Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cast Your Vote on Your Favorite RSV!

What is your favorite version of the RSV?
RSV (w/ full Apocrypha and including 1971 NT Revision)

Reasons why you chose one over the others are encouraged in the comments.

Monday, September 26, 2011

First Things Article on the NIV2011

There is an interesting (and free) article by Leroy Huizenga, director of the Christian Leadership Center and assistant professor of Scripture at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, in the most recent edition of First Things about the new NIV. I find it fascinating to observe this debate in the Evangelical world over the issue of Biblical translation, since it often parallels discussions we have on this blog. Since this year has been an important year for English Bible translations (KJV 400th, NABRE, NIV2011, and CEB), it makes it all the more interesting to compare the decisions made by the NIV translation committee with those of the NABRE team. (Psalm 8 is an example where they differ.) The article is free to read, but below is the opening couple of paragraphs, so be sure to check out the entire article:

With more than 400 million copies in print, the New International Version is the most popular English Bible. First published as a full Protestant Bible by the evangelical Committee on Bible Translation in 1978, the new edition replaces both the slight revision of 1984 and the controversial, gender-inclusive Today’s New International Version of 2005. Roughly 95 percent of the 1984 text remains, but the other 5 percent reveals an evangelicalism married to modernity, and this is a problem for the translation itself.

The most salutary changes are renderings of crucial Pauline phrases where the new NIV sticks closer to the text. In a reflection of the influence that the “new perspective” on Paul and Judaism has exerted in recent decades, no longer does a rigid Protestant orthodoxy centered on a forensic conception of justification push Paul in theologically tendentious directions.

For instance, erga nomou is now “works of the law” instead of “observing the law” (e.g., Romans 3:28 and Galatians 2:16), dikaiosunē theou is now “righteousness of God” instead of “righteousness from God” (e.g., Romans 1:17), and sarx is now usually “flesh,” not “sinful nature.” No longer do readers encounter a Paul who teaches that the problem with the law is that it is impossible to fulfill and that faith alone causes God to count believers as legally righteous when in point of fact they remain sinners. Rather, the new NIV here makes it possible for English readers to discover a more Catholic or Orthodox or truly Lutheran Paul, one who teaches that the problem with the Jewish law is its ethnic and temporary character and that human salvation concerns our real sacramental participation in divine life, real transformation, and ultimate resurrection.

Problems that plagued the old NIV persist in the new, however, particularly in renderings resulting from the use of lively language at the expense of fidelity to the form of the original.
......continue reading here.

Mondays with Verbum Domini

All the baptized are responsible for this proclamation

Since the entire People of God is a people which has been “sent”, the Synod reaffirmed that “the mission of proclaiming the word of God is the task of all of the disciples of Jesus Christ based on their Baptism”. No believer in Christ can feel dispensed from this responsibility which comes from the fact of our sacramentally belonging to the Body of Christ. A consciousness of this must be revived in every family, parish, community, association and ecclesial movement. The Church, as a mystery of communion, is thus entirely missionary, and everyone, according to his or her proper state in life, is called to give an incisive contribution to the proclamation of Christ.

Bishops and priests, in accordance with their specific mission, are the first to be called to live a life completely at the service of the word, to proclaim the Gospel, to celebrate the sacraments and to form the faithful in the authentic knowledge of Scripture. Deacons too must feel themselves called to cooperate, in accordance with their specific mission, in this task of evangelization.

Throughout the Church’s history the consecrated life has been outstanding for explicitly taking up the task of proclaiming and preaching the word of God in the missio ad gentes and in the most difficult situations, for being ever ready to adapt to new situations and for setting out courageously and boldly along fresh paths in meeting new challenges for the effective proclamation of God’s word.

The laity are called to exercise their own prophetic role, which derives directly from their Baptism, and to bear witness to the Gospel in daily life, wherever they find themselves. In this regard the Synod Fathers expressed “the greatest esteem, gratitude and encouragement for the service to evangelization which so many of the lay faithful, and women in particular, provide with generosity and commitment in their communities throughout the world, following the example of Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the joy of Easter”. The Synod also recognized with gratitude that the ecclesial movements and the new communities are a great force for evangelization in our times and an incentive to the development of new ways of proclaiming the Gospel.
-Verbum Domini 94

Friday, September 23, 2011

B16 in Germany

As most of you know, Pope Benedict is currently in Germany. This morning he met with representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of Germany at the Augustinian Convent where Martin Luther was ordained. I have decided to post his complete address below because it is further proof that that Pope Benedict is truly the "Pope of Christian Unity" for the 21st Century.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I begin to speak, I would like first of all to thank you for this opportunity to come together with you. I am particularly grateful to Pastor Schneider for greeting me and welcoming me into your midst with his kind words. At the same time I want to express my thanks for the particularly gracious gesture that our meeting can be held in this historic location.

