Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

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RSV-Catholic Edition
The 1994 Ignatius re-issue of the RSV Catholic Bible
Full name Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition
Abbreviation RSV-CE
OT published 1966
NT published 1965
Derived from Revised Standard Version
Textual basis Same as the Protestant RSV
Translation type Literal
Version revision 2006
Copyright Copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1957, 1965, 1966, 2006 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (also known as the RSV-CE) is an English-language adaptation of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible for use by Catholics. It is widely used by conservative Catholic scholars and theologians, and is accepted as one of the most accurate and literary Bible translations suitable for Catholic use.

The RSV-CE, sometimes called the Ignatius Bible (after its primary publisher), was published in the following stages:


The Revised Standard Version stands within the tradition of the Authorized King James Version, which was updated in 1885 in the UK as the Revised Version, with an American edition known as the American Standard Version published in 1901. The latter version was revised in 1952 by a Standard Bible Committee authorized by the National Council of Churches; this was known as the Revised Standard Version. A revision of the Apocrypha was authorized in December of that year, and would be completed in 1957.

In 1954, after a year of negotiations, the Standard Bible Committee granted the Catholic Biblical Association of Great Britain permission to print a Catholic RSV Bible. Originally, the RSV-CE New Testament was to have been issued as early as 1956, but Cardinal Griffin, who had approved the plan, died before he could give it an imprimatur. A delay of nearly a decade ensued before Archbishop Gray of St. Andrews and Edinburgh gave the RSV-CE New Testament the necessary imprimatur. And so at last, in 1965, the RSV-CE New Testament was published.[1] In the following year, 1966, the full RSV-CE Bible was published, with the deuterocanonical works incorporated into the Old Testament text. The Prayer of Manasseh, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees and Psalm 151 were omitted from the RSV-CE, as they are not part of Catholic canon.

Although a New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition was published in 1989, the mechanical use of inclusive language did not find favour amongst many scholars, and the use of such language for Bible translations was specifically rejected by the Catholic hierarchy. A Second Edition of the RSV-CE was negotiated with the National Council of Churches, and issued by Ignatius Press in 2006.

Significant differences from the RSV[edit]

The RSV-CE was based on the 1962 printing of the Protestant RSV (see Revised Standard Version#Later editions). The editors of the Catholic Edition made no changes to the Old Testament text; all they did was include the seven Deuterocanonical works in their traditional Catholic order. At the end of each testament, an appendix of explanatory and interpretive notes was added. In the Psalms, they preserved the numbering of the Protestant edition (which reflects the Hebrew system), but they placed in brackets the Catholic system of numbering, which is based upon the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate. However, some minor changes were made to the New Testament in places that had variant readings more in line with Catholic understanding and tradition. Some of the more important changes were the use of the phrase "full of grace" in the angel's greeting to Mary in Luke 1:28, the restoration of the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) and the inclusion of the longer ending to the Gospel according to Mark (16.9-20). Other verses or phrases with questionable authenticity that had been footnoted in the Protestant edition were restored in the Catholic Edition (Luke 22.19-20; 24. 5, 12, 36, 40, 51-52) In other places, some word changes were made, and some texts were exchanged with footnotes. Furthermore, the footnotes regarding the value of New Testament coins were rewritten in terms of how long it took the average worker to earn the money (the denarius was no longer defined as twenty cents but as a day's wage). The book of Revelation, called "The Revelation To John", had added as a subtitle ("The Apocalypse") The differences between the 1962 Protestant RSV New Testament and the Catholic Edition New Testament were listed in an appendix to the RSV-CE. This appendix, however, is partially outdated, as some of the changes were introduced into the Protestant Second Edition of the RSV New Testament in 1971 in preparation for the issuance of the RSV Common Bible.

The RSV-CE today[edit]

When the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) was released in 1989, the original RSV-CE went out of print. However, conservative Catholics reacted negatively to the NRSV's wide use of gender-inclusive language. This use of inclusive language was a major reason the Holy See rejected the NRSV for use in the liturgy and the English translation of the Catechism.

