What is the New American Bible Revised Edition?
The New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) is an English-language translation of the Bible. It is the first major update to the New American Bible text in over 20 years. The New American Bible was first published in its entirety in 1970, sponsored by Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Revisions to the New Testament, the work of thirteen translators and five editors, began in 1978 and finished in 1986.
The Old Testament revisions began in 1991 with the Psalms, completed by 30 translators and 6 editors. Revisions to the remaining books of the Old Testament began in 1994 by forty translators and eight editors. The Psalms were again revised between 2009 and 2010 by an additional seven translators and two editors.
The fully revised Old Testament was formally approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2010. The 1986-edition of the New Testament and the newly revised Old Testament were released together on March 9, 2011 as the New American Bible Revised Edition. Details of revision history prior to beginning of revision on the Old Testament in 1994 can be found here: New American Bible.
New Testament sources are predominantly "UBS3" and "NA26," as further explained below: Sourcing: "The Greek text followed in this translation is that of the third edition of The Greek New Testament, edited by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo Martini, Bruce Metzger, and Allen Wikgren, and published by the United Bible Societies in 1975.
The same text, with a different critical apparatus and variations in punctuation and typography, was published as the twenty-sixth edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece in 1979 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. This edition has also been consulted. When variant readings occur, the translation, with few exceptions, follows the reading that was placed in the text of these Greek editions, though the occurrence of the principal variants is pointed out in the notes."
Old Testament Citations: "...Insofar as possible, the translation of such Old Testament citations agrees with that of The New American Bible Old Testament whenever the underlying Greek agrees with the Hebrew (or, in some cases, the Aramaic or Greek) text from which the Old Testament translation was made. But citations in the New Testament frequently follow the Septuagint or some other version, or were made from memory, hence, in many cases the translation in the New Testament passage will not agree with what appears in the Old Testament. Some of these cases are explained in the notes."
Old Testament major sources come by way of the New American Bible; specifically Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Other source details, such as Codex Sinaiticus, are as described below: "Where the Old Testament translation supposes the received text—Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, as the case may be—ordinarily contained in the best-known editions, as the original or the oldest extant form, no additional remarks are necessary.
Where the translators have departed from those received texts, e.g., by following the Septuagint rather than the Masoretic text, accepting a reading of what is judged to be a better textual tradition, as from a Qumran manuscript, or by emending a reading apparently corrupted in transmission, such changes are recorded in the revised edition of the Textual Notes on the New American Bible.
Additional information on the textual tradition for some books may be found in the introduction to the book in the same Textual Notes. "In particular, important 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 in Hebrew, recovered 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; 13:1–14:42), the basic text is the Greek text of so-called Theodotion, occasionally revised according to the Greek text of the Septuagint."
In a press statement, the USCCB cited three reasons for the necessity of revising the Old Testament. First, the new translation aims to utilize modern scholastic advances in biblical study and adapt to changes in linguistics in order to render a more accurate translation in contemporary English. Second, the new translation takes advantage of recently discovered ancient manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls which provide better access to the historical textual tradition. Third, the new translation uses the best manuscript-translating traditions available in order to translate more literally and accurately than previous translations.
The press statement claims that the New American Bible Revised Edition will in many ways be a more literal translation than the original New American Bible. The Psalms, in particular, received special attention to provide a smooth, rhythmic translation which both retains the concrete imagery of the original Hebrew and also provides for easy singing or recitation. In August 1990, the Catholic Bible Association passed a resolution urging revision of the Old Testament of the New American Bible.
In 1994, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops agreed to pass the resolution and form a steering committee/editorial board to direct the revision. The editorial board for the majority of the Old Testament consisted of 8 editors and 40 translators. In 2002, the Old Testament (excluding the Psalms) was completed and sent to the Subcommittee for the Translation of Scripture Text (previously, the Ad Hoc Committee for the Review of Scripture Translations) to see if it was a suitable Catholic translation. In September 2008, the last book (Jeremiah) of the Old Testament was accepted by the Subcommittee.
In November 2008, the 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 Subcommittee for the Translation of Scripture Text and stricter conformity to Liturgiam Authenticam.
The Psalms have been the most controversial book of the Old Testament during the course of the revisions leading up to the publication of the New American Bible Revised Edition. The controversy is related to the adaptation of the New American Bible text's use in the official liturgy of the Catholic Church in the United States. The first revision of the Psalms in 1991 was rejected for liturgical use by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican because of the extensive application of gender-neutral language in the text.
Example: "Blessed the man" (Ps. 1:1)-- a literal translation of the Hebrew—was replaced by "happy those" in the 1991 revision. This particular phrase has reverted in 2010 Psalms to "Blessed the man." The current liturgical text of the Psalms was modified under the supervision of the a Congregation of the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for use in the Roman Catholic liturgy in 2000.
The Vatican Congregation 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. The newly revised Psalms found in the New American Bible Revised Edition follows the guidelines of Liturgiam Authenticam, a document issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament.
Throughout the new translation of the Psalms, the use of gender-neutral language has been limited and appropriate gender-specific pronouns used in conjunction with the original Hebrew.
One of the more important changes found in the New American Bible Revised Edition is the substitution of various words and phrases for language which carries a modern connotation which is quite different from the originally intended meaning. Examples include changing "cereal" to "grain" and "booty" to "plunder."
1. Wikipedia, used under GDFL (with minor edits)