A Roman Catholic Testament -- By: John H. Skilton

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 09:2 (May 1947)
Article: A Roman Catholic Testament
Author: John H. Skilton


A Roman Catholic Testamenta

John H. Skilton

PERHAPS the most important thing that can be said about the English version of the New Testament edited by Roman Catholic scholars under the patronage of the Episcopal Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine is that it is a Roman Catholic testament.1 Skilful editors have succeeded in giving it a distinctively Roman Catholic complexion and in making it thereby an able twentieth-century successor to the Challoner-Rheims version. In previous articles dealing with problems of text and translation2 some evidence has been offered of the influence of Roman Catholic views on the work. Little, however, has as yet been said about the annotations of a doctrinal and exegetical type, which are a leading factor in giving the Confraternity New Testament its Roman Catholic character. This article will concern itself chiefly with these annotations and with other helps provided for the reader.

The Rheims New Testament, published in 1582, from which the Confraternity New Testament has descended, contained a great number of annotations of a doctrinal sort, some of them quite lengthy, an extensive preface, introductions or arguments to the various books, rather full chapter headings, and other aids. The edition of the Challoner-Rheims New

Testament consulted in the preparation of this article3 provides far fewer annotations than does the original Rhemish testament, and offers among other helps short introductions and chapter headings, and a table of references, which has great doctrinal significance. The Confraternity New Testament, true to the principles of its predecessors — and not yielding to the prevailing Protestant custom — contains many interpretative annotations — fewer by far than are found in the Rhemish testament but considerably more than are found in our edition of the Challoner text. In addition to the annotations, it provides for the assistance of the reader a short preface, brief introductions, a glossary, and other materials. It abandons the old-style chapter headings, and gives instead a rather prominent running interpretation and analysis of the text. But the reader of the Confraternity New Testament is offered much more help than is furnished him in the New Testament volume itself. At times he is referred in the annotations to a very able one-volume commentary which has been specially prepared to accompany the New Testament volume.4 Although originally it was intended to publish...

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