The Catholic Standard Version from Augustine Institute
- The first of the biblical books to be translated as part of the Catholic Standard Version (CSV), a new translation of the Holy Bible.
- Strives to translate the Scriptural text with the highest level of accuracy in its rendering of the original languages, as well as the highest degree of clarity and beauty.
- This printing includes not only the CSV translation of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, but also a “how to” for praying with Scripture and beautiful prompts for each chapter of the Gospel.
Words matter. Even more so when those words are communicating the very Word of God in the Bible. Since, as Saint Ambrose tell us, God himself speaks to us in the word of Scripture, then the accuracy of those words should matter to us.
With The Gospel of Matthew, the Augustine Institute inaugurates the first of the biblical books to be translated as part of the Catholic Standard Version (CSV), a new translation of the Holy Bible. The CSV strives to translate the Scriptural text with the highest level of accuracy in its rendering of the original languages, as well as the highest degree of clarity and beauty, making the CSV the perfect translation for both prayerful reading and serious study.
To open your heart to God’s Word, this printing includes not only the CSV translation of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, but also a “how to” for praying with Scripture and beautiful prompts for each chapter of the Gospel.
What this is remains a bit of a mystery at this point. Thanks to a reader on the previous post for pointing this out. Can’t possibly be a rebranding of the ESV-CE, right? Does it make sense to have another translation from the Augustine Institute just as they have been promoting the ESV-CE? Does anyone want to wait around for years for another translation? (Or is it already done?) Lots of questions, few answers at this point. Stay tuned.
(Currently available as an individual volume or packs of 40.)
Update: I have learned that this will be a brand new translation. Announcement to come soon, perhaps in the new year.
127 thoughts on “A New Translation: The Catholic Standard Version?”
It’s available for pre-order, with an expected release date of January 1, 2023. (I think they added the release date just today—I couldn’t find one yesterday.) It definitely seems strange that they’re coming up with something that looks like a competitor to the ESV-CE.
ESV-CE with “full of grace” and no other changes, perhaps?
It isn’t likely that since they already modified the translation in Luke 1:28 from “Greetings O favored one” (ESV) to “Greetings O highly favored one” (ESVCE).
Now the preorder information is gone, and it looks like you can just buy it. I don’t exactly want to spend $10 just to figure out what it is though…
This is available on formed
I reached out to Augustine Institute yesterday and have received this reply today:
“Thank you for contacting the Augustine Institute! We are working on releasing more information about the Gospel of Matthew, but we do have a little bit of exciting information for you. This translation, the Catholic Standard Version or CSV, strives to translate the Scriptural text with the highest level of accuracy in its rendering of the original languages, as well as the highest degree of clarity and beauty. One copy of the Gospel of Matthew is $10 (plus shipping) but if you would like to order in bulk we are now offering cases (40 books per case) for preorder at $150 each with free shipping for the US and $170 a case for Canada! Once we receive more information we will be happy to reach out to you if you provide us the best phone number or email to reach out to you. Please let us know and we will happily contact you as we gain more information about this new product.”
So, nothing really. The CSV is certainly real and certainly from the Augustine Institute, but we’re not going to hear any specifics now beyond the existing listing’s description, it seems.
Andrew, thanks for reaching out to them. And their response was truly no response at all! 🙂
Hi Andrew – what additional information would be valuable to you? We have some continued due diligence on our end before making a formal announcement regarding the Catholic Standard Version, project timeline, and details about why and new translation and what that new translation will entail, hence why information is slightly limited at the moment.
I can’t find the new CSV Matthew listed at Amazon. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?
Could you kindly provide some technical details such as the iSBN, the width and height measurements (the photo suggests it’s pretty small, say 4 to 4½ inches wide), and type size?
The little “TM” speaks volumes to me.
It suggests “Catholic Standard Version” is a trade name for something else, rebranded.
My money’s on a house-cut of the ESV-CE, perhaps with a new set of supporting content (“meditation prompts?”) that make it a new intellectual property beyond the translation itself?
Sort of like how Ignatius calls the RSV-2CE the “Ignatius Bible” when paired with its study Bible notes.
If so, then it begs the question of why? Why compete with your own publication of the ESV-CE?
Logically, it would follow that they don’t see it as a competition.
Perhaps that’s evidence that the ESV-CE isn’t selling as expected, and that they’re attributing it to Catholic hesitancy over its evangelical roots (they certainly spend a lot of time on that iin the FAQ at https://www.catholicbible.org/
My hypothesis then?
The AI has experienced a far lower level of interest in an ESV-CE than expected, and they attribute it to the reluctance of American Catholics to trust a “Protestant” or “Evangelical” Bible.
As the only licensed published of the ESV-CE in the US, they are hoping to paper over that by rebranding it as the “Catholic Standard Version.”
Naturally that would be of concern to Crossway, so they’ve take a cue from their go-to-market partner, Ignatius, and are adding some proprietary content to the translation that establishes that combination as their own.
I don’t think the problem is that Catholics can’t trust an evangelical translation, otherwise Catholics would reject the RSV and NRSV, which they don’t. The problem with the ESC-CE is similar to the problem with the New Catholic Version, it is impossible to find it anywhere. I search for both on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble about once a month, and I have to spend several minutes clicking through links to find either of them. There is a similar problem with the Revised New Jerusalem Bible
Is this the version that the UK has been translating for it’s liturgy maybe ?
Mark deals with the issue of the lectionary being slightly modified in the UK already in his book. That seems like that has already been decided.
I think this is a rebranding of the ESV-CE. Some evangelicals felt betrayed by crossway for allowing the Catholic Church access to the text. Some Catholics are hesitant to adopt the “evangelical standard version”. That’s my theory based on pure conjecture and no insight .
That said I am a little weary of there being another translation on the market.
I too would be extremely weary of another translation, particularly with the revision of the NABRE (or whatever they are going to call it) coming soon.
I am not sure about the issue with Crossway, and there are two reasons for this: 1) Crossway would know that there would be a backlash (if there even is one.) They have a good pulse on the evangelical world, so I don’t think they would be surprised by any criticism in them allowing an ESV-CE. And they already laid the groundwork a decade earlier with the ESV w/ Apocrypha; 2) From Mark’s book, and his comments in my interview with him, it seems that Crossway was supportive in all this.
But who knows, right?
I can certainly confirm there was a backlash when they allowed AI to publish the simple edition of the ESVCE. I was searching info on the ESVCE and I happened upon a Reformed forum where the debate was between those who thought Crossway had made a deal with the Devil and those who believed that Crossway had made a deal hoping to get Catholics to actually read the Bible but probably still shouldn’t have done it. Anyway, can you imagine how bad it would have gotten if Crossway signed off on a Study Bible with notes affirming the Catholic faith? So if AI really wants to put out a Study Bible like they mentioned a few years back, they were going to have to find another translation.
They say this the first book to be translated, which suggests it’s a new translation. Again, I cannot see Crossway allowing them to simply change the name to the CSV. Also, they just published a book about the ESVCE, so it would make no sense to do so and have that book published.
And if the translation really is new, rather than a light update of the ESV-CE or something, would they release the first book with no imprimatur? Are they going to get imprimaturs book by book?
An imprimatur is no longer good enough for Scripture translations anyway, it is requires the approval of the bishop’s conference or the Holy See.
(FWIW, I have canonical eyebrow raising about that requirement, as the bishop’s conference is not part of the ecclesial structure, and has no authority of its own, while the office of bishop, of course, does. Whether a bishop’s duties can truly be transferred in that way to the conference is a different topic, but until it is ruled otherwise (and probably should be…), that seems to be what the law says.)
Well, I have learned that this is indeed a brand new translation which is going to take a few years to complete. An announcement should come in the new year.
Oh okay I am very surprised that they are making a completely new translation after the ESV CE I wonder who will finish first the Augustine institute or Word on Fire for producing there bible.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all, Crossway is a pain in the neck to deal with. Crossway authorized a Catholic Edition but they are doing everything they can to prevent its distribution. They are hardcore Calvinists and very anti-Catholic, which is why they also distribute books by theologians like John Piper, RC Sproul, and JL Packer. I imagine that after dealing with Crossway putting up obstacle after obstacle in their way such as forbidding an ebook or audiobook version and not allowing it to be distributed on Biblegateway or YouvVersion, they have likely concluded that dealing with Crossway is more trouble than it is worth and they might as well make their own version of an updated RSV
Indeed. Kind of ironic the CSV will come into existence for the same kind of reason as the CSB: licensing issues and the publisher deeming it to be easier to fully own the copyright of your own translation. Scanning the CSV Matthew, and seeing the “begot”s in the opening genealogy, and “gates of hell” in Matthew 16:18 rather than “gates of Hades”, it at least seems the CSV is trying to find a balance between the Douay-Rheims, RSV, and ESV; it wants to be “trad-enough,” I guess.
