Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Clarification from Logos on Their Catechism Software

Thanks to Alex from Logos for answering these questions:

I'm sure at this point many of you have seen Timothy's post about the Catechism Collection at the Logos Catholic site, but if you haven't seen it and were concerned about cost, this is our attempt to produce an affordable, but still functional, collection.  Check it out and check out our blog video detailing how to optimize your experience with said Collection.

In regards to the question from John: the hyper text capability works with every resource you own. Thus if you only own the Catechism, internal cross references will work, but the footnotes will have nowhere from which to draw the original text.  The key thing to note is this means you can buy each resource as you are able and they will link to each other as they are added to your library (however, you will end up paying significantly more for the individual texts). The Catechism Collection is certainly worth the $50 (Individually, the contained resources are worth $130+)In regards to a question from Mike: the public domain text files cannot truly compare to the tagged versions that we produce. Additionally, the time and effort spent creating the Logos versions and tagging them so they interact with other texts and work in our software, support notes, word tools, etc. cannot be achieved for free. While it seems difficult to justify at first, once you experience it, it makes a lot more sense. If you simply want to read a free text document or pdf, free is great. If you want the features and connectivity of Logos. The tools and tagging are unparalleled and well worth the initially shocking price point.

Please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Alex Renn
Catholic Marketing Specialist
Logos Bible Software

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beautiful Premium Bibles That Will Never Come in a Catholic Edition

J. Mark Bertrand is author of the premier website concerning the issue of Bible design, premium leather covers, and quality binding. Whenever I go to his site, I tend to learn something new about the differences between quality and mass-produced Bible editions. I find the vast majority of his posts fascinating, particular for someone like myself, who loves the feel and smell of older Bibles, as well as some of the newer ones too. Lately, he has been including videos in his reviews, the most recent being the Allan Brevier Clarendon KJV. It is worth checking out, along with his older posts.

Be prepared, however, to be disappointed if you are looking for any premium Catholic Bibles on the site. There are just simply none available, in English, for those of us who are looking for one in a specifically Catholic edition. I am not sure if this will change any time soon? It seems to me that the only possibility would be with the NRSV or NABRE translations.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mondays with the New Psalms: Psalm 128

Psalm 128

1 A song of ascents.

Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
and who walk in his ways.
2 What your hands provide you will enjoy;
you will be blessed and prosper:

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your home,
Your children like young olive plants
around your table.
4 Just so will the man be blessed
who fears the LORD.

5 May the LORD bless you from Zion;
may you see Jerusalem’s prosperity
all the days of your life,
6 and live to see your children’s children.
Peace upon Israel!

1 A Song of Ascents.

Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
and walk in his ways!
2 By the labor of your hands you shall eat.
You will be blessed and prosper.

3 Your wife like a fruitful vine
in the heart of your house;
your children like shoots of the olive
around your table.
4 Indeed thus shall be blessed
the man who fears the LORD.

5 May the LORD bless you from Sion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper
all the days of your life!
6 May you see your children's children.
On Israel, peace!
-Revised Grail Psalms

NABRE Notes:
[Psalm 128] A statement that the ever-reliable God will bless the reverent (Ps 128:1). God’s blessing is concrete: satisfaction and prosperity, a fertile spouse and abundant children (Ps 128:2–4). The perspective is that of the adult male, ordinarily the ruler and representative of the household to the community. The last verses extend the blessing to all the people for generations to come (Ps 128:5–6).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

More Great News from Logos Bible Software

As you know, Logos Bible Software has been producing some fantastic scriptural and theological resources for Catholics. I recently received a copy of their Catholic Scripture Study Library, which is an amazing resource. I will be posting about it in the coming weeks, once school is out at the high school where I teach. As part of their continued push into the Catholic market, Logos will be offering collections from Pope Benedict, Scott Hahn, the Navarre Bible Commentary, as well as the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture in the coming weeks.   All of these great resources, when purchased, are seamlessly integrated into the Logos Bible software program. In addition, they are having a giveaway, where you can have a chance to win the entire Catholic Scholars Library.

Also, make sure to check out their new blog, Verbum.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Spot Check: Acts 2:1-4

This weekend we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost and get to hear, in the first reading, from Acts 2. So, below you will find four different English Bible translations of Acts 2:1-4. The translations are the NABRE, NRSV, RSV, and NJB. Which one is which? Which one do you like best and why? Try not to cheat!

"When the day of Pentecost had come,
they were all together in one place.
And suddenly a sound came from heaven
like the rush of a mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
distributed and resting on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance."

"When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky a noise
like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim."

"When Pentecost day came round,
they had all met together,
when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind
which filled the entire house in which they were sitting;
and there appeared to them tongues as of fire;
these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them.
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak different languages
as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves."

