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DLT Celebrate their 60th Anniversary with the publication of the Revised New Jerusalem Bible

DLT Celebrate their 60th Anniversary with the publication of the Revised New Jerusalem Bible

‘An outstanding piece of work.’ Fr Nicholas King in The Tablet.

‘Beautiful and poetic.’ Fr James Martin in America Magazine.

‘A superb Roman Catholic translation, in which Protestants can have full confidence.’ Church Matters.

These are small highlights drawn from the widespread acclaim for the New Testament and Psalms edition of the Revised New Jerusalem Bible, launched last year by Darton, Longman and Todd. This publication was intended as a taster for the full-text Bible, and was extremely well received. It has been praised for the character and dignity of its language, and the in-depth study notes that accompany the text.

But the New Testament and Psalms was an outrider, a herald for the main event. In July 2019, marking DLT’s 60th anniversary, the Revised New Jerusalem Bible will arrive in style – a full-text, comprehensively-footnoted, nearly 2500-page Study Bible complete with maps and indices. It’s a big launch for a new translation that we expect to complement and bring right up to date DLT’s established range of JB Bibles.

The history of this range dates back to 1956, and the publication of La Bible de Jérusalem, a French-language Bible notable – radically at the time – for having been translated directly from the original Hebrew and Greek scriptures rather than the Latin Vulgate. At around the same time three publishers, Tim Darton, Michael Longman and John Todd, were discussing the notion of founding a new publishing firm to satisfy what they perceived to be a growing interest in religion among lay men and women.

Will Parkes, of DLT explains the history and journey behind this new edition.

As part of their plans these visionaries decided to publish an English equivalent of La Bible de Jérusalem – similarly translated from the original scriptures by a team of scholars (including J.R.R. Tolkien) under the direction of Fr Alexander Jones, and annotated with a translation of the French Bible’s extensive study notes. In 1959 DLT was formed, with a mission to publish the Jerusalem Bible – the first truly modern English translation of the Bible – at the company’s heart. The preparation of the text took a few years but it was launched in 1966 and has been a cornerstone of DLT’s list, to the present day. 

Developments in biblical scholarship and usage of the English language move fast and a couple of decades later it was felt that an updated text was needed. In 1985 DLT published the New Jerusalem Bible, a significant revision of the JB introducing more contemporary wording and sentence structure and the latest scholarly understanding of the scriptures. The general editor of this remarkable work was the Revd Henry Wansbrough OSB, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey. 

The NJB has since expanded into a large range of formats and editions, some using the original study notes of the JB. However, this family of bibles – and, indeed, DLT – has always been about meeting the needs of current and future generations, and we felt that after nearly thirty-five years it was time to bring them right up to date.

The RNJB is the next generation of the JB family. Fr Henry is once again the general editor and the RNJB retains many familiar passages and the poetic, elegant tone for which the JB has always been loved. But there are also substantial changes, inevitably so as Fr Henry has sought to make every single translation choice an accurate rendition of the original scriptures rather than an ‘edit’ of the NJB. While there is a particular dignity to the language of the RNJB, it is more of a ‘formal equivalence’ text than a ‘dynamic equivalence’ one and as such is perhaps even closer to the JB than the NJB.

Other key changes to the RNJB include:

■ Linguistic style and speech patterns best suited for being read out loud. This is a Bible intended for proclamation rather than being read as a novel.

■ The book of Psalms is an approved, original edit of the 2010 translation of The Revised Grail Psalms

■ Gender-excluding language is carefully and skilfully avoided, while remaining faithful to the express meaning and intention of the original scriptures.

■ ‘The LORD’ is used instead of ‘Yahweh’ in respect to Jewish tradition, and ‘the Messiah’ is used instead of ‘Christ’ as a more accurate translation.

■ Ancient systems of measuring and timing are replaced by modern metric equivalents.

Significantly, our launch edition of the RNJB, the Revised New Jerusalem Bible Study Edition, introduces a completely new set of study notes to the JB family, replacing those originally translated from the French. Fr Henry has written this stunning new set of notes (published once before in the CTS New Catholic Bible but considerably edited since then) which will help to cement the RNJB’s reputation as a Bible of scholarly depth as well as richness of character.

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Products mentioned in or related to this blog post
The Revised New Jerusalem Bible: Study Edition (Hard Cover)
Henry Wansbrough
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