Thursday, December 17, 2009

Catholic Bible Hopes for 2010

Having already begun a new liturgical year with the first week of Advent, we will soon be entering into the calendar year 2010. I don't know about you, but boy does time fly! The upcoming new year got me thinking about what I would, realistically, like to see happen in the world of Catholic Bibles. So, I decided to list a few of them below. While there are a ton of things I could list, keep in mind that I tried to be as realistic as possible, recognizing the realities of the issues we have discussed on this blog concerning Catholic Bibles.

So here we go:

1) Continued Release of Quality Catholic Bible Study Tools
Over the past few years, the amount of quality Bible study material for Catholics has dramatically increased. Just looking back this past year, we have seen the release of Hahn's Catholic Bible Dictionary, Emmaus Road's The Catholic Bible Concordance, as well as additional Catholic Bible commentaries including the Navarre New Testament, The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture's "Ephesians" and "2 Corinthians", and the final volumes of the Ignatius Study Bible New Testament. There are others which I could mention, like the Faith Database, but I think you get the idea.

What can we look to in 2010? Well, Ignatius Press will be releasing the one-volume Ignatius Study Bible New Testament. It is scheduled to be released in early Spring, with the first editions of the Old Testament coming soon after. I would hope that the Old Testament volumes would come out at a much quicker pace than the New Testament ones. (It would be nice, if this blog still exists in 2019, that one of my hopes for 2020 would not be the "upcoming release" of the complete 1 volume Ignatius Study Bible.) There will also be additional volumes in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture released as well. I am also interested in checking out the 4th Edition of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, which will be released in February 2010.

2) The Publication of the Revised/Re-Revised NAB
This has only taken almost twenty years to complete. The Revised NAB NT was completed in 1986, with the dreadful revised Psalms in 1991. Since then, we have been stuck with a rather inconsistently translated American Catholic Bible for almost two full decades. Yet, there is some hope, with the NAB OT revised and approved and a re-revised Psalms in the works. If the revised OT and Psalms match the NT, I think it will be a decent translation overall. This would bring the entire NAB into the more formal category, slightly behind the RSV and NRSV. Also, it wouldn't be a bad thing either if they could incorporate some of the differences between the NAB we hear read at Mass into the one we read at home or in Bible study. Being able to read "Rejoice/Hail full of grace" in Luke 1:28 would be delightful!

A couple other thoughts that come to mind concerning the NAB. Whenever the revision is completed, it would be nice to see the USCCB/CBA shell out some minor funds to set up a respectable website that could promote the NAB. (Ignatius Press should do the same for their RSV-2CE as well!) The USCCB site just doesn't cut it for me, and there are plenty of other Bible translations that have fantastic sites in which to compare. (The NRSV site is not one of them!) Also, would it be too much for the NAB to come in different page layouts and formats? If you have seen one NAB, you have seen them all. Perhaps allowing a major publishing house to produce the NAB would be a good idea. Maybe the NAB could be made in a genuine leather cover too! Oooo......

3) Publication of Quality/Premium Editions of Catholic Bibles
This may well be a pipe dream, particularly with the state of the economy. However, the recent release of the Saint Benedict Press Douay-Rheims and RSV-CE does provide some hope. These new editions were not only published in multiple cover options, but also in attractive page layouts with accompanying study/prayer helps. In addition, the Little Rock Scripture Study's The Four Gospels, utilizing the NAB, also was encouraging in it's use of a single column format and informative in-text boxes which supplemented the NAB footnotes. And of course there is HarperCollins/Catholic/One who continues to publish the NRSV in different, often attractive editions. Although there always seems to be something lacking in their NRSV editions, like cross-references, I appreciate the effort. So there is some hope I think, although I am not going to wait around for the "perfect" edition to be made. (More on that in the coming weeks!)

So what are you hoping for in 2010?


Matt said...

I would like to see a single volume Navarre Catholic Study Bible with a reduced font size, thin Bible paper, bound in a myriad of different covers. It would be the Catholic answer to the long standing NIV Study Bible and would do a world of good.

Timothy said...

I was in contact with someone at Secepter Press who thought that a one volume edition would be way too big. However, I think if they did it like the JB/NJB does it's footnotes, then it could be done well. I like the Navarre Bible a lot, but it isn't very practical in most instances.

Terri L. Coons said...

I agree about the Navarre Bible not being practical. Although it has made me aware of some very interesting Church Fathers (such as Minucius Felix), I would NOT want to use it as a general study bible. Navarre works best on a book by book basis where I have wanted to understand how a book of the bible has influenced church theory and doctrine.

Matt said...

I think its not practical because it is in separate volumes. If you use the cross references often then you have to pick up a different volume to follow it.

If they can put the Haydock, ESV Study Bible, or any myriad others into one volume then the Navarre can also fit. Perhaps they could cut some of the repetition if they wanted.

We could use a full study bible with faith filled notes. I know the Ignatius one is coming too, at least the NT.

Daesy71 said...

