A milestone for unity: First Norwegian Catholic Bible edition launched — By: Catholic News Agency

The new Norwegian translation of the Bible, published March 15, 2024. / Credit: Norwegian Bible Society

CNA Newsroom, Mar 15, 2024 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

For the first time in Norway’s history, the Norwegian Bible Society has announced the publication of a Catholic edition of the Bible, marking a significant milestone for the country’s Catholic community.

Published today, March 15, this edition is distinguished not only by its inclusivity; the project saw linguists and Scripture experts collaborating with poets and other literary authors, including Nobel laureate Jon Fosse.

The Catholic editor Heidi Haugros Øyma, deeply involved in the project, told CNA in a written interview: “The inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books represents a move toward a more inclusive, ecumenical approach to Scripture in Norway.” 

The new publication corrects a long-standing omission influenced by historical pressures, presenting a genuinely ecumenical Bible that reflects the entire Christian canon.

Many in the Catholic community are overjoyed. 

Pål Johannes Nes, co-founder of EWTN Norway, told CNA: “For the first time, we can now have a Catholic canon in our own language. This is a major and significant event. This is also a very important element in the re-evangelization of Norway toward 2030 through Mission 2030, which EWTN Norway together with the Diocese of Trondheim are working on.”

“It is also a great joy for me to be able to read the Bible to my children in Norwegian,” he added.

United mission across denominational divides

The project also stands out for its effort to embrace Norway’s linguistic diversity, offering translations in both of the country’s official written languages, Bokmål and Nynorsk. This initiative ensures wider accessibility and acknowledges Norway’s rich linguistic heritage.

“The fact is that the Norwegian Bible Society has sponsored a lot of editions of the Bible for the use of the Catholic Church… but not in Norway,” Øyma noted, highlighting the ecumenical spirit that guided this historic collaboration. The collaboration between the Catholic Diocese of Oslo and the Bible Society paved the way for this publication, emphasizing a united Christian mission over denominational divides.

Reflecting on the significance of this edition, Øyma shared: “The most important thing has been to witness the growing awareness in the Norwegian Bible Society that a Catholic edition of the Bible ought to be a self-evident thing.” This sentiment underscores the project’s role in fostering a more inclusive understanding of Christian Scripture across denominational lines.

The edition’s launch on March 15 is anticipated to enhance the spiritual life of Norwegian Catholics and serve as a cultural landmark, showcasing the contributions of Norwegian authors to the richness of biblical literature. 

“It is a way of saying that we belong here, we are a part of the cultural and Christian landscape,” Øyma added, underscoring the broader significance of this publication within Norway’s religious and cultural context.

Expressing linguistic inclusivity, ecumenical collaboration, and cultural enrichment, the new Catholic Bible edition promises to be a source of pride and a beacon of unity for Norway’s Christian community, inviting deeper engagement with holy Scripture.

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