Many thanks to two readers who alerted me to this news. The National Catholic Register recently interviewed Dr. Tim Gray and Dr. Mark Giszczak of the Augustine Institute about their newly-published Augustine Bible (ESV-CE). Here’s a link to the transcript. The interview covers a wide range of topics related to the translation, and toward the end, Dr. Tim Gray outlines the plans for future ESV-CE editions:

We just raised about a million dollars to invest in more Bibles. So we want a high quality leather, a paperback version and hardcover like I mentioned. We’ve done the Bible in a Year, and we’re reprinting and making some adaptations to make it even nicer with the ESV-CE translation. And then we’ll do The Gospels in a Year and we’re working on a new study Bible. So there are a lot more things coming!

Dr. Tim Gray — Augustine Institute

It sounds like better options will soon be available for the ESV-CE. I hope line-matching and better paper will be among the improvements. The paperback cover was a disappointment when the Augustine Bible first came out, but the sewn binding will at least be durable for the long-term. The printing quality could use some improvement, however.

48 thoughts on “New Editions of the ESV-CE in Development at the Augustine Institute”

  1. I have a copy of the ESV-CE and it renders Gen 3:16 as follows:

    Genesis 3:16 English Standard Version (ESV)

    16 To the woman he said,

    “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
    Your desire shall be contrary to[a] your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

    Prior to the update above it was:

    “Your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

    And it also keeps Gabriel’s salutation to Mary as:

    Hail oh highly favored one instead of full of grace.

    So what are they going to do to fix those glaring mistakes?

    1. The Genesis 3:16 translation is unusual, but not an indefensible rendering. A couple of other translations (the NLT-CE and the NET Bible) choose similar renderings. The NET Bible’s footnote on that verse says that there is no verb at all in the Hebrew text. Literally, it simply says, “and toward your husband your desire.”

    2. Interestingly, the ESV 2011 edition, for Gen. 3:16, has: “Your desire shall be for your husband…”

      Strangely, the 2016 revision changed it to “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband.”

  2. Nobody’s correcting that obnoxious Genesis 3 translation. Apparently Crossway is being stubborn about it. I am surprised the bishops of India didn’t push for “full of grace” considering they apparently pushed for and got much more minor changes. Who on earth was the guy asking that they change “affliction” to “infirmity” but not asking for “full of grace”? Maybe Crossway wouldn’t budge on it.

    I’m very interested to see what the Augustine Institute considers to be a “high quality leather edition.” And I’m very very interested in this new study Bible. I’m sure we’re all hoping for “goatskin” and “a single volume study Bible packed with footnotes by Brant Pitre on every book.” But no doubt what we’re actually going to get is bonded leather and God-knows-what kind of commentary: probably something that hardly even qualifies as a study Bible, or some multi-volume thing that never actually gets finished. Ah well. If nothing else, you have to give the Augustine Institute this: at least they know what a sewn binding is.

  3. The article in the NCR is very anti-NABRE in its promotion of the ESV-CE. Grey even offers a well-polished story about why one should want an ESV-CE by declaring:

    “You know one of the interesting things is when the Catechism of the Catholic Church came out, the USCCB wanted the New American Bible, which they have the rights to, to be used as the English translation of the Bible in the Catechism for the English world. The Vatican {sic} reviewedthe New American Bible and said it isn’t good enough for teaching. It’s very idiomatic, which is the other side of the ESV; the ESV seeks to be literally as close to the Greek and Hebrew texts as possible, and tries to even preserve the word order. Whereas the New American Bible tends to be idiomatic, as long as it gets the general meaning, that’s all that mattered. For the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that was insufficient for teaching the faith.”

    Interesting, maybe, but neither the NAB of today nor the ESV-CE was available in the 1980s when the CCC was being created. The NAB of today is the NABRE, a very literal translation that has a revised Old and New Testament that I can attest are very precise (I do not use a translation to read Scripture).

    The ESV has some problems. Dan brought up one, the one in Genesis, something I never conceived of or heard of as existing from a reading of the Hebrew. It’s other problems are the way it can confuse the reader with some of its literalism. (Just one of very many examples: at Ex 5:21 it translates a Hebrewism so literally, it makes it sound as if Moses has made the Hebrews have a bad body odor before Pharaoh).

