Welcome to the first in a series of posts comparing the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible and the Revised New Jerusalem Bible for one of the readings at each Sunday’s Mass. For today, the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, I’ve chosen the second reading (from the Letter to the Hebrews).

Sunday, August 25th, 2019 — 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13

Jerusalem Bible:

Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it pears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again.

New Jerusalem Bible:

Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons?

My son, do not scorn correction from the Lord,
do not resent his training,
for the Lord trains those he loves,
and chastises every son he accepts.

Perseverence is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any discipline is at the time a matter for grief, not joy; but later, in those who have undergone it, it bears fruit in peace and uprightness. So steady all weary hands and trembling knees and make your crooked paths straight; then the injured limb will not be maimed, it will get better instead.

Revised New Jerusalem Bible:

Have you forgotten that encouraging text which addresses you as sons?

My son, do not scorn correction from the Lord,
do not resent his training,
for the Lord trains those he loves,
and chastises every son he accepts.

Persevere for the sake of training! God is treating you as his sons. What son is there whom the father does not train? Of course, any discipline at the time is painful rather than pleasant; but later, in those who have undergone it, it bears the peaceful fruit of righteousness. So steady all drooping hands and weak knees and straighten the paths for your feet; then the injured limb will not be maimed, it will be healed instead.

New American Bible Revised Edition:

You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons:

“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”

Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.

7 thoughts on “The Jerusalem Bible Family and the NABRE: Comparing Translations (21st Sunday in OT)”

  1. I prefer the NABRE rendering of verse 5 with “lose heart when reproved by him.”
    I prefer the NJB in verse 11 with “any discipline is at the time a matter for grief, not joy”
    And in the final verse, I like the RNJB “then the injured limb will not be maimed, it will be healed instead”.

    Overall it seems the NABRE is a bit more literal than the RNJB.

    1. You know, what struck me was how “formal” the NABRE sounds when compared to the Jerusalem family of translations. I was pretty surprised to see that. The NAB has such a terrible reputation among those who claim to desire more formal translations that, despite myself, I think I was expecting it to sound looser then it appears to here.

      Of course, I know that the NABRE is a whole other animal as compared to the original NAB OT, but still the realization was somewhat startling. I’ve actually decided to sit down and read through the NABRE this year (I try to read through the scriptures once a year, cycling through different translations) and, as someone who’s normally more of a fan of the RSVCE/RSV2CE/ESVCE, I have to say I’ve been surprised by how formal it can be.

      None of this is meant to disparage the Jerusalem family either though, I really appreciate how smoothly they read, which was made even more evident in contrast to the NABRE. It’s fascinating to me that the only two in house Catholic translations of the 21st century seem to be going down such different paths, one very formal, and one a bit more dynamic. I’m thankful for both and I hope both projects receive the respect they’re due.

      1. I was struck by the NABRE’s formality too. Even after successive revisions to make the JB more literal, it still has excellent readability.

  2. Not knowing Greek I can only say that the changes in the RNJB are improvements. The NABRE does sound more formal and might actually work better in a church reading, but both are good.

  3. I was interested to see that the RNJB retains some of the NJB’s updates. The words of Proverbs 3:11-12, which the writer to the Hebrews references in verses 5 and 6, are translated the same in the NJB and RNJB (but differently in the JB). Also, in verse 7 the JB says “suffering is part of your training,” while the NJB changes “suffering” to “perseverence.” The RNJB stays close to the NJB but changes the word from a noun to a verb: “Persevere for the sake of training!” So far, it seems safe to conclude that Fr. Wansbrough did indeed refer to the NJB in making this translation.

  4. There’s a lot of NABRE discussion in these comments for a post that only includes passages from the *New* Testament.

  5. In a different note, I have been reading Genesis and a verse from the RNJB caught my eye.

    32:21 “For he thought, ‘If I conciliate him by sending a gift in advance ….”

    Conciliate is not common in American English. I know one of the complaints about the new missal translation was that it used terms like conciliation.

    The JB by the way uses conciliate as well. Aparently conciliate is a much more common term in the UK?

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