Czech bishops have criticized a new translation of the Bible that came out last week. Entitled the Bible – a 21st century translation, its ambition is to present Biblical texts in contemporary language easily comprehensible to the broad public. But Czech bishops point out that the new translation cannot be used in some Catholic services.
“The project started as the new Bible of Kralice which referred to the most famous Czech translation of the Bible which appeared in the 17th century. But then the authors changed their strategy and renamed their work the Bible – a 21st century translation. This was a purely commercial move because all languages change every day, so the bishops disagree with such a huge commercial campaign for Bible 21. Also the Catholic Church and Protestant churches differ on the number of Old Testament books. The Catholic Church has 46 books in the Old Testament, and Catholic readers will miss parts of the Old Testament in the new Bible 21.”
I understand that the Catholic Church is also concerned with the edition of the new translation as such?
“Yes, because responsible readers who want to understand the text in its plenitude must be informed about the historical circumstances, cultural differences and literary forms of various Biblical texts. A Bible for such readers must contain these introductions and explanations but no such thing is offered in the Bible 21.”
Would you say that generally, Czech bishops encourage people to read the new translation?
“Yes, of course. The bishops say in their statement that every critical confrontation of various Biblical translations can be useful for the readers and enrich their Biblical knowledge. So there are no objections to the fact that there is a new translation of the Bible as such; the bishops only say that this translation, just like many other Czech translations, cannot be used on some special occasions in the Catholic Church, but it’s good and valuable that we have a new translation of the Bible.”
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