I think you’ve probably hit the nail on the head. AI was pretty ambitious when they first were granted permission to publish the ESVCE talking about different editions and study Bibles. They were probably a bit naive as to how far Crossway would go to work with them. Text only reader’s editions are one thing, but it would be a cold day in hell before Crossway would allow their translation to be published with Catholic study notes. I’m thinking AI has probably already completed a lot of work on a study edition and needs a translation to publish it with.
Do you know if this new CSV translation will be of the entire Bible (OT with intertestamentals/deuterocanon) or just of the New Testament?
I really don’t understand the point of this CSV project. The definitive liturgical Bible in English should be completed and published in a few years, I pray no later than 2025. As you pointed out in another post, Mary Sperry has said that the definitive revision of the NABRE will include further revisions to the OT.
This CSV could only compete with the official Liturgical Bible under the aegis of the USCCB. Whereas the Liturgucal Bible (whatever it will end up being called) will contain notes and context provided by Church Fathers & Doctors, the CSV will likely be absent of that like every other Protestant translation. My point being, why would anyone choose the CSV ocer the coming definitive Liturgucal Bible?
I believe they are doing the entire Bible. Should be an announcement in the coming weeks.
I too don’t understand how this is going to work. So many other options out there.
Let’s be honest. History has shown us people will always find an excuse to make a new Bible translation, real demand be darned; the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) owes its entire existence to that fact. But yeah, in my personal opinion, the CSV’s only real hope of capturing an audience this late in the game would be if they did all the stuff Catholics love from the RSV-2CE and combined it with the longer Tobit and more recent scholarship of the ESV and NRSVue, and perhaps took the LXX as a stronger guide for the OT translation. It might even try to follow the Nova Vulgata’s interpretations. What I’m saying is, if the CSV is basically the RSV-3CE, then I could see it gaining an audience at the expense of the RSV-2CE, especially since AI would be able to freely adapt their existing study materials to it without dealing with Crossway.
Once the CSV Matthew book comes out, we’ll all very quickly be able to learn the direction of the rest of the translation, I think; with a name like “Catholic Standard Version,” if it doesn’t intentionally translate with a heavy Catholic bias, I can’t see it catching on—I mean, with a name like that, it’s obviously not intended as an ecumenical translation or for use in dialoguing with Protestants, so there’s really no reason not to go “full Catholic” with it to maximize a Catholic reader’s benefits from it. More specifically, if we get to the CSV Luke book, and it ends up not having “full of grace,” I could see a lot of people just dropping it there, just three books in, and never looking back.
1) All the stuff Catholics love about the RSVCE2.
2) Latest scholarship
3) More LXX, Syriac , and Dead Sea Scrolls in the OT.
This is everything I crave in a translation, particularly 1 and 3.
I feel the same! I was so Excited until I saw that it says Joseph was “righteous” and didn’t “divorce her” instead of “just” and “send her away” 🙁
Let me also say that what Mary Sperry said about the NABRE looks really good. I like the people who are doing the NT revision. The additional tweaking of the OT could also be a very good thing too. A new name and more flexibility in publishing it with full or limited notes too. All very good developments.
Many thanks for your additional comments here as well as in the previous article on this blog – the interview with Dr. Mark Giszczak. I had not heard of read any news of updates about the forthcoming Liturgical Bible since this article: https://www.shu.edu/theology/news/seminary-professors-contribute-to-new-testament-revision.cfm
You shared the first update regarding the NT Revision Project in nearly 2 years. I did look up the Fans of NABRE Facebook group but it is private, so I cannot view any posts, videos of other content. Also, I don’t have a Facebook account. Your news about the NABRE NT Revision is exactly what I’ve been wishing for.
When I learned the the CBA was no longer involved in the NT Revision Project and that all royalties related to the project ended as the USCCB took full control of it, I was quite alarmed. According to the Seton Hall University article, at least half the NT revisions were completed (the Pauline Epistles, Pastoral Epistles + Hebrews) as of 2019, and there hasn’t been any news since, I thought the whole project had fallen victim to bureaucracy and politics.
Thanks for letting all of us know about the Mary Sperry interview from this year. It’s good to know she’s still involved.
With the upcoming re-translation of the NABRE as the “Liturgical Bible” from the USCCB, do you think it wise to launch another version which will then have to compete with, among other multitude translations, the much loved RSV(CE)?
I don’t think it is, but I am hoping that they will clarify their intentions in the coming weeks.
As I’ve said, if their goal is to carve out a niche as the “true” successor to the RSV-2CE, making the RSV-3CE in all but name, by hewing closer to traditional Catholic renderings than the ESV-CE, then perhaps something might come of it. Really, the only “game-changer” they could announce in my estimation would be if they practically adopted an LXX/DSS-priority approach to the OT or, more radically, explicitly took patristics into account for ancient renderings. I recall R. Grant Jones once suggesting that one truly fresh translation that could come into existence would be one that was “patristics-based,” mining the “Fathers of the Church” and “Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture” volumes for how the patristic writers rendered and interpreted certain passages; and then the translation could either go with those in the text or at least put them in footnotes.
Another trap I hope the CSV avoids is actually letting the OT and NT translators communicate with each other and compare notes. All too often, the wording between an OT passage and how its quoted in the NT, even when the Hebrew wording allows for the NT translation, is off simply because the committees didn’t cross-check their work to align their terminology.
Greater deference to the LXX, DSS, Peshitta, and Church Fathers would be great. Despite the criticisms of the RSV Old Testament that I’ve brought up in other comments, I still prefer it because it’s not afraid to side with the LXX and Peshitta when they present a better variant than the Masoretic Text.
I hope that the CSV Old Testament takes this approach into overdrive and makes plentiful use of these textual variants, with an eye towards the New Testament, Church Fathers, Dead Sea Scrolls, and modern scholarship.
For example, with the Book of Jeremiah, include both the longer version (from the Masoretic Text) and the short version (from the Septuagint), preferably side-by-side in two columns. Hebrew fragments of both versions were present among the DSS, so both versions are quite ancient, and both versions have had a role in the Church’s history (the longer version in the Vulgate, the shorter in the LXX), why not include both?
For that matter, for every OT book, why not indicate in the footnotes any significant variants from the LXX, DSS, Peshitta, etc?
There’s already dozens of translations of the Masoretic Text into English, and if the CSV is just another one (like the ASV Old Testament was), then there won’t be much to make it stand out. If, however, it makes great use of the other textual traditions, it could really stand out.
I am a member (donor) of the Augustinian Institute and this has not been in any of the Tim Gray members only webinars that I have seen or any of the newsletters that I caught.
Totally weird. Just seems odd in almost every way.
There are issues with current translations. From what I’ve read elsewhere Crossway does not allow the ESV to be published with commentary, which kills the study bible potential. The NAB is under the control of the US bishops so it’s international appeal is limited. Also, though I’m not sure if it’s still true but the NAB had required the full commentary to be published with the Bible which also limits the study bible potential.
So if you want a modern English Catholic Bible with international reach, your options now are the NRSV and NJB. There’s a market there IMHO for a more traditional translation (without “inclusive language”).
Regarding the NAB and commentary issue, one of things that is possibly happening (according to Mary Sperry at the USCCB) is that the revised NABRE (or whatever it will be called) is going to have an option to publish with full or limited/basic notes.
I wouldn’t mind getting it if they offered it on Verbum to get a digital copy for like $2 or $3. I assume since the ESV-CE translation is available on Verbum, they would also make this CSV translation available too. I don’t understand how they can sell it right now with the limited description. You’d think they’d provide more information before trying to open it up for pre-orders.
Why would anyone purchase a new translation without having any sample verses to look at?
I do it all the time, I see a new Bible translation I’ve never heard of and immediately buy it. The mere fact that it is new means that I want it,
Just in this last year, I purchased The Evangelical Heritage Bible (which when I bought it I discovered it is a Lutheran translation published by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod), the Literal Standard Version, the Legacy Standard Version, and the Common English Version and I bought all of them without having any sample or even any idea what the translation was. Sure, I buy a lot of stinkers, but every now and again I find an obscure new classic
My money is on NABRERE
My money is on the NABREUE2025
There is a website titled: Catholic Library Project ( https://catholiclibrary.org/bible/search ). Amongst other offerings, it has a number of biblical translations to search through including…Catholic Standard Version.
