Revised Ignatius Bible

by Jimmy Akin

in Bible

A reader writes:

Are you familiar with this 2nd Edition of the Ignatius Catholic Leather Bible that has just been released?  It is leather and I would like to get one, but I am never sure on what will be considered a "good" translation.   I have read your tracts on Bible translations already and know that you recommend the RSV, so is the 2nd Edition RSV going to be pretty much the same thing and trustworthy?

I had not previously been familiar with the 2nd edition of the Ignatius Bible, though my confidence in the publishing house is such that I would have been able to recommend it anyway.

By a strange coincidence, however, I happened to have the chance to examine a copy of it today. (Our purchaser at Catholic Answers wanted me to look over a copy to see if it was something we want to carry.)

As a result, I now have more familiarity with it and can give a more specific response.

It appears that they have done three basic things:

  1. They re-typeset it so that it looks better than it did before on the page.
  2. They took the notes that used to appear in appendices at the end of the Old and New Testaments and put them on the pages that the notes apply to, so you no longer have to flip to the back of the book.
  3. They made minor changes to confusing and archaic language at a very small number of points in the translation.

Here’s how the Ignatius web site ( describes this edition:

A completely new typeset and designed edition of the popular Ignatius Revised Standard Version Bible, with minor revisions to some of the archaic language used in the first edition. This revised version is a contemporary English translation without dumbing-down the text. This second edition of the RSV doesn’t put the biblical text through a filter to make it acceptable to current tastes and prejudices, and it retains the beauty of the RSV language that has made it such a joy to read and reflect on the Word of God. Now the only Catholic Bible in standard English is even more beautiful in word and design!

Note the clause that I’ve highlighted in blue. This is code for "this Bible does not make feminist revisions to the genders that are found in the biblical text."

That’s a good thing.

And I’d have no problem recommending this edition.

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Jason February 10, 2006 at 6:22 am

“The only Catholic Bible in standard English…”

Jamie Beu February 10, 2006 at 6:55 am

Even though the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops recommends the New American Bible for Catholics, many people have problems with it, especially some of the notes, so it is not necessarily considered a “Catholic” Bible (in spite of the recommendation by the USCCB).
As for other “Catholic” Bibles (e.g. “The Living Bible (for Catholics)), just because a Bible has the so-called “apocryphal” (or deuterocanonical) books in it does not make it Catholic. For example, “The Living Bible” is more of an interpretation than a translation or transliteration.
I’m sure there are others here that can comment further and more fully than I just have. I just wanted to be the one to get the ball rolling. :-)

francis February 10, 2006 at 7:07 am

I use the Jerusalem Bible (not the “New” Jerusalem version), and it appears pretty “Catholic” to me. It’s a translation, in English, includes the deuterocanonical books, and doesn’t have loopy notes like the NAB. Shouldn’t it count as a Catholic Bible in standard English?
(It is still in print, as I just bought a new one a year or so ago).

Jimmy Akin February 10, 2006 at 7:26 am

I suspect that what they mean by this statement is that the RSV:CE is the only Catholic edition of the complete Bible that is not (a) in old-fashioned English, (b) infected with feminist gender revisions, and (c) out of print.

Barbara February 10, 2006 at 7:33 am

Question for you experts:
does the RSV-CE that the Navarre Bible use, the same as that of Ignatius Press? While recently reading some passages in John, the Navarre Bible uses thee’s and thou’s. I was wondering if Ignatius Bible does as well.

Jimmy Akin February 10, 2006 at 7:34 am

The original addition would. I think that may be what they’ve eliminated in this verison, though.

Puzzled February 10, 2006 at 7:43 am

But the RSV already has serious problems with regards, for instance, to the prophecy that Jesus would be born of a virgin.
I thought that mattered to all Christians, not just Protestants.
The ESV tried to correct these issues, and update the text to more recent manuscript discoveries, but I find those areas of new translation to be clunky.
Any English stylists who don’t follow Bultmann and Lasch in the Catholic Church?

