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New American Bible

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New American Bible

New American Bible
Full name New American Bible
Abbreviation NAB
Complete Bible
Derived from Confraternity Bible
Textual basis NT: 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 type Formal equivalence (from the Preface), moderate use of dynamic equivalence.
Reading level High School

The New American Bible (NAB) is a Bible translation first published in 1970. It had its beginnings in the Confraternity Bible, which began to be translated from the original languages in 1948 following Pope Pius XII's encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu.

It was specifically translated into English by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine under the liturgical principles and reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).

Excerpts taken from a modified version based on the NAB[1][2] are used in the only Lectionary for Mass approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for use in the United States.[3] Specifically, a modified form of 1970 Old Testament and 1986 New Testament. Until 2008, a 1991 Psalter heavily modified by the Vatican to lessen the extensive use of gender-neutral language was approved. Since 2008, the revised Grail Psalter is used. The same lectionary is approved for use in the Philippines.[4]

First Edition – NAB

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

  • The New Testament directly translated from 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 or different sources for the Pentateuch. Catholic scholars translated this version with collaboration from members of other Christian denominations.

Second Edition – RNAB

In the 1986 second version a tradeoff was made: while traditional phraseology — absent from the 1970 edition — was restored to the New Testament, several non-traditional gender-neutral terms were incorporated. The New Testament was almost completely revised, and bears a much closer resemblance to the 1941 Confraternity version, as opposed to the much more periphrastic 1970 NAB NT.

Third Edition – RNAB

In 1991 the Book of Psalms was completely rewritten to introduce the use of extensive gender-neutral language. Controversy ensued because of its use of vertical gender-neutral language (God and Christ) and some uses of horizontal gender-neutral language ("human beings" or "they" instead of "men" or "he"). These Psalms were rejected for liturgical use. The only difference between the 1986–1990 RNAB and the 1991–2011 RNAB is the book of Psalms, all 72 other books are identical.

Fourth Edition – NABRE

In 1994, work began on a revision of the Old Testament.[5] However, since the 1991 Psalms were rejected for liturgical use, the text was modified by a committee of the Holy See and the Bishops for use in the Latin-Rite Catholic liturgy in 2000. This is the current text of the Lectionaries of the Catholic Church in the United States. The Holy See accepted some use of gender-neutral language, such as where the speaker is speaking of one of unknown gender (rendering "person" in place of "man"), but rejected any changes relating to God or Christ. On November 2008, the revised Grail Psalter[6] was accepted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is currently awaiting Vatican approval.[7] This will replace the current modified NAB Psalter for Lectionary use in the United States.[8]

In 2002, the Old Testament (excluding the Psalms) was completed and sent to the Ad Hoc Committee to see if it was a suitable Catholic translation.

In June 2003, a re-revision of the Psalms was completed following publication of the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam, issued May 7, 2001, by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome. However, the US bishops' Ad Hoc Committee rejected it. It was again revised in 2008 and sent to the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship but rejected in favor of the revised Grail Psalter.

In September 2008, the last book (Jeremiah) of the Old Testament was accepted by the Ad Hoc Committee. In November of that year, the complete Old Testament (including footnotes and introductions) was approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, they would not allow it to be published with the 1991 Psalms. A final revision of the NAB Psalter was undertaken using suggestions vetted by the Ad Hoc Committee and stricter conformity to the 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.[9] This latest text, known as the "New American Bible, revised edition" or NABRE, the fourth edition of the NAB includes the newly revised Old Testament and re-revised Psalms, and the revised New Testament from the second edition. While the NABRE represents a revision of the NAB towards conformity to Liturgiam Authenticam, there have not been any announced plans to use the NABRE for the lectionary in the United States.

See also

English language Bibles approved for Catholics


  1. ^ Colin B. Donovan, STL. "Bible Versions and Commentaries". EWTN. 
  2. ^ "Lectionary: New Edition for U.S.". Eternal Word Television Network. 
  3. ^ "Revised Edition Information". Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  4. ^ "Liturgical Books In The English Speaking World". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Chronology for the New Revision of the New American Bible Old Testament [1]
  6. ^ "Grail Psalter". Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  7. ^ Tucker, Jeffrey A. (2008-12-20). ''Grail Psalms''': A Path Forward"'". New Liturgical Movement. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  8. ^ CNS STORY: Bishops choose Revised Grail Psalter for Lectionary use in US [2]
  9. ^ 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]

External links

  • The New American Bible - online access (official Vatican website)
  • The New American Bible - online access (official USCCB website)
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