New American Bible

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New American Bible
NAB cover.png
Full nameThe New American Bible
Complete Bible
Derived fromConfraternity Bible
Textual basisNT: Novum Testamentum Graece 25th edition. OT: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls influence. Deuterocanonicals: Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls, and some Vulgate influence.
Translation typeFormal equivalence (from the Preface), moderate use of dynamic equivalence.
Reading levelHigh School
RevisionNew American Bible Revised Edition

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.

Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life.

The New American Bible (NAB) is an English translation of the Bible first published in 1970. The 1986 Revised NAB is the basis of the revised Lectionary, and it is the only translation approved for use at Mass in the Latin-rite Catholic dioceses of the United States and the Philippines,[1][2] and the 1970 first edition is also an approved Bible translation by the Episcopal Church in the United States.[3][4]

Stemming originally from the Confraternity Bible, a translation of the Vulgate by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, the project transitioned to translating the original biblical languages in response to Pope Pius XII's 1943 encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu. The translation was carried out in stages by members of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (CBA) "from the Original Languages with Critical Use of All the Ancient Sources" (as the title pages state). These efforts eventually became the New American Bible under the liturgical principles and reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).

First Edition – NAB[edit]

The text of the first edition of the New American Bible is composed of:

  • The New Testament directly translated from the Greek, appearing in portions from 1964 and completed in 1970.
  • The Old Testament (except Genesis): the Confraternity Bible text translated in stages between 1952 and 1969 from the original languages, with minor revisions to the text and notes in 1970.
  • Genesis newly translated from the Hebrew in 1970, replacing the 1948 translation.

The spelling of proper names found in this edition departs from the ones found in older Catholic Bible versions, such as the Douay, and instead adopts those commonly found in Protestant Bibles. The notes in many places present 20th century theories still current, for example the Q source and different sources for the Pentateuch. Catholic scholars translated this version with collaboration from members of other Christian denominations.

Second Edition: RNAB[edit]

Regarding the Revised New American Bible (RNAB) of 1986, a compromise was made: while traditional phraseology, absent from the edition of 1970, was restored to the New Testament, several non-traditional, gender-neutral words were incorporated. The New Testament was almost completely revised, and bore a much closer resemblance to the Confraternity version of 1941 as opposed to the much more periphrastic New Testament of the NAB of 1970. The Old Testament translation remained unchanged.

Third Edition: RNAB[edit]

In 1991 the Book of Psalms was amended to incorporate extensive gender-neutral language. Controversy ensued because of its use of vertical gender-neutral language, i.e. for God and Christ, and some use of horizontal gender-neutral language, i.e. "human beings" or "they" instead of "men" or "he." This amended Book of Psalms was rejected for liturgical use. The only difference between the 1986-90 RNAB and the 1991-2011 RNAB is the Book of Psalms. The remaining 72 books are identical.

Fourth Edition: NABRE[edit]

In 1994, work began on a revision of the Old Testament.[5] Since the 1991 revised Book of Psalms were rejected for liturgical use, a committee of the Holy See and the Bishops revised the text again for use in the Latin-Rite Catholic liturgy in 2000, and this revised text became that used in lectionaries of the Catholic Church in the United States. The Holy See accepted some use of gender-neutral language, such as where the speaker speaks of a person of unknown gender, rendering "person" in place of "man", but rejected any changes relating to God or Christ. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam on May 7, 2001 in Rome. In 2002, the Old Testament, excluding the Book of Psalms, was completed and sent to the United States Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee to determine if it was a suitable Catholic translation. In June 2003, another revision of the Book of Psalms was completed but was rejected by the Ad Hoc Committee.

In September 2008, the Ad Hoc Committee accepted the final book of the Old Testament, namely, Jeremiah. In November of that year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the complete Old Testament, including footnotes and introductions, but it would not permit it to be published with the Book of Psalms of 1991. It accepted the revised Grail Psalter[6] instead, which the Holy See approved and which replaced the revised NAB Psalter for lectionaries for Mass in the United States.[7][8][9] The Psalms were again revised in 2008 and sent to the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship but also rejected in favor of the revised Grail Psalter. A final revision of the NAB Psalter was undertaken using suggestions that the Ad Hoc Committee vetted and to more strictly conform to Liturgiam Authenticam.[5]

In January 2011, it was announced that the fourth edition of the NAB would be published on March 9 of that year.[10] This latest text, titled the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE), being the fourth edition of the NAB, includes the newly revised Old Testament and its Book of Psalms, and the revised New Testament of the second edition. While the NABRE is a revision of the NAB toward greater conformity to Liturgiam Authenticam, no plan has been announced to use the NABRE for the lectionary in the United States.

Future editions of the NAB[edit]

In 2012, the USCCB "announced a plan to revise the New Testament of the New American Bible Revised Edition so a single version can be used for individual prayer, catechesis and liturgy."[11] After they developed a plan and budget for the revision project, work began in 2013 with the creation of an editorial board made up of five people from the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA). The editorial board is made up of the following individuals:

The revision is now underway and, after the necessary approvals from the Bishops and the Vatican, is expected to be completed by 2025.[12]

Licensed publishers of the New American Bible[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Liturgy: Questions about the Scriptures used during Mass". USCCB.
  2. ^ "Liturgical Books In The English Speaking World". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  3. ^ "The Bible". Episcopal Church. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  4. ^ The Canons of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church: Canon 2: Of Translations of the Bible Archived 2015-07-24 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Chronology for the New Revision of the New American Bible Old Testament [1]
  6. ^ "Grail Psalter". Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  7. ^ "Recognitio Received From Rome, Revised Grail Psalter Approved". Archived from the original on 2010-04-23. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Tucker, Jeffrey A. (2008-12-20). "Grail Psalms: A Path Forward". New Liturgical Movement. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  9. ^ CNS STORY: Bishops choose Revised Grail Psalter for Lectionary use in US [2]
  10. ^ USCCB news release: "Revised Edition of New American Bible Approved for Publication, Will Be Available in Variety of Formats March 9", January 6, 2011 [3]
  11. ^ Bauman, Michelle. "New American Bible to be revised into single translation". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  12. ^ "NAB New Testament Revision Project". Catholic Biblical Association of America. Retrieved 21 January 2015.


External links[edit]