Standard translation

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The uniform translation (EÜ) is a German translation of the Bible for liturgical use in Roman Catholic worship. The Bible , which is published by the Catholic Biblical Works , was compiled from 1962 to 1980 by Catholic theologians with the participation of Protestant theologians . The New Testament and the Psalms were jointly responsible .

A ten-year revision was completed in April 2016; this revised version is now referred to as "standard translation 2016". The revision took into account new findings on early text witnesses and changes in current linguistic usage. In addition, attempts were made to translate the original language images and formulations (especially the psalms) into German as far as possible. This version was presented in September 2016; it has been available since December 6, 2016.


The development of the standard translation is a consequence of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council . The Second Vatican Council allowed the use of the respective national language in the liturgy in addition to the Latin language . This also made it urgent to work out new translations of the Bible for liturgical use in the national languages: "This is why the Church endeavors to work out useful and accurate translations of the Bible into the various languages." ( Dei Verbum No. 22).

Name and purpose

The standard translation should become the standardized Bible for all German-speaking dioceses. The name “standard translation” reflects this goal. Contrary to a common misunderstanding, the name does not mean that a joint translation of the Bible should be created by the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Churches. Protestant theologians have been involved in the work from the very beginning, but at no time did they attempt to replace the Luther translation , which is common in the Protestant church .

In terms of language, care should be taken to ensure that it is easy to understand and that the style is upscale. In addition to theologians , linguists , experts in liturgy , catechetics , didactics , media pedagogy and church music collaborated in the elaboration to ensure that it was fully usable .

The aim of good comprehensibility and broad application possibilities is also served by the detailed introductions to the individual biblical books, which also take up the results of historical-critical biblical studies , and numerous explanations that are added to the text as footnotes.

Text basis

The objective of the Second Vatican Council to produce a “usable and accurate” translation included a preparation “with priority from the original text of the Holy Books” (Dei Verbum No. 22). The pre-eminence of the Latin Vulgate in the Roman Catholic Church, which had been valid until then , was thus given up. This presented the Catholic theologians with the challenge of no longer translating the Latin Bible into German, contrary to the previous practice, but rather of translating from Hebrew , Aramaic and Greek into German. The Roman Catholic Church thus realized a demand of the Reformation , which had called for a return from the Vulgate to the sources.

Testing and approval of the first version (standard translation 1980)

The translation work lasted from 1962 to 1974. The translation was then tested in practice and revised again from 1975 to 1978. In 1978 the German Bishops' Conference approved the final version. Since then, the standard translation has proven itself in its objectives and has become the uniform textual basis for the liturgical books of the German-speaking dioceses.

Ecumenical meaning and revision

Standard translation 1980

Pastors from the Evangelical Michael Brotherhood had worked on the standard translation from the beginning (i.e. since 1962). At the invitation of the German Bishops' Conference , exegetes named by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) also took part. In 1970, the Bishops' Conference and the EKD signed a contract to work together on the uniform translation, which thus became a special sign of ecumenism in Germany. Psalms and New Testament of the standard translation in the version from 1980, including all explanations and additions, are also part of the responsibility of the EKD as ecumenical texts. The uniform translation as a whole is often used alongside the Luther Bible in ecumenical events.

Creating an ecumenical full Bible was (and is) not possible because the evangelical side does not recognize the ancient Greek scriptures of the Old Testament as a Bible in the true sense and at most places them in an appendix to the Old Testament. For the Catholic Church, however, a gradation of the meaning between Greek and Hebrew scriptures of the Old Testament is fundamentally unacceptable.

Norbert Lohfink , main translator of the books Deuteronomy and Kohelet, writes about the way the translators work : “The translators responsible were all exegesis professors. They had to prepare rough translations, which were then discussed sentence by sentence in numerous meetings in working groups put together on an ad hoc basis . Later, in addition to the main translators, liturgists, religious educators, pastors from the Evangelical Michael Brotherhood (so that the matter became ecumenical) and Germanists from Walter Jens ' circle , and later also writers , came to these groups . The main translator was ultimately responsible. ” Heinrich Böll was one of the advisory writers .

