Now that the bishops of Scotland, England, and Wales have chosen the English Standard Version — Catholic Edition (ESV-CE) to replace the Jerusalem Bible (JB) in their new lectionary (as reported on this blog here), I’ve been wondering what the future holds for the Revised New Jerusalem Bible (RNJB).
Last year, I did a series of comparisons (the first post in the series is linked here) between the entire Jerusalem Bible family, and I was interested to see the overall similarity between them. The RNJB certainly is more literal than the JB and NJB, but I can easily recognize it as coming from the same translation family. At the same time, the RNJB contains far fewer footnotes than the JB or the NJB. If it will not be used in liturgy, is there a reason to prefer the RNJB over the NJB? How will it fare alongside other non-liturgical translations like the New Catholic Bible (NCB)? Did Dom Henry Wansbrough labor in vain to produce the RNJB?
From my perspective, the RNJB is in the middle of a few contradictions: the limited notes make it a better reader’s Bible than the NJB Study Edition, but it has too many section headings that break up the flow of reading. It is relatively more readable than the NABRE or ESV-CE, but it is less readable than the JB and NJB. If I want to study, why would I choose the RNJB over the NABRE? If I want to read long passages, why would I choose it over the NJB?
It makes the most sense as a general purpose Bible for all occasions (literal enough for study, dynamic enough for reading). But if it won’t be used in liturgy, will anyone use it for that purpose? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.