Friday, January 7, 2011

USCCB Announces New Edition of the NAB - New American Bible

This is good news. Why? I will explain below. First, a snip from the announcement:
WASHINGTON (January 6, 2011)—The New American Bible, revised edition (NABRE), the first major update to the New American Bible (NAB) translation in 20 years, has been approved for publication. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, then president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), signed the canonical rescript approving publication on September 30, 2010. The NABRE will be available in a variety of print, audio and electronic formats on March 9, Ash Wednesday.

The new translation takes into account advances in linguistics of the biblical languages, as well as changes in vocabulary and the cultural background of English, in order to ensure a more accurate translation. This issue is addressed in the apostolic exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, in which the pope says, “The inculturation of God’s word is an integral part of the Church’s mission in the world, and a decisive moment in this process is the diffusion of the Bible through the precious work of translation into different languages.”

The new translation also takes into account the discovery of new and better ancient manuscripts so that the best possible textual tradition is followed.
The NABRE includes the first revised translation of the Old Testament since 1970 and a complete revision of the Psalter. It retains the 1986 edition of the New Testament. Work on most books of the Old Testament began in 1994 and was completed in 2001. The 1991 revision of the Psalter was further revised between 2009 and 2010.
This is in fact good news, but the problem is not solved. The reason is this - the NAB is owned by the US Bishops, who make money by selling it and the rights to it. They have told us that the only English translation of the Bible to be used in Mass is the NAB. But, the translation is one of the worst on the market right now. They will NOT approve the new translation for Mass right now, just for private reading. This means that millions of us have to suffer through some pretty bad translations of the Bible and we miss more than you might think.

Other problems include some bad footnotes (some are downright horrible) + the introductions to how to read and interpret the different books of the Bible in most editions of the NAB are over-the-top sold-out to the historical-critical method (which isn't bad when used properly) to the detriment of the other ways of interpreting the Bible. There are other issues as well.

I am most excited about seeing the Psalms get a complete re-write. Here is an example of how bad it is:
RSV:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
NAB:
Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.
Banal and poorly translated. It sounds like it is from an abridged chidren's Bible.

Thank you USCCB, but please approve the new translation for Mass ASAP. As you can see, I have high hopes for the new NAB. I hope I am not disappointed.

6 comments:

Katy said...

I have always been a little disappointed with some of the translations in the NAB. Hopefully this is the change that is needed!

tour86rocker said...

In my opinion, a tremendous problem remains that was basically glossed over in the original article:

"It retains the 1986 edition of the New Testament"

Hail, favored one!

(btw, where's the full announcment?)

Teresa said...

The NAB translation is pretty awful. My husband and I prefer either the Douay-Rheims or RSV translation. I hope that the new translation is going to be better than the old one but we'll see...

William a sinner. Most unlearned. The Least of all the faithful… said...

I agree with Teresa...Stick with Douay-Rheims or RSV...

The Ironic Catholic said...

I'm not as down on the NAB as some of you (although Hail Favored One is pretty bad). It's got a plainspoken quality. Ok, fine by me. But the thing that drives me nuts is that the USCCB owns it and makes money from it! I have worked with numerous publishers and the cost of using even snippets of the NAB is astronomical--esp. when compared to the free or near-free other versions. I don't think Jesus would charge for the gospel. And I don't mean the paper, effort in publishing, etc....I mean the words themselves. It's pretty disgusting in my book.

All the more reason to learn Hebrew and Greek. :)

RyoGTO said...

Holy moly, they really butchered Proverbs and Sirach, and that's all I could bear to look at. I am deeply saddened. I thought that the 1970 NAB really shined in these, why did they have to meddle with every single line? I will not be purchasing these updated version, and I have purchased another copy of the older version just to be safe...