As the Bishop of Rome, it is deeply moving for me to be meeting representatives of Council of the EKD here in the ancient Augustinian convent in Erfurt. This is where Luther studied theology. This is where he was ordained a priest in 1507. Against his father’s wishes, he did not continue the study of Law, but instead he studied theology and set off on the path towards priesthood in the Order of Saint Augustine. On this path, he was not simply concerned with this or that. What constantly exercised him was the question of God, the deep passion and driving force of his whole life’s journey. “How do I receive the grace of God?”: this question struck him in the heart and lay at the foundation of all his theological searching and inner struggle. For him theology was no mere academic pursuit, but the struggle for oneself, which in turn was a struggle for and with God.

“How do I receive the grace of God?” The fact that this question was the driving force of his whole life never ceases to make an impression on me. For who is actually concerned about this today – even among Christians? What does the question of God mean in our lives? In our preaching? Most people today, even Christians, set out from the presupposition that God is not fundamentally interested in our sins and virtues. He knows that we are all mere flesh. Insofar as people today believe in an afterlife and a divine judgement at all, nearly everyone presumes for all practical purposes that God is bound to be magnanimous and that ultimately he mercifully overlooks our small failings. But are they really so small, our failings? Is not the world laid waste through the corruption of the great, but also of the small, who think only of their own advantage? Is it not laid waste through the power of drugs, which thrives on the one hand on greed and avarice, and on the other hand on the craving for pleasure of those who become addicted? Is the world not threatened by the growing readiness to use violence, frequently masking itself with claims to religious motivation? Could hunger and poverty so devastate parts of the world if love for God and godly love of neighbour – of his creatures, of men and women – were more alive in us? I could go on. No, evil is no small matter. Were we truly to place God at the centre of our lives, it could not be so powerful. The question: what is God’s position towards me, where do I stand before God? – this burning question of Martin Luther must once more, doubtless in a new form, become our question too. In my view, this is the first summons we should attend to in our encounter with Martin Luther.

Another important point: God, the one God, creator of heaven and earth, is no mere philosophical hypothesis regarding the origins of the universe. This God has a face, and he has spoken to us. He became one of us in the man Jesus Christ – who is both true God and true man. Luther’s thinking, his whole spirituality, was thoroughly Christocentric: “What promotes Christ’s cause” was for Luther the decisive hermeneutical criterion for the exegesis of sacred Scripture. This presupposes, however, that Christ is at the heart of our spirituality and that love for him, living in communion with him, is what guides our life.

Now perhaps you will say: all well and good, but what has this to do with our ecumenical situation? Could this just be an attempt to talk our way past the urgent problems that are still waiting for practical progress, for concrete results? I would respond by saying that the first and most important thing for ecumenism is that we keep in view just how much we have in common, not losing sight of it amid the pressure towards secularization – everything that makes us Christian in the first place and continues to be our gift and our task. It was the error of the Reformation period that for the most part we could only see what divided us and we failed to grasp existentially what we have in common in terms of the great deposit of sacred Scripture and the early Christian creeds. The great ecumenical step forward of recent decades is that we have become aware of all this common ground and that we acknowledge it as we pray and sing together, as we make our joint commitment to the Christian ethos in our dealings with the world, as we bear common witness to the God of Jesus Christ in this world as our undying foundation.

The risk of losing this, sadly, is not unreal. I would like to make two points here. The geography of Christianity has changed dramatically in recent times, and is in the process of changing further. Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss. This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability. This worldwide phenomenon poses a question to us all: what is this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse? In any event, it raises afresh the question about what has enduring validity and what can or must be changed – the question of our fundamental faith choice.

The second challenge to worldwide Christianity of which I wish to speak is more profound and in our country more controversial: the secularized context of the world in which we Christians today have to live and bear witness to our faith. God is increasingly being driven out of our society, and the history of revelation that Scripture recounts to us seems locked into an ever more remote past. Are we to yield to the pressure of secularization, and become modern by watering down the faith? Naturally faith today has to be thought out afresh, and above all lived afresh, so that it is suited to the present day. Yet it is not by watering the faith down, but by living it today in its fullness that we achieve this. This is a key ecumenical task. Moreover, we should help one another to develop a deeper and more lively faith. It is not strategy that saves us and saves Christianity, but faith – thought out and lived afresh; through such faith, Christ enters this world of ours, and with him, the living God. As the martyrs of the Nazi era brought us together and prompted the first great ecumenical opening, so today, faith that is lived from deep within amid a secularized world is the most powerful ecumenical force that brings us together, guiding us towards unity in the one Lord.

Bible Study Contest

The folks at the Great Adventure Bible Study program are giving away a free pilgrimage for two to the Holy Land led by Jeff and Emily Cavins on January 5-18, 2012. All you have to do is produce a three minute Youtube video responding to the question: How has the story of Scripture enriched my life and my faith? You can read about the rules and enter the contest here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A New B16 Book of Note

No, it is not Jesus of Nazareth Part I, although the cover looks almost identical. Rather, it is a collection of seventy addresses given by Pope Benedict during his public audiences from March 2007 to December 2010. This volume is entitled Great Christian Thinkers: From the Early Church through the Middle Ages, and it is published by Fortress Press, a Lutheran publishing house. It covers the great Christian thinkers from Clement of Rome to Julian of Norwich. The volume comes in a very flexible softcover and each page is well laid-out. There are 316 total pages.