    This is a ridiculous comparison. Neither the ESV-CE nor the NABRE was available when the CCC was being composed. In a few years the New American Bible, Liturgical Edition will be available that will be useful for study as well as liturgy. So this argument is moot.

    1. Carl,

      1) Amen! Thanks for pointing out the NAB(RE) nonsense, which continues to be thrown out there as if it is obviously true. It is tiresome.

      2) “The Vatican” is way too vague. Plus it was thirty years ago.

      3) The ESV NT still has a low ecclesiology in a number of its renderings, which again baffles me in regards to why some people are fawning over it.

      (And hello my friend!)

      1. Tim, could you give some examples of the low ecclesiology renders in the ESV, besides 1 Timothy 3:15?

        1. Devin,

          Hello friend!

          I would add to the one you mentioned the various places in the NT where episkopos is rendered as “overseer” as opposed to “bishop”, which is pretty standard in the RSV, NrSV, and NABRE. On its own, sure one could point out that other translations do that too, even some Catholic ones. But if you combine that with 1 Tim 3:15 and you realize that they intentionally went a different way than the parent RSV (and NRSV), than I think one could make a case that they desired (perhaps even to a small degree) a lower ecclesiological reading of the NT.

          1. Devin,

            Let me also say, in passing, that I don’t hate the ESV in any way and am glad that there will be more editions. In many ways I like it, even after being not that big of a fan. But I do think it is important to recognize some of the minor issues with it.

    2. Let the sparks fly, Carl! I completely agree with you about Tim Gray’s outdated criticism of the NABRE. It’s truly puzzling to me how anyone can still make a statement like this: “It’s very idiomatic, which is the other side of the ESV; the ESV seeks to be literally as close to the Greek and Hebrew texts as possible, and tries to even preserve the word order. Whereas the New American Bible tends to be idiomatic, as long as it gets the general meaning, that’s all that mattered.”

      That may have been partially true of the original 1970 NAB, but it isn’t remotely true any more. The NABRE is so clunky and stilted in parts of the New Testament, especially Paul’s letters, and yet people still level the same criticisms about it being “too dynamic” and “too idiomatic.” I suspect even if the 2025 New Testament revision is as literal as the NASB, there would still be commentators claiming that it is too dynamic. For goodness sake, it’s maintaining the run-on sentences and difficult grammar in Paul’s original diction!

      1. I scratched my head at that too, until I considered that he may not be talking about the NABRE OT. What he says is true for the NT as it appears in the NABRE or in its slightly updated form in the lectionary. Both iterations are closer to the idiomatic first edition of the NAB than the more formal rendering of the NABRE OT.

        I’m torn: I’d like to use the ESV-CE, but feel somewhat bound to the RSV-2CE as an ordinariate member because it’s what we use in mass.

        I wonder if, with an ESV lectionary due, the ordinariates could ever expand our charter to include the ESV-CE as an option for mass.

        1. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think the 1986 New Testament (which appears in the NABRE and in slightly modified form in the Lectionary) can be accurately described as “dynamic” or “idiomatic” either. Like many translations, it substitutes idioms in some places, but for the most part, it leans strongly toward formal equivalence.

      2. I have to agree, Marc.

        The ESV is just the RSV, which is an updated KJV. The King James Version is not a word-for-word translation but a thought-for-thought. People tend to forget that the KJV is a revision of a previous Bible, keeping many of the terms and phrases, some very archaic, from Bibles long gone. These have been passed down and remain in the RSV and NRSV, not to mention the ESV (for instance, the ESV still uses the KJV vocabulary at Genesis 1:2 in stating that the earth was “void”–not void of anything but “void” as a state of being).

        These are not accurate word-for-word renderings offered in the ESV but holdovers that attempt to preserve the KJV to a public that has grown to believe that if it sounds like the KJV, then it is accurate. (This is a danger since it makes people rely on familiarity instead of the study of language to determine Biblical transmission accuracy.)

