28 thoughts on “The Sacraments of Initiation Bible – NRSVCE”

    1. The NRSV-ue has not been granted an imprimatur so until it does all future publications of the NRSV for Catholics will be the 1989 text.

        1. I can’t tell you, it says it is for children, but there is no way the NRSV is appropriate for children, the language is pretty advanced for someone under about 16.

        2. No, it’s not the -UE.

          Catholic Bible Press is the Catholic imprint of Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson. They only publish Bibles using three translations: the Anglicized NRSV-CE (1995), the NABRE (2011), and the Biblia de America.

          I think it’s a deliberate strategy: a North American publisher focused on translations familiar from mass in Canada and the US. (At least in English. Anyone know if Biblia de America is the basis of USCCB lectionary in Spanish too?) Their choice of the Anglicized NRSV-CE makes sense if it’s meant to match the “mass translation” for Canadian readers. Given they ONLY print the NRSV-CE in its Anglicized form, I think it’s clearly a play for the Canadian market.

          I have their illustrated Catholic Bible, and it’s amazing. My only complaint is the lack of cross references, but I was buying the NRSV for a contemplative reading Bible so I’m fine with that.

          Only the NCC’s Friendship Press has the rights to publish the -UE. Given the statements they’ve made about retiring the original NRSV upon its publication, and the recalcitrance of the USCCB, I don’t ever expect to see a Catholic UE (NRSV-CE?). As a dyed in the wool NRSV reader, aside from a certain curiosity, I don’t need one.

          I’ve come to see the NRSV as a single translation in two configurations for two audiences: the baseline -UE for Protestant, ecumenical, and academic readers, and the -CE variant for Catholics. Even if the base text got “updated,” the -CE doesn’t stop being the configuration that addresses Catholic textual traditions.

          It’s no different than when they revised the RSV NT back in 1971. There was never a 1971 RSV-CE. The revised text just became the baseline RSV, while the Catholic variant remained the 1966 -CE. Thinking of the revised RSV or updated NRSV as the baseline translation for each, it makes the -CE stand out all the more as distinct variants for the concerns of Catholics.

          Which, again, is partly why the ESV now falls so short for me. I only see it as a long-delayed -CE of the 1971 RSV, an outdated translation built on a less complete textual basis than either the NRSV-CE or the NABRE.

          1. Hello,

            Isn’t the RSV2CE based on the 1971 RSV but with even further modifications?

            When compared to the RSV2CE, I don’t feel compelled to transition over much. Plus, some of the biases urk me (overseer, a pillar, etc.)

            I would really like the NRSVue in a Catholic edition and its upsetting to hear that you don’t see a”NRSVue-CE” on the horizon. The mentioned CBP Illustrated would be perfect for me…if only it was in the updated text.

            To Bibilical Catholic, I’ve lurked on this and Timothy’s old blog for quite a bit and enjoy your takes on things, so I’m curious – what is your preferred translation? I know it’s a bit of a loaded question.

  1. I have the genuine leather thinline NRSV-CE from CBP. It’s magnificent in every way, though I wish it had cross-references. NRSV is kind of hit or miss for me, but CBP is doing some great work with their Bibles!

  2. By far my ladies and gents this might be the new standard for us Catholics. Besides the 1991 Oxford Ecumenical Study Bible which uses the NRSV (with Apocryphal books) this translation far out performs the pedestrian RSV-esv edition..

    We got to unite with our fellow Russian Orthodox brethren and use ecumenical bibles and the NRSV is the golden standard; not sure what the RACB that’s coming soon will be like. I see Bishop Barron approves of the NRSV so we should use it especially for ecumenical purposes

    1. I don’t know. These days I find myself doing most of my Bible reading from the Anglican Office Book (I tend to hop back and forth between that and the Divine Worship: Daily Office Commonwealth Edition) and that’s bound together with the KJV with Apocrypha. But I’d say, of the modern bible translations, the NRSV:CE is probably the first one I’d pick up if I was reading for pleasure or serious study.

      From what I understand, mainly from pursing online, most Orthodox seem to have a pretty low view of the NRSV, to say nothing of certain circles within the Catholic Church. Evangelical Protestants, in my experience, have and almost allergic reaction to the NRSV in all its forms.

      If you really want a contender for an Ecumenical Bible that really seems to have some buy in from at least some parts of a broad swath of the Christian world (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) you’ve really got to look at the ESV. I know it has its issues, and I certainly enjoy reading the NRSV much more. But I just don’t see any other translation out there today that has the same broad appeal among Christian groups.

      1. For many Catholics I know, the NRSV generally gets treated as either one of the defaults or as a curiosity. For many Evangelical Protestants and such, the reaction often feels like a KJVO’s reaction to the NIV. And for Orthodox, the reaction seems to be either negative or nonexistent; in fact, I often hear grumblings about some Orthodox wishing to very belatedly create an RSV-Orthodox Edition due to dissatisfaction with the NKJV. With the English Standard Version and the developing Catholic Standard Version, maybe the Orthodox should pool money together and buy the same deal that Crossway got from the NCC to create the ESV from the RSV without having to pay recurring fees, and with it create the Orthodox Standard Version!

