Friday, February 9, 2018

Question(s) of the Day

With the RNJB being combined with the Revised Grail Psalms, does this open up the possibility of the eventual revised NABRE being paired with the RGP?  If so, is that a good thing or would you rather keep the current 2011 NABRE Psalms?


straykat said...

I don't think this has any more of a chance than the original French Oficiel/NAB equivalent being combined with La Bible De Jerusalem. Or Spain and their own ECC Sagrada Biblia and Spanish Jerusalem edition. Both of which have a far larger readership of "Jerusalem", but now the Bishops Conference bibles are gaining in popularity (it seems).

I think the various National Bishops Conferences are all slowly revising the scriptures and liturgical materials in their own way. This is one reason why I praised the NAB the other day... no other denomination has this much organization behind their scriptures. It's very cool.

Devin said...

Is it possible? Yes. Likely? Don't know. Maybe one edition could be published as such. Or perhaps a Bible could be published with both Psalm translations?

Most Catholics who just want one bible (and not frequent visitors to the the Catholic Blogsphere) really want a bible that matches what they hear at Mass. Since some form of the RGP is going to be used, it would make sense in a rational world to have those psalms in the NABRE. But we don't necessarily live in a world that makes sense.

straykat said...

For a supposed country falling away from faith, I'm especially envious (in a good way) of the French atm. They have an awesome Bible translation. With the first purpose of public reading, and study second. AND minimal non translation related notes (just intros). AND faithful Christological renderings more in line with the LXX. And great editions to go with it:

And all the matching liturgical materials to boot. And it took them only a couple of years to adjust all of their parishes to it.. even adjusting the Lord's Prayer by last December (to something close to what Pope Francis just pointed out about the line "Lead us not into temptation").

If there's anything French to learn from, it's this.

Meanwhile, the Spanish is already being praised as the Castellian Vulgate. We need to learn from our family overseas.

Anonymous said...

I hope so. American catholics need a written Bible which matches what we hear at mass [brackets aside]. As for preference, neither translation speaks to me as much as the RSV or Knox, but of the two I'll take the Grail Psalms as more lyrical to my ears.

straykat said...

There are a few things to prefer the NAB. In some cases, it follows the LXX. Which is more in line with how much of the church has read it:

Many bulls have surrounded me,
fierce bulls of Bashan close me in.
Against me they open wide their jaws,
like lions, rending and roaring. (Grail)

Dogs surround me;
a pack of evildoers closes in on me.
They have pierced my hands and my feet
I can count all my bones. (NAB)

And I prefer "Sheol" to hell. There is no hell to the ancient Israelites..and also a bit off for Peter to think of hell (a much more loaded word in modern language), when referring to Christ. He's talking about the corruption of death (LXX - "Nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption." :

Ps 16

Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices;
my body also dwells secure,
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
nor let your devout one see the pit.
You will show me the path to life,
abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.

straykat said...

On a sidenote, I'm curious what the new NRSV does with that Psalm 21/22 verse. "They pierced my hands and feet". They say they'll look into more recent discoveries. Only the Masoretic puts the strange "like a lion my hands and feet". Most modern translations stick to the idea that the Rabbis kept a pure text. When the Dead Sea Scrolls now shows what the LXX and Syriac always did.

It's also worth pointing out that verse 23 "Save me from the lion’s mouth" has a completely different word for lion in Hebrew.

It's funny how this strangeness with words always happens to Christological texts :)

Bob said...

The NABRE does not market itself as such, but is an annotated study bible along the lines of the most scholarly NRSV editions. I don't think they will use a psalter that while beautiful is of limited study value. (Compared with the more literal NABRE psalter which is heavily annotated.) I say this as someone who in many cases prefers reading the Revised Grail Psalms.

That being said I think there is a NRSV edition with the Grail psalms, so who knows. If it happens I'm sure it will be a business decision and not a spiritual one.

Michael Demers said...

We could do worse than follow the Canadians. Their lectionary is based on the NRSV. Let's join them.
It'll be a long time, if ever, before the NABRE OT is incorporated into the American Lectionary with or without the proposed revision of the RGP which was botched by the CDWDS back in 2010. Pathetic but typical.

straykat said...

At least the French speaking Canadians adopted that French translation I mentioned above.

So far I only see the Christological stuff setting some of the NAB OT back. Language wise, I don't see a problem. Although I noticed a passage in Genesis that has "hoodwinked" instead of deceived or something more neutral. I think it's the story when Abraham deceived people about Sarah being his sister. Apparently the Hebrew is using an similar idiom, so maybe that was the reasoning behind the NAB. But it's not very timeless language, to my ears.

Biblical Catholic said...

