Monday, October 29, 2012

Ronald Knox and Bible English

This, I think, is an important issue that we probably have not dealt with all that much on this blog, but need to.  You often hear people say things like "Well, that doesn't sound like the Bible" or "That translation doesn't have the same literary quality as this or that translation."   But what does that really mean?

Again, I want to thank Baronius Press for reprinting Knox's On Englishing the Bible, which has proven to be an enlightening read.  Here are a couple of selections from Knox, that should serve to begin this conversation:

"Constantly, then, you have to be on the look-out for phrases which, because you have so often met them in the Bible, read like English, and yet are not English. Many of them, beginning life as Bible English, have even crept into the language; “to give a person the right hand of fellowship,” for example, or “to sleep with one’s fathers,” or “the son of perdition.” If the translator is not careful, he will let these through the barrier by mistake, and he will be wrong. When a public speaker urges that we should give Chiang Kai-shek the right hand of fellowship, he means “give him the right hand of fellowship, as the dear old Bible would say.” And when you are translating the Bible, you must not describe the apostles as “giving Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, as the dear old Bible would say.” Some of the phrases which we take over, as unconscious quotations, from the Authorized Version, or more rarely from Douay, have even become jocose. It is intolerable, in a modern translation of the New Testament, to find St. Paul talking about “the inner man,” when “the inner man” has been used for so many years as a facetious synonym for the human stomach. If you are simply revising the old text of the Douay, you may, perhaps, be justified in leaving such phrases as they stand. But if you are writing a translation of the Bible, a translation of your own, you must find some other way of putting it; “the inner man” is a phrase that has become desecrated (5)."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Knox on Translation

"The translator, let me suggest in passing, must never be frightened of the word 'paraphrase'; it is a bogey of the half-educated.  As I have already tried to point out, it is almost impossible to translate a sentence without paraphrasing; it is a paraphrase when you translate 'Comment vous portez-vous?' by 'How are you?'  But often enough it will be a single word that calls for paraphrase.  When St. Paul describes people as "wise according to the flesh', the translator is under an obligation to paraphrase.  In English speech, you might be called fat according to the flesh, or thin according to the flesh, but not wise or foolish.  The flesh here means natural, human standards of judging, and the translator has got to say so.  'Wise according to the flesh' is Hebrew in English dress; it is not English."  -- Ronald Knox (Englishing the Bible 8-9)

Ronald Knox, patron saint of dynamic-equivalence translations, pray for us!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sunday Knox: Jeremiah 31:7-9

Over the coming weeks, I am going to provide some passages from the Knox Bible in relation to an upcoming reading at Mass, Sunday or Holy Day.  I will place the Knox translation first, followed by the NAB lectionary version (including significant variations found in the NABRE in bold).  This week, I will be picking from the first reading from this Sunday's Mass, coming from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Rejoice, the Lord says, at Jacob’s triumph, the proudest of nations greet with a glad cry; loud echo your songs of praise, Deliverance, Lord, for thy people, for the remnant of Israel! From the north country, from the very ends of earth, I mean to gather them and bring them home; blind men and lame, pregnant women and women brought to bed, so great the muster at their home-coming. Weeping they shall come, and I, moved to pity, will bring them to their journey’s end; from mountain stream to mountain stream I will lead them, by a straight road where there is no stumbling; I, Israel, thy father again, and thou, Ephraim, my first-born son. --Knox

“Thus says the LORD: Shout with joy for Jacob, exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say: The LORD has delivered (saved) his people, the remnant of Israel. Behold (Look), I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world (earth), with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers (pregnant women) and those with child (those in labor); they shall return as an immense throng. They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water (streams of water), on a level road, so that none shall stumble. For I am a father to Israel, Ephraim is my first-born.” 
-- NAB(RE)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Anchoress + the Knox Bible

Reader Chad sent me an interesting link to Patheos and First Things blogger Elizabeth Scalia and her review of the Knox Bible.  It is definitely worth reading.  It was a reminder to me, at least, that there is a place for dynamic-equivalence translations.  As I refer back to Knox's On Englishing the Bible, it becomes very clear that Knox would have been a proponent of that style of translation.  I wonder what he would have thought about translations like the Jerusalem or New Jerusalem Bibles? Or how about the NLT?