Mark Brumley February 10, 2006 at 7:58 am

Jimmy summarizes well key differences between the first Catholic edition of the RSV, including the specifics of the version Ignatius Press publishes, and the new Ignatius Bible edition–the RSV, 2nd Catholic edition.
We have reset the type and added the section headers to make reading easier–we weren’t initially allowed to do any of that when we published the Catholic RSV. And we moved the footnotes.
We have eliminated the archaisms (although people who like them can still get the RSV, 1st Catholic edition of the Ignatius Bible). We have tweaked the RSV translation.
One point of detail to add:
The second edition of the RSV is an Ignatius Press exclusive. It is the *only* English language translation of the Bible updated specifically to correspond to Liturgiam Authenticam. Some of the “tweaking” to which I refer above is to bring the RSV into line with Liturgiam Authenticam.
Ignatius Press is also publishing a new English lectionary based on the RSV, 2nd Catholic edition. This lectinary may not, at present, be used in the Liturgy in the U.S., although it is approved for use in the Antilles and the Holy Father was presented with a copy in December. Whether the USCCB will permit it to be used remains to be seen, but other episcopal conferences of English-speaking Catholics may. We’ll see.

Laura February 10, 2006 at 8:12 am

I would *love* to hear the RSV at Mass rather than the NAB!!! I hope the USCCB approves it post-haste.

Lourdes February 10, 2006 at 8:14 am

::: Jumping on to the Bible-Review Thread:::
Good morning all! As a Cradle Catholic who was, unfortunately, not raised with a good bible-study foundation, I’m trying to remedy this now…. I have several Catholic bibles, but am wondering if there’s a particularly good Student Bible or Study bible (that includes maps, good notes, etc.) that you’d recommend?
Many thanks in advance and God Bless –

Lourdes February 10, 2006 at 8:14 am

::: Jumping on to the Bible-Review Thread:::
Good morning all! As a Cradle Catholic who was, unfortunately, not raised with a good bible-study foundation, I’m trying to remedy this now…. I have several Catholic bibles, but am wondering if there’s a particularly good Student Bible or Study bible (that includes maps, good notes, etc.) that you’d recommend?
Many thanks in advance and God Bless –

John February 10, 2006 at 8:18 am

I like the Ignatius Bible, and look forward to seeing the new edition. Some of the issues I’ve heard raised in the past was that the page layout was hard on the eyes and that you couldn’t find a red-letter edition.
I’ll hope they’ll have sample pages online.

mrp February 10, 2006 at 8:40 am

I ordered mine today!

Jason February 10, 2006 at 9:13 am

“I suspect that what they mean by this statement is that the RSV:CE is the only Catholic edition of the complete Bible that is not (a) in old-fashioned English, (b) infected with feminist gender revisions, and (c) out of print.”
Does anyone have a critical analysis of the NJB as to why it doesn’t fit that bill? the charge that it is “gender inclusive” seems unsupported from my experience. I’d love to see the argument supported with some evidence. As far as I can tell, the NJB fits the critera you’ve listed just fine.

Gene Branaman February 10, 2006 at 9:40 am

But what I want to know is . . .
Mr Brumley, when will the Ignatius Study Bible Dr Hahn & others have been working on be released? Soon, I hope!

francis February 10, 2006 at 9:46 am

I suspect that what they mean by this statement is that the RSV:CE is the only Catholic edition of the complete Bible that is not (a) in old-fashioned English, (b) infected with feminist gender revisions, and (c) out of print.
Jimmy, the Jerusalem Bible would fit all three of those criteria as well. (At least I assume it is in print since I bought a new one recently).

BillyHW February 10, 2006 at 9:54 am

But the RSV already has serious problems with regards, for instance, to the prophecy that Jesus would be born of a virgin.
Luckily with the RSV they usually have alternate translations of difficult passages just below in the footnotes and you can mentally just switch them.

Tim February 10, 2006 at 11:29 am

I just received the 2nd edition of the RSV from Ignatius Press today and it is great! One of the great things about it, other than what is mentioned above, is that it contains maps at the back. Sweet!
Also, for Isaiah 7:14, they used the traditional rendering of “virgin” in the main text, while putting “young woman” in the notes at the bottom.
It is a very beautiful edition, so I commend all the folks at Ignatius Press for publising it. It will certainly be my main Bible!

Jamie Beu February 10, 2006 at 11:56 am

As an aside, which is the “more correct” translation of the Old Testament:
a) the versions that render a reading as “The LORD…” (like the NAB)
b) the versions that render a reading as “Yahweh…” (like the Jerusalem Bible)
(my second question is – does this *really* matter, if we know Who we’re talking about?)

Jimmy Akin February 10, 2006 at 12:54 pm

Rendering the tetragrammaton as “Yahweh” is a translation (or, arguably, a transliteration).
Rendering it as “the LORD” is a substitution, not a translation.
Using “the LORD” is thus not the better translation, because it is not a translation at all.

francis February 10, 2006 at 12:57 pm

The use of “Yahweh” in the Jerusalem Bible is my one criticism of it. I found myself constantly switching it to “the LORD” in my head, as that is what I was used to (I grew up with the NIV [yes, I was Protestant]).
Regarding which is “more correct”, the answer is “neither”. Yahweh is the more direct translation of the Hebrew, but translating it “the LORD” keeps the meaning of the original while making it more readable (IMO).