License plate of the standard translation 1980

  • The uniform translation from 1980 almost always reproduces the name of God YHWH , which occurs almost 7,000 times in the Hebrew Bible, as “the Lord” due to the Jewish tradition of not saying God's name. "Yahweh" was chosen in around 100 cases:
  1. Central statements of the Jewish faith such as Deuteronomy 6.4: “Hear, Israel! Yahweh our God, Yahweh is only. "
  2. talking to outsiders who do not know the God of Israel, e.g. B. The Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus.
  • The Old Testament central term חֶסֶד ( chesed ) is regularly translated as "grace" by the standard translation. This word very well expresses God's loyalty to the covenant in OT, namely the friendly care of the superior to the weaker - this makes it well suited for concordant Bible translations such as “ The Scriptures ” by Buber and Rosenzweig . But the word is out of date in German, and that has consequences: "If God is celebrated for his 'grace' in every second or third psalm, the word does not arouse any emotions, it has no connection points in everyday use." The word “grace” is therefore only used in individual places by other common German Bible translations and can be an indication that a Bible text was taken from the EÜ.
  • The Old Testament central term תורה ( tora ) is often translated by the standard translation as “instruction”, in places which the Luther Bible reproduces as “law”. This z. B. the Torah psalm 119 in the standard translation has a different character than in the Luther Bible. Here, too, an influence of the translation by Buber and Rosenzweig can be assumed.
  • The word Pascha, which occurs in the New Testament, following the Septuagint , as an Aramaic loan word in the Greek text (πασχα), also stands for the Hebrew Passover in the Old Testament .
  • The following texts in the New Testament have been translated twice by the ecumenical commission, with the translation intended for the liturgy being in the main text: Luke 1, 46–55 ( Magnificat ); Luke 1: 68-79 ( Benedictus ); Luke 2: 29-32 ( Nunc dimittis ).
  • In Psalm 124: 8a, the standard translation from 1980 adopted a well-known formulation from the Luther Bible as an ecumenical gesture: “Our help is in the name of the Lord” and noted as a footnote: “In many prayers in the Catholic liturgy, the conventional translation is used: Our help is in the name of the Lord. "

Revised standard translation

In 2002 the Bishops' Conference (DBK) decided on a moderate revision of the translation. In the fall of 2003, a “Church Books” office was set up at the DBK Secretariat, which, in addition to the Bible revision, also looked after the new edition of liturgical books. From now on, the Catholic Biblical Work was no longer involved as an institution in the work - unlike in 1979/1980.

Withdrawal of the EKD

The revised standard translation was also originally intended to be a joint project with the Protestant Church. Before the revision began, there was a conflict between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant sides, as a result of which the EKD terminated the contract concluded in 1970 in 2005 because the Roman Catholic Church was following the Roman instruction Liturgiam authenticam (28. March 2001), which made the revised Latin Bible ( Nova Vulgata ) the norm for contentious decisions. The principle of consensus practiced up to then no longer applied, according to which a common ground between the denominations had to be achieved in the case of contentious issues. In addition, the revision should be subjected to papal approbation after its completion , which the EKD also rejected. The reactions to the failure of the joint translation were different. The Catholic Church reacted with incomprehension. The then chairman of the Catholic German Bishops' Conference , Karl Cardinal Lehmann , spoke of a "considerable burden" for ecumenism and accused the EKD representatives of withdrawing too suddenly without attempting to clarify. The EKD Council also regretted the development, but stated that it had "made every possible effort to avoid the result that has now occurred."

The revision work (from January 24, 2006)

Apart from individual corrections for linguistic or exegetical reasons (distributed over the entire Bible text), the following main tasks were for the auditors:

  • Withdrawal of translations based on hypothetical corrections to the Hebrew text ( conjectures ) and the translation of the Masoretic text instead ;
  • New translation of the ancient Greek books of the Old Testament where the Septuagint research has found a different basic text; the book of Jesus Sirach has been completely re-translated.

