Monday, 12 September 2011

Lost in Translation....(1)

The New Jerusalem Bible, what is the deal with this? After all, it is the translation used for scripture readings at Mass in the UK, but why is it so, well so....I can't explain, but here is an example from yesterday's Mass:

Matthew 18:21 New Jerusalem
Then Peter went up to him and said ,"Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?"

Mathew 18: 21 Douay-Rheims
Then Peter came unto him and said: Lord how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? Seven times?

Matthew 18:21 RSV
Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"

Matthew 18:21 Good News Bible
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, if my brother keeps on sinnning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?"


When the Good News Bible is saying the same thing as the Douai-Rheims , but the New Jerusalem is on a different tack (no mention of the offender sining many times, just multiple forgiveness)...hmm, is the New Jerusalem just trying to be clever? I'm not sure it is being helpful.

4 comments:

Mark said...

Comparing the New Jerusalem Bible version used in the Missal with the original Greek can be a bit of an eye-opener - at times it is, to say the least, a pretty free translation.

The RSV translation of the passage which you quote is probably the closest to the Greek.

Generally speaking (though not invariably) the RSV and D-R seem to me to be vastly superior to the NJB.

Rita said...

Mark,
I suppose it is too much to ask that they change to the RSV for the readings in the Missal, or will that take another 40 years ;-)

The NJB should not be a more free translation than the Good News that even my Methodist RE teacher at school winced at.

Mark said...

I think I'm right in saying that a change from NJB or RSV is envisaged for the next phase of the reform of the Missal.

How soon that's going to happen I don't know. I must admit I find it difficult to understand why it has been decided that changing the biblical texts needs to be undertaken separately from the revisions which have just been introduced.

Our parish is currently holding back from purchasing new missals for the congregation (though the new translation is being used, of course) because there's a feeling that yet another revision - including the replacement of NJB with RSV translations - may happen quite soon.

Rita said...

Surely there would be uproar if parishes forked out on new parishoner missals only to find they got one or perhaps two cycles out of them before the texts became obselete. Shouldn't something be coming from Ecclestone Square about this?