Welcome to the twenty-fourth 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, November 25th, 2018 — Solemnity of Christ the King (Year B) Second Reading: Revelation 1:5-8 (starting with verse 4 for clarity)

NABRE:

John, to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever [and ever]. Amen.

Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

REB:

John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia.

Grace be to you and peace, from him who is, who was, and who is to come, from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. 

To him who loves us and has set us free from our sins with his blood, who has made of us a royal house to serve as the priests of his God and Father — to him be glory and dominion for ever! Amen.

Look, he is coming with the clouds; everyone shall see him, including those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the world shall lament in remorse. So it shall be. Amen. 

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the sovereign Lord of all. 

3 thoughts on “REB vs. NABRE: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe”

  1. It’s probably my ‘American’ coming through, but I really like the NABRE’s ending with “the Almighty” as opposed to the REB’s “the Sovereign Lord of all”. More of a snap to it. What say you?

  2. I’m leaning toward agreeing with you, Tate. I’ve noticed the REB’s tendency to use “sovereign” in other areas too. Sometimes I like the usage just fine, but other times, it strikes me as unusual or less effective than others. I suspect that it’s a question of British vs American usage. The verse I thought of immediately when I read your comment was Psalm 8:1:

    LORD our sovereign,
    how glorious is your name throughout the world!
    Your majesty is praised as high as the heavens

    Compare to the NABRE:

    O LORD, our Lord,
    how awesome is your name through all the earth!
    I will sing of your majesty above the heavens

  3. Actually, what strikes me in reading this series is just how small of a difference there really is between the NABRE and the REB. Most of the time, it seems the difference is that the words are in a slightly different order. I think this tends to confirm my assumption that the REB is actually a lot more literal than most people realize. I’d say the ‘paraphrase rate’ of the Reb can’t be much higher than about 10-15% at most.

    I’m pretty sure the REB’s use of ‘sovereign’ reflects a difference between American and British usage. The British seem to use the word ‘sovereign’ a lot, for example, instead of saying ‘the queen’ or ‘the monarch’ it is common in the UK to refer more generically to ‘the sovereign’. For example, on the 80’s BBC comedy ‘Yes, Prime Minister’, we have the following dialogue in the episode ‘The Bishop’s Gambit’ where the PM has to appoint a bishop in the C of E:

    “I’ve never appointed a bishop before”

    ” you mean that you merely recommend a bishop to the sovereign”
    “Alright, alright, I’ve never recommended a bishop before”

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