Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some Bible-related Christmas Gifts

Merry Christmas to you all! Hope all is well wherever you are. Know that my prayers are with all of you during this Christmas season. I just thought I would check in to let you know of a few Bible-related goodies I received from my family over Christmas. First off is the Amazon Kindle (wifi version). I was on the fence about whether to get this product, but thought about how useful it would be in leading Bible studies. Needless to say, it is a pretty neat product, particularly because of its portability and long-lasting battery. The first things I downloaded onto the Kindle were the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament, Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth, and some popular works from Chesterton and Lewis. A good start I think. Secondly, I received NT Wright's Small Faith, Great God which is a reprint of an earlier publication dating back to the late 70's. I have already begun to read some of the chapters and perhaps will make some comments on it in the future. Finally, I also received Gary Burge's Encounters with Jesus. I had read his previous two entries in the series, Jesus the Middle-Eastern Storyteller and The Bible and the Land, which provided some interesting insights which I had not considered. Even though this series of books comes from a Protestant perspective, I think there is much to be considered for a Catholic reader. These books are not all that long, but are lavishly illustrated in order to set the context and environment of the Biblical narrative.
Again, have a blessed Christmas and happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Top 5 for 2010

Since Christmas is fast approaching, and I am not sure how much blogging I will get done over the next week or two, I want to take the time right now to list my top 5 favorite publications relating to Catholic Bibles during this past year. Overall, I think it was a pretty good year. Looking a bit forward, 2011 should also be very interesting, in particular with the release of the NABRE, the Revised Grail Psalms, more editions of the NRSV, and who knows what else. So, even though there are still three days until Christmas, I would like to wish all of you a blessed Christmas and happy New Year.

Now my top 5:

1) The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament: While for the most part it is simply a collection of the already released single volume editions, the ICSBNT the best single volume New Testament study Bible for Catholics on the market. The commentary utilizes both the historical method, as well as following the principles of Dei Verbum. The additional essays, maps, and concordance make this a must have for all Catholic Bible readers. Now if they can only complete the Old Testament in a reasonable amount of time, perhaps by 2015?

2) Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible RSV-CE: This one kind of snuck up on me, since I only knew about it a month before it was released. I believe this is the only dramatized audio Bible that uses a Catholic translation. The quality of the presentation is high, and the voice acting is both convincing yet not distracting. Bravo!

3) NRSV Go-Anywhere Thinline: Praise for this is a little bit anticipated, since the official Catholic edition of this thinline will be coming out in February. However, the version with the full Apocrypha/Deutercanonicals was released in October. Overall, it is finally nice to have a true thinline edition of a Catholic Bible. While the same old issue remains with the NRSV, lack of cross-references, this thinline is very readable and contains a concordance and maps. It will be interesting to see if the full Catholic edition will contain anything anything not in the current releases.

4) New Oxford Annotated Bible 4th Edition: Overall, I was very pleased with this release. I think the commentary is better than in the 3rd edition, and they updated the maps section, introductions to each book, and essays. The leather cover on my edition is soft and very flexible. The only issue that some people had with this is the new type-setting, which was smaller than older editions. It wasn't too big a deal to me, but again that just depends on personal preferences.

5) Live Catholic Youth Bible NRSV: Since I work at a high school, I am always on the lookout for solid Catholic youth materials. This edition came out in August and provides a nice alternative to the St. Mary's Press Catholic Youth Bible. There are no inserts into this Bible, with all the material integrated into the actual Bible page. This edition is smaller than the CYB, and the focus is more on the teens interaction with the Sacred Text. The Live Catholic Youth Bible encourages teens to write, highlight, and draw in their Bible, which I think is a good way to bring the Bible alive.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Longevity of the RSV-2CE?

Over this past weekend, I spent some time reading and thinking about the RSV-2CE a bit. The question that kept coming up in my mind was whether or not the RSV-2CE would ever become a standard Catholic Bible for most English speaking Catholics. Part of this questioning on my part comes from a number of emails I have received from readers over the past couple years asking me which is better, the original RSV-CE or the new RSV-2CE. For me, it is a tough question to answer and not as clean cut as I would expect. When looking on choosing between the two RSV’s, I tend to focus on three general areas: Translation, Resources, and Marketing/Promotion/Outreach.

As pointed out in numerous posts on this blog, the RSV-CE and REV-2CE, while being very close, do contain some subtle differences. While certainly the most obvious difference is that the RSV-2CE has eliminated all archaic language, it still maintains the exact style and sentence structure as the original. Sometimes the comparison is made between the RSV-2CE and the ESV. I am not sure that comparison, however, is valid, since for the most part the RSV-2CE is not a true revision of the RSV, but rather a selective update of it. You can go back to some previous posts here to look at some of my reflections on this.

Another issue that surrounds the production of the RSV-2CE is how it is in conformity with Liturgiam Authenticam. On recent post, an anonymous comment stated: “I also think the RSV-2CE is a tad bit deceptive when it claims to be translated in conformity with Liturgiam Authenticam. As most people who've read LA know, one of the recommendations from LA was that Hebrew and Aramaic words like "Amen," "Raca," "Maranatha," and "Alleluia" not be translated like they are in the RSV. Given all the ridiculous changes made by Ignatius Press (e.g., "ass" to "donkey," "babe" to "baby," etc.), surely they could have make these other changes too. Hopefully, the next printing will include these changes.”

I think he (or she) makes some valid points. We do have some insight into the mind of Ignatius Press, with the comments left by Ignatius Press Editor Fr. Fessio almost two years ago. It might be worth checking those out again and evaluating them. I think a little more clarity on this issue from Ignatius Press would go a long way. Perhaps in a future edition of the RSV-2CE, they could add a new preface, not simply the old 1966 one.

The last thing to point out in regards to translation is that they both have the same textual basis. Quoting from an earlier post of mine: “The RSV-2CE's textual basis is still the one used by translators of the original RSV OT and NT. According to Philip Comfort's Essential Guide to Bible Translations: "The Old Testament translators generally followed the Masoretic Text. At the same time, they introduced a few different renderings bases on the famous Dead Seas Scroll of Isaiah." Thus, only the initial findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls were used for the OT. The Deuterocanonical/Apocrypha books were not changed from the original RSV. As for the New Testament, the RSV-2CE retains the textual basis behind the original RSV NT, which used primarily the seventeenth edition of the Nestle text (1941). None of the modifications done in the 1971 edition of the RSV NT are found in the RSV-2CE.” Thus, the textual basis for both RSV's is well over fifty years old.

