Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back to front?

I read recently that the Roman Catholic Church has decreed that Christians should not use the name Yahweh in liturgy, but should substitute Lord or God as is common in many English Bibles, which follow the practice of the Septuagint, the very first translation of the Old Testament into Greek. This is, of course, the practice of orthodox Jews.

But this morning I read Exodus 23 in the New Jerusalem Bible, a Roman Catholic Bible and came across this command in verse 13:
Do not mention the name of any other god: let none ever be heard from your lips.
It is odd that the Bible seems to command the opposite, don't you think!

The NJB itself is one of the few Bibles which does use Yahweh, rather than LORD or Lord GOD. Nothing is said in the article about the reading of this translation, which has the church's official blessing. I wonder if those who read in church will have to remember to substitute those words when reading?

I am enjoying reading through the New Jerusalem Bible, including reading the extra books and bits that are in Roman Catholic Bibles, partly because the translators did not consciously try to keep to the wording of the King James Version where possible, as translations such as the American Standard Version [a Bible which uses Jehovah for the tetragrammaton],Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, New King James Version, New International Version and Today's New International Version do.

There is a welcome freshness in approach, which makes you think through the Scriptures again, and which also makes you stumble when reading, because your brain makes you say the old familiar words!

However, the study notes are not so welcome, as they reflect a low view of the Scriptures and regurgitate the discredited Documentary Hypothesis and liberal views of authorship. It is strange that these get the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat of the Roman Catholic Church, whose catechism and offical statements take a high view of the Scriptures.

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