In carrying out the work, the exegetes soon faced another task:

  • The original text with its linguistic images and key words should be recognizable in the translation (“shine through”). Here, the revision approaches basic text-oriented translations such as the Elberfeld Bible . The standard translation was previously a target language-oriented translation; the revised standard translation now combines both translation types.
  • In the case of the psalms, Catholic exegesis ( Norbert Lohfink , Georg Braulik , Frank-Lothar Hossfeld , Erich Zenger ) had made a change in previous years from psalm exegesis to psaltery exegesis, which sometimes required a new translation of these poetic texts. Although the Psalter of 1980 was supposed to be suitable for liturgical singing, this made high demands on the singers. Here, the exegetes worked together with the editors of the Praise of God in the revision of the Psalms in order to "distribute the text rhythm in such a way that there were no unsingable accentuations in the wrong places."

While the exegetes had worked in small teams during the initial translation, this time the revisers went through the text they were reviewing individually. The exegetes communicated directly with the management committee, which decided on all changes. This final editorial team included: Alois Kothgasser , Martin Gächter , Wilhelm Egger and Joachim Wanke .

"Above everything was ... the veil of discretion prescribed for all involved." Therefore, only individual pieces of information were ever made public: in February 2010 the revision work on the New Testament had already been completed and work on the Old Testament had progressed so far that the work was expected to be completed in 2011. The version of the new version from February 2010 preferred gender-neutral formulations and consistently refrained from reproducing the divine name YHWH as "Yahweh".

Recognition in Rome (March 2016)

After that, however, the texts were approved by the relevant bodies of the German-speaking bishops' conferences and the Vatican; the duration of the approval process could not be foreseen at this point in time. At the spring plenary meeting of the German Bishops' Conference in 2012, a New Testament approval draft was submitted and accepted. A year later, the General Assembly adopted the revised Approbation Proposals for the New and Old Testaments. In April 2016, Reinhard Cardinal Marx announced that the revised version would appear in autumn 2016. The new, revised standard translation has been available since December 2016. The fact that it appeared almost at the same time as the revised Luther Bible was not planned, but resulted from delays compared to the original schedule.

The 2017 annual edition

The revised text version approved in Rome from 2016 contained a misleading error in Matthew 21: 28-32, which has been corrected in all Bibles delivered since September 2017 as well as the online version. For the owners of the first edition, the Bible work offers a suitable sticker with which the text can be corrected.

Introduction of the new standard translation

The new standard translation was introduced in the German-language liturgical books for church services in the Catholic Church on the first of Advent 2018, starting with the lectionary for reading year C. In autumn 2019 and 2020, the lectionaries for reading years A and B will appear.

Identification of the standard translation 2016

  • According to Bishop Joachim Wanke, the standard translation from 2016 is “closer to the original text and the language has a more biblical effect”.
  • The divine name YHWH is rendered consistently with "[the] LORD".
  • The word Pascha, which occurs in the New Testament, following the Septuagint , as an Aramaic loan word in the Greek text (πασχα), is replaced in the Old Testament by the Hebrew form Passover :
    • "Eat it hastily! It is the Lord's Passover. ”(Exodus 12: 11-1980)
      “ Eat it hastily! It is a Passover for the LORD ”(Exodus 12:11 - 2016)
  • The address of the congregation adelphoi ("brothers") in the apostles' letters is given as "brothers and sisters".
  • The interjection "see" (הנה - ἰδοὺ), which is frequent in the Old and New Testament and which no longer occurs in contemporary German and was not reproduced in the standard translation in 1980 or was reproduced by paraphrase, has been resumed:
    • "See how good and beautiful it is when brothers live in harmony with one another." (Psalm 133.1 - 1980)
      "See how good and how beautiful it is when brothers live in harmony with one another." (Psalm 133: 1 - 2016)
    • “But the angel said to them: Do not be afraid, for I proclaim great joy to you.” (Luke 2:10 - 1980)
      “The angel said to them: Do not be afraid, for, behold, I proclaim great joy to you. "(Luke 2:10 - 2016)
  • The comments are kept extremely brief and are mostly limited to specifying text variants.

