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The Curious Case of the ESV-Catholic Edition

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Knightwolflord, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Knightwolflord

    Knightwolflord Christian Lector

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    The English Standard Version-Catholic Edition (ESV-CE) of the Holy Bible has now made its debut in the United States thanks to the Augustine Institute. Not surprisingly, it has been published under the title: "The Augustine Bible." As the translation's name suggests, the ESV-CE is a Catholic Bible based on the Protestant English Standard Version (ESV). Originally published by Crossway (a largely Calvinist Evangelical organization), the ESV has become the "go-to" translation for many Evangelicals and conservative Protestants. Based on the 1971 Revised Standard Version (RSV), the ESV is an updated translation that seeks to give a "word-for-word" English Bible rooted in the great King James-Tyndale tradition. Now that it is in the form of a Catholic Bible containing the inspired deuterocanonical books, English-speaking Catholics in the US have a new version for reading and study.

    How well the ESV-CE will fare among Catholics is another question. This is a particularly interesting question in light of the current Bible translations on the market. Unlike its closest "competitors," the RSV-CE and RSV-2CE, the ESV-CE by contrast utilizes newer manuscript evidence; notably from the Dead Sea Scrolls. While it is supposedly extremely close to the 1971 RSV, the changes it makes are significant. This is especially the case in Old Testament prophecies that are revealed in the New Testament. Also, the language of the RSV (which can be dated) was updated to modern English. The ESV-CE is thus a modern Bible translation using better textual sources in its creation than the original RSV had access to (and that the RSV-2CE relies upon).

    Moreover, the ESV-CE has a lot going for it. While it is currently only available in fine paperback, it could easily be published in more premium editions. Its language, as mentioned, is dignified but modern, and it is accurately and closely translated to the originals using the new manuscript evidence. As I understand it, it is also being considered for use in the Roman liturgy in Britain and India. It may be a "baby Bible" in the English Catholic scene, but it could easily grow into a giant.

    Personally, I am a bit wary of the ESV-CE because of its translation origin and its stated dependency on the Masoretic text of the Old Testament. The RSV-2CE, for example, while relying on older manuscripts, uses far more of the Septuagint and Vulgate readings; something that I think enriches the translation and makes it more "Catholic." That said, the ESV-CE does clearly stand in the Tyndale-King James-Revised Standard Version (RSV) stream. What excites me further about the ESV-CE is that it is rooted in more recent Biblical scholarship and manuscripts. For all the many excellent points of (again, for example) the RSV-2CE, it relies on much older manuscript evidence. This does not make it a bad translation per se, but it does give the ESV-CE a certain edge. Further points in the ESV-CE's favor are its essentially literal translation emphasis, and continuation of the dignified language of KJV tradition (a plus for me, given that I grew up with the old King James Version).

    There is also the tantalizing possibility of the ESV-CE providing a bridge to another "Common Bible" (as the Oxford Annotated RSV with the "Apocrypha" largely did). In the case of the ESV, this possibility is most especially present with Evangelicals and others. The ESV is highly trusted by many conservative Protestants (including Anglicans, Lutherans, Reformed, and Baptists), and so the ESV-CE provides a common translation basis for ecumenical and apologetics discussions. The NRSV and the NABRE simply cannot provide this possibility due to overuse of inclusive language and denominational translation suspicions.

    For me, at least, the prospect of reading a Bible rooted in the King James-Revised Standard tradition, widely accepted by my Protestant brothers and sisters, and using new manuscript evidence is compelling. Depending on how it reads and the way that the Church accepts it in the coming years, I may very well become a devotee of this particular Bible translation. I'm looking forward to seeing what new editions are printed in the future, as well as how this translation is received by both clergy and the faithful.

    Last but not least, the ESV-CE, importantly so, includes the nihil obstat and imprimatur, and the approval of the Indian Bishops' Conference. It was reviewed by a team of Catholic biblical scholars and was edited to conform with Liturgiam Authenticam. Good points for a Catholic Bible.

    Anyway, just some thoughts on the newest Catholic Bible translation out there.

    St. Jerome, pray for us.:crossrc:
     
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  2. Julian of Norwich

    Julian of Norwich Blessed are the merciful

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    I'll be really looking forward to reading it. Although I have no problems with dated language, I am loving more and more the ESV and will really appreciate an ESV-CE!
     
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  3. Markie Boy

    Markie Boy Looking East, Moving Slow Supporter

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    I use the RSV2-CE - but probably like the ESV better. Now if we can get them to properly dispose of all the NAB's in use in the Church and OCP Missal-etts we'd have something to work with!
     
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  4. Lady Bug

    Lady Bug Let's get real Supporter

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    I read Douay-Rheims 99% of the time and it actually feels so natural for me to read it, the prose just clicks with me, but I view it as literary, not conversational. However I do cheat once in awhile with the RSVCE if I can't understand something in the Douay but that has become less often. But I can use a dictionary (especially an app dictionary) to look up a word in the Douay and it tends to solve the problem.
     
  5. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Douay (Challoner revision) had a good basis in being a translation of the Vulgate, which was more accurate than the manuscripts available for the Protestant Bibles. But the advances in manuscripts make a newer translation like the RSVCE better for accuracy. And the ESVCE should be better than the RSV in that regard. Douay is still good, and if you like it run with it.
     
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