Monday, November 30, 2009

RSV-CE vs. RSV-2CE Part 4 (final)

Well, this will be the final post focusing on the differences between the RSV-CE and the RSV-2CE. Consider this last post a sort of lightning round. I am just going to list a few more differences between the two which I find interesting or amusing.

Let the lightning round begin:

1) Exodus
The RSV-2CE, following the NAB revised NT, translates literally the Greek term exodos as "exodus" instead of original RSV's "departure" in Luke 9:31.

2) Covenant
The RSV-2CE translates "Ark of the Testimony", as found in Exodus 25:16, as "Ark of the Covenant". This change occurs 36 times in the Old Testament. (Not sure about that one.)

3) Donkeys
The RSV-2CE substitutes the term "donkey" for "ass" 151 times in the entire Bible. Is there a difference between the two? I think someone told me once that there was a difference, but I sure prefer saying "donkey", particularly when teaching Scripture to a bunch of high school kids.

4) Angels
The RSV-2CE goes with "angels" over "god/gods" in the Psalms 8, 82, 97, and 138.

5) Virgin
The RSV-2CE follows the LXX in Isaiah 7:14 with "virgin" instead of "young woman".

In the end, while there are a number of differences between the two editions, I think if you are comfortable with the original RSV-CE than there is really no need to get the update. The one exception would be whether or not you find the archaic language unbearable. Some of the changes in the RSV-2CE I prefer, like the use of "exodus" in Luke 9:31 and the change from "ass" to "donkey". However, I am still not sold on the use of "chalice" and "mercy" in the RSV-2CE, as oppose to what the original RSV-CE.

Finally, let me just point out that if you are interested in seeing all the differences, which are far more than I had initially thought, you really need to get the recently released The Catholic Bible Concordance: Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition by Emmaus Road Publishing. Along with the added RSV-2CE information, it has proven to be a very handy, yet compact exhaustive concordance. Those at Emmaus Road should be proud of this publication, which was so needed for serious Catholic Bible readers and students. It certainly reaffirms my belief that the RSV-CE will remain the most scholarly/literal translation of the Bible in the English-speaking Catholic world for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The First Sunday of Advent

The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: "The LORD our justice." -Jeremiah 33:14-16

May all of you have a blessed Advent Season!
(This icon of "Our Lady of the Sign" is the official icon for the Archdiocese of Denver)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Psalm of Thanks on Thanksgiving

Psalm 138 (RSV)
A Psalm of David.
I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise;
I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everythingthy name and thy word.
On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase.
All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, for they have heard the words of thy mouth; and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.
For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me.
The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands.
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RSV-CE vs. RSV-2CE part 3

The most numerous and consistent change from the RSV-CE to the RSV-2CE concerns the use of the Hebrew word ben in the Old Testament. Used most often in the Pentateuch, this change occurs some 526 times in the RSV-2CE Old Testament.
A well-known example comes from Exodus 1:9, which the original RSV-CE translates: ""And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us.""
In most Bibles, including the RSV-CE, KJV, Douay-Rheims, NAB and NRSV, the translators go with either "the people of the children of Israel" or "the children of Israel" or just simply "the Israelite people". The RSV-2CE revisers went with "the sons of Israel" consistently. The NASB comes closest to the RSV-2CE by translating this phrase "the people of the sons of Israel", which seems to be the most literal rendering of the Hebrew. I wonder why the RSV-2CE revisers didn't simply go with the NASB rendering?

The Bible according to the Sistine Chapel

Monday, November 23, 2009

RSV-CE vs. RSV-2CE Part 2

The next change that I am going to post on, between the RSV-CE and RSV-2CE, is the use of cup/chalice. The RSV-2CE changes on 17 occasions the standard translation of the Greek poterion from cup to chalice. The occurs in the New Testament on 16 occasions, most notably during the Last Supper. There is also one case in the Old Testament where the RSV-2CE, translating the Hebrew word kowc, goes with chalice. It is found at Psalm 116:13.

Here is an example, not from the Last Supper: "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the chalice that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." He said to them you will drink my chalice, but to sit..." (Matthew 20:22-23)

So what do you think? I am not too sure that I like the change, since I don't really think it is necessary. In my honest opinion, I think the RSV-2CE revisers meant to heighten the Eucharistic tone of those passages by substituting "chalice" for the more simple "cup".

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RSV-CE vs. RSV-2CE 1

Back in October, I posted a review of the recently released Catholic Bible Concordance: Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, published by Emmaus Road. One of the best features of this concordance was the inclusion of the changes made to the RSV-2CE published by Ignatius Press. Last year, I posted a blog entry which asked a few questions about the Ignatius RSV-2CE, particularly focused on whether there was an official list of all the changes. In reply, Fr. Fessio responded in the comment sections of that post with some additional information about the production of the RSV-2CE, but with little specifics about the number of changes between the RSV-CE and RSV-2CE. Well, thankfully, Emmaus Road has included those changes in their concordance. I would like to thank those who worked on this concordance, particularly CW Lyons and Thomas Deliduka, for taking the time to log all the differences.

