Welcome to the continuing series comparing the Revised English Bible (REB) with the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) for the first reading (usually from the Old Testament) at each Sunday Mass. This series complements the comparisons earlier in 2018, which focused on the New Testament letters. I’m interested in exploring whether the REB’s translation style differs between the Old and New Testaments.

Sunday, February 10th, 2019 — Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
First Reading: Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8

NABRE:

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above. One cried out to the other:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”

At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

REB:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the skirt of his robe filled the temple. Seraphim were in attendance on him. They were calling to one another,

‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Hosts:
the whole earth is full of his glory.’

As each called, the threshold shook to its foundations at the sound, while the house began to fill with clouds of smoke. Then I said,

‘Woe is me! I am doomed,
for my own eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts,
I, a man of unclean lips,
I, who dwell among a people of unclean lips.’

One of the seraphim flew to me, carrying in his hand a glowing coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said,

‘This has touched your lips;
now your iniquity is removed
and your sin wiped out.’

I heard the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ I said: ‘Here am I! Send me.’

3 thoughts on “REB vs. NABRE: Old Testament (5th Sunday in OT)”

  1. I like this series. I have the NABRE so I have been happy to see the comparisons. I think I prefer the REB, in this example. It is too bad it didn’t meet with much success in the US

    1. It didn’t meet with much (commercial) success in the UK either, due probably to the general decline in Christianity and due to the fact that by coincidence, it was published at approximately the same time as the NRSV, which appealed to the same demographic but was distinctively ‘British’

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