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‘Human One’ replaces ‘Son of man’ in new ecumenical Bible translation

August 18, 2011

Twelve Catholic biblical scholars have joined nearly 200 scholars from two dozen Protestant denominations in translating the newly published Common English Bible (CEB). “It's an honor and a pleasure to be associated with this good project,” said Father Daniel Harrington, SJ, professor at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

The CEB eschews the word “man” in several passages: Christ is referred to as the “Human One” rather than the “Son of man” (Mt. 10:23), and “the human” replaces “the man” in Genesis 2 (“with the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being”). “Happy” replaces “blessed” in the Beatitudes.

The CEB translates other familiar passages in new ways. The Lord God “formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land” rather than from the “dust of the ground” (Gn. 2:7), and Gn. 1:11 reads:

God said, “Let the earth grow plant life: plants yielding seeds and fruit trees bearing fruit with seeds inside it, each according to its kind throughout the earth.” And that’s what happened.

The CEB’s translation of the Lord’s Prayer is also novel:

Our Father who is in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven. Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.


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  • Posted by: toadehall4134 - Aug. 19, 2011 3:26 PM ET USA

    This proves, of course, that only MALE pronouns are unacceptable. This is nothing more than gender feminism run amok. It reminds me of the revision of the words "please as man with man to dwell" to 'pleased as flesh with us to dwell."Last time I checked Jesus was, in fact, a MAN. So sad that there are any Catholic scholars participating.

  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Aug. 19, 2011 10:27 AM ET USA

    In plain English, this stinks.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Aug. 19, 2011 12:19 AM ET USA

    Substituting "happy" for "blessed" is insidious. To be blessed is a far greater gift than to be merely happy. The latter merely connotes satisfaction or contentment -- it is peace as the world gives peace. To equate the two terms is baldly deceptive, and collapses the Beatitudes into nothing more than a set of pop-psychology nostrums.

  • Posted by: Leferink557202 - Aug. 18, 2011 11:05 PM ET USA

    This makes the NAB sound incredibly formal!

  • Posted by: davidSanDiego - Aug. 18, 2011 9:43 PM ET USA

    I have a friend with dyslexia who was unable to read his Catholic Bible. It was only after discovering the "Good News" Bible that he aquired enough understanding that he was able to begin to read a standard translation. Be aware that "Common Language" Bibles do have a purpose. ... However, "Human One" is in no one's vernacular. And neutering God is going to get you into trouble.

  • Posted by: voxfem - Aug. 18, 2011 9:33 PM ET USA

    In the interest of fairness, shouldn't that be “with the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a human being and brought the human being to the human”?

  • Posted by: williiam ronner - Aug. 18, 2011 7:33 PM ET USA

    Of course a Jesuit from a Catholic College is privileged ...... He abandoned Catholic teachings years ago.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Aug. 18, 2011 6:10 PM ET USA

    And don't give us an even more dumbed down Bible, but deliver us from contractions.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 18, 2011 6:02 PM ET USA

    Pretty common, all right. Beyond banal. Double-plus bad.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Aug. 18, 2011 4:08 PM ET USA

    In the words of the immortal Sheridan Whiteside, I may vomit.

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Aug. 18, 2011 11:01 AM ET USA

    Oops! Shouldn't have used the html tags. How embarrassing. I meant: [facepalm]

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Aug. 18, 2011 10:49 AM ET USA

    In honor of World Youth day, I will express my feelings in internet vernacular.

  • Posted by: pauljworthington637024 - Aug. 18, 2011 9:33 AM ET USA

    Now, let's all sing "Kumbaya". Fr. Flapdoodle, will you lead us.