Friday, April 30, 2010
Update: Go here for a response by the USCCB to the new Roman Missal approval.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Competitors: put in your mouth-guards and check the laces on your gloves, because this might get ugly. Let the fight begin! Ding! Ding!
In one corner, weighing in at 3.9 pounds, boasting 2,298 pages and bearing an oddly-shaped over-sized dimension in width we have the New Interpreter's Study Bible. In the other corner, tipping the scale at 3.6 pounds with a girth composed of 2,480pages and sporting a new 21st century appearance yet holding fast to the well-recognized traditional red cover is the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible- 4th Edition. Both competitors include the so-called Apocrypha. Both come recommended by Catholic and Anglican scholars. And both have successfully claimed skirmish victories in this competition over their primary mainline Study Bible competitors: NJB (though not in theology), NAB (in all its editions to date), REB (was it every really a serious challenger?), Harper Collins (though I still may score a cheap used paperback copy) and ESV (the first loser based on theology).
I need to take the winner to deaconate classes, to Bible Study meetings, to CCD, etc. Because it goes out so much, carries a decent amount of scrap notes, holy cards and handouts and typically gets tossed into my backpack, I like to put my SBs into a nice zippered cover with pockets, etc. With this in mind the NISB is the hands-down loser due to its odd width-dimension. It is a good 1.25" over-sized and I'd have to have a cover custom made. Searches for covers on the net yielded nada. So I declare the NOASB-4 winner in this category. BTW...they are identical in thickness and near identical in length. I guess the NISB folks decided to go with the odd-width to allow for the extra in-text notes it contains.
I see no difference really in the paper quality but it seems to me that the font size or at least clarity of print is slightly better in the NISB. "Bleed" factor is identical and really not an issue at all to me. I have not been able to test note writing on the paper. Winner by a fraction of a decimal of a point is the NISB.
The competitors leave the externals round and enter into the textual competition in a tie.
Both have a clean look with text taking up at least 60% of the page and note section clearly distinguishable. This is important because on one and the same page you have God's inerrant Word and man's errant-prone research and hypotheses. Even the best of notes in line with the tradition need to be clearly seen as commentary. The judges were indeed impressed by NOASB-4's use of the sectional-heading in bold idea for commentary even if not for text. NISB notes however are extremely succinct without loosing content or conveying concepts...so much is packed into so little, though this "little" is still more than found in the NOASB-4.NISB has a habit of commenting on an entire subsection (for example, Rom 3: 21-31) and then following this with a verse/verses sub-commentary on the same section. This allows for a bit more information and puts things into context.
NOASB-4 makes finding commentary easier again because of the subheading concept. It also came out above the NISB in the Introductions layout with a nice format of labeling authorship, genre, etc.The judge brought this close-call competition to deliberation over lunch (and a couple of drinks of course) and came back declaring NISB the winner.
While both competitors make a point of seeking a denominational neutrality in their annotation and comments, it can't but be helped that some theological emphases will be apparent. Likewise, it is possible to get a feel for a kind of objectivity (or not) regarding current biblical scholarship theories. Together these can produce a sense of Catholic friendliness at best or a sense of Protestant kindred ship which is polite enough to allow a Catholic or Orthodox presence (to a degree).
While it is quite clear that the NISB is in the Protestant kindred ship domain, it does a reasonably ecumenical job of acknowledging Catholic/Orthodox applications of Scripture for Jn 6/Euchairst and even Jn 19/Spiritual Motherhood of Mary. It absolutely fails, though in 1Cor 11/Eucharist, Mt 16/Peter. The NOASB-4 actually is less overt in its notes for these passages (particularly the Johannine ones) but what saved its butt in the competition here and actually elevated it above the NISB is its consistent reference to and comfort with Liturgical/Sacramental aspects of passages. Perhaps because Oxford is more Anglican than evangelical it has no problem with liturgical senses or with assigning Baptism as a rite beyond an outward confession of faith, especially in its notes in Pauline passages.
While I truly enjoyed seeing an ecumenical Bible give a nod or two to Catholic/Orthodox doctrine I found much more theological satisfaction in the overall sense of the NOASB-4 notes. In addition, the NOASB-4 introductions have no problem acknowledging traditional authorship as well as pointing out current thought. There is much objectivity there than in the NISB.
So for the theological and scholarly objectivity competition, the judge must declare the NOASB-4 the winner and comment it for its Catholic friendliness. However, the NJB will remain on the judge's bookcase for its Catholic theological notes.
The two competitors came to the Final Round will equal scores:
NISB won for paper/typeset and text layout/notes.
NOASB-4 was the victor for portability, theology/objectivity/Catholic Friendliness...
The final round in the battle of the Study Bibles considers, of all things, study aids besides the notes/annotations. After all...WHY are they published if not for this reason? Therefore, this will be the round that separates the boys from the men...
Study Materials besides Notes:
NISB fails miserable in neglecting to include a concordance, while the NOASB-4 triumphs in this regard.
BOTH fails in cross references but it’s not a competition-point since both use the NRSV and as such suffer the deprivation. Though both do allow for some cross referencing in the notes.
The NISB has great features in the excursi and in the self-pronouncing text. something that the NOASB-4 lacks. Excursi are real handy and helpful addition to a study Bible.
In the domain of maps both do very well. I believe there are 19 detailed maps in the NISB and while I don’t know the number, I recall that the NOASB-4 has a good amount as well which is to be expected from Oxford University Press.
Finally, considering the notes/annotations seen solely as STUDY material and not from a theological perspective, I have to admit that NISB wins out in quantity without detriment to quality.
