Friday, March 2, 2018

RNJB Sample: Passion and Resurrection Account of Matthew

Thanks again to reader Jim for finding this link to a sample from the RNJB.  As some have said in previous comments, the notes are not nearly as copious as previous editions.  They look more like the ones found in the CTS Bibles


Fr. Neil Xavier O'Donoghue said...

The notes and introductory material are basically a revision of those in the CTS version of the original JB. Wansbrough says as much in the introduction. Perhaps they have been beefed up a little. They read well. But they are not nearly as comprehensive as the previous standard editions of the JB and NJB.

The Copyright page has the DLT as the copyright owner of the text and the study notes being copyrighted by Wansbrough himself (even though he did both translation and notes).

If a translation of the French study material were included (as it was in previous editions) would probably need copyright permission from the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem.

The current study material is quite nice and is probably fine for many users, but those of us who are used to the French material will miss it. The Biblical cross-references in the margins are also about 1/3 of the previous standard editions.

We must only hope that when the whole Bible is published that different editions are available, including one using the now traditional study materials from the French.

Hopefully DLT will follow the example of Crossway which publishes different versions of the ESV for different audiences.

Timothy said...

Thank you Fr. Neil for your insights. The RNJB seems to be a very strange creature, in the sense that it isn't an official product of the Ecole Biblique, but rather the work of Wansbrough and the publisher. I am interested to see how it will be received in the UK where I would guess the main audience for it will be.

Fr. Neil Xavier O'Donoghue said...


In answer to your question, I think copyright issues are at the root of the lack of the Ecole Biblique material.

The million dollar question is whether it will be used in the Lectionary for Mass. While in the US the Lectionaries were revised in living memory (with Canada adopting the NRSV a few years before that), in Ireland, England & Wales, Scotland and Australia, the Lectionary basically hasn't changed since the initial version after the Council. There have been various attempts to prepare a new edition using the NRSV, ESV and the RSV (2nd Catholic Ed), but none of them has managed to make it beyond the drawing board.

So the JB is the most known version to the regular Mass-goer, if this version is adopted for Mass, then the RNJB has a good future, if not it may well remain a niche translation (especially if it doesn't have the study material that made the NJB the preferred edition in many seminary classes). One of the main reasons for the popularity of the CTS JB editions is that it is the version that people know from Mass (and they can find the text that they heard at Mass in it, unlike the US experience where the NAB version in the Lectionary isn't quite the same as any of the published NAB bible editions).

If the bishops do decide to use the RNJB for their revised Lectionary, I imagine that it would make for a fairly seamless change. This might be advisable given the pastoral issues still lingering from the recent change in Roman Missal translation. It could be adopted keeping much of the cadences that people are used to while updating the language. Personally (unless one of the other revisions is further along the publishing/approval process than I imagine) I would recommend that it be seriously considered for the new edition of the Lectionary and even the UK/Ireland/Australia revision of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Unknown said...

Further to my last comment, remember that the Ecole Biblique is also taking the Jerusalem Bible to the next level.

The Bible in its Traditions project basically transitions the Jerusalem Bible from a book to being a multi-lingual, multi-author web based Bible.

More details are available on their blog:

I know that a team is working in Liverpool Hope University on digitalizing the NJB as part of the Ecole Biblique project:

The web version looks very interesting. I just hope that at the end of the process (if indeed it ever ends, as it might be an eternally updating project) we can still hold a printed version of the Jerusalem Bible with a similar amount of scholarship in our hands.

the web page idea is a very good investment in the future, but I'm not quite ready to give up on the printed book (and the printed Bible in particular)

Deacon Dave said...

I pre-ordered my RNJB New Testament on Amazon which lists February 15 ship date...anyone received theirs yet or heard of another ship date?

Matthew Doe said...

With the ESV-CE officially published with an imprimatur, and apparently being edited in India for their English language lectionary as we speak, there is now a good chance that all English-speaking countries (but for the USA, stuck with the NABRE) get the same ESV-CE lectionary. Not only will this be the easiest update possible, with very little local work required, it also will be tremendously "politically correct" if this Indian initiative finds worldwide adoption.

The RJNB is hence likely going to be "too little, too late" if the publisher was speculating on adoption for the lectionary to drive sales.

As for "The Bible in its Traditions", it is a project I absolutely love in its approach (and I think a print version is quite possible, though it wouldn't be compact). Unfortunately, it seems to progress slowly, with publication expected in the brief moments between the finalising of the Ignatius Study Bible and the Second Coming.

Kenny said...

I went through the Gospels and Psalms in the RNJB New Testament and Psalms the study notes are not new in this edition but of CTS Bible. The Biblical Text is revised as mentioned in the foreword. If it is the study notes you want, you already have them in the CTS Bible. Kenny

Fr. Neil Xavier O'Donoghue said...


Regarding the study notes, there is a world of a difference between the standard edition of the NJB (or the original JB) and the simplified set of notes in the CTS readers edition. The CTS notes were newly composed by Henry Wansbrough.

I have absolutely nothing against the CTS notes. They are perfectly good for a general reader and you could even argue that the standard edition notes are overkill for some readers. However, Wansbrough's notes and introductions are not the same as those composed in the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. For many people the scholarship of the Ecole Biblique was the main feature of the JB and NJB. This new edition is using a revision of Wansbrough's notes that he composed for the CTS edition.

