The Basic Text For The Latest Revision Of The Roman Catholic New Testament In English -- By: John H. Skilton

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 06:1 (Nov 1943)
Article: The Basic Text For The Latest Revision Of The Roman Catholic New Testament In English
Author: John H. Skilton

The Basic Text For The Latest Revision Of The Roman Catholic New Testament In English

John H. Skilton

[This article will be followed by another dealing with the question: What service may a translation of the Latin Vulgate be expected to render? which will be published in an early issue of this Journal. It is also expected that other articles on this English version of the New Testament will be published in subsequent issues.— THE EDITORS.]

THE English version of the New Testament published in 1941, translated from the Latin Vulgate, a revision of the Challoner-Rheims version, edited by Roman Catholic scholars, merits close study by members of both Protestant and Roman communions. It is the notable fruit of more than five years of effort on the part of able scholars working according to definite principles. Unlike the Rheims New Testament and the Challoner and other subsequent English Roman Catholic revisions, the new version has been made by a sizeable committee. It represents the labors of a group of twenty-seven scholars, assisted by many others. The work on the version was divided so that no one would be unduly burdened and so that all could give sufficient study to their assignments. The new revision, however, deserves attention not only because of the competent labor bestowed upon it and because of its intrinsic merit; but also because it is in a sense a church production claiming all the authority necessary for its purposes. In its preface, after the need of a revision of the Challoner-Rheims version has been set forth, the following statement appears: “The English version which is presented in this volume is the answer of the Church in America to this

need. Its preparation was requested and supervised by the Episcopal Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. The principles upon which it rests were submitted to the Secretary and to other members of the Biblical Commission at Rome, and received complete approval. .. .. .. It enjoys, therefore,. .. .. .. the authority necessary in any serious attempt to meet the requirements of an improved Catholic version in English.”1

Protestants and Roman Catholics both will do well to weigh the principles followed in the choice of the text on which this scholarly, authoritative revision is based. The Confraternity version claims to be a translation of the Latin Vulgate. At once the questions must be asked: Is it a translation of a scientifically reconstructed text of the Vulgate? Does it uncritically follow the standard Sistine-Clementine edition? We may learn from the general secretary of the Editorial Board of the Revision Committee, the Right Reverend Monsignor William L. Newt...

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