The NOASB-4, however, take the crown for the Introductions as study material.
So the NISB takes it for excursi and annotation quantity...
NOASB-4 triumphs in concordance and introductions...
This is a CLOSE TIGHT race.....but the judge must look at the overall picture and render a holistic pronouncement that considers all of these features as well as one more irrefutable function of a Study Bible...
The Word of God is first of all a Person. This Person became flesh incarnate of the Virgin Mary. This Person proclaimed the Kingdom of God and commissioned His disciples to "teach them what I have commanded you". This Person founded a Church upon the rock of St. Peter and the foundation stones of the Twelve. These men preached the Gospel which was later consigned in part to writing. The Old Testament prepared for Him. The New Testament proclaims Him Lord, Savior and King. Which of these Study Bibles, above and beyond any comparison of parts and features, best fosters a communion with this Person and the Church which teaches in His Name?
The winner is the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible with Apocrypha, 4th Edition.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I should also point out that this edition comes with two Bible ribbons, tabs, and a simple presentation page at the front of the book.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
"After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us round it. Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, when a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, ‘This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.’ He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god. Now in the neighbourhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It so happened that the father of Publius lay sick in bed with fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and cured him by praying and putting his hands on him.After this happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They bestowed many honours on us, and when we were about to sail, they put on board all the provisions we needed."
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
LIVE NRSV Catholic Edition: A Catholic Bible for Today's Youth (Paperback)
NRSV Go-Anywhere Personal Size Thinline Bible (Bonded Leather, Black)
I wonder if this will be the thinline Bible I had been hoping would be published? Hopefully, it will come in a Catholic edition. (Notice that this isn't the Go-Anywhere Compact Thinline Bible.)
More info on these when it comes available.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I have been doing a bit of thinking about study Bibles recently, including a few email discussions with some readers. I am always torn whether or not to invest in a single study Bible for everyday use. What do I mean by "invest"? While I certainly do have a number of hardcover study Bibles which I will refer to from time to time, the most recent being the New Oxford Annotated Bible 4th Edition, I have never settled on one that would be considered my day-to-day study Bible of choice. You know, the one that I would use for Bible study and school, containing all of my own personal notes to go along side the commentary and notes supplied by the study Bible publisher. I was impressed a few years ago by someone who had their old Jerusalem Bible, which I think they received back in the 60's, that contained all of that person's personal notes and inspirations from the past 40 years. Although this Bible was written in over an almost 40 year period, it remained a constant companion for this person.
So, what to do? Well, I began thinking about what I would like in my ideal study Bible, while also seeing if any particular study Bible had everything I wanted. (English language study Bibles of course!) Of course, I knew that such a study Bible was not in print, nor probably would ever be. So here are a few of the components of a study Bible that I would like to see produced, with references to current study Bibles that fit each component. The order of each component is not necessarily in ranking order of importance in my mind.
1) A Good Formal Equivalence Translation: I am quite comfortable with the NRSV, and to a lesser extend the RSV-2CE. I wonder if I will be adding the NABRE to this list sometime next year. That would certainly make things interesting.
2) Cross-References: Yes sir, those always important cross-references are a must for any good study Bible. While some study Bibles, mostly using the NRSV, consign them to the commentary portion of the study Bible, I prefer them to be separate. I think the NJB (with all the notes and cross-references) does the best job at this. Of course this is aided by the fact that the NJB comes in a single-column format, which is woefully represented in most study Bibles applicable to Catholic readers. I should also mention that the Oxford NAB study Bibles also have a separate location for cross-references, as well as the Ignatius RSV-2CE study Bible.
3) Decent Margins: While having a smaller study Bible is nice, one thing that suffers is the size of the margins, which are a must if you want to write in your Bible. The original Oxford Catholic Study Bible had some decent sized margins, but subsequent editions reduced their size considerably. The NJB also gives a bit of room too!
4) Comprehensive Maps: I love Bible maps, yes I said it. When I look at study Bibles, one of the first things I look at are the maps. Many of the newly released study Bibles contain not only end maps, but also incorporate additional ones in the text itself. I think the HarperCollins Study Bible does a fine job, as well as the new NOAB 4th Edition. Let me just say that I have looked at the ESV Study Bible, which I think does a really great job with maps, charts, and diagrams.
5) Concordance: It's nice to have, but not a deal breaker for me. Most study Bibles contain one, so this is not much of an issue really. The one exception is the New Interpreters Study Bible.
6) Multiple Cover Editions: If I am going to get an everyday study Bible, I would prefer it to be in a genuine leather cover or perhaps the new imitation/Italian DuoTone style. The Oxford study Bibles, whether NRSV or NAB, typically come in paperback, hardcover, and leather. Funny enough, the most recent HarperCollins Study Bible only comes in hardcover and softcover, but no leather option, even though the earlier edition did.
7) Lectionary: As a Catholic, I think every Catholic Bible, even a study Bible, should contain at least the Sunday lectionary readings. The complete, Sunday and weekday, would be even better. The Catholic Study Bible NAB does this, but few others include the lectionary readings.
8) Historical Notes/Theological In-Text Boxes: I prefer that the commentary at the bottom of the page be focused on historical data. For the most part, I think the Oxford NRSV study Bibles do a good job with this. In additional, however, I would like to see important Catholic theological information, with references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, displayed at appropriate locations in the Biblical text. For example, one could see an in-text box placed at 2 Maccabees 12 discussing prayers for the dead and purgatory, with references to the entries on this topic in the CCC.
So, these are just a few of my thoughts on the issue of study Bibles. Feel free to add or subtract some from my ideas. I may add a few more over the next few days.