So, I have decided to take a look at some of the more important changes between the RSV-CE and the RSV-2CE. I was amazed at how many changes there were, far more than I expected. Ignatius Press indicated that the RSV-2CE eliminated any archaic language, which they have done. I will not be discussing the pros and cons of archaic language, other than to say that its removal is a good thing.

The first change that I wanted to bring to your attention is how the RSV-2CE translated the Hebrew term hesed. The original RSV-CE, as well as the current NRSV and the ESV, translate it as "steadfast love". While the RSV-2CE goes with "mercy" which is also used by the KJV, Douay-Rheims, and NAB. The RSV-2CE changes "steadfast love" to "mercy" 121 times and "steadfast love" to "merciful love" 40 additional times.

It is true that hesed is not the easiest Hebrew word to translate into English. The newly released Catholic Bible Dictionary states: "In the Old Testament, God's "mercy" and "love" are closely related. Two Hebrew terms, hesed and rahamim, are both translated either "mercy" or "love." In reference to mercy, God's hesed is a gift and not a right, but it entails a relationship between God and the one who receives it, who is expected to reciprocate by loving God (p.601-602)."

So what do you think? Mercy or Steadfast Love?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today's reading from 2 Maccabees

Today's first reading at Mass comes from 2 Maccabees. It happens to be one of my most favorite Old Testament stories. Two things stand out in my mind: 1) It is nice hear an OT selection of this length. Oftentimes, the first reading is condensed down to a small selection, but today you get to hear the entire story; 2) I would imagine that those earlier Christians who heard this story of Eleazar were fortified in their faith, certainly during times of persecution. While there are some Christians who don't accept the canonicity of 2 Maccabees, we can all agree that Eleazar's steadfast faith is to be greatly commended.

Here is the entire reading, from the NAB:

2 Mc 6:18-31
Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,a man of advanced age and noble appearance,was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork. But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,he spat out the meat,and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life. Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,because of their long acquaintance with him,and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,such as he could legitimately eat,and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice prescribed by the king;in this way he would escape the death penalty,and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,the merited distinction of his gray hair,and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;and so he declared that above allhe would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once to the abode of the dead, explaining:“At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense;many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazarhad gone over to an alien religion.Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,they would be led astray by me,while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age.Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men,I shall never, whether alive or dead,escape the hands of the Almighty.Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age,and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy laws.”

Eleazar spoke thus,and went immediately to the instrument of torture.Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed,now became hostile toward him because what he had said seemed to them utter madness.When he was about to die under the blows,he groaned and said:“The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that,although I could have escaped death,I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging,but also suffering it with joy in my soul because of my devotion to him.”This is how he died,leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Catholic Men's Audio Site

I just wanted to briefly direct you to a new Catholic Men's Fellowship site that includes some really good talks from Men's Conferences in the Detroit area and elsewhere. In addition, the site also contains a multi-part series by Dr. Peter Williamson, of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, on the Book of Revelation. When I was doing graduate work at SHMS in Detroit, Dr. Williamson was one of my favorite professors. He has the great gift of being able to combine the important theological/scriptural information with its various pastoral applications. Currently, he is the head of the Scripture department at SHMS and is the editor of the new Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series. So, check it out! All of the talks are free.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Edition of the RSV-CE

St. Benedict Press, recent publishers of the venerable Douay-Rheims Bible, have now published their own edition of the RSV-CE. While I have yet to see any specifics about the edition, it does, however, come in many different cover options, including genuine leather, paperback, and Premium UltraSoft (imitation/pacific duvelle/Italian Duo-tone). It is also available in standard and large-print options.

I will try to post more info on these editions as soon as I can find it.

Well, after a little bit of searching around, I went to the Catholic Company website and found some additional information about the St. Benedict's Press RSV-CE:

The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition Bible (RSV-CE), translated from the original Greek and Hebrew, is known for its clear, contemporary language which makes it accessible to the modern reader and yet preserves the meaning of the original text. This Saint Benedict Press edition has been tailor-made for prayer and study. Its beautiful, easy-to-read design is preferred by 9 out of 10 readers! The unique features below, and many more, will help you use The Holy Bible to deepen your life with Jesus Christ.