Once again I emphasize that they are perfectly adequate for many users, but there is still a group of us who are very accustomed to the full JB with the study material of the Ecole Biblique who are hoping that someone will release an edition of the new translation with the latest version of the Ecole Biblique material. The lack of the cross-references will also be a make or break issue for many who liked to scrutinize the scriptures using the parallel passages for a type of Lectio Divina and who had been using the JB/NJB precisely for this feature.

Fr. Neil

Timothy said...

This point brings up another issue regarding whether it is being disingenuous to refer to this bible as the Revised New Jerusalem Bible? As you have pointed out Father, one, if not the most notable feature of the Jerusalem Bibles are the copious notes and cross-references. While the dynamic equivalent translation grew on people who encountered it after centuries of using the literal Douay (yes I am aware of Knox) This edition apparently has neither.

Fr. Neil Xavier O'Donoghue said...


yes and no. The Ecole Biblique scholarship is a deal breaker for many of us. Nevertheless, the JB/NJB is above all else a biblical translation and the actual text of the Bible is much more important than the footnotes, introductions and cross-references. The JB was less literal, however, I am still working through Matthew (I decided to read the whole NT of the new translation), and I do notice it to be more literal than either the JB or NJB versions. E.g. the RNJB uses the word "amen" when Jesus emphasizes something such as "Amen I say to you." In this sense I think it can unashamedly bear the title Jerusalem Bible as it is a clear revision of the JB/NJB which were both published in multiple editions including many (like the popular CTS versions) that did not contain translations of the French Ecole Biblique material. Ultimately in the parts of the world where the JB held sway in the liturgy, the RNJB has great potential to be widely adopted. I imagine that in the US it doesn't have the same potential as the JB was never as popular there.

Christopher Buckley said...

I do love the rendering in this sample.
A far smoother read and with a vocabulary that feels more like spoken English, than either the 1986 NABRE NT (which I typically use) or the ESV (which I've been considering).

I hate to say it, but I may want to to pick this up, when it's a full Bible.

Michael Demers said...

After reading Christopher Buckley's comment, I got the feeling maybe the RNJB will give the ESVCE serious competition outside of the U.S.

Peter T. said...

I wonder if the RNJB translation of the New Testament is closer to the CTS edition of the JB or that of the older NJB?

Of what I've read, the footnotes are very similar to those found in the CTS edition of the JB. If the translation itself is closer to the JB than the NJB, then should this new translation be called the RJB (Revised Jerusalem Bible) instead of the RNJB (Revised New Jerusalem Bible)?

Timothy said...


The notes are indeed similar to the CTS. The translation, from the portions I have read, is a clear move away from dynamic equivalence and towards a more literal approach. It is more literal than the NJB.

Christopher Buckley said...

Timothy said "It is more literal than the NJB."

Yes, and at the same time it reads more fluidly than other more formal literal Catholic translations, less choppily and more like colloquial speech.

RNJB: "Jesus had now finished all he wanted to say, and he told his disciples"
NABRE: "When Jesus finished all these words, he said to his disciples"
ESV: "When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples"

RNJB: "Why are you upsetting the woman?"
NABRE / ESV: "Why do you trouble the woman?"

RNJB: "Take it and eat, this is my body."...‘Drink from this, all of you"
NABRE: "Take and eat; this is my body."...“Drink from it, all of you"
ESV: "Take, eat; this is my body."..."Drink of it, all of you

In each instance, the RNJB sentence structure is simpler, and often makes more natural use of pronouns. I like it.

Michael Spyridon said...

It appears the RNJB was translated with Liturgical use in mind.

Liturgiam Authenticam clearly set the precedent for transliterating "amen" instead of translating it as the JB did with "assuredly."

Can someone check in Matthew 5:22 and see if they translated it as "fool" as in the JB or if they transliterated it as "raqa?"

If they chose raqa, then between that and "amen" it's safe to say they made this translation in accordance with LA - which would mean we very well may see a Lectionary made with it (perhaps by the year 2100, heh).

I wasn't planning on buying this Bible, but judging from what I've read now and seen I think I like it.

Can someone also post up the old Catholic litmus verse, Luke 1:28?

Timothy said...

Matthew 5:22: “idiot”

Luke 1:28: “Rejoice favoured one!”

Michael Spyridon said...

Well, that's disheartening.

Apparently they didn't follow LA :/

Devin said...

When mentioning Liturgiam Authenticam in regards to this translation, there are few things to keep in mind.

1) Any given translation principle can produce a range of translations.

2) Pope Francis issued Magnum pincipium, which while did not undo LA, it would potentially allow for a bit looser translations.

3) If the RNJB were to be adapted for a lectionary, almost certainly further changes would be made, either but the Bishop's Conferences or by Rome.

Fr. Neil Xavier O'Donoghue said...

Just in reply to Devin's last point (3). My understanding of the latest translation liturgical legislation from Rome means that the Congregation for Divine Worship can either accept or reject a translation, they can no longer tinker with it. In practice, I am sure that they will still have influence over the direction that a bishops' conference might take in its translation. But at least in theory they no longer have the authority to amend or correct a translation submitted to them by a conference.

Devin said...

You are of course correct. The CDW's wings have been clipped. How much power they still keep is difficult to know. A test might be the ongoing translation of the LOTR and the RGP in the U.S. I know changes were made to the psalms by the CDW that the bishops disliked and they may want to undo.

Timothy said...

I was unaware that the USCCB was involved in a new translation of The Lord of the Rings! 😜

Devin said...

Yes, they want to bring this classic work to a new audience through paraphrase. PeterJackson is spearheading the project.