Welcome to the sixteenth week of comparing the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) with the Revised English Bible (REB) for the second reading at Sunday’s Mass. This is a chance to compare a strongly literal translation like the NABRE New Testament with a much more dynamic translation like the REB. As the translators continue to work on revising the NABRE New Testament, it also provides a chance to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the current translation (which was completed in 1986).
Sunday, September 30th, 2018 — Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Second Reading: James 5:1-6
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.
Next a word to you who are rich. Weep and wail over the miserable fate overtaking you: your riches have rotted away; your fine clothes are moth-eaten; your silver and gold have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and consume your flesh like fire. You have piled up wealth in an age that is near its close. The wages you never paid to the men who mowed your fields are crying aloud against you, and the outcry of the reapers has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived on the land in wanton luxury, gorging yourselves — and that on the day appointed for your slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who offers no resistance.
2 thoughts on “REB vs. NABRE: New Testament Letters (26th Sunday in OT)”
Both are very good renderings, the only noticeable difference is that the REB goes out of its way to avoid using a masculine pronoun, but not in the kind of really obnoxious, grating or ungrammatical way that translations like the NRSV often do. It adopts a nice, moderate position which seems so natural way that you don’t even notice it unless you compare it to a more literal translation.
This is one place where I prefer the NABRE version.