Nab Audio Bible

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The NAB Audio Bible enjoys an intriguing history. In 1943, Pope Pius XII wrote a letter encouraging Roman Catholic scholars to undertake a new translation of the Bible based on its original language and not the Latin Vulgate, which had been the standard until then. At the same time, the Confraternity Version, also based on the Vulgate, was coming to fruition in America. Hence there were several competing texts all at once.

With the Pope's letter, translators felt comfortable abandoning the Old Testament translations they were in the midst of and began working from the original Hebrew. By 1956, translations were underway on the Greek-based New Testamant. All in all, the complete New American Bible was ready to go by 1970.

Snags Along the Way to the NAB Audio Bible

The NAB Audio Bible you hear today is not, however, based directly on that 1970 text. Liturgical guidelines insisted on more inclusive and gender-neutral language in the text, and so the NAB has been continually revised ever since. The audio Bible products you hear today are thus often based on a hodge-podge of translations. The NAB is still considered the "official" text of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, even though it's been modified and re-modified to meet the Vatican's approval.

If the legacy of the NAB, the King James Bible on CD, and other audio products seems convoluted, that's because it is. A great many people stand to profit from having their own interests served in the never-ending quest for the "definitive" Bible translation. With all the bickering, it can feel like Christian tenets such as pluralism and harmony go straight out the window.


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