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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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a little confused

I was recently handed a little book from TAN publishing telling me that the most accurate bible to read in English was the Douay Rheims. Could someone please enlighten me as to the accuracy of that claim?
Thanks
Ave Maria!

Nick Pisciotti

Any chance this can be made available in Logos?

Mark Brumley

The booklet is incorrect. The Douay Rheims is not the most accurate Bible to read in English. Not that there is anything wrong with reading the Douay Rheims.

David

a little confused, just read that booklet.

Elizabeth

The Douay-Rheims is the premier English translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible, for those who want to read an English translation of the Vulgate Bible (itself a translation by St Jerome from the original Greek and Hebrew), for instance some of those with a preference for the Tridentine Mass, where that's the Bible that's used for the readings.

I appreciate TAN for printing a lot of genuine classics. But sometimes it seems like the clock stopped just before Vatican II for them and a lot of their publications are a little (or a lot) misleading as a result.

Peter Sean Bradley

That is a very slick presentation. The commentary is hyperlinked to the superscripts so that they can be accessed with a click and the charts and essays are easily reached from first page of the various books. Nice.

David

I repeat, a little confused, just read that booklet.

Understand that you're dealing with Novus Ordo "conservatives" here. What they're saying is part of the script.

P.S. If you're wondering why I put that word in quotes, see this:

http://www.seattlecatholic.com/article_20011221_A_Brief_Defense_of_Traditionalism.html

Mark Brumley

Script?! Script?! I didn't get a script!

How am I supposed to shill as a neo-Catholic for Vatican II and the Masons who run the Church without a script?

By the earlobes of the Ersatz Paul VI, I want my script!

Olson, did you get a darn script? I'll bet you did. Circles within circles! Fine. Don't invite me to all the secret meetings, but please make sure I get my script.

:).

Carl E. Olson

Mark: Having now been attending a Byzantine Catholic Church for over ten years now, my hard-earned credentials as a "Novus Ordo 'conservative'" were recently revoked by the Novus Ordo Conservative Association (Nefariously Dull "Orthodox" branch) [NO-CAN-DO]. Thus, I haven't seen a script in several months. However, the last one I did see, handed to me by a short-haired nun wearing bright yellow leotards (and carrying a big felt banner with some unrecognizable graphics on it), was about further efforts to demean the Douay Rheims translation while promoting the newly revised, gender-neutral, all-inclusive, multi-cultural Super New American Bible (graphic novel edition preferred, of course, with art by representatives of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Scientology). So, long story short, I'm not able to help you. Kumbaya!

Mark Brumley

No doubt, Carl, your comments here are part of the script, which I did not receive. Rub it in. Well, I have been a neo-Catholic longer than you. I deserve better treatment than this.

a little confused

I have read the little TAN booklet, and my comments here were intended not to get caught up in the politicism of Norvus Ordo/Extraordinary Form (or Tridentine) debates I'm simply trying to understand what would be best for me to read.
The TAN booklet seems to make an argument (and by my estimation a fairly strong argument) for the inaccuracy of other translations, including the RSV - Claiming that there was Protestant influence in these translations. Is this true?
Why would Ignatius Press publish such a bible? Why would it have been adopted as appropriate for use in the liturgy?
Why would Ignatius not publish the Douay Rheims?
Or is this all conspiracy theory stuff?

By the way, I have no idea what you blokes are referring to when you speak of the 'script'??
Ave Maria!

Carl E. Olson

A Little Confused:

Since I don't have the TAN booklet you mention, I can't respond directly to its arguments. But I'll take a stab at some of your questions:

1). "I have read the little TAN booklet, and my comments here were intended not to get caught up in the politicism of Norvus Ordo/Extraordinary Form (or Tridentine) debates I'm simply trying to understand what would be best for me to read. The TAN booklet seems to make an argument (and by my estimation a fairly strong argument) for the inaccuracy of other translations..."

Which version of the Douay-Rheims? I presume it is the Challoner revision of the Douay-Rheims. As Mark indicated above, there is nothing at all wrong with reading and using the Douay-Rheims; in fact, I own three copies of the Douay-Rheims (I have over 20 different translations/versions of the Bible in my personal library, counting Greek NT). The challenge with translations, to put it simply, is that there are many variables in translating, and the fluctuating nature of the English language is one of the main variables. Words and terms that people used and understood in the late 1500s, the mid-1800s, and even the early to mid 1900s aren't as common now. Which leads to debates and discussions about how best to translate: very literally? more dynamically, that is, trying to capture the essence of a passage while taking some liberties with specific words/phrases? It's an ongoing issue--and always will be, as long as language is changing (as it is).

The Douay-Rheims, as you know, was originally a translation into English from the Vulgate, itself a translation of Hebrew and Greek into Latin by St. Jerome in the 4th century. The Douay-Rheims translation was made in reference, to varying degrees, to the original languages, but was initially filled with many "latinisms," although later versions dealt with most of those problems. Modern translations (post-1900) have mostly worked directly from Hebrew and Greek texts. But there is the matter of various differences (mostly small, but still real) between various Greek manuscripts and codices. All of these issues combine to make rather problematic any definitive judgment as to the "best" or "most accurate" translation (after all, the accuracy of a translation from, say, the Greek, would require knowing for complete certain what this or that Greek word meant in the first century, yet there are many legitimate discussions and debates over those meanings). This introductory article from Catholic Answers might be helpful in getting a sense of the translating landscape.

