Monday, October 31, 2011

Bible Study Series: Judah 5-16

“Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that he who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error, and perish in Korah's rebellion. These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever. It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage.” (RSV)

NT Wright acknowledges a number of difficulties when reading this section from Judah. As he suggests, one of the main issues is coming to grips with the fact that “things could have been, or could be again, quite as bad as he (Judah) is making out (199).” In this context, particularly with the harsh and direct tone that Judah takes, it can be tempting to accuse Judah of “demonizing people” as Wright suggests some may do today. But as he points out, distancing themselves (ourselves) “from what Judah has perceived as the enormous danger facing the church, opening up in front of the little community like a huge hole in the road into which, unless they watch out, they will stumble to their doom (199).”

I begin with this wisdom from Wright because it captures the reality of what is at stake in the mind of Judah as he writes his letter to this young Christian community (and to us). This section of Judah (5-16) focuses on the false teachers/ungodly people in the midst of this community. There are a lot of unique references to the Old Testament (as well as apocryphal literature) in this section. While often the discussion on this section turns to either the unnatural lust of the ungodly or Judah’s use of apocryphal books (which I am sure will occur in the comments), I am going to focus on verse 5.

In verse 5, Judah begins: “I wish to remind you, although you know all things, that [the] Lord who once saved a people from the land of Egypt later destroyed those who did not believe (NABRE).” (I should note that “Lord” in verse 5 is attested to in some ancient manuscripts, while others read “he” or “Jesus” or God”.) Judah sets the tone for the rest of this section by pointing out that even those who had seen the Lord free them from bondage in Egypt, and brought them safely to Mt. Sinai, quickly fell away and were “destroyed.” Their lack of faith is a warning to this new community of Christian believers. Like the ancient Hebrews, our call is to remain faithful, knowing that our journey with God will not always be easy. This is not only for the new believer, like the community to which Judah writes, but also to those who have remained steadfast throughout their lives. It is important to remember Judah’s charge at the very beginning of this letter to “contend for the faith.” All are called to remain, in a truly active sense, faithful and to trust in the Lord. May we not be like the Hebrews, who in Exodus 16:16-21, did not trust that the LORD would provide each day the manna that they (and we) need. Lack of faith and trust can lead us down a road to where we begin to act like the ungodly, which inevitably brings about judgment.

The verses that follow provide a series of examples of ungodly actions done by both man and angel. Judah sites Old Testament passages and the writings from OT apocrypha (1 Enoch and Assumption of Moses?) to show that those who remain unfaithful and engage in wickedness are condemned. Of note, verse 12 mentions abuse at “love feasts” which indicates that there were liturgical abuses even back in the first century (see also 1 Corinthians 11). The Navarre commentary notes that “these false teachers are quite happy to attend Christian assemblies, but they end an immoral life and cause scandal (650).” Again, this small letter is not only useful to the original readers, but also to us in 2011.

Verses 17-25 will conclude this letter with additional warnings, but also with an important exhortation and benediction. We’ll look at that in the coming days. But for now, I open the comment box to you for your thoughts and wisdom, particularly in the middle section of this portion of Jude.

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The word of God and commitment to justice in society

God’s word inspires men and women to build relationships based on rectitude and justice, and testifies to the great value in God’s eyes of every effort to create a more just and more liveable world. The word of God itself unambiguously denounces injustices and promotes solidarity and equality. In the light of the Lord’s words, let us discern the “signs of the times” present in history, and not flee from a commitment to those who suffer and the victims of forms of selfishness.
The Synod recalled that a commitment to justice and to changing our world is an essential element of evangelization. In the words of Pope Paul VI, we must “reach and as it were overturn with the force of the Gospel the standards of judgement, the interests, the thought-patterns, the sources of inspiration and life-styles of humanity that are in contrast with the word of God and with his plan for salvation”.

For this reason, the Synod Fathers wished to say a special word to all those who take part in political and social life. Evangelization and the spread of God’s word ought to inspire their activity in the world, as they work for the true common good in respecting and promoting the dignity of every person. Certainly it is not the direct task of the Church to create a more just society, although she does have the right and duty to intervene on ethical and moral issues related to the good of individuals and peoples. It is primarily the task of the lay faithful, formed in the school of the Gospel, to be directly involved in political and social activity. For this reason, the Synod recommends that they receive a suitable formation in the principles of the Church’s social teaching.

