Friday, November 28, 2008
I found the overall quality of the NRSV translation to be pretty high. In particular, I appreciated the nice mix between literal and dynamic renderings, certainly leaning more towards the literal end. And while the NRSV is not as literal as the original RSV, I found that to be a positive. In particular, I found reading through the OT to be very enjoyable. I think the text flows quite well, in both Testaments. Also, I appreciate the textual notes at the bottom of each page. They were very helpful. However, some of the excesses in inclusive language use bothered me at times. I am one who believes that it is appropriate to use some inclusive language, but I feel the NRSV is too much. (I think the NJB does a nice job overall.) In particular, the "Son of Man" renderings in the OT, by rendering them "mortals", obscures the messianic meanings behind them. Sure, I know that there may be some legitimate linguistic reasons for an inclusive rendering, but the fact that Jesus referred to himself as the "Son of Man" indicates that he read those OT inferences in that way. In addition, I am not sure changing a passage to the plural is always a good idea.
Also, while I mentioned above that I like the fact the NRSV provides many textual notes, the one thing I noticed is that many of them are simply the more literal Greek rendering. Oftentimes, those notes are the actual text in the RSV or even the NAB. There are a few other things that nag me, but I don't want to harp on the NRSV too much. Like I said, overall I think the NRSV is pretty good, but there are just some things about it that make me uncomfortable with it.
So, since on Sunday we begin a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent, I have decided to do the same thing I did with the NRSV earlier in the year. But, what translation should I go with? Right now, I am seriously considering going with the new Emergent New Testament: The Voice! Actually no, I am just kidding. Truthfully, I am considering the NAB, which in all honesty, I have rarely used. (Of course I hear it every time I go to Holy Mass). I certainly own a few copies of the NAB, including the nicely made Fireside Librosario NAB and a leather 1990 edition of the Catholic Study Bible by Oxford. But, I am still considering which translation to go with. I am open for any of your thoughts! RSV-2CE?
In any case, I hope to blog about my experiences with whatever translation I decide to use. I would like to show, possibly on a weekly basis, how I have used it in study and ministry, along with insights from my daily devotional reading.
Update: I think I shall make the REB a candidate as well.
Update 2: Five additional translations I am considering are the RSV-2CE, NJB, NLT (Catholic Edition), Good News Translation, and the Christian Community Bible.
Update 3: Leaning towards the RSV-2CE.
Update 4: Now leaning nowhere!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
-New specially commissioned introductions, one for each book, giving the biblical and historical context
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This short talk was given by Pope Benedict XVI on November 23, 2008 on the Feast of Christ the King. It took place during his usual Sunday Angelus:
Thursday, November 20, 2008
PS: Any time I can put up an icon of St. Timothy, I certainly will do it!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Well, I spotted this bit of information on the Catholic News Service website. You can read the whole story here. It looks like the USCCB has decided to adopt the Revised Grail Psalms which are used at Mass in other English speaking churches, as well as in the Liturgy of the Hours, for the Mass in America. Currently, the Psalms heard at Mass here in the USA are from the original version of the New American Bible. As some of you know, this edition of the Psalms is currently unavailable, since a revised version was published back in 1991. The revised '91 NAB Psalms was not approved for liturgical use by the Vatican. As a matter of fact, the Vatican website uses the NAB as its English Bible, minus the Psalms. In my studies at seminary, I have seen very few people actually use it in class.
Probably the most important reason why I don't use the NAB is the terrible quality of the '91 Psalms. There are two main reasons for this:
1) Its use of inclusive language is too over the top in my mind. It makes the NRSV Psalms look conservative in that sense. While I don't have a huge problem with moderate horizontal inclusive language, the '91 NAB Psalms consistently uses vertical inclusive language in relation to God. See Psalm 136. Yuck!
2) The translation is just not good. For example, take a look at the much maligned NAB '91 Psalm 23:1-2: "The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me" Graze? Really? Let's not over-use the sheep metaphor. I think I'd rather lie down. There is also the problem of the 91' Psalms working with the '86 Revised NAB NT. The revised NT I think is pretty good, but when doing cross-referencing with the '91 Psalms it is a mess. (see Psalm 8 and Hebrew 2).
What this all tells me is that the NAB is the mess I think it is. It must be embarrassing to some of the bishops. But, perhaps is there a silver lining? There has been rumours that a new edition of the NAB Old Testament is in the works. Perhaps could this recent decision to adopt the Grail Psalms be an indication that the revised OT will include another revision of the Psalms? Lets hope so! Below are some of the reasons for the switch to the Grail Psalms. Let us hope that this will inspire them to ditch the 91' NAB Psalms as well! (And please, make sure the verse numbering of the Psalms follows the standard usage of the RSV and all the other English Bible versions!)
Bishop Serratelli said "there were four reasons that his committee was recommending the Revised Grail Psalter over the Revised NAB version:
-- "It has been recommended by musicians for its musicality" and can easily be sung, chanted or recited.
-- It is faithful to the Hebrew text.
-- It is already "somewhat familiar" to those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours.
-- "While being faithful to Hebrew imagery and anthropology, it is critically aware of the Christological references."
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
This coming weekend, I will be attending the 2008 Letter and Spirt Conference in Pittsburgh. This will be my first time attending, although I have wanted to go in the past few years, but work and class obligations never made it feasible. So, this year everything worked out in such a way that I am able to attend. (Although I do have an exam today which I need to take as well as a small paper to finish by the end of the week!) Needless to say, I am very excited about the upcoming weekend.
