Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Best Sellers for Ignatius Press

2. Jesus of Nazareth, Vol 2
3. Unplanned
4. Be a Man!
5. He Comes! He Comes!
6. Jesus of Nazareth
7. Catholic Study Bible: New Testament Paperback)
8. Ignatius Bible (RSV) 2nd ed. (Hardcover)
9. Rome Sweet Home
10. Ignatius Bible (RSV) 2nd ed. (Paperback)

For more info, go here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Loot

A blessed Octive of Christmas to you all! I thought I would quickly check in and share with you a few of the Catholic Bibles related gifts I received (among a few others).

Simply Jesus by NT Wright

History in His Hands: A Christian Narrative of the West by Brennan Pursell

CCSS: 1 Corinthians by George T. Montague

CCSS: First and Second Peter, Jude by Daniel Keating

Amore Infinito: Songs inspired by the Poetry of John Paul II

U2: Achtung Baby Deluxe Edition

MST3K vs. Gamera

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The value of culture for the life of humanity

"Saint John’s proclamation that the Word became flesh reveals the inseparable bond between God’s word and the human words by which he communicates with us. In this context the Synod Fathers considered the relationship between the word of God and culture. God does not reveal himself in the abstract, but by using languages, imagery and expressions that are bound to different cultures. This relationship has proved fruitful, as the history of the Church abundantly testifies. Today it is entering a new phase due to the spread of the Gospel and its taking root within different cultures, as well as more recent developments in the culture of the West. It calls in the first place for a recognition of the importance of culture as such for the life of every man and woman. The phenomenon of culture is, in its various aspects, an essential datum of human experience. “Man lives always according to a culture which is properly his, and which in turn creates among persons a bond which is properly theirs, one which determines the inter-human and social character of human existence”.

Down the centuries the word of God has inspired different cultures, giving rise to fundamental moral values, outstanding expressions of art and exemplary life-styles. Hence, in looking to a renewed encounter between the Bible and culture, I wish to reassure all those who are part of the world of culture that they have nothing to fear from openness to God’s word, which never destroys true culture, but rather is a constant stimulus to seek ever more appropriate, meaningful and humane forms of expression. Every authentic culture, if it is truly to be at the service of humanity, has to be open to transcendence and, in the end, to God."
-Verbum Domini 109

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Blessed Christmas to You All!

As we approach the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, I wanted to take the time to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Thanks again for stopping by this blog over the past year, and I look forward to seeing what 2012 has in store. 2011 was indeed a banner year for Bible translations, with the NABRE, NIV2011, CEB, and KJV (400th), not to mention the wonderful new translation of the Roman Missal for those of us in the English-speaking world. May 2012 be as exciting!

Since posting will be sporadic during Christmas time, I leave you with this majestic doxology from the Letter of Jude (Judah):

"To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen!" - Jude 24-25

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ICSB: Exodus

Thanks to an anonymous comment made recently, we can now see that the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Exodus will be released in January 2012. There appears to be a sale going on at Ignatius currently, which allows you to pre-order this volume for only $8.46. As usual, the description reads:

"Large format, featuring large text size and additional margin space for personal annotations! The larger format enhances both individual and group study.

Based on the Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition, this volume leads readers through a penetrating study of the Book of Exodus using the biblical text itself and the Church's own guidelines for understanding the Bible. Ample notes accompany each page, providing fresh insights and commentary by renowned Bible scholars Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, as well as time-tested interpretations from the Fathers of the Church. These helpful study notes explain what the biblical authors often assumed. They also provide rich historical, cultural, geographical and theological information pertinent to Exodus

The Ignatius Study Bible also includes Topical Essays, Word Studies and Charts. Each page includes an easy-to-use Cross-Reference Section. Study Questions are provided for Exodus. These can deepen your personal study of God's Holy Word. There is also an introductory essay covering questions of authorship, date, destination, structure and themes. An outline of Exodus is also included.

So, with 1-2 volumes of the ICSB OT being released each year, we can expect the complete ICSB by somewhere around 2034.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Child is Born

Those of you who enjoy reading comics and graphic novels should consider picking up Billy Tucci's A Child is Born. I received my copy a week ago, and have found many of the images to be quite fantastic. I am not a huge comic book guy, although I have collected a few over the years. This one-shot graphic novella of the birth of Jesus, according to Matthew and Luke, could be a great gift idea for a teenage boy (or girl) or young adult. Heck, I am 33 and like it, so it really is something that a person of any age could enjoy. The book is 32 pages long, and utilizes the KJV as the basis for the text.

There are a number of beautifully illustrated pages, but my favorites are found on pages 9 and 10, where Joseph approaches Mary after his dream in Matthew 1:20. Though we don't know exactly how Joseph approached Mary after the dream, Tucci does a remarkable job of showing the bond between the two, with little use of words. Tucci's illustration of Mary's facial expression and the posture of Joseph in this encounter is both touching and poignant. We see here the Holy Family truly coming together in their commitment to God and to each other.

Again, I highly recommend this book. An interview with Billy Tucci, who is Catholic, can be read here. We have talked about the New Evangelization here quite a bit recently, so I can't help but think that this comic book is an example of what is needed to engage the culture. More info on the book, include some sample pages, can be found at the Apostle Arts website.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

7 Questions: Mary Sperry

(One of the new series of posts you will see from time to time in 2012 is called 7 Questions. The purpose of 7 Questions is to highlight those people who are actively involved in producing, promoting, and supporting Catholic Bibles and study materials. For our inaugural edition Mary Sperry, who is no stranger to this blog, graciously took the time to respond to my questions. Mary Sperry is the Associate Director for the Utilization of the NAB at the USCCB.)

1)I wanted to start by having you tell us little bit about your job with the USCCB? How long have you been involved with the promotion of the NAB? What are some of the parts of the job you enjoy most? Least?

I came to work with the NAB 15 years ago – in early December 1996, shortly after completing my masters’ degree in liturgical studies at the Catholic University of America. (For 2 ½ years before I came to this job, I worked in the USCCB’s then-Secretariat for the Liturgy.) For the first 5 or so years, most of my work was legal and administrative, overseeing permissions and licensing, paying bills related to the NABRE translation, and reviewing manuscripts. Over the years, the job slowly evolved to focus increasingly on promotion of biblical literacy in general and the NABRE in particular. The promotion activity came to a head in spring 2011 when the NABRE was released.

I love the parts of the job that allow me to help people discover the wonders and richness of the Scriptural text and to meet Jesus in Scripture. A project I’m especially close to is the podcast of the daily readings. With tens of thousands of downloads each day from around the world, it’s a clear sign of people’s love for the Word of God. Least favorite: meetings, especially about administrative tasks. The only way meetings are good is if there are refreshments.

2) What interested you in working in the area of promoting the NAB?

I have always loved the Bible. My parents had a picture Bible that I can remember “reading” before I was 7. I still have vinyl records of audio versions of Bible stories that I received as Christmas gifts as a child. That love for and knowledge of Scripture grew through my years in Catholic grade school and high school. After graduation, I stayed involved with Scripture as a lector and in Bible studies. I kept buying and reading books about Scripture and taking classes. Even in working toward my liturgy degree, I took Scripture classes and stayed immersed in the Word.

