Book of Wisdom translation

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: When my professor introduced us to the Jerusalem Bible in the early sixties,  he said it was good enough to be our biblical frame of reference for “…the next 10 years.”   I never thought I would have to refer to it over 50 years later to make sense of last Sunday’s reading from the Book of Wisdom as found in the New American Bible readings.

Most of the people to whom I would normally complain to have died.    I read at Mass on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time of Year A and prepared for it and worked at it….trying to honestly make sense of the first sentence for people who simply listen .  I was sorely tempted to alter some words to help clarify the meaning as found in my dogeared Jerusalem Bible translation.

There is no god besides you who have the care of all,

that you need show you have not unjustly condemned.

My computer has underlined three words for erroneous usage in the two lines above as they are found .

I submit to you there are on California proposition ballots offerings less obtuse……and it is due to translation not intent.  These are the opening lines of the reading.   There is another “…and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity.”

Just wanted to vent. 


A: I agree that that is a very difficult translation to proclaim effectively. I point out in Words Without Alloy that that reading was a last minute addition to the Lectionary for Mass, though it was included in a list recommended by scholars before the drafts were compiled.

None of that excuses a dense translation.

Although I work with ICEL, ICEL does not work on the bible translations. That’s someone else. I understand that Catholics in the US are to receive a new translation of the New American Bible for proclamation within a couple of years, but I am not close to that work to know if this passage was revised.

Thanks for your long and passionate ministry to the Church.