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Revised English


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Revised English Bible

A revision of the New English Bible, the Revised English Bible was published in 1989. A number of new member denominations were added to the joint committee, including the Roman Catholic Church, the United Reformed Church, the Moravian Church, and the Salvation Army.

As did the translators of the New English Bible, they divided the panels to translate the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Apocrypha respectively. Unlike the translators of the NEB however, the translators of the Revised English Bible preferred the 1979 Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece to the eclectic Greek text.

There are some obvious departures from the New English Bible. God is addressed in the REB with the less formal "you" rather than "thou." Some effort is made to alter the use of gender-exclusive language, although these changes are minimal and sporadic. While there are few subheadings, the REB added some that were not included in the NEB. And there was an effort made to reduce the British flavor of the NEB.

The Revised English Bible translators were conservative in their departures from the Masoretic Text, as is made evident by their position stated in the preface to the text:

    It is probable that the Masoretic text remained substantially unaltered from the second century A.D. to the present time, and this text is reproduced in all Hebrew Bibles. The New English Bible translators used the third edition of Kittel's Biblia Hebraica ... Despite the care used in the copying of the Masoretic Text, it contains errors, in the correction of which there are witnesses to be heard. None of them is throughout superior to the Masoretic Text, but in particular places their evidence may preserve the correct readings.

Overall, the Revised English Bible is a readable text, effectively modernizing the English of the New English Bible. But it was not without its problems, including some awkward translations.

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was a vast waste, darkness covered the deep, and the spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water. -- Genesis 1:1-2


Overview of Bible Study