The following is a description of the CSV:
“ The “Catholic Standard Version” is a continuing work (i.e. not yet submitted for ecclesiastical approval) of the Catholic Library Project. Just like the RSV, it is based off the Standard Version. There is much to be done, but it is our recommended basic text for interlinear study.”
I tried the catholiclibrary.org search, and it doesn’t look like the same thing as the published CSV. If you search the whole Bible for “God” in their CSV, for example, you get results from 73 books, including 3 Maccabees and 4 Maccabees. If you click on Matthew 1, it shows the full text in the right panel. It reads, “Abraham engendered Isaac.” Since the catholiclibrary.org version has more than 73 books, and the text doesn’t match, my guess is that it isn’t related to the Augustine Institute version. But then, is the AI CSV an update of the ASV, or something else?
I think you’re right Philip. The Catholic Library “CSV” may be based on the ASV… but it’s clearly not the same as the Augustine Institute’s.
We can compare Matthew in all three:
-ASV itself uses “begat”
-Augustine Institute uses “begot”
-The Catholic Library uses “engendered”
So this online CSV is definitely not the same Bible as the AI’s… especially since it contains all the books, whereas AI’s thus far only has Matthew.
This is important, since it’s only this online Catholic Library description that gives us the notion that AI’s CSV is a revision of the ASV. That may or may not be now.
Are we back at square one? None of the AI’s own descriptions of their new translation claim an ASV connection, do they? https://catholic.market/books/catholic-standard-version/gospel-of-matthew-catholic-standard-version-40-per-case-canada-only/
Here’s the complete Gospel of Matthew, offered only in a digital format by Formed:
A (very) brief description is offered:
“The first of the biblical books to be translated as part of the Catholic Standard Version (CSV), a new translation of the Holy Bible.
Strives to translate the Scriptural text with the highest level of accuracy in its rendering of the original languages, as well as the highest degree of clarity and beauty.”
This book also includes a “how to” for praying with Scripture and beautiful prompts for each chapter of the Gospel
Thanks for the heads up.
They lost me forever in Chapter 1 with “begot.”
Not “begat,” mind you.
Just because anyone CAN go back to clean up the ERV/ASV, doesn’t mean that everyone SHOULD.
Via the Formed site, the following is in regard to the CSV Bible (Gospel of Matthew):
Nihil Obstat, Fr Michael Rapp, SSL, Censor Librorum.
Imprimatur, Archbishop Samuel Aquila, STL (28 October 2022)
CSV and Catholic Standard Version are trademarks of the Augustine Institute
Nice find. I read a bit of it on formed.org. Chapter 1 has an awful lot of “begots” for my taste. I compared a few verses to some ASV-based translations (RSV-CE, RSV-2CE, ASV, ESV, WEB, NRSVue) but I haven’t figured out anything enlightening. The CSV seems similar to the RSV-2CE and ESV, I suppose.
The About page of the CSV says that it’s “standard” because “our aspiration is to set a new standard for Bibles in English”, which is fine, I guess, but it’s interesting that the other link you found said that it’s based on the “Standard Version”. Do they mean ASV for the Protestant canon plus the 1895 Revised Version for the other books? I assume so.
Yes, they would mean the ASV. Despite commonly being called the ASV today, when it was first unveiled in 1901, it was just the “Standard Version” (or, more specifically, the “Standard Edition” on the title page) as edited by the American Revision Committee, hence why the RSV was the “REVISED Standard Version,” as it was the revision of the “Standard Version.” So, what this tells us is that the CSV is yet another ASV revision.
With all those “begot”s, rather than the ASV’s “begat”s or the more familiar “the father of”s, the CSV seems like it’s decided it wants the Challoner-Rheims audience there.
Very strange. I don’t claim to be “in the know” as many of you here regarding the politics of translations and the backstories of the different versions, but I am pondering (in my heart) where this is coming from.
This obviously had to be started before the ESV-CE translation was released to underwhelming praise. So why do both? Is AI looking for a flagship Bible to compete with the Great Adventure and Ignatius Bible, which makes big money for those respective companies? Seems they thought the ESV-CE could have been that Bible, from their marketing. The fact that Mark Giszczak wrote an entire book around the translation suggests they went all in on it as a cornerstone for their brand.
Why almost zero marketing on this translation? Indeed, why the mystery then back door releasing it on Formed?
None of it makes sense and as stated in other comments, it is a tepid translation to say the least. Nothing new so far to my eyes.
You are 100% correct and spot on with your critique. None of this makes sense. Why publish Mark’s apologia of the ESVCE then to have another translation in development? The only thing I can think of is that there are issues with Crossway. But who knows? The lack of transparency here, as well with other Catholic publishers, remains maddening.
Publishers are never going to air their duty laundry out in the open. If there are issues with either sales or the partnership with Crossways, AI will never open up to it. I mean they still want to sell as much ESV-CE as they can. And they are still in bed with Crossways for the time beings, so they can’t insult them or show friction.
I don’t think any publishers, secular or Christian, are going to be transparent about the behind-the-scenes decisions.
My gut tells me Mark’s apologia feels like a last-ditch effort to salvage the ESV-CE in America, where all indications seem to show it has underperformed; general audiences don’t see the point, and more “plugged-in” audiences feel Ignatius/Ascension’s editions of the RSV-2CE or Word on Fire’s ongoing series using the NRSV-CE are sufficient, more usable, and/or more orthodox for what they want in an English Bible and genuinely have not been convinced by the Augustine Institute’s marketing. I say “in America” because everywhere where the ESV-CE is actually liturgically used, and thus has an audience that desires print editions, the Augustine Institute isn’t the publisher. You could very well be right that Crossway is kneecapping the Augustine Institute in what they can and can’t publish with the text, and that’s preventing them from fully tapping it.
And transparency is a crucial thing, as you say. Contrast with Word on Fire, which, via a timeline on the project’s donation page, has shown years in advance precisely how many volumes their Word on Fire Bible series will be (seven) and the contents of each volume. Meanwhile here, the Augustine Institute is being extremely tight-lipped now in the face of inquiry about the CSV, and yet it seems the entire text of Matthew has leaked out to us anyway to conclude it’s yet another light revision of the ASV, something that any amateur wannabe web translator can do right now (and have; the WEB, EOB, RASV, and several other independent/crowdsourced translations stem from the public domain ASV text). Like I’ve said before, if the intention is to essentially create the RSV-3CE, by being more traditional than the RSV-2CE (hence the return of the “begot”s) while also having the updated scholarship of the ESV-CE, but without the baggage of basically being Crossway’s Bible, then it could have hope in the future.
Honestly, regarding the tight-lipped nature, my gut tells me the Augustine Institute wasn’t expecting eagle-eyed people to have found the CSV Matthew listing this early prior to any official announcement or marketing, and definitely not the full digital text weeks (?) before release, and they’re just genuinely not prepared to discuss it yet, even though their big “reveal” has now been spoiled. If someone wanted to, they could copy the CSV Matthew text we now have into a Word doc, put the ASV/RSV-2CE/ESV-CE Matthew text in another, hit “Compare Documents”, and find exactly the extent of the changes, all before a single official press release announcing the translation comes about.
It’s pretty clear to me. The ESVCE isn’t selling. AI is moving on.
I wouldn’t be surprised, at least outside of the countries where it has become the lectionary (AI isn’t selling it in those places where it is). Back around the time it first came out, when I just had a Douay-Rheims and an NAB to my name, I was deciding between it and the RSV-2CE. After comparing the translations (shoutout to R. Grant Jones for the help there), finding the Catholic authors and scholars actively utilizing each, and weighing the study materials available, I went with the RSV-2CE, later supplementing it with the scholarship from other editions. Even now, years later, I can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on the ESV-CE; and if you’re right about sales, it’s clear I’m not the only one still with cold feet.
Even as the Augustine Institute advertises the ESV-CE in the Ignatius Press catalog alongside the RSV-2CE, I can’t help but think the timing of Fr. Mike’s BIAY podcast, utilizing the RSV-2CE, created a large hurdle for the ESV-CE, what with the podcast making the RSV-2CE’s Great Adventure Bible the #1 selling Catholic Bible, at just the time the ESV-CE was expecting to easily eclipse it in its lane of “conservative formal equivalence” translations. From how little I hear about the ESV-CE unless I’m in dedicated discussions about it, it seems like that eclipsing didn’t take place and the CSV might be the Augustine Institute’s Plan B, this time without the baggage of trying to sell, essentially, Crossway’s evangelical translation to people already satisfied with the RSV-2CE by taking shots at the NABRE and NRSV at every chance they get in marketing, perhaps not realizing how many of those RSV-2CE users they sought to convert simply took the ESV-CE, opened to Luke 1:28, saw “favored one,” closed the ESV-CE, and went back to the RSV-2CE and didn’t look back. Sometimes it’s just that simple; if the CSV goes for “favored one” there too, rightly or wrongly, it’ll probably doom itself also with that same audience.