        The current New Testament in the NABRE (at this writing being updated) does sound very rough at times. As you mention, the Pauline epistles have been left in a very raw state. One need only read the addresses at the start of these letters and see that one sentence will go on for several verses before a period is encountered. I have had to abandon attempting to understand some of these verses as translated here and use the NRSV which divides the same into shorter sentences.

        But this is because the current NAB New Testament is closer to the actual text in that it captures the Koine Greek far better. Paul really writes his introductory statements in his epistles in the way you read them in the NABRE, or so it seems (there is no punctuation in the original text). The Greek vocabulary suggests that the author likes to cramp a lot in his intros because Greek is a language that allows you to do that with prefixes and suffixes. Apparently, Paul was long-winded in praises and shaloms, something well captures in the present word-for-word New Testament NAB.

        The best way I can describe the current NAB New Testament is that reading it “tastes” like the Greek language. The family of RSV versions (including the NRSV) have more Anglicanism of a flavor, so to speak. The problem is that they (including the ESV) attempt to preserve the KJV vocabulary (compare the “Amen, Amen” of Jesus found in the NABRE that gets rendered otherwise in these other versions).

        This isn’t a hate-fest, however. The ESV-CE is a good translation otherwise, and no translation is perfect, not even the NABRE. I am taking issue with the comments made in the article, not the ESV-CE.

        The ESV-CE has been approved for use by Catholics, even though some verses may be questionable (as in the NABRE). The Bishops in India changed only small bits of the ESV text, except for the book of Tobit. Apparently the ESV Apocrypha version was not the version approved for canonization, so it was translated from scratch. I know little more than that.

    3. Indeed. Which I found interesting, given that the NCR is an EWTN mouthpiece.
      Whatever your take on the network, I found it surprising that this is essentially so critical of the USCCB effort.

      1. I have to concur with many of the comments here regarding the old canards thrown at the NABRE in this article as well. Like others I was also put off by the apparent story about the 1970 NAB being rejected for use in the English translation of the Catechism. I mean, that isn’t even the version of the NAB we hear at Mass anymore, is it?

        NAB has had a rocky history, and I haven’t always been the biggest fan, but considering that it was more or less one of the first attempts to translate the Bible from scratch from the original languages to English, AND be appropriate for liturgical use, I think it should be given some slack. Besides, besides the USCCB (Again, not always the biggest fan) seems to be the only group who’s even trying to do internal Catholic translations anymore. Doesn’t that count for anything?

        I also found the strong hinting that perhaps the USCCB could somehow be convinced to drop the NABRE for the ESV for use in liturgy to be absolutely ridiculous! I like the ESVCE, and I’m glad to hear that other countries are considering it for a liturgical translation, but the thought that the USCCB, after all the effort they’ve poured in the NABRE for decades would just drop all that work for the ESV is laughable.

  4. I am not the biggest fan of the NABRE. I think the issue is that a translation that is supposed to be funded and sponsored by a Catholic bishops conferences chooses not to render passages in a Catholic way.

    See Genesis 3:15. One can justifiably translate the pronoun referencing to the offspring as “they”, “he” (referring to Christ), or “she” (referring to the Virgin Mother). So they choose the pronoun most acceptable to mainline protestant scholars. However, the NABRE will never be adapted by protestants, so what is the point.

    At least the latest ESV (and not that ESV-CE) translates that passage as following:
    “I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
    he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel”

    1. Devin,

      And that verse in particular is problematic because one of the main theological items I am asked to return to often as a high school theology teacher, who follows the USCCB high school guidelines, is the whole protoevangelium. When 3:15 is changed to what it is in the current NABRE OT, that makes teaching it more difficult.

  5. It is very difficult to restore a brand that has be tarnished.

    The original NAB was a very strange translation. Its tone was odd, phrasing frequently quite clunky, stilted, and ungrammatical even when using popular vocabulary, it upended familiar, well-understood renderings for no real reason, moved whole passages hither and thither in the OT, and had scandalously bad footnotes. It prejudiced itself outside the US with its very title, most other English-speaking countries were never going to adopt an “American” Bible. Most the editions were also ugly, for that matter.