Basically, both translations can be used with such Bible study tools like Emmaus Road’s RSV Concordance (which includes the RSV-2CE changes in an appendix), the Navarre series, or even the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. Since they are so similar, there is really no issue. However, will there be future study tools that utilize the RSV-2CE over the RSV-CE? I am not sure. Certainly the slow-to-finish Ignatius Catholic Study Bible utilizes the RSV-2CE, but I can also point out that the Navarre Bibles as well as the recently released Catholic Scripture Study International Study Bible from St. Benedict Press went with the RSV-CE. So, I guess only time will tell on this issue. If I were to guess right now, I would think there would be more use of the original RSV.

The original RSV-CE is over forty years old, but maintains a strong following in Catholic academic, apologetic, as well as Bible study circles. Certainly the influx of converts to the Catholic Church, many with high views of Scripture like Scott Hahn, has helped make the RSV-CE more mainstream. Oxford University Press continues to print the New Oxford Annotated Bible-RSV as well as individual readers editions of the RSV-CE. The original RSV-CE continues to be published by Ignatius Press and St. Benedict Press. St Benedict Press, in particular, has produced some very attractive editions over the past year or so, and I would think that there would be some more in the future, hopefully including cross-references.

The RSV-2CE should be promoted more than it is currently. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, which is a fantastic resource that utilizes the RSV-2CE, is under promoted and unless the average Catholic sees it at a local bookstore, he or she probably doesn’t know it even exists.

This is of course my opinion, but I think the RSV-2CE will remain a niche translation. The RSV-CE is well established and published by more than one publishing house. It continues to live on in many different study tools, as well as devotional books. While there is much to like about the RSV-2CE, the fact that it is not promoted more broadly by Ignatius and does not come in various editions and style will keep its “popularity” fairly low in the overall Catholic Bible market.

Ultimately, the question is this: If you were a regular Catholic, who did not know the differences between the various Catholic translations, and wandered into a Barnes and Noble or Borders to buy a Catholic Bible, which one would you likely purchase? Most likely an NAB or NRSV, simply because there are more of them available, in many more attractive editions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent Contest 2

As promised, there will be one more contest here on this blog for 2010, as we journey through this Advent season. This contest will be tied to a new series of posts, that I have already started and will continue into 2011, examining the NAB Revised New Testament, which will be a part of the upcoming NABRE. I have decided to use the NAB New Testament for my daily reading, Bible study, and even class work for the foreseeable future. I am hoping this will allow me to be better acquainted with the positive and negative features of the NAB NT in preparation for a thorough analysis of it in conjunction with the presumed publication of the complete NABRE in 2011. (Of course, if the NABRE will not be released in 2011, I have the right to immediately scrap this project and move on to something else.) With that being said, onto the contest.
The winner of this contest will receive:

1) ESV Thinline Bible (without Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha)
Here are the rules:

1) If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your blog. (If you don't, you can still enter the contest.)

2) This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. (Again, overseas shipping costs are a bit too high for me right now. Sorry.)

3) The question you need to answer in the comment box:
What should I name the upcoming series of posts focusing on my reading of the NAB Revised New Testament?

4) The contest ends on Saturday at 11:59PM EST.

5) One entry per person.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Revised Grail Psalms Pre-Order

Yes, you can now pre-order the Revised Grail Psalms. These will be the new Psalms used in the Mass in the United States, and conceivably in the future revision of the Liturgy of the Hours. I pre-ordered mine last night and look forward to sharing my thoughts about it with you sometime in January. Thank you to reader Sharon for the link!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

NAB NT Series

The year 2011 will likely mark the publication of the NABRE. For those who are just joining this blog, that is the New American Bible Revised Edition, which will include a revised Old Testament and re-revised Psalms. For some additional information on the NABRE go here for a helpful question/answer post with Mary Sperry from the USCCB, which was done earlier this year. Hopefully there will be some additional information, like an actual publication date, early in 2011.

I am planning to spend some time over the next month, through various posts and guest reviews, analyzing the NAB NT. The current NAB NT will be the New Testament in the NABRE, so perhaps it is time to give it a fresh look.

To kick things off, I want to paste some portions of the revised edition of the NAB NT preface. I am hoping to begin the discussion with the basics, so I ask that any comments focus primarily on the preface. There will be plenty of time to discuss this or that translation choice. To read the entire preface, you can go here. So here are some selections I have picked out:

1) The primary aim of the revision is to produce a version as accurate and faithful to the meaning of the Greek original as is possible for a translation. The editors have consequently moved in the direction of a formal-equivalence approach to translation, matching the vocabulary, structure, and even word order of the original as closely as possible in the receptor language. Some other contemporary biblical versions have adopted, in varying degrees, a dynamic-equivalence approach, which attempts to respect the individuality of each language by expressing the meaning of the original in a linguistic structure suited to English, even though this may be very different from the corresponding Greek structure. While this approach often results in fresh and brilliant renderings, it has the disadvantages of more or less radically abandoning traditional biblical and liturgical terminology and phraseology, of expanding the text to include what more properly belongs in notes, commentaries, or preaching, and of tending toward paraphrase. A more formal approach seems better suited to the specific purposes intended for this translation.

2) A particular effort has been made to insure consistency of vocabulary. Always to translate a given Greek word by the same English equivalent would lead to ludicrous results and to infidelity to the meaning of the text. But in passages where a particular Greek term retains the same meaning, it has been rendered in the same way insofar as this has been feasible; this is particularly significant in the case of terms that have a specific theological meaning. The synoptic gospels have been carefully translated so as to reveal both the similarities and the differences of the Greek.

