Romanum. The liturgical calendar is keyed to that edition and it includes the revised Holy Week Liturgy of 1962.  The Latin is found on the inside of the page, slightly smaller than the English.  This edition contains plenty of commentary and explanations to help the person who is new to EF utilize this Missal.  

Note the commentary on the right side of
the page
One of the most helpful additions to this Missal, particularly as one who does not attend the EF every week, are the inclusion of the commentaries that are found on the right side of the page in Ordinary of the Mass section.  As one who has attended the OF all my life, I learned a number of things which has enlightened my appreciation of both forms of the Mass.  

Angelus Press notes that this is the "most complete missal ever."  If you to their website, they list the additional features that this missal contains.  It is quite extensive.  Contained in this missal are plenty of prayers and devotions which one could use outside of Mass throughout the liturgical year.  As one who has used the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the past, I was grateful to see that they included Vespers and Compline for Sundays from the traditional office.  While I don't mind the repetition of the Little Office, it is certainly nice to be able to change things up a bit once a week on Sundays.  (They also included Vespers for parts of the Triduum as well in this edition.) This, of course, reminds me that Angelus Press has a lovely Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary in paperback, which includes the Office of the Dead and is very readable.  That, with their 1962 Missal, would make a great pair for daily prayer.

Overall, I am very pleased with this Missal by Angelus Press and encourage those who attend the EF to consider it when looking for a Missal.  In comparison with any missal that is currently available for the OF, I find that the Midwest Theological Forum Daily Roman Missal comes the closest to it in quality.  Yet, I really enjoy the format and feel of the Angelus Press version considerably more, as well as finding it to be more helpful in the additional prayer resources are included in it.  


Thank you, again, to Angelus Press for providing this review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

N.B. If anyone is interested in obtaining a very good edition of various editions of the 1962 Missal, please email me.  I have obtained a few additional copies and would be happy to part with them for a reasonable offer.

Vespers for Sundays


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Second Sunday of Easter: Liturgy of the Word Comparison (w/ Fr. Neil)


Second Sunday of Easter (Year B)

First reading

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary

Acts 4:32-35 (no changes to Biblical text in Lectionary)

32 The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.
33 The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.
34 None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, 35 to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

Acts 4:32-35

32 The whole group of believers was of one heart and mind; no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.
33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
34 None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the sale, 35 and laid it at the feet of the apostles; it was then distributed to each as any had need.

Comparing these passages it is clear that the RNJB is fundamentally a revision of the JB and many phrases remain unchanged. Verse 32 in the RNJB uses “one” heart and mind which is a more literal reading of the Greek. The RNJB uses “private ownership,” which eliminates the need for “his” and is clearer. In Verse 33 the RNJB moves the phrase with great power” to the start of the verse, again in keeping with the Greek. The change from “respect” to “grace” is probably a better translation of the Greek “charis.”  In Verse 34 “proceeds” is a more literal translation that “money.” Again in verse 35 “laid it at the feet” is a more exact translation than “present it.”  The more literal translation continues with the RNJB’s use of “each.”


Second reading

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary


1 John 5:1-6 (no changes to Biblical text in Lectionary)

1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ
has been begotten by God;
and whoever loves the Father that begot him
loves the child whom he begets.
2 We can be sure that we love God’s children
if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us;
3 this is what loving God is –
keeping his commandments;
and his commandments are not difficult,
4 because anyone who has been begotten by God
has already overcome the world;
this is the victory over the world –
our faith.
5 Who can overcome the world?
Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God:
6 Jesus Christ who came by water and blood,
not with water only,
but with water and blood;
with the Spirit as another witness –
since the Spirit is the truth.


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018


1 John 5:1-6

1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ
is a child of God;
and whoever loves the Father
loves the son.
2 In this we know that we love God’s children,
Whenever we love God and keep his commandments,
3 for this is what the love of God is:
keeping his commandments;
and his commandments are not burdensome,
4 because whatever is born of God
conquers the world,
and this is the victory that has overcome the world –
our faith.
5 Who can overcome the world
But the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 He it is who came by water and blood,
Jesus Christ,
not with water alone,
but with water and blood,
And it is the Spirit that bears witness
since the Spirit is Truth.