Presentation Page (Click to see a sample)
Words of Christ in Red
Full-color New Testament Maps of the Holy Land (Click to see a sample)
Beautiful Color Paintings Depicting the Life of Christ (Click to see a sample)
Family Records Pages
3-Year Cycle of readings for Sundays and Weekday Masses
Measures 8" x 5.5

Update 2:
I ordered the black, genuine leather edition of the RSV-CE last week, but have yet to receive it. I also emailed St. Benedict's Press customer service at least three times and haven't received a response either. I will let you know more about this edition once I either receive a response from St. Benedict's Press or when I am holding the Bible in my hands.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NAB Revision Update

According to the Catholic Biblical Association, the NAB re-revised Psalms will be presented for approval at the upcoming United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Baltimore on November 16-19. The CBA site states: "Early 2009: The CCD office has contacted individual scholars to contract for revision of blocks of psalms to be presented to the USCCB for approval at their November meeting." I have received some conflicting reports about this however, but I guess we will have to wait and see. Let's hope, and pray, that this actually occurs and a revised NAB will be released in 2010. The Church in American needs a more uniform Catholic Bible.

If you are interested in seeing the history of this long process of revision, you can go here. It is amazing that it has taken this long! Remember, the revised NAB New Testament, which I like quite a bit, was released in 1986. I was 8 years old at the time!
I blogged my thoughts about this whole process a few months back, which can be read here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Apostolic Constitution on Anglican Ordinariates Released

The Vatican has released the Apostolic Constitution on the Anglican Ordinariates. Included with the Consititution is a press release, as well as canonical commentary. The title of the Apostolic Constitution is ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS, which means "On Groups of Anglicans".

More info at the following sites:

Whispers in the Loggia
John Allen NCROnline
Fr. Z

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oxford NAB Readers Edition

As we await the coming revision of the NAB Old Testament and Psalms, of which I have heard from a source may take a little bit longer than expected, I decided to look at a very fine edition of the NAB which I recently discovered at a local Catholic bookstore. For those of you who regularly use the Oxford RSV-CE Readers Edition, there is an instant feeling of familiarity to the design, smith-sewn cover binding, and page layout between the RSV and NAB versions. Outside of the fact that the NAB has bolded paragraph headings, the overall look of the two are exactly the same. Yet, with these similarities, the NAB is clearly the better edition of the two. The version I purchased is the tan Pacific Duvelle edition, although you can get it in genuine leather as well. Both are thumb-indexed.

But first, here are the specs:

Readers Edition, New American Bible, Oxford University Press
*6 X 9 inches,Thumb Indexed, 1514 Gilded Page Edges.
*Presentation pages at the beginning for personalizing the book as a gift.
*The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), the Vatican II document explaining how God reveals Himself in the Scriptures and detailing their role in the life of the Church today.
*A unique, eight-page section on Prayers and Devotions of the Catholic Faith.
*Select NAB concordance.
*Essay on using the Lectionary, including Sunday and Daily Mass readings.
*One ribbon marker.
*Table of weights and measures in the Bible

As I mentioned above, this edition of the NAB is superior to their RSV offering. Why? Well, it includes considerably more features than the rather bare-bones RSV. While they both contain the same table of weights and measures, Dei Verbum, and the section on prayer and devotions, the NAB edition has the section on prayers and devotions placed at the beginning of the Bible on glossy paper. I personally like the placement of the prayers at the front, as well as the overall upgrade in presentation.

Two other additions help the NAB edition stand out against the RSV version. The first being the inclusion of a 100 page concise concordance. It is always handy to have one of those included, particularly if you plan to use this as your daily Bible. The second addition is the inclusion of the essay by Eileen Schuller "The Bible in the Lectionary" and both the weekday and Sunday Mass readings. If I am not mistaken the essay by Schuller is the one that is included in Oxford's The Catholic Study Bible edited by Fr. Donald Senior. It's a really nice overview of the history of the Church' lectionary, including the foundational principles for the revised Roman Lectionary after the Second Vatican Council. And of course, the inclusion of the daily and Sunday readings, which should be obligatory in all Catholic Bibles, is indeed very convenient.

Oxford's NAB Readers Edition also includes something that I have yet to see in any version of the NAB. Anyone who is familiar with the NAB will notice that the page layout and placement of commentary/cross-references are pretty universal with any edition of the NAB. Of course, they are mandatory with the printing of any edition of the NAB, much like the textual notes of the NRSV are. Well, this is not the case with the Oxford edition. While the NAB introductions are placed at the beginning of each book of the Bible as usual, the commentary notes and cross-references are placed as end notes to each Biblical book. To be honest with you, I actually like this set-up in this edition. It is really the first time I have seen just the NAB text, without all the notes and cross-references at the bottom. It is kind of refreshing. At first I thought that it might be a bit distracting to look up a particular cross-reference or commentary in the end notes, but so far it hasn't been much of an issue. The apparatus makes it pretty easy to find out the information you need pretty quickly. And for those out there, and I know there are a few, who really dislike the NAB commentary notes, this might be the perfect edition for you.

