1) The Revised Standard Version-Second Catholic Edition remains the most popular translation as expressed by a majority of the readers of this blog. Could you speak a little bit about how the RSV-2CE came to be? Some of my readers have expressed a desire to know more about the changes from the original RSV-CE, particularly since the RSV-2CE does more than simply eliminate the archaic English from the text. One example would be the additions found in Sirach 24 of the RSV-2CE. Another would be changes similar to what we see in Luke 9:31, where “departure” was changed to the more literal Greek rendering of “exodus”.
The history of the RSV2CE is straightforward. We published for many years the so-called Blue Bible, the Ignatius Bible, the Catholic Revised Standard Version. Many people loved it but some didn't like that the occasional archaic language of the translation--the "thees" and "thous" used in direct addressed to God. So we looked into a slight revision, while still keeping the Blue Bible available. Meanwhile, in discussions with the Congregation for Divine Worship, we became aware that some folks in the Vatican wanted a Bible that fit better with the norms for liturgical translations as found in Liturgiam Authenticam. So our edition of the Bible was reviewed by the Congregation and several biblical experts to make it more in conformity to Catholic liturgical use. That is why it's really a sort of RSV Catholic Edition Plus--plus a more standard English reflecting the removal of the archaic language and an enrichment of the translation of the text to reflect the Church's liturgical tradition.
2) Are there any future plans to release the RSV-2CE in different editions? Some readers have expressed a desire that Ignatius Press publish a full RSV-2CE compact, as well as a large print edition.
The answer is "yes but". Right now, the focus is on finishing the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. We have an "inexpensive" group edition of the RSV2CE Ignatius Bible due out soon for the Year of Faith, which will be very affordable for bulk purchases. The other things you mentioned--the compact Bible and the large print Bible--are certainly things we're interested in, if people have interest in using them! If folks have ideas for editions of the Bibles they'd like to see, we're certainly willing to consider them.
3) Since the NCCCUSA holds the copyright to the RSV-2CE, is Ignatius Press limited in how it can utilize and promote the translation?
Not as such. The NCCCUSA holds the copyright for the underlying RSV Catholic translation. But the specific modifications to the text are Ignatius Press' copyrighted changes and we have flexibility in what we can do with the translation itself. In fact, there is a lectionary based on the RSV2CE that is used in Africa and some other places for the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in English. Some folks would like to see it used here, as a complementary lectionary text, but that's a matter for the USCCB to take up.
4) The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is widely regarded as one of the best Catholic study Bibles on the market. Indeed, the class I teach for the Catholic Biblical School of Michigan requires the ICSB as its main textbook and all of my students are amazed at the quality and comprehensiveness of the notes and other study aids contained in it. Could you talk a little bit about how the ICSB came to be and how each volume is evaluated?
Two words, really: Scott Hahn. He was the original impetus for the project. With respect to the evaluation process for each volume, it's kind of a dance. Curtis Mitch, a colleague of Scott Hahn's, works to create the original draft materials, based on a number of things--Scott's ideas, at least broadly conceived, and Curtis' own research. I review the drafts and sometimes interact with other scholars about particular points. Usually, I send my notes to Curtis who reviews things with Scott. We sometimes go back and forth on things, but not often. I see my role as mainly to raise questions (sometimes as a kind of devil's advocate, if I can use that expression in connection with the Bible) and to speak for the average Catholic in the pew to make sure the dynamic duo of Scott and Curtis, who are both brilliant, by the way, don't leave the rest of us behind. The idea is that while there is a broadly Hahnian inspiration for the interpretive moves in the annotations and commentary, we don’t want any one exegetical vision to dominate--in the way, say, Scofield's annotations dominated the original Scofield Reference Bible. This is, after all, a Bible, not a straight commentary. You can do a lot more by way of asserting your own exegetic opinions in a commentary than in a Bible. People have a habit of investing annotations to a Bible with more significance. And understandably so. Thus, we must be careful not to give the impression that any particular scholar's view is, per se, one and the same with "what the Bible says". Obviously, Scott and Curtis agree.
5) Fr. Fessio, in an interview earlier this year, mentioned that the completed ICSB may need to be published in two volumes. Is this true? Some of my readers have mentioned that other study Bibles on the market, like Zondervan’s NIV SB and Crossway’s ESV SB, contain just as much information and are still able to be published not only in one volume, but also in various sizes.
The plan right now is to have a single volume. But there are a variety of factors here that we have to find a way, as publishers, to fit together. One is the comprehensive quality of the commentary and annotations. Another is readability of the text. Another still is the physical size of the book. I expect, though, we'll be able to produce the entire work, in a highly readable text, and a high quality book. Once we have finished all the annotations and commentaries for the Old Testament, we will have to make sure everything fits together. we had to do this with the New Testament books. We wound up have to do some revisions of the already-published New Testament content to make sure everything worked. And of course Scott Hahn, being the ever-fertile scholar he is, had some revisions he thought important to make, based on his own further study and input he had received.
6) When will we see future volumes of the ICSB released? Dr. Scott Hahn mentioned on EWTN Bookmark earlier this year that the ICSB project should be completed by 2014 or 2015 at the latest. Is that still the plan?
Yes. I'd like to see it done by the end of 2013 but that's probably optimistic.
7) Finally, do you have a favorite passage or verse from the Bible? Why?
John 3:16. It says it all.