Catholic translations are better than most when it comes to reading scripture aloud, an essential quality where lectionary texts form an important focus in the church service. And of course this is the way they were originally intended to be heard, given widespread illiteracy in the ancient world. Here the NCB makes a strong showing, though perhaps not with the power of either the Jerusalem Bible or New Jerusalem Bible. The NCB, as all Catholic bibles do, includes the deuterocanonical books, which are also becoming increasingly common in non-Catholic bibles, and were clearly influential in the formative years of the church. More importantly, though it carries its own agendas, it is sound in its scholarship, and includes introductions to each of the books that are in tune with the current consensus about their authorship and origins, a task on which evangelical versions often prevaricate, or even mislead.
One significant change in this major revision of Hurault's work is the substitution of "the LORD" for Yahweh. This seems a backward step given the associations Lord has with male gender and hierarchic thinking. The reason lies in a 2008 Vatican directive that declared Yahweh unacceptable in Catholic prayer and music, citing sensitivity to Jewish scruples over the name of God. Another emphasis in this translation, particularly in the footnotes, is an open approach to readers whose background in is other world religions, clearly a significant matter on the Indian sub-continent. The notes to Matthew 6, for example, mention Hindu and Muslim fasting practices, Gandhi and parallels in the Bhagavadgita.
|Artwork by Christopher Coelho|
Here's Psalm 1 in the NCB.
The Two Ways
How blessed is the oneOverall the NCB makes a valuable addition to the range of English translations available with its developing world perspective and a concern to communicate respectfully with non-Christians. Non-Catholic Christians may also find it intriguing. It would be a shame though to see Hurault's CCB disappear.
who does not follow the counsel of the wicked,
nor takes the way that sinners take,
nor sits where the scoffers sit;
instead, he finds delight in the law of the LORD
and meditates day and night on his law.
He is like a tree planted beside a brook
yielding its fruit in due season,
and its leaves never withering.
In all he does, he succeeds.
But it is different with the wicked, quite different,
they are like chaff driven away by the wind.
The wicked will not stand their ground when judgement comes,
nor will sinners be admitted into the assembly of the just.
Fot the LORD guards the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.