Is the Revised New Jerusalem Bible a Viable Option for a New Lectionary?

By Neil Xavier O’Donoghue

Lectionary translation is a tricky business. Initially after Vatican II a number of English lectionaries were prepared and in many areas parishes were free to pick the translation that best suited them.  In the United States three translations were approved: The Jerusalem Bible, The Revised Standard Version and the New American Bible. Of these the New American Bible was the most widely used.

In 2001 the Congregation of Divine Worship in Rome published an instruction called Liturgiam Authenticam that regulates liturgical translation in Catholic liturgy.  Liturgiam Authenticam 36 deals with the use of scripture in the liturgy.

In order that the faithful may be able to commit to memory at least the more important texts of the Sacred Scriptures and be formed by them even in their private prayer, it is of the greatest importance that the translation of the Sacred Scriptures intended for liturgical use be characterized by a certain uniformity and stability, such that in every territory there should exist only one approved translation, which will be employed in all parts of the various liturgical books. This stability is especially to be desired in the translation of the Sacred Books of more frequent use, such as the Psalter, which is the fundamental prayer book of the Christian people. The Conferences of Bishops are strongly encouraged to provide for the commissioning and publication in their territories of an integral translation of the Sacred Scriptures intended for the private study and reading of the faithful, which corresponds in every part to the text that is used in the Sacred Liturgy.

This preference for a single translation of Scripture was implemented in the United States and (even before Liturgiam Authenticam) when the current Lectionary edition was adopted permission to use the three earlier translations was withdrawn. Although it is worth noting that the current US Lectionary is not actually from any published edition of the New American Bible. John Allen, the veteran Vatican reporter, analyzed the process used to produce the current US Lectionary in a 1998 article.

Canada also has a fairly new edition of the Lectionary using an adapted edition of the New Revised Standard Version.  Ignatius Press prepared a new edition of the Lectionary using their own Second Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version that was approved for use in the Antilles. Some had hoped that US parishes might adopt this as an alternative to the New American Bible, but this was not possible due to the restrictions of Liturgiam Authenticam and this edition of the Lectionary was eventually adopted by the Ordinariates for their liturgy. Surprisingly an edition of this Lectionary was also adopted by English Africa (with the Revised Grail Psalms), even though this seems to be in contravention of Liturigam Authenticam as they had recently published a new edition of the Liturgy of the Hours uses the New American Bible (also with the Revised Grail Psalms).

However, in many English speaking countries the Jerusalem Bible Lectionary has remained in use as basically the only Lectionary version, and these regions are still using the initial edition of the Lectionary prepared in the aftermath of the Council (with minor revisions made in 1981). This is the case in Ireland, England and Wales, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand.

Today this Lectionary is clearly in need of revision.  Over the years there have been attempts by the bishops of these regions to prepare a new Lectionary using the New Revised Standard Version, the English Standard Version, and, most lately, the Revised Standard Version.  For one reason or another (usually to do with copyright) all of these projects have failed to produce a new Lectionary and some have suggested that there is now a certain fatigue on the part of the bishops regarding the prospect of starting another process to produce a new Lectioanry.

The Jerusalem Bible has served the Church well and is now over 50 years old. In 1985 a new edition (the New Jerusalem Bible) was prepared by the English Benedictine Dom Henry Wansbrough. This was based on the newer French edition and contains updated scholarship and has corrected some of the translation inaccuracies of the original English translation. However, to my knowledge, this newer edition was never used in any approve liturgical book.

Readers of this blog will be aware that Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd have recently published the New Testament of the Revised New Jerusalem Bible. This edition was also prepared by Dom Henry Wansbrough and is a thoroughly reworked translation that is more faithful to the original text, has been prepared with an eye to proclamation and has a moderate use of inclusive language.

The New Testament has been published before the full Bible to allow the public to have an appreciation of the full project while the final touches are being put to the Old Testament which will be published before the end of this year (and is in the process of receiving an imprimatur).