I would like also to call the attention of everyone to the importance of defending and promoting the human rights of every person, based on the natural law written on the human heart, which, as such, are “universal, inviolable and inalienable”. The Church expresses the hope that by the recognition of these rights human dignity will be more effectively acknowledged and universally promoted, inasmuch as it is a distinctive mark imprinted by the Creator on his creatures, taken up and redeemed by Jesus Christ through his incarnation, death and resurrection. The spread of the word of God cannot fail to strengthen the recognition of, and respect for, the human rights of every person.
- Verbum Domini 100

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sirach 24 in the RSV-2CE

So I was reading through Sirach 24 in the RSV-2CE recently and noticed that there are quite a few additions to it, in comparison with the original RSV-CE. As we have noted in some previous posts, the RSV-2CE does choose to side with the Douay-Rheims in a number of instances, against the RSV-CE. Whether that is a good or bad thing is not so much my concern, but rather it is frustrating that the RSV-2CE is lacking important textual notes indicating why a particular verse has been added (or removed). Sirach 24, in many ways, is a perfect example. Here are a few:

Sirach 24:1
Wisdom will praise herself, and will glory in the midst of her people. (RSV-CE)

Wisdom will praise herself and is honored by God, and will glory in the midst of her people. (RSV-2CE)

Wisdom shall praise her own self, and shall be honoured in God, and shall glory in the midst of her people. (DR)

Sirach 24:2
In the assembly of the Most High she will open her mouth, and in the presence of his host she will glory. (RSV-CE)

In the assembly of the Most High she will open her mouth, and in the presence of his host she will glory. In the midst of her people she is exalted; in holy fulness she is admired. In the multitude of the chosen she fins praise, and among the blessed she is blessed. (RSV-2CE)

And shall open her mouth in the churches of the most High, and shall glorify herself in the sight of his power, And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted, and shall be admired in the holy assembly. And in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise, and among the blessed she shall be blessed. (DR v. 2-4)

Sirach 24:3
I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist. (RSV-CE)

I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, the first-born before all creatures. I ordained that an unfailing light should arise in the heavens, and covered the earth like a mist. (RSV-2CE)

I came out of the mouth of the most High, the firstborn before all creatures:
I made that in the heavens there should rise light that never faileth, and as a cloud I covered all the earth.
(DR v. 5-6)

Sirach 24:12
I took root in an honored people, in the portion of the Lord, who is their inheritance. (RSV-CE)

I took root in an honored people, in the portion of the Lord, who is their inheritance, and my abode was in the full assembly of the saints. (RSV-2CE)

And I took root in an honourable people, and in the portion of my God his inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints. (DR 16)

Putting textual criticism issues aside for the moment, why are there no textual notes in the RSV-2CE to indicate these changes? Again, remember, there isn't even a preface to the RSV-2CE which states their philosophy for the 2nd Edition. The one thing that is very clear to me, the more I read the RSV-2CE, is that not only was the editing selective and geared toward lining it up with the Douay-Rheims, but that the description of the revision given by Ignatius as "minor revisions to some of the archaic language used in the first edition" is not telling the whole story. It is more extensive than that, and the only tool we have to seeing the changes does not come from Ignatius Press, but through the RSV Concordance offered by Emmaus Road.

The Kingdom New Testament by NT Wright

You can now view the introduction and some selections from NT Wright's translation of the New Testament here. Those of you who have purchased his For Everybody commentary series are familiar with the translation, but this is the first time it has been gathered into one volume. This hardbound edition comes in a single-column page layout, along with quite a few maps. Not sure at this point if I will be purchasing this volume. How about you?

The Ordinariate and the RSV-2CE Lectionary

Thanks to reader Francesco for pointing out this post from The Anglo-Catholic about the Anglican Ordinariate's use of the RSV-2CE. The post informs us that an AU parish in the US has acquired the entire stock of Ignatius' RSV-2CE Lectionaries and are going to be selling them at a 67% discount off the regular price to incoming Anglicans.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Scott Hahn Commentary on 1&2 Chronicles

The release date for this title, which is being published by Baker Academic, is February 12, 2012. Here is a description of this upcoming title:

Bestselling author and theologian Scott Hahn views the author of Chronicles as the first biblical theologian. Chronicles offers the first attempt to understand and interpret the entire sweep of Old Testament history from the creation of the world to the Israelites' return from exile.