"On a side note, I'm curious what the new NRSV does with that Psalm 21/22 verse. "They pierced my hands and feet". They say they'll look into more recent discoveries. Only the Masoretic puts the strange "like a lion my hands and feet". Most modern translations stick to the idea that the Rabbis kept a pure text. When the Dead Sea Scrolls now shows what the LXX and Syriac always did."

Since 1960's, it has become increasingly clear that the Masoretic text is badly corrupted. In fact, it has become increasingly clear that over the centuries, the text has been deliberately tampered with to try to counter the spread of Christianity by deliberately re-wording passages that Christians have traditionally interpreted as referring to Christ in such a way as to make a Christian interpretation of the passage impossible.

It is not at all difficult to see how this could have happened, after a few centuries of having Christian missionaries quote certain OT passages at them as 'proof texts', the scribes decided 'let's make a small alteration here, one which doesn't really change the meaning, but which makes it impossible for Christians to quote this text back at us again.' And over 1,000 years, those small alterations add up.

Psalm 22 is only one of several dozen places where this has happened. It is commonly argued by Christian apologists that the Dead Sea Scrolls have confirmed that the Masoretic text is accurate, but that's not really true. In fact, where the Masoretic text and the text of the Septuagint differ, the Dead Sea Scrolls usually side with the Septuagint against the Masoretic text. This is true not merely of Christological passage like Psalm 22, but also in relatively minor places, like the description of Goliath's height in 1 Samuel.

Most modern translations follow the Masoretic text in saying that Goliath's height was '6 cubits and a span', which would make Goliath nearly 10 feet tall, which is biologically impossible. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Dead Sea Scrolls all say that Goliath's height was 'four cubits and a span', which translates a much more reasonable height of around 7 feet tall, surely a 'giant' to the Israelites who would have been around 5 foot 6. It is clear the Masoretic text is wrong on Goliath's height, so why does every single modern translation follow the Masoretic text on this point, even though pretty much all scholars agree the text is wrong? There is this blind worship of the Masoretic text among Christian scholars that makes no sense.

straykat said...

Very interesting. I didn't pay attention to the Goliath height difference before.

On a sidenote, I wonder if all Israelites were that short (or perhaps that's just average even today?). I thought it was interesting that the man in the Shroud of Turin is possibly 5'11 or even a bit over 6'0, depending on cloth stretching and whether his knees were bent from rigormortis. This isn't ancient Israel, but our Lord's period is still pretty old.

Biblical Catholic said...

I wouldn't consider 5'6 to be 'short', in the Bronze Age, it would have been about average height. We know the average height was around 5'6 or 5'7 by analysis of skeletons and whatnot found in graves dating from that era. Average height was around 5'6 or 5'7 into the 20th century, when, due to superior nutrition and medicine, the average height is about 5'9, only a little taller than the average height during the Bronze Age.

I know the issue with Goliath's height because of all the time I've spent arguing with Internet atheists about the supposed 'absurdity' of the Bible. A 'Cubit' was around 18 inches, so 'six cubits and a span' would make Goliath over 108 inches tall, or over 9 feet tall, which is biologically impossible. Even persons with gigantism (consider Andre the Giant) can only get as tall as about 7 foot 6 before their heart gives out and they die. The internet atheists constantly throw the 'six cubits and a span' at you saying the unrealistic height is proof the story is completely made up.

So I did some research, by which I mean, I looked at the footnote in the margin of the average Bible, which ALWAYS notes in this passage that 'six cubits and a span' is what it says in the Masoretic Text, but the Vulgate, Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls all say 'four cubits and span', which works out to around 7 feet tall, which is a realistic height, we all know there are actual people over 7 feet tall, many of them in the NBA. The fact that the translators always translate this verse with a footnote that the Septuagint says four cubits and a span indicates, I think, that they know the Masoretic text is wrong. But yet, for reasons that escape me, they all follow the Masoretic text anyway and relegate the more accurate Septuagint account to a footnote.

Michael Demers said...

NAB has "he was six and a half feet tall"
NABRE has "he was six cubits and a span tall"
D-R has "in height six cubits and a palme"
KJV and Challoner has "whose height was six cubits and a span"
Vulgata Clementina and Nova Vulgata has "altitudinis sex cubitorum et palmi"
Knox has "His height was six cubits and a span"
ISV has "four cubits and a span tall"
NET has "He was close to seven feet tall"

Summary: NAB, ISV, and NET follow the LXX.

Biblical Catholic said...

"Summary: NAB, ISV, and NET follow the LXX."

And yet, the NABRE inexplicably 'fixed' this by going back to the Masoretic Text. Now, can you explain that one?

