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Is it right to revise the Bible?

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“There is no way to 'clean up' Twain without doing irreparable harm to the truth of his work,” declared a New York Times editorial.

Does this latest edition of the Bible, “The New American Bible Revised Edition,” do irreparable harm to the truth of His work? Most seem to think it doesn’t. Decide for yourself.

Some of the changes in the new edition include –

• “Booty” is now “spoils of war,” sure to disappoint snickering Sunday school students.

• The word “holocaust,” now associated with World War II genocide, has been replaced with “burnt offering.”

• In the 23rd psalm, the phrase "walk through a dark valley” has been changed back to “walk though the valley of the shadow of death,” the wording used prior to the 1970s revision.

• Proverbs 31:10, the ode to “The Ideal Wife,” is now a “Poem on the Woman of Worth.”

“Women will like this: being measured by their own accomplishments, not in terms of a husband's perspective,” said Mary Elizabeth Sperry of the bishops conference, in a USA Today story.

• The most controversial change comes in Isaiah 7:14, a passage that many Christians believe foreshadows the coming of Christ. The 1970 version of the verse says, “the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.”

The new version replaces “virgin” with “the young woman.” Theologians say this better represents the meaning of the Hebrew word, almah, which doesn’t necessarily signify a virgin. But traditionalists may see it as a step away from the original meaning.

Is the new edition working to distance Catholicism from the virgin birth of Jesus? Certainly, the danger is that slow, incremental changes in the Bible could result in a shift in meaning over time, a serious concern with regards to religious scripture.

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