Dogmatically relevant passages in the text

Where there are different readings or translation options, both in the EÜ 1980 as well as in the EÜ 2016 the text version is usually chosen in Christologically significant passages (exceptions: Rom 9,5 and of course 1 Joh 5,7-8, see below), which supports the conventional doctrine of the deity of Jesus and the virgin birth (often with an indication of the other variant in a note):

  • Psalm 45,7 (quoted in Hebr 1,8  EU ): EÜ 1980: “Your throne, you divine, stands for ever and ever; / The scepter of your rule is a righteous scepter. ”ES 2016:“ Your throne, God, stands forever and ever; a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingship. ”In contrast, Martin Buber understands in his original textual translation of the Bible אֱלֹהיִם (ẻlohim = God) not as an address to the king, but as a genitive and translated:“ Your chair is God's in time and eternity, a staff of Straightness the staff of your kingship. ”(Correspondingly also Alfons Deissler and the Good News Bible Ps 45,7  GNB ).
  • Psalm 110,3 (both times translated from the LXX / Septuagint ): EÜ 1980: “Your rule is on the day of your power, / (when you appear) in holy ornament; / I begot you before the morning star, / like the dew in the morning. ”ES 2016:“ You are surrounded by rulership on the day of your power, in the splendor of the sanctuary. I fathered you from my lap before the morning star. ”- In the verbatim translation of the original Hebrew text:“ Your people are ready on the day of your power. In the splendor of holiness, from the womb of the dawn, dew is your youth for you. "
  • Isaiah 7:14 (both times translated from the LXX, which reproduces עַלְמׇה / 'almah = young woman with παρθένος / parthénos = virgin, as then quoted from Mt 1,23  EU ): EÜ 1980: “Therefore the Lord will be away from you give a sign: Look, the virgin will conceive a child, she will give birth to a son, and she will give him the name Immanuel (God with us). ”EÜ 2016:“ That is why the Lord himself will give you a sign: See , the virgin has conceived, she gives birth to a son and will name him Immanuel ”. - The comment: “cf. Mt 1.23; the Hebrew word alma actually means young woman. "
  • Mark 6,3: EÜ 1980 + 2016: “Isn't that the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon? Don't his sisters live here with us? ”The oldest reading here is:“ ... the son of the carpenter and Mary ... ”; thus taken over by Ulrich Wilckens in his ecumenical translation of the New Testament, with the comment that the version "the carpenter" contained in the majority of the manuscripts is probably based on a text change by later copyists, which was made with regard to the doctrine of the virgin birth.
  • John 1:18: EÜ 1980 + 2016: “Nobody has ever seen God. The only one who is God and rests in the heart of the father, he has brought news. ”Other reading (not taken into account in the EA):“ ... The only-born son who rests in the heart of the father ... ”
  • Philippians 2, 6-7: The ER 2016 gives a correct literal translation of these two verses as a note: “He who was in the form of God / did not see being equal to God as robbery (or something to be robbed), / but emptied itself, / assumed the form of a servant, / was invented like men / and in appearance entirely as man. ”So here are set in parallel“ form of God ”(μορφή θεοῦ / morphē theoū; verse 6) to“ servant form “(Μορφή δούλου / morphē doúlou; verse 7) and“ equal to God ”(ἴσα θεῷ / ísa theō i ; verse 6) to“ equal to men ”(ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων / en homoiómati anthrṓpōn; verse 7). In the text of the EÜ 1980, in order to clearly express Jesus' equality with God, the respective correspondences were not adopted, but rather reproduced “cross-over” as it were: “ 6 He was equal to God, / but did not stick to being like God, / 7 but he emptied himself / and became like a slave / and like men. / His life was that of a person. ”In the EÜ 2016, in verse 6, a linguistic distinction between μορφή θεοῦ and ἴσα θεῷ is now completely dispensed with:“ 6 He was equal to God, but did not insist on being equal to God, 7 but he emptied himself and became like a slave and like men. His life was that of a person ”, although the aim is to achieve a translation that is as concordant as possible .
  • Titus 2,13: EÜ 1980 + 2016: "... while we wait for the blessed fulfillment of our hope: for the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus." Another translation option (noted as a note in the EÜ 2016): "Of the great God and our Savior Christ Jesus."
  • 2 Peter 1,1: EÜ 1980 + 2016: “Simon Peter, servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who, through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, have attained the same precious faith as we.” Other translation option (noted as note in the EÜ 2016): "Our God and the Savior Jesus Christ."
  • Romans 9,5: EÜ 1980: “... they have the fathers, and according to the flesh comes the Christ who stands above all as God, he is praised for ever. Amen. ”Contrary to this first version and the tendency in all other examples cited so far, the EÜ 2016 chooses the translation that is also possible here:“ ... The fathers belong to them and the Christ comes from the flesh. God, who is above all, may he be praised forever. Amen."
  • The spurious trinitarian insertion in 1 Joh 5,7-8  EU ( Comma Johanneum ) is noted in a note.