3) An especially sensitive problem today is the question of discrimination in language. In recent years there has been much discussion about allegations of anti-Jewish expressions in the New Testament and of language that discriminates against various minorities. Above all, however, the question of discrimination against women affects the largest number of people and arouses the greatest degree of interest and concern. At present there is little agreement about these problems or about the best way to deal with them. In all these areas the present translation attempts to display a sensitivity appropriate to the present state of the questions under discussion, which are not yet resolved and in regard to which it is impossible to please everyone, since intelligent and sincere participants in the debate hold mutually contradictory views.The primary concern in this revision is fidelity to what the text says. When the meaning of the Greek is inclusive of both sexes, the translation seeks to reproduce such inclusivity insofar as this is possible in normal English usage, without resort to inelegant circumlocutions or neologisms that would offend against the dignity of the language. Although the generic sense of man is traditional in English, many today reject it; its use has therefore generally been avoided, though it is retained in cases where no fully satisfactory equivalent could be found. English does not possess a gender-inclusive third personal pronoun in the singular, and this translation continues to use the masculine resumptive pronoun after everyone or anyone, in the traditional way, where this cannot be avoided without infidelity to the meaning. The translation of the Greek word adelphos, particularly in the plural form adelphoi, poses an especially delicate problem. While the term literally means brothers or other male blood relatives, even in profane Greek the plural can designate two persons, one of either sex, who were born of the same parents. It was adopted by the early Christians to designate, in a figurative sense, the members of the Christian community, who were conscious of a new familial relationship to one another by reason of their adoption as children of God. They are consequently addressed as adelphoi. This has traditionally been rendered into English by brothers or, more archaically, brethren. There has never been any doubt that this designation includes all the members of the Christian community, both male and female. Given the absence in English of a corresponding term that explicitly includes both sexes, this translation retains the usage of brothers, with the inclusive meaning that has been traditionally attached to it in this biblical context. Since the New Testament is the product of a particular time and culture, the views expressed in it and the language in which they are expressed reflect a particular cultural conditioning, which sometimes makes them quite different from contemporary ideas and concerns. Discriminatory language should be eliminated insofar as possible whenever it is unfaithful to the meaning of the New Testament, but the text should not be altered in order to adjust it to contemporary concerns. This translation does not introduce any changes, expansions, additions to, or subtractions from the text of scripture. It further retains the traditional biblical ways of speaking about God and about Christ, including the use of masculine nouns and pronouns.

Ok, what do you think of these first three selections? The selections are focused on issues of translation philosophy, consistant vocabulary, and inclusive language.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent Sales on Bibles

Just an FYI for those who are looking to purchase any one of these Bibles:

Ignatius Press is having a 25% off all their merchandise, including RSV-CE, RSV-2CE, and Ignatius Catholic Study Bible materials. Sale ends on Sunday.

Also, our friends at Scepter Publishers have selected discounts of up to 15% of books, including the Navarre Bible series.

Don't forget to support your local and online Catholic bookstores!

Monday, December 6, 2010

An Interesting Perspective on the NAB

Follow this link for an interesting post about the NAB translation. It was posted on the Political Jesus blog, but it is written by Jeremy Thompson. It makes some really interesting points, particularly in regards to using a translation even though one knows its not the best one out there. What do you think of his argument? Is there a case for using the NAB? (I think there is, but I know some of you really dislike it!.) ;)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent Contest Winner

Great entries again for this contest. Thank you to all who entered. In the end,
I went with the entry with the most vivid and creative imagination, which came from Diakonos. Congrats on winning the Luke commentary and the NRSV Lectio Divina Bible, which doesn't even come close to your dreams of a future NRSV edition! ;)

Just drop me an email at mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com to claim your prize.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another Giveaway, a Different Blog

You can go to Brandon's The Thin Veil blog, where he is having a giveaway this week with the winner getting some very fine books, including Pope Benedict's The Joy of Knowing Christ and two very important Scriptural documents Dei Verbum and Divino Afflante Spiritu. So, go check it out! Thanks Brandon!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Contest 1

As promised, I will be offering at least one contest during this Holy season of Advent. I may offer another one, depending on how busy the next few weeks get at school. But for now, the winner of this contest will receive:

1) The Catholic Prayer Bible: Lectio Divina Edition (NRSV)

2) The Gospel According to Luke I-IX (Anchor Bible) by Joseph A. Fitzmyer. 1981.

Here are the rules:

1) If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your blog. (If you don't, you can still enter the contest.)

2) This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. (Again, overseas shipping costs are a bit too high for me right now. Sorry.)

3) In the comment box, answer the following question:
What Catholic Bible, or Bible study tool, would you like to see under your Christmas tree this year and why? (Feel free to invent something that meets your needs!)

4) The contest ends on Saturday at 11:59PM EST.

5) One entry per person.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Truth & Life Audio Bible Review

Well, this is not so much going to be a review, but rather some of my thoughts on this fine product. As mentioned in previous posts, the Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible is an exciting development for Catholic Bible readers (and listeners). I believe this is the first dramatized audio Bible that utilizes a Catholic edition of the Bible. The RSV-CE is the translation used, and I must say that even though the translation is 40+ years old, it still sounds both contemporary (for the most part) and elegant.

The audio CD's are packaged in three separate "digipaks" which contain six CD's each. Each of them contains photos from the project, as well as a foreword on the Word of God from Pope Benedict XVI, a letter from the producer Carl Amari, and additional information about the cast and producers. All in all, it has a professional look to it, which is something that doesn't always accompany Catholic Bible products.

Now onto the audio Bible itself. At this point, I can say that I have listened to all of the Gospel according to John, as well as snippets from the other Gospels and some of the letters. As I was listening to the Gospel of John, narrated by Stacy Keach, I tried to compare this audio Bible with other audio Bibles I own, most notably portions of The Word of Promise and the The Bible Experience: New Testament. The first thing that comes to mind is that in comparison to the other two audio Bibles, this one is a little more scaled back in the use of background sounds. However, I think this is a benefit to the whole listening experience. While there is certainly background noise and sound that accompanies the actors performances, it is not as pronounced as in the other two, IMHO. In a way, by not over-producing these "environmental" sounds, with dominating crowd noise or the sounds of nature, the focus remains on the Sacred Word being read. Again, it just adds enough to help the listener use his or her imagination to construct the scene in their mind as they listen.

The second aspect of this audio Bible that I would like to point out is the voice acting. One thing to note is that while the other two audio Bibles I mentioned had celebrities playing the roles of almost all the characters, the Truth & Life audio Bible has around eleven fairly well known actors playing the main, starring roles, while the others are handled by supporting or voice actors. For me, this was actually a good thing, since I wasn't always distracted by trying to figure out who is saying what. Overall, I found the acting, thus far, to be quite good. Jesus is played by actor Neal McDonough, who does a nice job overall. In particular, I found the readings done by Micheal York, Julia Ormond, and John Rhys-Davies to be my favorites.

Ultimately, I found this product to be quite beautiful to listen to. I can see myself using these, not only for personal use, but also in future Scripture classes at the high school, particularly the letters of St. Paul. I found my copy at Barnes and Noble and paid a little under $30.00, so it can certainly be found at a great price. It is also great to support Catholic products like this. No date has been set, but there are plans to do an Old Testament edition in the future.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To Kindle or Not to Kindle....