Personally I have been impressed by the quality of the translation and have been wondering if it could provide a relatively painless solution to the Lectionary problem in those countries that use the Jerusalem Bible Lectionary. In particular, given that it is the direct successor of the original Jerusalem Bible, the translation already sounds familiar to Catholics in these countries. I believe that there is a great value in continuity in translation. Also given that there are new translation guidelines governing the process of liturgical translation, it should now be easier to officially prepare a new Lectionary edition.

During the Easter season a peculiarity of the Lectionary is that it uses only New Testament readings. Therefore I propose that the readers of this blog help me to compare the current Jerusalem Bible version of the Sunday Lectionary readings with the same passages in the Revised New Jerusalem Bible.

Each week I will post a comparative table of the two translations of the selection of readings for that Sunday’s Mass accompanied with a short analysis of any differences that I note. I invite readers to chime in with their comments. The goal of this exercise is to help answer the question if it would be wise to propose this new translation of the Bible as the basis for a new Lectionary in those regions that already use the Jerusalem Bible in their Lectionary.

This week we are posting the first comparative version for the Mass of the Day of Easter Sunday.  Due to the length of this introduction I have not prepared any comments on the translations, but I invite the readers to do so in the comments section.

Easter Sunday: Liturgy of the Word
1 April 2018

Revised New Jerusalem Bible (RNJB), 2018 Jerusalem Bible (JB), 1966
First Reading: Acts 10:34, 37-43
Then Peter began to speak to them, ‘I understand that truly God is impartial,the word which spread throughout Judaea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John announced: Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went around doing good and healing all who were held in the power of the devil, because God was with him. Now we are witnesses to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet on the third day God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by us whom God had chosen beforehand as witnesses. We ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He has commanded us to announce to the people and to bear witness that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets bear witness to this, that all who believe in him receive forgiveness of sins through his name.’
First Reading Acts 10:34, 37-43
Then Peter addressed them: ‘The truth I have now come to realise’ he said ‘is that God does not have favourites,You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. Now I, and those with me, can witness to everything he did through the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and also to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses – we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead – and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.’
Second Reading Col 3:1-4
Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, you must look for the things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on things above, not on the things that are on earth, because you have died, and the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Second Reading Col 3:1-4
Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.
or Second Reading 1 Cor 5:6-8
Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not realise that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you can be a new batch, unleavened as you are, for indeed our Passover, Christ, has been sacrificed. Let us keep the festival, then, with none of the old leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
or Second Reading 1 Cor 5:6-8
The pride that you take in yourselves is hardly to your credit. You must know how even a small amount of yeast is enough to leaven all the dough, so get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Gospel Acclamation 1 Cor 5:7-8
Clean out the old yeast so that you can be a new batch, unleavened as you are, for indeed our Passover, Christ, has been sacrificed. Let us keep the festival, then, with none of the old leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Gospel Acclamation 1 Cor 5:7-8
So get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Gospel John 20:1-9
Early on the first day of the week when it was still dark, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have put him.’
So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. The two ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying there, but did not go in. Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloths lying there and also the cloth that had been on his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had still not understood the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
Gospel John 20:1-9
It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’
So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
or Gospel at an Evening Mass Luke 24: 13-35
Now that same day, two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, twelve kilometres from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. And it happened that as they were talking together and discussing it, Jesus himself came near and was walking with them; but their eyes were prevented from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What are you discussing as you walk along?’ And they stood still, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know what has been happening there these last few days.’ He asked, ‘What sort of things?’ They answered, ‘About Jesus of Nazareth, who showed himself a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and the whole people; how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and crucified him. We had hoped that he was the one to set Israel free. But besides all this, it is now the third day since all this happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they could not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those with us went to the tomb, and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’ Then he said to them, ‘How foolish you are! So slow to believe all that the prophets said! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting from Moses and from all the prophets, he explained to them the passages about himself throughout the scriptures. When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he himself made as if to go on; but they pressed him, saying, ‘Stay with us! It is towards evening, and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us as he talked to us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?’
They got up that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘The Lord has indeed risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they recounted what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.
or Gospel at an Evening Mass Luke 24: 13-35
That very same day, two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days’. ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself. When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

 

Neil Xavier O’Donoghue is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He currently ministers in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland, where he serves as vice rector at Redemptoris Mater Seminary. He has studied at Seton Hall University, the University of Notre Dame, and St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctorate in Theology from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

Share:

16 comments

  1. The problem with this comparison is that it compares two scripture versions. However, the JB 1966 text as given in the 1970/1981 Lectionary is not what is quoted by Fr O’Donoghue, who gives us the actual scripture. In the Lectionary, however, it has been deliberately edited for proclamation, as follows:

    The 1st Reading begins:
    Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: “You just have heard about the recent happenings….”