While other publishers have printed the Holy Father's audiences in smaller, more limited volumes, like this from Ignatius Press, this one from Fortress is far more complete and comprehensive. (The only negative is that it doesn't include the audiences by the Pope on the Apostles.)

I mention this volume, primarily, due to it being published by a Protestant publisher. Quoting from the Publisher's Foreword: "It is a matter of particular pride at Fortress Press that we offer this compilation of brief portraits composed and presented by Pope Benedict XVI on key figures from Christian history (ix)." The foreword goes on to say that this volume contains "a set of seventy expert and reliable yet quite accessible introductions to the key framers of the pre-Reformation tradition, East and West, as useful for personal reading or study as for classroom or congregation (ix)." Quite an endorsement if you ask me! Some have referred to Pope Benedict as the "Pope of Christian Unity" which I think is quite true. Projects like this can help, perhaps only in a very small way, heal the wounds that divide Christendom. The editors from Fortress note that they were "grateful to the Vatican Library Press for their enthusiasm for the project and willingness to facilitate it by providing lucid and accessible translations (ix)."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The word and the Kingdom of God

"Consequently, the Church’s mission cannot be considered as an optional or supplementary element in her life. Rather it entails letting the Holy Spirit assimilate us to Christ himself, and thus to share in his own mission: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (Jn 20:21) to share the word with your entire life. It is the word itself which impels us towards our brothers and sisters: it is the word which illuminates, purifies, converts; we are only its servants.

We need, then, to discover ever anew the urgency and the beauty of the proclamation of the word for the coming of the Kingdom of God which Christ himself preached. Thus we grow in the realization, so clear to the Fathers of the Church, that the proclamation of the word has as its content the Kingdom of God (cf. Mk 1:14-15), which, in the memorable phrase of Origen, is the very person of Jesus (Autobasileia). The Lord offers salvation to men and women in every age. All of us recognize how much the light of Christ needs to illumine every area of human life: the family, schools, culture, work, leisure and the other aspects of social life. It is not a matter of preaching a word of consolation, but rather a word which disrupts, which calls to conversion and which opens the way to an encounter with the one through whom a new humanity flowers." --Verbum Domini 91

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I spoke, again, with my source this week who confirmed that future printings of the Catholic Study Bible NABRE will indeed fix the issue with the Reading Guides. As has been pointed out, the Reading Guides in the front of the volume do not recognizing the changes made to the NABRE OT. Even one of the introductory articles on "The Challenges of Biblical Translation" talks about the "proposed NAB Old Testament" which this new edition contains. Hopefully, I will be able to let you know when the corrected editions are being released. When that will be has not been announced.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

America Magazine and Catholic Biblical Literalism

The following is an excerpt from a September 12th article in America magazine by Brian B. Pinter:

"I led a Bible study series recently at a parish in Manhattan, where most of the participants were hip, advanced-degree-holding professionals. I worked hard to prepare for the classes, and during my presentations on the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis I used the best of historical-critical exegesis by respected Catholic scholars. We explored the differences among various literary forms, examined the historical contexts in which the Genesis accounts took shape and considered the function of foundation myths in ancient Near Eastern cultures. When the participants raised questions about scientific theories concerning the origins of the universe and humankind, I made reference to the 2004 statement by the Vatican-sponsored International Theological Commission, which spoke positively about the Big Bang theory. I also quoted Pope John Paul II’s affirming remarks on the theory of evolution.

Nonetheless, a number of individuals were shocked at the suggestion that the first and second chapters of Genesis did not contain literal, historically accurate accounts of creation. One woman protested, saying, “How do you know the world wasn’t made that way? You can’t prove otherwise!” Another was flabbergasted that I did not affirm the historicity of the talking serpent in Genesis 3: “Are you saying that God can’t create a talking snake?” Finally, an irate young man sent me e-mail to tell me, among other things, that my treatment of Genesis had no place in a Catholic parish and that I should consider becoming Protestant
....." You can finish reading the article here

The article then goes on to discuss the issue of Biblical fundamentalism in the Catholic Church. For the most part, the article is on point and follows the general teachings of the PBC document Interpretation of the Bible in the Church. However, while he gives examples of how "Catholic scholarship has moved beyond literalism in its interpretation of the Bible" and names a number of those scholars who have helped move us away from fundamentalism, he does not really give examples of those who teach Biblical literalism within the Church. Rather he refers to the nearly 21% of Catholics, according to a 2007 Gallup poll, who "could be described as unconscious or naïve" in their reading of the Bible. So, is it simply that the 21% just doesn't "know" better or are there Catholic teachers who promote a more fundamentalist approach to Scripture?