Greg February 10, 2006 at 2:15 pm

I am absolutely excited that Isaiah 7:14 has been altered!! The old RSV had translated Christ out of many Old Testament passages (including Is. 7:14). Could somebody check the following Messianic passages to see if the Old RSV has been changed?
1. Psalms 16:10
2. Psalms 45:6
3. Psalms 110:1
4. Genesis 12:3
5. Genesis 18:18
6. Genesis 28:14
7. Genesis 26:4
8. Genesis 28:14

Breier February 10, 2006 at 2:54 pm

What makes the RSV “Catholic” are a handful of one-word changes to a few biblical texts, and the insertion of a few meager footnotes. Look at the appendix in the back of the Bible to see how little has actually been changed.
It’s troubling that the main virtue of the RSV-CE is a negative: that it doesn’t have inclusive language.

Jackson February 10, 2006 at 4:03 pm

The ESV Bible is the currently the best in every way. Go to their website.

Puzzled February 10, 2006 at 4:10 pm

That is really great news, that those theologically-motivated mistranslations in the RSV have been corrected in the RSV-CE.
Wonderful! :-))))))

Francis DS February 11, 2006 at 7:29 am

I hope this new RSV edition has good quality printing and paper.
Perhaps it’s only me, but one of my frustrations is that Catholic publishers seem unable to produce good Bibles. Each time I purchase a Catholic Bible, there is always something not right, which makes it hard to settle on one:
– the Catholic Study Bible is good quality, but too big to carry around.
– the New Jerusalem Bible Study Edition has fonts that are too small, you’d think they don’t want Catholics to be able to read the Bible, and try reading the study notes.
– Some JB and NJB editions have good paper, but are too big to carry around (the modern equivalent of ‘chaining’ the Bible)?
– Almost all editions of the NAB I could find have printing that bleed through the other side of the page
– The Ignatius Bible similarly seems to use a page that is too thin and the ink bleeds through, which is why I did not purchase a copy, even though it was the perfect size and thickness (I hope the 2nd edition is better).
Protestant publishers seem to know better how to produce a bible that has good quality font, good quality paper, and is pret-a-porter.
Ironically, the best editions of the NAB and the JB that I was able to purchase were purchased at a Protestant publisher, the Philippine Bible Society.

mmortal03 February 11, 2006 at 11:50 am

“It’s troubling that the main virtue of the RSV-CE is a negative: that it doesn’t have inclusive language.”
I would, however, say that it is a positive. Can you be more clear on why you personally think inclusive language is better?

Jackson February 11, 2006 at 4:51 pm

mmortal03, the negative that he was referring to was the lack of inclusive language, the negation of it, the “doesn’t have” part of his sentence. In other words, he wasn’t using the word “negative” qualitatively (as you do with the word “positive”), but quantitatively (i.e., zero inclusive language). This, combined with the fact that he described this very negation as a “virtue,” reveals that he doesn’t think inclusive language is better. It thus becomes clear that his lament was about this negation being the “main virtue.” Presumably, he would have the main virtue of the RSV-CE be something other than a mere negation of that which never should have been included at all.

Breier February 11, 2006 at 7:16 pm

Right on. I’m glad Ignatius is publishing the new Bible. But I think it a sign of the times that the main selling point is “it doesn’t have inclusive language.”
It’s also a modern translation, and there are a few very slight changes from the Protestant version.
But they are very slight. To hail this as a breakthrough is Catholic biblical scholarship is to show serious dimished expectations.
It’s like saying someone is a great parish priest, because he doesn’t preach heresy.
If that’s all it takes to be a great priest, then our notion of the ideal of the “priesthood” has taken a nose dive.
There’s also the concern that the RSV is a little too “modern,” namely reading Christ out of messianic passages, taking variant readings, etc. Namely that it reflects the state of Protestant biblical scholarship back then, which was awash in the “higher criticism.”
And why don’t evangelicals today use the RSV? I don’t know the answer but it’d be helpful.
There would be virtues to a King James Bible- Catholic edition, but reservations to. We await a modern solid Bible translated in the Catholic tradition.

