Translations, Versions and Renderings
The Bible was not written in English or Latin. The Bible was written over a period of 1500 years. The books of the Hebrew Scriptures, commonly called the “Old Testament” in Christian traditions, were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and occasionally, Greek. The earliest known compilation of them is called the Septuagint (LXX) and is a Greek translation of mostly lost manuscripts. Scholarship commonly dates the LXX to the 3rd Century BCE. The Masoretic Text (MT), codified in the 9th or 10th centuries of the CE, is the authoritative text for rabbinic Judaism. Many scroll sections discovered at Qumran, match precisely sections of the MT, a testament to the rich inherited oral and written traditions of Judaism.
There is no definitive translation from the original languages and the earliest manuscripts into English, although there are many translations and versions. Most English translations of the “Old Testament” draw upon either the Septuagint, the MT or both. Most current English translations of the New Testament depend heavily upon contemporary Greek New Testaments. Contemporary Greek New Testaments are constructed from 1st-2nd century fragments of Greek papyri and 2nd to 4th century manuscripts, none thought to be original.
The renderings we provide are mostly our own composite translations drawn from the following texts, translations and versions:
The Amplified Bible: The Holy Bible, Amplified Version. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 2006.
The Complete Parallel Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Revised English Bible, New American Bible, New Jerusalem Bible. New Revised Edition. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.
The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation. Priests for Equality. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007.
The Jerusalem Bible. Alexander Jones, ed. Garden City, New York; London: Doubleday; Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966.
The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Eugene Peterson, translator. Carol Stream: NavPress Publishing Group, 2002.
New American Standard Bible. Updated edition. La Habra: Foundation Publications, 1998.
New American Bible Revised Edition. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2011.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrapha. Michael D. Coogan, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
www.biblegateway.com Bible Gateway. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 2017. (“Bible Gateway is a searchable online Bible in more than 200 versions and 70 languages.”)
The above English translations of the Bible are standard translations or known translations which we review, consult and compare. We also consult the following critical biblical texts:
Torah, Nevi'im u-Ketubim: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. 5th Edition. K. Elliger et W. Rudolph, eds. quae antea cooperantibus A. Alt, O. Eissfeldt, P. Kahle ediderat R. Kittel et al. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997.
The Greek New Testament. 4th Edition. Aland, Aland, Karavidoupolos, Martini and Metzger, eds. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2000.
The Greek New Testament. 3rd Edition. Aland, Black, Martini, Metzger, and Wikgren, eds. London: United Bible Societies, 1983.
Novum Testamentum Graece. 27th edition. Nestle, Aland, eds. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993.
We consult other lesser known, contemporary, inclusive language texts, including:
Psalms Anew: In Inclusive Language. Maureen Leach, OSF and Nancy Schreck OSF, compilers. Winona: Saint Mary’s Press, 1986.
Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness. Nan Merrill, adapter. New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996.
Where it is clear that one translation predominates in any given CCL reading, it will be noted.
All translation is interpretation. Our aim is to be inclusive in our language about God and humanity; to be true to the substantive meaning of the text, and to make it relevant for our time and place. Because we render these readings for liturgical purposes, they have a catechetical function in addition to fostering the prayer of the people. Over the three-year cycle, a regular worshipper should develop a cumulative foundation for Biblical narratives and theologies.
We recommend the Inclusive Bible by Priests for Equality for additional inclusive language versions of CCL lectionary readings. We also recommend Merrill’s Praying the Psalms for contemporary, meaningful, prayerful rendering of ancient songs.