"When the day of Pentecost had come,
they were all together in one place.
And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind,
and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them,
and a tongue rested on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other languages,
as the Spirit gave them ability."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

3 Things I Would Change in the NABRE

As I stated back in January, this year I am devoting the majority of my devotional and study of the Bible with the newly revised NABRE.  So far, it has been going very well.  I have enjoyed my reading of the NABRE and have been impressed by many of the improvements found in the OT.  My reading of the NABRE has been enhanced recently with the publication of the HarperOne NABRE, which I think is fantastic.  If you are looking for an NABRE readers edition, this one should be at the top of your wish list.

As I have mentioned on this blog before, one cannot truly appreciate the positive and negative features of a translation until one actually commits himself to reading large portions of it.  It has been immensely helpful, therefore, to spend this time observing how particular words are translated from book to book in the NABRE, as well as how the translators worked on larger portions of narrative and/or poetic writings.  This has given me a greater insight into what the translators tried to accomplish with this revision.  The publication of the textual notes to the NABRE will also be very helpful.  Hopefully this will occur at some point this year.

With that being said, I have been thinking about three simple, and quick, ways in which the NABRE could be improved.  This is, of course, just my perception as to what would make the NABRE better.  The three are not meant to be comprehensive, nor drastic in scope, but rather fairly simple "editing" that could be done in a future edition without much effort or expense.  (The quality of the notes is not a major point of this post.)

Here are the three:

1) In Luke 1:28, return to the traditional translation of Kecharitomene  as "full of grace".  A number of the modern Catholic and Ecumenical translations (JB, NJB, RSV, NRSV) all go with something close to the "hail favored one" of the NAB.  The only ones, since since the 1960's, that have the traditional rendering are the RSV-CE, RSV-2CE, and the CCB.  Now one could certainly make an argument that the current NAB rendering is not wrong, which I agree with.  However, the translation of "full of grace" is proper and preferred IMHO.  I am also convinced that the NABRE would win over a number of converts by simply making this change.  (See this article by Msgr. Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington to see what I mean.)  The Lectionary, which uses an adapted NAB, already has made the change.  The way it is now, the current NABRE rendering not only is different than what is heard at Mass, but it also differs from one of the most popular prayers in all of Catholicism: The Hail Mary.  Of course, devotion to Our Lady is important to me personally, but I think this change would be appreciated by a number of others. 

 2) Get rid of the Netherworld!  Not literally of course, like limbo, but the way in which the Greek term hades is translated in Matthew 16:18 and elsewhere in the NT.  Translate the term more precisely and consistently as "Hades", as found in the NRSV and RSV-2CE.  I have never liked the term "the netherworld" and would prefer to see hades translated more consistently as such.  For example, the NAB does translate it "Hades" in the three instances it is found in the Book of Revelation (6:8, 20:13, 20:14).  In addition, the new NABRE translation of Tobit, which uses the Greek Sinaiticus as its textual base, also translated it as "Hades" in Tobit 4:19.  Having two different English terms translate the same place in Greek differently can be confusing to some people.

3) This last one is calling for a bit more consistency between the OT and NT.  First off, as mentioned in previous posts, there are notes in the NT which indicate the way the original NAB OT translates a particular term that does not match up with the revised NABRE OT.  An example of this is found in the note for Matthew 5:3.  There are a few of these scattered throughout the NT, which really should be updated.  Also, there are some additional inconsistencies, like donkey/ass, abandoned/forsaken (Psalm 22), and the use of "body" instead of "flesh" as found in Genesis 2:24 that could be fixed.  That last one, in particular, always bugs me when I read the text Genesis 2:28, but even more so when I look at the note for that verse in Genesis and more specifically in Matthew 19:4-6 , which actually states that "the NAB translation of the Hebrew basar of Gen. 2:24 as "body" rather than "flesh" obscures the reference of Matthew to that text."  That should have been fixed in the updated NABRE OT.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday with the New Psalms: Psalm 127

1 A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the LORD build the house,
they labor in vain who build.
Unless the LORD guard the city,
in vain does the guard keep watch.

2 It is vain for you to rise early
and put off your rest at night,
To eat bread earned by hard toil—
all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.

3 Certainly sons are a gift from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb, a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons born in one’s youth.

5 Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
He will never be shamed
for he will destroy his foes at the gate.

1 A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

If the LORD does not build the house,
in vain do its builders labor;
if the LORD does not guard the city,
in vain does the guard keep watch.

2 In vain is your earlier rising,
your going later to rest,
you who toil for the bread you eat,
when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber.

3 Yes, children are a gift from the LORD,
a blessing, the fruit of the womb.
4 Indeed, the sons of youth
are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.

5 Blessed is the warrior
who has filled his quiver with these arrows!
He will have no cause for shame,
when he disputes with his foes in the gateways.
--Revised Grail Psalms

NABRE Notes:
[Psalm 127] The Psalm puts together two proverbs (Ps 127:1–2, 3–5) on God establishing “houses” or families. The prosperity of human groups is not the work of human beings but the gift of God.