At the end of her review Elizabeth mentions how she just opened to a particular verse of the Song of Songs in the Knox translation and:

Yes, I read it and I wept. Not in fear, not in despair, but in consolation at the reminder, rendered so beautifully by Knox, that the world has resided in the madness of sin and shadow since Eden, but we are never abandoned, and need never be afraid.

 It is always good to remember how powerful the Holy Scriptures can be, even in a non-formal translation.  Like I said, check it out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest Blog: Overview of Knox Bible

Thank you to Jonny who provided this guest post, which will serve as a kick-off to an ongoing series of discussions surrounding the Knox translation.

There is much that can be said of Msgr. Knox’s translation of the Holy Bible.  First and foremost, it should be mentioned that the Knox version is a translation of the Clementine Latin Vulgate.  That is indicated quite clearly in the new edition from Baronius Press, on the title page which reads: “Translated from the Latin Vulgate by Msgr. Ronald Knox.”  However, in the old edition, (the one I am referring to is from Sheen and Ward in 1956) it states on the title page that it is “A translation from the Latin Vulgate in the light of the Hebrew and Greek originals.”  From that statement, I had previously thought that in places the Latin had been set aside in favor of Greek or Hebrew, according to the whim of the translator.  Yes, I thought that the Knox Bible was basically a hybrid translation, so I never really took it seriously.
After receiving the Baronius edition, with the complementary copy of Msgr. Knox’s “On Englishing the Bible,” I found that my assumptions were quite incorrect.  In the first article of the above mentioned book, Msgr. Knox states that it is the Clementine Vulgate he is translating, and he only goes back to other editions (Hebrew, Greek, critical editions of the Latin) to gain a better understanding of the Vulgate.  This is a big plus for me, and should be for anyone who likes to read the Douay Rheims Bible.  In the Knox translation, you have someone looking at the Vulgate and the other editions to give you a fresh translation of the Bible in lucid, modern English.  I don’t know of any other source that is more helpful to those who may struggle with the archaic English and sometime awkward sentence structures in the D-R, besides actually learning Latin and using the Clementine Vulgate itself!
So on to the translation itself.  Being, as it is, translated from the Vulgate, it is going to have many traditional renderings that Catholic Bible readers expect to see in a Catholic Bible.  In Genesis 3:15 you will find, “she is to crush thy head,” although regrettably the “enmities” from the Douay are replaced with “a feud.”  There are many places that I cheer the Knox translation, and in others I groan with disappointment.  I was pleased to see in many places that the angelic world was not translated out: such as in Psalms 103:4 “Thou wilt have thy angels be like the winds, the servants that wait on thee like a flame of fire,” the “angel” who “visits…with no kindly message” in Proverbs 17:11, and even “Lucifer” in Isaias 14:12.  Of course, fans of the Douay-Rheims will be pleased to see, “Hail, thou who art full of grace,” “Holy Ghost,” “charity” (often rendered “love” in modern versions), and the traditional spellings of the proper names.  Yes, there are many places in the Knox Bible I must applaud, and many places leave me longing for the more traditional renderings in the Douay, KJV, and RSV versions.  In particular I wish that Knox retained “spirit of God” in Genesis 1:2.  “Breath of God” is adequate as a translation, but after this verse was infallibly defined in the Catechism of the Council of Trent as a direct reference to the Holy Ghost (part 1, chapter II, question XXIII), it seems unnecessarily un-Catholic for a Catholic translation to render this phrase otherwise.
Finally, my biggest cheer for the style of the Knox version: the use of the singular and plural forms for the “you” pronouns.  Msgr. Knox reveals that he would have rather dispensed with the archaic pronouns altogether, but I am glad he felt compelled to leave them in.  The archaic forms reflect more accurately the original languages in this regard, and can give greater clarity to any given reading.  Consider Jesus words to Nicodemus: “Do not be surprised, then, at my telling thee, You must be born anew.”  Aside from this detail, there are examples all throughout the Knox Bible where the English is dignified, creative, and just plain fun to read.
One might get the impression in this article that I still prefer the Douay Rheims translation of the Vulgate, and that would be correct (no offence to Msgr. Knox.)  I am thinking now that I have the Baronius edition, it might get as much attention as my RSV!  Perhaps another top 5 Bible translations vote on the Catholic Bibles Blog is in order! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Holy Bible: Knox Version (Baronius Press)

One of the common complaints on this blog is the serious lack of quality, high-end Catholic Bibles.  While there are certainly enough good Catholic translations to choose from, the way in which they are produced often leaves a lot to be desired.  For example, the recently released HarperOne NABRE came in a very attractive page-layout, but the imitation leather cover and binding was a serious disappointment.  