Here are some random thoughts that have come to my mind as more has slowly been revealed about the CSV. Many thanks to the good detective work by some of you and all the very good comments so far.
*I can’t believe that AI has given up on the ESV. They literally just published a book about it. That just seems crazy to me. And the ESV has far more name recognition than almost any other Bible out there, particularly by those who are into literal translations.
*Way too early to say here, but do we really want a rewarmed/edited version of a 100 year old translation? While the ESV is based on the RSV (and so on), it was a far more extensive re-translation than the RSV-2CE. The ESV and I would say the NRSV both are translations in their own right. The RSV-2CE never has been, since it remains just a tweaking of the RSV. So, what will be interesting to see about the CSV is whether it is more of an RSV-2CE in revision or the NRSV/ESV.
*Where is the call for such a translation like this? Mark’s book goes at great lengths to stress how the ESV-CE meets almost every need for the Church right now. And it can’t simply be this issue of Luke 1:28. I’ll be honest in saying that I have grown tired in seeing that as a de facto litmus test on the fidelity of a translation.
*The ESV has been slowly growing on me over the past year or two. And, I have been in the process of moving away from the RSVs to the ESV. I am in the middle of first year Biblical Greek, and have found the ESV to be far more helpful than most other translations. So, at least for me, I am likely going to stick with the ESV going forward. And there are also a ton of really nice editions out there with the Deutrocanonicals, no matter what AI does with the ESVCE. Cambridge has the Cornerstone and Diadem, and I am pretty certain Schuyler is going to be doing an ESV w/apocrypha. And that will be a real treat.
I think the Augustine Institute is shooting themselves in the foot by introducing a new CSV translation without providing more information into the strategy of how this new translation fits in with the ESV-CE that they heavily promoted. To charge $10 per book of the Bible until they have the whole Bible will also alienate more people from buying it who’d rather wait until the full Bible is completed to see how it stands against the rest. If they do plan to abandon the ESV-CE translation in favor of the CSV translation, what makes us think that they’ll drop the CSV if it doesn’t sell well? I would have preferred that they kept all their eggs in one basket and worked on an ESV-CE Study Bible, compact leather bound edition, and premium Bible. Dr. Tim Gray even mentioned in an interview that they would be working on a study Bible at this link: http://catholicbibletalk.com/2020/05/new-editions-of-the-esv-ce-in-development-at-the-augustine-institute/
This does make sense to me. The ESV-CE niche pretty much shares the same space as the RSV-CE2 crowd. Really the ESV-CE tried to be the RSV-CE3 and succeeded to a degree, but Crossways wouldn’t allow the edits needed to totally fulfill that purpose. I have no intention of ever getting a ESV-CE, not because I think it is bad translation but simply because I think the RSV-CE2 is better. I also know that in Orthodox circles, there is a decent use of the RSV-CE2 but not the ESV. My Byzantine Catholic parish just purchased a bunch of RSV-CE2 as pew bibles this year even though we use currently the 1970 NAB w/ modifications in the lectionary.
The CSV will rise and fall depending on how it compares to the RSV-CE2. The upcoming NAB revision will be the dominant translation in the U.S. by default. Among conservatives, I think that RSV-CE2 will continue to be secondary translation of choice as long as it is not dethroned by the CSV, which remains to be seen. The NRSV or (UE) will be the secondary choice among those of either a more liberal bent or who hang out in mainline protestant circles.
And anyone who frequents this blog will just use multiple translations like we always do. 🙂
For me, as a formerly Protestant Catholic, it will always be about having an approved but solid formal Catholic translation from the original languages that Protestants will also read and respect. That’s precious few.
JB/NJB/RNJB? NAB/NABRE? Awesome translations, but utterly dismissed by Protestantism as “Catholic-only” translations. [That’s why I dismiss further “specifically Catholic” versions like the NCB and now the CSV as exercises in futility.]
KJV? NIV? Never Catholic.
RSV/NRSV? Safe fallback choices, but also dismissed by evangelicals for the NIV and the CSB, respectively.
NONE of the top five selling Bible translations are “Catholic-only” translations. But thanks to the Indian bishops, at least there are now Catholic editions of two of those top 5 versions: the NLT-CE and the ESV-CE.
The ESV is now the go-to Gideon’s Bible.
And now there’s a Catholic edition that’s the lectionary in the UK and the world’s largest democracy (India)?
‘Nuff said. I’ll read and quote the ESV-CE now.
Ever since Cambridge got into the ESV with Apocrypha game, the ESV-CE has held zero appeal. Equivalent editions are more expensive from AI, with lower quality materials and no cross-references. The Catholic Edition changes are completely insubstantial. Half of them are capitalizing the c in Council. The Diadem is, in my mind, a strictly superior version. The ESV-CE, at least as AI publishes it, is frankly a scam.
I tend to agree with you. The Diadem is an all-purpose, beautifully crafted bible. It truly has everything one would need to use it in virtually every situation.
Speaking of publisher transparency, off topic but wanted to say, I just a big year-end wrap up and coming in 2023 from the St Paul Center and Scott Hahn. His big news……. (Drum roll) ….. Emmaus Productions Bible videos and a new St Paul Center building!
Like me, you thought there would be word of the full Ignatius Study Bible finally… well, not a peep. Don’t expect it in the coming year.
I don’t think the problem is that Catholics can’t trust an evangelical translation, otherwise Catholics would reject the RSV and NRSV, which they don’t. The problem with the ESC-CE is similar to the problem with the New Catholic Version, it is impossible to find it anywhere. I search for both on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble about once a month, and I have to spend several minutes clicking through links to find either of them. There is a similar problem with the Revised New Jerusalem Bible
Absolutely. And a $60+ price for a bonded leather bible doesn’t help either.
Meanwhile, the KJV-Onlyist Church Bible Publishers are printing ironed-calfskin compact “cameo” KJVs for $60 out of their basement. It has never made sense to me how our major publishers can’t match that.
The New Catholic Version is now known as the New Catholic Bible. Amazon has it and of course available on publishers site Catholic Publishing Company. Most Catholic web retailers also carry the this bible.
Yes, you can find it, but it Is hard to find and you need to know precisely what you’re looking for, search for “New Catholic Bible” on Amazon or Barnes and Noble and you will find it on about the fourth page if you click through page after page of NABRE’s and NRSV’s. And it isn’t available as either an audiobook or ebook. And the only Bible website that has it is Bible Gateway, it isn’t on YouVersion, Hallow, or any Catholic apps. If they want people to adopt this translation, they need to recognize that this is the 21st century, not the 19th.
I type in NEW CATHOLIC BIBLE on Amazon and have no issues. The title comes up. As for the other sites you mentioned like Hallow etc maybe contacting the publisher directly could help. In any case have a good day.
But here is the thing, if you download the Bible Gateway app, you can download the NCB as a free ebook, when you do that, you get a little note saying that if you accept the download, you will be put on an email list by the publisher to get special offers and promotions. This is standard. I downloaded it and have never received an email from the publisher, not even one saying ‘thank you for the download’. Yet, I also downloaded the ESV, NIV, NASB, and CSB, and I get multiple weekly emails from Crossway, Zondervan, The Lockman Foundation, and Holman. I downloaded the NABRE, and I get regular emails from the NCCB, But not one email about the NCB I downloaded.
The NCB isn’t selling because the publisher is doing zero promotion for it.
Here’s the url link for Catholic Book Publishing, for the New Catholic Bible:
The NCB New Testament is available on Audible.com. (It says “New Catholic Version,” but it’s now known as the NCB.) See here: shorturl.at/lCFKP
That has been there for years, back when the New Testament was all there was, and yet here we are more than 2 years after the full Bible has been published with no effort to update.
I mentioned that I look it up on Amazon a couple of times a month, but I don’t do it because I can’t find it, I keep looking it up because I’m hoping eventually they will start offering something other than a print version, and I’m continually disappointed.
