Friday, March 4, 2011

New Catholic Bible Replaces 'Young Woman' for Virgin in Isaiah

One of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ substitution in a new translation of the Bible may provoke an outcry from traditionalists if they interpret it as a dilution of a cornerstone of Catholic theology.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ordered the new translation, which turned out to be a 17-year-project, in the interests of accuracy, user-friendliness, and poetic tone. The translation team included 50 scholars, linguistic experts, and theologians, and five bishops. The fruits of their labors are scheduled to be out on Ash Wednesday, March 9.

The potentially controversial change involves an Old Testament passage foretelling Jesus Christ’s birth to a virgin. The 1970 version of the New American Bible chronicles Isaiah 7:14 as noting that "the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." The new version refers to “the young woman” rather than a virgin.

The translation notes that “the original Hebrew word, ‘almah,’ may, or may not, signify a virgin.

The switch-out doesn’t signify a change in Catholic theology, Bishop Richard Sklba.

Mary Elizabeth Sperry of the bishops conference acknowledges that dropping the virgin may rankle some: "Some people will be gravely distressed, and others will be absolutely ecstatic and some will just say, 'I liked it the old way.' "

Proverbs 31:10, which riled many women because it detailed the image of "The Ideal Wife" from a man’s worldview, now is called a "Poem on the Woman of Worth."

"Women will like this: being measured by their own accomplishments, not in terms of a husband's perspective," Sperry says.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Horvat,
    Thank you for posting this. Why would someone be ecstatic over taking the description of Our Lady as 'virgin' out of the Scripture? Unless of course it helps them to rationalize the Divinity of Our Lord?

    With due respect to His Excellency, see my comment above. What about eliminating the Truth about the Virgin BIrth and minimizing the Divinity of Our Lord is so benign that it does not change our Catholic theology?

    Mark Serafino