[127:5] At the gate: the reference is not to enemies besieging the walls of a city but to adversaries in litigation. Law courts functioned in the open area near the main city gate. The more adult sons a man had, the more forceful he would appear in disputes, cf. Prv 31:23.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dr. Peter Williamson on Ephesians for Ascension

Most of us will celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord this Sunday, instead of on its proper, biblical date of forty days after the Resurection, which was yesterday.  In any case, the second reading we will hear has a number of options, most notably from St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians.  Dr. Peter Williamson, professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and editor of the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, offers the following reflection on Ephesians 4:9-10:

What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended . . . ? What is Paul’s logic? Paul is interpreting Ps 68:19, which addresses God, saying, “You went up.” He makes the logical inference that to speak of God ascending implies that he had previously descended, since God’s dwelling is in heaven, above everything else. The Old Testament sometimes describes God’s intervention in human affairs as his coming down or descending (e.g., Gen 18:21; Exod 3:8).

Paul understands Ps 68 to be speaking of Christ. After all, it begins, “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered” (RSV). When did God arise and scatter his enemies? At the resurrection of the Messiah, of course! And Paul tells us to where the Messiah descended: he went down into the lower [regions] of the earth. There are various interpretations of this descent. Most likely it refers either to Christ’s incarnation, when he emptied himself of heavenly glory (Phil 2:7) and came down among us (John 3:13), or to his burial in the earth. Alternatively, it could refer to Christ’s descent into the realms of the dead upon his death, where he preached “to the spirits in prison” (1 Pet 3:18–22).

In any case, the one who descended is the same person who has now ascended far above all the heavens, namely, Christ. As in Phil 2:6–11, Paul marvels that the one who came so far down has now been raised so high up. God had a purpose for this: that he might fill all things. Here, as in 1:23, “fill” means to exercise divine authority everywhere (echoing Jer 23:24) so that the Messiah might be Lord over all.

This reflection, as well as others, can be found on the CCSS blog.  And yes, consider purchasing the CCSS commentaries! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Healing Catholic “Bible Envy"

The following article by Mickey Maudlin, HarperOne Senior V.P./Executive Editor, is found on the HarperOne website in their News and Pews section.  The title is great and the article is certainly worth your time.  I will include some comments within the article, which will be in red, in imitation of Fr. Z:

When HarperOne contracted with the National Council of Churches to manage the licensing of the NRSV in 2006, one of the happy surprises for us was the openness the Catholic market had to new Bibles designed for them. (I have been told by various sources that the NRSV Catholic Editions have sold quite well.) Catholic consumers spoke of “Bible envy” when they saw all the colors, features, bells, and whistles on their evangelical neighbors’ Bibles. Many said they wanted “cool” Bibles as well. (Like Me!)

So we accommodated these requests, offering a variety of colors, bindings, sizes, and styles, including single-column (called the NRSV Standard), large print (XL), thinline (Go-Anywhere) (Yay! Thinlines), compact, and even Bibles for teens (Live) and families (Catholic Faith and Family). While these NRSV Bibles found good homes and did well, we kept getting the same request: please do a beautiful edition of the main translation Catholic parishes and schools use, the New American Bible.  (Wow, a publisher who actually listens to consumer requests.  Ignatius are you listening?)

Once again we decided it was wise to listen to our audience and say yes to them whenever we can. Last month, we released a new hardcover of the NAB revised edition with a beautiful two-color text setting (subtitles and bottom of the page note references in red) to be followed by a black, imitation leather edition later this month. I have to admit, they are stunning and should assuage any Catholic still suffering from Bible envy.  (The hardcover edition is a joy to read, minus the thin Bible paper.  I am looking forward to receiving the imitation leather in the coming weeks as well.)

But what was most fun for this Protestant editor was discovering so many delightful surprises in the NAB. The translation was done by an elite group of Bible scholars and overseen by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. If one judged by stereotypes and caricatures, one would think such an approval process would encourage a conservative and narrow rendering of the text, but I found just the opposite to be true. In fact, from the evidence of the translation, it would be easy to make the case that the Catholic community and hierarchy are one of the most open Christian communities to the findings of scholarship and science, producing a wonderfully accurate and pleasing translation with a surplus of extra features to help anyone read and understand their scriptures. 

One of the historic charges against the Catholic church was that it discouraged the laity from reading the Bible for themselves (a perception which the church since Vatican II has vigorously reversed—hence our success with Catholic Bibles). One might see this old prejudice at work in the decision to include multitudinous notes and long introductions to each book of the Bible so that it is almost impossible to find an NAB Bible without these trappings of a complete study Bible. (Indeed, it is impossible!) Yet as someone from the evangelical community who has been immersed in the world of study Bibles, I have to say that I think these extrabiblical helps are among the best on the market. They combine mature and wise interaction with scholarly issues with a sensitivity to pastoral and ecclesiological concerns—which is a rare feat.

