Bookmark and Share
My Photo


    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.


« Cardinal Schönborn on Catholics and Evolution | Main | Fr. Richard John Neuhaus reads the Insight Scoop! »

Saturday, February 11, 2006



Which version is the new compact?

Mark Brumley

The compact Bible is the first edition Catholic RSV translation. However, the annotations are at the bottom of the page, rather than in the back of the book as in the original Ignatius Bible. Also, the text of the new compact Bible is more beautifully set than the original Ignatius Bible.


Can someone give specifics on the "minor changes to confusing and archaic language"

From what I understand, in the RSV:CE, archaic language was only retained if it was spoken by God or Jesus. The rest of the archaic language was removed. Has this "divine" spoken archaic language now also been removed with this new RSV:SCE, or have there only been corrections made?

Mark Brumley

There is no "archaic language" used in the revised translation--either for men or for God.


The death of a thousand cuts continues....


Jackson, if your metaphorical statement is referring specifically to the removal of all archaic language in this edition, then I don't think I would agree or completely follow that line of thinking. If, instead, it is the other mentioned changes (or ones that were not mentioned) that you find in bad wisdom, please inform everyone. I would be interested to hear how the text is, in your logic and thought, "being damaged or destroyed by too many minor changes" (in quotes is the common translation, no pun intended, of the metaphor that Jackson used, for those who hadn't heard of "death by a thousand cuts").


Mark, someone over at Jimmy's blog mentioned that Isaiah 7:14 has been exchanged with the footnote. What other passages have had similar changes made?


At the bottom of the thread, someone mentioned two of the changes that they found, here:

One was the swap of "virgin" and "young woman" in Isaiah 7:14, and also the swap in Matthew 16:18 replacing "powers of death" with the footnote "gates of Hades".

It will be interesting to see how many of the changes in this edition will end up correlating with the suggested corrections in that thread. I am looking foward to getting mine!

Paul H

Quote: "Some of the 'tweaking' to which I refer above is to bring the RSV into line with Liturgiam Authenticam."

What type of changes were needed in the RSV-CE, in order to bring it into line Liturgiam Authenticam? Does this have to do with the removal of the archaic language, or something else? I'm not asking for a list of changes or anything detailed like that, but I'm curious what this means in general terms, if Carl or Mark has time to respond. Thanks!


Thank you Mr. Brumley for the quick response, and I apolgize if I misled anyone into thinking that the original RSV:CE (and 1st edition Ignatius Bibles) used archaic English only for God. I do not know how those editions dealt with archaic language. What I was actually thinking of was the original RSV, which did retain archaic English only for God.


Paul H: I would also be interested in what ether man would have to say about this. I can, however, in the meantime, tell you what I know.

Liturgiam Authenticam concerns itself with the proper translation into the vernacular of all books of the Roman Liturgy (this includes the Mass, which therefore requires a proper Biblical translation for the Lectionary). To be accurate, this means that as far as how LA relates to Bible translations, it only explicitly covers how that which is to be included in the Lectionary is translated, not how one's own personal Catholic Bible should be translated.

This is apparent in the fact that while the current NAB is an offical Catholic Bible translation for use by the laity, it has been rejected for use in the Lectionary. Here is some information on Lectionaries in the US. From what I have read, the original NAB, RSV, and OJB were all approved for Lectionary use at one point. I do not know the status of the NJB as far as it being or not being proposed for Lectionary use. I would infer that this new RSV:SCE has been approved by the Holy See in its new Lectionary form (is this correct?), because it is to be used in Lectionary of the Antilles Episcopal Conference. FYI, a form of the NRSV was even approved for Lectionary use in the US in 1992, but then, before the NRSV could be used, the USCCB decided to unify the process of having one Lectionary in the US, the NAB was chosen, and with its current form consisting of an inclusive revised Psalter and New Testament, was presented to Rome, rejected, and had to be adjusted in-house by the Holy See to bring it into compliance. Soon after the NAB fiasco, if I am not mistaken, LA was released (possibly to avoid having this happen again?)

Given all of this, I think that Ignatius Press is well aware of the lack of a unification between the contents of the Lectionary and the available layman's Bibles in the US, and because they would love to see a greater acceptance of their own new Lectionary, they are also, in principle, choosing to follow LA for their non-Lectionary Bible text.

