Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lost Latin Commentary of Gospels Found

Via Religion News Service:
The earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels, lost for more than 1,500 years, has been rediscovered and made available in English for the first time. The extraordinary find, a work written by a bishop in northern Italy, Fortunatianus of Aquileia, dates back to the middle of the fourth century.
The biblical text of the manuscript is of particular significance, as it predates the standard Latin version known as the Vulgate and provides new evidence about the earliest form of the Gospels in Latin.
Despite references to this commentary in other ancient works, no copy was known to survive until Lukas Dorfbauer, a researcher from the University of Salzburg, identified Fortunatianus’ text in an anonymous manuscript copied around the year 800 and held in Cologne Cathedral Library. The manuscripts of Cologne Cathedral Library were made available online in 2002.
To continue reading this article from RNS, click here

Thursday, August 24, 2017

60th Anniversary of the Death of Msgr. Ronald Knox

17 February 1888 – 24 August 1957

Mary of Holyrood may smile indeed,
Knowing what grim historic shade it shocks
To see wit, laughter and the Popish creed
Cluster and sparkle in the name of Knox.
- G.K.Chesterton

Monday, August 21, 2017

CCSS: Romans by Scott Hahn

The long awaited Scott Hahn commentary on Romans, via the excellent Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series, will be released on November 7th.  This is one of the best Catholic biblical series out there because it does an amazing job combining the pastoral and the academic.  It utilizes the current NAB NT, which also makes it useful for those doing lectionary-based catechesis or for homiletics in the US.

However, one of the things I most appreciate about this series is the diversity of endorsements, which really cover the spectrum of Catholic biblical scholarship.  Here is a taste of the endorsements for this edition:

"Scott Hahn has written a masterful commentary on Romans that is theologically insightful and pastorally relevant. While dealing adeptly with the historical and literary background of Romans, he always keeps the focus on its theological content and meaning for our lives. I recommend Hahn's work to all who want to discover the powerful message of Paul's great Letter to the Romans."
--Frank J. Matera, Catholic University of America

"Hahn's commentary on Romans is lucid, penetrating, theologically alert, and a joy to read. It will be of interest to both scholar and nonscholar alike. His status as one of the most prominent Catholic converts from Protestantism makes his treatment of this great Pauline text, which was of such significance to Luther and the other Reformers, of particular interest."
--Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles

"Hahn has written an informative, elegant, and learned commentary on Romans. The exegesis is crisp, the explanations are clear, and the judgments are consistently sensible. One of the best commentaries available on Romans from within the Catholic tradition. A treat to read and a treasure to hold."
--Michael F. Bird, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

"For four decades, Hahn has joyfully studied, debated, preached, taught, and lived Paul's Letter to the Romans. No biblical book is closer to his heart, with the result that the vibrant wisdom of this commentary exceeds that of commentaries many times its size. Judicious in its sifting of the scholarly literature, profound in its handling of sensitive Jewish-Christian themes, and powerful in its proclamation of the gospel, this deeply Catholic commentary will find a notable place among his most enduring and influential books."
--Matthew Levering, Mundelein Seminary

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dynamic Catholic's New Testament (RSV-CE)

Paperback Cover
I am sure many of you are familiar with the work of Matthew Kelly and his organization Dynamic Catholic.  Well, it looks like they are publishing their own edition of the RSV-CE New Testament.  The paperback edition you can order for free, with only a $5.95 shipping and handling cost.  They also have a blue leatherette for $24.95.  

Description of Leatherette Edition:
Do you want to know Jesus, but don’t know where to begin? Why not begin with the Bible? It is the most read book of all time, and is the best way to discover who Jesus was, how he lived, and what he taught. Even a few minutes a day spent reading the New Testament can transform your life in surprising ways – it’s not just another book.

The Revised Standard Version has been acclaimed for decades as the clearest, most accurate, and most beautiful modern translation of the Bible in English. This handsome leatherette edition with ribbon marker is set in clear, contemporary typeface and a single-column format making it attractive and easy to read.

Thank you to reader Michael for sharing this with me. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Coming Soon: Spirtual Warfare Bible (RSV-CE)

All I can say is that the binding on this bible better be sewn and there should be a whole lot more than just nine glossy inserts to justify that price.  