But what I found the most refreshing, by far, was the mature nondefensiveness about what would constitute controversial issues for most Protestant Bibles. For instance, in the introduction to the Pentateuch (the first five books of Moses), Moses’s authorship is questioned and the document hypothesis for explaining the different sources for these works is described and integrated into the notes and introductions. In the explanations for Genesis 1-11, they explain how the creation and flood stories were borrowed from other Mesopotamian groups and adapted by the “writers” of Genesis and should be considered “neither history nor myth.” They later explain how there were at least three Isaiahs and that Paul may or may not have written the Pastoral letters. All this without any hint that these conclusions undermine the Bible’s authority or teachings or could be described as “liberal” or “skeptical” in any way (remember who owns and manages the translation: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops!).  (Fascinating insight coming from someone in the evangelical community.  Does this change our view of the NABRE notes?  We often spend way too much time, IMHO, debating the notes as opposed to the translation itself.)

So who has Bible envy now? My advice to my Protestant friends, don’t let tribal markers keep you from enjoying a wonderful new biblical resource. Take up and read the NAB.

The Ascension of the Lord

And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.  And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.
-Mark 16:15-20

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weigel on Bible Babel

George Weigel is well-known in Catholic circles, most notably for his magisterial biography on the life of Blessed John Paul II, Witness to Hope.  He is the Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington DC and is a frequent speaker and commentator on NBC News.  Recently, he wrote a column for the Denver Catholic Register, which can be read via Crisis Magazine.    The article is a mixed bag, some of which I agree while other parts I do not.  Mr. Weigel relies on an earlier essay by Baylor University's David Lyle Jeffrey entitled "Our Babel of Bibles" which can be read here from the March/April edition of Touchstone.   Give time to both articles!  I will just be focusing, in this post, on the Weigel piece. 

Weigel's argument consists of decrying the lack of Biblical literacy among Catholics since Vatican II, even though this was one of the Council's main objectives.  At first, the main reason for this, he argues, is the promotion of the historical-critical method in both the parish and the academy.  As he says, "the historical-critical method of biblical study has taught two generations of Catholics that the Bible is too complicated for ordinary people to understand."  I tend to agree that for many years since the 60's too much emphasis, particularly by pastors, has been focused only on the historical-critical analysis of the text, to the neglect of principles of interpretation as set forth in CCC 112-114.  Yet, it must be pointed out that, as Pope Benedict wrote in the preface to Jesus of Nazareth, the historical-critical method is an "indispensable tool" for studying the Bible.  Without a doubt, there have been excesses in how the historical-critical method has been utilized, as the Pope has mentioned on numerous occasion.  However, it remains an important tool for scripture study, even with its limitations.  The Church supports its use and the historical-critical method will not be going away any time soon.

Next up on Weigel's list is the New American Bible, which he refers to as "the pedestrian translation to which U.S. Catholic are subjected in the liturgy."  For a moment, I though I was reading an article by the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.  We have had plenty of discussions about the NAB/NABRE on this blog, so I am not going to rehash my views about it.  As I mentioned last year, I think the NABRE is a considerable improvement over the previous edition which allows it to stack up well against the RSV-CE in many ways.  I wonder if he is even aware of the recent NABRE update, particularly with the improvements to the Psalter?

For the remainder of the article, Weigel follows very closely to Jeffrey's essay.  He points out, and rightly so in my opinion, the proliferation of "niche" Bibles that are being published each year, like HarperOne's Green Bible or the Woman Thou Art Loosed edition.  I might also point out the CS Lewis Bible, the American Patriot's Bible, or Joel Osteen's Hope for Today Bible.   While I would agree that these are not necessary and my even be self-serving or simply money-making ventures, how am I to respond to some similar Catholic Bibles like the upcoming Saints Devotional Bible, the New Catholic Answers Bible, or even the CSSI Study Bible RSV-CE?  There are certainly extremes, like the American Patriot's Bible, but is having various "niche" Bibles that focus on the Church Fathers or the Saints or Apologetics a bad thing?  What about Youth Bibles? 

Weigel, then, takes aim at the lack of traditional language found in many modern Bibles, most notably the Common English Bible.  However, his complaint against the translation philosophy of the CEB, which avoids traditional terminology and classical English sentence structure as found in the KJV (or RSV), is actually represented in the NABRE, which he had previously panned earlier in the article.  Just take a look at his example of Psalm 122:1 in the NABRE and the sacral vocabulary he promotes, both of which are typically found in the NABRE.  Now, I am not saying the NABRE is identical to the RSV in this, but it is much closer to the RSV than the CEB.