Reader Sharon recently emailed me after she received a Kindle for her birthday. As she began to see what was available, she downloaded the Douay-Rheims and RSV-2CE Study Bible (ICSBNT). However, she would like to know what else is available for Catholics, particularly in the area of Bible study, for the Kindle.
So, I propose to you these two questions:
1) What Bible study material is out there and works well on the Kindle?
2) Do you use a Kindle regularly for your own personal Bible reading or study?

Monday, November 22, 2010

CSSI Update

You can get a sneak peak of the CSSI Bible at the Tan Books site here. I do not see any cross-references at this point, but that seems to confirm the belief that a future edition should/needs to contain them. (Hat tip to Kenneth for the link.)

Thank You Mark Shea

Although I try to maintain the focus of this blog to specifically "Catholic Bibles" and things related, I can't help but refer you to a fine examination/parody by my favorite Catholic blogger, Mark Shea, on the reporting by the mainstream press on Pope Benedict's comments concerning condom use in his upcoming interview book Light of the World.


(ROME) In a startling change to the Catholic Faith, Pope Benedict XVI announced today that tossing people down elevator shafts could represent a first step in assuming moral responsibility "in the intention of reducing the risk of murdering billions of innocent people."

The Imperial Mainstream Media Center has taken this as a signal that the Church intends to canonize Darth Vader for his saintly courage in tossing Emperor Palpatine down an elevator shaft as he was torturing his son to death with huge bolts of electric Force energy. In addition, the Imperial Mainstream Media Center has also declared that the Pope therefore means to say that destruction of whole planets, as well as the subjugation of billions of inhabitants all over the galaxy, the betrayal of his closest friends, the slaughter of the Jedi and their younglings, and his conversion to the Dark Side "don't matter". But most importantly, according to an Imperial Mainstream Media spokesman, "The point is, throwing people down elevator shafts is now formally accepted by the Church as moral behavior and Catholic need to think about how to incorporate this new development of doctrine into their lives. If you feel that throwing people down elevator shafts is the safe and right thing for you, then," says the Imperial Mainstream Media Center, "we believe the Pope means to say, 'Do it with my blessing.'"

ICSBNT Contest Giveway Winner

Congrats to reader Lou! Please drop me an email at mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com with your name and address and I will get your copy of the ICSBNT out to you.

Stay tuned, I think I will be having another contest soon since we are entering into the Advent season. All I have to do is figure out what the contest question will be.

Thanks again to all who entered.

CSSI Bible Now Shipping

According to the Saint Benedict Press website, the Catholic Scripture Study International RSV-CE is available for order now. Personally, I am still debating on whether or not to shell out $69.95 + shipping for this, but I would be interested to hear from any of you who do decide to purchase it.
This new RSV-CE edition contains:
This high-quality RSV-CE Bible seamlessly integrates Sacred Scripture with extensive study materials and reference guides. Includes 76 full color pages, Holy Land maps marked with significant events and places, and extensive biblical apologetics and topical indexes, all beautifully bound in our Classic Black Bonded Leather with multiple ribbon markers, gold edges and beautiful foil stamped cover.
Update: You can a sneak peak of this volume on the Tan Books site here. I do not see cross-references.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ICSBNT Contest Giveway

One of my favorite liturgical days is coming up this Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King. I love the readings for that day, as well as the ones that lead up to it. Truly a wonderful way to end the liturgical year. So, in honor of this great feast, I am going to have a contest for a brand new paperback edition of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament.
Here are the rules:
1) If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your blog.
(If you don't, you can still enter the contest.)
2) This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. One of my previous contest winners was outside the North America and the shipping costs were not cheap, so on this occasion I will be limiting this contest to those in the US or Canada. Sorry, I have a new baby and need to buy more formula and diapers!
3) In the comment box, answer the following two questions:
What do you like better: the RSV-CE, the RSV-2CE, or NRSV? Why?
4) The contest ends on Sunday at 11:59PM EST.
5) One entry per person.
I will announce the winner on Monday, so be creative!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Truth & Life Audio Bible RSV-CE

The Truth & Life audio RSV-CE is now available on CD at for only $31.49. I have not been able to find it yet on I-Tunes, but will keep checking. (Hat tip to reader Charles.)

A Reader's Question

A reader sent me an email with the following request:

"I needed to ask you for advice. For a translation of a theology book I need a digital version of the RSV CE to copy and paste hundreds of quotes. I am not using a Kindle. On google search I find audio CD's, but not CD's with text. Years ago I had an Ignatius CD with the RSV, but I lost it. Please advise me where I can purchase what I need."

I did point out to him the UMich online RSV, but perhaps there is more out there for him.
Any assistance, which you can give in the comments, would be appreciated.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Catholic Bible Poll at 2000!

Which Catholic Bible Translation Do You Use?

Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition 28% (560)
New American Bible
22% (438)
15% (307)
New Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition
15% (303)
Jerusalem Bible
9% (174)
New Jerusalem Bible
8% (166)
Good News Bible
2% (34)
Christian Community Bible
1% (29)

So, what do you think about this non-scientific poll? From my experience, it seems that the precentages are about right. The main "battle" continues to be between the RSV and NAB, with the RSV remaining king of the Catholic Bible poll for almost two years now. However, the most interesting fight is between the Douay-Rheims and the NRSV, each representing 15% of the vote. Who will be third?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Verbum Domini

Well, it appears that the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini is now available in English from the Vatican website. So get started on your homework, it's only 208 pages long! More to come on this once I get a chance to read through it. I may have to wait for the printed version, since I am not sure my school wants me to print out 208 pages on my classroom printer. For a little more on the release of this document, you can check out Catholic News Service which provides some quotes and anaylsis of Verbum Domini, as well as the USCCB Media Blog, which posted an article by Mary Sperry, from the NAB team, who was gracious in the past to answer our questions about the upcoming NABRE.

Feel free to start a conversation on this document in the comment section. As I said above, it is a long document, so there is plenty to discuss.

Whatcha Think?

I think it is a bit much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Review: The Harvard Vulgate/Douay-Rheims

Many thanks to reader Theophrastus for this thorough review of the Harvard University Press The Vulgate Bible, Volume 1: The Pentateuch.

Below is his full review:

Harvard University Press, together with the Dumbarton Oaks Library, has launched a new book series called the "Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library". The inaugural volume is a new version of the Pentateuch in a new reconstructed Vulgate and an updated Douay-Rheims translation; and the next release of books features the Prophets: (ISBNs0674055349, 0674996674, 0674060776). Although I have only spent a small amount of time with the new Pentateuch, I can say that it is easily the nicest Latin-English Bible diglot I have ever seen, and a worthy addition to any Bible collector's library.

The new Pentateuch volume is edited by Swift Edgar, a researcher at Dumbarton Oaks, and is quite generous in size with 36+ 1151 pages with 11 extra blank pages at the end. It is a hardcover, and the dimensions of the book are 8.4 x 5.5 x 2.3 inches (I know that is different from Amazon's listed dimensions, but I actually measured the book). This means that this book is nice and thick, and it features creamy thick paper with very generous margins (7/8" on the top and sides, and usually over an inch on the bottom) and nice, big print (I'm guessing 11 point.) This is a book for taking notes, and best of all, has minimal bleed-through. There is a single ribbon for keeping one's place.

The text is rather interesting. The editor presents substantial evidence that Gregory Martin began his translation in 1578 and (after proof reading by two fellow professors) completed it 676 days later, with publication being delayed until 1609-1610 by the exile to Rheims. This of course is consistent with introductory "To the right vvelbeloved English reader" which states that the Bible was translated"about thirtie yeares since" but "as for the impediments, which hitherto haue hindered this worke, they al proceded (as manie do know) of one general cause, our poore estate in banishment."

The English text is revised from the 1899 revision of the Challoner's revision of the Douay. Punctuation and transliteration of proper nouns and adjectives have been brought into modern practice; also, some printer errors in the 1899 version have been corrected by reference to the original Challoner 1750 and 1752 versions. "In addition, the whole text has been prepared according to the guidelines of the fifteenth edition of the 'Chicago Manual of Style.' This policy has resulted in significant alterations to Challoner's edition, which superabounds in colons and commas, lacks quotation marks andbegins each verse on a new line.... In contrast to most English Bibles, this volume renders all of the text as prose, even the partsthat were originally in verse, since neither the Latin nor the Englishis poetic." All of Challoner's notes have been excised, although the text keeps Challoner's chapter summaries.

The most interesting part is the Latin text of the Bible. "While the English College was working on its translation at Douay and Rheims, Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-1590) called for the preparation of an authoritative Latin text. This Latin Bible was published in 1590, just prior to his death, but it contained errors and was soon suppressed for fear that Protestants would use them to attack the Catholic Church. Three corrected printings followed, in 1592, 1593,and 1598, during the papacy of Clement VIII (r. 1592-1605). These four editions, substantially the same, are referred to the Sixto-Clementine Version. While it strongly resembles the Latin Bible that evidently served as the basis for the Douay-Rheims translation, the two are not identical." (Indeed, note that Gregory Martin died adecade before the initial publication of the Sixto-Clementineversion.) This version presents a reconstructed Latin text based on the English evidence of the Douay-Rheims, drawing on the critical apparati in Weber's 5th edition (2007) and Quentin's edition(1926-[1995]).

The result is a fascinating rendition of the Latin -- one that explains mysteries that many of us have noticed in English renderingsof the Douai-Rheims that differ from the Sixto-Clementine version. Of course, many people have strong preference for the Sixto-Clementine (for example in the 1959 Vatican City edition) version, holding, like the introduction to the 1609 Douay:

"But here an other question may be proposed: VVhy we translate the Latin text, rather than the Hebrew, or Greke, which Protestantes preferre, as the fountaine tongues, wherin holie Scriptures were first written? To this we answer, that if in dede those first pure Editions were now extant, or if such as be extant, were more pure than theLatin, we would also preferre such fountaines before the riuers, in whatsoeuer they should be found to disagree. But the ancient bestlerned Fathers, & Doctors of the Church, do not much complaine, andtestifie to vs, that both the Hebrew and Greke Editions are fouly corrupted by the Iewes, and Heretikes, since the Latin was truly translated out of them, whiles they were more pure."

Despite this version of the Latin text being reconstructed, and thus necessarily artificial, it is highly readable Latin and arguably is as close to the version Gregory Martin used as we can hope to get.

The end result is a very convenient and very easy to use diglot. Besides its merits as a Latin edition, it has the nicest version of Challoner that I've seen (and, having restored many changes made by the 1899 revisers to the original 1750 and 1752 form, is more true to Challoner) and the result is English that is reasonably concordant to the Latin. This stands in marked contrast to editions such as the Baronius Press "Douay-Rheims and Clementina Vulgata: English-Latin Bible" (ISBN 1905574444) where the sharp differences between the meaning of the Latin and the meaning of the English often leave thereader gasping and wondering how an edition with such divergent readings could have appeared. Further, in contrast to the cramped, tiny print of the over-sized Baronius, the easy-to-old Harvard edition is a pleasure to use, read, and mark with personal annotations. (The drawback, of course, is that the Harvard edition is appearing in multiple volumes, as opposed to the single-volume Baronius. However, the Baronius is not convenient to use , and while it may have value as a reference volume, I doubt many readers sit down and read it cover to cover.)

At the other extreme, the Weber and Quentin Vulgates, although very scholarly, are hardly convenient to sit down and read; (and for thosewho have intermediate Latin skills, reference to an English version isuseful anyway); in contrast, this new Harvard edition is a wonderful reading version of the Vulgate.

I think that this version will set the new standard for Latin-English diglots of the Bible. I predict that just as the Harvard Loeb volumes have become the convenient reading version for those readers who want consult the Greek and Latin classics (with a matching English translation), I suspect that the Harvard Vulgate will become the standard version for those readers who actually wish to read the Vulgate in Latin. Even if one has English but no Latin at all, the elegant design of this volume commends itself to the reader. I am glad I bought it and look forward to spending a lot of time with it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letter on Bible Synod due Thursday

According to Zenit (Nov. 5):

Benedict XVI's postsynodal exhortation for the world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God will be published next Thursday, the Vatican is reporting. The papal text will gather the reflections and proposals suggested during the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in October 2008, and which reflected on the theme "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church." The document will be titled "Verbum Domini" (word of God).

I think we will spend some posts discussing this text once it is released. So, stay tuned!

PS: "Verbum Domini" should be "Word of the Lord" not "Word of God".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jesus of Nazareth Part II Cover Art

So there it is! Ignatius Press will publish Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth Part 2: Holy Week from the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection on March 15, 2011. The cover art has a similar look to the first volume in this three part series. Part II will number 315 pages, about a hundred pages shorter than Part I. I am sure there will be more news and features from Ignatius Press once we get a little closer to the publication date.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"The State of the Word is Good"

Many thanks to reader Francesco who alerted me to this interesting article from Publishers Weekly. Written by Marcia Z. Nelson, this piece, entitled "The State of the Word Is Good", deals with the recent publication of new translations and study Bibles, along with some info about the Catholic Bible market. Needless to say, HarperOne is prominent in this article, who, like I have mentioned before, seem to be one of the few publishers who have created attractive Bibles for Catholics. Below is a section from the article that deals with the Catholic market, but to read it in its entirety please go here.

"We've been very happy with Bible sales," says Mickey Maudlin, v-p and editorial director at HarperOne, which published several Bibles this year. "They're never the sexiest number, but they just keep going." Now HarperOne is going after the Catholic market (see p. 22), which is vast, with 67 million adherents, but difficult, because the distribution structure is less clearly delineated than the sales and distribution channels of the evangelical market. One strategy Harper has used is forging partnerships with Catholic publishers like Our Sunday Visitor, which are smaller in size but well networked through curriculum publishing. "We're very bullish about the Catholic market," Maudlin says.

I like reading that they view the Catholic market as bullish!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Truth & Life RSV-CE Audio Bible

As mentioned last month, the Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible RSV-CE New Testament will be released sometime this month, on both CD and I-Tunes. (I hope to get a precise date soon on when exactly they will be released.) As far as I can tell, it will be the first dramatized edition of a Catholic Bible in English. It has a host of well-known actors involved in the project. It is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict! The picture on the left surfaced at the Truth & Life Facebook site. The complete audio New Testament is 22 hours long on 18 CDs.

Update: I talked with someone involved with the Truth and Life project who said that the release date should be in about 3 weeks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Revised NIV is Now Available

For those of you who are interested, the revised NIV can now be searched here.

Happy All Saints Day!

I, John, saw another angel come up from the East,holding the seal of the living God.He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea,“Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal,one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel. After this I had a vision of a great multitude,which no one could count,from every nation, race, people, and tongue.They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.They cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,and from the Lamb.”
All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures.They prostrated themselves before the throne,worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”He said to me,“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
-Revelation 7

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: NRSV Go-Anywhere Thinline Bible w/Apocrypha

As some of you know by reading this blog, I have been championing a proper Catholic thinline Bible for a long time. As far as I know, there has never been a specifically "thinline" edition of the NAB, RSV-CE, NRSV-CE, JB, or NJB on the market at any point. (If I am wrong, let me know.) I am happy to report that this apparent oversight is being remedied by HarperOne. While the edition I am reviewing today is the NRSV Go-Anywhere Thinline Bible w/Apocrypha (including the Orthodox OT books), a Catholic thinline edition will be released by HarperOne in February 2011. (No details yet on if there will be anything different, besides the ordering of the OT books.) Before going any further with this review, I must acknowledge that I am grateful that HarperOne is publishing so many different editions of the NRSV, including Catholic editions. One does not have to be a fan of the NRSV translation to realize that HarperOne is, in many ways, being creative and daring in the editions that they publish. I would like to see a little bit more of this from some of the Catholic Bible publishers out there.

OK, so on to the review. First off, what does this Bible include:

Less than 1 inch thick
The Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical books of Scripture
Easy-to-read 9-point type in a double-column setting
Bonded leather with craft-sewn binding for added strength and long life
Fine Bible paper to maximize readability and portability
Concordance for finding key verses
Gilded edges and a ribbon marker
Presentation page and maps
Those of you who own HarperOne's NRSV Compact Thinline will notice immediately that the type and font are the exact same, only bigger. You can get a closer look at this, besides my first photo, here. Personally, I really like the size and look of this 9-point font. It is pleasing to my eyes and truly does make reading from this Bible enjoyable. Prior to this edition's release, I had actually gone back to the compact edition and in many ways was hoping it would be the same. Of course, this is just my opinion, so people may be free to disagree on this.

Next, the bonded leather cover can be seen as being good or bad, depending on what you like. It is not the same as the compact edition, nor have I seen this type of bonded leather used on any of HarperOne's other NRSV releases. Would I prefer genuine/premium leather or even Italian Duo-Tone? Absolutely, since I am not a big fan of bonded leather. However, this bonded leather edition isn't too bad. It opens up fairly flat, and I can see a point in the near future, with continued use, that it would be much more flexible. There is always the worry with bonded leather covers that they will not hold up after years of regular use, however the fact that pages are held together with craft-sewn binding may make up for it. Again, only time will tell.

So what are some of the details about the extras in this Bible? The presentation page is pretty standard. I wonder if it will be more expansive in the Catholic edition, perhaps including places to indicate a person's Sacramental history. I have always liked having that in my Bible. The maps, while still being the Zondervan black and white ones, are more numerous than in the compact edition. In total there are 7 maps, compared to the two in the compact, ranging from "The Exodus" to "Paul's Journeys". A map of Jeruselem would have been helpful, but it wasn't included. Of course, it would have been nice for them to include full-color maps, which many other thinline editions contain. In any case, there is enough of them to get you by if you needed to look up a location. Also, this Bible contains a helpful 30-page concise concordance.

So that is basically that for the description. Looking at what seems missing, the most obvious is the lack of cross-references. I hate to be a broken record, but they really need to at least indicate what OT references are being referred to in the NT. Surveying a number of thinline Bibles over the weekend, almost all of them included cross-references. This glaring omission continues to hinder HarperOne's NRSV in my eyes, which is a shame since I think, overall, they are doing some really great things.

However, since I am planning on using this Bible regularly over the next three months, I have decided to take matters into my own hands. Those of you that own the HarperCollins Study Bible will notice that at the end of the New Testament section there is a table of OT references in the NT. I decided to make a copy of this table, shrink it, then attach it to the thick blank pages that immediately follow the map section.