My only other issue with the article is that it espouses the importance of avoiding fundamentalism by promoting the use of the historical-critical method in isolation. I am in no way opposed to the historical method, but there is far more to the Catholic interpretion of Scripture than the historical-critical method. Again, see CCC 109-119 or Dei Verbum 7-13 or B16's introduction to Jesus of Nazareth I.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guest Review: St. Joseph NABRE Full Size Deluxe Edition

Thanks, again, to reader Jonny for the following guest review:

The St. Joseph Edition of the NABRE is here! When I saw this on Amazon (out of stock) I went ahead and ordered two different ones from two independent bookstores. Much to my dismay, both copies I received were the old NAB! So I returned both and hopped on the horn to the Catholic Book Publishing Corporation. A week or so later my St. Joseph NABRE Full-Size Deluxe Gift Edition arrived. As if anyone may not know, the CBPC is probably the most well-known publisher of Catholic books including Bibles, Missals, and the Liturgy of the Hours. I believe the “Gift Editions” of their Bibles have the most complementary presentation of the NAB text available. And, as with many of the books from CBPC intended for frequent use, it has a sewn binding and ribbon bookmark. Of course, it seems that there are always pros and cons to every edition of the Bible, but I will start with the good.

1. The paper and font. The text is bold and dark, and it is printed on bright white paper with very little bleed-through. This, of course, makes it slightly thicker than many other Bibles (by comparison it is the same thickness as the St. Benedict Press black NABRE.) The Biblical text is in a very traditional looking font, and per usual CBPC style, the outlined headings and paragraph headings are in different more modern looking fonts. I think the different fonts are a plus for seeing the added outlined divisions and I am glad that has remained a CBPC tradition.

2. The spacing and page layout. Again, very high marks here. The text is very comfortably spaced between chapters, paragraphs, and all the margins. The layout, including notes and cross references, is so evenly spaced throughout, one might think the CBPC version is the “official” version of the NAB.

3. Extra Features. There are quite a few bells and whistles in this edition of the NABRE. There are over 100 photographs and maps of the Holy Land, which are distributed throughout the text. These pictures range from maps and charts specific to the text, to photographs of archeological finds, to an artist's scale model of Solomon’s Temple (for example.) Also, there are sections of full color glossy pictures inserted throughout. Most are pictures of Biblical scenes; they are colorful but realistic paintings, among the same found in Fr. Lovasik’s “New Catholic Picture Bible”, also from CBPC. Also included in the color sections are photographs of the Holy Land, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and a “Family Record” section. Finally, there is an index of Sunday readings and a Bible Dictionary in the back.

4. Improvements over the old St. Joseph Edition. CBPC has finally, finally, conformed to the Chapter, colon, verse reference system used by virtually every other contemporary publisher that I know of (e.g. Ps 34:4.) Also, this edition has sections of full color maps, rather than just the black and white ones throughout the text. It is strange, however, that the OT color map section is at the beginning of Judges rather that at the back with the NT ones like most Bibles. Nine maps in all. The last improvement I have noticed is an easier to read historical chronology at the front of the Bible.

Now for the bad: I really do not have a lot of criticism here so I am putting it in one paragraph. I have heard some people criticize the color paintings, but be aware that these are not the comic book drawings that are in the CBPC Sunday Missal. My major complaint is that you can only get all the bells and whistles in the Full Size Edition. I prefer a medium-sized Bible, but the medium-sized edition has an abbreviated version of the Bible dictionary and about half of the pictures. Also, in the Medium Sized Edition the full-color sections have a tendency to stick up in the air (although the Full Size Edition does not.) There are also Student editions available, but be aware that they of lesser paper and print quality and have far fewer extras. The “Deluxe” version that I have was listed as being “Genuine Leather” in its old NAB format, but now the website lists it as “bonded”, and it still says “white leather” on the box, so who knows? CBPC has only made the transition to NABRE standard for most of their editions in the past week, and the website was only updated within the last week as well. All of the Medium-sized Gift Editions appear to still only be available in Bonded or Imitation leather.

Conclusions: This is in my opinion the best copy of the NABRE available if you want large type, just be sure to order the “Deluxe” edition or you will get an imitation leather version. There is another Medium Sized imitation leather version available that is more ornate looking, and that one is much better. If large type is not an issue, then the St. Benedict Press or Fireside Bible (which I also reviewed) could also be a better choice for you, depending on what "look" and features you want. The Fireside hardcover “Church and School Edition” is actually very attractive and I would recommend that over the CBPC “Student Edition” hardbacks. The one other thing: for those who (like myself) like a medium-sized Bible, you might want to wait until the “World Publishers” edition of the NABRE is available. These are bound in a very nice looking bonded leather with the "words of Christ in red" and are also available with the cut-out index tabs. According to the nice lady at CBPC these will be available in the NABRE version around late November

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The word of God is the source of the Church’s mission

The Synod of Bishops forcefully reaffirmed the need within the Church for a revival of the missionary consciousness present in the People of God from the beginning. The first Christians saw their missionary preaching as a necessity rooted in the very nature of faith: the God in whom they believed was the God of all, the one true God who revealed himself in Israel’s history and ultimately in his Son, who thus provided the response which, in their inmost being, all men and women awaited. The first Christian communities felt that their faith was not part of a particular cultural tradition, differing from one people to another, but belonged instead to the realm of truth, which concerns everyone equally.

