Religion: Once More, the Sound of Music

Translators offer U.S. Roman Catholics a stylish New Testament

The New American Bible of 1970 was the first Roman Catholic translation of the Old and New Testaments produced in the U.S., and was based entirely upon Hebrew and Greek manuscripts rather than the traditional Latin text. Those features were especially important to scholars. Among many ordinary churchgoers, however, the NAB was noteworthy for a less felicitous reason: its relentless lack of style. As a brochure by the New Testament editor, Father Gerard S. Sloyan of Temple University, bluntly explained, "If this translation has a fault it is not that of obscurity, rather of a clarity which says what the text...

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