Greg February 11, 2006 at 8:20 pm

The RSV was replaced by the NRSV in the early 90’s. But even before it was replaced it was not high on the list of Bibles evangelicals used. The NIV became the number one selling Bible in the late 1990’s, taking the title from the KJV for the first time in almost 400 years.
Conservatives and fundamentalists never warmed up to the RSV and it actually was the most hated translation in the last century, for good reasons and some not so good reasons. Some of the things it was criticized for are now common in all the conservative Christian Bibles. It’s one big achilles heal has (and is) it’s translation technique of the Old Testament, translating from a Jewish perspective as opposed to a Christian perspective. I think the 2nd addtion RSVCE may rectify this? At least in Isaiah 7:14.
Recently, evangelicals obtained the rights to update the RSV. The result was the ESV. Note that three major translations have been born from the RSV. The NRSV that the liberals have taken a liking to and the ESV which the conservatives have taken a liking to. The RSVCE that many Catholics prefer. This indicates (at least to me) that despite all the criticism, the underlying scholarship of the RSV was pretty good. I can’t think of another translation that has been latched on to and used as the foundation for a new revision.
Certainly not the NIV (it has the TNIV, but that’s only one!). Not the KJV (it has the NKJV, but that is only one!). Not the NASB (it was updated with the NASB95, but that’s only one!).

Jackson February 11, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Breier, I share your alarm. It all seems to relate the way in which deviancy has been dumbed down in the general culture. Very disturbing.
In the last year or so, I’ve come to see that I must become Catholic, but this realization has occurred in spite of the Church in the U.S., not because of it. For example, I recently went to a Catholic Church in Huntington Beach with a cradle Catholic. I saw that the kneelers had been removed, and immediately I pointed out to him that this was of great, great significance and seriously disturbing. Until then, he had thought little of it. Then, the liturgy then seemed almost liberal Protestant, with altar girls, women placing the bread of life in hands, and a ridiculous, irreverent homily that was clearly designed to entertain rather than plumb the depths of Christ. Also, I’ve emailed two different Churches about RCIA and received no response from either one. Nauseating. Thank God for Benedict XVI and the Igatius Press blog. Their writings have been the only things to keep me going on this path.
Greg, I don’t like all of this fragmentation. It smacks of cafeteria Christianity, each person choosing the translation that best suits his tastes. But I’m not interested in tastes, but only in truth, even if this contradicts my tastes. All the different translations only contribute to the confusion. It’s as if yet another layer of fog has been has shrouded the truth. The devil will indeed have his say in every age.

mmortal03 February 12, 2006 at 2:21 am

Greg: Just to be complete, according to Wikipedia, the RSV was translated from the ASV, which was, in turn, translated, and extremely similar, to the RV (or ERV). Also, according to Wikipedia on modern translations, the following also find their basis in the ASV:
NASB New American Standard Bible 1971
RcV Recovery Version 1999
WEB World English Bible 2006?
Thanks Jackson for clarifying and sorry to Breier for misunderstanding. Now that I can better follow Breier’s line of thinking, it brings forth an important issue that I am sensing here, and that is that this bible translation (the RSV:SCE) is, in a sense, seen as a lesser of the evils that are the current choices available as Catholic Bible translations. In other words, hypothetically, if the NAB, NRSV:CE, and the NJB were available in their current form sans their inclusive language, that they would all be superior to the RSV:SCE. Any thoughts on this?
Breier, I am also interested in what you think is missing from the RSV:SCE that could actually be that very positive selling point that the other Catholic translations are missing? Also, what could it include that is currently missing that the other Catholic translations happen to have?
I had read about the Jewish translation issue before, that people thought that the OT of the RSV was translated from a Jewish standpoint. While I can’t say how true this was or not, why is it that we have to label a translation of the OT as a Jewish translation or a Christian one? Why can’t we translate things without a standpoint? Back translation of the Old Testament based on a Christian New Testament view, is, in my opinion a serious error. Also, it doesn’t matter what people are used to, it matters what is accurate. Put any traditional “backward-prophesy fulfillments” that do not match the literal of the OT into the footnotes.

Greg February 12, 2006 at 7:30 am

A couple of comments. It’s because of many of the issues raised here (multiple translations, translation techniques, etc.) that I use the Douay-Rheims translation as my primary Bible.
In terms of translation philosophy, Augustine got it right when he said,
“The New Testament is concealed in the Old and the Old is revealed in the New”. You cannot understand one without the other. So if Matthew translates Isaiah 7:14 as “the virgin shall conceive” I think that should be taken into consideration when translating that passage. Translators always have choices. In this case “young woman” and “virgin” are two valid choices. That being the case, why not translate using the word Matthew uses, which enhances (rather than blurs) the Messianic meaning. The RSV translators, by self consciously translating as if the NT did not exist, are unique among Bible translators in using this tactic.