Finally, Weigel concludes by writing: "My suggestion is to get yourself the Ignatius Press edition of the Revised Standard Version, and read it over and over again until its language works its way into the crevices of your mind and the texture of your prayer.  Maybe, some day, we can hear that translation at Mass."  A couple of thoughts immediately pop into my mind.  First, yes!  We need to read good versions of the Scriptures over and over again, so, I completely agree with him there.  However, is the RSV-CE the only acceptable version for Catholics?  Second, is Weigel aware of the RSV-2CE?  Third, does sacral language mean using archaic English? Fourth, what are the benefits of memorizing the Holy Scriptures from a translation which will never likely be heard at a majority of English-speaking Catholic Masses?  Remember, the NAB is not likely to change in the USA anytime soon, the NRSV is approved in Canada, and the ESV is being prepared for many of the remaining English-speaking countries. 

Your thoughts?

HT: Reader Tim

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mondays with the New Psalms: Psalm 126

Psalm 126

1 A song of ascents.

When the LORD restored the captives of Zion,
we thought we were dreaming.
2 Then our mouths were filled with laughter;
our tongues sang for joy.

Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD had done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us;
Oh, how happy we were!

4 Restore our captives, LORD,
like the dry stream beds of the Negeb.
5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with cries of joy.

6 Those who go forth weeping,
carrying sacks of seed,
Will return with cries of joy,
carrying their bundled sheaves.

1 A Song of Ascents.

When the LORD brought back the exiles of Sion,
we thought we were dreaming.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter;
on our tongues, songs of joy.

Then the nations themselves said, "What great deeds
the LORD worked for them!"
3 What great deeds the LORD worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad.

4 Bring back our exiles, O LORD,
as streams in the south.
5 Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

6 They go out, they go out, full of tears,
bearing seed for the sowing;
they come back, they come back with a song,
bearing their sheaves.
--Revised Grail Psalms

NABRE Notes;
[Psalm 126] A lament probably sung shortly after Israel’s return from exile. The people rejoice that they are in Zion (Ps 126:1–3) but mere presence in the holy city is not enough; they must pray for the prosperity and the fertility of the land (Ps 126:4). The last verses are probably an oracle of promise: the painful work of sowing will be crowned with life (Ps 126:5–6).

[126:4] Like the dry stream beds of the Negeb: the psalmist prays for rain in such abundance that the dry riverbeds will run.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coming Soon: OSV Saints Devotional Bible NABRE

Below are the details, though no publication date has been posted:

Since the early days of the church, believers have looked to the saints as examples and guides to living holy lives pleasing to God. Now the saints help illuminate Holy Scripture in The Saints Devotional Bible, NABRE version.

In this incredible resource you will find:

•The accuracy of the new NABRE translation

•Over 200 readings from the saints, including their own reflections, prayers, letters, and more

•The saints' reflections broaden appreciation and understanding of old testament and new testament texts

•A twenty-part lesson on studying, praying, and living the Scriptures, with longer selections from the writings of the saints

•An easy-to-search list of themes that allow you to study topics of interest to you

•A calendar of saints and a list of patron saints

•Mini-biographies of all the saints whose selections are quoted
 The Saints Devotional Bible is an excellent devotional aid for anyone who wants to study Sacred Scripture as well as be encouraged and enlightened by the wisdom of our brothers and sisters, the saints, who intercede for us every day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Update on ICSB from Fr. Fessio

Responding to a listener question on a recent Catholic Answers Live radio program, Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press stated that he hoped the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible Old Testament would be completed in a year or two.  That, of course, is nothing new.  We heard that from Dr. Scott Hahn a few months backs on EWTN Bookmark.  What was interesting, however, was that it appears that Ignatius may not ultimately publish the complete ICSB in one volume, but rather two.  Citing the amount of commentary and study helps found in the ICSB, he said they are struggling to figure a way to publish it in one volume.  You can listen to the entire program here.  He answers the ICSB question around minute 32.

Now, what do you think about the real possibility of there never being a complete, one volume edition of the ICSB?  Personally, having examined many study Bibles over the past ten years, including ones like the ESV Study Bible and the NLT Study Bible, both of which contain more notes and study helps than the ICSB, I would be highly disappointed if it is only available in two distinct volumes.  Those two study Bibles I just mentioned are full of annotations, contain a ton of extra material in the appendix, and come in many different editions and covers.  The NLT Study Bible, which I am flipping through as I write this post, has well over 300 pages of extra material in the appendix and contains more cross-references and in-text theme notes/person profiles/maps than the ICSB.  The ESV Study Bible, like the recently revised NIV Study Bible, is produced with full-color charts, images, and in-text maps.  When you compare these three study Bibles to the overall look of the ICSBNT, there is a huge difference in appearance and the amount of material contained within.  While the material in the ICSB is outstanding, something that has never been in doubt, the overall look and production quality is sorely lacking.  And the possibility of there not being a one volume edition is simply mind-blowing.  Again and again I continue to wonder what is going on at Ignatius Press concerning the ICSB.  Do they have limitations on what they can do?  Have they looked at other study Bibles on the market?  Where is the promotional support for the ICSB and the RSV-2CE?

