It's good to hear a clear opinion like that from someone about an English version. The REB does have rather good quality literary English. That appeals to biblical scholars like Jim West. I would still claim that the original biblical texts were not written in as high a register of language as the REB, and so neither should a translation of those texts.
I suspect that many American readers of this Better Bibles blog have never read any of the REB (its translation team was British). Here is the familiar Luke 2 Christmas passage from the REB:
1. In those days a decree was issued by the emperor Augustus for a census to be taken throughout the Roman world. 2. This was the first registration of its kind; it took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3. Everyone made his way to his own town to be registered. 4-5. Joseph went up to Judaea from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to register in the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David by descent; and with him went Mary, his betrothed, who was expecting her child. 6. While they were there the time came for her to have her baby, 7. and she gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn.Merry Christmas, everyone. It has been a privilege to have you as contributors, visitors, commenters, and poll takers for this blog.
8. Now in this same district there were shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch through the night over their flock. 9. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, 10. but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid; I bring you good news, news of great joy for the whole nation. 11. Today there has been born to you in the city of David a deliverer — the Messiah, the Lord. 12. This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.’ 13. All at once there was with the angel a great company of the heavenly host, singing praise to God:
14. ‘Glory to God in highest heaven,
and on earth peace to all in whom he delights.’
15. After the angels had left them and returned to heaven the shepherds said to one another, ‘Come, let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16. They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17. When they saw the child, they related what they had been told about him; 18. and all who heard were astonished at what the shepherds said. 19. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered over them. 20.The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for what they had heard and seen; it had all happened as they had been told.
And let us each be people in whom God takes delight (Luke 2:14), this Christmas and all through the New Year.
Categories: Bible versions, REB