LA, also fyi, actually calls for the scripture used within a single Bishops' Conference to have a consistant, distinctive sacred style in the vernacular and to be consonant (in agreement) with major catechetical texts used in that conference's language. Well, the US has the NAB used in the missals, both the RSV and NRSV used in the Catechism, and you can't even purchase a complete bible that has the verbatim readings from the Lectionary at the present. I doubt that is what they meant by consonance! Hopefully this changes, but I have read elsewhere that this is not a top priority of the powers at be.

As far as the directives of LA itself, while many have focused on the topic of inclusive language and how the document defines what inclusive language can and cannot be used (more of what cannot be than what can, and btw, there are many sites around that have their own take on this issue), LA also stipulated that translations of the Liturgy must be brought closer to the Latin standard. As far as how this relates to Bible translations themselves, LA states that the Neo-Vulgate should be employed as an auxiliary tool in preparing biblical translations for use in the Liturgy. I don't know the details on how strict that measure goes or how this particular part relates to the RSV:SCE, but would love to find out!

I have above simply brought a lot of what I have found scattered across the Internet all to one place, and hopefully those brave enough to read all the way through it can correct me where I am wrong or where I am unsure. By the way, the Press Release To Liturgiam Authenticam is very helpful, and both it, and the entire LA document, in English, can be found at

God Bless

Paul H

Hi mmortal03,

Thanks for your response above. It was very helpful!


David Deavel

If the lectionary ever gets approved, will you do the liturgy of the hours, too? The NAB readings are just atrocious.


I was just doing some reading and came upon a criticism of the NKJV, and I am wondering to what extent it 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 English, 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 had 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 was there work done to avoid this type of problem?


Hello, I am very interested in these comments about the RSV-SE. I am especially gladdened by the correction to Isaiah 7:14, as the "young woman" there literally prevented me from fully accepting the 1st ed.

I have a question related to lectionary usage. Our liturgical director changes the weekly Sunday Gospel readings as he sees fit, and tapes his edited versions right over the actual readings in the lectionary. For instance, last Sunday, when Jesus healed the leper, He had Jesus say, "I choose" instead of "I will". This type of editing is very troublesome, and I am planning to approach our Church and the Archdioscese about it. Can anyone point me to where it is stated that this type of thing is not (or is) allowed? Thanks, Pax et Bonum.


I received mine: it is the paperback edition. I noticed that the title page specifically states that it was edited to correspond with Liturgiam Authenicam, 2002. So now I am also interested to know what they actually changed between the First and the Second Edition to conform to Liturgiam Authenticam. They did not change the "Truly.." and "Truly, Truly..." verses in the New Testament to "Amen..." and "Amen, Amen...", however, I have read that it would be assumed that that WOULD have been changed to correspond with LA. Also, they did not change instances of "Hallelujah" to "Alleluia". I did a brief check on the archaic language removal. I do not know what archaic language was still left in the First Catholic Edition, but in the Second Edition it looks as if the only places there is archaic English is in specific places like the Our Father, where it is traditionally accustomed.

One other thing to note: I have come to find that Liturgiam Authenticum, part 9, states that a Ratio Translationis for each vernacular language will be created that will further define and explain how to apply the stipulations of Liturgiam Authenticam to a translation. Work has been done recently on a Ratio Translationis for the English-language. I will assume that we will eventually have a Third Catholic Edition based off of this, if needed, once it is finalized?

Mark Brumley

We'll see.

Greg Witherow

I am most interested in the translation changes. Thus far I have gleaned from various internet sites 3 changes.

1. Isaiah 7:14
2. Psalm 8:5
3. Matthew 16:18

Are there anymore?


Yeah, those are the only changes I know of so far. It is interesting that they altered the Old Testament, because in the First Catholic Edition the Old Testament was the same as the original RSV from what I understand.

I'd like to see a comprehensive list of changes put out by Ignatius (or at least someone who has both).

Tom Syseskey

How much does the RSV/2CE lectionary cost?
How can I get a set?
It is not listed as for sale on the Ignatius Press website.


Here is the set: Volumes 1 & 2

and here they are individually:
Volume 1

Volume 2


Is it possible for these lectionaries to be used in the US? Would an individual bishop be able to authorize them for his diocese? Can a priest use them on his own?


Go to the following thread for a list of changes regarding the different RSV:CE editions. We have made some new findings recently, especially regarding the Oxford Press RSV:CE being an apparent Catholic revision according to the 1971 RSV Second Edition:

Also, just so others will not be misinformed, and until we see otherwise, I find it very deceptive to say that this new Second Edition was revised according to Liturgiam Authenticam, because it makes it sound as if they made it "conform" to it, which they didn't.