Why wait? Unless there is a copyright issue with the SBL, who authors the HarperCollins Study Bible, I wonder why HarperOne doesn't simply add this table to their NRSV Bibles. It would be very easy to do and at least provide the reader with tools needed to cross-reference a verse in a crunch.
Overall, I am fairly happy with this thinline. I plan on using it regularly over the next three months, until the Catholic edition is published. Depending on how things go, and whether or not there is any additional helps in the Catholic edition like the Sunday Mass Readings, I may pick it up as well. I would encourage anyone who is unsure whether or not to buy this to try and see it for yourself first. Places like Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Cokesbury should all have them in stock.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NRSV Thinline

A review of this fine product will be forthcoming. Needless to say, I have been a bit busy over the past few days. I actually received the HarperOne NRSV Thinline w/Apocrypha on the day we headed to the hospital. So, enjoy one of the photos that I took of it today on my I-Phone. More to come....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Collins NRSV with Grail Psalms

Yea, so I missed this comment at the original post on the Collins NRSV with Grail Psalms to be published in the UK. Thank you Sam for the following info.

Sam Richardson:

Hi there, I'm the editorial director at Collins, I can confirm a few points about this Bible. It will contain the current versions of the NRSV and the Grail Psalms that are used in the UK - if and when CBCEW approve revised versions for a new lectionary (as is happening in the US with the Grail Psalms and in Canada with the NRSV) then we will update this product accordingly. However, as the timings on this seem rather up in the air at the moment, we have decided to push ahead with this Bible now, as our survey data suggests catholics in the UK are now mostly buying NRSV for their personal study rather than JB. The Grail Psalms will be added at the back rather than in place of the NRSV Psalms.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Proud to Present My Daughter

I am very delighted to announce the birth of my first child, Gianna Maria. She was born on Friday at 1:38PM. We named her after one of our favorite saints, St. Gianna Molla.
As my wife went into labor on Friday morning, one piece of Scripture immediately entered my mind and has remained with me over the past few days. Although my wife did all the heavy lifting, we both found great comfort in these words of our Lord:

"When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."
-John 16:21-22 (NRSV)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Your Favorite Non-Catholic Bible?

Yes, perhaps a strange question to ask, but with the upcoming release of the revised NIV it seems appropriate. The NIV has been one of, if not the, most widely sold English language Bible on the planet for the past 30 years. Back when I was doing campus ministry at a local community college, the vast majority of students who came to our Christian Bible study used the NIV, even some Catholics.

So, I am eager to hear which non-Catholic Bible you tend to like and why. I would ask that you stick to translations that haven't come out in a Catholic edition, which would obviously rule out the likes of the RSV and NRSV. The ESV would be an interesting case, since there isn't, nor do I suspect ever will be, a Catholic edition, although the Oxford edition with the Apocrypha does exist. There are certainly plenty to choose from!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NIV Update

According to published accounts on various internet sites, it appears that the revised NIV will be released on the web in November on the Bible Gateway site, with full paper publication due sometime in March. This edition will be an update of the NIV (1984) and the TNIV, ultimately replacing both. There will be no Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical edition available.

On a side note, it is interesting how quickly the NIV committee was able to revise their translation. ;) We are talking about a few years, not decades.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CS Lewis Bible

As mentioned a few months ago, HarperOne will be publishing The C.S. Lewis Bible in November. Containing the NRSV, apparently without Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals, this Bible comes in a hardcover, as well as two bonded leather editions. You can now view some excerpts from it here.

More features:

* Over 600 Scripture-linked devotional readings from * Lewis's spiritual classics, essays, and correspondence
*Introductory essays on Lewis's view of Scripture and his journey of faith
*Indexes to guide you to each reading from C. S. Lewis
*Double-column format
*Presentation page
*Ribbon marker
* Gilded page edges

Does anybody think a Bible like this is necessary? Would you buy it?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Used Bookstore Finds

Thought I might share some "finds" from over the weekend:

The New English Bible with Apocrypha: Oxford Study Edition (hardcover, slightly used)

RSV New Testament (Hardcover, First edition 1946)

Bible Translation Differences by Leland Ryken

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Swedish Catholic Bible?

I received an email from an American reader who is looking to find a leather bound Swedish language Catholic Bible for her exchange student. I know that there have been a few people from Sweden who have stopped by this blog in the past, so I throw this question out to you or anyone else who may be able to help. If you can provide any helpful information or links in the comment box, that would be appreciated!

CSSI Bible due mid-November

After contacting the publisher, I was told that the new Catholic Scripture Study International Bible is due to be released in mid to late November. I also asked if there would be cross-references included, but the person I talked with was unsure of the answer. I would hope so, since I am not sure that I would be willing to dish out over $50.oo on a study Bible without cross-references. Seems kind of silly to do so.
As a reminder, this study Bible includes:
This high-quality RSV-CE Bible seamlessly integrates Sacred Scripture with extensive study materials and reference guides. Includes 76 full color pages, Holy Land maps marked with significant events and places, and extensive biblical apologetics and topical indexes, all beautifully bound in our Classic Black Bonded Leather with multiple ribbon markers, gold edges and beautiful foil stamped cover.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New RSV-CE Audio CD

This sort of snuck up on me, but coming next month from Zondervan, is an all new audio version of the RSV-CE. It looks quite fantastic! The Truth and Life audio Bible may be the first fully dramatized audio Catholic Bible on the market. I hope we get to hear and see more about this in the coming weeks.
The Truth and Life website contains some sound/visual clips for you to experience. If interested in pre-ordering this new audio Bible, you can check out the Zondervan site for more information.
Here is a brief description from the product's website:
The Truth & Life Dramatized audio Bible™ New Testament is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. Voiced by internationally-renowned actors including: Neal McDonough, Kristen Bell, Sean Astin, Michael York, Blair Underwood, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Brian Cox, Julia Ormond, John Rhys-Davies and many more. The Truth & Life audio New Testament is a first of its kind dramatized audio Bible from the RSV-CE translation and distributed by Zondervan.
From Chicago to Hollywood to New York and beyond... over 70 actors, 20 audio engineers in 10 studios over 3 continents contributed to the creation of this unique audio New Testament.
More than 100 media development experts and 10,000 production hours were needed to complete this ambitious project.
The complete audio New Testament is 22 hours shipped on 18 CDs.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Online Virtual Scavi Tour

The Vatican Necropolis, which is under St. Peter's Basilica, can now be viewed via an online pilgrimage thanks to the Vatican website. I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a tour back in the Jubilee year 2000. It was simply amazing! I am glad I can now re-live some of those moments with this great tour.
So, head over to the Vatican website and check out St. Peter's tomb!

CEB: The Beatitudes

Continuing with our periodic look at the new Common English Bible, we now turn to the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.