Jackson February 12, 2006 at 8:19 pm

Greg, I too have decided that the Douay-Rheims will be my primary Bible. I was joking earlier about the ESV.

Count Tradula February 12, 2006 at 9:48 pm

Yeah, I don’t know why it took so long for someone to actually MENTION the Douay, which is really the only Bible Catholics should use. Unless, of course, you know Latin and can read the Clementine Vulgate.

Jackson February 12, 2006 at 10:04 pm

I recommend, to all, an immediate study of Plato’s Parable of the Cave, The Republic, Book VII, Allan Bloom translation.

mmortal03 February 13, 2006 at 1:29 am

I still haven’t grasped why one would want to read a translation of the Latin when we now have the ability to make proper translations from the Greek and Hebrew. Lesser an issue still, but also important, is the fact that one has to read it in the archaic English along with the Latin-isms, and I just don’t see why one would not want to read a more modern English translation istead of using the Douay-Rheims.
As far as translations go, I could understand a translation into English from the Greek and Hebrew that might want to look back at the Vulgate or even the New Vulgate as an example (which I wouldn’t doubt has already happened in modern translations), but I don’t understand the validity of doing it the other way around anymore, or likewise using a Bible that has been translated in this manner.
Any thoughts?

Jackson February 13, 2006 at 3:45 pm

Interesting comments, mmortal03.
To refuse to embrace a modern translation doesn’t necessarily indicate simply a love for the archaic. For me, it’s part of a total opposition to this vacuous age of relativism, in which the supreme value is not what is true, but what is new, convenient, comfortable, entertaining, “empowering,” “inclusive,” and above all, “self-affirmative.” Modern translations better conform to this age’s love of the new, convenient, comfortable, “empowering,” “inclusive,” and by extension, the “self-affirmative.”
Also, the Douay-Rheims has a reverent tone, unlike modern translations, that is consistent to the reverence due to God. Modern translations to me smack too much of the demotic, and of course we know that the demotic is today being embraced in every field.
On a related note, speaking of the irreverent, comfort, and the demotic, I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to go to a mass and see people dressed in jeans and t-shirts. I can’t help but think this is related to the irreverent approach of modern translations, along with many other forms of modern mischief.

mmortal03 February 13, 2006 at 4:55 pm

I completely understand. It would seem that many modern translations have fallen into these unacceptable categories that you have listed. I do believe, however, that it is possible to produce a modern translation today that could meet your very well respected concerns that you listed above.
I myself look for a translation that is in modern English, non-inclusive, closer to formal equivalence than dynamic, and does not succumb to the any relativisms similar to what you list.
Would you say that the Ignatius Bible does not fit your standard? Where would you say that the Ignatius Bible falls short with regards to what you feel should be avoided?

Breier February 13, 2006 at 5:30 pm

The objections raised to the Ignatius Bible are the same objections to the RSV, particularly with regarding to the Old Testament. Namely, that it was translated with modernistic exegetical principles, resulting in many messianic passages from the Old Testament being effectively expunged. Since contemporary theology doesn’t believe in the existence of inspiration, traditional authorship, inerrancy, etc., a translation on those principles would be more inclined to a very reductionist reading of the sacred text.
Not having done intensive research on this area, I will present the critique as best I understand it, with the caveat that it depends on the accuracy of the evangelical critics who have made it.
The RSV Old Testament is identical with the Ignatius Old Testament, no changes were made.
So we have a reputedly liberal translation, gussied up with some minor alterations, and presented as the best option for orthodox Catholics. The same Bible which was severely attacked by orthodox Protestants for its liberal leanings. That’s not much of a pedigree.
The objection would lie in that the modern text, because of its exegetical principles, is actually less accurate than a more traditional translation.
Thus people prefer the older translations not because the old is best, but because what’s available currently is unacceptable. Consider, the misbegotten New American Bible is the norm for the Church’s Sacred Liturgy. This is the pinacle of access to Scripture for the laity?
Older translations may have less critical material to work with, but one can at least be assured that the translators had a lively Christian faith, and believed in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. Such a faith seems wanting in many contemporary versions.
I don’t want to be suspicious of the Bible I’m reading, because I don’t trust the translators. This is a particularly appaling part of listening to the NAB readings at Mass. It’s hard to absorb the word of God when you’re not sure you’re even accurately hearing it.
Inasmuch as a translator is also an interpreter, and the Church is the divinely instituted interpreter of Scripture, the faith seems a good prerequisite for a Bible scholar.

