Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New American Bible Translation Makes Media Splash

Tomorrow brings not only the start of Lent but also the publication of the New American Bible (NAB), revised edition, or NABRE. The publication marks the first major update of the NAB in 20 years and includes the first revision of the Old Testament since 1970 and a complete revision of Psalms. It retains the 1986 translation of the New Testament.

The new translation has, happily, enjoyed some attention in the media, including stories from USA Today, ABC News and Reuters, which focus on the implications of certain word changes in the translation, such as changing "booty" to "spoils" and "holocaust" to "burnt offering."

The translation even made of segment of DC's Channel 7 news:

The video rightly highlights how a good translation of Scripture should improve the reader's understanding.

Another issue, touched on briefly in the segment, that's raised some eyebrows is the translation of Isaiah 7:14 to say "young woman" instead of "virgin." As Mary Elizabeth Sperry, the USCCB's expert of permissions and Bible utilization explained in the clip above, this has absolutely no impact on the teaching of the Church regarding the virginity of Mary.

Explains Sperry:

The Hebrew word ‘almah is more accurately translated as “young woman.” That translation has been used in Catholic Bibles for over 50 years. The equivalent word (“joven”) is given in the Spanish translation of Isaiah 7 posted on the Vatican website. The translation as “virgin” stems from the Greek text of the Septuagint, dating to the 4th century BC. This text translated ‘almah as “parthenos” which does typically specify a virgin.

The text of Matthew 1:23 retains the use of “virgin” as the evangelist was quoting the Greek text. (The Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek.) In addition, the virgin birth of Jesus is attested in Luke 1:34 in Mary’s response to Gabriel’s announcement of her selection to be the mother of the Son of God.

It's worth adding that Mary's virginity is likewise still affirmed in both the Apostles' and Nicene Creed as an unchanging article of the Catholic faith.

Sperry can be heard having a longer discussion on the issue in a segment on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition. The USCCB has also produced a series of articles looking at the significance of the new translation, the Old Testament and the Bible in general.

All of it makes for great reading as the Church celebrates this milestone in Scripture scholarship and understanding.


CD2000 said...

Thank you USCCB for this great news. However, is it available today (Ash Wednesday) in the Philippines?

Thanks for any info. God bless.

Julie Turner said...

Ebook version in the works? That would be nice.

Felix Lopez said...

Given how inadequate and politically correct the NAB has been in the past, I think I'll stick with the RSV 2nd CE for primary use. English has not changed that much since back then, it's only been changed by force by liberally biased University professors, but for the most part people naturally speak it the way they always had. Certainly there can be an issue with archaic words like "booty," and "ass" but those are rare and can still be understood even if awkward at first glance. The footnotes of the NAB have been appallingly heterodox in many instances and almost never explaining Church doctrine.