This is the 21st century, most people don’t buy paper books, this is a format that is gradually going extinct. I certainly don’t buy paper books anymore, I move approximately every two years, and I’m tired of carrying 200-300 heavy boxes of books every time I move. I’ve gotten rid of all my paper books and I will never buy anymore. If a book is not available as an ebook, I will not buy it. It’s time for them to join the 21st century.
Dies anyone know where you can find catholic bible sales? Easy to find for Protestant bibles.
“Does” not “dies” in my previous post.
The RNJB can be found on Barnes & noble’s website, but no you can’t just walk into the store and find it (it’s also a cruddy edition). Even my local Catholic bookstore doesn’t carry anything but nabre, rsv, and nrsv. I don’t even remember seeing an esv- cr at the basilica of the national shrine of the immaculate conception’s stores (that’s where I bought my Knox). So I do suppose that it’s a fair point to say that if the esv-ce is not selling well it’s possibly because it’s difficult to find.
The RNJB is available at my local Barnes and Noble. Different locations carry different inventories.
The one place to look is christianbook.com since they regularly have their bibles (including Catholic ones) on sale or certainly better than full price.
I love the Douay-Rheims. It is the Gold Standard. Just superb in the TLM liturgical setting. It is nearly perfect, apart from the antiquated language. Wouldn’t mind though if someone came out with a “New” Douay-Rheims, similar to the NKJV.
Some actually have created self-proclaimed “New Douay-Rheims” Bibles of sorts. A quick search pops up one by “Straightway Ministries” called the “New Douai Rheims Bible” and another, which is just the four Gospels, by a John Litteral. However, both are, unsurprisingly, self-published efforts, which draws questions about their accountability. Something in the vain of the NKJV, where textual variants with the various manuscript traditions are noted throughout, done by a reputable publisher, could prove valuable indeed.
There’s also the Catholic Public Domain Version. No imprimatur, but it seems to be an update of the Douay Rheims.
I just picked up the “New Catholic Version” Bible from 1950 which is the Douay Rhiems OT and the Confraternity NT in a perfect size and font for me. That’s what I am using for my devotional reading and I am quite happy with it
I contacted the Augustine Institute and asked them if they would mind sending me an email back with how they have translated various chapters and verses. I believe I asked for them to show me Luke 1:28, Matthew 16:18, Matthew 6:9. My intention was to see how it’s phrased and see if I’m going to add it to my collection of translations for comparative purposes. Yes I know you can do all this on Bible Gateway pretty much but I still like to have physical stuff. They finally wrote back after over a week, going on two, or something and told me that if I wanted to see how they had phrased those verses, to buy the first volume that they’re putting out, the Gospel St Matthew for $10 and then I can check it out and see how its phrased and the pricks included a link to the page to order it in their response, so, they can get bent. It won’t be the only Catholic edition of something that I don’t own. I don’t have any of the 3 editions of the Jerusalem bible or the ESVCE, either.
We already have Matthew 6:9 and 16:18 in the CSV, thanks to James’s link, and Luke hasn’t been translated yet.
Matthew 6:9-13 CSV: Pray, therefore, in this way: ‘Our Father in heaven, your name be hallowed, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily[a] bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,[b] but deliver us from the evil one.'[c][d]
[a] Greek ‘epiousios’, which can mean ‘essential’, ‘for today’, ‘for tomorrow’, or ‘supersubstantial’
[b] Greek ‘peirasmos’, can mean ‘temptation’ or ‘testing’
[c] Or ‘evil’
[d] Some later manuscripts include ‘For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’
Matthew 16:18 CSV: And I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock[c] I will build my Church, and the gates of hell[d] shall not prevail against it.
[c] Greek ‘petra’ (“rock”) is a play on the Greek ‘petros’ (“Peter”), Jesus’ name for Simon
[d] Greek ‘Hades’, the realm of the dead
I spoke with a sales rep with Catholic Market (online storefront of Augustine Institute) on 12/28/22. She said the CSV Gospel of Matthew will only be available in paperback, with no hardcover edition planned. Also, no preview copies will be available.
I’m always interested in a new Bible, unlike some here, my philosophy is ‘there is always room for one more translation’, but I’m not going to buy one volume at a time. I’ll pick up a copy if/when the entire Bible is published
I enjoy reading your comments. What is your favorite translation, Biblical Catholic?
I don’t have a favorite, I usually read the NAB but all the verses I have memorized are from the RSV. I try to read a different version every year, and I am generally happy with most of them.
I like the CSB, ESV and NASB (except for the 2020 version). I strongly dislike the NIV, the Common English Bible, the Living Translation, The Good News Translation and The Message. You probably notice a pattern, I like translations that are more literal and dislike ones that are excessively loose or dynamic.
Thanks. Why do you not like the NASB2020?
FWIW, I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t care for the new gender-neutral language in it (e.g., “fishers of people.”) I also think the vocabulary is somewhat dumbed down (e.g., “offspring of vipers” replacing “brood of vipers.”). On the other hand, it seems to read pretty well, and is more literal than the NASB95 by some measures (as evaluated by R. Grant Jones). Also, I love the FORMAT of the NASB20 LPUT reference edition. The text is nice and dark, and I like that that it’s not fully justified.
Jim, you just answered your own question. Those are indeed the reasons I dislike the 20202 NASB.
There are 1,001 reasons to oppose “inclusive language” in the scriptures which I have gone into in great depth in the past and won’t repeat here, but the biggest one is, it makes for translations that are extremely awkwardly worded and difficult to read aloud. It also makes for ungrammatical sentences, such as the prolific use of the word ‘they’ as a singular pronoun that happens in the 2011 NIV. And it often results in sentences which, to put it bluntly, sound awfully amateurish. It can make the translation sound like it was written by barely literate scholars, or by children.
Even translations I generally like irritate in this regard, I am thinking in particular of the CSB, a translation authorized by the Southern Baptist Convention.
I like it because despite its origins it seems to go out of its way not to be biased in favor of Baptist theology, for example by translating the word ‘baptize’ as ‘immerse’ (which is somewhat defensible based on the Greek). But I help but laugh when it claims, in the preface to be ecumenical because “evangelical scholars of many different denominations” worked on it. I want to say “dude, the fact that only evangelical scholars worked on it means that it cannot possibly be ecumenical, don’t you get that?’
Anyway, even though I generally like it, the translation of the epistles is terrible due to the constant use of the phrase “brothers and sisters”, this might be accurate in that the passages in question probably are intended to be addressed to both women and men, but that wording just sounds awful, it is like one of the really awful songs in which none of the lyrics fit the meter.
I’m rather concerned about the note for Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. While it’s interesting to see the different meanings of pornea, the way the note is written could give someone the impression that adultery is an acceptable case for a divorce and remarriage. Compare it to the RSV-CE’s footnote on Matthew 5:32, which makes it clear to the reader that the “except for unchastity” cannot be construed to allow divorce and remarriage in the case of adultery. I hope that AI changes the footnote before the complete Bible goes to print.
Apart from that issue, I’m cautiously optimistic about this.
The optimism comes from the fact that this is apparently an update of the ASV, which is one of the more literal translations in English. I know that “begot” is catching a lot of flak, but it communicates a more precise meaning than “became the father of”, since it implies natural generation. If the translators utilize up-to-date scholarship while sticking to this very literal translation philosophy, it could give us a Catholic equivalent to the NASB. As was mentioned by other commenters, I hope that they make generous use of the LXX, Peshitta, and Dead Sea Scrolls, and I would also hope that they fix all of the issues with the RSV Old Testament that were missed by the folks at Ignatius Press when they did the RSV-2CE. Given that the RSV’s Old Testament issues weren’t present in the ASV, this last one shouldn’t be a problem.
I’m cautious, because it takes a lot of expertise to do a Bible translation well, and it would be very easy to fall into the temptation of just doing a lite update of the ASV Old Testament (get rid of the thee’s and thou’s, include the Deuterocanonicals from the English Revised Version) and call it a day. I think that AI should collaborate with other, like-minded Catholic scholars and groups to make this the best it can be. Any chance Fr. Mitch Pacwa could join in? He’s not too busy, right? 😀
Jeffrey, what were the general issues with the RSV OT?
The RSV OT was overseen by an Orthodox Jew Harry Orlinsky, who is also the only RSV translator to work on the NRSV. He also managed the 1985 New Jewish Publication Society (NJPS) translation of the TANAKA (what Jews call the Old Testament).
