Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Death of Joseph Fitzmyer SJ

On December 24th, Joseph Fitzmyer, one of the most respected Catholic biblical scholars passed away.  Here is a link to an article of remembrance via America.  He, along with Raymond Brown, were two of the most prominent scholars who emerged after the council.  Many of you would know him from his editorship of The New Jerome Biblical Commentary.

May he Rest In Peace.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Guest Review: Bibliotheca

After a two year delay, the Kickstarter star project Bibliotheca was finally delivered to original financial backers.  Did it live up to the hype?  In a word, yes.

For full product specs, photos, and video, I recommend that you browse the Bibliotheca website.

This is what you get: Bibliotheca is based on a new revision of the American Standard Version; four additional sources were used for the Apocrypha, which was not part of the ASV.  Given the unexpected funding, the project hired a small team of scholars and editors to not only replace archaic pronouns throughout with their modern equivalents, but also to modestly smooth out some of the rougher passages.  The result is a translation that remains very formal and beautiful, while avoiding the woodenness and archaism that makes the original ASV itself difficult.  This smoother text pairs with Bibliotheca’s primary physical design features to encourage reading large quantities of text in a single sitting, much the way a person would read a novel or book of poetry.

That concept of reading for reading’s sake drove the most significant design choice: the physical form.  Bibliotheca is available in two variants, with or without the Apocrypha.  The edition with Apocrypha comes in five volumes, allowing for thick opaque beautiful paper instead of the usual wisp-thin paper in most modern Bibles.  It employs a custom typeface for optimal reading ease.  The single column layout of each page is based on proportions proven in studies to be the most appealing to widest range of people.  The columns are not so wide that the eye might grow tired, there is plenty of space between each line of text, and the use of left-justified text rather than fully justified text creates fully consistent space between words.  The paper’s uniform cream color and smooth feel are both visually and tactilely attractive.  The use of multiple volumes results in each book being light enough to hold for extended reading.

What is truly intriguing, though, is the complete lack of anything on the page except the text and page number.  There are no verse or chapter numbers, no headers, no notes, no references, nothing at the top or bottom of the page.  Nothing.  Even the title of every book is printed alone on a separate page so that the first words start on a page with nothing else on it.  There is nothing on the page at all to distract you from reading the text.  Indeed, the spartan lack of anything other than the text is almost itself a distraction.

Bibliotheca is equal measures humble simplicity and exceptional construction. It's practically Benedictine in its understated beauty.

For all of these reasons noted so far, I believe Bibliotheca is easily the best devotional Bible on the market today.  Devotional reading is to me the simple act of reading and nothing more.  I’m not reading for study, or to prepare a sermon, or to prepare for apologetic debate.  I am spending time with sacred scripture only for the relationship experience.  When reading from a Bible like Bibliotheca, the complete lack of anything but the words of scripture mean I can not do anything more than read.  Sure, I can find on what page a given book of the Bible starts, but after that the only guide of any kind becomes the single ribbon marker in each volume.

This supports a style of reading I have advocated for more than a year now: Immersive big picture reading.  Reading all of Romans, for example, or all of Isaiah, in a single sitting offers a very different perspective, one that is often lost on us when we insist on deeply studying a single verse or a single word as it is used across multiple books.  Minute reading like that is like trying to understand a forest by examining the individual cells of a leaf under a microscope. There’s a place for that, sure.  But don’t forget to fly up and look at the whole broad vista, too.  Bibliotheca encourages that big picture view.

I am grateful that Bibliotheca offers an edition with the Apocrypha.  While it may not place the books in the Catholic order, the Apocrypha volume does a few things like no other Bible containing the Apocrypha.  First, it includes all of the books used by not only Catholics but also the various Greek and Eastern Orthodox traditions.  Second, the books are grouped by related content (for example, all four books of the Maccabees are together) rather than by associated canon (as found in the RSV and NRSV).  Third, not only is the complete text of the Greek version of Esther from the Septuagint provided, but so is the complete text of the Greek version of Daniel from the Septuagint.  Further, the chapters for Daniel are provided in the Orthodox order, unlike the NRSV with Apocrypha which merely offers the extra content in 3 separate sections, or the Catholic NRSV which merely appends the Greek content to the end of Daniel.

Two more features of Bibliotheca stand out for me.  The first should not have been a surprise, but it was: The Psalms are not uniquely identified with title or number.  They do not start with “Psalm 1” or “Psalm 23” or any of that.  The Psalms are presented as untitled and unidentified poetry.  It fits with the overall design, but it’s easily the one place where the lack of such referents stands out starkly.  The second feature, though, is one I do appreciate:  Prose is set as prose, and poetry is set as poetry.  This was not something the ASV in any of it’s early 20th century print editions ever did.  I prefer the poetry layout, and given the single column layout the poetry in Bibliotheca is truly beautiful to see and to read.  What becomes intriguing to me, though, is to wonder how the editorial team decided what is and is not poetry.  The Psalms are obvious.  Much of the Prophets and some sections of the historical books are obvious.  Less obvious was the decision to render not only 1 Corinthians 13 in its entirety but also the verses immediately preceding and following it as a single poetical construct.  Or to NOT render Philippians 2:5-11 as poetry.