The opportunity to work with the biblical scholars in preparing and promoting the NABRE is kind of a dream come true for someone who loves Scripture. I get to spend my days introducing people to the love of my life!

3) Perhaps you could share some information about the long process of finally getting the NABRE published?

It is a long process with a LOT of steps. First, the scholars of the Board of Control had to recommend preparing a new translation. These scholars based their decision on the availability of new scholarship and manuscript editions that allowed significant refinement of the text. That recommendation had to be approved by the bishops of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD). Only then could a budget and schedule be developed. Of course, the CCD had to approve those too.

The editorial board was selected in collaboration with the bishops who oversee Scripture translations. Those editors then identified possible revisers – all of whom had to be approved by the bishops.

Then, the revisers did their work, consulting the various manuscript traditions to get to the best possible version of the original. When the reviser finished, a member of the editorial board (“the shepherd”) reviewed it very carefully and raised any questions and concerns. Once those were resolved, the shepherd presented the text to half the editorial board which gave additional review and suggested any necessary changes. The board was divided into two groups to allow faster progress. Once each book had been completed and reviewed, the entire editorial board reviewed the complete text one more time before forwarding it to the bishops’ Scripture subcommittee.

The bishops then sent each book to at least one censor (I have no idea who the censors were for any given book as they remain anonymous. However, all censors are Catholic and approved by their local bishop. Usually they are professors of Scripture at Catholic universities and seminaries, though I think some may be retired.) The bishops then review the censors’ comments and may choose to forward them to the editorial board as suggestions for consideration or as required changes. The editorial board responds to each comment. That conversation goes back and forth until the bishops and the editorial board reach agreement. Only then does the bishops’ subcommittee recommend that the Administrative Committee recommend that the USCCB President grant the canonical rescript allowing publication. Only the NAB has to go through the USCCB Administrative Committee. Other translations go from the subcommittee to the President directly.

After that process was completed for most of the Old Testament, the bishops decided that they wanted a revision of the Psalter. That meant going through the process again, except with a single book. That took another 2 years.

Only then could the publishers finalize their settings of the NABRE and begin preparing auxiliary materials.

4) How's the reception been for the NABRE, since its publication on Ash Wednesday?

So far, it seems to be going well. We will have a better sense of diffusion of the text by Spring 2012 as our reports on such things always lag.

There was some confusion about the release of the NABRE and new Roman Missal (though they are completely unrelated projects), but that will diminish as the Missal becomes more familiar.

A new Bible translation taking hold happens over a period of time, not all at once. We expect that we’ll be working on promoting the NABRE for at least 3-5 years.

5) What is it like working with both Bishops and Biblical scholars?

Challenging for someone as impatient as I am! Neither bishops nor Bible scholars are noted for working in haste (nor would we want them to be).

It’s actually very inspiring to work closely with them. The sheer amount of knowledge that they possess is is overwhelming. Their commitment to conveying the text accurately and helping people to understand God’s Word is really a model for everyone who wants to teach and live the Gospel.

6) In general, is there anything that you would like to tell my readers about the NABRE?

Give it a chance. Read it for its own value, not only as it compares to other texts. And read the notes and cross references with care. You’ll be amazed at the insights you’ll discover and at how much more attuned you will become to canonical exegesis.

7) Finally, do you have a favorite passage or verse from the Bible?

That’s like asking a mother if she has a favorite child! I think I’ll go with the Gospel passage from which my parents chose my name: Luke 1:39-56.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Female Doctor of the Church in 2012

St. Hildegard of Bingen

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of the word of God and the protection of creation

"Engagement with the world, as demanded by God’s word, makes us look with new eyes at the entire created cosmos, which contains traces of that word through whom all things were made (cf. Jn 1:2). As men and women who believe in and proclaim the Gospel, we have a responsibility towards creation. Revelation makes known God’s plan for the cosmos, yet it also leads us to denounce that mistaken attitude which refuses to view all created realities as a reflection of their Creator, but instead as mere raw material, to be exploited without scruple. Man thus lacks that essential humility which would enable him to see creation as a gift from God, to be received and used in accordance with his plan. Instead, the arrogance of human beings who live “as if God did not exist” leads them to exploit and disfigure nature, failing to see it as the handiwork of the creative word. In this theological context, I would like to echo the statements of the Synod Fathers who reminded us that “accepting the word of God, attested to by Scripture and by the Church’s living Tradition, gives rise to a new way of seeing things, promotes an authentic ecology which has its deepest roots in the obedience of faith … [and] develops a renewed theological sensitivity to the goodness of all things, which are created in Christ”. We need to be re-educated in wonder and in the ability to recognize the beauty made manifest in created realities." -Verbum Domini 108

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Offering of Leviticus 3

One of the things I do when I am preparing for a lecture for the CBSM class I teach is to compare the major translations as much as possible. This often means looking at the RSV, NRSV, and NABRE. This week, I am giving a summary lecture on the book of Leviticus. I am sure many of you know the old joke about those who desire to read the whole Bible in one year starting on January 1, but stopping completely in February after reaching Leviticus. However, while perhaps the experience for some, its unfortunate because Leviticus is an important book, not only for understanding Jewish worship, but also for coming into a more profound understanding of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. You cannot fully understand a book like Hebrews, unless you have spent some serious time reading and meditating on Leviticus. But before you begin a study of Leviticus, make sure to have a good commentary or study Bible while doing it. I would highly recommend Oxford's Jewish Study Bible and the Catholic Study Bible. Both are fantastic resources!

This brings me to Leviticus 3, which describes the third offering prescribed by God through Moses. (Please note that Leviticus 7:11-36 goes into more detail about the three different types of this offering.) Depending on the translation, the Hebrew word shelamim may be translated in a number of different ways. Often, it is referred to in English as the Peace Offering, which is followed most notably by the RSV. Some scholars prefer this due to the closeness to the Hebrew word shalom. However, the NRSV and JPS translations prefer to go with Well-Being Offering, which is connected to the idea of peace. Lastly, the NABRE (and the NJB) went with Communion Offering. So which one is better?

In this offering, a herd animal was brought to the sanctuary, divided into several parts with the fatty portions being placed on the fires of the altar and given to God. A choice portion was given to the priest, while the remainder was returned to the offerer and his family to be eaten. It seems that his type of offering was the most common. The note in the NJB gives a good indication as to why it was so popular: "In early times, this sacrifice was the most common and formed the central rite at festivals, being the most perfect way of expressing the communal life, covenantal bond and fellowship existing between the worshipper and his God." In addition, the note found in the JSB points out: "Well-being offerings are thus the natural expression of gladness, the worshipper celebrating by feasting in the presence of God in acknowledgment of His loving-kindness (210)." Finally, Fr. Lawrence Boadt, who died last year, insisted in his introduction to Leviticus in the CSB that our understanding of the Eucharist is greatly enhanced by what we find in Leviticus.

So, with that brief background I provided, both of the Hebrew term and the ritual of the shelamim offering/sacrifice, which English translation better captures the intended meaning?

Advent Contest Winner

The winner was chosen randomly by one of my high school students. And that winner is: Dennis S

Dennis please email me at mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com with your full name and address and I will get your prize pack out to you.

Thanks to all 33 of you who entered.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent Contest Reminder

This is just a reminder that the deadline for entries for the Advent contest is tonight at 11:59PM EST. I will announce the winner on Thursday, who will then need to email me his/her address. Please go here to enter and for contest rules.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seeking a Permanent Guest Blogger

After reviewing the helpful comments from you, my dear readers, regarding what you would like to see on this blog as we enter 2012, I have decided that this blog would be enhanced by the presence of one or two permanent guest columns. While I enjoy providing reviews and commentary on all things Catholic Bibles, I am convinced that this blog would benefit from some other voices. (I will continue to do my best in providing as much Catholic Bible info to you in 2012.)

I am happy to annoucence that we will continue in January with the new monthly humor post, entitled Geoffey's Biblical Comedary, which began this month. I look forward to reading what Geoffrey has in store for us in 2012. However, I would also like to add one more additional column for this blog. That is where you come in. I would like to open this column up to you. I know there are a number of very creative readers of this blog, who have a talent for writing and have a deep love of Scripture. So, if you are interested, please consult the following requirements to see if you are interest:

1) Compose 1-2 original columns per month on any subject related to Catholic Bibles. (Each column would be emailed to me directly, where I would then review and post directly to the site.)

2) Be engaged in the comment discussion after column is published each month.

3) Be a faithful Catholic, who honestly desires to promote the joy of reading the Holy Scriptures.

If you are interested, please email me your proposal to mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com by the end of the week. I will review any applications and hopefully make an announcement before the end of Advent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of the word of God and the poor

Sacred Scripture manifests God’s special love for the poor and the needy (cf. Mt 25:31-46). The Synod Fathers frequently spoke of the importance of enabling these, our brothers and sisters, to hear the Gospel message and to experience the closeness of their pastors and communities. Indeed, “the poor are the first ones entitled to hear the proclamation of the Gospel; they need not only bread, but also words of life”. The diaconia of charity, which must never be lacking in our churches, should always be bound to the proclamation of the word and the celebration of the sacred mysteries. Yet we also need to recognize and appreciate the fact that the poor are themselves agents of evangelization. In the Bible, the true poor are those who entrust themselves totally to God; in the Gospel Jesus calls them blessed, “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 5:3; cf. Lk 6:20). The Lord exalts the simplicity of heart of those who find in God true riches, placing their hope in him, and not in the things of this world. The Church cannot let the poor down: “Pastors are called to listen to them, to learn from them, to guide them in their faith and to encourage them to take responsibility for lives”.

The Church also knows that poverty can exist as a virtue, to be cultivated and chosen freely, as so many saints have done. Poverty can likewise exist as indigence, often due to injustice or selfishness, marked by hunger and need, and as a source of conflict. In her proclamation of God’s word, the Church knows that a “virtuous circle” must be promoted between the poverty which is to be chosen and the poverty which is to be combated; we need to rediscover “moderation and solidarity, these values of the Gospel that are also universal … This entails decisions marked by justice and moderation”. -Verbum Domini 107

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Contest

'Tis the season for an Advent contest. This one will be very straight forward. All you need to do to enter is simply to put your name in the comment section of this post. No anonymous entries will be considered. The winner will be randomly drawn at the end of the contest, which will be Wednesday, December 14th at 11:59PM. This contest is open to anyone in North America. (Sorry again to my loyal readers in the rest of the world.)

The winner will receive the following two items:

Oxford University Press NABRE Compact (black/blue pacific duvelle)

Pope Benedict's Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on the Mass (Ignatius)

Again, all entries are due by Wednesday at 11:59 PM (EST).

A blessed Advent to you all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review: Oxford NABRE Compact

Published back in April, the OUP Compact NABRE remains one of the few, besides the St. Joseph Personal Size, compact versions of the NABRE available today. The edition I am reviewing is the one with the black/blue pacific duvelle cover, although it can be purchased in black duradera (with a zipper closure) and paperback. For an inside look of the NABRE compact, go here.

Those of you who have Oxford's original NAB compact will notice that they are very similar. This edition, like the prior one, consists of the following features:

Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum)
* Placement of the NABRE notes at the end of each book to enhance the readability of the biblical text
* Table of Weekday and Sunday Lectionary readings
* Table of weights and measures in the Bible
* Glossy presentation and family record pages
* Glossy section of Catholic prayers and devotions

(Please note that the Oxford site mentions that this edition also comes with a concordance and essay on the lectionary, which it does not.)

This compact edition of the NABRE has pretty much all you would need for a compact Bible. The only omission, really, would be a set of Oxford Maps placed in the appendix, although it is common for maps, certainly in Oxford compact editions, to be excluded. One might also desire the inclusion of a concordance, but that would simply make the volume less compact and certainly more bulky. As it stands, this edition is the ideal 4-1/2 x 6-1/8 size for a compact Bible.

The page layout is very clean, containing the sacred text and bolded paragraph headings. As mentioned above, all notes and cross-references are consigned to the back of each biblical book. For a standard sized Bible this would be annoying, but since it is a compact I don't mind it. The NABRE book introductions, including book outline, are placed at the beginning of each biblical book, which actually serves to break up and space the text quite nicely. I have read some reviews that complained about the font size being too small. Yes, it is small, but last time I checked this was a compact Bible. If you have seen any prior Oxford compact Bibles, this edition is pretty much the same. But please do preview this Bible before purchasing it, if this is an issue for you.

Overall, this is a well-constructed and fairly inexpensive compact from Oxford. Time will tell as to what other styles of the NABRE will be produced in 2012 and beyond. We certainly can look forward to what HarperOne will be releasing in the coming months. But as it stands now, I believe this is the most durable and readable compact NABRE on the market.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Some Initial Thoughts on the ESV Lectionary Thing

Since finding out about the likely use of an adapted form of the ESV in the Australian lectionary, a few random thoughts have been floating around in my mind since yesterday. Some of these have already been brought up by commentators in the previous post, but I think they are worth repeating and discussing:

1) What does this say about the RSV-2CE? The fact that it has already been adapted and issued in a lectionary format, yet was passed up instead for an adapted ESV, makes me wonder whether the RSV-2CE will ever be a major translation for liturgical use (or study)? Also, there must be some sort of cost associated with adapting the ESV and getting permission to do so by Crossway or Oxford. It seems to me that the Australian Bishops were willing to incur an expense, presumably, to do this adaption, while they could have just simply used the RSV-2CE. Why?

2) What does this change to the ESV mean for other English speaking bishops conferences that were adapting the NRSV? Canada already has an adapted and approved NRSV lectionary, but what about the others? How did the Canadian Bishops get permission to make modifications to the NRSV, while the Australians were not? The Holy See did eventually approve the Canadian adapted NRSV for Mass.

3) Who is the copyright holder that is granting permission to do this adaption of the ESV? Crossway or Oxford?

4) What do I think about the ESV? There has not been, nor likely ever be, any official Catholic participation in this translation. The ESV is a product of a conservative Reformed tradition and does, at times, reflect that perspective. As Chrysostom suggested in his comment: “Change Lk 1:28 to the Angelic Salutation, add "only-begotten" in John 3:16, change "episkopos" and "presbyter" to "Bishop" and "Priest", take the indefinite article out of 1 Tim 3:15, and change a few words to "husband" instead of "man" ("not by the will of a husband..."), etc. to remove some overtly Calvinistic interpretations.” There is also the issue of whether to use “propitiation" (ESV) or “expiation" (RSV or NAB) in Romans 3:25. (Please note I realize the Vulgate and Nova Vulgata (and thus DR) use propitiationem, but how are those two important theological terms understood today?) The RSV, of course, had no Catholic participation when it was originally produced either, but later through editorial changes by the CBA (UK) and Ignatius Press. The NRSV, on the other hand, had active participation from a number of Catholic biblical scholars. Joel, a non-Catholic Christian, on his blog Unsettled Christianity wonders why any Catholic body would utilize the “Evangelical Standard Version”. I wonder as well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ESV in Aussie Lectionary?

This news comes from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn in Australia. During his reflections on the year 2011, archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge mentioned the following:

"Some years ago, I was asked to chair a commission which would prepare a new English-language Lectionary, using a modified form of the NRSV and a revised Grail Psalter. That seemed straight-forward enough, and the expectation was that the new Lectionary would be ready for publication at the same time as the Missal.

However, we struck problems with the copyright holders of the NRSV and have had some difficulties in our dealings with the Holy See. All of this so becalmed the project that there is now no hope that the Lectionary or any part of it will appear at the same time as the Missal. In fact, we have decided to move away from the NRSV and to prepare the Lectionary using a modified form of the English Standard Version (ESV), still with the revised Grail Psalter.

On this new basis, the project has progressed well; and the hope now is to have at least the first volume of the Lectionary (Sundays and Solemnities) ready for publication as close as possible to the appearance of the Missal."

Very interesting news! I wonder if this means an official Catholic edition of the ESV could be on the way? An edition of the ESV w/Apocrypha has already been translated and published by Oxford University Press. What I find most interesting is the last line, which seems to indicate that this project is almost complete. I would assume, then, that they have received approval from the creators of the ESV, whether that be Crossway or Oxford University Press, as well as tacit approval from Rome? Interesting....

Hat tip to Joel at Unsettled Christianity for the link.

Guest Review: Royal Electronic NABRE/D-R

After months of anticipation (due to mysterious postponements from the manufacturer), I finally received my “Royal” brand NABRE/Douay Rheims with Baltimore Catechism electronic Bible from I was reluctant to order this because I already have a pocket electronic Bible I used for reference (the Franklin KJV-570), and a really cool Bible program called E-sword I got online for free. I liked the convenience of the KJV-570 for use as a concordance, but since it does not have the Deuteros in it, I decided to go ahead and get this new one from Royal.

I must say I am really impressed with the overall product here from Royal. It is about the same size as the Franklin (about 5.25” x 3.25” x 0.25”), but with a slightly thicker ridge in the back to accommodate the two AAA batteries instead of the watch battery. This one has many of the same features as the Franklin, including search the Bible by word or reference, bookmarks, clock, alarm, calculator, and phone book, but the Royal version has so much more and it moves through the Scripture passages and word searches instantly without delay.

There are so many cool features with this product. First off, I must say that this does not include the “original Douay-Rheims” as advertised, but yet the standard 1899 edition as reproduced by current book publishers. More specifically, I think the D-R text may have been taken from the Baronius Press 2005 or earlier edition because St. Matthew 24:27 reads: “For as lightning cometh out of the east and appeareth even into the west: so shall also the cowling of the Son of man be.” I thought this was actually the translation until I got a copy of a 2008 edition corrected by the same publisher: “coming of the Son of man”. (BTW, the original D-R reads “advent” in this verse.)

Regardless of this one inconsistency I have noticed, I am pleased that the Challoner version was used for this. I was even more pleased that the book introductions and all of Challoner’s notations are included as well! And of course, it is not only a D-R, but also a complete NABRE as well, with all of the cross-references, notes, and introductions included! You can toggle between the D-R and the NABRE with the touch of a button, and it even compensates for chapter and verse numbering differences (e.g. the Psalms.) You can also surf back and forth through the NABRE cross-reference webs quicker that anyone could ever do with a hard copy, even with the handy thumb tabs. The concordance feature is also very effecient; it lists the D-R and NABRE references separately, and you can search by Old, New, or Entire Bible. It includes over 18,000 words. Unlike the Franklin edition, it will only list the exact word you are searching for and not every conjugation thereof, which I think is easier when looking for a specific verse.

Yes, I am impressed with the efficiency and novelty of having two Bibles and a Catechism reference tool compact enough to fit in my pocket or Missal cover. But it also has a good devotional quality I did not expect as well. It has a weekly reading plan that covers the entire Bible in a year, inspirational verses grouped by topic and at random, and a generous selection of Catholic prayers and devotions. It also includes a backlight for low-light situations, and you can select normal or large size fonts.

Thank you to Jonny for another fine guest review.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Geoffrey's Biblical Comedary for December

Geoffrey's Biblical Comedary
Bad Exegesis Lesson One: The Case for Indefinite Slacking

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in addressing observance of Jewish festivals, St. Paul writes, "One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:5). From the context, the holy Apostle is encouraging legitimate diversity of practice within the Church. And I am writing to suggest one particularly legitimately diverse practice. No one disagrees that there is nothing wrong with observing Saturday as a sabbath in addition to the Lord's Day. And by corollary, any other day may be observed as a sabbath as well. Therefore, why not observe all days as sabbaths?

I am fully convinced in my own mind that God is calling me, personally, to never work again. "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Why am I so certain? Because God loves me, and the Lord says, "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2). Obviously, if any man wakes up to commute to a job in the morning instead of sleeping in, he has fallen out of God's favor. As it is written, "Blessed are the unemployed, for they shall inherit Wall Street."

Therefore, I invite you to join me in proclaiming the Gospel of Rest amid a Culture of Work. Do not be afraid to step up and assert your divine right. We are people of God's promise, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" (Exodus 33:14).

(All Scripture is taken from the RSV, but if a copyright agent is reading this, my quotations are original translations of the Greek)

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of the word of God and the suffering

During the work of the Synod, the Fathers also considered the need to proclaim God’s word to all those who are suffering, whether physically, psychologically or spiritually. It is in times of pain that the ultimate questions about the meaning of one’s life make themselves acutely felt. If human words seem to fall silent before the mystery of evil and suffering, and if our society appears to value life only when it corresponds to certain standards of efficiency and well-being, the word of God makes us see that even these moments are mysteriously “embraced” by God’s love. Faith born of an encounter with God’s word helps us to realize that human life deserves to be lived fully, even when weakened by illness and pain. God created us for happiness and for life, whereas sickness and death came into the world as a result of sin (cf. Wis 2:23-24). Yet the Father of life is mankind’s physician par excellence, and he does not cease to bend lovingly over suffering humanity. We contemplate the culmination of God’s closeness to our sufferings in Jesus himself, “the Word incarnate. He suffered and died for us. By his passion and death he took our weakness upon himself and totally transformed it”.

