Friday, September 29, 2017

My Classroom Desk Today

Doing some class prep. using my ACTA The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition and the Saint Benedict Press/Tan Catholic Scripture Study Bible RSV-CE.   Why these two translations?  Well, there are two primary reasons: 1) They represent, for Catholic readers, the two opposite ends of the translation spectrum; 2) The physical books themselves are joy to read from, particularly the size of the print and the overall page layout.  So, while the translation is important, I have more and more come to the conclusion that the look and feel of a bible is of equal importance.

What are you reading from these days?

Friday, September 22, 2017

NLT-CE from Tyndale

I was really excited to receive from Tyndale a review copy of their brand new Catholic Holy Bible Reader's Edition NLT-CE for two main reasons.  First, I know there are a number of you who have desired an approved edition of the NLT.  You now have an edition available for purchase here in the United States.  (For more about the editions that came out last year in India, go here.)  Secondly, it is great to see a Protestant publisher try their hand, once again, at a Catholic edition.  I hope this continues, since it might mean that nicer, more well-made bible editions could be in our future.  So, I encourage all of you to consider getting this edition, so that Tyndale can see that there is an audience for further Catholic editions.  (Plus, it is a really nice edition too!)

The NLT text used is the 2015 revision.  The text for the Deuterocanonical books appear to be the same ones that were originally done for the ill-fated and unapproved NLT Catholic Reference Edition.  I will have to do some more reading to see, but I haven't notced too many differences. The page that lists the translation teams states that Philip Comfort, J. Julius Scott, David Barrett, and James Swanson translated the Deuterocanonicals, which, if I am not mistaken, are the same folks who did the earlier version. My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that the biblical scholars who approved the India edition that was first released last year simply reviewed the text with suggesting a few minor changes. I will be happy to be corrected if I am wrong about this.  Here is a photo of the copyright page:

For a fairly straight-forward readers Bible it is fantastic.  This edition has a very clear double-column page-layout.  (It reminds me a bit of HarperOne's NRSVs to be honest.) Since this is meant to be primarily a readers bible, I believe most of you will find that it succeeds in accomplishing that goal.  Bolded paragraph headings and line-matching makes it a easy to read from in most any setting and light.  The paper is a bright white, not cream colored.   The NLT-CE is sewn and includes a ribbon marker.  The hardcover is sturdy, and combined with the sewn binding, should last a long time.  It might also make a good candidate for a rebinding project.  Overall, a very nice product that is simply, yet beautifully made.

At the bottom of each page you will find textual notes, most often indicating a more literal rendering of the Hebrew or Greek.  In addition, you will find in the New Testament direct cross-references when the Old Testament is cited.  There are a few references found in the Old Testament as well.  All notes are indicated in the text by an asterisk.

Each book comes with an introduction, outline, and a short blurb about themes, purpose, authorship, and date of composition.  These are short, but helpful.  This is not intended to be a study bible, yet the introductions are very good and informative for the relative small size of them.

Finally, and to my surprise, there is found at the back of the Bible a generous set of maps.  And yes, there is a map of the Greek Empire included.  In total, there are 9 maps which cover the entire biblical period.  These are newly produced maps, with a copyright of 2016.

So, once again, I encourage you to got pick this edition up.  My edition is nicely made and a joy to read from.  

*Thank you to Tyndale for providing this review copy for an honest review by this reviewer*

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Great Facebook Page

I just wanted to let you know of a really fantastic Facebook group that you all can join, which has regular content (far more than this place these days) and lively discussion.  It is simply called the Catholic Bible Fans group and I highly recommend you checking out.  It has been in operation for a few months now and was set up by many of the regulars who comment and read this blog.  So, go check it out!

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Release: The House of the Lord by Dr. Steven Smith

Catholic biblical scholar Steven Smith has just published, through Franciscan University Press, an important new book looking at the role of Temple in both the Old and New Testaments.  The House of the Lord: A Catholic Biblical Theology of God's Temple Presence in the Old and New Testaments is currently only available in hardcover and is listed at 392 pages.  It looks like it would make for a fascinating read.

You can find out more about Dr. Smith by heading over to his website, which includes information about both his printed and audio works.  Dr. Smith also did an interview with me a few years back focusing on an earlier book, which you can read here.  

The House of the Lord invites readers to participate in a unique journey: a deep exploration of the Old and New Testaments that searches out and contemplates the reality of God's presence with his people, with a particular focus on investigating God's self-revelation in and through the biblical temple. The journey represents a tour de force of biblical theology, guided by author Steven Smith, a Catholic biblical scholar, seminary professor, and expert on the temple and the Holy Land. In addition to the temple, Smith observes the centrality of priesthood in both the Old and New Testaments, exploring all four Gospels like never before, through a temple lens.
From Genesis onward, Smith carefully traces the biblical mystery of the temple, including the Sanctuary of Mount Eden, the tabernacle of the wilderness, the rise and fall of Solomon's Temple, Herod's Temple in Jesus's day, and the heavenly sanctuary of Revelation. Supported by a massive array of evidence and details, from sources across two millennia of biblical theology, this book will be read and read again for its value as a reference work. The House of the Lord is for anyone who seeks to understand more deeply the message of the biblical story.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

So Which Is It? (2 Maccabees 15:39/40)

Water and Wine, oil on canvas—Richard Baker, 1959
I was reading the last verse of 2 Maccabees 15 yesterday (verse 39 in the Greek-based texts, 40 in the Latin ones) and noticed that there is an interesting difference between the translations, depending on whether they use the Greek or Latin.  It may only be a slight difference, but one which changes the meaning of this last verse of the book.

Here are a few different translations that utilize the Greek:

"For as it is hurtful to drink wine or water alone; and as wine mingled with water is pleasant, and delighteth the taste: even so speech finely framed delighteth the ears of them that read the story. And here shall be an end." -Brenton LXX

"For as it is hurtful to drink wine or water alone; and as wine mingled with water is pleasant, and delighteth the taste: even so speech finely framed delighteth the ears of them that read the story. And here shall be an end." -KJV

"Just as it is unpleasant to drink wine by itself or just water, whereas wine mixed with water makes a delightful and pleasing drink, so a skillfully composed story delights the ears of those who read the work. Let this, then, be the end." -NABRE

"For just as it is harmful to drink wine alone, or, again, to drink water alone, while wine mixed with water is sweet and delicious and enhances one’s enjoyment, so also the style of the story delights the ears of those who read the work. And here will be the end." -NRSV

Here are two that utilize the Latin:

"For as it is hurtful to drink always wine, or always water, but pleasant to use sometimes the one, and sometimes the other: so if the speech be always nicely framed, it will not be grateful to the readers. But here it shall be ended." -Douay-Rheims (Challoner)

"Nothing but wine to take, nothing but water, thy health forbids; vary thy drinking, and thou shalt find content. So it is with reading; if the book be too nicely polished at every point, it grows wearisome. So here we will have done with it." -Knox

Did you notice the difference?  As you can see, the Greek-based texts conclude by praising a story that is skillfully written, while the Latin-based ones ends exalting books that aren't "too nicely polished."  (The NRSV is a bit more ambigious compared to the KJV and NABRE.)  In this instance, it seems to me that the Latin-based texts make more sense, particularly since earlier in the verse the author remarks that it is better to drink wine and water that are mixed together, hence not purely wine or water only.

The 1859 Haydock commentary of the Douay noted the difference as well:

Ver. 40. Always. Greek, "only." (Haydock) --- Readers delight in variety. A middle style is adopted. (Calmet) --- But.Greek, "But as wine mixed with water is pleasant, and affords delight, so the preparation (or style) of a discourse pleases the ears of those who read what is collected. But here shall be an end." (Haydock)


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Millennial’s Thoughts on Bible Translation

By  Alex Blechle Pray Tell blog

This post is especially for millennials, from a millennial.
Biblical translations are a fickle subject. Many people have opinions on which translations are the most “correct” or “orthodox”, which is great – but a little scholarship might change your opinion. Let me take a crack at it.
So, I’m going to walk through some common mistakes or misunderstandings that tend to sneak up on people concerning translations. These bolded statements are from conversations that I have had with students my age. A majority of this conversation will be focused upon the New Testament side of things, because, well… I don’t know Hebrew very well!
“I read the King James Version because it’s the most reliable translation.”
Sorry. The KJV is poor in quality compared to biblical texts in the 20th/21st century. I promise I do not have a prejudice against “thy” and “thou”. The KJV is a “literal” translation from Hebrew and Greek into English, which is a great thing. The only problem is that the KJV only used a few older Greek manuscripts in the creation of the New Testament. To be a bit more technical, the KJV uses almost solely the Textus Receptus, while we now use a dynamic, critical text, which means we have an overwhelming amount of researched Greek texts that have helped us create a more reliable New Testament. It’s not the KJV’s fault, but we just have a better Greek text to translate from.
“The Douay-Rheims is the most ‘Catholic’ Bible.”
Sigh. I’m sorry, Grandpa. This is not true either! The Douay-Rheims is a literal translation from the Latin Vulgate into English. Why is that an issue? Let’s be very clear here – the New Testament was written in GREEK. The Latin Vulgate, although beautiful, is also not the best translation in the world. The Douay-Rheims is a translation of a translation. You do not need to be a critical scholar who compares the critical Greek text and the Latin to understand that translating a translation cannot be as literal as starting with the first translation. Also, reiterating my point in the KJV post, our Greek texts are better now than in the time of Jerome. I am very aware that Jerome was closer to the time of Jesus than we are, but he also had limited resources. We translate from Greek instead of Latin for a reason.
So, which translation is best?
To continue reading, click here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

For Sale: Rebound Calloner-Rheims New Testament


I just wanted to pass this along, because I know there will be someone who will really dig this. Please make sure to address all inquiries to Bill.

Hi, I am offering my 1941 Revised Challoner-Rheims Version of the New Testament, which was recently bound by Leonard's in black leather soft-tanned goatskin. The bible itself is in near perfect condition with the exception of some light browning of the page edges which is common for a book from 1941. As far as I can see, there is no writing in the bible, and it is solidly bound.

This was rebound by Leonard's back in March of this year. I have far too many bibles, and am clearing out my bookshelf. This one, in particular,  I wanted to share here, on Timothy's blog because I know people here understand the value of a professionally leather covered bible from Leonard's. 

I payed just over $140.00 with shipping, and am asking $75.00 shipped via USPS within the ConUSA (Shipping from MA.). I will except PayPal.  Please contact me at: Billhicks(at)ymail(dot)com with any questions.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Thinking About Advent Yet?

I am happy to announce that my wife and I have published an Advent devotional through ACTA Publications.  Entitled Expectantly Waiting in Wonder, this 32 page devotional contains excerpts from the daily Mass readings for Advent, reflections, illustrations, and suggestions for action.  Each day's suggestion for action provides an invitation to enter into the wondrous love of a God, who chose to become one of us and "moved into the neighborhood (Jn 1:14)."  We have also made sure to provide space each day for journaling and reflecting. Original illustrations were created by my wife and connects to the Sunday and Holy Day readings found during the Advent season.  All of the daily reflections are taken from The Message: Catholic/Ecumencial Edition.

This was a lot of fun to work on, particularly since it was a joint project with my amazingly talented wife.  (More information about her work can be found on her Instagram page.)  Using The Message made the process a lot more interesting, since its renderings are often much more direct and challenging.  I have come to appreciate it a lot more after writing this devotional, even when I don't always agree with a particular rendering.  

So, if you are interested in picking up something for Advent that will be very different, consider giving this a try.  It cost a whopping .99 cents per copy, with an even greater discount if you buy it in bulk.  If you have ever considered supporting this blog, this would also be a great way to do it.  

We recently finished the Lenten counterpart to this one, so look for that in January.  I'll have more information about this in the coming months, as well as a giveaway or two.  

Thanks for your support.