New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem, Church of the, or New Church, religious body instituted by the followers of Emanuel Swedenborg, who are generally called Swedenborgians. Knowledge of Swedenborg's teachings was spread in England largely by two clergymen, Thomas Hartley and John Clowes, and a printer, Robert Hindmarsh. The first public services of an organized congregation were held (1788) in London. In 1789 a general conference met. In the United States, Swedenborg's teachings were introduced (1784) by James Glen, member of a London society. A New Church society was formed (1792) in Baltimore, and in 1817 a general convention of the New Jerusalem in the United States of America was organized. In polity it is a modified episcopacy, with each society enjoying great freedom in administering its own affairs. A general convention is held annually. The teachings of the church stress individual self-realization through study of Swedenborg's interpretation of the Scriptures. In 1890 a number of members broke their connection with the general convention to form a separate organization, which in 1897 took the name "General Church of the New Jerusalem." This body regarded Swedenborg's theological writings as "the very Word of the Lord revealed at his second coming."
The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985 and edited by The Reverend Henry Wansbrough, O.S.B., monk of Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire and former Master of St Benet's Hall, Oxford.


The New Jerusalem Bible includes the deuterocanonical books and additions. The text of these is included where they occur in the context of the complete Septuagint, rather than being grouped together in an appendix. Deuterocanonical additions to books in the Hebrew canon are identified by the use of italics.

Source of the NJB

Like its predecessor, the Jerusalem Bible, this version is translated "directly from the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic." The 1973 French translation, the Bible de Jérusalem, is followed only "where the text admits to more than one interpretation." Introductions and notes, with some modifications, are taken from the Bible de Jérusalem.

Review of the NJB

It is an update to the Jerusalem Bible, an English version of the French Bible de Jérusalem. However, the Jerusalem Bible was not a translation from the French; rather, it is an original translation heavily influenced by the French. When the French version was updated in 1973, the changes were used to revise the Jerusalem Bible, creating the New Jerusalem Bible.

The revisions were substantial. The revised version is said to be less literary but, for the most part, more literal. The introductions and footnotes, translated almost entirely from the French, have also been thoroughly revised and expanded, making it one of the most scholarly editions of the Bible.

The New Jerusalem Bible uses some "inclusive language," as in Exodus 20:17: "You shall not set your heart on your neighbor's spouse," rather than "neighbor's wife" or "neighbor's woman". For the most part, however, the inclusive language is limited to avoiding a "preference" for the masculine, as the translators write in the foreword. The New Jerusalem Bible uses more gender inclusive language than the Jerusalem Bible, but far less than many modern translations such as the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition which changes "brothers" to "brothers and sisters", throughout the New Testament. For the inclusive language that it does contain, it has been rejected by many conservative American Catholics, in favor of the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, the New American Bible, or the Douay-Rheims Bible. Outside of America it has become the most widely used Catholic translation in English-speaking countries.

Like the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible makes the uncommon decision to render God's name, the Tetragrammaton, in the Jewish scriptures as Yahweh rather than as LORD or God . Yahweh is the closest in English to get to what is commonly believed to be the pronunciation of YHWH, the Hebrew holy name of God, though it has in the past been spelled "Jehovah".

The New Jerusalem Bible also transliterates the Hebrew term "Sabaoth" rather than using the traditional rendering, thus "Yahweh Sabaoth" instead of "LORD of hosts". This is for the sake of accuracy, as the translation of "Sabaoth" is uncertain. (New Jerusalem Bible, Regular Edition, footnote to Samuel 1:3)

The text received a third update in 1998, and is currently undergoing a fourth revision, under which it will revert Yahweh to LORD.


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