New Translation of the Lectionary incoming

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Southern Comfort
Posts: 1952
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: New Translation of the Lectionary incoming

Post by Southern Comfort »

blackthorn fairy wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:02 pm
Is the ESV the same as - or dfferent from - the NRSV Catholic Edition which is what I thought we were supposed to be using? If it is not the same how is it different? And if so, why is it different?
They are completely different.

Scholars tell us that NRSV (1989) is the best translation in widespread common use across the Churches at the moment. The translation committee was an ecumenical committee, including Roman Catholics. It is a non-literal translation which also contains inclusive language throughout. The Canadians have been using it in their Lectionary for years. There is a Catholic edition of it (a few minor emendations), and an Anglicized (principally spelling) Catholic edition.

ESV is generally reckoned to be an inferior translation. It's essentially a revision of the old 1971 RSV text (which still had thee's and thou's). Produced by evangelical protestant biblical scholars in the US, it is a literal translation and does not contain inclusive language, which is why it is having to be edited for E&W with that in mind. There is a Catholic edition of it, with few if any obvious differences.

Ireland have announced their intention not to use ESV, thus ending the 50+ years tradition of having the same translation in use throughout the British Isles.

Hope that's enough detail.

blackthorn fairy
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:36 am
Parish / Diocese: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Wellingborough Northamptonshire

Re: New Translation of the Lectionary incoming

Post by blackthorn fairy »

Thanks - now I know. However, I don't understand - if NRSV (Catholic, English edition) is considered the 'best' at the moment (and I have a very smart hardback edition which I use) why is the Lectionary using ESV and not NRSV?

Southern Comfort
Posts: 1952
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: New Translation of the Lectionary incoming

Post by Southern Comfort »

blackthorn fairy wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:03 pm
Thanks - now I know. However, I don't understand - if NRSV (Catholic, English edition) is considered the 'best' at the moment (and I have a very smart hardback edition which I use) why is the Lectionary using ESV and not NRSV?
Initially the Congregation for Divine Worship rejected NRSV (although the Canadians were already using it, and had been for a number of years.They still are). CDW claimed that the reason was the way NRSV handled archetypes of Christ in the Old Testament — it's a question of language and theology. There is in fact only a small number of problematic instances, and all of these except for a tiny handful occur in the psalms, which wouldn't even be used because the Grail is used for the psalms. Of the remaining five non-psalm cases, three happen to be identical with what is in ESV (they still are, unless the editors have twigged and tweaked), and the owners of NRSV offered to modify the other two to meet the objections.

But none of this made any difference because CDW's argument was just a diversion. The real reason was that some of those working in CDW at the time were not in favour of inclusive language, but of course they dared not admit that. (Those people have mostly either left or died, so it is no longer the issue it was.)

Anyway, in the wake of all this, the English bishops looked around for something else that might be agreeable to CDW. After much to-ing and fro-ing, they finally settled on ESV, using the excuse that it is a literal translation, as opposed to NRSV, which is a more literate translation.

However, Pope Francis through his Apostolic Letter Magnum Principium has clarified that bishops' conferences can decide for themselves what liturgical translations they use (this was always the case following Vatican II, but CDW wrested back control), and CDW's role has been modified to rubber-stamp the bishops' choices, so there is absolutely no reason why the bishops couldn't revert to NRSV. They still could, even now. But they plough doggedly on with an inferior ESV, having to do a lot of tweaking to it along the way. The result will be a new lectionary that no one really wants. Such is the world of church politics.

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