At the passages Ps 45,7, Ps 110,3, Isa 7,14, Mk 6,3 and Joh 1,18 the EÜ conforms with the Neovulgata (1979) as well as with the Luther Bible ; In Röm 9.5, the EÜ 1980 corresponds to the Neovulgata and earlier editions of the Luther Bible, the EÜ 2016 corresponds to the Luther Bible 2017.

See also

For the general history of translation of the Bible, see the main article: History of Bible Translation


Text output

  • The Bible. Old and New Testament; Standard translation. Edited on behalf of the bishops of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and others Freiburg, Katholische Bibelanstalt, Stuttgart 1980.
  • The Bible. Standard translation of the Holy Scriptures. Complete edition, commissioned by the German Bishops' Conference, the Austrian Bishops' Conference, the Swiss Bishops' Conference and others, completely reviewed and revised edition, Catholic Bible Institute, Stuttgart 2016.

To revise the standard translation

Web links

Online Bible texts
Standard translation 1980

Revised standard translation 2016 and 2017

Exit of the Evangelical Church

Individual evidence

  1. The Bible - God's word in the human word - Bible work. Retrieved February 15, 2019 .
  2. Search for "EU" - standard translation 2016 :: BibleServer. Retrieved December 4, 2017 .
  3. Germany: Catholics publish a new standard Bible translation in autumn . Website Zeit Online. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Report of the Bishops' Conference in Fulda . Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  5. Christoph Dohmen: Seeing again with the Bible . S. 90 .
  6. Norbert Lohfink: Translate Kohelet. Reports from a translation workshop . In: Joze Krasovec (Ed.): The Interpretation of the Bible: The International Symposium in Slovenia . 1999, p. 1359-1360 .
  7. a b c d , September 21, 2016
  8. a b Egbert Ballhorn: The revision of the Psalter of the standard translation . S. 128 .
  9. Christoph Dohmen: Seeing again with the Bible . S. 85 .
  10. ^ Walter Kirchschläger: The Difficult Path to a Translation Revision . S. 107 .
  11. Fifth instruction "for the proper execution of the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council on the Sacred Liturgy". Retrieved June 28, 2017 .
  12. ^ Walter Kirchschläger: The Difficult Path to a Translation Revision . S. 106-107 .
  13. Evangelical press service: EKD withdraws from ecumenical Bible project. Cardinal Lehmann reacted with regret ( memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ); News from September 8, 2005.
  14. Christof Vetter: Protestant participation in the “uniform translation” of the Bible is no longer possible. EKD Council regrets development ; Press release of the Evangelical Church in Germany from September 8, 2005.
  15. Christoph Dohmen: Seeing again with the Bible . S. 85 .
  16. Joachim Wanke (Interview): David now has red hair. Retrieved November 29, 2017 .
  17. Christoph Dohmen: Seeing again with the Bible . S. 86-87 .
  18. Christoph Dohmen: Seeing again with the Bible . S. 88 .
  19. Egbert Ballhorn: The revision of the Psalter of the standard translation . S. 125-126 .
  20. ^ Walter Kirchschläger: The Difficult Path to a Translation Revision . S. 109 .
  21. ^ A b Walter Kirchschläger: The Difficult Path to a Translation Revision . S. 109 .
  22. ^ Walter Kirchschläger: The Difficult Path to a Translation Revision . S. 107 .
