Jerusalem Bible
The Jerusalem Bible is a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 which first was introduced to the English-speaking public in 1966 and published by Darton, Longman & Todd. As a Roman Catholic Bible, it includes the deuterocanonical books along with the sixty-six others included in Protestant Bibles, as well as copious footnotes and introductions.

Excerpts from the Jerusalem Bible are used in the Lectionary
A Lectionary is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for Christian or Judaic worship on a given day or occasion.-History:...

 for Mass that was approved by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is the episcopal conference of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.-About:...

 and that is used is most of the English-speaking world. Other translations have also been approved for use in the Liturgy by the English and Welsh bishops.


In 1943 Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 issued an encyclical letter
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Catholic Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop...

, Divino Afflante Spiritu
Divino Afflante Spiritu
Divino Afflante Spiritu is an encyclical letter issued by Pope Pius XII on September 30, 1943. It inaugurated the modern period of Roman Catholic Bible studies by permitting the limited use of modern methods of biblical criticism. The Catholic bible scholar Raymond E...

, which encouraged Roman Catholics to translate the Scriptures from the original Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, rather than from Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

's Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

. As a result, a number of Dominicans
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 and other scholars at the École Biblique
École Biblique
The École Biblique, strictly the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem, is a respected French academic establishment in Jerusalem, founded by Dominicans, and specialising in archaeology and Biblical exegesis.-Foundation:...

 in Jerusalem translated the scriptures into French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

. The product of these efforts was published as La Bible de Jérusalem in 1956.

This French translation served as the impetus for an English translation in 1966, the Jerusalem Bible. For the majority of the books, the English translation was an original translation of the Hebrew and Greek; in passages with more than one interpretation, the French is generally followed. For a small number of Old Testament books, the first draft of the English translation was made directly from the French, and then the General Editor produced a revised draft by comparing this word-for-word to the original Hebrew or Aramaic. The footnotes and book introductions are almost literal translations from the French.

The translation

The translation itself uses a literal approach that has been admired for its literary qualities, perhaps in part due to its most famous contributor, J.R.R. Tolkien (his primary contribution was the translation of Jonah
Book of Jonah
The Book of Jonah is a book in the Hebrew Bible. It tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah ben Amittai who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission...

). The introductions, footnotes, and even the translation itself reflect a modern scholarly approach and the conclusions of scholars who use historical-critical method. As examples, the introduction and notes reject Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

' authorship of the Pentateuch, as well as the Book of Wisdom
Book of Wisdom
The Book of Wisdom, often referred to simply as Wisdom or the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, is one of the deuterocanonical books of the Bible. It is one of the seven Sapiential or wisdom books of the Septuagint Old Testament, which includes Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon ,...

 having been authored by King Solomon.

The Jerusalem Bible was the first widely accepted Roman Catholic English translation of the Bible since the Douay-Rheims Version
Douai Bible
The Douay–Rheims Bible is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the English College, Douai, in the service of the Catholic Church...

 of the 17th century. The Jerusalem Bible was considered such a high quality advanced English translation of the Bible that the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 used it in the European liturgy and the Mass. This reference for The Jerusalem Bible can be found in the introduction page of the Roman Catholic Missal
A missal is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year.-History:Before the compilation of such books, several books were used when celebrating Mass...

s as the source reference for the readings. It has also been widely praised for an overall very high level of scholarship, and is widely admired and sometimes used by liberal and moderate Protestants. The overall text seems to have somewhat of a "Mid-Atlantic
Mid-Atlantic English
Mid-Atlantic English is a cultivated or acquired version of the English language that is not a typical idiom of any location. It blends American and British without being predominantly either. It is also used to describe various forms of North American speech that have assimilated some British...

" nature, neither overwhelmingly British
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

 nor particularly American
American English
American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers of English live in the United States....

, making it acceptable to both groups in most instances. Overall, it has come to be considered as one of the better English translations of the Bible made in the 20th century.


In the pursuit of compliance with modernity and evidence, the Jerusalem Bible returns to the use of the historical name Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

 as the name of God in the Old Testament. The move has been welcomed by some; however, it has not been popular among groups who would prefer the name of God be left unpronounced, or substituted with Lord or another title.

In 2007, at the behest of Pope Benedict XVI, the use of the name 'Yahweh' was dropped from Catholic bibles, most notably the new CTS Catholic Bible, which uses the Jerusalem text.


  • In 1973, the French translation received an update. A third French edition was produced in 1998.
  • In 1985, the English translation was completely updated. This new translation — known as the New Jerusalem Bible
    New Jerusalem Bible
    The New Jerusalem Bible is a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985 by Darton, Longman & Todd and Les Editions du Cerf, and edited by the Reverend Henry Wansbrough.- Contents :...

    — was freshly translated from the original languages and not tied to any French translation (except indirectly, as it maintained many of the stylistic and interpretive choices of the French Jerusalem Bible).
  • In 2007 the Catholic Truth Society
    Catholic Truth Society
    Catholic Truth Society is a body that prints and publishes Catholic literature, including apologetics but also prayerbooks, spiritual reading, lives of saints and so forth...

     published an updated edition of the Jerusalem Bible as the "CTS New Catholic Bible". The main changes were the replacement of the name Yahweh with "LORD" throughout the Old Testament and the complete replacement of the Psalms
    The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

     with the 1963 Grail translation. This revised version conforms to the translations used in Catholic Liturgy in England and Wales (and other english speaking countries apart from the U.S.) as well as the directives of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
    Pontifical Biblical Commission
    The Pontifical Biblical Commission is an organism established within the Roman Curia to ensure the proper interpretation and defense of Sacred Scripture.-The Commission 1901-1971:...


See also

  • Pierre Benoit
    Pierre Benoit (archaeologist)
    Maurice Benoit , better known as Pierre Benoit, was a French catholic priest, exegete, and theologian.-Biography:...

    , one of the translators
  • New Jerusalem Bible
    New Jerusalem Bible
    The New Jerusalem Bible is a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985 by Darton, Longman & Todd and Les Editions du Cerf, and edited by the Reverend Henry Wansbrough.- Contents :...

  • Traduction Oecuménique de la Bible
    Traduction Oecuménique de la Bible
    The Traduction œcuménique de la Bible TOB is a French ecumenical translation of the Bible, made in 1975-1976 by Catholics and Protestants....

  • Latin Vulgate
  • Douay-Rheims
    Douai Bible
    The Douay–Rheims Bible is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the English College, Douai, in the service of the Catholic Church...

  • Ignatius Bible (RSV-CE)
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
    The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition is an adaptation of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible for use by Catholics...

  • New American Bible
    New American Bible
    The New American Bible is a Catholic Bible translation first published in 1970. It had its beginnings in the Confraternity Bible, which began to be translated from the original languages in 1948....

External links

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