Shake your 'booty' out of the Bible

Who says the Godbeat ain't fun?

I mean, really, check out the front page of today's USA Today. No kidding -- there's this headline:

'Booty' booted from revised Bible

For a journalist, does it get any better than that?

In all seriousness, it's a solid, newsworthy story by veteran religion writer Cathy Lynn Grossman. Here's the top of the piece:

Catholic bishops have kicked the "booty" out of the Bible.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has ordered up a new translation of the Bible, one it says is more accurate, more accessible and more poetic.

Now "booty," a word that sets off snickers in Sunday school, will be replaced by the "spoils" of war when the newest edition of the New American Bible, the English-language Catholic Bible, comes out on Ash Wednesday, March 9.

It's a relatively short story -- less than 500 words -- the kind for which USA Today is famous.

Still, Grossman manages to catch the high points and reference a few specific changes in the new Bible edition:

Some of the changes:

-- The word "holocaust," now associated with World War II genocide, has been replaced by "burnt offering."

-- The 1970s version of the 23rd Psalm -- "even when I walk through a dark valley" -- becomes a "walk though the valley of the shadow of death."

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

At the risk of setting off snickers of my own ... I did find myself wanting just a bit more context and detail on the term "booty," given its use in the lede. I liked the cutesy approach but wished the story had made later reference to a specific passage and the number of times "booty" shows up in the current Bible.

Also, given the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible (where "booty" remains), it might be interesting for follow-up reports to explore how other modern translations have handled that word. The New International Version, a popular translation among evangelical Christians, appears to use "spoils" like the new Catholic edition.

Catholic News Service reported on the Bible revisions last month. In Googling for other coverage of this news, it appeared that the USA Today story represented the first major mainstream media coverage. If I missed another story, please don't hesitate to share the link. I did find a story by the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, that contains several quotes verbatim from USA Today and Catholic News Service.

Hmmmmmmm ...

I'll be interested to see reactions to the USA Today piece from GetReligion's regular Catholic readers. Did it hit the mark? Did the emphasis on "booty" come at the expense of focusing on more serious issues related to the revisions?:

One change may set off alarms with traditionalists, in a passage many Christians believe foreshadows the coming of Christ and his birth to a virgin. The 1970 version of Isaiah 7:14 says "the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

The 2011 text refers to "the young woman" instead. It elaborates that the original Hebrew word, almah, may, or may not, signify a virgin.

Shake your booty on over to the full story, read the whole thing and then feel free to comment.

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