Now, there is nothing wrong with this necessarily, after all, most experts in Biblical Hebrew are Jews. The problem, for Christians, is that because of Orlinsky’s influence (and probably other factors too, I think a desire to be ‘ecumenical’ and to avoid a possible accusation of antisemitism by being too overtly Christian played into it as well, especially in the NRSV) most of the messianic prophecies in the OT are translated according to the traditional Jewish rendering rather than the Christian, which means that they are translated in such a way as to make a Christian interpretation quite difficult.
Examples of this are the infamous “young woman” of Isaiah 7:14, which contrary to myth is not ‘more accurate’ than virgin, the Hebrew word “almah” means a young woman old enough to be married but is not, and therefore can reasonably be assumed to be a virgin. There are in fact several passages in the OT where the word almah is translated as “virgin” that are uncontroversial. It is controversial in Isaiah 7:14 only because using the word “virgin” in that verse implies a Christian interpretation, which understandably Jews are not willing to grant.
Another example is the wording of God’s promise to Abraham as “through your seed all the nations of the world will bless themselves” rather than the traditional Christian “will be blessed” (although the RSV does include “will be blessed” as an alternate translation in the marginal notes).
The examples could be multiplied 100 times over.
This tendency becomes even more pronounced in the NRSV.
In fact, if you compare the RSV OT to the 1985 NJPS translation you will notice that many of the RSV translations have been carried over almost verbatim.
Thanks, BC. Do you think the ESV has rectified the problems with the RSV OT? (I notice that the RSV2CE has the orthodox rendering of Isaiah 7:14. But I can see that the RSV2CE has let some of the other issues stand.)
There is an interesting story behind the ESV, and I’m not talking about how it happened due to an evangelical backlash against the publication of the NIV Inclusive Language Edition in 1997. Which is the same event that led to the Christian Standard Version among the Southern Baptists. Everyone knows that story.
The story I am talking about begins with the publication of the RSV in 1952. It was met with great fanfare at the time, it was a huge event with an enormous amount of hype behind it, similar to a big movie premiere like Avengers Endgame or Avatar The Way of Water is today. This is the last time a new Bible would be a big event due to both the cultural changes that would begin shortly after this and the fact that new Bibles would soon be coming with such frequency that even people who were interested couldn’t keep up with them all.
Anyway, when it was published, it quickly sold over 100 million copies within a couple of years, as I said, it was huge. RSV chairman Luther Weigle was even invited to the White House where he gave President Truman what he said was the very first copy of the RSV straight off the presses. That is how big it was.
But while it was widely accepted among liberal Protestants, evangelicals and fundamentalists hated it. The more moderate evangelicals just made their own translations, which is the origin of both the NASB (an alternate revision of the 1901 ASV) and the NIV.
Shortly after publication, a Catholic newspaper or magazine (i don’t remember exactly) published a very enthusiastic review but expressed disappointment that it only had the truncated Protestant canon and said that if the Deuterocanonical books could be added, and put in the OT it could become an ecumenical Bible. This editorial came to the attention of the RSV committee which quickly began negotiations with the Catholic bishops which led to the RSV Catholic Edition in 1966. This was the first time that a Protestant translation had been adapted for Catholic use.
After 1966, a group of evangelical scholars approached the RSV committee and argued that if the RSV could be adapted for Catholics, surely an “Evangelical Edition” could be produced which would address their concerns. The request was denied.
So, in 1997, when a group of evangelical scholars met at Colorado Springs to produce their own translation, the idea of an RSV Evangelical Edition was re-introduced and they asked for permission to revise the 1971 RSV, and this time permission was granted.
So while I haven’t done a verse-by-verse analysis, I think the ESV does indeed fix the problem, given that that was the main point of the project
Jim, the other thread with the interview on the ESV translation book may go into that question for you. One of the stated intents behind the ESV translation was to make it a Christian translation by design, specifically translating NT quotes of the OT consistently with their OT referent so the connection is clear, and opting for Christological renderings of OT passages where Christian tradition suggests it and the original text supports it. After reading the book on the translation process, I came away with a much deeper appreciation of the ESV and its rigor.
Biblical Catholic already mentioned the gist of it. There were many spots in the RSV Old Testament where passages that had traditionally been seen as prophecies of Christ (including some quoted in the New Testament) were translated in such a way as to preclude the Christological interpretation.
Other examples include Daniel chapter 9 (prophecy of the 70 weeks of years), which has traditionally been interpreted as a prophetic timeline as to when the Messiah would come. Prior translations, such as the ASV, rendered verse 25 as, “Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times. “, The RSV rendered it as, ” Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.” The big difference is that the RSV splits up the seven weeks of years from the 62 weeks of years, so that the Messiah comes 49 years after the command to restore Jerusalem. This would prevent the verse from being a prophecy of Christ, since Christ didn’t come in the 5th century B.C. Prior translations like the ASV, Douay Rheims, KJV, etc. kept the 62 and 7 weeks of years together, which would mean that the Messiah came 483 years after the command to rebuild Jerusalem (ie: at the time of Christ).
The difference comes from how vowel points and punctuation are applied to the Hebrew text of Daniel Chapter 9. The original Hebrew text did not include vowel points and punctuation, and depending on how you apply the vowel points/punctuation, you could get either 7 weeks separate from 62 weeks (like in the RSV) or 62 and 7 weeks together (like in the ASV, etc.).
The standard vowel-pointed Hebrew text, the Masoretic Text, arranges the vowel points/punctuation to give us 7 weeks separate from 62 weeks, and the RSV goes with this arrangement.
However, the LXX, Peshitta, and Vulgate all combine the 7 and 62 weeks, demonstrating that the Hebrew text could have been understood this way in the centuries before the Masoretic Text. This is especially significant in the LXX, which was translated from the Hebrew before Christ (and before Christians used Daniel 9 as a proof text for Jesus being the Messiah).
All of the above information about the Hebrew of Daniel 9 and the seventy weeks comes from John Bergsma and Brant Pitre in “A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: the Old Testament”.
The CSV’s evident ASV lineage becomes especially interesting in light of its use of “begot” in the Matthaean genealogy. You know what other ASV revision does exactly that? Adam Greene’s American Literary Version (of Bibliotheca fame).
I just spent some time reading the CSV’s sample online and comparing it to my Bibliotheca NT. This may just be my personal preference, but I do think the ALV flows better. Given that the ALV is first and (again in my opinion) better, the CSV really seems nothing more than a way for Augustine Institute to save money by not paying royalties – but Bible revisions aren’t free, so I have to wonder if the expense and effort are really worth it.
(If anyone would like to see and compare specific verses of Matthew in the ALV and CSV, let me know and I can share those here.)
Just a glance at the first chapter of the CEV:
And Joseph her husband, being a *righteous* man… decided to *divorce* her quietly.
In my memorized scripture, from all of my favorite and most read translations, Joseph is a “just” man. And one of the handful of changes made for the RSV-CE, and followed by the ESV-CE, was to substitute “send her away” for “divorce.” Right from the outset I am put off by the CEV. If one is trying to make an ideal modern “Catholic” edition of the Bible, wouldn’t the first place to start be the original changes made for the RSV-CE and those emendations already made specifically at the behest of the CDW to make the RSV-CE acceptable for the lectionary? This is what confused me about the ESV-CE… wouldn’t including the alterations of the RSV-2CE been a no-brainer? I chalked it up to being a translation made in India, and the redactors were simply unfamiliar with traditional English renderings of the Holy Bible. Augustine Institute should know better…
When I experienced my conversion in 2010, I was very blessed to have available a weekly small group study working through the notes and study questions of the Ignatius Study Bible. Ever since then the RSV-2CE has been a constant companion. Once we had completed all of the Ignatius study courses we found the Great Adventure Timeline courses from Ascension, which are very plentiful and very good, followed by the Didache Bible which complements these classes excellently. Following this I am connected to the RSV-2CE with a wider group of friends and family thanks to the Bible in a Year podcast which is also excellent and accessible to anyone at their convenience in the privacy of the home.
I am not a translation “only-ist” and I like to look at other translations for comparison, but swapping any of my excellent study editions of the RSV-2CE for a text edition of something similar is a hard sell. Even the Great Adventure Bible, which could not even be considered strictly a study Bible, has proven very useful in reading and understanding the “bigger picture” of this amazing story of God’s unfolding plan. I have a daughter who is almost confirmation age who loves the Bible, and this “story!” Not catechesis and apologetics so much as discussing the story… when we have our discussions I get my GAB and it is such a blessing. This is definitely the one to read from “in a year,” especially with the homilies by Father Mike, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The Didache is the one I use in my weekly Bible study. Its wealth of liturgical, apologetic, catechetical, and reference material have been indispensable in the small group setting. I can’t imagine bringing a different edition with me. These Great Adventure themed studies are so rich with historical and theological information, I just can’t recommend them highly enough, and again, primarily keyed to the RSV-2CE.