When I look at the Bibles in my library, which are way too many if you ask my wife, the only one I would ever consider a premium Bible would be the Cambridge NRSV Reference with Apocrypha in French Morocco leather.  (Technically speaking, of course, that one is not even a specifically Catholic edition.)  However, I am happy to report, that I can now add another Bible to my list: The Knox Bible by Baronius Press.

This Bible is beautifully made and crafted in such a way that it will last a lifetime.  Here are the particulars of this new edition:
** The Bible comes in at a size of 6”x8 ¼”, encompassing 1,472 pages

**Set in a single-column format with verse references placed at the side of the text

**Printed on light cream paper

**Re-Typeset based on Burns & Oats and Macmillian & Co. 1963 edition

**Translator’s notes and cross-references are located at the bottom of each page

**Beautifully bound in hardcover (black leather) 1/8” thick, with gilt edges

**2 Ribbon Markers, headbands, and marbled endpapers

**Foreword by Scott Hahn

**Included with this new edition is a paperback copy of On Englishing the Bible by Knox 

**Imprimatur from Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols dated 8th of January 2012

The Knox translation is certainly unique, however this review will not be analyzing the pros and cons of Msgr. Knox’s work.  I hope to do so in posts that will appear in the coming weeks that look at the translation in a bit more detail.  Instead, I am going to focus on the product itself.  But before I do, I thought it would be interesting to at least show you a bit of his style, by reproducing his version of the Christ-hymn of Philippians 2, with footnotes:

“Yours is to be the same mind which Christ Jesus shewed. His nature is, from the first, divine, and yet he did not see, in the rank of Godhead, a prize to be coveted;[a] he dispossessed himself, and took the nature of a slave, fashioned in the likeness of men, and presenting himself to us in human form; and then he lowered his own dignity, accepted an obedience which brought him to death, death on a cross. That is why God has raised him to such a height, given him that name which is greater than any other name; 10 so that everything in heaven and on earth and under the earth must bend the knee before the name of Jesus, 11 and every tongue must confess Jesus Christ as the Lord, dwelling in the glory of God the Father.”
  1. Philippians 2:6 ‘Did not see, in the rank of Godhead, a prize to be coveted’; others would render, ‘thought it no usurpation to claim the rank of Godhead’.
  2. Philippians 2:11 ‘Dwelling in the glory’; the Greek is perhaps more naturally rendered ‘to the glory’.
Now on to what Baronius Press has done with Msgr. Knox’s translation.   What immediately stands out is the craftsmanship involved in producing this volume.  (I have experienced this type of quality production before with their Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary volume.) The quality of the binding, the paper, ribbon markers, and endpapers make this Bible standout from all of the other ones I own.  This Bible is sturdy, yet very comfortable to read both by placing it flat on a table or by holding it in your hand or lap.  This is the case no matter where in the text you are reading, from Genesis to Revelation (the Apocalypse).  While this is not a portable, compact Bible, it can easily be brought to study and prayer groups, even Holy Mass.  It is simply a standard sized Bible.  I wonder if Baronius Press will eventually make different editions of the Knox Bible, like in a compact form or flexible leather, similar to what they have done with their Douay-Rheims editions.

For me, the highlight of this Bible is its single-column page layout.  It is very easy on the eyes, and the quality cream colored Bible paper minimizes any issues with ghosted print image from the reverse of the page.  That being said, I am not sure if I will ever write in this Bible.  It is just too pretty!  While having the verse numbers on the side can be a bit tricky at first, it becomes quite easy to use after only a few minutes.  The many notes, both textual and commentary, from Msgr. Knox are clearly visible at the bottom of each page.  I should mention that while there are not a ton of cross-references in this Bible, the notes in the New Testament do indicate where there are direct quotes from the Old Testament, as well as referencing similar passages found in the among the four Gospels.  In addition, there are cross-references in the notes in the Old Testament as well, but not as many as are found in the New Testament.    