Once more it is Saint Paul who, by his life, illustrates the meaning of the Christian mission and its fundamental universality. We can think here of the episode related in the Acts of the Apostles about the Athenian Areopagus (cf. 17:16-34). The Apostle of the Nations enters into dialogue with people of various cultures precisely because he is conscious that the mystery of God, Known yet Unknown, which every man and woman perceives, however confusedly, has really been revealed in history: “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23). In fact, the newness of Christian proclamation is that we can tell all peoples: “God has shown himself. In person. And now the way to him is open. The novelty of the Christian message does not consist in an idea but in a fact: God has revealed himself”.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Remembrance

"Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD's vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor's injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the LORD?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
can he seek pardon for his own sins?
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside;
remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;
remember the Most High's covenant, and overlook faults."
-Sirach 27:30-28:7 (NAB)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Awaiting Confirmation on the CSB NABRE

There seems to be some conflicting info regarding the needed changes to the CSB NABRE. As noted last week, the CSB NABRE does not make the necessary changes in the 2nd edition Reading Guide to sync it to the new NABRE OT. My source said that this problem would be fixed in future printings, however an anonymous commentor on a previous post said that he/she was told by a representative from Oxford University Press that no change was forthcoming. So I wonder, what is the truth? The CSB is a fine resource, and I would be shocked if this fairly significant issue were not corrected.

Mel Gibson and Judas (Maccabeus)

So evidently, Mel Gibson is in the process of developing a new film about the Maccabees. Of course, this is not the first time Mel has been involved in producing a biblically-based epic. We all remember The Passion of the Christ, which was a vivid retelling of Christ's last few hours. Even with all the nonsense that Mel has done or said over the past years, I still find that film moving. I am eager to see how this new film, if it is made, turns out. I do love reading 1 & 2 Maccabees. (Although I must admit that a lot of that has to do with my undergraduate major, which was in classical history. )

Royal NAB (Revised)/Douay-Rheims Electronic Reference Bible

This is interesting, although I am unsure as to who the intended audience is for this product. I must say, though, who would have ever thought we would see the NABRE and Douay-Rheims together? That's pretty cool all by itself, and perhaps worth it!

Below is the product info:

Featuring the complete texts of both the 2011 release of the New American Bible, revised edition (NABRE), and the original Douay-Rheims Bible the Royal NAB puts God’s Word at your fingertips anywhere. For added reference and teaching, we’ve also included the Baltimore Catechism along with Catholic prayers and devotions.

Complete text of the New American Bible, revised edition, including commentaries, cross references and footnotes. Approved by the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, September 4, 2010.

•Douay-Rheims Bible - complete text of Old and New Testaments
•Catholic Prayers and Devotions
•Baltimore Catechism included (Confirmation Level)
•Adjustable font size for easy reading
•Inspirational verses grouped by topic
•Optional auto-scrolling for continuous reading
•Direct search by book, chapter and verse and over 18,000 key words
•Stores favorite verses
•Compact size - fits in a pocket or purse

The Royal NAB (Revised)/Douay-Rheims Electronic Reference Bible can be purchased at Christianbook.com for just under $40.00 on Sept. 24th.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Writing in Your Bible II

A couple months back we discussed various methods and styles of writing in one's Bible. This past weekend I was approached by another blogger, Barbie, who recently posted about her method of marking up her Bible. So, I happily provide the link to her website The Mary Mission. Give it a look!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A New Publisher for the NABRE

According to the HarperCollins website, their imprint HarperOne will begin publishing editions of the NABRE beginning in March 2012. HarperOne is most known as the main publisher of the NRSV, but beginning in 2012 they will begin offering various selections of NABRE's.

Details on their first published NABRE's are scarce as of now, but it appears that it will be available in an imitation leather, both black and white, and paperback edition. Also, it will be a trimsize 6 1/4 x 9 1/4. It should be noted that the NRSV-Catholic Thinline was 6 x 9 1/4, so this could be an NABRE thinline! One can imagine that the NABRE commentary and cross-references will be included as well.

In addition, I spotted the following publisher's description on the Christianbook.com site:

"The New American Bible is the most popular Catholic translation available in the U.S. and is now being revised for the first time in 20 years. The revision aims at making use of the best manuscript traditions available, translating as accurately as possible and rendering the result in good contemporary English. In many ways it is a more literal translation than the original New American Bible. Besides the translation itself, the NAB provides helpful introductions to the books of the Bible as well as authorized running notes explaining the teachings, background, and literary context for the passages, making it an unparalleled resource for Bible readers. As HarperOne is already a leading proprietor of Catholic Bibles in the NRSV translation, we look forward to adding the popular NAB translation as well."

