“Motivational boost in communities”

With the 1. Advent Sunday not only begins a new reading year. Starting this year, Holy Mass on Sundays and holidays will include Scripture readings in the catch of the revised Unity translation.

"There will never be enough translations, because no translation is really enough," reasons Dr. Gunther Fleischer, director of the Archbishop's Bible and Liturgy School in Cologne, explains the great variety of German translations of the Holy Scriptures. For the transfer of a text from one language to another is always also a process of interpretation and interpretation process.

Texts in themselves – especially those of the Bible – are ambiguous, but a translation must be unambiguous. "I can only resolve this tension by placing several translations next to each other or by making a new attempt again and again."

Uniform translation for worship and school

The Unified Translation came into being with the renewal of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, Prof knows. Dr. Alexander Saberschinsky, liturgy consultant of the Archdiocese of Cologne. "An important point is that the readings will now also be recited in the local language. For this, a liturgy-compatible translation is needed." The goal was to use a uniform translation of the Bible in both religious education and worship services.

Originally, the Einheitsubersetzung was also an ecumenical project. However, the EKD later returned to the revised Luther translation, which was also published in a new version almost simultaneously with the revised Einheitsubersetzung.

Two years after the Einheitsubersetzung underwent a cautious revision, it is now also making its way into the church services. On the First Sunday of Advent, at the beginning of the new lectionary year, the Scripture readings will be recited in the new catch for the first time at Holy Mass in parishes that have purchased the new lectionary.

The books will gradually be replaced until, at the very end, the lectionaries for the weekdays will complete the changeover. It will certainly take five to six years before it is ready, says Alexander Saberschinsky. But already with the publication of the last Sunday lectionary, presumably in 2020, the new books will be binding compared to the old ones and the transitional phase is considered to be over.

More visually appealing design

There will not be many changes with the new texts, which is why lectors and clergy should be as careful and diligent in reciting the Scripture texts as they have been in the past. However, Fleischer and Saberschinsky hope for a new motivation in the congregations to become aware of the significance of the texts of the Holy Scriptures in the liturgy and how to deal with them.

"To what extent is what we read really the word of the living God??" asks biblical scholar Fleischer. "This question can be addressed in a completely different way when a new translation arrives or when one will suddenly really hold in one's hands this lectionary, which has been very sumptuously laid out."

In fact, the new books will be visually more precious than the previous ones. "It is much more valuable. It is a cloth binding. It is golden. So the book has already become a little eye-catcher," adds liturgy consultant Saberschinsky. This visual signal should be an invitation to take a closer look at the meaning of the Holy Scriptures. Dealing with the lectionary, the outside, could be an indication of that, he says.

The complete conversation with Dr. Fleischer and Prof. Dr. Saberschinsky ran on this site headphones last Sunday and is also available for re-listening as a podcast.

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