This commentary presents 1-2 Chronicles as a liturgical and theological interpretation of Israel's history. Hahn emphasizes the liturgical structure and content of Chronicles and provides fresh insight on salvation history: past, present, and future. He also shows how Chronicles provides important insights into key New Testament concepts. The book gives professors, students, and pastors a better understanding of Chronicles, salvation history, and theological interpretation of the Old Testament.

Baker also provides a table of contents:

Now the Records Are Ancient: An Introduction to Chronicles

1 Chronicles
1. Chronicle of All Divine History: A Genealogy of Grace in a Time of Exile and Restoration (1 Chr. 1-9)
2. Highly Exalted for the Sake of His People Israel: The Rise of David and His Kingdom (1 Chr. 10-16)
3. His Throne Shall be Established Forever: God's Covenant with King David (1 Chr. 17)
4. God Gives Rest to His People: The Beginnings of the Temple-Kingdom Age (1 Chr. 18-29)

2 Chronicles
5. Liturgy and Empire: Theocracy in the Temple Age (2 Chr. 1-9)
6. In Rebellion Since That Day: After the House of David Is Divided (2 Chr. 10-28)
7. Exile and Return: The Fall and Rise of the Kingdom (2 Chr. 29-36)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bible Study Series: Judah 1-4

“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 3 Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (RSV)

“From Jude, servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James; to those who are called, to those who are dear to God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ, 2 mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. 3 My dear friends, at a time when I was eagerly looking forward to writing to you about the salvation that we all share, I felt that I must write to you encouraging you to fight hard for the faith which has been once and for all entrusted to God's holy people. 4 Certain people have infiltrated among you, who were long ago marked down for condemnation on this account; without any reverence they pervert the grace of our God to debauchery and deny all religion, rejecting our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (NJB)

Verses 1-4 contain the salutary greeting and the occasion for the writing of this letter. The writer of this letter identifies himself as Judah (Jude or Judas). (We discussed in the introductory post about the issue of authorship, so I will direct you here for more info.)

(1-2) It can be tempting to quickly pass through the opening salutations in many of the NT letters, which is a shame since examples like this one prove to be quite beautiful and rich. As the compact Navarre New Testament point out: “In the way he describes his addressees, the writer provides a description what a Christian is: his life starts with a call from God, it develops thanks to the grace of God, and reaches its culmination in Jesus Christ (649).” Indeed, it is a striking description, which should bring great solace to all those who are “kept safe for Christ” no matter if you are living in the first or the twenty-first century. As many early Christian letters offer the reader “grace and peace” this one is more expansive in bestowing “mercy, peace, and love” in abundance to those who are “beloved in God.” We will see this again in the concluding remarks (Perkins 147). Hahn and Mitch suggest that this is an expanded form of the “Jewish greeting of shalom (ICSBNT 485).”

(3-4) The need to be “kept safe” is due to the infiltration of false teachers into the community to which Judah writes. Judah clearly sensed the vulnerability of these Christians against those false teachers, hence his quick transition from the opening greeting to immediately addressing the problem at hand. These false teachers, or intruders, “pervert the grace of our God” through immoral living (debauchery) and by proposing a false understanding of Jesus. (More will be revealed about this in subsequent verses.) That is why Judah encourages them to “contend for the faith”, because as NT Wright suggests: “The very heart of the Christian faith is under direct attack, and unless those who are grasped by the truth of the gospel do their best to maintain it those who are heading in another direction are going to take a lot of people with them (Wright 195).”

Monday, October 24, 2011

HarperOne's NABRE

A possible paperback cover has emerged for HarperOne's upcoming NABRE release, which is set for February 29th/March 6th. While I haven't been able to find any images of the page layout, it does seem that this NABRE will include the cross-references and notes on the same page as the sacred text. This edition will have "durable binding" and include maps, according to the HarperOne site.