    The alternative 2nd Reading begins:
    “You must know how even a small amount of yeast….”

    The Gospel Acclamation runs as follows:
    “Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed;
    let us celebrate the feast, then, in the Lord.”

    Instead of the Gospel, another option is to use the Gospel of the Mass of Easter Night, which varies with the year of the Lectionary cycle.

    The alternative evening Gospel begins:
    “Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus….”

    The point about all this is that a self-respecting Lectionary edits the incipits of scripture texts in order not to beg any questions in the minds of the listeners. So, for example, you do not find readings that begin “And, after that. he said to them”, which provides four answered questions and unsettles the congregation. “And” — oh, we’re in the middle of something. Wonder what it is? “After that” — after what? “He” (presumably Jesus, but that won’t become clear until we hear what he says). “Them” — could be the Jews, the crowd, his disciples, the Pharisees….

    Looking at the beginning of the scripture text of the 1st Reading, and the edited Lectionary incipit, makes the point very well. The listener immediately knows who the “them” are that Peter is addressing. Sometimes that information is in the previous sentence that the listener would not otherwise hear. Sometimes it is several sentences back at the beginning of the paragraph in the original.

    Sometimes it is necessary to edit further on in the reading, for example in Philippians 4:6-9, where Paul is in the middle of a series of points (though you cannot tell that from the extract). The second sentence begins “Finally, brothers”, the first word making no sense outside the entire context of the chapter of the letter. In fact the UK/Ireland/Australia Lectionary editors let this one go through because it was not obvious how to amend it so that it made sense.

    The Ordo Lectionum Missae also specifies which parts of verses are to be used, as in the alternative 2nd Reading quoted here, which begins further on in the passage than Fr O’Donoguhue’s extract would have us believe.

    Similarly, the Gospel Acclamation in OLM is a very truncated (thank goodness!) version of the scripture.

    _____

    What I am saying, then, is that in order for there to be an adequate comparison, (a) we need the actual Lectionary text, and (b) Fr Wansborough’s text will also have to be subjected to the same kind of Lectionary editing. Simply comparing the two scripture translations will not be sufficient.

    I have not yet seen the revised NJB. One reason why the NJB was never approved for liturgical use was that, despite better accuracy, it sucked all the poetry out of the text. See the beginning of 1 John for a good example. It will be interesting to see if RevNJB does the same.

    1. Thanks Paul,
      I’m afraid that I was using a quickly prepared comparative table that only arrived to me on the Wednesday of Holy Week. I will be preparing a textual comparison of the JB and RNJB for the Sundays of the Easter season over at the Catholic Bible Blog: http://www.catholicbiblesblog.com

      During Holy Week I was only able to prepare an introduction to the question. I will try to get a better comparison for the Sundays of Easter.

      My main question in the post is, given that the countries using the JB lectionary are using the least revised edition of the lectionary in the English-speaking world, and that the various efforts of the bishops conferences have been unsuccesful (for copyright reasons or whatever other reasons), is this new edition of the RNJB an easy step forward. Or are they better off keeping the current JB lectionary or opting for some other solution?

      In the main post above the link to the Catholic Bible blog can be followed to another link of a pdf of the full Passion according to Matthew. This gives an idea of the full translation project.

      Also the full bible is not available yet, and, to my understanding, might have some further changes during the process of obtaining an imprimatur from the English & Welsh bishops.

      Personally I am not happy with the current JB lectionary in use and having seen the RNJB (and given the history of failed revision attempts), I do think that it provides a viable way forward in these nations currently using the JB.

