New Spanish Roman Catholic Bible Changes ‘Fishers of Men’ to ‘Fishers of Persons’

Written by on May 21, 2022

The publishing house Desclée de Brouwer recently announced that it is replacing the phrase “fishers of men” with “fishers of persons ” in a new Spanish version of the Roman Catholic Bible, The Jerusalem Bible.

The phrase “fishers of men” is a part of Jesus’ call to his disciples in Matt. 4:19.

Javier Gogeaskoetxea, managing director of Desclée de Brouwer, told Catholic News Agency that the change in wording is meant to conserve all “fidelity to the original texts” and not a result of succumbing to public pressure.

“If I were to put ‘man,’ we would be lacking in fidelity to the original text because the Greek word is neither man nor woman,” he explained.

“I understand that there is an attempt to ‘polemicize’ by attributing ‘inclusive’ language to the translation. But nothing is further from reality; the reason is fidelity to the original text,” Gogeaskoetxea continued.

He explained that the Jerusalem Biblical and Archaeological School follows the basic rule that ‘the oldest text is always the most truthful.’

“If the words are now changed to be ‘gender-friendly’ it has nothing to do with the decision of the Jerusalem Biblical and Archaeological School. The biblical translations don’t conform to modern times, but rather try to be faithful to the ancient texts,” he concluded.

The updated wording was met with criticism from Roman Catholic leaders.

“It doesn’t seem right to me, but I think it has the importance that we give it. If we read Holy Scripture every day, we would have realized long ago that the Jerusalem Bible translation is not the best option,” Fr. Antonio María Domenech Guillén, a priest of the Diocese of Cuenca, said.

“The term that translates, anthropos, refers to a ‘human being’ regardless of sex. However, the translation as ‘persons’ has its problems. To what persons was Jesus referring: human, angelic or divine? Well, in the text, thus translated, it is not excluded that Jesus is calling the disciples to evangelize the angels or God himself,” Father Jesús Silva, a Spanish priest, tweeted in response to the new publication.

According to The christian Post, the English translation of the Jerusalem Bible was first published in 1966. It includes all 66 books found in the Protestant Bible plus seven extras. The first Bible of its kind was published in French in 1956 and is based on the original Hebrew and Greek texts instead of the Latin Vulgate.

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Photo courtesy: Unsplash


Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.

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