    Basically, it did everything it possibly could do to sow distrust and heap scorn and ridicule on itself.

    While the revisions have gone a ways towards fixing those problems, they have done little or nothing to restore the brand. I am not convinced it is restorable as a brand, but whatever it would take, sticking “Revised Edition” on the end is not enough to do it.

    Again, I am not talking about the merits of the NABRE considered outside of that history, I am talking of the “brand” of the NAB.

    Look at it another way, if the “Living Bible-RE” was released and was suddenly a literal, word-for-word translation, how long would it take before when people heard “Living Bible” they associated it with hyper-literal translations? Probably a while.

    1. That’s a very fair point, ThomasL. It’s hard to overcome the original negative reception, especially when the name of the translation is the same (just with an “RE” at the end).

      That said, I would draw a sharp distinction between popular opinion, which takes time to adjust, and statements by well-known scripture scholars (like Dr. Tim Gray), who have little excuse for continuing to propagate inaccurate information like this. In the context of promoting the Augustine Bible, I would say this borders on false advertising.

  6. FWIW, regarding the ESV, in addition to the Genesis case already mentioned, I am not fond of the translation of Psalm 18/19:12

    “Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.”

    “Declare me innocent” seems quite a heavy finger on the theological scales vs the more common “cleanse”, “purify”, “wash”, “clear”, etc. My knowledge of Hebrew is purely dictionary, but the wording seems to be something like “to be [made] clean” or something alone those lines, so all of the above make sense except “declare me innocent”.

    Does anyone know if this is the same in the ESV-CE as it is in the ESV?

  7. I found that the NABRE criticism came off a bit slanted, even though I admit it’s not my go-to translation. I prefer the ESVCE, RSVCE2, NRSVCE, and Revised NJB.

    All in all, I don’t think the NABRE is a bad translation. I do think the notes could be better, and more geared for the folks that will read it. I’ve seen some positive reviews of the NABRE text from even Protestant scholars. I appreciate the psalms quite a bit.

    While I do find the NABRE is clunky in places, for the most part, I don’t doubt the scholarship that went behind it. And I actually appreciate the way the Pauline epistles are translated, as they’re said to be closer to the Greek, and I find that keeps me engaged in reading them: it takes a little more concentration. From my point of view, some of the clunkiness seems to reflect the places where the inclusive language was applied clumsily from a literary standpoint. But even that seems rare from what I’ve seen. While there are definitely word choices that the NABRE uses that are far less appealing to my ear than in the NRSV, etc., I haven’t found it to be more idiomatic than the other mainline translations I have.

    The NABRE has received positive press for its OT accuracy. The literalness does make it less pleasant to my ear: such as in the prophets we read, “oracle of the Lord,” instead of variations of “the word of the Lord,” etc. I use the NABRE for study and for reading the Mass readings with my kids; less for devotional reading/lectio divina.

    I, too, wonder what the premium leather covers on the Augustine Bibles will be like. I hate to say it but I’m a bit skeptical. I have some beautifully bound premium leather Bibles— none of them are Catholic bibles (e.g. the Cambridge NRSV w/ Deutrocanonicals, etc.). Correction: I do own one premium leather Catholic Bible— an RSVCE2— but only because I had it rebound by the good folks at Leonard’s. They tore that stiff, burgundy bonded leather off and replaced it with something much better.

    I’ve yet to find a translation that’s perfect. All the mainline ones have their strengths and weaknesses from what I can tell. While the ESVCE and RSVCE are my first go-tos these days, I appreciate the benefits of having other translations on hand. I don’t read the original languages, so it’s helpful to have different translations on the desk.

  8. I wonder if we’ll have a three-way row within the Catholic publishing community in the US?

    Ignatius Press; Ignatius Bible (RSV-CE, RSV-2CE)
    Augustine Institute: Augustine Bible (ESV-CE)
    Catholic Book Publishing Corporation: New Catholic Bible

    Who’d have thought, a decade ago, that we’d have three active versions of a Catholic bible, from three different publishing companies?