The ESV-CE, the NABRE, and practically any translation could be used in the above mentioned studies. But there is also something to be said for consistently and stability for reading and cherishing Sacred Scripture. Switching from the RSV-2CE as my primary translation for reading and study would be a hard sell. When I was younger I compared translations frequently. As I have gotten older, hopefully wiser, have more kids and more obligations, my perspective has changed… I don’t need another book to say the same thing in slightly different wording. I read all the comments here, and I see other the valid points I did not touch on, but this is where I’m at, my perspective!
I don’t think “they didn’t know,” I think the problem is that Crossway didn’t allow them to make many changes. This isn’t like the RSV where the translators were bending over backward to make a Catholic Edition and allowing significant alterations because they wanted the distinction of making an ecumenical Bible. Crossway is an anticatholic publisher and they don’t want a Catholic Edition to exist at all, they aren’t allowing huge alterations, in fact, they would love to find an excuse to cancel it altogether.
I don’t think it is fair to say what Crossways intentions are. There has been no proof that they want this edition ended. There is a wonderful story in Mark’s book about how the owners of Crossway were pleased about bringing the ESV, via the Indian bishops, into India. And the reality is that they have authorized a Catholic Edition which will be used in the liturgy in many places. Cambridge offers an ESVCE and so does SPCK, which has numerous editions.
I think there is strong evidence of it. If they looked upon the project favorably they would have authorized it years earlier, and they would publish it themselves rather than farm it out.
And we know they placed huge restrictions on the ESV w/Apocrypha editions by Cambridge University Press, including insisting that the “apocryphal” be placed at the end of the Bible rather than between the Testaments so as to more aggressively de-emphasize their importance.
Also, if you look at the other publications they offer, including works by people like John Piper, RC Sproul, and John Calvin, their theological position is clear.
It’s also worth mentioning, the ESV-CE is nowhere on crossway.org. I checked, using Google to scan every page of the entire website, and it’s mentioned zero times, aside from on an .xlsx order form on the backend, out of public view. Search [“ESV Catholic Edition” site:crossway.org] on Google, sans the brackets, on Google, and you’ll find the one result; doing it with “ESV-CE” gets you zip. And the only result you’ll find on that website for the broader “Catholic Edition” is an article about the Deuterocanon, and that’s because it mentions the “New Catholic Edition” Bible, which was the Douay-Confraternity Bible from the 40s, in passing. So, they’re certainly not advertising it.
The Cambridge-published ESV Diadem with Apocrypha has it between the Testaments, so I think your information is wrong.
No, my information about the “ESV w. Apocrypha” is not wrong, I am talking about the original 2008 edition, which I now have open in front of me, and sure enough, the “Apocrypha” is after the New Testament. There was an extensive discussion of this on the old “Catholic Bibles Blog” where the editor of the edition chimed in and said that putting it after the New Testament at the end of the BIble was one of Crossway’s conditions to allow the volume to be published.
I am a participant in that discussion, which you should be able to find with a simple Google search, assuming the “Catholic Bibles Blog” is still up. I was a participant in that discussion and my screenname was the same as it is today.
I had the exact same thought! As soon as I saw “righteous” and “divorce her” instead of “just” and “send her away” I was done. This is expected from Protestant-origin translations, but is not acceptable from a Catholic translation team trying to create a translation that they want to become the new Catholic standard. Why use “begot” and then turn around and directly deviate from the Douay-Rheims and Church tradition in such a blatant manner?
Even the KJV uses “just” and “put her away,” so I don’t see the excuses for going with a Protestant-origin rendering, as you say, when even the most Protestant of Protestant-origin translations uses a more Catholic rendering! Even the ESV has “just man” at least!
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.” (Matthew 1:19 KJV)
“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19 ESV)
A supposed “Catholic Standard Version” rendering getting 0/2 when the ESV gets 1/2 and the KJV 2/2? Super weird. This isn’t even usually one of those “litmus test” verses, so it’s even weirder.
I love your testimony here. Sorry it took this long for me to see it. I am sorry for not responding quicker. Stick with the RSV2CE. Let’s be honest, the differences between the RSVs and ESV are not massive. And, yes, there are lots still going on with the RSV2CE. It isn’t going anywhere!
Just got this AI Mission Circle email today
First Look: The Augustine Institute’s Plan to Translate the Holy Bible
with DR. BRANT PITRE & DR. CHRISTOPHER BLUM
The Augustine Institute is embarking on a new translation of the Holy Bible for the glory of God, the growth of the Church, and the good of the world. This month, the Mission Circle has a very special opportunity to get a first look into The Catholic Standard Version™ Bible translation project from two individuals at the forefront of these efforts. Join Dr. Brant Pitre and Dr. Christopher Blum as they share an overview of the project, why a new translation of the Bible is needed, and what is to come for this project. We are so excited to share this new project with all of you who make projects like this possible with your support and prayers!
Problem is I’m at work when it happens on Jan 19 at 2pm MST
Actually I miscalculated Mountain Time. I’ll see plus they will send me a zoom recording after. I’ll pass on anything interesting.
Thanks for sharing this info. Man, I am not sure I can stomach waiting around for another translation. Love what AI is doing, but I’m tired of waiting. And I have come to like the ESV…
This part from the email you shared made me smile: “Join Dr. Brant Pitre and Dr. Christopher Blum as they share an overview of the project, why a new translation of the Bible is needed, and what is to come for this project.” I’ve never heard THAT before (translate some sarcasm here).
Is a new translation needed? With the abundance of translations, is it REALLY needed? I’m doubtful. It may be beneficial. But necessary? As someone who loves to have several different translations on hand, and who owns too many, even I recognize that at some point, it’s not so much a matter of “need” but of “want.” No translation is perfect or even close to perfect. I suspect this will be the same. It may get some things right that others don’t, but it will still be one more translation among many good translations, including the ESV.
Will I want to get the bible when it is eventually released? Probably. Because I always do. But I don’t think it will be all that necessary.
A friend notified me this is available digitally on Formed. So far it looks like the ESV with words swapped here and there. Interestingly, “divorced” is used in Matt 1:19 rather than “send away”
Which is super weird because, of the minimal changes made to the ESV for the CE, that was one, and the CSV decided to revert it to the “pre-Catholic” rendering. As Jonny pointed out above, you’d think the absolute baseline for revising the ASV for a new “traditional” Catholic translation would be to first introduce all the changes the original RSV-CE made to the RSV and then go from there.
I know it’s always fun to tease the RSV-2CE a bit over the years for being a minor update and for the Study Bible taking 3000 years to complete, but in recent years, the sudden explosion in RSV-2CE editions and resources is giving people using it fewer and fewer reasons to leave it. Thanks to the Bible in a Year podcast, the RSV-2CE might now be the most recognizable translation to American Catholic ears other than the NAB from Mass, and perhaps the Challoner-Douay-Rheims if you were raised with it or sought it out specifically. Given that accessibility, I don’t really see how the CSV or really anything else has a prayer. The ESV-CE doesn’t seem to have made a splash in the US, the NRSV-CE’s probably getting its widest reach outside of Canada via Word on Fire’s volumes so it’ll stay viable obviously, and anything else is far too niche for mass appeal. The next translation that’ll get big will be whatever new name they give to the NABRE 2025, and that’ll just be because it will have the full force of the USCCB and every parish in the country behind it. Like what happened with the pre-RE NAB in 2011, all the NABREs will just disappear from shelves and be replaced.
Has Augustine Institute retired its http://www.catholicbible.org site for the ESV-CE?
I can now only find https://www.augustineinstitute.org/program-and-resources/catholic-edition
and the link to the larger site is dead.
Planning on giving it to the CSV maybe?
The last Wayback Machine capture from January 3 has catholicbible.org still being used for the ESV-CE. If they truly let it expire, then this might tell us more about AI’s long-term plans re: ESV-CE vs CSV than anything else. While it could be as simple as streamlining domains, a domain as valuable as “catholicbible.org” doesn’t seem like one you’d abandon forever; rather, it’s one you’d give all your attention to. That said, checking it on isitdownrightnow.com gives you the following statement: “Catholicbible.org is PARKED: The website is either expired or listed for sale…” To put it in simple terms, a “parked” domain means it’s owned but no longer connected to the internet.