I think most readers will be delighted with Bibliotheca’s presentation of the Bible, even if you might disagree with certain individual design choices.  It’s simplicity coupled with excellent construction make Bibliotheca a worthy addition to every Christian’s bookshelf.

Thank you to my friend Jason, who has posted as guest on this blog before, for this fantastic guest post.  By the way, I was an early supporter as well, sponsoring the NT edition.  I will comment at some point as well, perhaps as a comment in this post.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Christmas!

"This day, in the city of David, a Saviour has been born for you, the Lord Christ himself." -Luke 2:11

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

YouCat Bible

Description via Communications Center:
The newest title in the YOUCAT series for youth and young adults. This Bible features the creative elements of the YOUCAT Youth Catechism: engaging photos, clever illustrations, sidebar quotes from great thinkers, Catholic saints, and leaders past and present. A special youth-oriented abridgement of the Old and New Testaments in the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition of the Ignatius Bible. Introductions and commentaries are faithful to Catholic teaching. Full-color photos and illustrations inspire, entertain and inform. Softcover, 6 x 9, 432 pages. 

Preorder for delivery in May 2017.

There is also a YouCat Bible Website.

Thanks to Deacon Dave for sending the links!  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Knox: Isaiah 7:10-14

"The Lord sent, besides, this message to Achaz, 
Ask the Lord thy God to give thee a sign, in the depths beneath thee, or in the height above thee. 
But Achaz said, Nay, I will not ask for a sign; I will not put the Lord to the test. 
Why then, said Isaias, listen to me, you that are of David’s race. Cannot you be content with trying the patience of men? Must you try my God’s patience too? Sign you ask none, but sign the Lord will give you. Maid shall be with child, and shall bear a son*, that shall be called Emmanuel."
-Isaiah 7:10-14 (Knox Bible)

*Literally, the verse begins ‘Therefore the Lord, he will give you a sign’. ‘Maid shall be with child’; cf. Mt. 1.23. The Hebrew text, but not the Greek, would admit ‘a maid’ instead of ‘the maid’. In the Hebrew text, the word used should perhaps be translated ‘maid’ rather than ‘virgin’, since it refers rather to a time than to a state of life; but in view of the event, we cannot doubt that this prophecy looks forward to the Virgin Birth. No very successful attempt has been made to explain its relevance to contemporary happenings.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hello Msgr. Knox!

I love the Knox Bible. That is, of course, no surprise to any of you who have read this blog for any length of time.  It is my primary, daily reading Bible.  My Baronius Press edition was rebound back in goatskin back in 2013 by our good friends at Leonard's, because I knew that it would be used and loved for many years to come.  Since then, I have come into possession of a few vintage Knox Bible editions, most notably the three-volume Sheed & Ward edition and the 1946 Chanticleer NT version.  Yet, one edition has always escaped me.  I consider it the "Holy Grail" of Knox Bible editions.  When it has come on the market, I've seen it go for up to $300, which is something this high school teacher cannot afford.  The edition I am speaking of is the "printed for private circulation only"  1944 Burns, Oates, & Washbourne Knox New Testament.  This was a sort of trial, pre-publication copy that was offered to the public via a few Catholic periodicals, but not available in stores.  They idea was to see what the public thought of the translation, since it was such a departure from the Douay-Rheims (Challoner) edition that most were familiar with.  Many reviewed and commented on Knox's new New Testament, with some of the suggestions being incorporated into the final published edition a year later.  I have seen different estimates, but as far as I know there were no more than 1500 copies printed.  As you can imagine, very few have survived. 

So, I was excited to see this exact edition up on EBay last month.  It wasn't in perfect condition, but was much more affordable than what I had previously seen.  So I purchased it.  Oh, one other thing, it had Knox's signature in the opening pages.  Needless to say, I was a bit anxious as I waited for it to arrive.  The seller seemed reliable and the book looked authentic, but, as many of you know, what you order doesn't always end up being what arrives on your door step.  So when it did arrive, I was happy to see that it was exactly what it claimed to be.  I was surprised at the size, which is comparable to the RSV-2CE NT and Psalms from Ignatius Press.  For some reason, I thought it would be bigger.  Not that I will be carrying it around with me, but it would make a wonderfully portable yet readable New Testament.  