If there is one criticism, and this is only minor, I would have appreciated a small selection of Bible maps in the appendix.  The older Knox Bible that I own contained two line-drawn maps, which would have been a nice conclusion to this beautiful Bible.  While it is always nice to have “the extras” with any Bible edition you purchase, the quality of this Bible allows me to easily overlook this minor omission. 

Having now spent a few days with the Knox Bible, as well as reading On Englishing the Bible, I want to conclude by making three comments.  First, bravo to Baronius Press for crafting such a beautiful Bible that I am sure will be appreciated by many people on both sides of the Atlantic.  The quality of this Bible is a testament to the attention and care that was given to its production.  There is no question that it was well worth the wait and the $54.95 price tag. 

Secondly, while there are certainly other translations that may be more useful for study, here I am thinking of the RSV, NRSV, or NABRE, the style of translation and flow of reading from the Knox Bible, even with the occasional archaic rendering or anglicized vocabulary, is refreshing and truly enjoyable to read.  I must admit that even though I own an older Knox Bible edition, I never did spend much time reading it because I just assumed that it would be too close to the Douay-Rheims in style.   I was wrong.  In a similar way, I can imagine that people who first experienced fresh translations like the Jerusalem Bible or New English Bible half a century ago, which departed from the Douay-Rheims or KJV traditions, had that same sort of feeling that I did as I began to read the Knox Bible.  I truly did not anticipate the amount of joy I would have reading through large portions of the Old and New Testaments in this translation over these past few days.  While this certainly has a lot to do with the translation, itself, Baronius Press must also be given credit for the achievement of this publication.  

Finally, having read all of Knox’s On Englishing the Bible, which I did in one sitting, along with my reading of the Knox Bible, the ultimate compliment I can pay to Msgr. Knox, as well as Baronius Press, is that I now have a greater desire to read more from Msgr. Ronald Knox.  His style of writing, and his unexpected wit and candor, I found to be very attractive and insightful.  I look forward to adding a few of his other works to my Christmas list.  I have avoided his writings for way too long.  Any recommendations?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jesus of Nazareth III due in December

Jesus of Nazareth III: His Infancy and Childhood will be released, in English, by Ignatius Press this coming December. Ignatius Press is already beginning to take pre-orders.

From Ignatius:
The momentous third and final volume in the Pope's international bestselling Jesus of Nazareth series, detailing the stories of Jesus' infancy and boyhood. This third part of the trilogy dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth begins with the Gospels and concludes with the contemporary man. 

 As the Pope wrote in volume two of this series, he attempts to "develop a way of observing and listening to the Jesus of the Gospels that can indeed lead to the personal encounter and that, through collective listening with Jesus' disciples across the ages, can indeed attain sure knowledge of the real historical figure of Jesus." 

 "I can at last consign to the reader the long promised little book on the narratives of Jesus' childhood . . . Here I have sought to interpret, in dialogue with exegetes of the past and of the present, what Matthew and Luke recount at the beginning of their Gospels about the infancy of Jesus." - Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Knox Bible Arrives

Baronius Press has kindly sent along to me a review copy of their new edition of the Knox Bible.  Without giving too much away before my formal review, I will say it is a high-end Catholic bible, produced by a group of people who clearly wanted to create a beautiful Catholic bible.  It was well worth the wait!

In addition to the Bible, all orders receive a very enlightening collection of essays called On Englishing the Bible by the translator himself.    Trust me, this is not just a throw-in, it is a very witty and honest account by Msgr. Knox about his translation of the Bible.

I hope to have the review up in the next couple of days or by early next week.  I should mention that reader Vincent commented on an early post that the Knox Bible is now available at Bible Gateway.  Included on the Gateway site is an endorsement from the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who says of the Knox Bible:
"Ronald Knox's translation of the Bible remains an exceptional achievement both of scholarship and of literary dedication. Again and again it successfully avoids conventional options and gives the scriptural text a fresh flavour, often with a brilliantly idiosyncratic turn of phrase. It most certainly deserves republication, study and use."

