A new edition of one the most popular English-language Bibles will offer substitutes for words such as “booty” and “holocaust” to better reflect modern understanding. Nearly 50 scholars from all faiths and a committee of Roman Catholic bishops have labored since 1994 over the first fresh edition of the New American Bible since 1970, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said on Wednesday.
The changes go beyond a few words being altered, and include freshly-written notes that should help readers better understand the Catholic Cchurch’s interpretation of biblical concepts, Sperry said. The revisions more accurately reflect translations of ancient Hebrew and Greek versions of the Old Testament and the constant evolution of modern-day language.
For example, the word “holocaust,” which for most people refers to the World War Two genocide of Jews, was changed to “burnt offerings,” which clarifies the original, positive idea of making offerings to God. “Booty,” which has come to have a sexual connotation, was changed to “spoils of war;” and “cereal,” which many think of as breakfast food, became “grain” to reference loads of wheat.
In a change in a passage in Isaiah 7:14 that foretells the coming of Jesus and his birth to a virgin mother, the 1970 edition’s reference to “the virgin” will become “the young woman,” to better translate the Hebrew word “almah.”
“The bishops and the Bible are not signaling any sort of change in the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus. None whatsoever,” Sperry added.