      1. See my reply below. The best and easiest step forward would be to use the NRSV, as the Canadians already do.

        The difficulty with this is that SCDWDS have a problem with the way the prototypes of Christ are rendered in the Old Testament. What they don’t seem to have realized is that, with respect to the Lectionary, almost all of these instances occur in the psalms; but no new lectionary will ever use the NRSV psalter; so their objections are redundant.

        Fr Wansborough, too, has provided us with a new version of the psalms in RevNJB (the original JB psalms were terrible, which is why Grail I was used instead) but it will never be used in the liturgy either.

        RGP will be the text for the psalms, assuming that it eventually gets finalized.

        We do not yet know enough about RevNJB. It may be as unpoetic as NJB turned out to be, and the Old Testament is not ready yet. The scripture scholars tell us that NRSV is the best translation available, and it uses inclusive language just as RevNJB does. Furthermore, NRSV already has the necessary approval for liturgical use in the British Isles, etc. (RevNJB is nowhere near having this.) So, these episcopal conferences should simply go back to SCDWDS in the light of the authority given to them by Magnum Principium and insist on NRSV.

  2. Over the years there have been attempts by the bishops of these regions to prepare a new Lectionary using the New Revised Standard Version, the English Standard Version, and, most lately, the Revised Standard Version. For one reason or another (usually to do with copyright) all of these projects have failed to produce a new Lectionary and some have suggested that there is now a certain fatigue on the part of the bishops regarding the prospect of starting another process to produce a new Lectioanry.

    Although copyright was a factor, the principal stumbling block was actually SCDWDS…..

  3. While I find the Lectionary plan overall very good, I find not infrequently that the understanding of the assigned Lectionary reading can be helped by supplying some verses preceding or following the assigned passage. This is particularly so in homily preparation.
    Perhaps we could consider an edition of Scripture which presents the full text as in an edition of the Bible itself, with a side-bar indicating the specific reading for assigned days, with an appropriate incipit. It would mean, of course, that we would not have the three Sunday readings and Psalm grouped together. For the readings, however, this could be managed by having three ribbons to mark the locations. For Responsorial Psalms, it would probably need separate presentation of the arranged psalms.
    It would need a table of the readings with references to the locations/page numbers so the book could be prepared beforehand. I find it is necessary anyway to check the present Lectionary and Missal before Mass to be sure reader and presider are not led astray; or worse, begin the celebration and have to try to figure out where the appropriate passages can be found.
    Would this be entirely impractical, or is there something to be said for it?

    1. It probably impractical in print form because of overlap. That is, you will have given verses used on multiple occasions (Sundays, feasts, daily) and not in the same way.

      What I do as a PIP is have my iPad and, when reflecting on the assigned portions before Mass, I have the opportunity to see larger context on the bible(s) on my table, and also confer different translations (and, if I need access to interlinear original text, I can use my phone as a wifi hotspot to get online access thereto if wanted) if something strikes me.

    2. Padraig,

      It is an interesting proposal. However part of the problem is that there is a certain assumption on the part of the official liturgy that the regular churchgoer has a fairly high biblical literacy. When, in fact, this is not the case. Many people in church on a Sunday morning have no idea who St. Paul was, never mind knowing the full story and being able to fill in the blanks in the selected verses of the readings we listen to at the Eucharist. I believe that some of the Protestant bodies using the COmmon Lectionary, that is based on the current Roman Lectionary, have longer versions of the readings. It might be nice for future editions of our Lectionary having the option of longer versions. Although I’m afraid that some celebrants would actually prefer the option of shorter readings!

  4. And so many of the questions about the incipits and the comprehensibility of readings have already been addressed in the work of the Revised Common Lectionary. I find, for example, their selection of verses for the Eastertime Sunday second readings from 1 John to make much more sense. This seems to be a situation where synodality would be crucial.

  5. The Jerusalem Bible has been used in the lectionary since 1969 in Ireland and Great Britain. We adopted the second edition of the “lectionary” in the year (1981) of its publication by the Holy See (the Latin book was not actually a lectionary, but that’s a minor point), unlike in the USA where it took more than 20 years to introduce it. The Jerusalem Bible translation has remained the most frequently used text in Ireland since 1981. Personally, I don’t see the problem with leaving it as it is. The same goes for the translation of the psalms (original Grail). Just leave it alone.