  3. The Orthodox eventually decided the NRSV was not doctrinally consistent with liturgical use and now turn to the RSV for seminary use (since it’s keyed to most Orthodox reference material) and a modified NKJV for devotional use (as in the Orthodox Study Bible).

    And while the NRSV gets dissed by “mainline Protestants,” I find that’s mostly just the vocal ones. When I go visit United Methodist or Episcopal churches to keep connected to my roots, the NRSV tends to be what I hear there (with occasional use of the CEB in UMC services).

    If the Anglican Office Book appeals to you, I highly recommend the Divine Worship Daily Office from one of the Ordinariates. As a Catholic, it’s the closest thing I can get to praying with my old Book of Common Prayer: Coverdale Psalter, Cranmer prayers, and even the Anglican Litany (borrowing from Luther and the Sarum Rite). It’s an especially nice single-volume alternative to the Liturgy of the Hours. The US version requires a Bible to supply the daily scripture lessons, so I read from my NRSV (to stay connected to my Methodist and Anglican roots). But the UK edition includes ALL the daily lectionary readings in the same volume as the main Breviary, using the RSV-2CE. Check it out.

    1. The mainline i.e. liberal Protestant denominations love the NRSV, which is the most widely used Bible in liberal Protestant churches and academia. If you take any college course on the Bible at any university or seminary other than the most conservative, explicitly Christian ones, the Bible used in the class will be the NRSV.

      The people who don’t like the NRSV are the evangelicals, although many of the more liberal evangelicals love it as much as the mainliners. (I don’t know why people think “evangelical = conservative with orthodox theology” that has never been true, there have always been liberal evangelicals and conservative evangelicals.)

      I concur with the opinion that the only option right now for a truly ecumenical Bible is the ESV. Conservative Protestants like the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, The Presbyterian Church in America, and the Anglican Church in North America use it in their liturgy, Catholics in other countries use it in the liturgy, and I’ve seen no evidence that Orthodox Churches have a problem with it, beyond the simple complaint that it doesn’t include their entire canon. If there is one Bible that has the potential to be truly ecumenical it is the ESV.

      1. I wonder, if there were an NIV with Apocrypha (that had been approved by Catholic and Orthodox officials), could that ascend to being _the_ ecumenical translation? Just because it’s already the best selling English translation, it has a ton of resources, and it’s pretty highly readable. I’m not arguing for it, I’m just pointing out it could be a likely contender.

        Of course though it’s also been accused of some bias, and it isn’t suited to overtake the NRSV in academia. From what I understand there’s never been any real endorsement of it from the Catholic Church aside from the Psalms apparently being approved, and published by CBPC.

        All that said, I myself tend to swing between NRSV and NABRE phases, and I think those are much more suitable for ecumenical use because they came out of an ecumenical background.

        1. The NIV is extremely biased. For example, it consistently uses the word “tradition” whenever it is being condemned, but “teaching” whenever it is used in a positive sense. Another example is the word usually translated “works”, it is translated “works” whenever it is used in a negative sense, but given the circumlocution “things you do” whenever it is used in a positive sense, such as in James,

          In general, whenever the complexity of the Bible conflicts with the evangelical view, the wording of the Bible is “adjusted” to make it fit with their theology.

          There is an apologetic intent in a lot of passages, for example, Jesus says that the mustard seed is “the smallest of your seeds”, an apparent attempt to refute the common criticism that there are seeds smaller than the mustard seed.

          1. Actually, those “edited” NIV passages were translated that way in the Confraternity Version, so I don’t think it is necessarily a translation bias.

  4. That’s a keen point my friend. It does seem like the NRSV is becoming supplanted by its recent updated edition, which from what I researched cuts out some key words regarding sexual immorality. The ‘ESV’ is too marketized in my view of it. These evangelicals carry them into coffee shops and howl at my girlfriend who has a disability which causes her to limp insisting on praying for her legs (she doesn’t have a hurt leg)… Anyway, the RSV probbaly is better vetted for Catholics of all strains and it’s unique in that it is adapted to be more liturgical than the NRSVCE. So I was wrong, it isn’t the gold standard.
    After much emails; Catholic experts like Harold Attrige and John J Collins claim the NABRE is by far the best, and it’s a long way off until the new revision will be printed so I think the NABRE is likely the best choice overall, unless you’re in Ireland then you have the RNJB.

    1. “These evangelicals carry them into coffee shops and howl at my girlfriend who has a disability which causes her to limp insisting on praying for her legs (she doesn’t have a hurt leg)…”

      Ummm..what? And what does this have to do with the ESV, which is a fine, if flawed, translation?

  5. That was a typo.
    The ESV wielding Protestants that I mention tend to be the ones who act cult-like my friend. Best to avoid those types.