  9. I’m guessing the leather version of the ESV-CE will be the same as their current edition but with a leather cover. I say that because if there were other changes they’d be hyping it up – there’s a lot of hype in the article.

    But that’d be ok with me. I’m not into premium bibles, just decent bibles. Give me a pleasing layout, decent sized font, and a durable, flexible cover and I’m happy. Bonded leather, faux leather – it’s all good to me. I like something more durable than paper back, but flexible. I like those reasonably priced ESV thin -lines with the fake leather you see in book stores. (Well, used to see in book stores – can’t go to a bookstore right now.) I like the large print version. Give me an ESV-CE like that for a reasonable price and I’d be happy as a clam. Ghosting shmosting – I don’t care as long as it’s not too bad.

    So this is good news to me. And I’m assuming the study bible will be based on the ESV-CE, since that’s their new translation they bought the rights for and are heavily promoting. Like Chris said their is no acceptable ESV study bible for Catholics currently. That would be exciting if it’s good.

    The ESV-CE is probably my favorite translation right now. Timothy’s criticisms about the low church slant of certain bits in the NT is spot on, and kind of humorous to me. It doesn’t bother me that much though. I’ve been enjoying doing my daily reading from the 2CE lately, but if you want a consistently updated RSV based on the latest manuscripts and scholarship the ESV-CE is the only game in town. Yeah the hype is annoying but I try to ignore all that and just appreciate the text itself.


    1. I hope for better paper. The pictures I’ve seen look just OK. The sort of paper on the Ignatius RSV editions, or the paper used by the St Dunstan Psalter, would be much preferable.

  10. Half of the American people read the Bible and 55% of these read the King James Version. Second place went to the NIV with 19%. All other versions only managed single digits. It seems to me that instead of producing a Catholic edition of the ESV, one might as well do a Catholic annotated edition of the KJV which still reigns as the classic English translation.

    1. Michael,

      That would be a fascinating project. Perhaps someone in the Anglican Ordinariate could take this on.

      1. James,
        Many people believe that the Challoner revision of the old Douay-Rheims Bible brought it closer to the King James style and sometimes even with the same wordings in many places.

  11. Just reread my comment. I wasn’t clear in one spot. To clarify, Timothy’s criticism’s re low church eschatology are correct – not humorous! What I found humorous were the changes themselves. The bias there was pretty transparent to me. Not a huge deal, since the changes are defensible, but humorous.


  12. if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth 1 Tim. 3.15 RSV

    if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 1 Tim. 3.15 ESV

    “A pillar”?? (ESV). How many pillars are there? This is not acceptable to a Catholic.

  13. in the end, all the Bibles that have Church approval are fine. None are perfect, but neither are any of them incorrect or inefficient. Too many voices would have you think otherwise.

    Personally, I am saddened by the divisions and politics in the body of Christ that is given a mouthpiece via news outlets and social media to spew discord and distrust where hard work went in to provide good, trustworthy Bible translations, whichever one you personally choose. The Holy Spirit has not left our scholars and bishops to provide the Church with the Word of God in a form that is efficacious.

    However, despite every Catholic’s preference, it should be remembered that Liturgiam Authernticam has stated that:

    “It is of the greatest importance…there should exist only one approved translation [per territory/country], which will be employed in all parts of the various liturgical books. This stability is especially to be desired in the translation of the Sacred Books of more frequent use, such as the Psalter….The Conferences of Bishops are strongly encouraged to provide for the commissioning and publication in their territories of an integral translation of the Sacred Scriptures intended for the private study and reading of the faithful, which corresponds in every part to the text that is used in the Sacred Liturgy.”

    The reason for the ‘one translation per territory’? LA states: “In order that the faithful may be able to commit to memory at least the more important texts of the Sacred Scriptures and be formed by them even in their private prayer.”–Liturgiam Authenticam 36.

    This already exists at least in the form of The Abbey Psalms and Canticles, the creation of which included (among other things) merging the best and most accurate from the Revised Grail Psalms with the most latest NABRE Psalms.

