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I Finally Got It!

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I finally got my copy of the New American Bible Revised Edition. Since the New Missal approved for English masses in the Philippines is now available, I thought that maybe even the NAB Re is now available locally. A visit to St. Paul’s at Festival Mall confirmed my suspicion.

The NAB Re I puchased is packaged in the New Catholic Answer Bible which features inserts on how to respond to questions raised by non-Catholic Christians, especially the evangelical and born-again types. The only copy available was bound in soft leather with gold edges and cost nearly 3000 PHP. What really interested me was the text and auxiliary notes of the revised edition of the New American Bible.

I already noted that the New Testament part of the NAB Re is still the New Testament of the NAB you probably have in your library. The revisions are to be seen in the Old Testament and the Psalms. A note in the preface to the revised OT reads:

In many ways it is a more literal translation than the original NAB and has attemted to be more consistent in rendering Hebrew (or Greek) words and idioms, especialy in technical contexts, such as regulations for sacrifices. In translating the Psalter, special effort was made to provide a smooth rhythmic translation for easy singing or recitation and to retain the concrete imagery of the Hebrew.

It is interesting to note how Qumran discoveries have been integrated into this new translation.

…(I)mportant manuscripts from Cave 4 of Qumran, as well as the most useful recensions of the Septuagint, have been consulted in the preparation of 1 and 2 Samuel. Fragments of the lost Book of Tobit in Aramaic and Hebrew, receovered from Cave 4 of Qumran, are in substantial agreement with the Sinaiticus Greek recension used for the translation of this book. The lost original Hebrew text of 1 Maccabees is replaced by its oldest extant form in Greek. Judith, 2 Maccabees, and parts of Esther are also translated from the Greek. The translation of "The Wisdom of Ben Sira" is based on the original Hebrew as far as it is preserved, with corrections from the ancient versions; otherwise, the Greek of the Septuagint is followed. In the Book of Baruch the basic text is the Greek of the Septuagint, with some readings derived from an underlying Hebrew form no longer extant. In the deuterocanonical sections of Daniel (3;24-90;13:1-14:2), the basic text is the Greek text of so-called "Theodotion" occassionaly revised according to the Greek text of the Septuagint.

It is heartening to note that the Wisdom of Ben Sira is now, perhaps for the first time, presented as a translation of the original Hebrew, as far as manuscript fragments allow it. When I left the Biblicum in 1992, the Hebrew text was already presented for study in a course of exegesis. The appearance of the English translation of Ben-Sira is a culmination of a process that began with the finds at Qumran.

If the canon of Hebrew Scriptures is to be based on the discoveries at Qumran — take note Iglesya ni Manalo pastors! — the Old Testament of non-Catholics should also include the Wisdom of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus for Catholics) and the Book of Tobit. It was an Iglesya ni Manalo pastor (a certain Bro. Ramil Parva) who said on TV that the canon of the Old Testament is determined through Qumran’s documents. But of course, we know that it is not so.

Another thing to note is the mention of the use of the Septuagint. We now know that the Greek Septuagint is not a translation of the Leningrad Codex that is now behind the Hebrew Bible on which many translations of the OT are based. In fact, we know that the Greek Septuagint is a translation of an older form of the Hebrew Scriptures. I think that Augustine of Hippo — if he were alive today — would be greatly appreciative of the work done on the NAB Re. Remember that one of his criticisms of the Vulgate was on Jerome’s insistence on the genius of the Hebrew text inspite of the confusion it may generate among the faithful much more familiar with renderings based on the Septuagint.

Finally, I had the opportunity to check the revisions made on the auxiliary notes. I’ve gone through some chapters of Isaiah and have seen the improvements made on Ben Sira. I must say that the NAB Re is an upgrade in this respect.

Originally posted 2012-03-20 18:46:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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