The signature from Knox makes it an incredibly special book to me personally.  I greatly admire Msgr. Knox, not only for his translation of the Bible but also his pastoral and apologetic works.   I find him to be a man who was both a first rate intellect and thinker, while also being a truly humble pastor.  Almost anything I read of his leaves me either moved or in a state of reflection.  He is one of my two favorite authors of the twentieth century.  I feel blessed to have this volume, and I am grateful to have been alerted to it when it was posted for sale.  I hope you enjoy the photos below.  It is really a pleasure to share them with you.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Guest Post: Using Different Editions of the Same Translation

Thank to Allister for the second of his guest posts.

Hello again, brothers in Christ – it’s me, Aloy, back to drowse you out of reading my boring discussions. But seriously, my reservations on comments notwithstanding, I have sometimes been inspired to share some of my experiences with the Bible, especially now that the site’s posts will be more guest-run than before.

For today, I would like to discuss the experience of using different editions of the same translation, which by circumstance (or not) I have been led to doing. I did mention in my previous guest post that I, too, primarily use the NRSV-CE, as it happened to be the only formally-equivalent alternative to the NAB(RE) available widely here in the Philippines (and, I hear, the more accurate one, “accurate” being of course quite subjective). This also happens to be the translation I have different editions of, as I have only one NABRE. I have as of this writing, however, three NRSV-CEs (one to be gifted) and one compact NRSV with the Apocrypha, the same one that fellow guest Kevin mentioned in his post about compact Bibles last November 7. I will list the three CEs down here with brief overviews on their content, then mention my purposes for each of them.

1. ST PAULS Philippines NRSV-CE
This is the NRSV-CE I featured in my first guest post, which was a guest review of the same. In brief, this NRSV-CE is produced by the Philippine arm of the Society of Saint Paul, and is a semi-study Bible in the sense that it contains the NRSV Concordance, numerous in-text maps and charts, and the text of Dei Verbum, as well as Catholic prayer resources such as popular prayers and devotions and tables of readings and dates. However, it contains no introductions, no cross-references or study notes (though, then again, the NRSV really does not usually contain cross-references, and this edition never claimed to be a study Bible), and the Psalms, most strangely, do not come with titles.
I have mainly consigned this Bible to the house for home-based study and annotation, usually alongside my NABRE, because of the rich amount of resources it contains. It also happens to be the frailest of my NRSV-CEs, which is a no-no when going out or traveling.

2. Harper Go-Anywhere Thinline NRSV-CE
The big brother of my little NRSV with the Apocrypha, this edition is the full-sized Go-Anywhere Thinline NRSV. Full-sized though it is, it’s meant to be a travel-friendly Bible, so it’s similar in thickness to the compact NRSV, an inch or less thick. This comes at the cost of the only study materials being the Concordance, which is better than the Compact edition, which has no study materials at all. However, the Psalm titles are, rightfully, present.

I semi-regretfully bought this NRSV-CE as a complement to my ST PAULS NRSV-CE, given that that wasn’t feasible for taking out of the house to, say, church; and that I was so disturbed at having no Psalm titles. (I’ll also admit that I wanted a leather-bound Bible, genuine or otherwise.) As such, it was supposed to be my main reading Bible, and be it was, until came along…

3. The Catholic Gift Bible (Harper NRSV-CE)
Here at last was the answer, or a partial one at least, to the first two above. I wanted a reasonably portable Bible that had a decent amount of study materials and the Psalm titles. Had I encountered this before the Thinline, I would have bought this already.

As the name implies, this edition is meant to be presented as a gift for special occasions, though I treated it as a gift for myself. This edition comes with a series of essays meant to serve as an introduction, or refresher, to the Catholic faith, with articles about Christian terms and spirituality and Biblical characters – and, finally, an introduction to each book of the Bible. The Concordance is also present, but sadly, no Dei Verbum or in-text maps and charts. At least it serves as a “spiritual” study Bible to some extent, for me.

Now that I had this edition, I decided to gift the Thinline to my then-new business, a membership hub for entrepreneurs, but since not all of us are exactly religious, it got shelved in the storeroom. I am retrieving it first thing when I go to the office, then refurbishing it and gifting it to someone who will appreciate it better.

The Gift Bible is now my default reading Bible, whether simple or contemplative (such as Lectio Divina). The ST PAULS, while extensive in study tools, may inadvertently distract; and the Bible paper bleed is of comparatively poor quality. Additionally, this one is more durable (trust me, if you’re clumsy like I am, it makes a difference). And as mentioned above, it’s full of annotations and highlights. On the contrary, there is not a single mark on my Gift Bible, other than the presentation page contents, though it looks more worn.

