Intriguing work, to say the least... even with disagreements.
September 11, 2015
First, I am an independent Baptist (regarding the KJV as the pinnacle of any English translation.) I am independent; I answer to God alone.
All in all, this is an utterly fascinating translation. Not taken from any previous version (besides the "Jerusalem Bible" and it's French Jerusalem Bible start.) It offers what the NIV could have been with it's "fresh start". (And yes, the NIV is an ecumenically Christian book as they published a Roman Catholic NIV Psalms book and who knows what else.) Below also, are main points why Wansbrough (Editor) worked on this Scripture. A Christian centered, "ecumenical" work (for all Christian denominations,) that will test the test of time.
+ Quality hardcover book. (Although it appears glued to the hardcover spine. For shame DoubleDay.)
+ Excellent choice of the Palatino font decision. Crisp, beautiful, and most importantly: highly readable over time; even being 8 pt. in size.
+ While mainly British English terms are dominant here, it flows beautifully in American English also... rather like my favorite KJV.
+ Intriguing, yet insightful, accurate renderings of many OT passages that are often glossed over for those who are familiar with the general story.
+ It GREATLY passed my first test... the "Book of Proverbs". It wasn't dumbed down as in the many modern versions (cough) CEV, NIV, CEB, NLT, Message, etc. (cough).
+ An excellent Christian-geared "ecumenical" work that doesn't over simplify everything in an insulting way, as mentioned above.
+ The "Reader's Edition" is sparsely noted edition, compared to the study oriented version, which reads very much like today's Protestant-Evangelical texts). And I don't at all believe that the translators set out to ruin Christianity or, most importantly, to distort the PRIMARY goal of the Holy Bible: to save souls to Jesus Christ.
+ Includes the Roman Catholic Deuterocanon (or the majority of the Protestant Apocryphal works), to those who value Scripture.
- It still has the "almah" issue in Isaiah. They at least tell you in the Greek it is translated as "virgin"... so why not just use that and reverse the text choice? Although this plays into Wansbrough's ideas of presenting what the text "originally" meant (#'s 1 and 2 below, I believe.) Hence the "Yahweh" throughout.
PLUS and MINUS
+ & - "Inclusive" language; yet NOWHERE near the modern editions like the NRSV! Much more rationale and easily seen as sensible.
+ & - Wansbrough did some passage re-arrangement from several OT books; which is obviously because they are not tied to the Masoretic Hebrew and chose to try something different (#4 below)... yet they are with a note and brief explanation.
+ & - I don't fully agree with "Yahweh" as being the real transliterated Tetragrammaton. #1 It reads, or to me it "jumps out", in context with the rest of Scripture. And #2 it seems almost like there is a God I'm not familiar with until the NT with the name of Jesus Christ. + & - This work is highly "scholarly" and critical. Basically only for those on solid ground in faith and Scripture.
Wansbrough from "Editing the New Jerusalem Bible" (posted on tyndale.org):
(Note: take note on #2, all Roman Catholic bashers... and this was from a Dominican Monk at the time! And #3 is EXACTLY in line with the KJV Holy Bible translators. #4 falls in line with modern Bible scholars on any side of the isle. And now Wansbrough...)
I suppose there were five main principles to my work:
1) To improve the accuracy of translation, introductions and notes. I was acutely aware that the rationale of the NJB (New Jerusalem Bible) was somewhat different from that of the JB (Jerusalem Bible). Alexander Jones had conceived the translation primarily as an underlay to the introduction and notes, that is, as a study Bible. But whereas in 1966 there was no modern translation of the whole Bible into English, by 1985 several were available. The study aspect had therefore become all the more important.
2) To remove elements which were narrowly Roman Catholic, such as references in the notes to passages used in the Roman Catholic liturgy.
3) Where possible to use the same English word throughout for the same Hebrew concepts. With some concepts I abandoned the attempt to find a modern English equivalent which would serve to translate all instances of a word, e.g. flesh.
4) In the synoptic gospels and other parallel sets of texts (e.g. the Books of Kings and of Chronicles) to show the differences between the text, in order to make possible a study of the redactional changes made by the authors.
5) Where possible to go some way towards using inclusive language. I did not estimate that this was necessary at all costs, as the NRSV subsequently did. However, Bruce Metzger was kind enough to write to me to say that NJB solutions had been most helpful to the Committee for the NRSV in the closing stages of their work.
The New Jerusalem Bible is, contrary to other comments, a new translation from the original languages into English. The original Jerusalem Bible (before the New Jerusalem Bible) relied heavily on the French, but not so with the new. The style of the English is literary and most publishers and critical reviewers of conservative stripe will admit it is very accurate. Whether or not one likes it is a matter of subjective taste. If you are of the KJV / Tyndale line, you might not like this translation. If you are open to new translations in contemporary English, this one is as good as they get. I especially like the Psalms. This edition of the NJB only gets three stars because this is an inexpensive paperback trade publication. It isn't intended to be a five star book. But the translation is good and the price is reasonable (actually a bit high for what you get, but the most reasonable available.) As a note of interest, this New Jerusalem Bible is the most widely used English language Catholic Bible in the world outside the US.