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USCCB announces revised edition of New American Bible

January 07, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced it has canonically approved the publication of New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE).

The first edition of the New American Bible (NAB), published in 1970, immediately became familiar to Catholics in the United States because of its use in the lectionary at Mass.

A revised translation of the New Testament, which appeared in the NAB’s second edition (1986), included more traditional diction (“blessed” replaced “happy” in the Beatitudes) but made concessions to horizontal and vertical inclusive language (the Holy Spirit in places was referred to as “it,” rather than “he”).

In the third edition (1991), a revised translation of the Psalms appeared that systematically introduced inclusive language to the Psalter. Thus, “blessed the man” (Ps. 1:1)-- a literal translation of the Hebrew-- was replaced by “happy those.” In 1994, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments rejected the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ request to include the new edition of the Psalter in a revised lectionary.

Under the Congregation’s direction, a committee of bishops and scholars made changes to the revised New Testament before its use was permitted in the revised lectionary. The Holy Spirit, for instance, is rendered as “he” in the revised lectionary; “rejoice, O highly favored daughter” (Lk. 1:28, 1970 edition), which had become “hail, favored one” (1986 edition), in turn became “hail, full of grace” (revised lectionary). The revised lectionary appeared in two stages (1998 and 2002).

The forthcoming fourth edition, according to the USCCB, aims

at making use of the best manuscript traditions available, translating as accurately as possible, and rendering the result in good contemporary English. In many ways it is a more literal translation than the original New American Bible and has attempted to be more consistent in rendering Hebrew (or Greek) words and idioms, especially in technical contexts, such as regulations for sacrifices. In translating the Psalter special effort was made to provide a smooth, rhythmic translation for easy singing or recitation and to retain the concrete imagery of the Hebrew. The NABRE is approved for private use and study. It will not be used for the Mass.


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  • Posted by: frankg - Jan. 08, 2011 6:14 PM ET USA

    The late Father Neuhaus referred to the NAB and its many manipulations as the Bible of the Banalities. I would like to think it will become less banal but given the source contributers to its other manipulations I despair that it never be banality free.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 08, 2011 1:52 PM ET USA

    I am particularly bemused by the thought that the USCCB will be collecting royalties on the copyright. What share will they give to the author - Almighty God?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 08, 2011 11:41 AM ET USA

    There are way too many editions of just about everything these days- what we need is stability. I think we should have a good solid and beautiful translation and that is why I stick to the RSV Catholic Edition. If I am not mistaken, the US Bishops own the rights to the NAB- so a lot of money is made every time a new translation hits the shelves when people feel they need the latest copy...

  • Posted by: Japheth - Jan. 08, 2011 11:05 AM ET USA does this new edition deal with vertical and horizontal "inclusive" language? The article makes some interesting points about prior editions and then goes silent on this edition.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 08, 2011 4:40 AM ET USA

    I think I'll stick to my Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. Though I may use a Navarre edition too...

  • Posted by: stpetric - Jan. 07, 2011 11:00 PM ET USA

    Not to sound unduly cynical, but...oh goody, a revised NAB! This is the translation that brought us "Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever". Just what *is* a Wonder-Counselor or a God-Hero? I expect I'll be sticking with the RSV-CE.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 07, 2011 7:10 PM ET USA

    This is great news. I like the NAB, apart from the notes which are a bit unedifying in places. Let's hope we get to see this new version in print some time before 2030!

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jan. 07, 2011 6:54 PM ET USA

    Wait a minute! The revised Bible is approved for private use and study but not for Mass? How logical is that? I can't wait (well, yes, I can) for this explanation to come down from on high.