OMGosh, I am confused. Of those of you that have both the RSV-CE and the RSV-2CE, or, have studied reviews for both, which one do you like the best? I think both come in large print and that helps. Also, are these "STUDY" Bibles?
Ann (Convert from Canada)

Raphael said...

My Bible hopes for 2010 would be any one of the following:

1st choice: For the newest revision of the NAB to be published with the altered version of the NT that has been approved for Mass. I also hope the bishops would surprise us with a few more alterations by restoring "gates of hell" in Matthew 16, the use of "soul" rather than "life" in Matthew 16:26 and Mark 8:36-37, replacing "can" with either "shall" or "will" in Luke 1:28, and using "peace to those of good will" in Luke 2:14. For the OT (including Psalms), I hope it matches the style of the NT, and meets Liturgiam Authenticam's requirements. In Genesis, I hope to see in place of "a mighty wind" either "the spirit of God" or "a Divine wind". In Tobit, I hope to see Tobiah replaced with the more familiar Tobias. I hope the footnotes are updated and faithful to Catholic teaching. I also hope to see St Benedict Press publish this new NAB in various editions, specifically thier large print Ultrasoft edition.

If this does not happen, my 2nd choice would be for Igantius Press to publish what could be considered the RSV-2.5CE, correcting the quality flaws of the current leather cover edition, adding in some more features, and slightly revising the text some more, so that "Amen I say to you" is restored through out the NT, and the same revisons of "gates of hell", "soul", "shall", and "men of good will" outlined for the NAB are made.

If that does not happen either, my 3rd choice is for St Benedict Press to follow Ignatius Press' lead, and publish a second edition of the Douay Rheims Bible, modernizing the archaic sentence structuring, making it easier to read and comprehend. In all likelyhood, they could use the Confraternity NT, which is a well done modernized version of the D-R NT, and they would only need to work on the OT to match the Confraternity style. The American bishops own the Confraternity NT, so they would make some money off such a Bible, and it would have the potential to become as popular, if not more so, as the RSV-CE.

So am I a hopeless dreamer or what?

Terri L. Coons said...

Study bibles are books that have the bible text (of a certain translation such as the RSV-CE or RSV02CE or NAB or NRSV or NJB...) along with many study notes and cross references reflecting historical, translational, and contextual implications of the scripture. Study bibles also contain a concordance, maps, essays, and a glossary to further assist your scripture study needs.

Catholic study bibles usually contain a lectionary reading schedule so that you may follow the daily church readings. I personally think that no Catholic bible should be printed without it.

Just for your reference, I use two study bibles:


The second one is much more Catholic (w/ daily reading plan) and compact than the first, but the first one has an easier to read type point.

I hope that this helps!

rolf said...

I would like to see Ignatius release an RSV-2CE large print Bible as they did with the RSV-CE. Other than, most everything else I want has already been mentioned.

Timothy said...


yes you are probably a hopeless dreamer in this case, but I tend to like a lot of your suggestions. An edition of the Douay-Rheims, minus the archaic language would be pretty sweet. I have always felt an English edition of the Nova Vulgata would be interesting as well.

Rick Rosinski said...

I agree with all the posts and would add:

4) New / revised notes for the NAB or allow publishers to compile their own notes.

5) More comprehensive study bibles, such as those found for Protestant versions such as the NLT, NIV and NKJV.

6) Wider distribution of Catholic Bibles and related Study materials. The average Barnes & Noble has barely any Catholic Bibles or material.

7) More (modern) Catholic Bible commentaries. The ones we have are either too technical (New Jerome Biblical Commentary) or are in need of updating (New Catholic Commentary on the Holy Scripture, Collegeville Bible Commentary, The International Bible Commentary). I'd like to see a good, comprehensive Catholic Bible Commentary available in 2010's.

The quality of Catholic Bibles and related Bible study material doesn't seem to have the same quality or quantity of Protestant material. That is surprising considering the pure number of Catholics. I wonder why that is?

becket said...

The Catholic Book Publishing Company either closing up shop or being bought up by TAN. For a company that probably does way more business than most Catholic companies do. Their Bibles look as though they were released in the early seventies. Same bland black and white illustrations. Old looking color illustrations for their "Deluxe" Bibles. And the non-approved NAB with all the liberal revisions. Come on when will they release any Summorum Pontificum products. They used to have nice ones in the past. And the USCCB thinks of them highly. I wonder how they will market the Revised NAB.

Anonymous said...

Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

Mary Elizabeth Sperry said...

I am one of the people responsible for the NAB page on the USCCB website. We are, in fact, planning an update of the website when the revised edition is published. We would love to hear your suggestions about what we could do to improve the site: additions, structure, etc. (A better search engine is already #1 on our list.) Perhaps Timothy would like to gather suggestions or readers can send suggestions by email to nab at usccb dot org. Please put "website suggestion" as the subject line so that we can keep the ideas together. I can't promise that we'll implement every suggestion, but we will consider them seriously.