Jackson February 13, 2006 at 6:04 pm

I second Breier’s comments.
A very interesting article for your consideration, by Neuhaus, entitled BIBLE BABEL:
He disagrees with us regarding the RSV, however, his comments on the NAB are particularly scathing.

mmortal03 February 13, 2006 at 7:32 pm

Thank you Breier and Jackson for your helpful comments. If one of you could send me in the right direction, I would be interested to know more examples of the Conservative Protestants’ findings of failings in the RSV Old Testament, besides the often used Isaiah 7:14 example.
This topic made me think of something that I just read, which was a person stating that he felt that in today’s world, the arguments over the topic of proper Bible translations actually has more of an area of disagreement between conservatives and liberals, than Protestants and Catholics. This thread would seem to support that statement!
What I have also found interesting is that as far as the Old Testament, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has placed new importance on and a belief of validity in the Septuagint. I do not have knowledge as to which books contain the most differences between the Masoretic (Hebrew) Texts and the Greek Septuagint as to where it is an issue (especially a doctrinal one), but apparently there is enough of a significance in this area that work has begun in one group and has been completed in another to produce a modern Old Testament translation based primarily on the Septuagint. As to how this relates to the topic at hand, most of these older translations of the Old Testament (including the RSV) made great use of the Masoretic Texts, where it is possible that the Septuagint might have been the more accurate and appropriate.
I have also read that one of the reasons that we have not seen more of these direct translations from the LXX done sooner is that in the past, before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, conservatives placed their bets on the Masoretic Texts being quite inerrant, and that the new information from the DSS that has contradicted this has placed them in quite a situation.
See and for the two Septuagint translation projects.

mmortal03 February 13, 2006 at 7:36 pm

Also, I was just doing some reading and came upon a criticism of the NKJV, and I am wondering to what extent the criticism could also apply to the Ignatius Bible. It stated that the NKJV has been criticized because by replacing the archaic language of the original with current modern English words, it basically replaced the archaic words but left the archaic word order, in essence producing a style of writing (or a form of English) that has never actually been spoken by anyone. It would seem that the RSV, however, has a more modern “word order” than the KJV, therefore reducing the possibility of this, but could this criticism also hold partially true of the Ignatius Bible, or has there been work done to avoid this type of problem?

Jackson February 13, 2006 at 7:36 pm

hmmm…. I’m convinced that Breier is more qualified than I am to speak of these specifics, so I’ll defer.

bill912 February 13, 2006 at 7:50 pm

One thing the Septuagint does is confirm the prophetic meaning of Isaiah 7:14. The 3rd Century BC Jewish scholars, translated the Scriptures from Hebrew to Greek. The Hebrew word “almah” is now taken to mean “young woman”, or “maiden”. But they translated it as “parthenos” (virgin). Since they were doing this when ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek were both living tongues, it makes sense that they knew better than our modern scholars what the proper translation was.

Bibleboy February 15, 2006 at 8:05 am

“There would be virtues to a King James Bible- Catholic edition, but reservations to. We await a modern solid Bible translated in the Catholic tradition”
Jackson, Have you read the Douay-Rheims Bible? It pre-dates the KJV and is as pure as a Catholic Bible gets in terms of all the theological references. I recently bought the two-volume set from Cathlic Treasures with the Haydock commentaries, and it is quite clear that this is the best Catholic Bible in existence. It draws you into it and reveals layers of meaning. The actual act of reading this Bible, along with the assembled notes of the Church fathers, makes this Bible a true Godsend. After reading it, it is not so easy to read other Bibles.