I contacted the Augustine Institute a few days ago and still haven’t heard back why the site was down. If I get a response, I’ll be sure to post it.
Hi Gil – this was just brought to our attention. We’re investigating now.
Maybe they’ll launch a new site by Jan 19, in time for the “first look” for donors that Tim in Miami mentioned.
Catholicbible.org was blank yesterday, but now the site says that it “has expired and is parked free, courtesy of GoDaddy.com.” I looked up the whois information on the domain name, and GoDaddy’s policy for expired domains. It looks like the domain was due for renewal on 2022-12-29, but the Augustine Institute didn’t renew it. For 12 days after expiration, GoDaddy attempts to auto-renew (https://www.godaddy.com/help/what-happens-when-my-domain-expires-609). The whois information says that the registration was “updated” on 2023-01-10, which was 12 days after expiration. Expired domains go on hold 19 days after expiration, which is today (2023-01-17), and the site was updated to show that it’s parked just today. If AI doesn’t renew, it looks like the domain will go up for auction on 2023-01-24.
…And the site’s back online, still advertising the ESV. I guess they paid their bill.
Yes, it seems it was mistakenly not renewed. So perhaps talk of the death of the ESVCE was premature. 🙂
Being honest, reading this comment thread and finding about the CSV is a bit disheartening. I get Crossway being Calvinist and anti-Catholic, a major roadblock to the ESVCE being the kind of bible that it was always meant to be, but putting out what has rightly been pointed out as being on par with the CSB or even the Bibliotheca Bibles (both respectable for what they are but ultimately borne more out of publishers needing their own revision to publish than an actual gap in the market) hints that AI had that design for the ESVCE all along (at least in America). Believe me, the ESV is probably the best all around PROTESTANT translation on the market (balance of formal and modern language, plenty of editions and resources for it) and from what I’ve seen, Crossway is in cahoots with the ACNA (they publish their catechism), which have at least SOME Anglo-Catholic members who are Deuterocanon friendly (the same crowd that are probably responsible for the Diadem having an apocrypha version, being a major step up from the shody Anglican House Press ESVA). Maybe the leap from high church Protestant to out and out Catholic is larger than I’m giving credit to, but AI jumping ship so early just leaves a bad taste in the Bible buyer’s mouth.
I do have an ESVCE that I’ve been using and probably will be using as my primary bible with the RSV2CE and others supplementing it, but the next Catholic Bible I think anyone can really get excited for is the NAB2025, since it won’t just be another Bible but THE American Catholic Bible that’s also being heralded by the new Liturgy of Hours.
TL;DR the CSV is like replacing your Nokia flip phone with the newer Nokia when something as game changing as the iPhone is on the horizon. Maybe not THAT drastic, but certainly close if the 2025 Bible can finally get the stink it’s translation name has garnered to finally lift. In the end, the old adage “the best Bible translation is the one you read” rings more and more true.
I’m kinda with you Adam. I’ve been using the ESVCE for awhile, I even got an edition from ATC in india. I’ve appreciated it’s care in preserving a lot of classic Tyndale language while also utilizing the latest biblical scholarship. But I gotta say, this dust up with AI really does color my experience with the translation, perhaps that’s not fair, but I can’t help but feel like the people responsible for this translation seem to have some real hang ups about Catholics given how hardline they seem to have been. That seems even more galling to me now that I learn from you that they apparently publish ANCA’s catechism!
It’s weird for me to say, but I’ve actually started turning more towards the NRSV:CE instead. Ironically, I feel like the ESV is what helped me make that leap. For years I’ve felt pretty allergic to gender inclusive language, my primary translation at one time was the RSV2CE, which famously seemed even more strict in it’s NON-use of inclusive language than the original RSV. But it always bugged me that the RSV2CE was still pretty dated in its use of the latest scholarship. I actually had to take a scripture class for a Master’s Degree I attained in catechesis at a fairly “conservative” school. (though I don’t like to import political language into theology, but it’s convenient short hand here.) Our professor, knowing that most of us were using the RSV2CE was constantly having to “update” the renderings that the RSV2CE was giving us to bring out different nuances in the text. Nothing earth shattering mind you, I think those who argue that the scholarship that’s come out since the RSV:CE doesn’t have a dramatic impact on english translations per se have a point, but it still annoyed me. So when the ESV came out I was extremely excited that this one aspect of the RSV2CE that I felt was a disadvantage, namely its lack of access to recent scholarship, was now no longer an issue.
But what surprised me about the ESV was how it seemed, from my perspective as a former devote of the RSV2CE, to incorporate A LOT more inclusive language. It worried me at first, but the more I looked into it, the more I learned that the ESV’s translators limited use of inclusive language was defensible, perhaps even laudable, in most instances. So reading the ESV I got more and more used to seeing the occasional use of the word “human,” where I was used to seeing “man” and the use of “child,” where I had previously seen “son.” It really desensitized me to seeing it.
Then I started noticing in reviews from R. Grant Jones on YouTube, who I know many are familiar with here, that though he generally prefers more literal translations and seems to have a major problem with inclusive language, he consistently dings the ESV for its more “pedestrian” language and also seems, despite his reservations about inclusive language and decreased literalness, to have a real appreciation for the English style of the NRSV especially when compared to the ESV.
Given that quasi-endorsement, I decided to pick up a copy of Bishop Barron’s bible that had been gathering dust on my bookshelf and decided to take another look. I have to say, I think Jones was spot on, the NRSV, despite not seeming to be dramatically different from the ESV, still seems to flow so much more smoothly and to utilize much more elevated language in some sections at least. I was so impressed that I decided to pick up one of those Illustrated Catholic Bibles featuring the NRSV from Catholic Bible Press that I’d had my eye on for awhile. I really like the presentation of that bible, but initially hesitated because of it’s use of the NRSV, but now that I feel less hung up on inclusive language, its really been a game changer, the NRSV’s superior english style wrapped up in such an impressive single column package! I had to make it my new daily reader.
It’s also telling to me that Bishop Barron could get license the NRSV for such an overtly Catholic project, whereas AI seem to have been rebuffed. I mean, Word on Fire is an overtly evangelistic organization, he’s trying to make more Catholics! The National Council of Churches should have had no doubt as to what he’d be up to when he requested the license, and yet he seems to have gotten it with minimal fuss. It probably doesn’t hurt that Catholics were actually involved with the translation process at the ground level, which is not something that can be said of any of the other Tyndale branch translations so far.
So I suspect that the NCC and I may not share much theologically, but I do know that they don’t have any particular animus towards Catholics, and they have confidence to let their translation speak for itself, no matter what study helps might be tacked onto it, I wish I could say the same for Crossway.
Also, super excited for NABRE 2025 (or whatever the finally end up calling it) and hopefully regular use of the NRSV until then will make the inclusive language thing a non-issue for me so that I can really appreciate whatever they come up with.
Similar boat as you, but earlier. Also from RGJ, funny enough. The combination of his ESV vs RSV (with me subbing in the RSV-2CE) and ESV vs NRSV videos, plus just individual RSV, ESV, and NRSV videos, really did give me the impression that the ESV is, indeed, a tad “pedestrian” and even “flat” in some places versus the NRSV; additionally, the sheer amount of additional translation notes, and the fact that the NRSV makes much greater use of the LXX/DSS than the ESV, was really eye-opening years back. I get that we can all have our hangups about the NRSV botching a verse here or there, making it too “secular” or “liberal” if one dares import the political talk into this; however, every time I think that, I remember that there’s nothing tying me to one translation. Even in everyday speech, I find myself quoting verses by mentally combining a bunch of translations (off the top of my head, I know I tend to combine the RSV, Douay, Knox, and even NABRE renderings, just because I’ve absorbed all four), just so long as the result still matches the underlying Greek. As with many, I typically devotionally read from the RSV-2CE and individually quote from it when I can; however, before I do so, I confess that I always compare it with the NRSV-CE (and the NRSVue now). To me, the NRSV is the default “consensus modern scholarship” stand-in when comparing how old translations (even back to the 1500s!) hold up; that doesn’t mean I’ll actually quote it itself regularly, but that does mean it’s more useful to me than the ESV, although in certain places the ESV does have a place (typically when quoting something like Mark 2:26, as it’s the only modern translation with a “Catholic Edition” that uses “in the time/days of”).
And indeed, Word on Fire’s series is what got the NRSV in my door. I’m still not ready to formally let the NRSVue in too, because I worry it’s gone backward just as much as it’s gone forward; however, if an NRSVue-CE comes to me, I assume it’ll be by way of WOF as well.