ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE:
A BRIEF CRITIQUE
by Dr. John E. Russell
ROMAN CATHOLIC TRANSLATIONS
Gregory Martin translated the New Testament
at Rheims in 1582, and the Old Testament at Douay in 1610. This was the
official Roman Catholic Version and was translated from the Latin Vulgate, rather than from the original languages. The major revisions were by Bishop Richard Challoner; the New Testament was revised five times between 1749 and 1772. The Old Testament was revised in 1750 and 1763. It was authorized for American Catholics in 1810. It is the first authorized English version for Catholics. Its main weakess is that it is a translation of a translation.
The editor of this translation is Cuthbert
Lattey, SJ., who finished The New Testament in 1935, including introductions
and commentaries on the Bible books. It is not an official Catholic version.
However, it is based on the original texts.
The New Testament
Monsignor Ronald A. Knox made this translation
in 1945. According to the title page of the 1955 edition, it was "a translation from the Latin Vulgate in the light of the Hebrew and Greek originals." Bruce says that it was a translation of the Clementine (Latin) Vulgate Bible authorized by Pope Clement VIII in 1952, which may be a weaker Latin translation. Knox had a good command of English, but the translation was weakened by not using Hebrew and Greek texts as his primary basis.
Revised Standard Version
The Catholic Association of Great Britain produced this edition. The New Testament was published in 1965, and the whole Bible in 1966. They placed the Apocryphal books in their Vulgate position.
Jerusalem Bible (1967)
Father Alexander Jones edited the English version
in 1967. It was first published in French, being edited by Piere Roland
de Vaux. The English version is based on the original languages, and is
not a translation of the French version. However, the introductions and
notes to the books of the Bible were translated from the French version,
and revised. Contemporary idiom was used. Bruce says that it is the "finest
Catholic version of the Bible in modern English."
New American Bible (1970)
This version is the work of 50 scholars (some
Protestant) over a period of 25 years. This is the first official Roman
Catholic English translation directly from the original languages. The
Old Testament text and the Apocrypha text are eclectic. The New Testament
text was primarily Nestle-Almand's NOVUM TESTAMENTUM GRAECE (25th edition, 1963). However, THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT of the United Bible Societies (1966) and eclectic readings were also used. Ralph Earle says that it is an excellent translation.
The Common Bible (1973)
This was a new edition of the RSV, the first
translation to be approved by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox
Today's English Version (1976, 1992)
This translation is sometimes called Good
News for Modern Man or Good News Bible. The New Testament was
translated by Robert Bratcher, a Southern Baptist missionary, in 1966.
The New Testament was sponsored and published by the American Bible Society.
New Jerusalem Bible (1985)
This version is a revision of the 1966 Jerusalem Bible.
The New Revised Standard Version (1989)
The New Revised Standard Version was
a revision of the Revised Standard Version (1952), which was a revision of the American Standard Version (1901), which embodied earlier revisions of the King James Version (1611).
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Copyright © 1995-1997 by Dr. John E. Russell,
Internet Version Copyright © 2001 by Dr. John E. Russell.