The conference will be focusing on the writings of St. Paul in light of mystery and mission. This is obviously a very timely topic, since Pope Benedict XVI dedicated this the Year of St. Paul. The organization that is sponsoring this event is the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology is a non-profit research and educational institute that promotes life-transforming Scripture study in the Catholic tradition.
The center's founder is Dr. Scott Hahn, who has played an important role in my spiritual life. A convert to Catholicism, Dr. Hahn has a wonderful capacity to write in both an academic and popular style. In this way, I think he has been given a similar gift as N.T. Wright. I read Dr. Hahn's book The Lamb's Supper at a time when I was just beginning to take my faith life seriously. For most of my life, I had attended Mass on Sunday, but I really didn't know why it was all that important. My early life experiences at Mass were focused on either yawning or looking around at people. However, after a conversion experience late during my undergraduate years, I began to eagerly seek out truth and understand why I am Catholic. This led me to the works of Dr. Scott Hahn, in particular The Lamb's Supper. While I am not going to give a full review of it now, I will just say that it opened my eyes in two particular areas: 1) How the earthly Liturgy relates to the Heavenly Liturgy; 2) The Role of Scripture. I soon became excited to read the Scriptures, something which I had never been! Concepts like typology and allegory helped me to see the Bible as a collection of books united under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Wow! God has a plan! While that might be obvious to some, my early life religious ed. classes were not all that helpful. I also suspect that at that time I wasn't very open to the promptings of the Spirit either. Yet, that all seemed to change later on, as I began to read the Scriptures and understand the centrality of the Holy Mass. An important part of this realization was Dr. Scott Hahn's book. So thank you Dr. Hahn!
I plan to post about the conference next week in some detail. I am not sure how much I will be able to get to this week, since I have quite a bit of work to get done before Friday. Stay tuned!
Friday, November 7, 2008
Over at the Cross Reference, there is a nice reflection on the readings for the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran which is celebrated on November 9. If you are interested in learning more about St. John Lateran, you can check out the Catholic Encyclopedia entry here.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Catholic Bibles Blog reader Rolf pointed out to me in a recent post that Fr. Fessio from Ignatius Press had commented on some of the questions I had about the RSV-2CE in a post dated September 24. He commentated a few days later, but I unfortunately did not see it. Thank you Rolf for alerting me to this. (Yeah maybe I should start reading my own blog a little more carefully!)
I, of course, have no way of verifying that the comment was written by Fr. Fessio, but the specifics of his answer leads me to think that it is him. So, below I have produced his entire comment to my questions about the RSV-2CE.
Before that, let me just say thanks to Fr. Fessio for commentating on my humble little blog. I appreciate the answers that he provided, they certainly help to clear up the whole process by which the RSV-2CE was edited and published. My initial frustration about this issue was due to the lack of information I had received when I emailed Ignatius Press. There just seemed to be an unwillingness to answer any of the questions I had about the RSV-2CE. So, thank you for finding my blog and responding!
Let me also add that I definitely appreciate the work that Ignatius Press is doing in Catholic publishing these days. Anyone who has seen my bookshelves knows that I own dozens of books by Ignatius Press. The number of books by Pope Benedict that Ignatius Press has published certainly has helped us Catholics in the USA to come to know and love the mind and heart of the Holy Father. Yet, while those editions are most welcome, I would still love to see the Ignatius Catholic Study completed soon! I understand that there is a lot of work that goes into the production and editing of these editions, the quality of each volume so far shows the hard work that has been done. Having been leading multiple Bible studies on a weekly basis for a few years now, I know that there is a real need for a quality Catholic study Bible. Just know that there are a number of us out here who are waiting, mostly with patience, for a quality Catholic study Bible that can rival the quality of the recently published NLT or ESV study Bibles. Or at least make it better than the Catholic Study Bible, which to be honest, won't take much! Thanks again!
"The questions have been asked: who made the changes to the RSV-2CE? what are they? and why the secrecy?
The answer to the first question is not simple, but here's the essence of the answer. Ignatius Press wanted to reprint the RSVCE lectionary. A new OL (Ordo Lectionum) had been issued which required that any new printing of a lectionary follow the new OL. So IP modified the RSV-2CE Lectionary to conform to the new OL. It was reviewd by the Congregation for Divine Worship. We were surprised that the CDW required any changes at all to the RSVCE. We made the changes and, with approval of the CDW, removed archaic language (Thee, Thou, etc.). At the same time, the CDW was producing "Liturgiam Authenticam" which became and is normative for liturgical and biblical translations. Since there was a pattern to the changes required by the CDW, IP simply made those same changes to the parts of the Bible not included in the lectionary. The result is that the RSV-2CE Lectionary and Bible are the only lectionary and Bible that are compliance with "Liturgiam Authenticam".
The answer to the third question (why the secrecy about the changes?) will answer the second (what are they?). We didn't keep a list of the changes. We accepted some the CDW made without discussion; others we discussed and sometimes made them, sometimes convinced the CDW there was no need to make them, or an alternative was better. This process took *years*. I'm not sure we evan have the materials that would show which changes were made. And I (who, you may have suspected by now, am the editor of Ignatius Press) do not want to ask our overburdened productin department to do the research, if it is even possible, to make a list which is only of interest to a very small number of people.
And a last, immodest word about our being a "small Catholic publisher". Last year the books we sold would stack up over 16 miles high. In a three year period we could surpass the total number of volumes in all of Notre Dame University's 11 libraries (which they say is "nearly 3 million volumes")."
Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.
September 28, 2008 9:31 PM
BTW: If you are looking for an online analysis of the different versions of the RSV Catholic Edition, you can see that here.