Until I got the Compact Thinline with Apocrypha, the Gift Bible was my church Bible (yeah, yeah, our Lectionary here is based on NAB, but I use NRSV nonetheless), but my purpose of requesting for a compact Bible for Christmas was to be able to very easily bring around a pocket Bible when going out or traveling. And so the Compact Thinline is now my default church Bible, although the Gift Bible will remain, for both denominational and spiritual reasons, my main Bible for reading.
Why the same translation, rather than different ones, you ask? Simple: for consistency. While I do support owning multiple translations so you can compare the text for better studying, if you really want to focus on spiritual growth through Bible reading, it’s best to stay in one translation (with just occasional cross-checking from another) so you don’t get caught off-guard.
Have a blessed day!

Allister Chua, or Aloy, 25, is a struggling entrepreneur (with emphasis on “struggling”) from the Philippines who was born and educated, but not raised, Catholic. At the end of a spiritual crisis, he made a conscious decision to stay with and grow in his Catholic faith. Though he speaks none of the Biblical languages or even Latin, he speaks fluent English and Filipino, is proficient in Chinese, enjoys elementary proficiency in French, and is learning Spanish and Japanese. He runs The Daily You, a blog-based institute that advocates living a truly good life through one of higher purpose, rooted in awareness and service.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Knox on Translation

"The work of translating the Bible, really translating it, is being taken in hand in our day for the first time since Coverdale.  Moffatt and Goodspeed began it, with their fearless challenge of the Authorized Version; their work has been followed up by a text issued with official sanction in the United States.  Quite recently, the proposal for a new rendering has been gaining ground among non-Catholics in our own country.  Meanwhile, the Catholic hierarchy in the States has entrusted a large body of Biblical scholars with a similar commission.  They began with caution; their New Testament was merely a revision, with certain verbal alterations , of the Douay.  The Old Testament, to judge by the single volume of it which has so far appeared, is on a far more ambitious scale.  They seem resolved, if I may put it in that way, to out-Knox Knox in baldness of narrative and modernity of diction.  The germ is spreading, and there will be more translations yet.  Indeed, it is doubtful whether we shall ever again allow ourselves to fall under the spell of a single, uniform text, consecrated by its antiquity." -Ronald Knox (Mells, 1949)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

"Thou art the boast of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel, the pride of our people."
-Judith 15:10

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review: Luke: The Gospel of Mercy

Being a high school theology teacher, I am always on the look-out for new Scripture study programs that can help enhance what I do each day in the classroom.  As you can imagine, there are a ton of different programs out there, with new ones seemingly being created and promoted each year.   When opportunity came about to review Catholic Scripture Study's Luke: The Gospel of Mercy published by Saint Benedict Press, I was very happy to do so.  I am glad I did, since this is the first CSS Bible Study that I have had a chance to review. 

Let me say, at the start, that this CSS Bible Study is beautifully produced and packaged.  When I first flipped through the over 300-page study guide, I remarked to my wife that it may be the most beautiful produced Catholic Bible study guide I had ever laid my eyes on.  Authored by popular Catholic writer Dr. Paul Thigpen and Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, each of the 18 lessons through Luke are lavishly illustrated with sacred art, photos, maps, and in-text information boxes that provide helpful supplemental information at  strategic points in the text.  These helpful in-text boxes contain "Voices of the Saints", "Rome to Home", and "Catechism Connections".  To emphasize how well they are placed in the text, one of the "Voices of the Saints" that I really appreciated came from St. Ambrose, where the authors quotes him saying, "Luke writes his Gospel to Theophilius, that is, to the one whom God loves.  But if you love God, it was also written to you.  And if it was written to you, you too must fulfill the duty of an evangelist.  Diligently keep this token of Luke's friendship close to your heart (10)."  I found this quote to be quite fantastic and a perfect to beginning my journey through the CSS's Luke: TheGospel of Mercy

The text, itself, is large and very readable, suitable to almost any setting.  Each lesson provides over five pages of "study notes" that gives the reader  a considerable amount of contextual insight into the text.  Next you will find a prompt to view the section of the DVD that accompanies the study guide, with space for notes and annotations.  The final section of each lesson provides questions, both exegetical and life application in scope.  These can be used for personal, as well as group study. 

The DVDs, in coordination with the study guide, are divided into 18 lesson.  Each lesson contains two sections, one led by Dr. Thigpen which focuses on providing the background necessary to studying the given text, with the second being a shorter life application reflection given by Fr. Kirby.  Dr. Thigpen's teaching usually is around ten minutes each in length, while Fr. Kirby's reflections are half that amount.  Both selections, for each lesson, are well-produced, with Dr. Thigpen's portion being taped in a studio, while Fr. Kirby's life application reflections are on location in Rome.  Viewing many of the presentations on the DVDs, not only did I learn some new information about Luke, but I was also edified and confirmed in my faith.  The three DVD's contain almost five hours worth of instruction.    

Having read through the material, I would say that this study is intended for anyone who is a beginner as well as one who has been a long-time veteran of attending and leading bible study.   I highly recommend this, particularly to those of you who are looking for a home study.  I plan on using some of the materials for my high school class, since it is so well done.  Bravo to CSS and Saint Benedict Press for creating this.

Saint Benedict Press provided this bible study to me with the understanding that I would give an honest review.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Guest Post: St. Paul's Philippines NRSV-CE

Thank you to Allister for providing this first of two guest posts.

First off, a quick introduction: My name is Allister Chua, Aloy for short, and I hail from the Philippines, like our good friend Gerald here, whose insights I particularly appreciate given our similar cultural lens. I have been silently and intermittently following Tim’s blog for nearly two years now ever since my “jolt” reaffirmation to the Catholic Church (a point I will recount in part after this as far as the main topic of this post is concerned). But I never commented very much as I felt my own discussions and insights would be laughably inferior to everyone else’s.

I was born and educated Catholic, though being the only Catholic at home (my late father was Catholic-Taoist, practicing the latter more), there was no solid foundation at home for my faith to grow; school didn’t particularly help, carefree children that we were. I did have First Communion and Confirmation, but as I went on to university, Jesuit-educated still I was notwithstanding, my spiritual life wavered and I very nearly, at two points in my life, became Protestant (being not just the only Catholic in the family, but the only Catholic in a clan of mostly Evangelicals, can be quite a bit of a challenge when it comes to faith-related discourses).

Anyway, in the first quarter of last year, I stumbled upon some materials online that led me to cast away all my doubts and make a personal reaffirmation to myself and to the Lord that I would remain in the Catholic Church. That being said and done, I needed a proper Catholic Bible – my two school-mandated and –age copies of the NAB had long since been shared with those in greater need of them, and my remaining Bibles were all Protestant (thus containing only the 66-book canon): NCV from my cousin, NASB from my brother, and ESV from my pastor and Bible study teacher. I have since gifted my Protestant nephew and godson the first, and returned the latter two, leaving me with nothing.

I researched on which Bible to get, and since I wanted “something different” from NAB (I did get a NABRE later on), that would still be literal (or follow formal equivalence), I settled upon the RSV-2CE or NRSV. Most unfortunately, the former was not available here (Manila’s English Catholic Bibles are mostly confined to NAB[RE], NRSV, and CCB; you’d have to go to a very niche Catholic store to get any kind of RSV), so when I visited my local Catholic bookstore, the NRSV-CE stood out, and thus it became mine and I it.

This local store is under ST PAULS Philippines, the local arm (also extending to Macau) of the Society of Saint Paul, which was founded in the late 1940s in Italy by the Blessed Giacomo Alberione to spread the Good News through social communication. This particular edition, too, is published by the same. 

The first thing you’d notice is that this particular NRSV does not share the same branding as that of the Harper-branded NRSV Bibles. It is a paperback, with very minimal, if any, sewn binding, which makes me a little nervous each time I open the book. This paperback, however, is thoughtfully wrapped in a plastic book cover, unlike most paperbacks you find on the market (religious or otherwise). While a good gesture, it got my waste-hating mind thinking on how on earth I would be able to have the Bible rebound in the future without rendering the plastic cover useless.

The Bible paper is relatively pleasant to the touch and easy to flip through, but bleed could be improved – both the print and my highlights can be quite easily seen on the other side, hindering a smooth reading experience. The type is nicely-sized and spaced, and the serif typeface very readable – even the footnotes. There is a nice touch on the side with black boxes indicating the books of the Bible, though there is no hollowed-out portion where you can see the book abbreviations at a glance – you still need to flip through to identify the book you need, which renders it less useful than expected. I have sticky tabs indicating where the OT, NT, and other sections are.

Now, on to the content proper. As mentioned, it’s the NRSV-CE text, with the Deuterocanonical books of Scripture in their traditional placements as a Catholic Bible. It is, essentially, almost a study Bible, with the NRSV Concordance, many in-text maps and charts (examples include a Gospel harmony, a floor plan of King Solomon’s Temple, and even geographical puns in the Book of Micah), and the entire text of Dei Verbum. Additional resources that the Catholic reader like me would enjoy include the table of readings based on the Canadian Lectionary, table of moveable liturgical dates, and popular prayers and devotions.

As a would-be study Bible, my only qualms are that there are no introductions whatsoever to each of the books, no notes of any kind other than the textual footnotes (especially cross-references – but then again, this never claimed to be a study Bible; I only said it could be one, and the NRSV doesn’t normally contain cross-references anyway), and – perhaps the most glaring and strange omission – the Psalms do not have their titles. It simply says “Psalm 1”, “Psalm 2”, and so on – I have never seen such a phenomena in any Bible, and it is quite disconcerting! As this is my Bible for annotation and study, I copied all the Psalm titles from another edition of the NRSV, and also copied NT-to-OT cross-references from my NCV, before I gifted it.

Given all these, I have mainly consigned this Bible to home-based study, preferring to use other editions for simple (or contemplative) reading and church. I’ve even placed it in a journal sleeve, containing my prayer cards and some notes, from a local social enterprise called Jacinto & Lirio, which makes plant leather products from water lilies. But whenever I open it, as I have done so in the past hour, I feel a spark of joy that Marie Kondo, the radical Japanese professional organizer, would be proud of, and it feels like a most familiar friend that you live far apart from, but are always glad to meet and go home to.

And so, those slights aside, I would recommend this edition of the NRSV-CE as a spiritual investment for Catholics in this part of the world (or in any part, even) that’s well worth it. I find it works well with the NABRE for a more integral Bible experience, given the latter’s emphasis on notes, and I do use them side-by-side when studying. As a study Bible, on its own it’s not enough – but again, it never claimed to be one. But as a Bible that you could just read, with the occasional handy reference on the side to check out, this fits the bill just right. After all, there’s no perfect Biblical translation or edition, but there are really good ones, and this is one of them.

Allister Chua, or Aloy, 25, is a struggling entrepreneur (with emphasis on “struggling”) from the Philippines who was born and educated, but not raised, Catholic. At the end of a spiritual crisis, he made a conscious decision to stay with and grow in his Catholic faith. Though he speaks none of the Biblical languages or even Latin, he speaks fluent English and Filipino, is proficient in Chinese, enjoys elementary proficiency in French, and is learning Spanish and Japanese. He runs The Daily You, a blog-based institute that advocates living a truly good life through one of higher purpose, rooted in awareness and service.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Knox: Isaiah 11:1-10

"From the stock of Jesse a scion shall burgeon yet; out of his roots a flower shall spring. 
One shall be born, on whom the spirit of the Lord will rest; a spirit wise and discerning, a spirit prudent and strong, a spirit of knowledge and of piety, and ever fear of the Lord shall fill his heart. Not his to judge by appearances, listen to rumours when he makes award; here is judgement will give the poor redress, here is award will right the wrongs of the defenceless. Word of him shall smite the earth like a rod, breath of him destroy the ill-doer; love of right shall be the baldric he wears, faithfulness the strength that girds him. Wolf shall live at peace with lamb, leopard take its ease with kid; calf and lion and sheep in one dwelling-place, with a little child to herd them! Cattle and bears all at pasture, their young ones lying down together, lion eating straw like ox; child new-weaned, fresh from its mother’s arms, playing by asp’s hole, putting hand in viper’s den! All over this mountain, my sanctuary, no hurt shall be done, no life taken. Deep as the waters that hide the sea-floor, knowledge of the Lord overspreading the world! There he stands, fresh root from Jesse’s stem, signal beckoning to the peoples all around; the Gentiles will come to pay their homage, where he rests in glory." -Isaiah 11:1-10

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Deals

Good morning!  So, today being Cyber Monday, I was wondering if any of you will be purchasing any new bibles or bible related material today?  There are some good deals out there, including the one I am listing below.  I must confess that I will be silent this year.  I made a purchase about a week ago on something which I think is quite spectacular and can't wait to share it with you.  It might take a couple weeks to get here, so until then, what are you all getting?

Little Rock Catholic Study Bible
The Little Rock Catholic Study Bible is perfect for individual use or as a companion for Scripture study groups. A welcome balance between research and prayer, study and reflection, it includes:
  • Engaging visuals
  • User-friendly layout
  • Digestible Catholic scholarship
  • Suggestions for prayer
All designed to help you encounter Christ and grow in faith.

Save 50% today on this bestselling resource!*
Offer valid on paperback edition through 11:59 PM CST November 28, 2016

Paperback Price: $39.95 Sale Price: $19.97

And then there is this too from Ignatius Press:

Ignatius Bible (RSV), 2nd Edition
Hardcover - 1096 pages

The Ignatius Bible, RSV 2nd Catholic Edition, has been up at the top of the list of our best-sellers since it was published in 2006. Recognized for both the accuracy and beauty of its translation, it is sure to be treasured in every Catholic home.

Save 40%* with coupon code CYBER16.

$31.95    $19.17

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Legacy of the RSV-CE and JB

It was around 50 years ago that two influential English language Catholic Bibles were published.  They are, of course, the Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition and the Jerusalem Bible.  Both of these Bibles were fruits of the Second Vatican Council and each, in their own way, continue to have a following even today.  The RSV-CE represents a more formal translation in line with its KJV heritage, while the Jerusalem Bible, known for its thorough notes, maintains a more dynamic style.  Each has been further updated/revised, yet each is still available and is in use in various places.