Jesus’ closeness to those who suffer is constant: it is prolonged in time thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit in the mission of the Church, in the word and in the sacraments, in men and women of good will, and in charitable initiatives undertaken with fraternal love by communities, thus making known God’s true face and his love. The Synod thanked God for the luminous witness, often hidden, of all the many Christians – priests, religious and lay faithful – who have lent and continue to lend their hands, eyes and hearts to Christ, the true physician of body and soul. It exhorts all to continue to care for the infirm and to bring them the life-giving presence of the Lord Jesus in the word and in the Eucharist. Those who suffer should be helped to read the Scriptures and to realize that their condition itself enables them to share in a special way in Christ’s redemptive suffering for the salvation of the world (cf. 2 Cor 4:8-11,14).
-Verbum Domini 106

Friday, December 2, 2011

Spot Check: Isaiah 40 for Second Sunday of Advent

This weekend we will hear, in the first reading, from Isaiah 40, which is often regarded as the beginning of the "Book of Consolation" for the Israelites. The lectionary combines two sections of Isaiah 40, verses 1-5 & 9-11 for the reading. Below are how the RSV and NABRE render this passage:

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." (RSV)

"Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service has ended, that her guilt is expiated, That she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted up, every mountain and hill made low; The rugged land shall be a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of good news! Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Cry out, do not fear! Say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care." (NABRE)

Your thoughts?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New: Spanish Bible, Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada

I provide this information for any of you interested in Spanish language Bibles, although I must admit that I am woefully ignorant of the quality of the translation. Perhaps one of my fine readers will be able to provide some helpful information.

Saint Benedict Press: SAGRADA BIBLIA Edición Inmaculada

Permita que su hogar sea un lugar de paz y oración con la ayuda de la Sagrada Biblia, Edición Inmaculada. Esta lujosa Biblia se convertirá en uno de sus objetos más apreciados que diariamente le recordará el amor y la misericordia de Dios y preservará en sus páginas los grandes acontecimientos familiares.

Esta elegante Sagrada Biblia, Edición Inmaculada contiene:
◦Una sección para escribir sus acontecimientos familiares en papel de primera
◦Elegantes páginas de filo dorado
◦Una lujosa y duradera encuadernación
◦Una vasta sección a todo color sobre la vida de Cristo
◦Un Diccionario Católico que facilitará su estudio
◦Hermosas ilustraciones de profetas, patriarcas y otros héroes bíblicos
◦Un peregrinaje a todo color de la Tierra Santa y varias iglesias
◦Una composición tipográfica fácil de leer
◦Mucho, mucho más!

Lleve la Sagrada Biblia, Edición Inmaculada a su hogar y a los hogares de sus seres queridos. Es el regalo perfecto para bodas, aniversarios, estrenos de casas, padres primerizos y otras ocasiones especiales.

La traducción usada en esta Biblia es el texto clásico de Torres Amat, traducido al español de la vulgata latina de San Jerónimo.

Help make your home a place of peace and prayer with the Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada. This deluxe Family Bible will become one of your most treasured belongings, reminding you daily of God's love and care and preserving within its pages the great milestones of your family.

Special features of the Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada: Elegant, easy-to-read typesetting, Special Family Record section on the finest Parchtex Paper, Beautifully gilded page edges, Deluxe side-sewn binding to ensure your Family Bible will last for generations, Devotional aids including an inspiring 48 page full color section on the Life of Christ, Study aids including an extensive Biblical Dictionary, Beautiful Old Master illustrations of Prophets, Patriarchs and other Heroes and Heroines of the Bible, A pilgrimage in pictures to shrines and the Holy Land and much, much more!

Bring the Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada into your home and the homes of those you love. It is the perfect gift for Weddings and Anniversaries, Housewarmings, New Parents and Any Special Occasion!

The translation used in the Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada is the classic Torres Amat text, a translation into Spanish of the Latin Vulgate of Saint Jerome.

NRSV w/ Grail Psalms on Sale

Amazon UK has slashed its prices for the Collins NRSV w/ Grail Psalms. You can now purchase it for £12.90. For a brief review I did on this Bible, you can go here.

I wonder if this means that the adapted NRSV w/ Revised Grail Psalter, which is being prepared for the UK lectionary, will be coming out in 2012?

Thanks to reader Llanbedr for alerting me to this.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bible Study Series: Judah 17-25

(Sorry for the lapse of time between entries on this, November just seemed to fly by!)

“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.” (RSV)

“But you, dear friends, remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the end time scoffers will come living according to their own ungodly desires.” These people create divisions. Since they don’t have the Spirit, they are worldly. A strategy for the faithful But you, dear friends: build each other up on the foundation of your most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, keep each other in the love of God, wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will give you eternal life. Have mercy on those who doubt. Save some by snatching them from the fire. Fearing God, have mercy on some, hating even the clothing contaminated by their sinful urges. Blessing To the one who is able to protect you from falling, and to present you blameless and rejoicing before his glorious presence, to the only God our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, belong glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, now and forever. Amen.” (CEB)

After spending the main body of his epistle denouncing the false teachers, Judah now turns to his final exhortation which serves as a beautiful sending off for those beloved and “rescued by God’s power.” As the Navarre commentary points out, this final section serves as a call to “guard the faith, to practice virtue and to set good example (651).” There are a few different ways to “divide” this section and perhaps the easiest would be to break it into two: 1) Warning and Exhortations (17-23) and 2) Closing Benediction (24-25).

Verses 17-19 begin by reminding the community that the Apostles predicted that there would be disruptions and ungodly people who would arise at various points. (See also Acts 20:29-30; 1 Tim 4:1-3; 2 Pet 3:3 for more on this.) Of course, this also harkens back to our Lord’s statement in Matthew 24 that “False Christs and false prophets” would come. These scoffers, who “create division”, do not have the Spirit, and as Wright suggests, simply “are living at the merely human level (203).” Therefore, without the Spirit, they can’t truly be Christians as they claim to be (Perkins 155). As most of us know, this problem persists to this day in and outside the Church. In some ways, it is a sign of the messianic age, which was initiated by Christ and will last until his Second Advent. The question for all Christians, then, is how we respond to this reality. This is what Judah is concerned with in the verses that follow.

Judah charges these young Christians to be built up in their “most holy faith (20)” which they received. This brings us back to the point Judah made in verse 3, where he called them to “contend for the faith”. Thus being filled with holy faith, the Christian is urged to prayer. We see what he means beginning at the end of verse 20, where Judah exhorts them to “pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” This is truly a remarkable call for the believer, wrapped within a deep and rich Trinitarian theology. As the Navarre commentary points out, this invocation is tied to the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love (651). Citing from the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1812, we see that the “theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have the One and Triune God for their origin, motive, and object.”

Verses 22-23 are rendered differently depending on which version of the Bible you own. The Greek text is uncertain at several points due to the existence of variants. (Perhaps one of my astute readers would like to comment with greater detail on this?) In any case, they follow closely to the preceding verses. Here, Judah calls for greater communal action and mercy to those who need to be snatched “out of the fire”. Wright is helpful by summarizing this as if Judah is saying to them: “Make sure you look carefully to see what condition people are in, and apply the mercy of God appropriately in each case (205).” While it is true that as Christians we need to be mindful where sin exists, it is equally important that we seek to heal through mercy, just as our Lord did for us.

This short, but wonderful, epistle ends with a beautiful benediction/doxology. These final words remind us that all glory is due to our heavenly Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. We are reminded here how the Church has always addressed her prayers at Mass, to the Father through the Son (and in the Spirit). Through these trials, we are called to remain fixed on Jesus, who will present us “without blemish” to the throne of his Father. And as Perkins explains: “God’s eternal power and majesty makes it clear that he can bring the faithful to that glorious destiny (158).” Amen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Your Thoughts

As we have now entered a new liturgical year, with a new Roman Missal, and soon will be entering a new calendar year, it is perhaps as good a time as any to consider how this blog is doing. I have been operating this blog for over three years now, and it has certainly been a blast. I truly mean that. The interaction with all of you has been both enlightening and incredibly enjoyable. I have also been blessed with a number of key contacts from various Church positions and publishers, who have provided me with information and materials that I have been able to share with you. Many thanks to them for answering my questions over the past few years.

So where does that leave the Catholic Bibles Blog heading into 2012? That is where you come in. What would you like to see more of in 2012? What would you like to see less of? For example, I was contacted by a reader who was interested in having a regular series utilizing Lectio Divina. Is that something that would be of interest? One thing that I did more of this past year was to include 'guest posts/reviews', thus it may be time to consider having one or two permanent contributors to this blog. Please feel free to be a honest and open with your thoughts.

And of course, a thousand sincere thanks to all of you have been involved in some way with this site, either through posting, comments, or just reading. May God bless you during this Advent season.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of the word of God and migrants

The word of God makes us attentive to history and to emerging realities. In considering the Church’s mission of evangelization, the Synod thus decided to address as well the complex phenomenon of movements of migration, which in recent years have taken on unprecedented proportions. This issue is fraught with extremely delicate questions about the security of nations and the welcome to be given to those seeking refuge or improved conditions of living, health and work. Large numbers of people who know nothing of Christ, or who have an inadequate understanding of him, are settling in countries of Christian tradition. At the same time, persons from nations deeply marked by Christian faith are emigrating to countries where Christ needs to be proclaimed and a new evangelization is demanded. These situations offer new possibilities for the spread of God’s word. In this regard the Synod Fathers stated that migrants are entitled to hear the kerygma, which is to be proposed, not imposed. If they are Christians, they require forms of pastoral care which can enable them to grow in the faith and to become in turn messengers of the Gospel. Taking into account the complexity of the phenomenon, a mobilization of all dioceses involved is essential, so that movements of migration will also be seen as an opportunity to discover new forms of presence and proclamation. It is also necessary that they ensure, to the extent possible, that these our brothers and sisters receive adequate welcome and attention, so that, touched by the Good News, they will be able to be heralds of God’s word and witnesses to the Risen Jesus, the hope of the world. -Verbum Domini 105

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent Reflections

So, how was your experience with the new Third Edition of the Roman Missal? My parish did a great job adapting to the new wording and the people were quite eager for the changes. Our pastor reminded us in the homily that the prayers are now more clearly related to their scriptural foundations. He also used the Gospel reading from Mark "to keep watch" as being analogous to our need to be more alert and engaged as we pray this new Missal. All and all a truly wonderful morning Mass. Probably the biggest place of stumbling will remain saying "And with your Spirit" in all instances. Most did well for the first few instances, but reverted back, somewhat unconsciously, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I particularly enjoyed hearing the more accurate wording for the collect and prayer after communion. Our pastor also used Eucharistic Prayer 3 which seemed to be a bit more reverent and majestic than then prior translation.

Enough with my experiences, how about you?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Blessed Thanksgiving to You All!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his mercy endures forever;
Give thanks to the God of gods;
for his mercy endures forever;
Give thanks to the Lord of lords;
for his mercy endures forever."
-Psalm 136:1-3

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DIY Bookbinding + Leather Bibles

J. Mark Bertrand's blog Bible Design and Binding is a site I check each week, due to its high quality photos and discussion on the best of the best in Bible design. Recently, he posted on how to do your own bookbinding, which you can read here. If I had any skill at all, I might attempt to do this with a couple of my Bibles, but alas I do not.

One topic that is brought up here on this blog quite frequently is the general lack of premium leather Catholic Bibles. This becomes all the more frustrating when you see how many editions the new NIV2011 comes in. However, with the release of the NABRE, there may be a possibility of a premium leather edition of it in the near future depending on any future publishers. As for the other main Catholic translations, most notably the RSV and NRSV, I wonder what the future holds. Any time I have contacted Ignatius Press, they routinely tell me that they have no plans of releasing the RSV-2CE in any new editions. Well, that is too bad if you ask me. As for the NRSV, HarperOne has indicated additional future releases of the NRSV-CE are likely, but who knows what they will actually do. So, we shall see. Do you have any hopes or desires for premium editions of Catholic Bible translations?

Monday, November 21, 2011

The New Evangelization and the Bible Part 4

In some Protestant circles, this week is National Bible Week. I am not too sure, but I think this is the first that I have heard of this celebration. Is anybody else familiar with this? Either way, this does bring up an interesting set of questions which will serve as a conclusion to this series of posts on the New Evangelization and the Bible in the Church. So far, we have looked at what some recent Popes and biblical scholars have had to say about the role of the Bible in evangelization, along with a brief discussion on which translations would be the best to use. So, in light of National Bible Week, I would like to ask you these questions:

1) What scriptural materials or programs do you think work well in evangelizing people, particularly lapsed or inactive Catholics? (BTW, I hate the word "programs" in relation to ministry, but that is for another time.)

2) How does the New Media, particularly the internet, fit into this discussion? (I have in mind Brandon Vogt's book The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet and how that can relate to our topic of the Bible.)

3) What would you like to see the Church do to promote greater scriptural literacy?

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of the word of God and young people

The Synod paid particular attention to the proclamation of God’s word to the younger generation. Young people are already active members of the Church and they represent its future. Often we encounter in them a spontaneous openness to hearing the word of God and a sincere desire to know Jesus. Youth is a time when genuine and irrepressible questions arise about the meaning of life and the direction our own lives should take. Only God can give the true answer to these questions. Concern for young people calls for courage and clarity in the message we proclaim; we need to help young people to gain confidence and familiarity with sacred Scripture so it can become a compass pointing out the path to follow. Young people need witnesses and teachers who can walk with them, teaching them to love the Gospel and to share it, especially with their peers, and thus to become authentic and credible messengers.