Mondays with Verbum Domini

Serving Jesus in “the least of his brethren” (Mt 25:40)

The word of God sheds light on human existence and stirs our conscience to take a deeper look at our lives, inasmuch as all human history stands under God’s judgment: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations” (Mt 25:31-32). Nowadays we tend to halt in a superficial way before the importance of the passing moment, as if it had nothing to do with the future. The Gospel, on the other hand, reminds us that every moment of our life is important and must be lived intensely, in the knowledge that everyone will have to give an account of his or her life. In the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, the Son of Man considers whatever we do or do not do to “the least of his brethren” (cf. 25:40, 45) as done or not done to himself: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (25:35-36). The word of God itself emphasizes the need for our engagement in the world and our responsibility before Christ, the Lord of history. As we proclaim the Gospel, let us encourage one another to do good and to commit ourselves to justice, reconciliation and peace. -Verbum Domini 99

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beginning the Letter of Judah

The Letter of Jude is a short, but fascinating writing of the New Testament. Much like the equally short Letter to Philemon by Paul, there can be a tendency to fly through these letters without stopping to appreciate the importance of the message. (Hopefully we will be able to do so with this ongoing study.) This letter provides us a small insight into Judah’s fierce reaction to false teachers and bad morality. In many ways, this letter shows that the early Church had real issues it needed to deal with, some of them not unlike ones we deal with today. A couple of further points to consider before we proceed:

In Greek, the writer calls himself Ioudas. For various reasons, most likely do to connection to Judas Iscariot, many translations have preferred to translate the name as Jude. Along with Jude or Judas, it is also possible to refer to this writer as Judah. N.T. Wright prefers to call him Judah, since that name is both “royal and ancient.” I will use them interchangeably during this study, although I tend to prefer Judah. It should be noted that there are a number of people with the same name mentioned in the New Testament, including Judas Iscariot, Judas Barsabbas (Acts 15:22), the Apostle Judas the Son of James (Lk 6:16) sometimes called Thaddeus (Mk 3:18), and another Judas, a kinsman of Jesus and brother to James (Mt 13:55/Mark 6:3). Since the latter Judas is the only one mentioned to have a brother named James, which our letter writer refers to in the opening verse, most scholars tend to believe that this is the Judas who wrote the epistle.

As with many books in the New Testament, it is difficult to give a precise date of composition. Some commentaries date it as early as the 50’s while others think it was composed at the beginning of the second century. The letter is not addressed to any particular person or community, and the opponents to which Jude describes cannot be pinpointed precisely. Many scholars are uncertain as to whether he is arguing against Jews, Jewish-Christians, or Gnostics. Also, there is the issue of the literary connection between Jude and 2 Peter. The possibility that one drew information from another is likely, but did Jude borrow from 2 Peter or vice-versa?

Jude 1-4
Jude 5-16
Jude 17-25

Resources that I will be utilizing:
Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament
The Navarre Bible New Testament Compact Edition
The Early Christian Letters for Everyone (NT Wright)
Interpretation: First and Second Peter, James, and Jude (Perkins)
New Oxford Annotated Bible 4th Edition

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If News Existed in 1200 BC

A funny video that rightfully mocks, among other things, the current state of the media.

(Thanks to Mark Shea for posting.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

New NABRE Questions

Back in early 2010 Mary Sperry, Associate Director for the Utilization of the NAB at the USCCB, answered questions from readers of this blog regarding the upcoming publication of the NABRE. It turned out to be a great opportunity to gain some insight into what could be expected with the NABRE. Recently, Mary has agreed to field some additional questions from you, my wonderful readers. This is in many ways an opportune time, since we have been able to read and assess the NABRE for a little over 6 months now.

So, over the next couple of days, please use the comment box to ask any question you would like in regards to the NABRE. Please do not address any questions in regards to NABRE editions, since the USCCB does not publish the NABRE. And, of course, please make sure that all questions are charitable in tone. (If charity is lacking in your comment, I will not be charitable in moderating it.)

The deadline for submitting questions is Friday.

B16 Announces 2012-2013 as "Year of Faith"

Mondays with Verbum Domini

I believe that this is a very important section in the document. I have bolded some parts which I think are particularly noteworthy.

The word of God and Christian witness

The immense horizons of the Church’s mission and the complexity of today’s situation call for new ways of effectively communicating the word of God. The Holy Spirit, the protagonist of all evangelization, will never fail to guide Christ’s Church in this activity. Yet it is important that every form of proclamation keep in mind, first of all, the intrinsic relationship between the communication of God’s word and Christian witness. The very credibility of our proclamation depends on this. On the one hand, the word must communicate every-thing that the Lord himself has told us. On the other hand, it is indispensable, through witness, to make this word credible, lest it appear merely as a beautiful philosophy or utopia, rather than a reality that can be lived and itself give life. This reciprocity between word and witness reflects the way in which God himself communicated through the incarnation of his Word. The word of God reaches men and women “through an encounter with witnesses who make it present and alive”. In a particular way, young people need to be introduced to the word of God “through encounter and authentic witness by adults, through the positive influence of friends and the great company of the ecclesial community”.

