First there was the NAB in 1970, the New American Bible for U.S. Catholics. Then the New Testament was revised in 1986 – the RNAB. In 2011 the revised edition with revised Old Testament appeared – NABRE.
Meanwhile, the U.S. lectionary saw the light of day in 1998. Its production was a politically sordid story. The Scripture text in the lectionary (still in use) is RNAB, sort of. Seems that lots of changes were made to the translation, on questionable scholarly grounds, with the involvement of Msgr. James Moroney. Hmmm, that reminds me of … oh, never mind.
Some of you might remember the howls of objection to contemporary scripture translations from Fr. Richard John Neuhaus at First Things. He didn’t like the “Altered Revised New American Bible” (ARNAB) of the US lectionary at all. (That’s a made up term, btw, and RJN got it from me.) Near as I can tell, RJN favored the RSV because of the principle that Bible translations should be The Version I Grew Up With.
Many have regretted that the US lectionary uses a translation (“ARNAB”) not found in any published bible. Sure would be nice if Bible study, catechetics, and liturgy could all use the same version.
And now we hear the good news that all this will be fixed. CNA reports:
The U.S. bishops have announced a plan to revise the New Testament of the New American Bible so a single version can be used for individual prayer, catechesis and liturgy.
“The goal is to produce a single translation,” said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C. on June 14.
It will take a long time, of course, since so many considerations come into play.
Let’s hope the process works. I predict it will. I predict the bishops and the Roman officials will consult with the best scholars, work collegially, take pastoral considerations seriously, listen to all the voices, and carry out the work with transparency and a sense of accountability to the People of God. The final product will unite the Church, renew our liturgical spirituality, and enhance the credibility of the hierarchy. Surely??