by ROWENA OREJANA
The Congregation for Divine Worship has suggested the use of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) or the English Standard Version (ESV) for lectionaries in New Zealand and Australia.
Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn, the New Zealand bishops’ representative to the International Commission on English Liturgy, said the present lectionaries from the Jerusalem Bible “are all out of print, and so we need to either reprint the Jerusalem Bible translation or look to another one”.
At the last ICEL meeting in November, Bishop Dunn said the Congregation for Divine Worship secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche, said it would be good to consider the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
“The Congregation says the NRSV or the ESV is preferable to the Jerusalem Bible because they translate more exactly the original Hebrew or Greek texts,” Bishop Dunn said.
In 1943, Pope Pius the XII, in his encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu, encouraged Catholics to translate the Bible from the Hebrew or Greek texts. Dominican scholars at the French institute Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem translated the Scriptures into French and published them as Le Bible de Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Bible, published in 1966, was derived from the French translation. In his foreword, Jerusalem Bible editor Alexander Jones said, “for the much greater part, the initial drafts were made from the Hebrew or Greek and simultaneously compared with the French when questions of variant reading or interpretation arose”.
Bishop Dunn said “there’s a general agreement that perhaps a more exact translation might be preferable. And we need to make a decision.”
In a 2014 blog for The Catholic Herald, leading English Catholic writer and broadcaster Dr William Oddie bemoaned the “banality of the Jerusalem Bible” and urged English bishops “to authorise the use at Mass of other recognised translations designed for Catholics”.