God’s word needs to be presented in a way that brings out its implications for each person’s vocation and assists young people in choosing the direction they will give to their lives, including that of total consecration to God. Authentic vocations to the consecrated life and to the priesthood find fertile ground in a faith-filled contact with the word of God. I repeat once again the appeal I made at the beginning of my pontificate to open wide the doors to Christ: “If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. … Dear young people: do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life”

-Verbum Domini 104

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NRSV Catholic E-Bible Available

We have been discussing E-books a lot lately, so it is somewhat ironic that the NRSV has now been made available in a new E-book format. According to HarperOne: "This unique one-column setting allows people to read the Bible as a work of literature. Each book is introduced with an original wood-cut. Overall, this special easy-to-read setting makes the Bible a wonderful reading experience. It also includes a concordance index to help people find key passages."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Exodus in the NABRE

On Thursday nights, I have the wonderful privilege of teaching an Old Testament narrative class to adults, through the Catholic Biblical School of Michigan. In many ways, it is the highlight of my week since the students are very receptive and show a great desire to engage the Holy Scriptures. Having just spent a number of weeks in the book of Genesis, we have now turned to Exodus. The course primarily relies on the RSV-CE as its teaching text, but I have been using the NABRE quite closely as well. I have found that, when comparing translations, there can be a tendency to just choose those famous passages, like Is. 7:14, to see how one translation stacks up against another. However, it really does take a willingness to sit down with a translation, and read large portions of it, before one can really grasp its worth.

That brings me back to my reading of Exodus, using both the NABRE and RSV-CE. What I have found is that there are some interesting decisions that the NABRE makes which, in general, I find to be quite helpful. One may ask whether the NABRE is as literal as the RSV? Overall, no. But it is certainly a lot closer than the original NAB and in many ways is more readable. Below I am going to provide some examples of what I have found during my reading:

1) There is a verse numbering difference between the NABRE and the RSV in regards to the second, third, and fourth plagues. The NABRE appears to follow the Hebrew numbering, while the RSV does not. Those of you who are familiar with the NAB(RE) know that it will often do this, see the book of the prophet Joel for another instance of this.

2) The NABRE will at times translate some of the more confusing (perhaps?) Hebrew metaphors and idioms into more readable English. For example, Moses refers to himself as having "uncircumcised lips" in Exodus 6:12, which the RSV translated literally into English. In the NABRE, Moses refers to himself as being a "poor speaker". (The NRSV is identical to the NABRE in this case.) Is this a good change? It certainly does clear up any possible confusion that the typical reader may have in understanding the Hebrew idiom. In any case, the NABRE translators do include a helpful note explaining what is the literal rendering of the Hebrew.

3) Snakes and Serpents! In Genesis 3:1, the NABRE went with snake over the more traditional serpent. In Exodus, we find the return of snakes as well as serpents. Is there a difference? Apparently so. Even though most translations, like the RSV, use the same word "serpent" for Moses' rod (4:3) and Aaron's rod (7:9), they are technically two different Hebrew words: nahash and tannin, respectively (Larsson Bound for Freedom 54). Nahash was the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 3, which the NABRE translated consistently in this case. The word tannin though may indicate a more ferocious reptile than a serpent, perhaps a large sea monster or dragon (Ezek 29:3) or crocodile. While one could debate which English terms would be best in translating these two Hebrew words, at least the NABRE made the distinction.

4) One of the most famous idioms of Exodus is the "hardening of Pharoah's heart" which is found some 20 times in Exodus 5-11. Sometimes it is clear that the LORD does the hardening, while on other occasions Pharoah is the one who does so. It is interesting to note that there are three different Hebrew words used in these instances, the most notably being hazaq and kaved. In most cases, however, the RSV simply translates "Pharoah's heart was hardened". The NABRE translates each term differently, kaved as Pharoah was "obstinate", while hazaq as Pharoah's "heart was hardened". (Again, there is also some helpful translator notes which assist the reader in recognizing the difference.) Now, one could argue that this is either not a big deal ultimately or that another word instead of "obstinate" should be used, but the main point is that the NABRE does make the distinction, much like it did with the snake/serpent issue addressed above.

More to come....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

SBP NABRE on Kindle Too!

Below is the press release for the Kindle version for the Saint Benedict Press NABRE:



Charlotte, NC (November 16, 2011) — Saint Benedict Press announced today its publication of the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) in e-book form, at a special discounted price of $3.95.

Saint Benedict Press is a proud publisher of the NABRE, the first major update to the New American Bible (NAB) in twenty years. Saint Benedict Press released three print editions of the NABRE on March 9th of this year. The new e-Bible is the Press’ first offering of the NABRE in digital form. It is available for the Kindle from and for the Nook from

The e-book version of the NABRE is discounted from its original price of $5.95 to $3.95 from now until the end of National Bible Week (Nov. 20-26).

Over the past three years, Saint Benedict Press has increased its line of Catholic Bibles beginning with the publication of several Douay Rheims and Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition Bibles in 2008.

With the addition of the NABRE in March of 2011, Saint Benedict Press became the only publisher to simultaneously sell all three major English translations of the Catholic Bible. Today the Press publishes 28 Bibles between the three translations, with a wide variety of sizes, features and formats.

“The e-book version of the NABRE contains the full text of the Bible, plus supplemental features including a cycle of daily and Sunday Mass readings, a listing of Popes, and a manual of favorite Catholic prayers,” said Conor Gallagher, Vice President of Publishing, Saint Benedict Press. “Our customers will welcome the cross-referencing available in our NABRE e-book, its search-ability, and of course its unbeatable price.”

Reflecting the work of nearly 100 scholars and extensively reviewed and approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the NABRE takes into account the best current scholarship as well as the new discovery of ancient manuscripts to improve understanding of the Biblical text."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pope Benedict on Psalm 110

From today's audience:

Psalm 110 (109)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to Psalm 110, one of the famous “royal psalms”, originally linked to the enthronement of a Davidic monarch. The Church reads this Psalm as a prophecy of Christ, the messianic king and eternal priest, risen from the dead and seated at the right hand of the Father. Saint Peter, in his speech on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:32-36), applies its words to the Lord’s victory over death and his exaltation in glory. From ancient times, the mysterious third verse of the Psalm has been interpreted as a reference to the king’s divine sonship, while the fourth verse speaks of him as “a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek”. The Letter to the Hebrews specifically applies this imagery to Christ, the Son of God and our perfect high priest, who lives eternally to make intercession for all those who, through him, approach the Father (cf. Heb 7:25). The final verses of the Psalm present the triumphant King as executing judgment over the nations. As we pray this Psalm, we acclaim the victory of our risen Lord and King, while striving to live ever more fully the royal and priestly dignity which is ours as members of his Body through Baptism.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The New Evangelization and the Bible Part 3

As we continue our look at the relationship between the New Evangelization and the Bible, I would like to turn to an article from Frank J. Matera, the Andrews Kelly Ryan Professor of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America. The article is found on the USCCB's Doctrine site, under the Intellectual Tasks section. You can read the whole article here. Below are two selections from this paper. The first assesses the current situation in the West where the Christian narrative is competing against others, both religious and secular. The second section comes from the end of the paper, where Matera makes three points about how Scripture can contribute to the New Evangelization:

"Consider for a moment why movies, literature, art, and pop culture are so important. On the one hand, they entertain us. But on the other, they are always telling us stories that capture our imagination. These stories are important because they help us to understand the story of our lives. And so, when we read novels, listen to music, look at art, or watch movies, we insert ourselves into the story world they create to understand something of the story of our life. Christianity has a compelling narrative inscribed into its architecture, music, and especially its Scriptures. But today we live in a world of competing narratives: secular stories as well as religious ones, narratives that de-construct meaning as well as narratives that create meaning. Whereas formerly Christianity could present its holy men and women as models to be imitated, today we live in a world that models itself after entertainers and sport figures; we live in a world of competing narratives, and all of them are vying for our allegiance."


