Photos of 2020 Indian edition of the ESV Lectionary for Mass

One of my posts from last year on the Church in India’s new edition of the Lectionary using the ESV has recently gathered some new comments. In answer to some questions there, I promised to post some photos of the Lectionary if anyone sent them to me. A PrayTell reader who is using this Lectionary in his parish (although he is not located in India) offered to send me some photos, which I reproduce here.

When I consider different liturgical editions and translations I am always reluctant to chose favorite passages either in favor or against the work in question. So I asked the reader to send me photos of today’s readings, as well as the readings for this coming Sunday.

To get an idea of the size of the book, the featured image accompanying this post on the main PrayTell page shows the Indian Lectionary between an edition of the Lectionary in use in Ireland/UK/Australia and a current US edition of the Lectionary. Below is a photo of the Indian Lectionary open with a US Chapel edition open beneath it.

Here are today’s readings.

Here are Sunday’s readings.

The person using the Lectionary noted that some space-saving editorial decisions in this edition. For the weekdays in Ordinary Time, the First Readings of Year I and Year II are printed next to each other, followed by the Gospel that is common to both. For the Saints’ Days and Propers the Lectionary usually gives references to where the readings appear in other parts of the Lectionary rather than reprinting them. Both of these techniques save space, but make the Lectionary somewhat more difficult to use.  My source told me that he thought that the Lectionaries would have benefitted from more typesetting. He also noted “various odd typos and editorial choices through the whole book. Incorrect titles in some areas, the occasional misspelled or wrongly capitalized word.” Below is a sample of the Proper of Saints.

3 comments

  1. My initial reaction is that there is a lot of show-through on the Indian pages, presumably caused by using a lower grade of paper to reduce bulk (and of course cost). That could make it more difficult for readers.

    I also see that the incipits “In those days”, “At that time” and (unbelievably) “Brethren” have been retained, when best practice is to omit them, for the reasons I mentioned in my post on the other thread.

    While in general I approve of having all readings in sense-lines to aid readers (even though it destroys the visual difference between prose and more lyric passages), if you are going to do it, you need to get it right. The last lines of the reading for St Polycarp shown above demonstrate this clearly:

    “let him hear what the
    Spirit says to the churches”

    is simply not correct.

    Similar problems, though not as serious, can be found in the Ezekiel, Genesis and Mark readings shown in the photos. Sense-lines is a delicate art!

    1. Good luck to them. If they want an accurate but prosaic rendition, this would be it. However, both of Henry Wansbrough’s updates (NJB and RNJB) sucked the poetry out of the original translation, no matter what the scholarly merits of his revisions may have been. (Interesting that the same applies to RGP and Abbey Psalms and Canticles when set beside the original Grail version. There ought to be a way to balance scholarly accuracy and poetic resonance.)

      The basic position has not changed a lot in the past few years. We need a text that

      (a) works for spoken proclamation, as opposed to being understood when read silently at one’s desk;
      (b) uses inclusive language;
      (c) makes use of modern biblical scholarship to ensure accuracy;
      (d) has enough poetic resonance to sound different from “ordinary” texts and be memorable.

      Of course, such a text already exists. Its name is NRSV, and Wansbrough actually supervised a Catholic Anglicized edition of it, fine-tuning a text which had already proved its worth in Canada and elsewhere.

      At the time when this version was in play, Rome criticised it on the grounds that the way it treated archetypes of Christ in the Old Testament was deficient. However, they knew full well that the majority of these cases occurred in the psalter, which would in practice never be used in those countries that used the Grail translation for responsorial psalms. The remaining handful of instances could have been easily adjusted (three out of the five are in fact identical to ESV and so did not even need to be changed), and the owners of NRSV were willing to do that.

      That, however, did not satisfy CDWDS, because the real reason (which they did not feel able to admit) was that Cuthbert Johnson, Anthony Ward and others were virulently against the use of inclusive language. Now that that generation of CDW staff is no more, and given the overwhelming desire of the Church at grass-roots level to have inclusive language texts, it ought to be possible to re-evaluate the situation with regards to NRSV. Perhaps a task for the new Prefect?

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