    So it is not the USCCB that is pushing for the NABRE to be your Bible. The instruction is coming from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments. The USCCB has not been creating the NABRE as independently of the CDWDS as some would have you believe. The Abbey Psalms and Canticles is very real evidence of this.

    Yes, you can use and read other Bibles when you may have time, but in the USA, the NAB with the Abbey Psalter will be the one they want you to use and pray and memorize. LA is demanding the unity of Christ on this, not the disunity of politics.

    1. This would be a little more plausible as an argument except for some wrinkles of history. LA continues, “In order that the faithful may be able to commit to memory… the Sacred Scriptures intended for liturgical use be characterized by a certain uniformity and stability.”

      This is hardly a description of the faithful’s experience with the NAB in the US. It has been revised four times in as many decades, plus multiple independent revisions of the Psalter.

      The NABRE is not used in the lectionary, nor at any point am I aware where the text as used in the lectionary actually matched the text of the NAB available for purchase. The final version of the Abbey Psalter is only a few months old and will be, “will gradually be incorporated into the Church’s official liturgical books”. But will they be incorporated into the NAB?

      But that is not the end of it. The responsorial translations don’t match those in the Graduale, and worse yet, often the /sung/ responsorial doesn’t even match the lectionary at all, because GIA hymnals have used the “ecumenical” revised Grail Psalter as a base, not the version approved by the USCCB.

      I think we will find out all of the above in about 2025, if the 5th revision stays on schedule, and is adopted uniformly for lectionary and Bible as is the reported goal. But it seems to place more emphasis on the aims of LA than I would if it requires the faithful to commit to memory a uniform and stable text which has only the slight caveat of not existing yet.

      To broaden the scope and be ecumenical for a moment, for all the ubiquity of the KJV on amongst Protestants, the Anglicans kept the offices using the Coverdale Psalter, not the KJV Psalter. (And we can too, now, since the Coverdale Psalter is included in the Book of Divine Worship for the Anglican Ordinariate, and it is a lovely Psalter.)

      But I may as well add as an apostrophe that the Psalter used in the Roman Missal for that last 1600 years or so is the Roman Psalter, not the Gallican Psalter of the Vulgate used in the Office.

      On a more general note I think the great success of the KJV, for example, is in no small part from having memorable language. I sympathize to goal greatly, and LA makes a kind of nod towards this idea saying that the translation selected should have a “high literary style”.

      “Let me gulp down some of that red stuff,” might be literal, and it might even be memorable, but I would not say it was because of its “high literary style”.

  14. Carl,

    I think you’re reading a bit more into LA 36 than was intended, or at least more than is in a plain reading of the text. LA 36 states what the bishop conference is encouraged to do: provide one, stable bible translation that corresponds in every part to the liturgy. LA 36 is not a directive for the laity.

    In any case, so far, our bishops conference still has not managed to conform to LA 36, and will not for at least 5 years – if ever. Having to cobble together the NABRE plus Grail Psalms – whoops sorry that was last month I mean the Revised Grail Psams- oh wait that was last week now it’s the Abbey Palms and Canticles – and having to know when to read from which, is definitely not “an integral translation … which corresponds in every part to the text that is used in the Sacred Liturgy.” Most Catholics don’t read the bible. The few that do expect to be able to pick up a St. Joseph’s NABRE at Catholic Supply or wherever and assume that it will match what they hear in church. They’re not going to buy multiple volumes and know when to read from which.

    I do hope we get there in 2025. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the 2025 NABRE did not include the Abbey Psalms and Canticles. I’m not being political, just brutally honest.

    (I do think the NABRE is an excellent translation, and I don’t think there’s anything nefarious in how the bishop’s conference is approaching this. But we’re a long way from one integral translation that matches the liturgy.)

    1. I agree with you about the Psalter, Steve. I haven’t followed the USCCB discussions on this, but it strikes me as odd and frustrating that they pursued the Revised Grail Psalms at the very same time that they were revising the NABRE Psalter. I realize that the Grail psalms are currently used in the Liturgy of the Hours, and maybe they wanted better continuity for the new breviary. But if they are truly motivated by wanting a single Bible that can be used for prayer, study, and liturgy, I can’t understand why they would go to so much trouble to get the NABRE Psalms in a form that could be suitable for liturgy, only to scrap it in favor of the Revised Grail.