Maybe they did refer to LA in a few cases for this revision, but frankly, on the title page, they could have instead stated, "Revised according to the New American Bible, 1991" and it would have been more accurate. Possibly, "Revised according to the Douay-Rheims Challoner Bible" could have worked, but that is even pushing it.
Again, stating that "This edition was revised according to Liturgiam Authenticam, 2002." might be true in a small amount of cases, but it is VERY misleading.

I picked up this Ignatius Bible Second Catholic Edition, but now that I have learned some more about what it actually contains, I am waiting for a Bible that not only is "Revised according to Liturgiam Authenticam", but "Conforms to Liturgiam Authenticam by reference to the Ratio Translationis for the English-language." THAT will be a must buy.


I'm living in a region where the Revised Standard Version (original version) is approved for use in the liturgy. Can anyone elucidate whether this means I would be able to use this set of Lectionaries published by Ignatius legitimately?


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?


Hi Emmanuel, I had the exact same reply from Ignatius to my query. Looks like they have very carefully crafted the response, but that only makes me more suspicious, though frankly, I don't expect anything suspicious from Ignatius. But canon 825 requires Scripture translations to have the approval (not just imprimatur, which normally indicates permission) of either the Holy See or the Bishops' Conference. Could I just take the "Published with ecclesiastical approval of the USCCB" as the approval required by canon law?

There are other changes to the RSV-2CE text than those already indicated. Among those that I found:
(1) Printing of the verses from Sirach accepted in Nova Vulgata in their proper places in the RSV-2CE text, instead of relegating them into the footnotes (e.g. Sir 1:5)
(2) Translating the Greek term "monogenes" as "only-begotten" following the "unigenitum" of the Nova Vulgata in at least the following places: (Gn 22:2, 16; Jn 1:14, 18, 3:16, 18; Heb 11:17). The RSV-CE had "only" in these places.
(3) Changing Ps 2:12 from "with trembling, kiss his feet" to "with trembling, rejoice" following the text given in Nova Vulgata and the NAB.


Hey Simon, this is another of Ignatius's official answer in response to further questioning on my part. Think it makes much more sense now!

"The Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat are not absent.

We almost always use the simple form "With ecclesiastical approval" on our books. Since we were told that we did not need a new Imprimatur, the Imprimatur would be the one granted for the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition in 1966. Names as follows:

Nihil Obstat: Thomas Hanlon, S.T.L., L.S.S., Ph.L.

Imprimaturs (2):
Gordon Joseph Gray, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh
Peter W. Bartholome, D.D., Bishop of Saint Cloud

Most of the text is unchanged which is why we were told that no new Imprimatur was needed. We made editorial changes that the Congregation for Divine Worship (Vatican) suggested. We were not given the text of any further specific statement, by either the CDW or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that we were required or asked to put in the books."


Simon, Emmanuel,

Why take chances? If you haven't already, get yourselves a copy of the Douay-Rheims Bible. There's no doubts about its approval, and when you see the renderings and the notes you'll KNOW it was done correctly!

Greg M

I bought the RSV-SCE in leather. The leather and cover is beautiful. But in the 2 months I have owned it the pages are falling out. They are seperating from the seam. I would recommed the hardback over the leather.


Simon and Emmanuel: I also asked about the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat and got the same basic answer from Ignatius Press but not the one that said:

"The Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat are not absent.

We almost always use the simple form "With ecclesiastical approval" on our books. Since we were told that we did not need a new Imprimatur, the Imprimatur would be the one granted for the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition in 1966. Names as follows:

Nihil Obstat: Thomas Hanlon, S.T.L., L.S.S., Ph.L.

Imprimaturs (2):
Gordon Joseph Gray, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh
Peter W. Bartholome, D.D., Bishop of Saint Cloud

Most of the text is unchanged which is why we were told that no new Imprimatur was needed. We made editorial changes that the Congregation for Divine Worship (Vatican) suggested. We were not given the text of any further specific statement, by either the CDW or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that we were required or asked to put in the books."

I also asked the question to EWTN, since they sell the bible, and Scott Hahn, and another Catholic web site. Nothing to report yet.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight


Ignatius Press

Catholic World Report


Blogs & Sites We Like

June 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad