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, March 17th, 2019 — Second Sunday of Lent (Year C)
First Reading: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18

NABRE:

He took him outside and said: Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so, he added, will your descendants be. Abram put his faith in the LORD, who attributed it to him as an act of righteousness.

He then said to him: I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession. “Lord GOD,” he asked, “how will I know that I will possess it?” He answered him: Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. He brought him all these, split them in two, and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not cut up. Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram scared them away. As the sun was about to set, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a great, dark dread descended upon him.

When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, which passed between those pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates

REB:

He brought Abram outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky, and count the stars, if you can. So many will your descendants be.’

Abram put his faith in the LORD, who reckoned it to him as righteousness, and said, ‘I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldees to give you this land as your possession.’ Abram asked, ‘Lord GOD, how can I be sure that I shall occupy it?’ The LORD answered, ‘Bring me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon.’ Abram brought him all these, cut the animals in two, and set the pieces opposite each other, but he did not cut the birds in half. Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but he scared them away. As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a trance and great and fearful darkness came over him.

The sun went down and it was dusk, and there appeared a smoking brazier and a flaming torch which passed between the divided pieces. That day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, and said, ‘I give to your descendants this land from the river of Egypt to the Great River, the river Euphrates

2 thoughts on “REB vs. NABRE: Old Testament (2nd Sunday of Lent)”

  1. This is another example of what someone mentioned in a previous comparison post a while back: the NABRE doesn’t use any quotation marks for the words spoken by God. It uses quotation marks for Abram, though. I wonder what the translators’ rationale was? Does anyone know?

  2. “wadi” using an arabic word to translate Biblical Hebrew….one of the gross errors of all editions of the NAB/NABRE

    • grating to the ears to hear
    • incongruent with traditional Biblical prose style
    • a specialised geographical term that few who haven’t been to the Middle East are familiar with
    • if a people listening/reading an English Bible translation has to afterwards look a (normally English) word up in the dictionary to find out what it means, that translation has FAILED.

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