Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn in Australia, writes that there was “no hope that the Lectionary or any part of it will appear at the same time as the Missal”. The Lectionary, in this context, refers to the book of scripture readings used at Mass.

His announcement continues with the news that this Lectionary will be based on the English Standard Version (ESV) with the revised Grail Psalter.

It is well known that the ESV is a conservative, Evangelical translation.

I am, hence for example, fascinated by what Roman Catholics will make of the Evangelical translation of ἱλασμός (hilasmos) which in ESV becomes “propitiation” (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 1 Jn 4:10). In previous RC translations, this is “expiation” (NAB) or “sacrifice to win reconciliation” (JB).

ESV is also seen as “a kind of knee jerk reaction to the publication of the ‘NIV Inclusive Language Edition’ in 1996.” It might, hence, be seen as surprising that this translation will become the official Roman Catholic one. Or maybe not, as it fits with the contemporary RC tendency to often translate as gender-uninclusively as possible.

I can see some integrity in translating singulars to the singular, and struggling to keep the original gender-inclusive intention of the original in tact in the very gender-specific English translation. I think the NRSV approach of using the gender-inclusive English plural, with clarification in the footnotes for those who do not read the original, one sensible way forward.

I have reviewed the ESV previously here. Suffice to say that I cannot for the life of me have any respect for a version that, for example, translates ἀδελφοὶ (adelphoi) as “brothers” while the ESV in its footnotes declares, “The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in the family… men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church.”

Thanks to readers who alerted me to the archbishop’s announcement.

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