New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE)

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I love the fact that the Judaeo-Christian tradition approves of translating from ancient religious languages into contemporary language. This, for me, is the lesson of the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Because idioms differ from one language to another, there are always nuances that cannot be translated. This is one reason why most Catholic editions of the Bible are equipped with footnotes and commentary on the Scriptures. The Italians say, "Traduttore, traditore!"--"Translators are traitors." The English translation of this proverb lacks the punch of the original, but the meaning is clear enough.

Notable changes


  • holocaust” (1970 translation) is being replaced by “burnt offering” in reference to Old Testament sacrifices
  • dark valley” will now be rendered by the more traditional “valley of the shadow of death,”
  • “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come” will be rendered as “for endless days” (Psalm 23)
  • booty” is being retranslated as “spoils of war,”
  • cereal” is being retranslated as “grain
  • Most controversially, almah-- the Hebrew word rendered as “virgin” in the 1970 translation of Isaiah 7:14 (“the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel”), will be rendered as “young woman.” The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition renders almah as “young woman” in the text but explains in a footnote that the word also means “virgin.” In the New Testament, St. Matthew rendered the text of Isaiah as “behold, a virgin shall conceive” (Mt. 1:23).
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz of Jews for Judaism praised the change from “virgin” to “young woman,” calling the former rendering a “translation error used by missionaries to convert Jews.”
  • In addition, the latter portion of Proverbs 31 will be entitled “Poem on the Woman of Worth” in the NABRE, rather than “The Ideal Wife.”