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The New American Bible

1 rating: 4.0
A book by Staff

Uniquely American, this popular translation is the easiest to understand Catholic edition of the Bible. This modern translation was prepared by over 50 scholars to capture the thought and individual s

Tags: Books
Author: Staff
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Catholic World Press/World Bible Publishers
1 review about The New American Bible

A Very Good Catholic Study Bible

  • Mar 18, 2010
This is the official translation of the Bible that is used by the Catholic Church in the United States and several other English-speaking countries. The aim of this translation has been to make the Bible more accessible to the modern readers, especially in the context of liturgical use. In that respect the translation has been fairly successful: the language used is standard modern English with North American usage, most of the terminology is straightforward, and many obscure terms and references have been reworded in order to get the basic meaning across. However, this updating of the translation has come at some cost: many passages that have become familiar to the generations of English speakers in their more archaic forms have lost a lot of their punch. The language is less powerful and poetic, and lacks a lot of strength and conviction of some other translations. On several occasions the choice of words and phrases comes across as motivated more with the current political sensibilities, rather than with clear meaning of the particular passage.

One of the best features of this edition is the ample commentaries. There is a page or two of introduction to each book of the Bible, and every page is filled with footnotes. There are in fact many pages where there are as many footnotes as there is text. This may be a bit of detraction if you are just using this Bible for devotional reading, but even then it is useful to have easy and accessible references if you come across some obscure or puzzling passage. However, the best use of this Bible is for study or small discussion groups. That's where ample references really come in handy. Furthermore, all of the footnotes and explanations are consistent both with the most current biblical scholarship and the official theological stance of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, I feel that in some instances the commentators tend to be unduly apologetic for particular more politically incorrect passages.

The overall quality of this book is actually pretty low: the paper is cheap, and the binding extremely fragile. If you use this book frequently, be prepared for pages to come out. This has its advantages, however, as you will probably not feel too reticent to write comments or highlight passages. This again works in favor of using this book more for study than for devotional reading.

If you are a Catholic living in the United States or any other country that uses this Bible translation in its liturgy, I would strongly recommend getting your own copy of this wonderful book. It is a useful and necessary tool for deepening your faith in communion with your fellow believers.

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