Ultimately, the only complaint I have against the NAB, as well as the RSV Oxford Readers Editions is that they don't include a map section. Why not throw a few of the Oxford maps on the back? They did it for the recently released ESV w/ Apocrypha as well as the NRSV Catholic Edition of a few years ago. But overall, I really like this edition of the NAB. In fact, it may be the best one out on the market. I certainly hope that Oxford University Press will publish a similar edition when the revised NAB Old Testament and Psalms are completed....of course with maps included!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Catholic Prayer Bible: Lectio Divina Edition

Paulist Press will be publishing in January an edition of the NRSV called The Catholic Prayer Bible: Lectio Divina Edition. At this point, I have not been able to find out too much about it, other than it comes in hardcover and paperback editions, with a size of 6 1/8 x 8 3/8". I also found a description of the title, which talks more about Lectio Divina instead of what is in the Bible itself:

Like no other Bible. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us: "I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart (cf. Dei Verbun, n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime."
An ideal Bible for anyone who desires to reflect on the individual stories and chapters of just one, or even all, of the biblical books, while being led to prayer through meditation on that biblical passage. Lectio divina, the reflective reading of scripture, has long been a popular devotional practice in the Church from the earliest of centuries. It consists of four steps: 1) Read: A slow and thoughtful reading of a passage from the Bible. 2) Reflect: A time of reflection and thinking about the meaning of that text to me as the reader. 3) Pray: A period of prayer to God to bring the message or wisdom of the text to fruit in myself. 4) Act: A decision on what I should do as a result; that is, an action plan to change or improve my life
Lectio divina is simple enough to be done any place where there is some quiet or peace, and at any time of day when you can find a few minutes. It can last for as long or sort as you wish to make it; you can spend three minutes or fifteen. And it is intended for everyone, for you -not just for those people you may think of as elite in some way: priests and religious, the very educated, or the very pious. Everyone - including you as you are right now - can find pleasure and spiritual enrichment in Lectio divina.
This Bible, which is like no other, invites readers, whether individually or in groups, to read the Bible more completely and prayerfully. It is the perfect way to give the gift of prayer to yourself and to those you love. 2,500 pages.
Well, thanks for the short lesson on Lectio Divina, but what about the Bible itself? In addition, I have always thought that the classic 4 steps of Lectio Divina were: 1) Lectio, 2) Meditatio, 3) Oratio, 4) Contemplatio. Sometimes I see another step added at the end, known as actio, which encourages the person to make some sort of commitment or to follow through on a decided path. But actio is not a part of the classic formulation. Or is it? Hmm....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Common English Bible

The Common English Bible is a new translation in the works that seeks to provide a new rendition of the Bible in English at a 7th grade reading level. It is meant to provide an option for those churches currently using the NRSV (11th grade reading level), but would rather have something more "plain spoken". The committee who is currently working on this project have four stated goals:
1 )Clarity of language, as in "plain speaking", 2)A reliable, genuine, and credible power to transform lives, 3) An emotional expectation to find the love of God, 4) A rational expectation to find the knowledge of God.
While being sponsored by mostly mainline Protestant churches, it does have a fair amount of Catholic participation as well. When completed, this new translation will also include the Deuterocanonical books.
The CEB translation team has just released its version of the Gospel according to Matthew. It is available here as a .pdf file.

One thing that immediately grabs your attention is the use of "the Human One" instead of "the Son of Man". While I laud their apparent desire for consistency, assuming that they will translate the same phrase in Daniel and Ezekiel as "the Human One", I don't think this is a good move overall. The term "Son of Man" has been a major part of theological and scriptural discourse for the past 2000 years. This is one area where my moderate position on the use of inclusive language begins to make me fell a bit uncomfortable.
Of course, I am somewhat uncomfortable with labeling any translation "good" or "bad", and certainly not one that hasn't even been fully published. I think it is great that the CEB team has released a portion of their new Bible, so that we can look over it and point out things we like and dislike about it. I look forward to any future releases they decide to provide, particularly in regards to Paul's letters.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NOAB 4th Edition Update

I emailed Oxford University Press over the weekend asking if there would be multiple binding options for the NOAB 4th Edition. A customer service representative responded saying that "There will be alternate bindings available for this title when it is published." Good to hear!

I hope this means that there will be genuine leather bindings. I mentioned in the previous post's comment box that I was very close this past weekend to ordering a genuine leather study Bible. I had been debating it for the past few months, but was still undecided between the NOAB 3rd edition and the New Interpreters Study Bible. Now that the 4th edition will be coming in February, it may be wise to wait until then. Hmmm.....