Saturday, December 27, 2008

ESV with Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals) is Ordered!

Well, I decided to pre-order the ESV with Apocrypha from Amazon. I am still not sure if I will use it on a regular basis, but at the very least it will have a place on my ever growing Bible translation shelf. Plus, it only cost my a little over twenty dollars to purchase it, including the shipping. Anyways, it still has a January 1 publication date, so hopefully it will be in my hands a week or so after. The description says that it "will include a full-color map section, a table of weights and measures used in the Bible, and many other attractive features." I love Bible maps, but I am interested in what these "many" other attractive features will be. Cross-references would be sweet, but I have been disappointed with assuming that Bibles will include them in the past, so I am not getting my hopes up. Actually, I would be more shocked if they were included. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a concise concordance included.
After thinking about it, I may be willing to give the ESV the same treatment I gave the NRSV last year, when I spent a good 6 months using it in ministry work and personal prayer. I guess a lot of it will depend on what is included in this edition, as well as the quality of binding and page layout. Unlike the NRSV, this is the only ESV that includes the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals, so my options are limited. We shall see! I will certainly blog about my first impressions, once I receive the ESV with Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals) in the mail.
Update: Amazon has emailed to let me know that they are "trying to obtain" the ESV w/ Apocrypha.
Update 2: Thanks to the comment post by Michael, the Oxford University Press site shows that the ESV w/ Apocrypha is due January 14.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"Et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis"
- Evangelium Secundum Ioannem 1:14

Friday, December 19, 2008

Excavation at Sha'arayim (Kh. Qeiyafa)

One area that I find fascinating is Biblical archaeology. I always get excited when my monthly edition of Biblical Archaeological Review comes in the mail. Although one doesn't have to agree with everything that is written in it, it does provide some great information on what is actually going on in the Holy Land. I, myself, was fortunate enough to be involved in a 4 week excavation at the small Greek settlement located in Satriano, Italy in 2000. After spending a semester in Rome at the small Italian/American John Cabot University, my Roman history professor, who was also an archaeologist, invited me to spend the summer in southern Italy on an excavation. (See! It is always good to study hard and be engaged in the course never know what opportunities might arise!) Anyways, the experience was formative and helped me to truly appreciate the hard work that goes into excavating a site. Indiana Jones has nothing on those who are real archaeologists. (Plus, you would never see a real archaeologist hide in a refrigerator!)

So, thanks to the blog Singing in the Reign, I have been following the happenings at Khirbet Qeiyafa. The site, which is a border fortress known as the Elah Fortress, seems to date to around the 10th century B.C. and may shed light on the history of the Davidic Monarchy. If this site becomes the "21st Century Dead See Scrolls" how exciting would that be? Interestingly enough, the site has its own website. So, check it out for more info, which includes a promo video.

Update: The January/February '09 issue of BAR has a nice article summarizing this newly discovered site.

Joseph Ratzinger's Episcopal Ordination

Pope Benedict's episcopal ordination took place on May 28, 1977 in the Archdiocese of Munich. Sorry, but there will be no English translation forthcoming.

(Thanks to Ignatius Insight)

Monday, December 15, 2008

If You Love the Latin Vulgate, You Will Love This!

Just released by Baronius Press, this one volume edition containing both the Douay-Rheims and Celementina Vulgata will make the traditionalist's heart warm with glee! The British-based publishers, Baronius Press, have been in recent years re-publishing many classics in Catholic theology and spirituality. Oftentimes, these new editions are newly type set and are produced at a high quality level. I, myself, am quite interested in their forthcoming edition of the Knox Bible.

For those who are interested, the new Douay-Rheims & Clementina Vulgata [side-by-side] is 1488 pages long and has a size of 8.5" x 11.5".

Here is part of their description:

Included in this Bible are Challoner’s notes, and the texts found in the appendix to the Vulgate, namely 3 and 4 Esdras and the prayer of Manasses (in Latin with an English translation). This makes the Bible totally comprehensive and ideal for theology students.
Owning one of these beautiful Bibles will give you great pleasure each time you read it, and ensure that your family is familiar with sacred scripture in Latin as well as English.
Bound in leather with ornate gold blocked cover and spine. Gilded page edges, head and tail bands and two satin ribbons.

There is also a sample page here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pope Benedict: St. Paul and the Sacraments

Below is another summary from the Vatican Information Services on yesterdays audience by Pope Benedict. He continued his year long catechesis on St. Paul this time focusing on the Sacraments:

In his general audience this morning, held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 5,000 people, Benedict XVI spoke on St. Paul's teaching concerning the Sacraments.