  23. ^ Josef Wallner: The new Bible translation. In conversation. In: "Church newspaper - Diocese Linz". February 25, 2010, archived from the original on October 14, 2013 ; retrieved on March 18, 2011 : “The Linz biblical scholar Johannes Marböck is a member of the governing body of the revision and gives - exclusively for the KirchenZeitung - an insight into the status of work. […] In the new version, the Greek word 'Adelphoi' (brothers) is translated as 'brothers and sisters' where it is factually correct. As an example, I mention the first letter to the Corinthians, where Paul speaks about the resurrection of Jesus: 'I remind you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel that I preached to you' (1 Cor 15: 1). In other places gender-neutral formulations are used. In the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5,9) it will be called “children of God” instead of “sons of God”. And the apostle Junias (Rom 16: 7) will become Junia. That is the plan, but we do not have the last word, I have to say restrictively, that is what the episcopal conferences and Rome have. "
  24. ^ Josef Wallner: The new Bible translation. In conversation. In: "Church newspaper - Diocese Linz". February 25, 2010, archived from the original on October 14, 2013 ; Retrieved August 8, 2011 .
  25. P. Dr. Hans Langendörfer SJ (ed.): Revision of the standard translation of the New Testament. (PDF; 52 kB) In: Press report by the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Dr. Robert Zollitsch, on the occasion of the press conference at the end of the spring general assembly of the German Bishops' Conference in Regensburg on March 1, 2012. March 1, 2012, accessed on March 22, 2012 .
  26. P. Dr. Hans Langendörfer SJ (Ed.): Revised standard translation of the Bible. (PDF; 54 kB) In: Press report by the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Dr. Robert Zollitsch, on the occasion of the press conference at the end of the spring general assembly of the German Bishops' Conference in Trier on February 21, 2013. February 21, 2013, accessed on August 22, 2013 .
  27. P. Dr. Hans Langendörfer SJ (Hrsg.): New standard translation of the Bible will appear in autumn. Cardinal Marx: “Ten years of work successfully completed”. In: "Press release 04/26/2016 - No. 072". April 26, 2016, accessed June 24, 2016 .
  28. Biblical Works: The New Standardized Translation . Retrieved December 29, 2016 .
  29. domradio: “Failure” or “Big Profit”? November 29, 2017, accessed on December 4, 2017 : “It is about the parable of the unequal sons from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 21: 28-32). At first it was forgotten to change the sentence when asked which of the two sons was doing the right thing, also for the later answer. "
  30. Mertes for withdrawal of the new Bible translation. November 27, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017 .
  31. Introduction of the new translation in the Sunday and public holiday readings , accessed on October 1, 2018
  32. Buber-Rosenzweig-Translation (1929) Psalms - Ps 45. Retrieved on February 19, 2020 .
  33. Alfons Deissler: The Psalms, Part II (Ps 42-89) . In: The World of the Bible . Patmos-Verlag, Düsseldorf 1964 (new edition 2002: ISBN 3-491-69062-5 ).
  34. ^ The New Testament, translated and commented by Ulrich Wilckens, advised by Werner Jetter , Ernst Lange and Rudolf Pesch , Furche-Verlag, Hamburg [a. a.] 1970, ISBN 3-7730-0009-X
  35. "The revision has actually translated frequently used biblical terms, if possible and taking into account the changing contexts, with the same wording (" concordant ")." (Section 4 C of the "introductory overview" printed in the appendix).