For this final Sunday of the liturgical year, I’m continuing with the second comparison between the ESV-CE and the NRSV. I’ve again chosen the second reading from this Sunday’s Mass. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020 — Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28

ESV-CE:

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

NRSV:

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

5 thoughts on “ESV-CE vs. NRSV: Solemnity of Christ the King”

  1. This is one example where NRSV quest for inclusiveness goes off the rails. Here it’s critical for proper theology and meaning that it was through a man, Adam, that we all died and through a man, Christ, we all (who believe) will be made alive.

    Specifying that Adam is a man and Christ is a man in this passage doesn’t in anyway exclude women from salvation. Hence, there was no valid reason to change man to human being in this passage of 1st Corinthians.

    While it’s probably very wishful thinking, it would be nice if the NRSV in its forthcoming update would correct this egregious error (and others like it) in its translation.

    1. And that is just one of the serious theological problems with inclusive language. Another one can be found in Psalm 1.1 ‘Blessed is the man who…’, this is a messianic Psalm, do the “man” is Christ, a fact which is obscured by inclusive language translations such as ‘blessed is the one who…’ so the Messiah could be a man, a woman or other? Even worse is ‘blessed are they who..” so there are multiple Messiahs?

      It is sometimes claimed that inclusive language translations only use “horizontal” (i.e. referring to people) inclusive but never “vertical” (i.e. referring to God) but the example you presented shows that consistently maintaining the distinction is very difficult is not close to impossible.

      1. Well, the spiritual interpretation of the psalms is based off the literal interpretation, which is not about Christ per se, but rather is about the blessedness of the person who follows the law of Moses, i.e., the law of God. Christ, in his manhood, is the person par excellence. However, that has nothing to do with him being a man, in and of itself, but rather has to do with him being faithful to God as a human being (“fully human and fully divine”), as his humanity and divinity, though distinct, are one. The church fathers applied this psalm to Christ not because he was a man, but rather because Christ is the greatest human example of what it means to follow the law, for he is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Nonetheless, if you read the psalm, without a presupposition, it has nothing to do with a messiah.
        Personally, I think “Blessed is the person” or “Happy the person” is a better translation than “Happy the one who…” but inclusive language is no issue here because the first meaning of the psalm not messianic. Which is fine! Christ is the fulfillment of the entire Old Testament! But that doesn’t mean we should lose sight of the literal meaning of the psalm, which inclusive language rightly shows, as both men and women are called to this “blessedness.”

        In Jesus and Mary,

        CattusDei

    2. Peter, I’m trying to see the theological import of “man” instead of “human being” in this passage. Certainly, I think “man” is an appropriate translation, because both Adam and Jesus were men, and I would have a hard time believing that Paul didn’t intend to evoke that parallelism when he dictated the words to the scribe who was writing the letter.

      That being said, it’s not clear to me that the translation “human being” instead of “man” has any significant doctrinal implications in this passage. To my mind, Paul is drawing a distinction between fallen humanity (who bear the consequences of the sin of Adam) and redeemed humanity (who are made righteous by Christ). The primary point appears to be that Christ became human in order to undo the sin of Adam. Whether the translation uses the term “human being” or “man” does not affect that interpretation.

  2. And one more thing but the NRSV translation, even though the Catholic Church of Canada uses the NRSV as the basis for its English Lectionary, the English Canadian Lectionary for today’s second reading uses the traditional word, man, instead of the words ‘human being’ which I figured, because in no way would Rome ever approve of a Lectionary that used “human being” instead of “man” in this passage from 1st Corinthians.

    Here’s the 2nd Reading for Christ the King (Year A) from the Canadian English Lectionary:

    Second Reading
    1 Corinthians 15.20-26, 28

    Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a man; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

    Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

    When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

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