Spot Check: 1 John 4:7-10

This week's "Spot Check" comes from the second reading for this coming Sunday's Mass.  Can you guess which translation is which?  Try not to cheat!   Options: NRSV, RSV, NABRE, NJB.  Which one do you like best?

1: "Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:

not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins."

2: "Beloved, let us love one another;
for love is of God,
and he who loves is born of God and knows God.
He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent his only Son into the world,
so that we might live through him.
In this is love,
not that we loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins."

3: "My dear friends, let us love one another,
since love is from God
and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.
Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.
This is the revelation of God's love for us,
that God sent his only Son into the world
that we might have life through him.
Love consists in this:
it is not we who loved God, but God loved us
and sent his Son to expiate our sins."

4: "Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is from God;
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
God’s love was revealed among us in this way:
God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.
In this is love,
not that we loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

(Ben) Sirach 1:8

Last year, I did a post looking at the changes found in the book of Sirach, comparing the RSV-2CE with the original RSV-CE.  I noted that there were a number of places where the RSV-2CE went with a different rendering or followed a different textual basis for their translation of Sirach.  The big issue, of course, is that these changes are not indicated in the textual notes of the RSV-2CE.  Well, I decided to read a little bit of Sirach recently and ran into the same issue within the first chapter.  Below is the RSV-2CE rendering, followed by a number of other translations.  Again, I think we can see the influence of the Vulgate here.  There is also the issue as to whether or not a particular translation adds "the Lord" to verse 8 or beginning verse 9.

"There is One who is wise, the Creator of all, the King greatly to be feared, sitting upon his throne, and ruling as God."

"There is One who is wise, greatly to be feared, sitting on his throne."

Douay-Rheims (Challoner):
"There is one most high Creator Almighty, and a powerful king, and greatly to be feared, who sitteth upon his throne, and is the God of dominion."

"There is but one, wise and truly awesome, seated upon his throne--the Lord."

"There is but one who is wise, greatly to be feared, seated upon his throne--the Lord."

Paul's Real Thorn in the Flesh Revealed!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday with the New Psalms: Psalm 125

Psalm 125

1 A song of ascents.
Those trusting in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
unshakable, forever enduring.a
2 As mountains surround Jerusalem,
the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forever.

3 The scepter of the wicked will not prevail
in the land allotted to the just,
Lest the just themselves
turn their hands to evil.

4 Do good, LORD, to the good,
to those who are upright of heart.
5 But those who turn aside to crooked ways
may the LORD send down with the evildoers.
Peace upon Israel!

1 A Song of Ascents.

Those who put their trust in the LORD
are like Mount Sion, that cannot be shaken,
that stands forever.
2 Jerusalem! The mountains surround her;
so the LORD surrounds his people,
both now and forever.

3 For the scepter of the wicked shall not rest
over the land allotted to the just,
for fear that the hands of the just
should turn to evil.

4 Do good, LORD, to those who are good,
to the upright of heart;
5 but those who turn to crooked ways--
the LORD will drive away with the wicked!
On Israel, peace!
--Revised Grail Psalms

NABRE Notes:
[Psalm 125] In response to exilic anxieties about the ancient promises of restoration, the Psalm expresses confidence that God will surround the people as the mountains surround Zion (Ps 125:1–2). The just will not be contaminated by the wicked (Ps 125:3). May God judge between the two groups (Ps 125:4–5).
[125:3] The land allotted to the just: lit., “the lot of the righteous.” The promised land was divided among the tribes of Israel by lot (Nm 26:55; Jos 18). The righteous are the members of the people who are obedient to God. If the domination of the wicked were to continue in the land, even the just would be infected by their evil attitudes.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Free Shipping on LRCSBDE

The following was mentioned in a combox by reader Caine:

Little Rock is offering free shipping on this Bible (LRCSB) until 5/31/12. Just use the discount code BIBLEFS.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guest Review: "New" Douai Rheims Bible

Thanks to Jonny for the following guest review:

What is the “NewDouai Rheims Bible?”  Well, it is actually the old Douay Rheims Bible Old Testament 1609-1610, and New Testament 1582, but it has been retyped with modern spelling and in-text language notes for the more obscure Latinate words, showing and defining the Latin word from the Vulgate!  If that isn’t cool enough, how about getting it leather-bound about the same size as the RSV-2CE for $29.99?

If that seems too good to be true, perhaps I should share the rest of the story.  It is apparently published by a Protestant person or group who has removed the original notes and the Deutrocanonical books!  You are probably asking yourself: who, what, why, and perhaps some other questions, too.  I will try my best to answer these based on the limited information that I have.  It was published by “Straightway Ministries” in September 2011 but I cannot find any links or listings for them other than their one website that advertises the Bible.  I got my copy from Amazon where you can also find their website listed.  