      1. Marc,

        My *guess* would be that it’s the classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing in a bureaucracy – or at least not paying to much attention. I’ve worked at corporations where the same thing happens. A company wide goal is set, different parts of the organization go marching off in different directions, and the result is a contradictory muddle.

        Ah well we’ll see what happens in 2025.

      2. It was with the entire intention of the USCCB to release the NABRE Psalter as for use in the Liturgy until the release of LA.

        That is when work on The Revised Grail Psalms began.

        However, when The Revised Grail Psalms was sent back from the Vatican, remarkable changes were made:

        “The revised Grail Psalms had just been approved by the Church’s Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments when Fr. Merz began working at the USCCB in 2011.

        Upon reviewing the approved texts, he and his colleagues noticed that subtle changes had been made in certain texts.

        The changes were made for good reasons, but some had spoiled the sprung rhythm.

        The Conception monks and the scholars in the USCCB Secretariat for Liturgy asked if any of the changes could be reconsidered.

        “We discovered that the Congregation was open to a reconsideration of the translation in light of our concerns,” said Fr. Merz.

        In the process of preparing a new version to be voted on by the U.S. bishops and resubmitted to Rome, they came to feel less and less bound to the vocabulary of the Grail translation and moved toward a translation that was even more faithful to the sacred Hebrew text.

        The U.S. Bishops had also recently completed a revised translation of the Psalms for the New American Bible (NAB).

        The USCCB staff compared the revised Grail translation and the revised NAB Psalms in order to bring the two closer together where possible, “thus making it easier to replace the NAB Psalms with the revised Grail,” said Fr. Merz.”–U.S. bishops’ conference acquires translation of Psalms and Canticles from Conception Abbey.–

        So, in a sense, the NABRE Psalms got merged a bit into the Revised Grail to become the Abbey Psalms. Some of the vocabulary can be clearly seen in a lot of the Psalms that usually get read during the Office of Readings.

        But LA changed a lot that the US Bishops did not expect it would change. In fact, they had originally planned to employ the NRSV instead of the NABRE and use an inclusive-language liturgy from top to bottom. This is what sparked LA in the first place.

    2. My comments should not be taken to address the current situation that exists.

      I was only addressing those who purposefully voice division through major media channels (not anyone here). Some of these might go out of their way to comment as if what the USCCB was attempting to do was contrary to the Church’s direction, and my pointing out LA 36 was to demonstrate that such was not the case. USCCB is hoping to have a new NAB that fits the description of LA 36 by 2025, and I do know that the Psalter from the NABRE was merged with the Revised Grail Psalter to produce what is now the Abbey Psalms as the first step to this.

      Only recently did the USCCB begin the process of adapting the NAB in this manner, as LA did not exist until the turn of the current 21st century.

      ThomasL is correct that the NABRE is not used in the Lectionary, and it never will. The NABLE will (my own manner of abbreviation for the New American Bible, Liturgical Edition). Until the NABLE is released, what I quoted from LA does not apply to any present translation of Scripture except the newly released Abbey Psalms and Canticles (which is virtually so much like the original Grail that most Catholics are already familiar with these).

      I believe that there is great benefit in all the Catholic Bible versions available today. Mind you, I am Jewish. But the accuracy of Catholic translations, whether they be the RSV-CE 2nd Edition, the NABRE, the ESV-CE, the KNOX, NJB, you name it, have some of the highest quality in transmission accuracy and scholarly commentary I have ever seen.

      I hate seeing Catholics draw divisionary lines based on translations when, as a Jew, I see only one version there on my Scripture scroll (as many of you know, I also dabble in the Greek). If some of you have been distressed by my passion over how pained I am to see this division or have misunderstood what I have said, forgive me.

      But take it from me. You are greatly blessed by your scholars and translators and bishops in the Catholic Church. Your Bible translations are evidence of this blessing.