2) "...including the RSV - Claiming that there was Protestant influence in these translations. Is this true?"

The Revised Standard Version (RSV) was initially a Protestant translation that was a revision of the 1901 American Standard Version, which came from the lineage of the King James translation, which in turn was influenced to some degree in its translation of the New Testament by the Douay-Rheims translation (the KJV being printed in 1611, about 30 years after the NT edition of the DR). In 1965 the Catholic Biblical Association adapted RSV for Catholic use with the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE), which is what is published by Ignatius Press. The RSVCE contained the deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament (not found in most Protestant Bibles) and made some changes to the translation of the New Testament. The concern over "Protestant influence" suggests that nothing good could ever come from Protestant work in translating Greek to English. If that is the case, then I'm not sure anything I say will be helpful. The fact is, there have been and are today many outstanding Protestant Scripture scholars and translators, and Catholics can benefit from their work, albeit being aware of theological beliefs/positions that might, in some cases, affect translations and interpretations.

3) "Why would Ignatius Press publish such a bible? Why would it have been adopted as appropriate for use in the liturgy? Why would Ignatius not publish the Douay Rheims?"

That is a question best answered by Fr. Joseph Fessio or Mark Brumley, but my guess is that the Ignatius Press believes the RSV-CE to be a very fine translation that reflects excellent scholarship and avoids the sort of inclusive language and loose translations found in, say, the New American Bible (a very mixed bag, in my opinion) and the New Jerusalem Bible (quite bad, in my opinion). There may well be some copyright issues in the mix as well.

4) "Or is this all conspiracy theory stuff?"

Looking at sites such as this one, there seems to be a propensity toward dubious or rather hyperbolic claims. For example: "St. Jerome's translation, moreover, was a careful, word-for-word rendering of the original texts into Latin." This doesn't take into consideration that a "word-for-word rendering" from Greek to Latin is nigh impossible; such a translation involves all sorts of exegetical and linguistic decisions. This is not a criticism of St. Jerome at all, but simple fact: translators must do far, far more than just produce "word-for-word renderings."

5) "By the way, I have no idea what you blokes are referring to when you speak of the 'script'??"

We were making light of the hilarious description of folks here as "Novus Ordo 'conservatives'". It was especially funny to me, as moderator and chief author of this blog, because my family and I have attended a Byzantine Catholic parish since 2000, where the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is celebrated.

a little confused

Thank you very much Carl for clearing that up for me! I really do appreciate what you've written here - Since reading that little book I was uncertain as to what was what.
Here in Australia we use the New Jerusalem Bible in our liturgy and some obvious differences struck me recently when we read Genesis 3:15 which in the translation we read from read that "'it' will crush you head" unlike the Douay version I have on my iPhone which reads "she" (making much more sense to me in light of what I understand of Church teaching about Our Lady - and as seen in many statues etc). My reference to 'protestant influence' was more to do with theological ideas being inserted somehow into various translations - or writing out parts. (This seemed to be insinuated in the TAN booklet).

What you've written clarifies a lot of things for me - I actually own and read the Ignatius publication of the RSV(along with the individual NT book commentaries the Scott Hahn et al has produced that have been compiled for this edition). I was genuinely wondering the value of continuing to read this.
May I ask, what translation do you most commonly read?
Mark Brumley, you said that the Douay was not the most accurate. Is there one that you think is best?
Thanks again!
Ave Maria!

Carl E. Olson

Very glad my comments were helpful! In leading a weekly Bible study and writing a weekly Scripture column, I regularly look at several different translations as well as the Greek NT (I studied Greek, but am not proficient). I prefer the RSV-CE and (sometimes) the New American Standard Bible (NASB), which is a Protestant translation that is very similar to the RSV-CE. I sometimes refer to the Knox translation, and I also refer to the NAB since it is widely used among Catholics, but it makes me cringe on a regular basis (the Psalms, for instance, are pretty dreadfully translated). When studying the Old Testament, I sometimes refer to a translation of the Septuagint; I plan on getting a Greek/English interlinear version of it soon. I would recommend avoiding the New Jerusalem and the New Revised Standard, which are limp and politically-correct to a fault. I own several other translations, but don't use them very often.

Christopher Lake

Carl, your comment from yesterday, 9:02 P.M., is hilarious! I am literally laughing out loud here (although the ultra-liberal nuns wouldn't be laughing)! :-)

(My meeting with the priest was wonderful yesterday. Lord willing, I'll write you about it later today or tonight!)

Kindle

The Douay-Rheims Bible (also known as the Rheims-Douai Bible or Douai Bible, and abbreviated as D-R) is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English undertaken by members of the English College, Doua

Kindle

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