There is a close relationship between the testimony of Scripture, as the self-attestation of God’s word, and the witness given by the lives of believers. One implies and leads to the other. Christian witness communicates the word attested in the Scriptures. For their part, the Scriptures explain the witness which Christians are called to give by their lives. Those who encounter credible witnesses of the Gospel thus come to realize how effective God’s word can be in those who receive it.

In this interplay between witness and word we can understand what Pope Paul VI stated in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi. Our responsibility is not limited to suggesting shared values to the world; rather, we need to arrive at an explicit proclamation of the word of God. Only in this way will we be faithful to Christ’s mandate: “The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization unless the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are proclaimed”.

The fact that the proclamation of the word of God calls for the testimony of one’s life is a datum clearly present in the Christian consciousness from the beginning. Christ himself is the faithful and true witness (cf. Acts 1:5; 3:14), it is he who testifies to the Truth (cf. Jn 18:37). Here I would like to echo the countless testimonials which we had the grace of hearing during the synodal assembly. We were profoundly moved to hear the stories of those who lived their faith and bore outstanding witness to the Gospel even under regimes hostile to Christianity or in situations of persecution.

None of this should cause us fear. Jesus himself said to his disciples: “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20). For this reason I would like, with the whole Church, to lift up to God a hymn of praise for the witness of our many faithful brothers and sisters who, even in our day, have given their lives to communicate the truth of God’s love revealed to us in the crucified and risen Christ. I also express the whole Church’s gratitude for those Christians who have not yielded in the face of obstacles and even persecutions for the sake of the Gospel. We likewise embrace with deep fraternal affection the faithful of all those Christian communities, particularly in Asia and in Africa, who presently risk their life or social segregation because of their faith. Here we encounter the true spirit of the Gospel, which proclaims blessed those who are persecuted on account of the Lord Jesus (cf. Mt 5:11). In so doing, we once more call upon the governments of nations to guarantee everyone freedom of conscience and religion, as well as the ability to express their faith publicly.
-Verbum Domini 97

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pope Benedict on Psalm 126

From Wednesday's Audience:

Psalm 126

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to Psalm 126. This Psalm is a joyful prayer of thanksgiving for God’s fidelity to his promises in bringing about Israel’s return from the Babylonian Exile: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced” (v. 3). A similar spirit of joy and thanksgiving should mark our own prayer as we recall the care which God has shown to us in the events of our lives, even those which seem dark and bitter. The Psalmist implores God to continue to grant Israel his saving help: “May those who sow in tears, reap with shouts of joy” (v. 5). This imagery of the seed which silently grows to maturity reminds us that God’s salvation is at once a gift already received and the object of our hope, a promise whose fulfilment remains in the future. Jesus will use this same imagery to express the passage from death to life, from darkness to light, which must take place in the lives of all who put their faith in him and share in his paschal mystery (cf. Jn 12:24). As we pray this Psalm, may we echo the song of the Virgin Mary by rejoicing in the great things which the Almighty has done for us (cf. Lk 1:49) and by awaiting in hope the fulfilment of God’s promises.

Via The Holy See Website

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An Apologetics Question

As many of you know, I teach theology at a Catholic high school. Last year I received approval to teach an apologetics class to our graduating seniors. I am happy to say that I have had a great response for the class and will be teaching two section of Catholic Apologetics this coming Spring. So, I just wanted to throw out a question to you: What apologetics materials do you like and which ones do you think would be good for a class of high school seniors? We will be discussing topics such as the meaning and history of Catholic apologetics, the existence of God, and the standard hot button issues that divide Catholics and Protestants.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bible Study Series Update

First off, thank you for all the comments and ideas. I have certainly read them and considered each of them as I begin this new regular series. I think one of the more helpful suggestions was that we should begin with a shorter book of the Bible. I agree 100%. In addition, I think it might be interesting if we were to examine some of the lesser known or referenced books of the Bible to start with. (I am sure we will at some point turn to the Gospels or Genesis or Romans in the future.)

There are, of course, many ways in which I could go about leading these studies. Should it be more historical? Pastoral? Theological? Spiritual? I think that any decent Catholic Bible study should encompass all those things in some way, particularly in light of Dei Verbum and paragraphs 105-119 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Ultimately, my main goal is to provide a space where we can examine particular passages of Scripture from a Catholic perspective.