MomLady February 15, 2006 at 9:13 am

So far no one has mentioned Ronald Knox’s translation published in 1948 in which he attempted to provide a Catholic translation which would be less antique than the Douay-Rheims yet still have a dignified and reverent sound. (Knox was a convert from the CofE and so would have grown up with the KJV.) His translation seems to have fallen off the radar screen, at least in the U.S.
The translation I grew up reading had the first eight books of the O.T. and the book of Psalms, as well as the entire N.T. in “the version produced by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine under the direction of the Bishops fo the United States.” The rest of the Bible was the Challoner-Douay version. I have always thought that this CCD translation (which was also the English translation of Scripture used in my missal) was a felicitous rendering, not being quite as antique as the Douay-Rheims yet decidedly not modern in tone.
I’m surprised that no one has made it available for Catholics who are not enamored of the NAB, but perhaps the rights belong to the American bishops who might not be eager to see it compete with the NAB.
I notice that in the Jan. 29 edition of Our Sunday Visitor that the editor of OSV was called on the carpet by a representative of the USCCB for having described the NAB as a “dynamic equivalence” translation. Whether it is or not is probably a judgement call, but it just sounded to me like the USCCB was very huffy about it — like they’re very touch about their baby.
Disclaimer: I don’t hate the NAB; it has its virtues — though it often sounds rather clunky when read aloud during Mass. It seems to me that for liturgy you want something that pleases the ear as well as illuminates the mind.
An example from Psalm 102 (103):
God does not always rebuke, nurses no lasting anger,
Has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our deeds deserve.
As the heavens tower over the earth, so God’s love towers over the faithful.
As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us.
He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever
Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.

BibleBoy February 15, 2006 at 10:16 am

Momlady, and here is the Knox translation of that Psalm:
“He will not always be finding fault, his frown does not last forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve, does not exact the penalty of our wrong-doing. High as heaven above the earth towers his mercy for the men that fear him; far as the east is from the west, he clears away our guilt from us.” Ps. 102: 9-12
And here is the Douay-Rheims: “He will not always be angry: nor will he threaten for ever. He hath not dealt with us according to our sins: nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For according to the height of the heaven above the earth: he hath strengthened his mercy towards them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our iniquities from us.”
Msgr. Knox truly produced his own translation, as he saw fit. It is beautiful, but tends to be erratic. He has some real clunkers too, such as Isaiah 7:14; “Maid shall be brought to bed of a son, that shall be called Emmanuel.”

hippo354 February 15, 2006 at 10:28 am

I have that two volume set from Catholic treasures as well, but find it cumbersome both in size and archaic language. (I like one I can hold in my hand without flopping around, since I like to curl up in bed with a cup of tea to read.)

Manfred February 24, 2006 at 8:44 pm

Brethren (sorry, I refuse to use the Lectionary’s lame “Brothers and Sisters” here),
One of the posters herein asked for some conservative/evangelical (Protestant) criticisms of the RSV; you might try this link
The article is a bit dated (from the early 1950s!), but I believe much of what was written then has not yet been fully addressed in ANY edition of the RSV/RSV-CE.
Don’t misunderstand me: the RSV-CE *is* quite readable. But it never ceased to amaze me why ANY Catholic scriptural scholar never really acknowledged the major Protestant criticisms of the RSV OT. Can it be that all the other modern Catholic translations are all so woefully inadequate that the RSV-CE looks good by comparison? If this is indeed the sad situation, then the only safe choice remains – to this day – the Douay-Rheims-Challoner.

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B. February 24, 2006 at 9:39 pm

I went to the ESV website.
It makes the following claim.
“A new essentially literal translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty and readability.”
I checked out one particular verse: John 19:30.
The Greek says “to pneuma”–which if rendered with “word-for-word precision and accuracy” into English would be “the spirit.” However, the ESV has “his spirit”. The correct Greek for “his spirit” would have been “to pneuma autou.”
The parallel verse in Matthew also has “to pneuma” in the Greek. Again, the ESV has “his spirit” instead of “the spirit.”
Luke’s parallel has Jesus saying “my spirit”–in Greek, “to pneuma mou”. If this were rendered into English literally with “word-for-word precision and accuracy” it would be “the spirit my”–but that’s simply the Greek way of saying “my spirit.”
There are arguments for rendering John 19:30 with “the spirit” instead of “his spirit” as do most translations, including the ESV.
However, a literally “word-for-word” translation is never really possible. Such a goal would give you something like what you see in interlinear translations, with English words printed directly beneath Greek words. A real “word-for-word” translation would lack the “literary excellence, beauty and readability” that the ESV advertises for itself.
A “word-for-word” cannot avoid being selective. We sometimes have several English words that can translate a single Greek word.
While preparing homilies on the Gospels, I put the Lectionary, the RSV and the Greek in front of me.