So first off, I will share the basic gist of the information given in the forward.  The publisher states that his or her intent is to “use this Bible as a resource to clarify text differences; forthwith, will bring more understanding to the reader.”  Hmm, that is not a very thorough explanation, in my opinion, as to why a Protestant would go through the trouble of retyping the entire original D-R when there are revisions already in print.  I therefore supplemented this explanation with the content of the “Bible Study Notes” listed in the back to form my own opinion.  The note section has lists for titles of Christ that have been omitted or translated differently in modern versions.  The list includes 34 instances of the name “Jesus” (one in the OT: Hab. 3:18), 40 instances of “Christ” (20 in the OT including references to King David: e.g. 1 Kg. 2:10, 2:35, II Kg. 22:51, 23:1, Ps. 83:10, 131:10), 23 instances of  “just” or “Just One” referring to God (17 OT and 6 NT), 13 instances of “Dominator” or “dominator” (e.g. OT: Ex. 34:6, II Kg. 23:3, Amos 5:16, one NT ref. Jude 4) and one instance of “Strong one” (II Kg. 23:3.)  There is also a page that lists the other places that “christus” and other forms thereof appear in the Vulgate and are translated “anointed,” as well as a list of instances where the word “savior” appears in the D-R and is translated differently (such as “salvation”) in other versions.  The other list I will draw attention to is “The Holy Land, The Seed, The Rest and The Promise of Everlasting Possession”, which shows the D-R’s use of the capitalization (Genesis 12:3 and 28:14, for example) the translation “seed” (which can be read as prophetical to Christ as being a singular or plural noun) instead of “descendents”, and other relative verses.  So what does this all mean?  I think the publisher is showing how the traditional Christian translation of the Bible better shows the Christological connection in and between the Testaments.  The publisher does not say so explicitly, but I get the impression he feels the Vulgate is backed by a certain amount of apostolic authority.

So now on to more details about the book itself.  As mentioned above, the spellings have been updated.  For example the word spelled “yuorie” is changed to “ivory,” all the “j’s” that were “i’s” in the original have been changed (except when a consonant was following, e.g Isai.)  Also, capitalization and punctuation were added or changed to match the Vulgate Text (the version used is the “Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam Clementinam Nova Editio Sexta Editio MCMLXXXII.)  This edition of the Vulgate was also used to help interpreting the English words as they appeared in the original D-R.  The publisher has added timelines at the end of each book that conform to the ones found in the Baronius Press edition (creation: 4004 BC, etc.), and plentiful cross references in smaller print at the end of the verse.  These came from some edition of the KJV and do not always correspond exactly.

Although this is a very strange publication, the publisher has done a very nice job with it.  The type is very readable with good spacing, the paper is more opaque than average, and although it has a glued binding, the construction appears to be fairly solid.  I like having the original D-R for private study.  There are many interesting features, including the older English: the use of “mine” and “thine” before words that begin with a vowel, “spake”, “doest” and “doeth” as well as the “dost” and “doth” used frequently in the Challoner.  The Psalms verses are paragraphed by number and Psalms 118 includes the meaning of the Hebrew letters throughout.  There are so many interesting alternate renderings in the original D-R I could make a huge list of them just by briefly browsing through its pages.   I would recommend it for any Catholic who collects and/or studies Catholic Bibles.  The Deuterocanonical Books are also available separately from the publisher.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

7 Questions: Andrew Jones of Logos Bible Software

Andrew Jones is Director of Catholic Products for Logos Bible Software. I would like to thank him for taking the time to answer the following 7 Questions:

1) I wanted to start off with a question about your involvement with Sacred Scripture. How has Scripture played an important role in your spiritual life? Has it always been that way?

Scripture has had a profound impact on my spiritual life, especially in the context of the liturgy. What I've grown to understand is that in the same sort of way that Christ is present Body and Soul, Human and Divine, in the Eucharist, so his words are present in the Scripture and in the preaching of His priests. It is only with this liturgical and ecclesial reality that the Word of God is completely revealed to us. In my life, then, the reading of Scripture has become an essential aspect of my participation in the Church. We must listen to Christ as well as love Him and obey Him. I think it is essential that we understand Christ as Incarnate and not as some distant metaphysical "force," and the Incarnate Christ taught both through his words and through his life. The Scripture is our primary access to this teaching and so mediation upon it is an essential component of what it means to be a Christian.

 2) How long have you been involved with Logos? What are your main responsibilities with Logos?