The ISV and NET are both new translations, dating from the last 10 years, the NET has an extremely strong emphasis on following the modern scholarship, which is why it is the most footnoted edition of the Bible ever published, while the ISV actually brags in its preface that they follow the Dead Sea Scrolls instead of the Masoretic Text, which is why they get this one right.

Keep comparing and you will see just how common this error is, even in modern translations.

Now, granted, Internet atheists aren't exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer, so to speak. And they aren't particularly honest people either, whenever they quote the Bible, they almost always quote the KJV, because they know how inaccurate it is and that modern Bible translations fix its errors. They always attack the KJV because they know it is the easiest one to attack.

Another common text they like to cite is Judges 1:19, which says in the KJV "And the LORD was with Judah, and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain, but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron".

The problem with this verse is grammatical, it isn't clear WHO wasn't able to drive out the inhabitants of the mountain. Most modern translations word it that it was the Israelites who could not drive them out, see the NIV, NASB, GW, NABRE. But Internet atheists always quote the KJV because it is the weakest translation.

Timothy said...


Points you make are perfectly fine and good, just ease up on the internet atheists caricatures a bit please. Thank you.

Biblical Catholic said...

It's not a caricature, go visit their websites, for example, look at a source like the 'Skeptics Annotated Bible', which is online I am and you will see that I am absolutely characterizing their arguments correctly, and it is absolutely is true that they ALWAYS use the KJV and make that specific text the source of their attack.

Michael Demers said...

I wonder why the Vulgate [altitudinis sex cubitorum et palmi] didn't follow the Septuagint.

Biblical Catholic said...

"I wonder why the Vulgate [altitudinis sex cubitorum et palmi] didn't follow the Septuagint"

In general, St. Jerome was not a fan of the Septuagint. He held to a novel theory of Hebrew primacy, which he knew was against 300 years of Christian tradition, which is why, before he published his translation of the Old Testament, he first published an 'introduction' which attacks the Septuagint and argues for the supremacy of the Hebrew. He knew he was going against the consensus, which is why he felt the need to defend his decision to ignore the Septuagint.

Michael Demers said...

I wonder if St. Jerome is spinning in his grave.

Jimbob James said...

I'd like to see the NABRE published in several editions, with several sets of notes and commentaries for each edition:

NABRE: Advanced Study Edition. The NABRE as it exists today, with the scholarly commentary (introductions and footnotes) written from a mainly historical-critical perspective, with commentary written for college students and scholars.

NABRE: Peoples Edition. The NABRE translation with a totally different set of commentary geared toward the average layperson, specifically geared to a patristic and theological hermeneutic rather than historical-critical.

NABRE: Liturgical Edition. The NABRE with the Grail Psalter as used in the Liturgy, with the notes printed as endnotes rather than footnotes, and the introductions from the Personal Study edition.

Jimbob James said...

I'm not so sure it's "biologically impossible" for someone to reach over 9ft tall.

Robert Wadlow is the tallest confirmed person ever, but that's only in the modern world and confirmed.

He was 8'11 tall and lived to be 22 years old.

Goliaths age is never mentioned - it's possible he really was over 9ft tall and was in his early 20s

I would wager that some people have grown to over 9ft tall in the past and we simply can't confirm it.

Also, biological possibility does not rule out supernatural intervention. It's possible Goliath was 9ft+ due to some sort of supernatural occurence.

Biblical Catholic said...

"Also, the biological possibility does not rule out supernatural intervention. It's possible Goliath was 9ft+ due to some sort of supernatural occurrence."`

I don't think you understand the medical problems associated with great height. When a person gets too tall, it becomes difficult for him to even be able to stand up or balance himself. The body becomes physically weak to the point where the person is virtually helpless. The strain of trying to even so much as stand places so much strain on the heart and on the skeleton that a person can not barely even stand up but the mere attempt to stand could kill him. A 9 foot tall Goliath would not be physically strong or intimidating, and he certainly wouldn't pose a physical threat to anyone. He would be helpless as a kitten.

In short, a height of around 7 feet is much more plausible and it does indeed make Goliath seem to be a 'giant' to his contemporaries. If you've ever actually MET and stood next to someone who is over 7 feet tall, you'll know exactly what I mean

The Bible is indeed considered to be accurate in its description of the Philistines as being extremely tall, much taller than average. This is the conclusion of modern archeologists. There is another passage in the first book of Chronicles to a relative of Goliath who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. This is a real medical condition, associated with gigantism.

Now, gigantism IS hereditary, so it is likely that Gigantism was common among the Philistines, and that it was especially strong in the family of Goliath. This is one of those little details that lend an air of authenticity to the Bible. If the story of Goliath and his brother were just completely made up out of whole cloth, then it becomes difficult to explain why little detail like the relative of Goliath with six fingers on each hand is actually something that is medically possible, although rare.