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by Dr. John E. Russell


Douay-Rheims Version (1610)

     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. 

Westminster Version
of the Sacred Scriptures (1935)

     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
of Our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ

     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
(Catholic Edition, 1966)

     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 leaders. 

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. 
     The New Testament underlying text was the United Bible Societies' GREEK NEW TESTAMENT (third edition, 1975), the best text available at the time. 
     A Catholic version with Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha was released in 1979. 
     The Old Testament was a committee translation, finished in 1976. The underlying Old Testament text was the MASORETIC TEXT as found in Rudolph Kittel's BIBLIA HEBRAICA (third edition, 1937). The line drawings were by Miss Annie Vallotton. The translation of the Old Testament was sponsored by the United Bible Societies, which also published the whole Bible. 
     The genius of this translation is the vocabulary selection. Words are used that are understood by common people and people who use English as a second language. If Jesus were here today, he would communicate in such language. The Today's English Version New Testament is "most like what the New Testament was to its original readers. Superb!" (Hawthorne). 
     The second edition was published in 1992. 

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). 
     The Revised Standard Version Bible Committee is a group that continues to function. It is comprised of about thirty scholars of men and women, representing Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Jewish faiths. 
     The underlying Greek text was THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, prepared by the United Bible Societies (1966; third edition, corrected 1983). 
     The underlying Hebrew text was the BIBLIA HEBRAICA STUTTGARTENSIA (1977; ed. sec. emendata, 1983). It is the MASORETIC TEXT of the Old Testament. 
     The NRSV is a literal translation with this qualification: "As literal as possible, as free as necessary." It fits the formal equivalence category. Tyndale places it on the seventh grade level, and Zondervan places it on the tenth grade level. 
     Scholar Bruce Metzger is a member of the translation committee, which speaks highly for the translation. 
     The Catholic version was published with Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical Books. 
     The NRSV was copyrighted in 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Churches of Christ in the United States of America. 


Copyright © 1995-1997 by Dr. John E. Russell,
Internet Version Copyright © 2001 by Dr. John E. Russell.