Below is how the CEB translates this famous passage into English:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up a mountain. He sat down and his disciples came to him. He taught them, saying: “Happy are people who are downcast, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad. Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth. Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God. Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children. Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. For, in the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you." - Matthew 5:1-11 (CEB)

Some thoughts:

1) The decision to go with "happy" over "blessed" is not as jarring as it once was since there are a number of modern translations that do this. For the CEB's rationale in doing this, you can go here.

2) Verse three and five each have unique ways of translating the more traditional renderings of "poor in spirit" and "meek". Instead they go with "downcast" and "humble" in hopes of making them understandable to the modern ear. Hmm..... Changing "meek" for "humble" maybe, but I am not sure that "downcast" accurately captures "poor in spirit." I might have to do some more thinking on this one.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

B16: Spe Salvi

I've been re-reading Pope Benedict's encyclical letter Spe Salvi and came across this great quote:

"Christianity did not bring a message of social revolution like that of the ill-fated Spartacus, whose struggle led to so much bloodshed. Jesus was not Spartacus, he was not engaged in a fight for political liberation like Barabbas or Bar- Kochba. Jesus, who himself died on the Cross, brought something totally different: an encounter with the Lord of all lords, an encounter with the living God and thus an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within."
-Spe Salvi 4

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guest Review: Christian Community Bible

Timothy has asked me to give a guest review of the CCB for the Catholic Bibles blog. I will be reviewing my copy of the CCB, which is from the 17th edition, printed in approximately in 1996. I am very fond of the CCB, and hope that my review can be a good introduction for those who haven’t used it before.
The Catholic Community Bible: Catholic Pastoral Edition (CCB) is a dynamic-equivalence translation from the Philippines. The CCB is something of a family of translations started by Fr. Bernardo Hurault for the people of the Third World. Much like la Bible de Jérusalem inspired the creation of the Jerusalem Bible, the CCB was born in Spanish as la Biblia Latinoaméricana. Currently there are similar translations into French, Chinese, Tagalog, Ilonggo, Cebuano (three languages spoken in the Philippines), and Bahasa (a language spoken in Indonesia and Malaysia). The English edition was first published around 1985.
Stylistic Points/Word Choice
The CCB translates the tetragrammaton as “Yahweh” consistently throughout the Old Testament, and seems to be mildly influenced by inclusive language. Paul writes to his “brothers and sisters”, but the first psalm is clearly about a man:
1 Blessed is the one
who does not go where the wicked gather,
or stand in the way of sinners,
or sit where the scoffers sit!
2 Instead, he finds delight in the law of the Lord
and meditates day and night
on his commandments.
3 He is like a tree beside a brook
producing its fruit in due season,
its leaves never withering.
Everything he does is a success.

Following the Septuagint, the CCB has “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14.
The CCB mostly follows a two-column format for the Old Testament and a one column format in the New Testament, though this is not done mechanically. Canticles in the Old Testament take the entire page and historical narrative in the New Testament (especially in Acts) is shown in two columns. I’ve only found a few pages in my edition without cross-references, and even a page or two where the cross-references were so many that they didn’t fit in the space provided at the bottom of the page. Additionally, the font size for important verses is bigger than the font size for less important verses, visually emphasizing those verses.
One of the things that I think that makes the CCB stand out is its footnotes and introductory essays. Each book begins with a topical discussion as well as the book’s relevance to modern life. Similarly footnotes both explain the text and reflect on the contemporary issues. Here is an excerpt from the footnote from Revelations chapter 18:
The great Babylon is of all times and is recognized in every power which pretends to give people a total solution to their problems while enclosing them in their net. We are leaving a century where many have identified it according to their personal point of view, be it international capitalism, or materialist socialism. It would be false to think that only one of these systems served the plans of the devil: the master of this world respects no frontiers and plays equally well on both sides. Atheist governments persecute the Church but very often the Church confronts violent or subtle persecution from the liberal classes or from dictatorships that pretend to be attached to Christian principles. A Church in which the best “good news” is for the poor will necessarily be persecuted by systems that produce millions of margina­lized people.
Here is the whole book of Revelations from the CCB’s website. If you’re looking for wishy-washy notes, look elsewhere! This pastoral approach (the CCB is called the “Catholic Pastoral Edition”, after all) can cause some of the notes to seem dated, though this can be exaggerated. The Cold War may be over, but life issues, the influence of the media on society, and social justice are just as important now as then. For example, the note to chapter 18 goes on to condemn what we now know as the dictatorship of relativism.
Reorganized Canon
The CCB has somewhat reorganized the order of the books of the Old Testament. The introduction to my edition says they did this to divide the canon into groups of “Law”, “History”, and “Writings” similar to how they are grouped in the Masoretic Text. In practice this means that the CCB’s Old Testament is ordered following Jewish tradition. The CCB’s Wikipedia page has a helpful table that explains how this compares to the Catholic canon and the Jewish canon. Additionally, some verses and chapters (most notably in Esther) are reordered. This basically means that if you’re coming to this book familiar with other Bibles you’ll need to use the index to find your way around the Old Testament. This also causes problems going the other way, since anyone who’s only read the CCB will be totally lost in every other Bible. I still can’t find Psalms in the NAB, for instance (though from its reputation this may be for the best).
Odds and Ends
In addition to the text and notes the CCB has a list of the morning and evening psalmody of the four-week psalter (without antiphons). It also has a topical index in the front helping readers locate specific verses that discuss various Catholic doctrines, and a section that lines up the stories of the synoptic gospels. My edition of the CCB also has helpful aids on the side that show where each book is clearly marked. I’m not sure what these are called exactly, but they are very helpful when I’m looking for a particular passage (most dictionaries have these, for similar reasons). I assume this was put in so that the reader can find the books of the Old Testament easily, since they aren’t where they’re “supposed” to be. The CCB also has artwork that goes with each book, often depicting modern takes on each book’s theme. The picture that goes with Joshua has an African man walking into a city, and the First Letter of Saint Peter has a portrait of John Paul II looking pensively at the reader.
One thing I do not like about the CCB is how it translates the Beatitudes. The CCB uses “fortunate” where more traditional translations use “blessed”. Also, in the CCB Jesus starts many of his sentences with “Truly, I say to you…”, instead of the NAB’s “Amen, I say to you…”. Both are relatively minor points, but which some people might be sensitive to. Additionally the CCB doesn’t have a list of the readings from the lectionary.
Overall I am very happy with my edition of the CCB, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new translation for personal study!
Many thanks to reader Francesco for this fine review of the CCB. I feel like I have never really done the CCB justice on this blog, so I was very excited that Francesco agreed to put together this review.