The Holy Father indicated how "from St. Paul we have learned that there is a new beginning of history in Jesus Christ, ... Who is man and God. With Him, Who comes from God, a new history begins, formed by the 'yes' He pronounced to the Father, ... out of love and truth".

"How can we enter", the Pope asked, "into this new beginning, this new history? ... How can Jesus reach my own life, my own being? The fundamental response of St. Paul, of all the New Testament, is: by the Holy Spirit" which "at the Pentecost created the beginning of a new humanity, a new community: the Church, the body of Christ".

The spirit of Christ "touches me within ... using two visible elements: the Word of announcement and the Sacraments, in particular Baptism and the Eucharist. ... Faith comes not from reading but from listening. It is not only an interior experience but a relationship".
"The Word became flesh in Jesus to create a new humanity. For this reason, the Word of announcement becomes Sacrament. ... No-one can baptise himself; ... no-one can become Christian by himself. ... We can only become Christian through the meditation of others, and this gives us the gift of faith. ... Autonomous Christianity is a self-contradiction. ... These 'others' are, in the first place, the community of believers, the Church. ... Only Christ can constitute the Church, Christ is the true giver of the Sacraments".

"Being Christian is more than a cosmetic operation that embellishes life, ... it is a new beginning and rebirth, death and resurrection. ... It is not purely spiritual but involves the body, the cosmos, and extends to the new earth and to the new heavens".

On the subject of the Eucharist, the Holy Father pointed out that St. Paul speaks of the institution of this Sacrament in his First Letter to the Corinthians, and he explained that "with the gift of the chalice of the new covenant Christ gives us the true sacrifice, the only true sacrifice is the love of the Son".

After highlighting how the Apostle of the Gentiles says that the chalice we bless is communion with the Blood of Christ and the bread we share is communion with the Body of Christ, the Pope pointed out that "Christ unites Himself with each one of us, and with the men and women around us".

Referring then to chapter ten of the First Letter to the Corinthians in which St. Paul speaks of us becoming "one body, for we all partake of the one bread", Benedict XVI affirmed that "the realism of the Church is much more profound and authentic than that of the nation State, because Christ truly gives us His Body, converts us into His Body ... and unites us to one another. ... The Church is not just a corporation like a State, it is a body; it is not an organisation but an organism".

The Pope then recalled how St. Paul defines the Sacrament of Matrimony as "a great mystery. ... Married love has as its model the love of Christ for His Church", he said. "People will enjoy a rewarding experience of true marriage if a constant human and emotive development remains united to the effectiveness of the Word and the significance of Baptism. ... Participating in the Body and the Blood of the Lord consolidates the union and makes it visible, a union that grace then makes indissoluble".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Update on Revised Grail Psalter

GIA Music, which produces hymnals used by many Catholic parishes has provided some additional information about the upcoming Revised Grail Psalter that was recently approved for Mass in the US. You can read all about it here. Earlier in November, during the USCCB meeting, I posted about the USCCB's decision to adopted the new Revised Grail Psalms. It appears like it will be a completely new translation, under the guidelines of Liturgiam Authenticam. Liturgiam Authenticam is an important Vatican document that was released in 2001 to deal with future liturgical translations, in light of the commission of the Second Vatican Council. If you are not up to reading the whole document, the Vatican published a short press release that gives a good overview of the document.

Whenever the new Revised Grail Psalms are released, it will be interesting to see how they conform to Litugiam Authenticam, along with comparing them to the original Grail Psalms and the NAB '91 Psalms, which was rejected.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Catholic Bible Poll

So, I have reached a total of 100 voters in my non-scientific poll on Catholic Bible translation usage. Here are the results so far, in order:

Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition: 27%
New American Bible: 22%
New Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition: 19%
Douay Rheims: 13%

New Jerusalem Bible: 10%
Jerusalem Bible: 6%
Good News Bible: 2%
Christian Community Bible:1%

So what does this tell me? To be honest, the results are not too surprising. When you look at it, it is clear that the poll breaks down into two groups: 1) The first group comprises the RSV, NAB, and NRSV; 2) The second group comprises the DR, NJB, JB, GNB, CCB. Those in the first group comprise 68% of the total.