There is a battle waging for your soul. But you can arm yourself, and this Spiritual Warfare Bible is the perfect weapon against Satan. There is no better way to Our Lord than by reflecting on His own words and actions in Scripture. 

This Spiritual Warfare Bible RSV-CE includes nine special Spiritual Warfare inserts written and compiled by Paul Thigpen, PhD, author the acclaimed Manual for Spiritual Warfare, including: 

• Scripture for the Battle 
• Know Your Enemy 
• Know Your Commander and Comrades 
• Know Your Weapons 
• Church Teaching About Spiritual Warfare 
• Words from the Saints about Spiritual Warfare 
• Spiritual Warfare in the Lives of the Saints 
• Prayers for the Battle 
• Spiritual Warfare Topical Index

Price: $69.95

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Revised New Jerusalem Bible

I spotted this on the very fine Facebook group, Catholic Bible Fans, via Llywellyn, the DLT (out of the U.K.) will be publishing a revised NJB New Testament and Psalms this November.  No word on whether there it will be published in the US at this time.  I'll look around.

Presenting the world’s first modern English Bible in a new light.
In 1966, Darton, Longman and Todd published the Jerusalem Bible, the first full translation of the Bible into modern English, with an acclaimed set of study notes. In 1985, it released the New Jerusalem Bible, an update of the Bible text for a fast-changing world. Now, after more than thirty years, DLT is preparing to publish the Revised New Jerusalem Bible – a substantial revision of the JB and NJB texts, and one which applies formal equivalence translation for a more accurate rendering of the original scriptures, sensitivity to readable speech patterns and more inclusive language. The RNJB is accompanied by a new, comprehensive set of study notes and book introductions enabling the Bible to be read with the insight, wisdom and understanding of the most up-to-date biblical scholarship.
The New Testament and Psalms will be published in November 2017, and the Full Bible will be published in the late spring of 2018. Both editions will contain the comprehensive study notes and book introductions.
The RNJB has been translated, and the notes and introductions written, by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and one of the foremost biblical scholars of our day. Fr Henry was the translator and general editor of the NJB.
Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB is a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and one of the foremost biblical scholars of our day. Fr Henry was the translator and general editor of the NJB.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Genesis 1-11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators

It is not often that I receive a book for review that really excites me and has me hoping that there will be more volumes like it in the future.  Genesis 1-11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators by Bray and Hobbins is one of them.  Of all the books I have read over the past few years, this one I found to be the clearest and most helpful in showing the true art of translation.  This blog came into existence to provide a place to discuss Catholic translations, and if you were to look back at the various posts over the years, the ones that discussed the "good" and "bad" of the various Catholic translations have always been the most popular and engaging in the comments.  And that is all a very good thing, particularly with the interactions from the various people who have provided helpful insight over the years in the comboxes.  Yet, it is not often that a book comes out that tackles all those issues we have discuss here.  

Well, what does this book do?

Book description: This translation of Genesis 1-11 follows the Hebrew text closely and leaves in what many translations leave out: physicality, ambiguity, repetition, even puns. Bray and Hobbins also draw deeply from the long history of Jewish and Christian interpretation. Their translation and notes offer the reader wisdom and delight.

Before I explain, I'd encourage you to read (or re-read) my recent interview with Samuel Bray.  He goes over, in detail and with examples, what the book description says.  Their motivation for writing this book should be encouragement enough for you to consider purchasing it.  In addition, you will discover that the authors, who are both Protestant, are very ecumenical.  There are references to the Douay, Knox, JB, NJB, and NABRE throughout.  There is a great appreciation for Catholic biblical contributions within this book.

The book, itself, is divided into two distinct parts.  The first part is the authors translation of Genesis 1-11 (although they include 12:1-9 as well).   The translation is presented in a single column, paragraph style, with the chapter and verse numbering on the margins.  Much like the Knox or Jerusalem Bible editions, this allows the text to flow very freely and encourage long chunks of reading.  There are no paragraph headings, which is a good thing.  The translation gives you a real flavor of the importance of repetition in the Hebrew text.  The toledot formula ("These are the generations of....) is a clear example
of this.  How often do we find it translated with some variation within the same translation?  Many translations do not keep a consistency here, even though the formula appears six times in the first eleven chapters of Genesis (2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 27).  It is examples like this which make this volume so very helpful.

Notice the clear page layout and references at the bottom
The second part of the book consists of almost 150 pages of notes/annotations, along with a number of extensive indexes, a glossary, and a 30+ page work cited section.  The notes are the real jewel here.  The translation, found in the first half of the book, is examined (almost) verse by verse, looking at the Hebrew and comparing it to other ancient translations (like the LXX and Vulgate) as well as dozens of older and modern English translations, including Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish ones.  Because the indexes are so extensive, you can look up your favorite translation to see where it is commented on.

In conclusion, get this book.  It contains both a ton of insights about the Hebrew of Genesis 1-11 and enough translation comparison information to keep you occupied for weeks, if not months.  It is a great tool for your study of Genesis 1-11, which should be used beside your favorite translation and commentaries.  Support this book so that more volumes will come out in the future.

Thank you Sam Bray, John Hobbins, and Glossahouse for providing me a copy for this book for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Real Douay-Rheims Bible (Review and Interview)

Dr. William von Peters is the author of The Real Douay-Rheims Bible Site, where you can find his transliteration of the original 1610 edition of the venerable Douay-Rheims Bible.  You can purchase both digital and print copies, in various editions, on the website.  

I received a review copy of the Rheims New Testament (1582) which was printed through Lulu.  As you will see from the images provided, it is a very basic paperback edition.   Yet, the print is very clear and the binding seems to be OK.  The scripture, itself, is set out by verse, not in paragraph form, which was custom at that time and remained popular until fairly recently.  Before each chapter you will find, in italics, a summary of that chapter.  In the margins you will find cross-references, commentary focusing on liturgical/lectionary connections, as well as brief notes.  At the end of each biblical chapter, you will find an extensive amount of annotations, which are much more detailed than the what is found in the margins.  These notes are both theological and apologetic.  You will notice two things, the use of the Church Fathers and Councils, as well as a direct focus on refuting the teachings of the Reformation.   In so many ways, these annotations are a window into the time in which they were written.  Many of the reformers are referred to by name, such most notably Martin Luther and John Calvin.  The "errors" of the Protestant reformers are not handled in the more ecumenical spirit of our current days.  For example, the annotation for Romans 3:22 refers to the Calvinist commentary on it as "wicked and vain."  Most of you are aware that by the time of the Challoner revision, much of that style of annotation was eliminated from the text.  

So, I see this text as a very interesting peek into a particular moment of time.  Much like the King James Version, most people who read the Douay-Rheims don't realize that it has been revised and edited since the original version was completed in the early 17th century.  

Recently, I was able to ask Dr. von Peters a few questions about this project.  I'd like to thank him for taking the time to answer my questions.

1) To begin with, could you tell my audience a little bit about yourself?
I am a natural physician with degrees in various natural therapies such as oriental, homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, as well as in religion and humanities. Religiously I'm a former Protestant seminarian and convert to the Catholic Church.

2) What interested you in making the original Douay-Rheims more readable for a modern audience?
As a Protestant, and particularly as a seminarian, we learned all about the unscriptural Catholic Church and its worship of statues and such. While not buying into the idea that Catholics were not Christians, they didn't seem to be Bible Christians.

One day an instructor in one of our courses remarked upon a verse, I can't remember which one any longer, and stated that our seminary believed it meant this, but Baptists thought it meant that, others something else, and Catholics, well they had their own strange ideas At that point I realized that if I was to be responsible for souls as a pastor, and could not be sure of correct interpretation of text, I could not continue, and so left seminary.

Years later, as a result of a divine intervention after being given a "rosary challenge" by a good Catholic, I was told out of the blue by a voice as I walked down the sidewalk that - "the oldest Church is the true Church" - and this set me upon the path of gradually becoming a Catholic. Having been brought up that the worst thing one could do was become a Catholic, it was difficult.

