Finished. Done. Retired.
Yes, the New American Bible that you are familiar with is going to be changing this year.
Back in 1994, when I was only half way through college, someone decided that the existing translation of the Old Testament of the New American Bible was in need of a refresher.
Why? What was wrong with it?
The US Bishops decided on the revision for three reasons:
- Get Closer to the original texts – Many new (very old) manuscripts have been discovered since 1970 that allow for a translation closer to the source.
- More accurate translation – In some places, the translation provided in the 1970 NAB may not be as clear as it might be.
- Changes reflect modern English usage – The most notable change in this regard is the consistent substitution of “burnt offering” for “holocaust,” a word now reserved for the sacrilegious attempt to destroy the Jewish people by the Third Reich.
You can visit the USCCB Facebook page for a long Q&A on the new translation.
Introducing the 4th Edition
The New American Bible, Revised Edition is the fourth edition of the NAB. This edition contains the current New Testament and there are currently no plans to put it through another revision. The final approval for the fourth edition was given in January of this year and will be released in multiple formats on Ash Wednesday.
So, how about a sneek peak
Here is a sample from Psalm 139 of the new edition:
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence, where can I flee?
If I ascend to the heavens, you are there;
if I lie down in Sheol, there you are.
If I take the wings of dawn
and dwell beyond the sea,
Even there your hand guides me,
your right hand holds me fast.
If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me,
and night shall be my light”—
Darkness is not dark for you,
and night shines as the day.
Darkness and light are but one.
Oh, great another liturgy change
Actually, no. The new missal that is going into effect this Advent will not need another alteration. This isn't Microsoft Windows. The liturgy doesn't get a service pack every three months. According to the US Bishops, the work of a new translation is a considerable effort on its own without the added work of adapting it for liturgical use.
The new edition will currently only be available for private use. Don't expect the readings at Mass to change anytime soon.
We currently have four editions of the New American Bible, Revised Edition available for pre-order. Read more about the new translation and choose your new edition.
So how am I supposed to tell the difference?
At Aquinas and More we don't want you to be confused about the different editions of the New American Bible. That's why all editions will have the official NAB logo in the description for the new fourth edition.