    According to some bloggers I’ve encountered; namely this one young man who has done a lot of reading up on things, has told me that the RSV2CE is superior since it is an ecumenical translation unlike the Protestant ESV, he even went on to say the copyright for it is wholly owned by Crossway which is an exclusively Evangelical organization, which goes against a lot of the norms for liturgical translations; especially since Catholics must report to Crossway for any request to adapt a lectionary. The English have truly made a misstep in picking that over the beloved successor to their highly esteemed Jerusalem Bible lectionary. Besides, the RNJB is far more Catholic & ecumenical than the ESV, and it’s more academic as well. So if you’ve lost any favor with the NRSV then I wouldn’t recommend anything else but that new RNJB which beats all but possibly the upcoming NAB due to be printed once the Bishops approve the revision.

    1. As an English Catholic I’m struggling with the notion that the JB Lectionary is “highly esteemed”. Tired and pedestrian might be a better description.

  6. “… it’s a long way off until the new revision will be printed…”

    My understanding is that NABRE revision, which is actually an entirely new NT translation not just a revision, is due in print sometime in 2025 or 2026. Do you know something I don’t? Has it been pushed beyond the 2026 horizon?

    We are now in 2024, which means this project should see fruition in the next couple years. The LOTH 2nd Edition translations are all complete, the hold up is just deciding what additions they want to make to it and getting Vatican approval.

    I don’t know where the NABRE “revision”, which is not a revision but new translation, is at. The last information I could find on it was from Mary Sperry talking to the Fans of NABRE community in Facebook back in August 2022. I cannot find any updates on it.

    I do know LOTH 2nd Edition translations are complete and ready to go. For the new LOTH to take more than a couple years to bring out would be crazy. The thing is done. Any further additions and emendations to it are minor proposals.

    1. I don’t know why so many people are automatically assuming the new NAB New Testament is going to be late. The NAB is a Bible that has a nearly 90-year history of meeting every single deadline, including the 2011 deadline that was set for the OT. The New Testament is supposed to be voted on by the full bishop’s conference in the 4th quarter of this year. If there was any possibility that it wouldn’t be ready by then we would have known months ago. Assuming it is approved, which it absolutely SHOULD be because if there were problems that would lead to its rejection, we would already know it. The deadline is 2025, probably by Ash Wednesday, if not by then, then by later than the first week of Advent. Unless and until we are told otherwise, and we will know about a delay LONG in advance, then we have to assume the deadline will be met.

  7. A little bird told me the NABRE 2025 revision is finished but is being reviewed by the episcopal authorities, but it will be a while until the ink hits the page. I thought I heard someone mention that the NABRE 2025 will be given an entirely new name; what might that be? Revised American Bible?

    1. The current schedule is for it to be voted on by the entire bishop’s conference sometime in the 4th quarter of this year. If it already complete and under review, that means it is right on schedule to be printed sometime in 2025.

  8. @E. Gilderon,

    Based upon what Mary Sperry has said, as of August 2022 (so this is outdated info), not only is the New Testament translation an entirely new translation (so not just a revision based off the 1986 NT), the 2011 OT (which combined with the 1986 NT is the NABRE we have) is also being further revised. The reason for all of this is that these translations are not just, or even primarily, intended for personal use. They are intended to be proclaimed aloud. Indeed, in pre-Modern times, when literacy was abysmally low or near total non-existence, this is how the Bible would have been received, by being heard. Most Christians in history received the Bible the way we have audiobooks.

    So these translation committees and the bodies with oversight of these committees are reading the entire Bible (OT + NT) aloud to each other, line by line. If there is difficulty reading the text as it sits, then it gets revised for smoother proclamation.

    This new NT translation with (further) revised OT has been called “the Definitive Liturgical Bible for the American Church”. Obviously, it will not go by that name when it is printed. It also won’t be called NAB or NABRE.

    Even as far back as 2016, Mary Sperry told a (now defunct) Catholic Bible blog that this Bible will be given a new name. That name was undecided back then and, as of August 2022, was still undecided.

    This is the Bible that is suppose to be read aloud and heard, which is how nearly every Christian in the early Church would have known the Bible. Keeping in mind that Christianity was popular with the lower rungs of society (what we call the lumpenproletariat), where literally rates were even lower than any other sector if society.

    1. If they are revising the OT too I hope they finally fix Isaiah 9:6, I know that “God-hero” is accurate, and that other translations that go for extreme accuracy use similar terms, especially those intended for a Jewish audience like the NJPS and the Robert Alter translations. But read aloud, it sounds awful, there has got to be a better way to word it.

      1. I much prefer “Mighty God”, and I don’t see how “God-hero” can be accurate. It’s arguable whether the latter is even English. I looked up the word being translated “mighty”/”hero” — gibbor/גִּבּוֹר — and it’s an adjective meaning “mighty” or “strong”. So converting an adjective into a noun just seems a way to camouflage the fact that the Hebrew “גִּבּוֹר” is really a modifier against the word for “God”. I can see this camouflage being desirable for a Jewish audience, since this is one of those awkward instances where — if this is not describing a Divine Messiah — it means it’s calling a human “God”. But for a Catholic audience, there’s no reason to avoid the divine.

        Also, as you noticed, it sounds awful. It’s not how an English speaker speaks. What’s “Wonder Counselor”? Wonder Woman’s tutor? “God-Hero” sounds like a bearded dude in a cape. It reads like the translator is a comic book fan.

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