I will pass along all further information when I get it.

My Top 5 Catholic Bibles #1

The Revised Standard Version (1st and 2nd) Catholic Edition: When Literal is Necessary

"And he said to them, 'Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.' And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them." - Mark 9:1-3

The RSV-CE remains as popular for Catholics today as when it was first published in the mid-60's. Actually, it could be argued that it is more popular today, particularly since it is still promoted by Biblical scholars as well as more conservative Catholics. The RSV-CE comes primarily in two editions these days, the original 1966 version, which contains archaic language and the 2nd Edition published by Ignatius Press, which eliminated archaic language and made various changes at points in the text. This post will focus mainly on the RSV-2CE.

Translation Philosophy 4.5/5
The RSV is the most literal modern Catholic translation on the market today. Catholics do not have an equivalent to the Protestant NASB. Therefore, the RSV serves as the most literal/formal modern translation, which certainly makes it useful when doing serious study. We have discussed on this blog on many occasions the various issues related to the RSV translation itself, most notably in the 2nd Edition. I will refer you to those posts here here and here.

I will, however, point out one specific area in Mark where the RSV shines, even though it may not appear so at first glance. As the Catholic Study Bible points out: "The pace of the story is urgent. Jesus moves rapidly from place to place; there is little wasted motion and a minimum of verbage (387)." Now one of the ways this is most evident in Mark is the constant use of the Greek word καὶ at the beginning of sentences. Most often this word is translated into English as "and". The RSV does a great job in maintaining the use of "and" in most cases, while a number of more recent translations try to make Mark a smoother read by not translating καὶ. Yet, I am not sure Mark is meant to be a smooth read. Events happen quickly and as the above quote from the CSB states: "The pace of the story is urgent." The RSV does the best job at producing that urgency in Mark.

Readability 4/5
For the most part, the RSV remains a pretty smooth read. In particular, the RSV-2CE, with the elimination of archaic language, helps to modernize the text a bit. There are, however, still places where the words chosen or the word order can make reading a bit more difficult. I notice this most often in the Psalms, but perhaps that is to be expected when using a more formal translation. (Psalm 65 is an example.)

One other area of note is in the RSV's use of inclusive language. As most of you know, it does not use inclusive language. As a matter of fact, Ignatius Press goes out of its way to promote that the RSV-2CE does not include "feminist" inclusive language. One of the main changes in the RSV-2CE is the consistent rendering of "sons of Israel" instead of "people of Israel." In this way, the RSV-2CE goes beyond the original RSV. As I have mentioned on this blog before, my thoughts on inclusive language have changed a bit in the last few years. Now a days, I am more open to the use of modest horizontal inclusive language, as found in the NJB and to a lesser extent the NABRE. Now that I do a lot of reading of the Scriptures out loud in class, with both youth and adults, I find that having limited horizontal inclusive language in a translation to be preferable.

Available Formats 3.5/5
The RSV is available in a number of printed formats, as well as on Kindle. Oxford University Press still prints the beautiful New Oxford Annotated Bible-RSV, which still remains a standard today for its size, durability, and concise, yet useful study notes. Oxford also produces an RSV-CE reading Bible, while Saint Benedict Press prints the RSV in various editions. The one thing that hampers these editions is their lack of cross-references. If you want the RSV-CE with cross-references, you have to go with the edition printed by Ignatius Press.

As noted earlier, the RSV-2CE is the child of Ignatius Press. The RSV-2CE comes in a standard edition, with cross-references, maps, and the original notes, in both hardbound, bonded leather, and paperback. Ignatius also prints a pocket edition of the New Testament and Psalms. The most notable edition of the RSV-2CE is found in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament. Of course, the issue with the ICSB is not whether or not it is good and useful, but rather when it will be finished. (I feel a bit like Pope Julius II in the movie The Agony and the Ecstasy!) I have not heard back from Ignatius about any future editions of the RSV-2CE.

Miscellaneous 4/5
The RSV is historically one of the first truly ecumenical Bibles. Its influence is still felt today, not only by it still being in print, but also by its descendants the NRSV and ESV, and to a lesser extent the RSV-2CE. In addition, Ignatius Press has printed a Lectionary for the RSV-2CE if it is ever allowed in the USA.

Summary 16/20
However, I still wonder what the future holds for the RSV-CE or RSV-2CE. I pondered this question a few months back, which you can read here. When I look at the main project associated with the RSV, that being the ICSB, I am not sure I am willing to sit around and wait for its completion. Also, in the past those who felt the RSV was easily the best translation on the market, including myself, now have to contend with an improved NABRE as well as the ESV w/Apocrypha. We shall see what happens, but as of today, the RSV remains my #1 Catholic Bible....but barely.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bible Review: CEB Thinline w/Apocrypha

I received a surprisingly wonderful edition of the CEB w/Apocrypha in the mail last week. It is the DecoTone CEB Thinline Bible w/Apocrypha. I say "surprising" because it is a review copy, and I figured that I would receive a hardback or paperback edition. But this is not the case. I am going to focus this review on the numerous features of this thinline edition of the CEB. If you want more info on the CEB itself, we have discussed it on a number of occasions and you can read those comments here or you can just check out the translation's website.