More Wright

Yeah, lots of Wright on this blog recently, but I have found much to consider in these videos that I have posted here. Also, I just starting reading his most recent book How God Became King.
(HT: Jesus Creed)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Knox Bible Available for Purchase Today

The Knox Bible is now available for purchase.  The list price on the Baronius Press website is $54.95, which includes the paperback edition of On Englishing the Bible by Msgr. Knox.   It is currently available in a black leather hardbound edition.  For more information on the Knox Bible, Baronius Press has set up a nice promotional website for it, which you can view here.  I hope to have a review up some time during this week so stay tuned.

Semi-Regular Weekly Poll

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The "Year of Faith" Begins!

"The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.

 Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ. During the homily at the Mass marking the inauguration of my pontificate I said: “The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.”[1] It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society. In reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied.[2] Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people.

 We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (cf. Mt 5:13-16). The people of today can still experience the need to go to the well, like the Samaritan woman, in order to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within him (cf. Jn 4:14). We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples (cf. Jn 6:51). Indeed, the teaching of Jesus still resounds in our day with the same power: “Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life” (Jn 6:27). The question posed by his listeners is the same that we ask today: “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (Jn 6:28). We know Jesus’ reply: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (Jn 6:29). Belief in Jesus Christ, then, is the way to arrive definitively at salvation. 

 In the light of all this, I have decided to announce a Year of Faith. It will begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and it will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II,[3] with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith. This document, an authentic fruit of the Second Vatican Council, was requested by the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 1985 as an instrument at the service of catechesis[4] and it was produced in collaboration with all the bishops of the Catholic Church. Moreover, the theme of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that I have convoked for October 2012 is “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”. This will be a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith. It is not the first time that the Church has been called to celebrate a Year of Faith. My venerable Predecessor the Servant of God Paul VI announced one in 1967, to commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul on the 19th centenary of their supreme act of witness. He thought of it as a solemn moment for the whole Church to make “an authentic and sincere profession of the same faith”; moreover, he wanted this to be confirmed in a way that was “individual and collective, free and conscious, inward and outward, humble and frank”.[5] He thought that in this way the whole Church could reappropriate “exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it, and confess it”.[6] The great upheavals of that year made even more evident the need for a celebration of this kind. It concluded with the Credo of the People of God,[7] intended to show how much the essential content that for centuries has formed the heritage of all believers needs to be confirmed, understood and explored ever anew, so as to bear consistent witness in historical circumstances very different from those of the past." 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Infant Baptism and Matthew 19:13-15

I was recently preparing a lecture on Matthew 19-25 for my class with the Catholic Biblical School of Michigan and noticed a fairly important difference between the NABRE and RSV-2CE.  It occurred while looking at Matthew 19:14, where Jesus famously blesses the children.  The NABRE renders it this way: "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them."  The RSV-2CE goes with: "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them."  Both are certainly fine, legitimate translations of that verse, with the only real difference being in how they translate the Greek (root) word κωλύω.  The NABRE goes with "prevent" while the RSV-2CE (as well as the original RSV and ESV) go with "hinder."

Now what makes the NABRE more helpful than the RSV, particularly in regards to the issue of infant Baptism, is that the same Greek word κωλύω is also used in Acts 8:36, where Philip baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch.  The NABRE reads: "As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, 'Look, there is water.  What is to prevent my being baptized?'"  However, in the RSV-2CE, κωλύω is translated as "prevent" instead of "hinder" on this occasion.  (This change also occurs in the original RSV and ESV.)  So, by not consistently translating the Greek word κωλύω as "prevent" or "hinder" in both cases, the English language reader, using the RSV-2CE, may miss the connection.

And get this, the NABRE commentary, which is castigated more often than the translation itself, notes this important connection.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Update on Knox Bible

I can confirm, via Baronius, that the Knox Bible will be available in mid-October for purchase and will be in a single-column page layout.

(Thanks to Theophrastus for the link to the picture.)

A Thank You

I wanted to send a quick thank you to recent international contest winner Roman.  Roman, who won the compact RSV-CE, was very generous in sending me a Chech language edition of the Jerusalem Bible.  While it is unlikely that I will ever be able to actually read it, I will certainly treasure this beautiful little Bible for years to come.  So, thank you Roman!

Friday, October 5, 2012

SBP: "Year with the Bible"

I have never used a Bible devotional in the past, but this will change during the upcoming "Year of Faith."  Last week, I was very excited to get my hands on A Year with the Bible: Scriptural Wisdom for Daily Living and it has exceeded my expectations.

