What Is the Best Translation of the Bible for Catholics?

What Is the Best Translation of the Bible for Catholics?

So, you’ve decided to make an extra effort and finally read the Bible. Perhaps you have an old family Bible in the house, but you feel like …
Dante Alighieri
@Agatha James You may want to peruse the following article just to see that the different translations of Tobit are not due to modernism. I would not be so quick to discount the contemporary translations of the bible, especially of Tobit, which are undoubtedly better than the Douay Rheims, which is a translation of the Vulgate, Jerome’s Latin translation of the original texts. In the case of …More
@Agatha James You may want to peruse the following article just to see that the different translations of Tobit are not due to modernism. I would not be so quick to discount the contemporary translations of the bible, especially of Tobit, which are undoubtedly better than the Douay Rheims, which is a translation of the Vulgate, Jerome’s Latin translation of the original texts. In the case of Tobit, one of the translations he had of it (Aramaic) he did not even know the language, as he admitted here, and the translation took him one day with help from a speaker of Aramaic and a scribe! As much as you might hate the NAB, I do not think the translators were that lazy! The Douay Rheims may be a very precise translation of the Vulgate, but the Vulgate is not a very precise translation of Tobit, AND it relies on less scholarly texts.

The Book Of Tobit And Its Recensions – The Postil Magazine

Excerpts from the article, which is very, very detailed regarding the textual history:

“The first thing to understand is that there’s no single, standard version of the book of Tobit. Instead what you really have is different versions of the same work circulating in different languages like Greek or Latin or Hebrew or Aramaic or even Ethiopian.

There are at least two or three versions of Tobit in Greek. The shorter one, found in virtually most surviving Greek manuscripts, is called Greek I (G1). The longer (containing 1,700 more words than G1) version found only almost fully in the 4th-century Codex Sinaiticus, and partially in a couple other manuscripts, is Greek II (G2). Sinaiticus uniquely preserves most of G2 – albeit riddled with scribal errors – except for two lacunae (4:7-19b and 13:7-10b)...

The text translated by Jerome and included in the Latin Vulgate, meanwhile, is interesting in itself, because it is a free translation of a translation. This is how he [Jerome] explains the translation process in his preface to the book: ‘I have persisted as I have been able, and because the language of the Chaldeans is close to Hebrew speech, finding a speaker very skilled in both languages, I took to the work of one day, and whatever he expressed to me in Hebrew words, this, with a summoned scribe, I have set forth in Latin words.’ Apparently, Jerome did not know ‘Chaldean’ (Aramaic) – although he does note that the language is similar to Hebrew (answer being that both are Semitic languages), which he is thought to have known – that he needed someone to translate the Aramaic version of Tobit he had acquired. The translation work was apparently very quick – according to Jerome’s words it only took him, his scribe, and his Aramaic-speaking translator ‘the work of one day.’

... These differences might stem in part from the version Jerome and his bilingual acquaintance were translating from, but perhaps also in part due to Jerome’s possibly rather free translation method (he admitted that his translation of Judith, which was like Tobit also from an Aramaic version, was magis sensum e sensus quam ex verbo verbum ‘more sense for sense than word for word;’ it could very well be the same case here).

The general impression one could get from Vulgate Tobit is that it is more moralistic and didactic compared to the more straightforward other versions – I’d even say quite preachy...“
Agatha James
I've heard those arguments. I'll stick with St. Jerome. Thank you
George Obregon
I just got my Douay-Reims N.T. from eBay; I carry it everywhere.
/St. George of Hyperlink ✞More
I just got my Douay-Reims N.T. from eBay; I carry it everywhere.

/St. George of Hyperlink ✞
occasnltrvlr
The best modern-English translation of the Bible duly approved by Mother Church is the English Standard Version-Catholic Edition (ESV-CE). It is not widely published and I've only seen it sold through one vendor here in the USA.
No, really, I do know, and I am right.
The ESV stems from Metzger's original RSV (the origin of the RSV-CE, as recommended in the article), and the ESV-CE is the "…More
The best modern-English translation of the Bible duly approved by Mother Church is the English Standard Version-Catholic Edition (ESV-CE). It is not widely published and I've only seen it sold through one vendor here in the USA.

No, really, I do know, and I am right.

The ESV stems from Metzger's original RSV (the origin of the RSV-CE, as recommended in the article), and the ESV-CE is the "Catholicized" version of the ESV (just as the RSV-CE is the "Catholicized" version of the RSV). While the RSV is very good about abstaining from theological bias, it is not rigorously accurate as is the ESV, whose translators have also striven to remain theologically neutral.

Please, before becoming argumentative, please consider carefully exactly what I wrote: modern English, and "translation", not "version".

For whatever it may be worth, please allow me to add that I went through a very long "Protestant-like" phase wherein I relied very heavily on "Scripture alone", so I have examined Holy Scripture far more than most Catholics (or Protestants, for that matter). I own dozens of English translations as well as modern reprints of some of the ancient manuscripts.

These are the five translations that grace my at-hand study shelf:
Douay-Rheims (Haydock version)
ESV-CE
Knox
KJV (E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible version)
Moffatt

(Please, no snide remarks; examination makes self-evident that Bishop Challoner really did "borrow" quite heavily from the KJV. Anyone well-versed [pun intended] in the true faith can properly pick up and use a "Protestant" bible without it burning their hands, and I find it particularly endearing to quote a Protestant bible to a Protestant whilst discreetly pointing out their shortcomings in faith and understanding.)

And, finally, for the love of God, do not ever use any NIV for reading or study; it is an abomination from the abyss of Hell.
Dr Bobus
Vulgate
Dante Alighieri
Old saying: The best Bible is the one you are actually going to read.
Agatha James
I agree sometimes the newer versions are easier to read. Before the VII asteroid, they were working on an updated English translation of the D-R.
The D-R has a most enlightened passage, Tobit 6: 16-22. that was omitted in the New American Bible. It regards the proper disposition of married couples to the marriage bed.More
I agree sometimes the newer versions are easier to read. Before the VII asteroid, they were working on an updated English translation of the D-R.

The D-R has a most enlightened passage, Tobit 6: 16-22. that was omitted in the New American Bible. It regards the proper disposition of married couples to the marriage bed.
occasnltrvlr
Interesting that one would mention that passage. The Amish include that Scripture in their wedding service, and (as I am told [by them]) they practice it.
Agatha James
I did not set out to discover the DR Translation on purpose. A Father Joseph Esper in his book "Catholicism in Crisis" quoted that passage. I just had to look it up because it was such a great passage in defense of Catholic teaching about sexuality. The same passage is altered in the NAV. The Spirit of Vatican II must have made the NAV.
Agatha James
No discussion of Duoay-Rhiems version.
Rand Miller
Douay-Rheims wins hands down.