The plan, then, is that I will divide up each Biblical book we will study into more manageable pieces. For each "piece" discussed, I will provide the text, from at least one English translation, along with some insights I have gathered from a variety of sources. (I will list the sources that I use for each post.) This is not meant to be the only word on that piece of Scripture, so I encourage all of you to contribute insights you have found. These insights can be historical, pastoral, theological, translational, and spiritual. My hope is that our discussions on each passage could last a couple of days, with around two studies posted per week. (Perhaps I am being ambitious?)

So what are we going to study first? Well, in light of the release of NT Wright's The Early Christian Letters for Everyone, we will begin with the Letter of Judah (Jude). While it is a very short letter, there is a lot in those 25 verses that can be applicable to today. I will likely break the letter up into three sections starting next week. We'll get started early next week with an intro post on some of the issues related to the letter we are studying. I hope you will consider joining me in this new series.

Monday, October 10, 2011

NOAB RSV Changes?

This news from reader Jonny:

I ordered The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha (RSV) in genuine leather a few months ago, and have been very pleased with its overall quality and usefulness as a study tool. I was so impressed, in fact, that I ordered two more for relatives as a Christmas gift! I was very pleasantly surprised to see when I received these, that Oxford University Press has completely overhauled and improved the quality of construction of the book!

Yes, my first copy was probably the best quality and my overall favorite Bible to use for personal study, but it had a couple of small quirks that I did not really mind. It was in genuine leather, but it was kind of a stiff, leather wallet looking leather that bent inside with the spine when the book was opened. Also, there were small creases near the top inside corners at some places throughout.

The newer edition is just beautiful. It is still has the sewn binding, but it is bound in a softer, more textured genuine leather that does not bend inside the spine when opened. Also, it is slightly smaller. In addition to being an eighth of an inch shorter it is actually a half inch thinner (just a bit shy of 1 1/2/”)! And the amazing thing is that that the pages look more opaque than the previous edition.

I ordered these both times from Amazon and got them delivered with free shipping. I have found that usually the new products that are shipped by Amazon are the most current edition, so I think this change must be very recent. I did not think that I would ever see a Catholic-approved Bible (minus the “expanded” Apocrypha books included in this edition) that would rival the overall quality of the Cambridge KJV that I own, but I think Oxford has done it now.

I wonder if the leather cover is the same as the one use for the NOAB 4th edition?

Mondays with Verbum Domini

Proclamation and the new evangelization

Pope John Paul II, taking up the prophetic words of Pope Paul VI in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, had in a variety of ways reminded the faithful of the need for a new missionary season for the entire people of God. At the dawn of the third millennium not only are there still many peoples who have not come to know the Good News, but also a great many Christians who need to have the word of God once more persuasively proclaimed to them, so that they can concretely experience the power of the Gospel. Many of our brothers and sisters are “baptized, but insufficiently evangelized”. In a number of cases, nations once rich in faith and in vocations are losing their identity under the influence of a secularized culture. The need for a new evangelization, so deeply felt by my venerable Predecessor, must be valiantly reaffirmed, in the certainty that God’s word is effective. The Church, sure of her Lord’s fidelity, never tires of proclaiming the good news of the Gospel and invites all Christians to discover anew the attraction of following Christ. -Verbum Domini 96

Friday, October 7, 2011

Upcoming Catholic Bible Releases

A few times a year I like to do a post focusing on the upcoming Bible releases in the various Catholic translations. With the rush of new editions over the past year or so, due to the publication of the NABRE and the releases from Saint Benedict Press and HarperOne, I think we are entering a bit of a slow period. So, below is what I have found concerning the Big Three (RSV, NRSV, and NABRE) doing my own internet searching, along with information I have gathered through corresponding with a few publishers:

RSV (First and Second Editions)
From what I have been able to gather, there are no new publications scheduled in any Catholic edition of the RSV. A contact with Ignatius stated that they are looking into a large-print edition of the RSV-2CE, but no plans have been set as of yet. The only other RSV-related material that is set to be released is the ICSB Exodus volume which is due sometime early next year. I still believe that the definitive edition of the RSV-CE (or RSV-2CE) has yet to be produced. Perhaps that edition only exists in my mind, but you never know what might happen in the next few years. We'll just have to wait and see.

