An t-Athair Padraig Ó Fiannachta is the editor of An Bíobla Naofa, the first modern edition of the Bible in Irish.

Scholar, linguist and poet An t-Athair Padraig Ó Fiannachta has edited the first modern edition of the Bible in the Irish language. Approximately thirty years in the making An Bíobla Naofa is the first complete translation of the Bible into Irish.

Presenter Patrick Gallagher expresses surprise than no authoritative version of the Bible existed in the Irish language for centuries. The absence of a Bible in any language used in daily life in any country prior to the Reformation was the norm. As An t-Athair Padraig Ó Fiannachta explains,

Latin was the language of the learned…of the literate.

Devotional texts and Roman Catholic catechisms in Irish were in use as far back as the seventeenth century, but the Louvain based clerics who produced them did not see a need for the Bible to be translated into Irish for general use.

Earlier translations of the scriptures into Irish such as the New Testament by Church of Ireland Bishop William Ó Dónaill in 1602 and the 1685 Bible commissioned by the Protestant scholar Bishop William Bedell were not always popular with Catholic clergy in centuries past.

Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich in a recent article in the theological journal 'The Furrow' has described the publication of this Bible as performing an act of restitution to the Church of Ireland. But how does this statement stand up against the fact that the editorial team in Maynooth did not bring any Protestant biblical scholars on board?

It is not an ecumenical publication agrees An t-Athair Padraig Ó Fiannachta, but at the same time it can not be defined as a Catholic Bible either. This edition has been translated from the original verified Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts, rather than from the Clementine Vulgate, the authoritative biblical text of the Roman Catholic Church which is in Latin.

It isn't a traditional Catholic Bible.

This episode of ‘Folio’ was broadcast on 28 October 1981. The presenter is Patrick Gallagher.