Here is the book description:

Beautifully bound and embossed, this daily devotional offers rich passages from the Bible accompanied by thoughtful meditations by Madrid, world-renowned writer and scholar.

This vibrant and spiritual collection is the perfect daily companion, packed with the wisdom of the Scriptures; the Word of God.

A Year with the Bible is a worthy introduction to Scripture, a daily devotional, a tool for deeper prayer, this book is as versatile as it is beautiful.

Premium Ultrasoft with two-tone sewn binding, ribbon marker and gold edges. 

Physically, this is a gorgeous daily devotional Bible.  I absolutely love the premium ultrasoft binding, which has a very nice smooth, yet strong feel to it.  Even better, the binding is sewn, not glued.  If you remember, most of the Bibles produced by Saint Benedict Press are glued, so maybe this is a signal to what we can expect from future SBP Bible releases.  (I know that would be welcomed by many readers of this blog.)  Since this devotional is brand new, it does not open flat quite yet, however, with the sewn binding I am sure that this will come in time.  Its overall size, coming in at 8.4 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches, makes "A Year with the Bible" very portable and thin enough to carry around with your favorite Bible or Breviary.  The paper is sturdy and glossy, not the thin Bible paper that we usually find in devotional books.  The gold edges also add a nice touch.

So, what is found on the inside?  The RSV-CE is the text used throughout.  No real surprise there.  When you open the book, you will be greeted by a charming presentation page which allows room for not only a name and date/occasion, but also seven lines for a personal note or greeting.  This will prove to be nice for those who wish to purchase this devotional as a gift for another.  After an introduction and a section on "How to use this book" there is a one page opening "Prayer for Grace and Illumination" by Saint Padre Pio.  Another nice touch!

When you get into the heart of this book, you will see that the devotions are numbered, not assigned to a particular day on the calendar.  That makes starting this devotional at any day of the year quite easy, as I will do beginning on October 11.  Each page contains a title, which gives the theme for the day's devotion, followed by a short one to three sentence opening consideration.  Next comes the biblical text itself, which is selected from throughout the Bible, and relates to the theme of the day.  While most often one passage is used, there are times when a particular day may display three or four short passages that relate to the day's theme.  After reading the biblical text, there is a concluding consideration, often in question form, and then finally a closing prayer that ties everything together.  Each page has a clean lay out and offers the reader plenty of space to add personal notes or to highlight verses that really touch them.   (If you want to take a look inside, just go to the Amazon listing which provides a generous sampling of this product.)

Overall, this is a beautifully produced and well thought out devotional.  I am truly looking forward to making this part of my daily devotions for the "Year of Faith".  I hope to post some of the insights I have gained while praying with this devotional as they come up.

Thank you to Saint Benedict Press for providing me a review copy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Knox Bible is Here

Many, including myself, have been eagerly awaiting the publication of the Knox Bible from Baronius Press. Well, the wait is almost over. And get this, Baronius Press has actually published a website in order to promote and introduce the Knox Bible to a new generation of readers.  Although in its infant stage, this new website already has some great info on the Knox Bible, as well as some helpful links.  I hope to have a review of the new Knox Bible in the coming weeks.  This is another great resource as we enter the "Year of Faith" on October 11th.  

Dr. Scott Hahn, who composed the forward to this new edition, remarks:  "Msgr. Knox had a profound love for Sacred Scripture, a passion was to make the Bible accessible to as many people as possible … In the Knox translation, clarity is paramount."

Monday, October 1, 2012

What Will You Be Reading For The "Year of Faith"

As we approach the "Year of Faith", which will kick-off on October 11th, what will you be doing to observe this holy year?

I will be reading and reflecting on two newly released books.  The first is A Year with the Bible from Saint Benedict Press.  Edited by noted Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid, I think this will serve as a wonderful daily devotional.  (I do plan to have a review of this product up in the next few days.)

Secondly, to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, I will be reflecting on Ralph Martin's Will Many Be Saved?: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implication for the New Evangelization published by Eerdmans.  This book focuses on the main issues surrounding Lumen Gentium 16 and how it has been interpreted by theologians like Rahner and Balthasar.

So, how about you?