The original RSV-CE was revived in 1994 when Ignatius Press re-published it as the Ignatius Bible. Today, the 1966 edition of the RSV-CE is still published by Ignatius, Scepter Publishers, Oxford University Press, Saint Benedict Press and in India[2] by Asian Trading Corporation. It is a common misunderstanding that "-CE" versions were the Bible translations used in the English edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The versions used in the first edition of the Catholic Catechism were the "non-CE" versions of the NRSV and the RSV.[citation needed] The NRSV-CE (1989) is an adaptation for Catholic use of the NRSV. Although the NRSV was used in the American edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the NRSV (non-CE) was rejected for liturgical use by the Holy See owing to inclusive language in some unacceptable places. With this exception, like the predecessor RSV, it is a good formal equivalent translation (i.e. literal, but literary).

Second Edition[edit]

The new Ignatius Bible (RSV), 2nd Edition. The cover illustration is called The Four Evangelists by Christopher J. Pelicano.

In Early 2006, Ignatius Press released the RSV-CE 2nd Edition (though it is listed on the copyright page as being the Ignatius Edition). This edition removed archaic pronouns (thee, thou) and the accompanying verb forms (didst, speaketh), and revised passages used in the lectionary according to the Vatican document Liturgiam authenticam, and exchanged some texts with footnotes in passages that were favored by traditional or familiar Catholic renderings. The Isaiah 7:14 ("almah") controversy in the Protestant RSV was resolved by replacing "young woman" with "virgin", as Catholics (as well as Protestants) point to this verse as foretelling the role of The Virgin Mary in the birth of Christ. Psalm 139[138].14 – which for grammatical reasons is not easy to translate – was also re-translated to show more clearly its support of the Catholic teaching opposing abortion. The verse read (and still reads in the 1977 Protestant edition):

"I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well..."

It now reads:

"I praise you, for I am wondrously made. Wonderful are your works! You know me right well..."

Other changes include substituting "mercy" for "steadfast love" (translated from the Hebrew hesed) throughout the Psalms.[3]

The new edition also features new typesetting, section headings, and maps. As was the case with the original RSV, gender-neutral language is not used.

This edition has had various claims about it regarding the extent of its status of "conformity" to, or to being "revised" based on, the translation principles called for by Liturgiam authenticam. Some reviewers of this edition[who?] have noted that while a number of Liturgiam authenticam-corresponding revisions were made to the text, the changes made were made only to those portions of the text used in lectionary readings. Ignatius Press has stated that the changes were suggested only by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and were not an in-house edit. The title page of the edition actually states "This edition was revised according to Liturgiam authenticam, 2002" which can be accepted as a more proper and accurate description, compared to the Ignatius Press website's usage of the stronger word "conformity".

As with the Protestant and First Catholic Editions of the RSV, the copyright remains in the hands of the NCC's Division of Christian Education.

Liturgical use and endorsements[edit]

Currently, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has decreed that "the revised Lectionary, based on the New American Bible is the only English-language Lectionary that may be used at Mass in the dioceses of the United States, except for the current Lectionary for Masses with Children which remains in use.[4]

However, Ignatius Press has published a Lectionary based on the RSV-Second Catholic Edition, approved for use by the Episcopal Conference of the Antilles and by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for use in the personal ordinariates created for former Anglicans under the provision of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. Currently, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom has adopted the Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition as "the sole lectionary authorized for use" in its liturgies.[2] It is not, at present, approved for liturgical use in the United States outside the Anglican Use parishes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, although it is emerging as a popular study and devotional Bible for Catholic scholars and laity with an appreciation for the formal equivalence approach to the translation.

Many well-known Catholic personalities, including Scott Hahn (see also Ignatius Catholic Study Bible series), Curtis Mitch, Steve Ray, Jimmy Akin, and others use it as well.[5] The English translations of the works of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) also use the RSV-CE or its Second Edition.

However, the New American Bible Revised Edition remains the official English-language Catholic translation for the United States, as is reflected by its use on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.[6] Australia and Europe use the first edition Jerusalem Bible.[7]


  1. ^ Reginald C. Fuller, gen. ed. A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. London: Nelson, Ltd.; 1969
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "[1]
  5. ^ See any book by Hahn (ICSB, The Lamb's Supper, Reasons to Believe), Mitch (ICSB, CCSS [NAB], A Study Guide for Jesus of Nazareth), Jimmy Akin (Fathers Know Best, Salvation Controversy), title pages: "All quotations of Scripture in this book are taken from the Revised Standard Version - [Second] Catholic Edition unless otherwise noted".
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Bishops Conference of England and Wales: Liturgy Office: England and Wales: Sacred Scripture: Versions approved for use in the Liturgy

External links[edit]