  6. Personally, I don’t see the problem with leaving it as it is. The same goes for the translation of the psalms (original Grail). Just leave it alone.

    A lot of people agree with you, Fergus, including many of the bishops of the British Isles! And so do I.

    the second edition of the “lectionary” in the year (1981) of its publication by the Holy See (the Latin book was not actually a lectionary, but that’s a minor point)

    Actually, on a point of detail, the Vatican Press did publish a three-volume Latin Lectionarium in 1981 — a complete Lectionary and not just a catalogue of readings and chants as in Ordo Lectionum Missae 1969. I used it while preparing the British Isles 1981 three-volume English edition for publication.

    1. Yes, that three volume Lectionarium appeared on eBay a few months ago and went for a reasonable price. A set makes an appearance at least once a year. Presently there are a few Latin Pauline liturgical items on eBay one of which in particular will be desired by many but the price for which will induce a coughing fit in most folks. The dealer does provide best offer but I don’t think he’d approve of mine.

      Oh for the days of the great Sacerdote and the wonderful Estrbrook Boy!

  7. Hi Fergus,

    I suppose it could be just left alone (although if that was the case, I would hope for a newly typeset edition as most parishes are using really old books and I haven’t seen any quality church editions on sale for a while).

    However, I think we can presume from the fact that the bishops’ conferences unsuccessful efforts to publish new lectionary based on the NRSV, RSV and ESV, that there is some desire on their part to replace it.

    Also, while the JB has served us well, it is now quite old. There are some translation mistakes and the whole issue of gender inclusivity needs to be faced. Given that the RNJB seems to have a common-sense approach to these issues and is generally more literal, I am suggesting that we should adopt this for a new Lectionary edition in those areas that are currently using the JB. It wouldn’t mean a radical change (it would be nothing like the trauma of last missal adoption). The RNJB is 80-90% the same as the JB (it is much more readable than the NJB).

    If you would like to see what I am proposing, you can look at my posts comparing the JB and RNJB for the Sundays of Easter over at the Catholic Bible Blog: http://www.catholicbiblesblog.com

  8. I rather like the New Jerusalem Bible, but some of the renderings are simply too precious for my taste. They avoid the word ‘leper’ assidiously in the gospels, and replace it with ‘a virulent skin disease’. It’s a bit much………….
    My personal favorite is the NRSV that they use in Canada. I wish it were an alternative in the US; I’m not enamored of the revised NAB new testament.

    1. Hi Stephen,

      I too have used the NJB since high school. To be honest it is a little “clunky.”

      However, the RNJB seems to be a good updating that takes account of the improvements of the NJB over the original JB and makes many more revisions that make it much more readable and more accurate. However, the ‘clunky’ translations introduced into the NJB have been improved. “Leper” now replaces “man with a virulent skin disease.” “Church” rather than “community” in Mt 16:18. Mk 14:38 in the NJB is “human nature is weak,” the new translation goes back to the traditional reading of “the flesh is weak.

      Honestly, I admire the humility of Henry Wansbrough who was the translator of the NJB who came back years later and undid some of his revisions in the RNJB. This new edition reads much better than the JB. The NJB was never used in the liturgy, and given some of its quirks, the NJB isn’t really suited to the liturgy. Now I personally believe that the RNJB is a much better text for use in the liturgy than the JB (and the NJB). In particular, the sensible use of “inclusive language” is vital for a modern translation.

      Obviously, this is a new translation and needs to be worked through. Indeed, the Old Testament hasn’t even been published yet. But it the OT is as good as the NT I have no doubt that it will be the best translation for use in the liturgy in those regions that currently use the JB.

  9. I am reading through the RNJB NT. It is a lovely translation. I am reading Mark at present. Found translation of mk2:23 (although the NJB is same) and 4:40 a bit harsh to me as a beginner bible reader. His use of cowardly in 4:40 seems hard and Mk2:23 sounds like the field is being vandalised!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *