Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Quick Thank You

I just wanted to thank all of you who have stopped this blog over the years.  I was looking at some statistics and as of today there has been 1,101,859 page views.  That really blows me away, since I never expected that number to be so high.  This blog was started just to be a place where we could discuss Catholic Bibles, since it seemed to me at the time that there weren't many on the internet.  So, thank you for reading along during these almost 6 years.  Also, thanks to all who have contributed by comments or guest posts.  God bless!  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sunday Knox: Romans 8:38-30

Meanwhile, we are well assured that everything helps to secure the good of those who love God, those whom he has called in fulfilment of his design. All those who from the first were known to him, he has destined from the first to be moulded into the image of his Son, who is thus to become the eldest-born among many brethren.  So predestined, he called them; so called, he justified them; so justified, he glorified them.

NAB Lectionary:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guest Rebind: Rolf's NABRE Oxford Large Print

Thanks to reader Rolf for providing the photos and commentary on this rebind. This looks awesome!  I may have to get mine rebound.

 I bought this Oxford large print NABRE with the genuine leather cover. It is my favorite Bible for several reasons; it has a large size 12 font. The print is bold and is very clear. The notes are at the end of each book so the pages are clear and uncluttered, this makes for better and more prayerful reading. The black genuine leather cover looks good, but the leather was very thin, hard and slippery. I could not hold easily in one hand, which is how I read my Bible most of the time. I had recently considered buying (on eBay) either an Allan or a Cambridge ESV Bible in goatskin because of the lack of any similar Catholic Bibles. But I could not spend $150-$200 for a Bible that is missing 7 books, no matter how nice they are. 

So I decided to go the other route and send my new Oxford NABRE to Leonard's to be rebound. So what to rebind it with was my first question? After reviewing all their selections and recommendations for a larger size Bible, I went with the distressed walnut pebble grain cowhide. It was recommended (among others) for larger size Bibles. The distressed walnut is an extra thick cowhide, which Leonard's also listed as being very soft. This is important to me to keep it from sliding out of my hand! I ordered the cover with a semi yapp extension on the edges of the cover (looks good and protects the gold guilted page edges). The pebble grain cowhide is softer and more supple  than I thought it would be, no breaking in required. It feels like soft leather glove in the hand and despite its thickness (twice as thick as the French Morocco leather on my Cambridge NRSV), it is as supple as goatskin. 

It is amazing, and the smell! My NABRE already had one gold ribbon marker, so I had Leonard's add two burgundy ones. I kept the front cover unmarked (see photos). The rebind cost me $115 plus $16 priority mail shipping (and add what ever it cost you to send it to Leonard's). This is a Bible that I am going to use everyday at home and for my RCIA and Bible study classes, it is going to get a lot of use!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: The Word of God at Vatican II by Fr. Ronald Witherup

Dei Verbum is the most important Church document concerning Scripture.  One of the important objectives of the council fathers who composed this document was the encouraging of all Catholics to make reading and studying the bible a normative part of daily life (DV 22,26).  Now this is not to say that prior to this that the Church official discouraged her people from reading the Bible.   (This is quite evident in the often found indulgence notice in the back front cover of many Douay-Rheims Bibles.)  Yet, it must be recognized that there were places where Catholics were discouraged, instead to take up books like the Baltimore Catechism.  While I was born more than a decade after the council, and so don't know this by personal experience, I have heard from numerous people, while leading Bible studies and teaching classes, that this did indeed happen in some places.  With that being said, there is no excuse now.  The Church has made it abundantly clear that she wants her sons and daughters taking up the Scriptures everyday for spiritual nourishment.  All of out previous Popes, most notably Pope Benedict and Francis, have regularly reminded us to do this.  What greater example could we have then the great scriptural writings of Benedict!

Now, while there have certainly been scholarly volumes devoted to Dei Verbum, very little has been published for the average Catholic. Yet, with the 50th anniversary of its publication coming in 2015, we are beginning to see some fine resources being published.  I am very happy to report that Little Rock Scripture Study's The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum is extremely helpful and easily applicable to either personal or group study.

Written by noted Catholic biblical scholar Fr. Ronald D. Witherup, who was one of the main editors on the lovely Little Rock Catholic Study Bible, this 85 page volume provides a short overview of all the main points concerning the council document. It is broken into three sections: 1) A Brief History of Dei Verbum; 2) A Brief Commentary on Dei Verbum; 3) Ongoing Interpretation and the Fruits of Dei Verbum.   Scattered throughout are various charts that cover a wide range of topics, most notably the different theories on Inspiration, comparison of the two main drafts of the document, the major scripture documents that led up to Vatican II, and church documents after Vatican II.  Witherup does an admirable job in providing context and content to this document.  He reminds us that "virtually all church documents have been influenced in one way or another by previous church teachings.  Dei Verbum is no exception (7)."  His chart on the documents that led up to Vatican II begin with Trent and Sancta Mater Ecclesia of 1964.  In each case, he gives a brief summary of each document and indicates which paragraphs of Dei Verbum were influenced by them.

In addition, he also recognizes many of the important figures who contributed to this document.  A certain Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) is mentioned more than once.  He notes that Pope Benedict's poetic Verbum Domini is the most "comprehensive and important" document since the council (68).  Other works of scholars like Brown, Murphy, and Fitzmyer are rightly noted as being some of the great fruits of Vatican II.  (Little Rock Scripture Study is of course mentioned as well.)  I would have perhaps liked to see others mentioned as well, for example some of those scholars associated with the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture.  

I will conclude with what I think is the real heart of Witherup's work, that being his paragraph by paragraph commentary of Dei Verbum found in chapter 2.  The commentary is aided by the fact that Witherup included the actual document.  So, you don't need to flip between this book and the council document.  It is right there for you.  (And yes, the footnotes from Dei Verbum are included as well.)Encompassing over 40 pages, Witherup takes you through each section of the document providing helpful commentary on the main issues.  These range from one to five or more paragraphs each depending on the issue.   As you can guess, there is more of an extensive commentary on the interpretation of paragraph 11.  As Witherup notes, the issue of inerrancy is an issue still being debated and discussed today.  Pope Benedict asked for the issue to be studied by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and its finding are due to be released quite soon.

The Word of God at Vatican II is a great resource.  It comes with a study guide for individual or group study.  An answer book can be purchased as well.  I plan to use this throughout the year and next.  If I had my wish, I would love to see a collection of essays published by contemporary Catholic scripture scholars, from a wide variety of schools, looking back at the importance of Dei Verbum.

Thank you to the fine folks at Liturgical Press for providing me a review copy.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunday Knox: Romans 8:26-27

Only, as before, the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; when we do not know what prayer to offer, to pray as we ought, the Spirit himself intercedes for us, with groans beyond all utterance: and God, who can read our hearts, knows well what the Spirit’s intent is; for indeed it is according to the mind of God that he makes intercession for the saints.

The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.  And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New CBQ: Volume 76, No. 3 (July 2014)

Hidden Treasure in Job 14:17
Andrew R. Davis

Prophecy and the Monarch in Haggai and Zechariah
Paul L. Redditt

Election by Allusion: Exodus Themes in the Book of Tobit
Francis M. Macatangay

Anna's Characterization in Luke 2:36-38: A Case for Conceptual Allusion?
Andres Garcia Serrano

"In the Father's Bosom": Breastfeeding and Identity Formation in John's Gospel
Alicia D. Myers

Memory and Hope in the Midst of Chaos: Reconsidering the Structure of 1 Thessalonians
Timothy Milinovich

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Some of the Content at America's Living Word Site

John W. Martens on Writing the Word and his podcast

Robert Briggs, executive vice president of the American Bible Society, talks about "The Living Word: Scripture in the Life of the Church," a new two-year collaboration between America and the American Bible Society.

Lecture by Scott Hahn on "The Sacramentality of Scripture" April 30, 2014. 

Journey Through ScriptureGuided reflections through passages of Scripture from the 'America' community.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why The Cross?

The meaning of Jesus's execution on a Roman cross is one of the most divisive issues in contemporary theological discourse because issues related to the goodness of God and the place of suffering in the Christian life are at stake. Although it is important to locate that discussion in the context of the range of New Testament perspectives on the soteriological significance of the cross, it is also important that we recover the meaning of the cross as a metaphor for discipleship. In the end, the event of Jesus’s death cannot be understood apart from the character of his life. This book will contribute to New Testament studies but also serve related discussions in theology and Christian formation.

Reframing New Testament Theology is a series that fulfills the need for brief, substantive, yet highly accessible introductions to central questions and themes raised by study of the New Testament. A significant defining question will serve as the point of departure and will frame the discussion. Students will be drawn into an active, theological engagement with the New Testament and related materials by the subsequent analysis.

Why the Cross? is due out in November from Abingdon Press. 

Donald Senior, C.P., is President Emeritus and Professor of New Testament Studies and President of Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois and member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sunday Knox: Romans 8:18-23

Not that I count these present sufferings as the measure of that glory which is to be revealed in us. If creation is full of expectancy, that is because it is waiting for the sons of God to be made known.  Created nature has been condemned to frustration; not for some deliberate fault of its own, but for the sake of him who so condemned it, with a hope to look forward to;[3] namely, that nature in its turn will be set free from the tyranny of corruption, to share in the glorious freedom of God’s sons.  The whole of nature, as we know, groans in a common travail all the while.[4] And not only do we see that, but we ourselves do the same; we ourselves, although we have already begun to reap our spiritual harvest, groan in our hearts, waiting for that adoption which is the ransoming of our bodies from their slavery.

Knox Notes:
[3] ‘Him who so condemned it’; this is ordinarily understood of God, but it is hard to see the force of this interpretation. It is perhaps better to take it of Adam, as St Chrysostom does.

[4] vv. 18-22: The word here translated ‘creation’ or ‘created nature’ probably means creation as a whole. St Paul, with something of a poetic outlook, sees the struggle for survival in nature as a proof of its dumb aspiration towards that more perfect creation which is to come; the agony of its frustrated striving is the birth-pang of a new order (cf. Mt. 24.8; Jn. 16.21). Others interpret ‘creation’ as referring to human nature; in which case ‘we ourselves’ in verse 23 must be understood of the apostles, or of Christians as opposed to those who live according to nature.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.  For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

USCCB Pocket Gospels and Acts

Thought I would give you all a first look at the USCCB's Pocket Gospels and Acts of the Apostles NAB(RE).  It is a really handy little volume, that is modeled after the one our Holy Father distributed a number of weeks back. Here are some photos:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Upcoming Ignatius Catholic Study Bible OT Titles

The 19th volume in the popular Bible study series leads readers through a penetrating study of the Book of Joshua using the biblical text itself and the Church's own guidelines for understanding the Bible.

Ample notes accompany each page, providing fresh insights by renowned Bible teachers Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, as well as time-tested interpretations from the Fathers of the Church. They provide rich historical, cultural, geographical or theological information pertinent to the Old Testament book - information that bridges the distance between the biblical world and our own.

It also includes Topical Essays, Word Studies and Charts. The Topical Essays explore the major themes of Joshua, often relating them to the teachings of the Church. The Word Studies explain the background to important Bible terms, while the Charts summarize crucial biblical information "at a glance".

The 20th volume in the popular Bible study series leads readers through a penetrating study of the Books of Judges and Ruth using the biblical text itself and the Church's own guidelines for understanding the Bible.

Ample notes accompany each page, providing fresh insights by renowned Bible teachers Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, as well as time-tested interpretations from the Fathers of the Church. They provide rich historical, cultural, geographical or theological information pertinent to the Old Testament book - information that bridges the distance between the biblical world and our own.

It also includes Topical Essays, Word Studies and Charts. The Topical Essays explore the major themes of Judges and Ruth, often relating them to the teachings of the Church. The Word Studies explain the background to important Bible terms, while the Charts summarize crucial biblical information "at a glance".

(Thanks again to reader James for spotting these.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Blowout Winner

Thank you to all who entered.  After using an online random number generator, the winner of this contest is Eric Barczak. Eric, you have one week to email me, mccorm45(at)yahoo(dot)com, to claim your prize.  Congrats!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sunday Knox: Zechariah 9:9-10

Glad news for thee, widowed Sion; cry out for happiness, Jerusalem forlorn! See where thy king comes to greet thee, a trusty deliverer; see how lowly he rides, mounted on an ass, patient colt of patient dam!  Chariots of thine, Ephraim, horses of thine, Jerusalem, shall be done away, bow of the warrior be unstrung; peace this king shall impose on the world, reigning from sea to sea, from Euphrates to the world’s end.

Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; the warrior’s bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Exult greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! Behold: your king is coming to you, a just savior is he, Humble, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; The warrior’s bow will be banished, and he will proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Friday, July 4, 2014

New Didache Bible from Ignatius Press

Thank you to reader James for the heads up!

Available October 2014.
The Didache Bible presents extensive commentaries on all books of the Holy Bible based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It includes the complete text of Sacred Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, using the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition. This Bible version is considered by many Catholic leaders and authors, including Peter Kreeft and Scott Hahn, as the most beautiful English translation of the Bible today.

  • Twenty-seven full-color biblical maps, including the journeys of Jesus Christ.
  • Common questions about the Faith answered in 106 apologetical explanations.
  • Comprehensive, forty-four-page glossary and a topical index.
  • Available in leather or hardcover
  • Useful for students and adults studying Scripture.
  • Ideal for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Catholic Faith.
  • Accessible by all people in its level of scriptural scholarship.
  • Large 6" x 9" size
  • Gilded edges and a placeholder ribbon on the leather edition
  • Both editions are sewn

Fr. Barron on Bill Maher and Biblical Interpretation

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Board of Editors for the NABRE Revised NT

According to the list of abstracts for the upcoming Catholic Biblical Association annual meeting, which takes place at the end of the month, the following scholars will be on the editorial board for the upcoming revision of the NABRE NT:

Harold W. Attridge, Jr., Yale Divinity School 
Mary Healy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI.
Christopher Ciccarino, Seton Hall University
Felix Just, S.J., Loyola Institute for Spirituality
Donald W. Trautman, Bishop of Erie 

Mary Sperry, liaison with the USCCB 

At the above mentioned meeting, there will be a round table discussion to "introduce the project to revise the New American Bible New Testament, undertaken by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. The Board of Editors for the project will be available to present the process to be used, the rationale for the project, the approved principles of translation, and opportunities for input into the revision project."

Oxford NABRE Large Print

As has been mentioned on this blog on numerous occasions, we Catholics do not have anywhere near the number of quality, premium leather Bibles that our Protestant brothers and sisters do.  I dare say that we may have a handful at best.  The NABRE, like the other Catholic translations, can be found in plenty of paperback and hardcover editions, not to mention what seems like an infinite number of pseudo and imitation leather editions.  One would think that of all the Catholic translations, the NABRE, since it sold by a number of different publishers would, but alas that is not the case.

There is, however, one company that has produced the NABRE in genuine leather, that being Oxford University Press.  In the past, they have offered genuine leather NAB's in their study bibles, compact editions, readers editions, and large print ones.  When the NABRE was published back in 2011, I was expecting the same treatment.  Except for the large print version, this has yet to happen.

As a matter of fact, I was truly looking forward to the readers edition of the NABRE, much like the NAB, but they seem to not have bothered even publishing one.  Which is a real shame, since the text was extremely readable, with the notes and cross-references delegated to the back of each biblical book.  Therefore, it was an edition that would be perfect for spiritual reading and lectio divina.

The Catholic Study Bible seems to have also received very little attention.  Not only has it not been updated in its reading guides, but it is not available in genuine leather either.  All previous editions had been, which is a real shame.

So, this leads me to the NABRE Large Print from Oxford, which is covered in a marbled genuine leather.  It isn't the smooth and flexible one that they covered the NOAB NRSV 4th Edition in, but it is actually genuine leather and not bonded.   It is almost identical to the genuine leather RSV-CE readers edition that came out about 10 years ago.  Dei Verbum is included with the biblical text and the notes/cross-references. The box it came in, as well as some sellers, mention that the full lectionary readings are included, this is not the case.  The compact NABRE and the Catholic Study Bible editions do contain all weekday and Sunday lectionary readings.

The binding is also sewn.  As you can see with the photos, the text is very readable, the notes and cross-references being placed at the back of each book.  This makes it good for prayerful reading or for teaching. The gold gild edges give it a classy look to it, as well as the gold ribbon marker.  Some people don't like the Oxford tabs, but I think they are just fine.

Overall, this may be one of the nicest NABRE bibles in print.   I would dare say that it may be the most luxurious, if I may say so, Catholic bible in print today.  The only bibles that would come would be from Baronius Press, that being either their Knox or Douay editions.  The NRSV's from HarperOne are close, but unfortunately they are often printed on super-thin paper and wrapped in cheap imitation leather.

So, if you are looking for a genuine leather Catholic Bible, without having it rebound, I'd recommend this edition.