I came to work at Logos last June. I'm the Director of Catholic Products. What this means is that I am responsible for the company's orientation toward Catholicism, both on the product development end and the marketing end. I've been developing Logos's software and libraries to facilitate a Catholic approach to study. The Logos system is really ideal for the Catholics because it allows us to study the Bible surrounded by the Tradition. We can read it with the mind of the Church-- the magisterial documents, the writings of the saints and the great theologians, become our constant companions. What I'm trying to do is construct products and strategies that allow us to fully utilize Logos's power. It's really very exciting. The digital age is allowing us to break down the idea of "The Bible" as a stand-alone book, an idea that really only developed during the Renaissance and the Reformation, an return to a paradigm of Scripture reading that re-inserts the Bible into the very heart of Tradition.

3) What brought about this new division within Logos that focuses on the Catholic market?

Logos is the world's largest Bible software company. The intention of the company has always been to provide tools for Bible study that cut across divisions between Christians. For a long time, the company's focus has been on the Evangelical market; but as it has grown, the opportunity to focus on other Christian groups has arisen. This has coincided with a real renaissance of Bible study within the Catholic Church, especially among the laity. More Catholics are reading the Bible and studying their faith now than has been the case for a very, very long time... maybe ever. I think this is one of the fruits of Vatican II that is often, unfortunately, over-shadowed by some of the problems the Church has experienced in the aftermath of the council. So, the bringing of Logos's technology into the Catholic market has been really rather natural... a classic meeting of supply and demand.

4) What are some of the features of your Logos Catholic Bible package?

Logos is amazingly powerful. In the very simplest terms, Logos links together thousands of texts and keys them all to the Scripture. The Bible becomes a sort of hub around which the whole tradition revolves. But, all the texts are linked to each other as well. So, as you read the Bible the software is mining the data of the library for information about the passage. What did St. Augustine say? Aquinas? Vatican II? Once you start following a thread, you can go in any direction with it. The library is a web of connections. With a couple clicks, for example, you can go from the Mass readings, to the Catechism, to Augustine, to Aquinas, to Vatican II and back to the lectionary. Its other great strength is in the study of Scripture in the original languages, even if you don't know Greek or Hebrew. We've mapped the original languages and the English on top of each other. So, if you do a search on a word in the Bible the software doesn't look for the English word but for the Greek or Hebrew word that lays behind it, and kicks back the results in both the original languages and in English, regardless of what English words the translators have chosen. This frees us from the translations. And what's really amazing is that this functionality works in the Greek writings of the Apostolic Fathers as well. For a word in the New Testament, then, we can, with a couple clicks, see every time it is used in the Septuagint, in the New Testament, and in the Apostolic Fathers; and Logos is looking for the root of the word, so the searches are not compromised by the language's inflection. And, all this goes with you everywhere; it works across all your desktop and mobile devices. There are many other features, but I've gone on for far too long already.

5) Could you talk a little bit about your new Aquinas Commentaries?

Sure. Many people don't realize it, but Aquinas wrote a great deal on Sacred Scripture. In fact, what scholars are increasingly realizing is that if we want to really understand Aquinas's thought we need to take into account, even begin with, his Scripture commentaries. In the modern period there has been a focus on Aquinas as a systematic theologian, as the archetype of scholastic theology: the rationalist system-builder. But often what we have actually done is project developments in theology that really belong in the seventeenth century back onto Aquinas, and in doing so we have tended to ignore his exegetical work. The truth is that Aquinas's work has its foundations in Scripture, as did all medieval theology. Aquinas did not turn his back on the Augustine and monastic tradition, which focused so profoundly on the Bible. We need to understand his Summa and his work on Aristotle as a part of a theological approach that was rooted in a reading of the Bible. So, Logos has decided to make his commentaries available in English. Many of them have never been translated, others have poor translations or translations that are out of print. We are going to remedy the situation, starting with his commentaries on Isaiah and Jeremiah. We are also going to translate his massive Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, which is his first large work of theology and which offers his most sustained treatment of the Church and the Sacraments, among other things. If your readers are interested they can go to and read more.

6) In general, if someone is thinking about investing in Logos Bible Software, but perhaps has never used any Bible software in the past, what encouragement would you give them to give it a try?

What I can say is that it is worth the investment. In a recent conversation I had with Dr. Scott Hahn he stated his belief that Logos is going to change the way people read the Bible, that in a few years it will be the standard. I agree with him. Technology is not a universal good, as we well know, but the Church has consistently encouraged us to make use of its power to advance the Gospel. I think Logos is such a use. If you are interested in really digging into the Scripture and the faith, there just isn't a more powerful tool out there. Your readers should go to and read more.

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

John Chapter 15, the discourse of the True Vine, has been the most important Biblical reading in my personal conversion. Every time I read it, I feel like I rediscover Christ. John's emphasis on "abiding" has been especially important for me. It is a persistent theme in his writings, and when the discourse is read in conjuncture with passages such as John 1:32, John 5:38 and John 6:56 a whole theology of "abiding", of peace, is revealed. I find it to be quite beautiful.