This edition of the CEB is a true thinline Bible. While it is similar in width to the HarperOne NRSV thinlines, its dimensions are a very portable 5 3/8" x 8 3/8",without being compact. At times, I have felt the NRSV thinline was a bit too big. But even with its smaller size, the CEB Thinline has a 9-point type, which makes it fairly easy on eyes.

Of all its features, the one thing that really stands out is the feel of this Bible. It is a very soft synthetic leather, known as DecoTone. It is probably similar to the Italian Duo-Tone or imitation leather that is now being used more often in many Bibles. This truly has a great feel to it. While it is both supple and flexible, it also lays open flat on a table or in your lap. Recently, I have found myself preferring the very soft, synthetic leather covers over the standard leather, both bonded and genuine. The only question is durability and how long it will hold up to continued use. At this point, I am not sure.

Some other nice features include the Deuterocanonicals being in their own section, but divided and labeled by which ones belong to which Church's canon. In addition, while there are no cross-references in the Old Testament, all Old Testament reference in the New Testament are noted at the bottom of the page. This is a definite advantage over the NRSV thinlines. Also, there are 8 full-color National Geographic maps in the appendix.

All in all, a very nice and useful thinline Bible. It is simple, but well executed.

**Thank you to B&B Media Group for the review copy**

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The word of God is the source of the Church’s mission

The Synod of Bishops forcefully reaffirmed the need within the Church for a revival of the missionary consciousness present in the People of God from the beginning. The first Christians saw their missionary preaching as a necessity rooted in the very nature of faith: the God in whom they believed was the God of all, the one true God who revealed himself in Israel’s history and ultimately in his Son, who thus provided the response which, in their inmost being, all men and women awaited. The first Christian communities felt that their faith was not part of a particular cultural tradition, differing from one people to another, but belonged instead to the realm of truth, which concerns everyone equally.

Once more it is Saint Paul who, by his life, illustrates the meaning of the Christian mission and its fundamental universality. We can think here of the episode related in the Acts of the Apostles about the Athenian Areopagus (cf. 17:16-34). The Apostle of the Nations enters into dialogue with people of various cultures precisely because he is conscious that the mystery of God, Known yet Unknown, which every man and woman perceives, however confusedly, has really been revealed in history: “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23). In fact, the newness of Christian proclamation is that we can tell all peoples: “God has shown himself. In person. And now the way to him is open. The novelty of the Christian message does not consist in an idea but in a fact: God has revealed himself”.
-Verbum Domini 91

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Quick Comment from Last Sunday's First Reading

I forgot to post about this during the week, but I wanted to note a difference between the original NAB and the new NABRE concerning Jeremiah 20:7:

"You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped" (NAB)

"You seduced me, LORD, and I let myself be seduced" (NABRE)

Each Sunday before heading to Mass I try to review the readings ahead of time, but this past week I did not. So when I heard the first verse of this first reading, I was unprepared to here the word 'duped' being proclaimed by the lector. So, I went back to the NABRE when I got home and was glad to see the change. As a matter of fact, the priest actually mentioned in his homily that 'seduced' would be a better translation. So, well done NABRE!

Guest Review: Saint Benedict Press NABRE

Thank you to Michael P. for this guest review:

I was fortunate enough to receive the Saint Benedict Press NABRE Premium Ultra Soft edition from Timothy (the NABRE contest). Jonny's review of the Fireside's Companion Edition NABRE inspired me to review SBP's NABRE. I had the opportunity to inspect Fireside's Companion Edition that Johnny reviewed and Fireside's New Catholic Answer Bible (NCAB) and will make some comparisons to both:

1. Size and Cover: The size of the SBP edition is substantially the same as the Fireside Companion Edition. The photos compare it to Ignatius' RSV-2CE leather edition. I think the SBP cover is a little nicer than Fireside's Companion Edition, but the cover on the NCAB is as nice as the SBP, which is strange because Fireside says that their Companion Edition has the same cover as the NCAB. However, the NCAB is a slightly larger bible and more expensive.

2. Typeface and layout: Jonny did a great job explaining the difference between Fireside's Companion Edition and SBP's edition. So which is better? I think that depends on intended use. Fireside's cross references are much easier to use and locating verses is easier as well because the verse numbers are in bold print. So, if you plan on using these features, go with Fireside. In fact, if the larger size of the NCAB is not an issue, then I would recommend that edition because the font size is larger (but it's not a large print bible), making it easier to read, and I think it is a nicer edition overall than the Companion Edition. However, if you have another edition of the NABRE that you use for study like the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible (which I do and like very much), and want another edition of the NABRE that is more portable and is more inviting for prayerful reading of the bible (such as daily readings), I would recommend the SBP edition because the notes (which are at the bottom of the page beneath each column as opposed to only the right column on Fireside's edition) and verse numbers are less distracting than Fireside's edition (in my opinion).

