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?


Steve Molitor said...

NOAB RSV baby! Can't get away from here, no matter how hard I try! I love the format.

Timothy said...

Most definitely!

Thomas said...

Dipping my toes in the waters of the Good news bible catholic edition.

Bob said...

I've been praying with the new Pauline edition of the NAB New Testament.
The format is great for that purpose!

When I need the whole thing I use a 1990 leather Catholic Study Bible I got for 5 bucks on ebay a while back. I love the format...the margins...the binding. Plus it matches the lectionary pretty well. (1970 Old Testament, 1986 NT).

I also got a book made for personal use of my "reader's gospels" styled NAB gospels, without chapter and verse divisions or headings or footnotes. That one lives near my bed. I'm taking it on retreat this weekend.

Tom said...

Didache NABRE and Knox!

Ronny Tadena said...

I've actually been enjoying Cambridge's New Cambridge Paragraph Bible with Apocrypha (Deuterocanon) - Yes I did cross that out and write it on the table of contents ;-), edited by David Norton.

I suspected it might be a rebind candidate, so I saved myself some money and bought the cheaper hardback edition. Just as Tim says, page layout and formatting really make a huge difference. I'm actually new the the KJV, and I picked up a traditional KJV along with NCPB so I could have the KJV in a smaller format and comparing the two is like night and day. The regular KJV, in traditional verse by verse double column format feels very cramped and clumsy often, especially when I'm trying to read out loud, such as when praying the psalms. the NCPB, by contrast feels smooth as silk to read and recite. I'm sure Norton's updates to the text have something to do with this, but I also think the single column format, which renders prose as prose and poetry as poetry, is just a more natural and intuitive reading experience. I feel myself tripping over the text less and less, and absorbing the rhythm and the meaning much more easily.

As I said, I also love how this format respects the difference between prose and poetry. Previous to this, my easiest reading bible was my single column Knox, but I have to say, from a formating perspective the NCPB puts even my beloved Baronus Knox to shame! Knox's translation is unquestionably beautiful, no doubt about it. But with the formating always being big blocks of paragraphs, even the psalms, I have to confess that my eyes sometimes begin to glaze over as I try to read. The more dynamic formatting of the NCPB feels like it keeps my eyes more easily engaged by changing gears and keeping the text eye catching. I also suspect that the NCPB keeps the character per line number lower overall, as well as seeming to have a slightly larger text size. All that said, I'm still reading and loving my Knox.

As far as the NCPB, all this gushing might have something to do with the fact that, as predicted I did end up sending it off for a gilding AND a rebind! Process is likely to take forever, so I'm stuck with the regular KJV until it gets back!

I'm also reading a new pocket ESV NT w/Psalms & Proverbs. Its a single column, with line matching and with the seeming aim to make distinctions between poetry and prose. Even though its a pocket bible with only 7 pt font, I swear this pocket bible is easier on the eyes then most of my full sized bibles.

Page layout matters!!

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

I have an NABRE from Harpers and an NSRV from Oxford (not a Catholic edition per se but it has all the books). I like the NSRV better because it has a bigger font and more opaque paper. I am reading lots of 19th century literature with quotes from the Bible and I am trying to read the passages mentioned, at least when I can find them.

Evergreen Dissident said...

The Message Catholic/Ecumenical Edition is my daily driver for Bible reading, with the NABRE when I want a more literal translation or I want reference notes to help inform my study. I also use the New Catholic Version edition of the Psalms by Catholic Book Publishing Co.

Biblical Catholic said...

Still working on the Little Rock Study Bible, I'm sure I'll be working on it for the better part of the next 2-3 years.

Jonny said...

The Catholic Scripture Study Bible is a nice font and format for reading, as well as the large print RSV-CE from Oxford. Both editions have the chapter headings, which I think are helpful. It seems that I have a have a Bible for every mood and occasion!

Jason MSpyridonP said...

This seems like a great Bible - I have a deep and abiding love for the ol King James - IMO, it is THE go to English Bible - even for Catholics.

I wish a Catholic publisher would put togethet a KJV with the Catholic Canon in order and some Catholic commentary and get an Imprimatur on it!

100% of the issues with the KJV lie in the canon of the books and the commentary - the translation itself is 100% Catholic, 100% Orthodox.

Jeff S. said...

And regarding Jason's excellent comment, the KJV is NOT copyrighted except in England!
So there would be literally NOTHING stopping a publisher in the
USA from putting out a Catholic KJV with Apocrypha(Deuterocanonical).
And as Jason said, just put the books in Catholic order and add
some Catholic commentary, or just put out a bare bones one
with all the books in proper Catholic order and no commentary.

In fact, with the power of desktop publishing software, one could
create that for themselves (without commentary) and create a PDF
and have it printed out at their local FedExOffice (Kinko).

But of course it would be nicer to have it printed in a quality
physical way by someone like Cambridge University Press and/or
Oxford University Press. Except they are in England! But they
could probably pull it off. And of course any USA publisher could do it with no legal problems at all since as mentioned above,
the KJV with and without the Apocrypha is NOT copyrighted except
in England.

Jonny said...