Emmanuel May 18, 2006 at 4:48 pm

Hello all, here is an email correspondance I feel that can contribute to this lively debate. I’ve just purchase the RSV-2nd Catholic Edition, and I realized it doesn’t have the offical approval of the Church. I sent an email to Ignatius Press, and this is their reply.
“I’ve just purchased a copy of the Ignatius bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition (leather), and I am very concerned with the lack of the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. Isn’t a catholic bible supposed to have these 2 as a mark of approval by the catholic church? If it is supposed to conform to the liturgiam authenticam 2002, then shouldn’t it have these 2 marks of approval?”
Reply from Ignatius Press:
“There are no approval issues in the Second Edition.
Proposed changes were sent to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (which was then the National Conference of Catholic Bishops) and we were told that changes were of a sufficiently editorial nature to support retention of the previously granted Imprimatur. Later changes, made in conformity with translation guidelines of the Vatican document, Liturgiam Authenticam, were approved directly by the Congregation for Divine Worship, which also reviewed all of the text.
The RSV, Second Catholic Edition, is the only recent English Bible translation that both uses standard (non-feminist) English and conforms to translation guidelines found in Liturgiam Authenticam. We took changes which its author, the Congregation for Divine Worship, recommended for the Lectionary and incorporated them into the biblical texts. Other documents were not sought out.
As indicated on the Frontispiece, the Second Edition was published in 2006 “With ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops”. ”
I’m not too sure what the reply means altogether. Anyone have any comments to share?

BillyHW May 18, 2006 at 6:15 pm

The reply means that the original RSV-CE Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat still apply to the 2nd edition.

Bible Esv January 13, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Bible Esv

A Critique of us in prayer, The ESV Thinline Regency Bible (Tapestry Design) No nee

Fredi D'Alessio May 9, 2007 at 9:22 am
Anonymous June 22, 2007 at 11:50 am

Matt June 22, 2007 at 3:19 pm

I still haven’t grasped why one would want to read a translation of the Latin when we now have the ability to make proper translations from the Greek and Hebrew. Lesser an issue still, but also important, is the fact that one has to read it in the archaic English along with the Latin-isms, and I just don’t see why one would not want to read a more modern English translation istead of using the Douay-Rheims.
As far as translations go, I could understand a translation into English from the Greek and Hebrew that might want to look back at the Vulgate or even the New Vulgate as an example (which I wouldn’t doubt has already happened in modern translations), but I don’t understand the validity of doing it the other way around anymore, or likewise using a Bible that has been translated in this manner.

Let’s start with the principle that the New Latin Vulgate Bible is the official version of the bible for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. This is based on a millenium of sound study. Consider the fact that it’s principle translator, St. Jerome was a native speaker of Koine Greek and well read in Hebrew and completely fluent in Latin, not an education 2000 years removed as in current scholars but less than 400 years removed from the time of the New Testament’s writings. Consider that Latin has been a stable language since then, so that we can be confident of our understanding of the Latin as it was understood by Jerome, and is understood by the Church. Jerome had access to many fragments that are no longer extant given his proximity to their origin.
Given this it is very clear that the best translation of the Latin Vulgate is clearly an important, if not the primary resource for any serious Catholic. Especially in this time where there is no entirely orthodox translation into modern English. One of things I like about the Navarre Study Bible (the older edition anyway) is that it provides the Vulgate alongside the RSV, thus providing good readability, but also eases clarification by referencing the definitive Catholic bible. One doesn’t need to be a scholar to be able to cull an understanding of any difficult passages, with a basic Latin-English dictionary.
I have to praise Ignatius for their continued work in publishing bibles which can be used with relative safety, however, until there is a ground up translation with absolute fidelity to Catholic Tradition we will continue to be in a tough situation of needing to keep the Douay-Rheims close at hand.
I want to be clear here that I am addressing the needs of the average Catholic, who’s interest is in recieving Christ’s message from revelation, not for the scholar who has various other interests. Based on that, the “most accurate” translation from the original documents is less important than the one which most faithfully dispenses the ideas of the orginal authors, which can only be understood with the guidance of the Church.
God Bless,

Stephen MacKenzie February 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm

The 2nd edition is not an upgrade for me.
1.) The Scepter Press edition is one of the easiest bibles to thumb through because the size is well proportioned and the binding is flexible. However, this 2nd edition is thin and tall and clumsy to thumb through.
2.) I don’t care for the new print, it is small than thin, I prefer the old print.
3.) It is not really leather, more like a leatherette. It saddens me that there isn’t a market for beautifully bound Catholic bibles such as the calfskin bound Cambridge bibles. If Catholics had the same regard for the Eucharist, we’d see paper bowls and Dixie cups used to contain the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord.
4.) Why don’t Catholic bibles have concordances in the back?
5.) Why no center references – especially a system like Cambridge KJV that does not clutter the text with superscript?
What is it going to take to make available to Catholics beautifully bound bibles worthy of the Precious Word of God, with all the helps afforded Protestants?

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