3.Other details: It has one gold ribbon marker (as an aside, I wish publishers would make 2 or 3 ribbons the standard). The front of the SBP edition has a presentation page and Family Registry pages (births, marriages, deaths), the Succession of Popes, and a list of the collaborators for all the various editions of the NAB from 1970 to the present. The back of the bible has a calendar of readings for both weekday and Sundays throughout the year and several sections of prayers separated by the following categories: Favorite Catholic Prayers, Prayers to Jesus, Prayers to Mary, Prayers to and with the Saints, and at the end four simple color maps (Palestine in the Time of Jesus, and one for each of Paul's Journeys). Finally, SPB's edition has the words of Christ in Red, which I know is non-starter for many people. The photo, although not the best in clarity, gives you a good sense of what it looks like. I don't think it's as bright red as I've seen in other bibles and it doesn't bother me. Even if you're normally turned-off by red letter editions, I think the SBP edition should still be considered.

So, go to a Catholic bookstore, spend some time with the various editions, and get the one (or more than one!) that will suit your various needs. Remember, the best bible is the one you read!

Friday, September 2, 2011

NLT Study Bible

Recently I received a review copy of the NLT Study Bible. The NLT is probably one of the most popular dynamic-equivalence Bible translations in English, certainly for Protestants. Most NLT discussions on this blog have been centered on the now out-of-print NLT Catholic Reference Bible. An edition that apparently never received the OK from the USCCB. However, unlike almost all editions of the NLT since, it did include the Deuterocanonicals.

This edition of the NLTSB contains the Protestant canon and is certainly intended for a Protestant audience. So, my brief remarks on the NLTSB will mostly be concerned with the layout and study tools available in this edition. That being said, the NLTSB is a beautiful study Bible. Many of the online reviews that I have read about it tend to compare it with the ESV Study Bible, which came out the same year. The NLTSB contains all the elements that you would expect to find in a quality study Bible. There are extensive introductions, commentary and notes that often take up half a page, charts and maps in the text where appropriate, mini-articles dispersed throughout, and an index and concordance (along with some additional color maps) in the appendix. All of these study tools are integrated nicely in this volume.

On the positive side, the commentary tends to be moderately conservative, but not without reference to various historical-critical findings. I have found that most of the comments would be quite helpful to most Catholics. Even in a number of areas where there may be dispute between Protestants and Catholics, like John 6:53-58, the commentary acknowledges that "Some Christian traditions see the bread as Christ's literal flesh broken for us and the wine as his literal blood poured out for us (NLTSB 1782)." Of course, I have not read all possible passages where there is disagreement, but generally this seems to be the tone found in the commentary for these types of "disputed" passages. In addition, the NLTSB does a great service, IMHO, by placing the cross-references at the side of the page. I find it easier to navigate when they are placed there.

On the negative side, it would be nice to see the NLTSB come in an edition with the Deuterocanonicals. While the NLT has been updated a few times since the mid-90's, the publishers have a translation of the Deuterocanonicals available if they choose to use it. It certainly doesn't have to be called a "Catholic" NLTSB, but one that simply contains the Deuterocanonicals. Also, I could mention that it would be nice to see more color in the many maps and charts that are in this Bible, but this would mostly be due to the beautiful layout of the ESVSB, which in many ways is the paragon of modern study Bibles. However, I am not going to hold that against the NLTSB, since there are no Catholic study Bibles that even come close either.

Overall, the NLTSB is a truly beautiful Bible with some fine study tools. The issue of whether it will ever gain any popularity in the Catholic community is doubtful, particularly without the inclusion of the Deuterocanonicals. However, it still can be a helpful reference for your Bible study library.

**Thank you to Laura, from the NLT Study Bible Facebook page for sending me a review copy**

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Update on CSB NABRE

One of my contacts has told me that the Catholic Study Bible NABRE will be updated on the next printing. (If you are not sure what I am talking about, read the comments from this recent blog post here.) The reason it wasn't updated was that they wanted to move early to have the text available for fall classes. However, the Catholic Personal Study Bible NABRE was updated and will be available at the end of October.

I am sure this news will not provide any solace to those of us who purchased the first printing, but alas that is what is going on.

New Arrivals

New arrivals indeed! One of them is a bit of a letdown, the other is surprisingly nice. Reviews to come.

The Catholic Bible Poll at 3100 votes

Which Catholic Bible Translation Do You Use?

Selection (Votes)
Revised Standard Version-CE 30% (923)
New American Bible 22% (668)
Douay-Rheims 15% (468)
New Revised Standard Version-CE 14% (421)
New Jerusalem Bible 8% (256)
Jerusalem Bible 8% (255)
Good News Bible 2% (62)
Christian Community Bible 2% (51)

**Please remember that this is not, by any means, a scientific poll**