Once in the Church, I heard that the Douay Rheims was the official bible of the Catholic Church and the one that should be used.  Later I learned that the Challoner is not the real Douay Rheims, but Challoner's translation. So I bought a photocopy of the 1610 Douay Rheims, and began reading it. I was struck by the quality and erudition of the notes and annotations, as well as the difference in translation of the original DR compared to other translations I was familiar with.

Reading the notes and annotations of the 1610 original Douay Rheims I found that all the questions that Protestants throw at Catholics were answered easily. It occurred to me that "everyone should have a copy of this bible". The problem was that it was in old English script, and had never been rendered into Latin script; and so was basically unknown, and unreadable to the masses.

I had studied German in high school, and the German script is very close to the old English, and I had no trouble with it, but this would not be so for others. So I set about transliterating the text to render it readable.

3) What was the process by which you transliterated the text?  How long did it take?
The process was to simply sit down at my computer and begin typing. I began with the New Testament, and every evening I would type a chapter or two along with the notes and annotations, trying to keep the formatting close to the original. I'm sure my family wondered about this seeming obsession every evening, but I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. And it was a daunting job.

My eyesight at that time was much better and I could read the very small print easily. Now I could not do it as with age my eyesight, while still good, is no longer up to the job.

When it was complete after several years of work, I began offering it for sale. The process was so long and intensive that I took a few years off, and didn't really want to get into the Douay Old Testament.

But then one day I decided to begin with it. People had been asking when the Douay would be available and I realized that I needed to get going again. So began the same process of sitting down and typing. During the process, and after I had completed about a third of the Old Testament, someone said they had a pdf file of the Douay, which they gave me.

This new technology enabled me to greatly speed up the process. So I began the slow work of rendering the old English into a workable copy in Latin script. At that point everything sped up as I could work on cleaning up and correcting the copy instead of continuing to type from scratch.

I began with the Rheims in early 1994, and finished just prior to Christmas in 2005. So overall, the time frame was close to twelve years before the entire REAL Douay Rheims Bible was complete.

4) Are there any differences between your work and the original?
Well, there is no difference between the two at all, as all I did was bring the Douay Rheims into our modern world of latin script which is the English that we are familiar with. There are some footnotes that I added to give the meanings for obsolete words in the text, which I got from the Oxford unabridged dictionary, but other than that it is what it was.

5) What else is included in your Real Douay-Rheims? Annotations? Cross-references?
The original Douay Rheims is a remarkable work by Dr. Gregory Martin and his team, and includes cross references, references to verses used in the Mass of various types, such as for a bishop, for a confessor, etc.

The annotations are prodigious. They take up about half of the space in the entire Bible and give the reasons why a certain text means what the Catholic Church says it does. It does this by quoting Doctors of the Church, Saints, Popes, Councils and others. In addition it goes into the reasons why Protestant arguments are not correct and are heretical.

The Bible is the product of the Catholic Church. She put the canon of Scripture together, carefully protected it from the fires of heresy and schism, and made it available to the world as the Word of God - one of the two sources of truth, the other being sacred Tradition.

6) Why do you consider the original Douay-Rheims to be superior to the Challoner revision?
Cardinal Wiseman said regarding Challoner's version: "To call it any longer the Douav or Rheimish Version is an abuse of terms. It has been altered and modified until scarcely any verse remains as it was originally published."

If one looks at the reasons for Bp. Challoner's work one can understand why he did what he did, but it is definitely inferior. He removed pretty much everything against the Protestants, soft pedaled doctrine, and made the translation in line with the King James Bible.

This was done for a reason. Under British penal laws being -caught with the Douay Rheims Bible was an executable offense. Henry VIII set up the Church of England as the only official church in his realm, and Catholics were hounded, persecuted, and executed. The Douay Rheims gave true Catholic doctrine and could not be permitted by the authorities.

So Catholics in England were not allowed the Douay Rheims Bible, and indeed had no bible until Challoner (who was a convert) made his edition and put it between the covers as the Douay Rheims in the 1700s. This was watered down enough to be allowed by the Crown to English Catholics.

As the REAL Douay Rheims was never printed in Latin script (what we today simply call modern English) it became basically an interest of scholars, and was lost to ordinary Catholics. This is what I sought to remedy.