      1. Very informative comments all around. Carl yours are excellent – amazed to find out you are Jewish yet know so much Catholic inside baseball so to speak. An example of real ecumenism. I am a “fan” of RSV-CE but have always felt the criticism of the NABRE was somewhat exaggerated . I tend to read the RSV-CE2 but have a number of translations.

  15. @Marc,

    Have you considered comparing and contrasting the ESV-CE and NRSV-CE?

    Unfortunately, I am on a budget and cannot afford to purchase many bibles; besides, even if I could, I wouldn’t because I am a minimalist. A few translations suffice for my needs. As I write this post, I only own a compact RSV-CE and a older NAB. I don’t want to purchase a NABRE until it is revised. If you had your choice between the NRSV and ESV, which one would you choose? The so-called “inclusive language issue” is not a hindrance to reading the NRSV for me as long as it accurately conveys the meaning of the text. So, aside from inclusive language, why would you prefer the ESV over the NRSV or the NRSV over the ESV?

    I am looking for a translation that can be used for academic purposes and uses the latest manuscripts.

    If you (or anyone else) decides to answer my question, thank you!


    1. I’m hoping some other readers will jump in with their perspectives, CS. Personally, I’ve spent a lot more time with the NRSV than the ESV. I haven’t read the ESV enough to offer an opinion. As far as the NRSV goes, I appreciate it a lot as a translation. It is a little easier to read in the New Testament than the NABRE. The inclusive language is not a deal-breaker for me, although I definitely notice it compared to the familiar language from the NABRE, which I’m used to hearing at Mass.

      Does anyone else have a more informed take on how the ESV compares to the NRSV?

  16. CS you will probably get lots of different opinions on the NRSV vs the ESV – and they will all be correct! I think it comes down to personal preference. So you might try reading long samples of each online and see which one speaks to you. Try a mix of passages: a chapter from a gospel, something from Paul, a few psalms, some OT passages.

    Which bible do you prefer now and why, your RSV-CE or your NAB? That might help answer the question.

    The NRSV is a little smoother and consistently “literary” than the ESV (which is still fairly smooth and literary). The ESV is a little more literal (although the NRSV is still fairly literal, setting inclusive language aside.)

    I really like the NRSV, and I’ve tried several times to make it my daily reading bible, but it just doesn’t stick. The NRSV style is like a fine old Cadillac with great shock absorbers: stylistically everything is smoothed over and consistent. It’s a really elegant and comfy ride. But it puts me to sleep sometimes.

    The ESV is a bit more like a consumer grade sports car. Being more literal, you feel the road more. All the sentences that begin with “And” in Mark are a good example. You really feel how urgently Mark felt the need to get this gospel message out, niceties of style be damned! But the ESV is still consumer grade – you don’t need to be a biblical scholar to read it! It’s smoothed out most of the rough speed bumps in the RSV, that would sometimes cause me to reach for a different translation to understand the basic meaning. A translation for a translation, that’s crazy! I never need that with the ESV. Yet it still retains the basic flavor of the RSV.

    If you like the RSV, you’ll like the ESV. If you don’t, you won’t.

    1. Thank you for your reply. I decided to purchase a NRSV because it is widely used in academia, it’s translated from the latest manuscripts, and Bishop Barron, one of my faith heroes, used it for his ‘Word on Fire’ Bible. I found a used copy on Amazon that includes the Grail Psalms in the appendix! I recite the LOTH daily, so having the liturgical psalter in my bible will be delightful.


      1. Congratulations on your new NRSV, CS! I didn’t know there was an NRSV with the Grail Psalms printed in an appendix. Could you share the ISBN for that edition?

  17. Carl,

    Thanks for clarifying. Your comments always provide a lot of details and exhibit a deep knowledge of the bible and translation history. I learn a lot from your comments.

    I’m still a little confused as to why the bishops were working on getting the Grail line and NABRE Psalms revised and approved for use in the liturgy at about the same time. (Not asking for an answer – some things are just mysteries!)

  18. CS,

    Congratulations on your find of the NRSV with the Grail Psalms! I think you made an excellent choice.

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