The Holocaust, “holocausts”, and the NABRE

Complaints about modern Biblical translations succumbing to the neurotic silliness of “political correctness” are hardly uncommon, most often revolving around the increasingly fraught usage of pronouns. However, sometimes such sentiments direct the work down the same self-defeating path of excavated meaning in surprising ways. In the “Preface to the Revised New American Old Testament”, the editors of the NABRE make their apology for yet another Bible translation/revision along the usual lines one typical sees, and gives as an example of cultural changes ...

The Open English Bible: Trendiness, Updated

Along with the previously mentioned CEB, I spent some time last weekend checking out a couple other new Bible translations, one of which was the Open English Bible (New Testament), published electronically in 2011 – I viewed a PDF rendition dated April 4th, 2011. Primarily an individual effort by Russell Allen, this work is an “open source” revision of the rather obscure 1904 Twentieth Century New Testament. Considered the first “modern English” translation, the TCNT was produced in Britain by a group of mostly laymen seeking to produce an &#...

The Common English Bible: Yet another failed attempt at “The Bible for Dummies”

A group calling itself the Church Resources Development Corp is preparing to release yet another new English translation of Sacred Scripture, this one being marketed as the  the  Common English Bible (CEB) (not to be confused with the 1999 Common Edition New Testament, or with the American Bible Society’s Contemporary English Version from 1995, which goes by CEV). This “fresh” translation was an interdenominational effort (predominantly by members of old-line, liberal Protestant denominations, it would seem). It was translated from NA27, using vari...

The USCCB Swings & Whiffs on the NAB Revised Edition

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced the release on this coming Ash Wednesday (March 9th) of what amounts to the completion of a Revised version of the New American Bible, which will be known as the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). I should be happy to see the publication of what is being touted as a more formal translation of the Old Testament for the NAB, but I can’t help but feel that the USCCB has bungled this. This will be the fourth release of the NAB family of translations. The original translation was ...

Magi from the East

Since today is actually the great Feast of Epiphany – despite what the bishops say! – I thought I would celebrate it by posting a short essay I wrote several years ago on the first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel – especially the Visit of the magi, which forms the central mode of our celebration of this feast in the Latin world. Jesus’ genealogy is a little dicey, and Matthew makes an obvious point of it, recognizing among his ancestors the Canaanite Tamar, who tricked her father-in-law Judah into impregnating her while she posed as a prostitute; Rahab,...

Not the Sort of Divinity One Would Sketch

Quote of the Day for Thursday, December 9th, 2010: Mark T. Coppenger, from the article The Perennial Challenge to Inerrancy in the Fall 2010 issue of Southern Seminary Magazine: Whenever I read that someone like Freud or Feuerbach says that God’s a comforting figment or projection of our imagination, I wonder if they’ve ever read the Bible. For our God is not prone to indulge earthly conceits and agendas. Rather, He is insulting, intrusive, inconvenient and insistent – not the sort of divinity one would sketch if left to his own devices. Amen to that! ...

Leprosy: 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

One of the themes that emerge from this week’s readings is the importance of communion, that is: the role of the Church in not only embracing all people in brotherhood, but doing so by means of bringing all people to a place of graced renewal, for the end, as Paul says in the second reading, “that they may be saved.” The device that is used to characterize this is the ancient scourge of leprosy. The first reading, from Leviticus, skips over an extensive middle section of the Biblical text on the details of the disease, including regulations on distingui...

Magi From the East

Being Epiphany, it’s time for my annual consideration of the story of the Magi. About 15 years ago, I was engaged in a series of discussions on various Biblical readings, and I came to see this story in a somewhat unusual light. Tradition takes this story as a harbinger of the universality of the salvation offered in Christ, seeing the magi as the first gentiles to come to Christ. It’s a powerful interpretation, and I certainly accept that it is how the Church reads the story, but I haven’t always been convinced that was Matthew’s original i...

Comfort Without Complacency

Comfort, comfort my people. 2nd Sunday in Advent, Year B 1 Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! 4 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a b...

Oh, That You Would Rend the Heavens and Come Down!

I had the curious privilege this weekend of proclaiming the liturgical reading for the last Mass of the year on Saturday, as well as the readings for the first Mass of the new liturgical year today. I’m sure that’s not particularly unusual, but given as I only read about three days a month, it was a bit curious to draw these exact two assignments. In reflecting on them both, it struck me how similar they are – in that even the triumphant scene from Revelation of the vision of the tree of life in the Saturday reading is imbued with suc...

Watchman for the House of Israel

There is a common thread of real, and very serious, responsibility for neighbor running across all three of this week’s readings. 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A Ezek 33:7-9; Rom 13:8-10; Mt 18:15-20 It’s not that common for the second reading to dovetail this nicely with the first reading and the Gospel reading. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but perhaps it bears repeating (even in somewhat oversimplified form). . . The lectionary cycle for Sunday readings consists of two independent threads of content: the primary thread be...

Upon This Rock: Royal Authority & Stewardship

A few observations on the Gospel reading for this week… 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A 19 I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station. 20 On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; 21 I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open. 23 I w...