Focusing on the first group, the RSV, NAB, and NRSV clearly are more literal/formal translations compared with the others, minus the Douay-Rheims. That makes them useful in both liturgical settings and personal study. The first group is also the easiest to get at either a local Catholic bookstore or a secular store like Borders or Barnes and Nobles. I have seen various editions of the NAB, RSV, and NRSV in the Catholic selection of secular stores. The RSV is #1 because it is the most literal modern Catholic translation available. In addition, many popular speakers and teachers, like Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. John Corapi, and others, promote and use the RSV. As for the NAB, it will always be popular because it comes in many editions and is the base text behind the readings at Mass in the USA. It is clearly the easiest one to get. The NRSV continues to gain a following, probably due to the increased promotion by HarperCollins, who are continuing to publish Catholic editions of the NRSV. It also helps that the NRSV is read in the Canadian Mass.

As for the others, the Douay-Rheims still has a loyal following. I can attest to this not only by the poll number, but also by the many defenders of the Douay-Rheims on the various Catholic online forums. Unless a future translation of the Nova Vulgata is produced, the Douay-Rheims will always have its admirers. (Some of the Douay-Rheims-only people would probably still use it even if a new English translation of the Latin Bible was produced!) The New Jerusalem, along with the original Jerusalem Bible, are still read by about 16% of those polled. It still remains a bit of an exotic translation for Americans, since it is not used at Mass. It's standard edition, with all the notes and cross-references, remains a favorite for those who do Bible study. Yet, I do not see it ever gaining top-billing here in the US. One of its main problems is that it doesn't come in many available, attractive editions. With that being said, I do know a number of very loyal Jerusalem Bible readers. Many of them first purchased their Jerusalem Bible in the '60s, just after Vatican II, and have been reading it ever since. They are a great example for all of us! Finally, the GNB and the CCB remain basically a niche translation.

Thanks to all who participated in the poll. I will keep it up, just to see if any thing changes at 200!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Origen on the Angels as Evangelists

It is always good to learn from the fathers of the Church, particularly in an age that has some strange ideas about angels.
"Now if there are those among men who are honoured with the ministry of evangelists, and if Jesus Himself brings tidings of good things, and preaches the Gospel to the poor, surely those messengers who were made spirits by God, those who are a flame of fire, ministers of the Father of all, cannot have been excluded from being evangelists also. Hence an angel standing over the shepherds made a bright light to shine round about them, and said: Luke 2:10-11 "Fear not; behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people; for there is born to you, this day, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David." And at a time when there was no knowledge among men of the mystery of the Gospel, those who were greater than men and inhabitants of heaven, the army of God, praised God, saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men. And having said this, the angels go away from the shepherds into heaven, leaving us to gather how the joy preached to us through the birth of Jesus Christ is glory in the highest to God; they humbled themselves even to the ground, and then returned to their place of rest, to glorify God in the highest through Jesus Christ. But the angels also wonder at the peace which is to be brought about on account of Jesus on the earth, that seat of war, on which Lucifer, star of the morning, fell from heaven, to be warred against and destroyed by Jesus." --Commentary on the Gospel of John (Book I)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bible Taglines

NRSV: Trust, Unity, NRSV. Trustworthy, readable, and ecumenical, the NRSV is the Bible for everyone.

ESV: The English Standard Version (ESV) Bible is a new, essentially literal Bible translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and depth of meaning.

NIV: Most Read. Most Trusted.

TNIV: Today’s New International Version (TNIV) is an uncompromisingly accurate Bible translation for today’s reader. This rendition of Scripture provides a new choice for those who desire a contemporary, but highly accurate translation.

Jerusalem Bible: When it comes to Bible translations, readability and reliability are what count; and on both counts, the original JERUSALEM BIBLE stands alone. THE JERUSALEM BIBLE is the one they can trust.

New American Standard Bible: Readable, Trusted, Literal, & Timeless.

They all sound pretty convincing to me.....John 6:68. Community Post

So, I posted at the "community" part of the NRSV main site back in early August. Well, it only took three months for the comment to be posted! I am not exactly sure why they even have a website devoted to the NRSV if they are not going to keep it updated. One would think with the backing of HarperCollins, there would be some good potential for a well-run site. Yet, that isn't the case.
Also, I have noticed that the NRSV has been selling better in recent months, according to the CBA Best Sellers. I would imagine that a better, more interactive website would help in the promotion and sales of the NRSV. They could do well to look at the ESV and TNIV sites. Perhaps someday the folks at the USCCB will do the same for the NAB and Ignatius Press for the RSV-2CE, but that might be asking too much.