So, I want to hear from you, my gentle readers, as to what you think the legacy is for these two translations and what the future holds for them?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bible for Sale: Rebound Douay-Confraternity

From a reader who is looking to sell a rebound Douay-Confraternity:

Hello All, I've got an old Confraternity/Douay-Rheims bible that I'm trying to find a good home for. It's a St. Joseph edition from 1963, containing the completely revised NT and Confraternity translations of the OT except for 1 Kings-Esther and 1 & 2 Machabees. I originally inherited the bible from Tim, and then in the throes of a rebinding obsession, had it recovered and rebound in goatskin leather in the historical "Circuit Rider," style from Leonard's Book restoration. 

I'm trying to sell it because quite frankly, it's too nice of a bible with too nice a recovering to just sit on a shelf. In my house it has to compete for attention with a rebound RSV2CE Didache and a rebound Knox. I was hoping someone here might be interested. 

In the interests of full disclosure, it does have some fading damage on the spine and middle of the side flap that I tried to highlight in some of the pictures. This comes from my use of it in a hosptial ministry where I was constantly dousing my hands with alcohol sanitizer while carrying it. There's also some spots on the bottom edges of the pages, possibly water spots? I'm not sure. The pages themselves though, are perfectly pristine and enjoy that old book smell though. 

If you're interested, contact me at my email: tadena (at) gmail (dot) com. I'd be hoping for around $170.00 to recoup some of the cost, buyer paying shipping. I am open to negotiating a bit on that though. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

National Bible Week Contest Winner is..........


Congrats to Jonny, who was randomly selected to win the Knox book and Scepter RSV-NT Pocket Bible.  Jonny, please email me with your full name and address and I will get your prize out to you sometime this week.

Thank to all who participated!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Knox: Christ the King

After this, all the tribes of Israel rallied to David at Hebron; We are kith and kin of thine, they said. 
It is not so long since Israel marched under thy orders, when Saul was still reigning; and the Lord has promised thee that thou shouldst be its shepherd and its captain. 
And so the elders of Israel went to his court at Hebron; and there, at Hebron, in the Lord’s presence, David made a covenant with them, and they anointed him king of Israel. 
-2 Samuel/Kings 5:1-3 (Knox Bible)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Review of Psalms and NT from Baronius Press

This review was posted today on the website New Liturgical Movement concerning the compact Psalms and New Testament (Douay-Rheims) from Baronius Press.  I've actually never seen one of these in person, but this review, and its pictures, has piqued my interest.  Although, to be honest, I could do without the condescending attitude of the reviewer to both the NAB or other more recent translations.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

National Bible Week 2016 Contest

As we are in National Bible Week, it would only seem appropriate to have a contest.  So, I am happy to offer the following two brand-new item to you, my beloved readers, in celebration of this week:

1) RSV-NT Pocket (Simulated Red Leather)

2) On Englishing the Bible by Msgr. Ronald Knox

Rules for the contest:

1) If you have a website or blog or an active Facebook\Twitter account, please announce this contest. If you don't, that is OK. You can still enter the contest.

 2) Please enter your name in the comment section of this blog post. I (or my wife) will randomly draw one winner at the conclusion of the contest, which will be on Sunday November 20th at 11:59 PM.  The winner will receive both books, which I will send out to you.

 3) I will announce the winners on Monday November 21st. The winner must contact me, via email, within a week with their full name and address.

 4) One entry per person.

 5) Contest is only available to those who live in the United States.

Thank you to Scepter Publishers and Baronius Press for supplying the books for the contest.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

National Bible Week 2016

From November 13-19, 2016, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops invites families, parishes, schools, and other Catholic groups to participate in National Bible Week in celebration of the 51st Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. This year's theme, "The Bible: A Book of Mercy," builds on this year's Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Head on over to the USCCB page where there are a number of resrouces, including a daily email/text from Bp. Robert Barron which you can sign up for.  Also, USCCB Publishing is providing a 20% discount on the Gift and Personal Editions of their NABREs with promo code: BIBLE.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bible Poll: Which Bible Deserves a Premium Edition?

Which Catholic Bible Needs to Come in a Premium Edition?
New Jerusalem Bible
The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition
New Community Bible
Quiz Maker

Monday, November 7, 2016

Compact Bibles: Reviews and Appreciation (Guest Post)

Thank you to Kevin for this article on compact Bibles.

When I first became interested in religion, my brother gave me a compact thinline NIV (much like this one) which I carried with me everywhere. It fit right in my hand, and the soft faux-leather cover just felt right to the touch. I used that Bible so much that it is no longer with me; I wore it out. The cover frayed and wore down until you could see almost through it. After I stopped using that Bible, I started collecting little pocket New Testaments and compact Bibles, which I thoroughly enjoyed using. 

