St Paul’s Publications have published an international version of the New Community Biblewhich during the Year of Faith is available for only $11. This is a real bargain, especially considering it has a hardback cover and a thumb index. I’ve ordered my copy already.

The NCB is a reworking of the Christian Community Bible, which the Filopino Claretian Fathers published in 1988. The CCB, in turn, originated from a Spanish translation, the Biblia Latinoaméricana, which was produced by a French Claretian in Chile. Wikipedia gives the history.

Apart from its price, the NCB claims to have in its favour an easy-to-read style and lengthy footnotes which are not only scholarly, but also catechetical and homiletical. If I had to compare it to one of the better known translations, the Jerusalem Bible comes to mind. The readings at Mass are based on the Jerusalem translation, and I often use the New Jerusalem for spiritual reading and prayer.

Different translations and editions are good for different purposes. At the seminary, we were required to use the Revised Standard Version or the New Revised Standard Version for study purposes, since these translations are more precise. I favoured the Ignatius Bible, which is the best edition currently available of the Revised Standard Version — Catholic Edition. I like the language of the RSV. The scriptural quotes I have memorised are typically in this translation. The NRSV is okay, but I think it lacks the RSV’s poetry.

I have also bought several volumes of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. These are inexpensive books — paperback, stapled, and printed on cheap paper — which are ideal for scripture study. I could highlight text and scribble notes in the margins without troubling my conscience. (I don’t like defacing books!) Scott Hahn’s lengthy footnotes were a great complement to the lecturers’ remarks.

I like the Navarre Bible for homiletical purposes. It uses the NRSV translation, but what sets it apart are the extensive footnotes which quote from the Church Fathers and many modern saints — especially St Josemaría Escrivá, who founded Opus Dei, which in turn founded the University of Navarre from which the Navarre Bible gets its name.

And, just because I like the author, and the idea of his translation, I also treasure my Knox Bible. It’s something of a tragedy that Msgr Knox was obliged to translate the Latin Vulgate, rather than translate the Hebrew and Greek originals. The restrictive terms set by the English bishops means that his translation — a monumental effort by one man! — became obsolete much sooner than it should have.

I’d like to think the New Community Bible is a valuable addition to my scriptural library. At $11 it’s worth a try, anyway. Here’s the publisher’s press release.