While HarperOne has released the NRSV-CE in numerous creative editions over the past few years, there are currently no new editions of the NRSV set for publications. I should point out that a contact at HarperOne has made it known that they will be releasing a NRSV with cross-references at some point in the near future. It is uncertain whether or not this cross-reference edition will come in a specifically Catholic version.

This month, Oxford University Press will publish the Catholic Bible Personal Study Edition (NABRE). The problems and inconsistencies relating to Oxford's Catholic Study Bible (NABRE) are supposedly resolved in this edition, which comes in hardcover, paperback, and bonded leather. (Publication date on a corrected CSB NABRE has not been released.)

HarperOne will begin publishing the NABRE in early 2012. While details are scarce as to what this edition will include, it will come in a black and white imitation leather and paperback edition. This edition is due at the end of February 2012.

Also, one of my contacts has mentioned to me that there are a few prominent publishers that may soon begin producing more high-quality editions of the NABRE. Some of the possibilities are quite exciting, but we will see what happens.

Am I missing anything?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bible Study Series

Now that the first month of class is over at the high school, and I am finally settling into a fairly consistent daily routine, I want to propose a new series of posts to you. I have contemplated doing an informal online Bible study on this blog for some time, but I want to make sure there are people who are committed to doing the reading along with me as well as making comments. What I am thinking about is that this study would consist in roughly two posts a week on the designated Biblical book. I would divide up whatever book we would study and provide some initial thoughts on each section in hopes of spurring on a discussion in the comment box. I am open to any suggestions on alternative ways of doing this, so let me know. If this interests you, please "RSVP" in the comment box along with your vote as to which Biblical book we should study first. Let's give this a go!

New CCSS Volumes Out Next Month

Next month, Baker Academic, a Protestant publishing house, will release two more volumes in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series. The two volumes are Fr. George T. Montague's First Corinthians and Daniel Keating's First and Second Peter, Jude. Each volume is keyed to the NABRE, but does make note of significant differences found in the RSV, NRSV, JB, and NJB.

Pope Benedict on Psalm 23

From the October 5th audience:

Psalm 23

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Continuing our catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”. With its exquisite pastoral imagery this much-beloved Psalm speaks of the radical trust in God’s loving care which is an essential aspect of prayer. The Psalmist begins by presenting God as a good shepherd who guides him to green pastures, standing at his side and protecting him from every danger. “He leads me beside still waters; he refreshes my soul” (vv. 2-3). The scene then passes to the shepherd’s tent, where the Lord welcomes him as a guest, gracing him with the gifts of food, oil and wine. “You prepare a table before me … you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (v. 5). God’s protection continues to accompany the Psalmist with goodness and mercy along his way, a way which leads to length of days in the Lord’s Temple (v. 6). The powerful image of God as the Shepherd of Israel accompanied the whole religious history of the Chosen People, from the Exodus to the return to the Promised Land. It finds its ultimate expression and fulfilment in the coming of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for his sheep, preparing for us the table of his Body and Blood as a foretaste of the definitive messianic banquet which awaits us in heaven.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Look into the Process of Translation (ESV-style)

Just getting back from two senior retreats at the high school, thus the small amount of blog content over the past week. As I get back into the daily routine, I thought I would post this Youtube video which examines a particular translation decision that the ESV Committee had to decide in regards to the word "slave". The debate about how to translate "slave" in this instance is fascinating, but more importantly this clip gives you a quite a bit of insight into the world of Bible translations. (Thanks to Louis at Baker Book House Blog for posting.)

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The necessity of the “missio ad gentes”

In calling upon all the faithful to proclaim God’s word, the Synod Fathers restated the need in our day too for a decisive commitment to the missio ad gentes. In no way can the Church restrict her pastoral work to the “ordinary maintenance” of those who already know the Gospel of Christ. Missionary outreach is a clear sign of the maturity of an ecclesial community. The Fathers also insisted that the word of God is the saving truth which men and women in every age need to hear. For this reason, it must be explicitly proclaimed. The Church must go out to meet each person in the strength of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 2:5) and continue her prophetic defence of people’s right and freedom to hear the word of God, while constantly seeking out the most effective ways of proclaiming that word, even at the risk of persecution. The Church feels duty-bound to proclaim to every man and woman the word that saves (cf. Rom 1:14). -Verbum Domini 95