For me, compact Bibles are a wonderful tool. I love to always have a copy of God’s Word with me. Larger Bibles often make it nearly impossible to do that, but compact Bibles are something I can easily hold, throw in a bag, or even shove into a pocket. With compact Bibles, my most cherished possession and favorite book is always within reach. I love compact Bibles in pretty much all forms, and I wanted to give a review for some of my favorite compacts.

            This Bible is my favorite compact Bible. The NRSV is a wonderful modern translation and the sole official heir to the King James Version (the “authorized” family tree is: KJV > RV/ASV > RSV > NRSV). This little Bible is only 16-20 dollars, but you would think you bought a higher-end Bible. It’s cheap, but the paper is thick, has line matching, and it is printed in a very clear, almost bold, font. Most compact Bibles can be exhausting to read because of how small or thin the font is, but not this one. Most importantly, this little Bible has a sewn binding, which makes it very durable, and if you dislike the bonded leather cover, you could easily have it replaced. In addition, since this edition includes the Apocrypha, it could be utilized by Catholic and Orthodox Christians (even though both groups have reservations about the NRSV’s liturgical application).

2. Cambridge Pitt Minion series (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, NIV, and NLT)
            Even though they only come in the Protestant canon, Cambridge’s Pitt Minion line is an amazing example of what compact Bibles can and should be. They are compact, thinline reference Bibles. They have all the same bells and whistles of a normal size reference Bible, but they are crammed into a very handy size Bible. The print is small, but very clear. The size is perfect for slipping into a pocket, bag, or resting open in the palm of your hand. I specifically have the second edition KJV Pitt Minion, which has the added benefit of Cambridge’s “A Reader’s Companion to the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible”. If you want only one Pitt Minion, I recommend the second edition KJV specifically because of that reader’s companion. It is a wonderful resource that is essentially a Bible dictionary and concordance in one combined volume. Another benefit of the Pitt Minion line is the quality of the manufacturing. Cambridge usually produces durable Bibles, and Pitt Minions are certainly included in that. Here you can see a review of an ESV Pitt Minion that has received constant wear and tear.

            Like the Harper compact Bible, this is a really good value, and it is an edition supported by the Catholic Church. This Bible has a sewn binding, nice clear print, and a durable hardcover. What I really like about this Bible is the additional material. At the ends of both testaments, it includes the Catholic footnotes of the RSV-CE, and there is an additional appendix after the New Testament that includes Catholic prayers and devotions. If I were Catholic, I feel like the RSV-CE, and especially this edition, would be my go-to Bible. The RSV-CE is such a beautiful translation; it takes the best of what made the King James Version so great. It then takes that literary power and couples it with Catholic tradition and modern textual-critical scholarship.

            I only recently acquired a Cambridge Cameo for myself. I was at a Mennonite relief sale in Goshen, IN, and I saw an old Cameo on sale for $1.50. It is a wonderful Bible. It has the same width and length of the Pitt Minion, but it is thicker, which gives you a much bolder, thicker font. Just like the Pitt Minion, it is a well-built, full-size reference Bible in a very convenient size. Unlike the Pitt Minion, you have a font that is very easy on the eyes, and you can get the Cameo with the Apocrypha. In addition, the references of the Cameo are keyed to the Apocrypha, even in the normal Protestant editions. If you want a reference Bible with Apocrypha, the Cameo is a great place to start. Unfortunately, Cambridge has been slowly discontinuing the Cameo with Apocrypha. Now, you can only get an expensive calf-split edition, and the other editions are long gone. There simply is not a lot of demand for the Apocrypha among KJV fans.

            If you are not familiar with Local Church Bible Publishers (LCBP), they are one of many KJV-Onlyist publishers who—inspired by their love of the KJV—produce well-made Bibles at a very good price. This little Bible was a companion of mine for several months this past year, and it is a truly compact Bible. It is a plain text Protestant KJV. It has about a five point font, and it is the size of my wallet. It is a great Bible if you really want to carry a Bible everywhere, but only have a pants or coat pocket to put it in.
            In addition, Local Church Bible Publishers also reprints the Cambridge Cameo (without Apocrypha) as a much cheaper alternative to Cambridge’s printings. They call their edition of the Cameo the “Compact Center Column Reference” Bible.
            These are just some of my favorite compact Bibles, but there are a few other honorable mentions: Ignatius Press RSV-CE Compact with zipper, Compact Westminster Reference Bible from TBS, Royal Ruby, ESV Pocket New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs, and Oxford’s NABRE compact.

I love my compact Bibles. I find them to be one of the most useful editions of the Scriptures, but I also find myself using them less and less due to two things: 1. I started using a smart phone which has many Bible applications, and 2. I developed a habit of note taking in my Bible, which compacts are not the best for. Now, I am not so loyal to my compact Bibles. 

About the Author

Kevin Daugherty is a Mennonite Voluntary Service participant, food pantry worker, and pastoral ministry student in Elkhart, IN.