In V.1 the RNJB replaces “is begotten by” with “is a child of.” In this case the original JB might actually be more literal (Gk: gegennetai). But the new translation is easier to understand. The removal of the “begottens” in the next sentence is, perhaps, less faithful to the Greek, but it is easier to understand (particular in a proclaimed text). V. 3 the “Burdensome” of the RNJB is probably a more literal translation than the “difficult” of the JB.  In v.5 “the one” of the RNJB is perhaps a better translation than “the man” of the JB (plus it is more sensitive to Gender-inclusivity).



Gospel

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary


John 20:19-31 (no changes to Biblical text in Lectionary)

19 In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, 20 and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, 21 and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
22 After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
24 Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ 26 Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. 27 Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Jesus said to him:
‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
30 There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. 31 These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

John 20:19-31

19 In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, 20 and after this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced at seeing the Lord, 21 and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
22 After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone’s sins,
they are forgiven;
If you retain anyone’s sins,
they are retained.’
24 Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ but he answered, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and put my finger in the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ 26 Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were closed, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Jesus said to him:
‘Do you believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
30 Jesus did many other signs in the sight of the disciples, which are are not written in this book. 31 These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

In v.20 the RNJB is more literal when it qualifies “and after this.”  In v.25 the RNJB is more faithful to the Greek when it translates typon (as in “type”) as “marks” rather than “holes.” V.27 has “doubt no longer but believe” in the JB, this is a translation that is very familiar from prayer, however, it must be admitted the RNJB is more literal when it translates the phrase “Do no doubt but believe.” In v.30 and v.31 “written” is a more literal translation than “recorded.”


Looking at the three readings together I would say that overall the new translation of the RNJB is more exact than the JB.  I think it is more than fair to say that that the translation has been improved to be true to the promise on the back cover of the RNJB NT to have a ‘Clear read style,’ formal equivalence and gender inclusion.  My Greek is far from perfect, but time and again, to my poor Greek, the new edition seems to be a more faithful and clearer translation.

One final thought that comes to mind is that no translation is perfect. It is very dangerous to build a serious theology on a translation. Every translation is imperfect. This is why it is important to have Scripture scholars who can explain the Word of God to us in a particular academic manner. However, more importantly, when Scripture is proclaimed in the liturgical assembly it becomes “alive” in this privileged place. It is proclaimed to bring us to meet the person of Christ. Therefore it is important to interpret Scripture within the tradition of the Church (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 115-119). Nonetheless as a liturgist, looking at these two translations, I consider the RNJB to be superior and more suited to liturgical use than the JB.

Please feel free to add any thoughts you might have in the comments.  I am particularly interested to hear from anyone living in a region where the JB is the current Lectionary, as I personally think the aspect of continuity (which is better judged by those who have been listening to this translation in the liturgy since Vatican II) is an important element in the argument for the desirability of replacing the JB with the RNJB in the Lectionary in these countries.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

New Resource from the École biblique

On April 1, the École biblique in Jerusalem launched PRIXM, its weekly newsletter in English.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

NT Textual Basis Question to Consider

Looking ahead to more information about the Revised New Jerusalem Bible many readers are curious about the base texts used. If it uses the Nestle Aland 28th edition of the Greek New Testament (NA28), it would be the first Catholic translation to do so. (Note: In her recent responses to reader questions, the USCCB's Mary Sperry indicated that the NABRE NT revision team is working from NA28, but that text won't be ready for several more years. We can assume that the SPL's planned revision to the NRSVwill likewise be based on NA28 for the New Testament).

Currently the only major Bible translation to base the NT on NA28 is the new Christian Standard Bible (CSB), the successor to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). This is important, because unlike the past several incremental revisions, for the NA28 "In the Catholic Epistles, the text has been edited in line with the Editio Critica Maior and its use of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). The result is a change in just over 30 places." 

Arguably that's the most concentrated set of changes introduced to the main text of the Greek NT since the 26th edition in 1979. That's when roughly 700 differences made their way by scholarly consensus out of the margins and into the main text of the New Testament. And this time, they're all concentrated in the Catholic Epistles.

SInce the Catholic epistles contain many of the books in the NT that have often proven problematic for Reformation Protestants - even to the point of being disputed - I'd love to know more about what those 30 changes mean for future translations.

Are there any Greek New Testament scholars who could survey the 30 changes in the Catholic Epistles of NA28, and help readers understand them? Ideally, we might compare how those changes played out in a Protestant translation (the CSB) and a Catholic one (presumably the RNJB).

Any takers?

Thanks to Chris for submitting this question for consideration.