"First, it reminds us that we must provide people with a narrative that will help them understand the story of their lives. We must provide them with a narrative that explains who they are, what God has done, and what God is doing. We must provide them with Scripture’s story that gives them a profound and abiding sense of hope. Second, the outline of this narrative is already found in the sacred texts we proclaim every week. But the narrative will only come alive if we understand and present it in a credible way. Our task, then, is to understand the narrative anew in light of our time and our place. Third, if we hope to proclaim the gospel in a world of competing narratives, we must proclaim a narrative that enables people to understand the full dimension of salvation: the salvation of the body as well as of the soul, the salvation of the community as well as of the individual, the salvation of creation as well as of humanity. In a word, we must proclaim a vision of salvation that includes the whole of God’s good creation."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Additional Helpful Comments from Fr. Barron on the Third Roman Missal

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The word of God and practical charity

Commitment to justice, reconciliation and peace finds its ultimate foundation and fulfilment in the love revealed to us in Christ. By listening to the testimonies offered during the Synod, we saw more clearly the bond between a love-filled hearing of God’s word and selfless service of our brothers and sisters; all believers should see the need to “translate the word that we have heard into gestures of love, because this is the only way to make the Gospel proclamation credible, despite the human weakness that marks individuals”. Jesus passed through this world doing good (cf. Acts 10:38). Listening with docility to the word of God in the Church awakens “charity and justice towards all, especially towards the poor”. We should never forget that “love – caritas – will always prove necessary, even in the most just society … whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such”. I therefore encourage the faithful to meditate often on the Apostle Paul’s hymn to charity and to draw inspiration from it: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but delights in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Cor 13:4-8).

Love of neighbour, rooted in the love of God, ought to see us constantly committed as individuals and as an ecclesial community, both local and universal. As Saint Augustine says: “It is essential to realize that love is the fullness of the Law, as it is of all the divine Scriptures … Whoever claims to have understood the Scriptures, or any part of them, without striving as a result to grow in this twofold love of God and neighbour, makes it clear that he has not yet understood them”.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Revised 'Gloria' in the New Roman Missal

The older version:

'Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.'

The version in the Third Edition:

'Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.'

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The New Evangelization and the Bible Part 2

So, clearly, the Scriptures have an essential role in the New Evangelization. Here, in the United States, we Catholics have an ever increasing abundance of Bible editions and related materials to choose from that can be utilized for this task. I am not sure that has always been the case, but this has certainly changed in the last 10-15 years. That fact that a blog like this exists "where Catholics and other Christians can discuss Catholic Bible editions, study tools, and other issues concerning the Catholic faith" is a testament to the growth in Biblical awareness for Catholic Americans.

Now knowing that the call to a New Evangelization has as one of its main goals the reaching out to those who are either former Catholics or non-practicing ones, I ask you this question: What English Bible translation do you think best meets the need for this task? As we examine this question, we need to recognize that many of these people, though not all, have little or no regular encounter with the Holy Scriptures. What Bible translation do we evanglize with and which one do we encourage others to read? Why?

Monday, November 7, 2011

How's Your Parish Doing with the New Roman Missal?

So, what is going on in your parishes as we are now less than three weeks from the full implementation of the new Roman Missal (3rd Edition)? My parish has already distributed new Order of Mass cards, by Magnificat, and yesterday was the first time we used the new Gloria in Mass. Although I need to find out the composer of the new Gloria setting, I found it to be quite beautiful.

At the high school where I teach, all of the theology teachers have devoted three days to discussing the new Missal. All in all, the kids have been very receptive to it. We will have our first school Mass, with the new Missal, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of God’s word, reconciliation and peace between peoples

Among the many areas where commitment is needed, the Synod earnestly called for the promotion of reconciliation and peace. In the present context it is more necessary than ever to rediscover the word of God as a source of reconciliation and peace, since in that word God is reconciling to himself all things (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-20; Eph 1:10): Christ “is our peace” (Eph 2:14), the one who breaks down the walls of division. A number of interventions at the Synod documented the grave and violent conflicts and tensions present on our planet. At times these hostilities seem to take on the appearance of interreligious conflict. Here I wish to affirm once more that religion can never justify intolerance or war. We cannot kill in God’s name! Each religion must encourage the right use of reason and promote ethical values that consolidate civil coexistence.

In fidelity to the work of reconciliation accomplished by God in Jesus Christ crucified and risen, Catholics and men and women of goodwill must commit themselves to being an example of reconciliation for the building of a just and peaceful society. We should never forget that “where human words become powerless because the tragic clash of violence and arms prevails, the prophetic power of God’s word does not waver, reminding us that peace is possible and that we ourselves must be instruments of reconciliation and peace”.
-Verbum Domini 102

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A New NABRE on Kindle

Michael Pierce, who recently contacted me through this blog, wanted me to alert you to a new Kindle edition of the NABRE. While it is not the first version of the NABRE to be available for the Kindle, it does have a number of unique features according to the product description:

We are proud to release an electronic edition of the New American Bible: Revised Edition (NABRE), which features an excellent formatting true to the paper edition and multiple navigation aids, which allow opening any verse in the Bible in seconds (as explained in detail in the book itself). All material, including footnotes, is preserved and cross referenced within the text. This is the one electronic Bible that every believer must have because it is more convenient and faster to use than the paper edition.

Michael provided a little background information about the production of this edition:

We asked USCCB/CCD for a permission to release a Kindle version of NAB in early 2010. We promised them that our Kindle conversion would be superior because it would go beyond just great formatting of the Bible on the Kindle and hyperlinked TOC; our approach is to make a Kindle Bible the most navigable and convenient to use out of electronic Bibles. At that time, the USCCB indicated that NABRE was still not approved for publication. Once NABRE was released, we worked for months to make the perfect conversion to the Kindle and then CCD had to review and approve our work (it is a long process in itself because they did review the entire work and we had to sign some contracts with them).

NABRE has similar features and navigation as the following publications:

Kindle Catholic English-Latin Diglot Bible (D-R and Vulgate)
Kindle Catholic Bible (D-R)

Also, Michael is willing to field any questions from you about this new product. Please do so by submitting questions in the comment box.