As I was studying the readings for today, I noticed a translation difference between the Lectionary and the NIV for today’s psalm, Psalm 29. This led me to poke around and I discovered that there were substantial differences between the Lectionary and the translation given in the NAB (revised edition). As given in the Lectionary, it reads (Ps 29, 1-2, 3-4, 9-10)
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
The NAB (revised edition), on the other hand, reads
Give to the Lord, you sons of God,
give to the Lord glory and might;
Give to the Lord the glory due his name.
Bow down before the Lord’s holy splendor!
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is power;
the voice of the Lord is splendor.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer dance
and strips the forests bare.
All in his Temple say, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned above the flood!
The Lord reigns as king forever!
The change that caught my attention was in the first stanza, where the original “might” or “power” (NIV) becomes “praise”. None of the changes are earth shattering: the overall sense of the Psalm is maintained, and the text is now somewhat better for singing or reciting in English. But the differences are a noticeable departure from the original.
A bit of poking around revealed that the Lectionary is not the same as the NAB. There is a brief discussion at EWTN about changes to the Lectionary because the Vatican did not approve of some of the translations in the revision of the NAB. Wikipedia also has a discussion that touches on the lectionary. Though I was aware of the revision process for the NAB, I had somehow overlooked or forgotten the divergence between the NAB and the Lectionary. So my quick question, honestly asked, is this: in the Lectionary, which translation of the psalms is used? Does it still use the older, 1970 version of the Old Testament, or is it a special revision/translation for the Lectionary? If the latter, what principles guided the translation to result in a text that differs from the actual text to such a degree? I decided to ask this question publicly since I figured that others were not aware of these issues, and a brief discussion and clarification by the cognoscenti among us would be edifying.