THE PROBLEM OF THE NRSV TRANSLATION PART I OVERVIEW
|POPE BENEDICT XVI When still Cardinal Ratzinger |
he identified the NRSV as being seriously defective.
THE PROBLEM OF THE N.R.S.V. TRANSLATION. PART 1 OVERVIEW
The key battles in the matter of the defective New Revised Standard Version of the Bible have been won, sometimes for the right reason, sometimes for the wrong reason. But as far as what should be done, in Liturgy and Catechetics, and in the matter of the revised Lectionary, the NRSV has been definitively knocked out.
Nevertheless in physical presence, it largely continues to hold the field, thanks to dissident bookshops run by feminist Nuns and "Catholic" Education Offices that are a law unto themselves in most Dioceses, and a certain Liturgical Commission which basks in sub-tropical sunshine and has National influence.
So What is the Problem with the N.R.S.V?
We might begin with the question: Translation or Travesty? For a time, the NRSV was considered as the basis for revising the Lectionary , by the International Commission for the Preparation of an English Language Lectionary, but the announcement of the fact was heavily qualified that it was "revised according to the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam. The problem was and is the lack of accuracy in the translation.
The N.R.S.V. Is a revision of the Revised Standard Version published in 1990. It is described as "less literal than the R.S.V." and it is said that it “revises in the interest of 'gender inclusiveness’.”
Translation is both a science and an art, if it is to be done well. Accuracy in translation is the primary goal - to accurately and faithfully convey the meaning of the original. Many older translations: e.g. The Douai-Rheims and the Protestant King James Version - were very literal (often almost word for word) translations, sometimes to the extent that the true meaning was nearly, or wholly, unintelligible. In addition the intervening several hundred years had resulted in the discovery of new copies of many ancient texts which facilitated more accurate translation of the texts. Further, in those intervening centuries, the meaning of some words used in those translations had changed completely. (E.g. the word "stink” had then simply meant "smell"!)
The 1952 R.S.V. Edition had its critics especially in the translation of the Old Testament ( e.g. Isaiah 7:14 R.S.V. Translators rendered the Hebrew word "Almah" as " young woman”. But in Hebrew, whether or not it means “young woman" or "virgin" depends on the context. Consider the significance:
"Behold a virgin shall conceive a son and shall call his name Immanuel."
In 1996 the R.S.V. Catholic Edition was authorized following the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical Books and a number of New Testament alterations were made, e.g. Luke 1:28 - "full of grace" replaced "favored one."
"Gender" properly refers to the male/female/neuter character of a word, or jocularly to a person's sex (according to the Oxford Dictionary". However, in recent times, the grammatical considerations are scarcely heard of, and all jocularity has disappeared when you hear the word used. The Feminist Commissars now demand that gender should mainly mean a person's sex. This is NOT just a way of avoiding the dreaded word "sex."
The abuse of the word "gender" was born in the sexual politics of the 1970s to suit the purposes of homosexual activists. Since the biology of sexual difference only highlights the unnatural character of homosexuality, sex - male and female had to go - enter "gender". It was imperative for their purposes that fundamental concepts should be re- structured.
Gender, properly speaking, was always to a large extent customary and even arbitrary. This is especially so in French where the gender of a noun seems quite whimsically allocated - a launch is feminine, but a boat is masculine!"Gender" was perfect for manipulating thought and discussion on matters of interest to the activists. They knew that to change our use of language was to have progressive influence in changing our thoughts. Working through the Universities, they progressively killed off the words male and female, the words husband and wife were displaced and we were required to accept instead gender and partner. How well they are succeeding!
The Left-inclined thinkers (activists?) in the Church latched onto the idea by adopting the phrase “inclusive language" - warm and fuzzy enough for you? - Why! It is positively lovely how could anybody argue against “inclusiveness"?? This meant in general reducing language used, down to a minimalist level at which reality could be denied and differences of sex disappeared. But they briefly encountered an obstacle- the Sacred Liturgy- politics proved more important to these folk and they proceeded to change it at their whim. The Nicene Creed " for us men " - "it's only the Creed" drop "men"! (This particular abuse has only just been corrected in the New Translation).Their actions ignored the significance of reality and the true meaning of words, deferring to Political Correctness rather than Truth and Reality.
|ACCURATE TRANSLATION IS CRITICAL - WHY SHOULD WE ACCEPT|
POLITICAL MANIPULATION OF SACRED SCRIPTURE ?
In 1990, when the NRSV was being produced, these issues were at a frenzied peak of effort on the part of those perverting the language. Attempts at resistance were overcome by hissing and spitting counterattack by the partisans who had wormed their way into positions of influence in Church bureaucracies and would not be denied.
Preparation of the NRSV involved a large committee of expert translators, working in teams on allocated sections of the Bible. So far, so good. Their work was then reviewed by a smaller Editorial Committee to determine the final form before publication. The Editorial Committee's job was to ensure stylistic consistency and attend to minor "tidying up" pre publication.
But the translators found to their dismay, that the Editorial Committee made thousands of changes, some quite substantive, in pursuit of radical "inclusive" language! So profound were the resultant problems, that in 1992 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ( then Prefect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) formally declared that the NRSV could not be used for Catechetical purposes , or in the Sacred Liturgy.
It was acknowledged that apart from this feminist language manipulation, some good work had been done in other parts of the translation process.
In March 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments headed by the marvelous Cardinal Medina Estevez
issued the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (Authentic Liturgy) which requires that all translations for Liturgical purposes be strictly accurate and faithful. It blew out of the water the concept of "dynamic equivalence" which old ICEL had used to undermine the Roman Liturgy.
To-day we have seen in recent times the fine and sacral New Translation of the Order of Mass and we await the new translation of the Lectionary which is to be based upon an amended version of the new English Standard Version.