I wonder if there is an Anglican Bibles Blog somewhere where someone is saying, "The Douay-Rheims Bible is 100% Anglican!!!"

Tate said...

I'm reading the NABRE for study and the Oxford New English Bible with the Apocrypha for pleasure. Out loud of course. I agree that the format is quite important and the NEB single column format with marginal chapter and verse numbering makes it an easy read. Not technically a Catholic translation, the NEB, but a really nice translation all the same. And despite being 47 years old (so much for NEW English Bible) it doesn't seem dated.

Jason MSpyridonP said...

Show me one single translation in the KJV that is not translated in the same way in other modern Catholic Bibles - I challenge you to show me ONE SINGLE antiCatholic mistranslation in the KJV text.

There's a reason why Eastern Orthodox Catholic Christians who speak English use the KJV more than any other Bible.

I stand by my original assertion - the KJV translation itself (not the letter from the editors, the commentary or canon - there ARE issues there) is 100% Orthodox, 100% Catholic.

Jonny said...

I did not say that the King James Bible was mistranslated to be anti-Catholic, but it is not a Catholic Bible. It is a Protestant Bible in 15th century English.

One may not recognize this by casual reading, but there are hundreds of words used in the KJV that have changed in meaning since 1611. The average reader cannot get through the first chapter of the Bible without confusion. In Genesis 1:28 - "God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth..." In pre-modern English replenish meant to "fill," rather than what the modern reader would understand it to say, to "refill." In fact, there are a large number of Protestants who subscribe to dispensational theology, and believe in a "pre-Adamite" world, that the earth was populated before Adam and Eve. (This narrative is featured in the theological books that complement the popular "Left Behind" books and movies.)

I could go on to type out a lengthy list of words in the KJV that have different and even opposite meanings, but what would be the point of this? What would be the point of a Bishop putting a rubber stamp on King James? For Liturgy? For Catholic families devotion? For serious Study? I am not sure I am seeing the point here. The Orthodox use a translation of the Septuagint and the NKJV New Testament. The NKJV is closer in some aspects to their traditional text. The critical editions of the NT are closer to the Roman Catholic Traditional text, the Vulgate.

The wonderful thing about the RSV is that it met in the middle between Catholics and other Christian traditions. It has much of the KJV language sans the obsolete vocabulary, and not based on the Textus Receptus. This is why the Anglican use Catholics use the RSV-2CE lectionary and not the KJV.

If you like King James, that's fine, get a nice copy with "apocrypha" and read it. It doesn't have to say "Catholic" on the cover. I also have the one from Cambridge and read it every once in a while, and occasionally use it for apologetics, if that is the "accepted" version. It is in my experience the favorite bludgeon of the most fanatic anti-Catholic groups, so it is interesting to charitably use it to defend Catholic doctrine! ;)

Erica said...

I've been using the CTS New Catholic Bible, a.k.a. The Jerusalem Bible sans "Yahweh" with the Grail Psalms. The notes are not as detailed as a full-sized JB or NJB, but it is a nice compact size to carry around. I love that the introductions for each book have a "liturgical note" to show where the scripture is used in Mass, the LOTH, or other forms of prayer. Also, the indexes have a chart of Sunday Mass readings, daily Mass readings, and Breviary readings. The two main selling points were the JB's single-column format, and the Grail Psalms matching the LOTH Psalms.

Biblical Catholic said...

"This seems like a great Bible - I have a deep and abiding love for the old King James - IMO, it is THE go to English Bible - even for Catholics."

I hardly think that an anti-Catholic translation is a 'great choice for Catholics'

If you doubt that the KJV is anti-Catholic, read the preface, where it makes several direct attacks upon the Catholic Church, claiming, for example, that the Catholic Church is 'afraid of the scriptures' and that the Catholic Church 'practices deceit'.

Far from being 'a good Bible for Catholics', the KJV was for centuries on the Index of Forbidden Books, for good reason.

Theophrastus said...

"the King James Bible [...] is a Protestant Bible in 15th century English."

In the 15th century, England was Catholic. The language of England in the 15th century is was what we now call "Middle English."

The English Reformation took place in the 16th century, in the 1530s. William Tyndale published his famous translation (the basis of many later translations, including the Geneva Bible, the KJV, the RSV, and NRSV) in the 1520s and 1530s.

The King James Bible was written in the Jacobean era (as the term "James" suggests) in the 17th century. Since some of the language was taken from the 16th century translations of Tyndale and others, one could argue that there is some 16th century English in that translation, but it most definitely appeared in the 17th century.

The language of England in the 17th century (when the KJV appeared) was what we now call "(Early) Modern English." It was not just English grammar and spelling that changed dramatically between the 15th and 17th centuries, pronunciation changed as well. English underwent what we now call "the great vowel shift."

If you would like to test how well you can read 15th century English, here is a link to a famous Catholic work of that era, The Book of Margery Kempe, I think that you will find that reading the KJV is a breeze compared to reading Margery Kempe in the original.

Jason MSpyridonP said...

I agree the KJV commentary is Anti Catholic.

The KJV text itself however is 100% Catholic.

I challenge anyone to show me one single anti Catholic translation in the KJV Bible.

The KJV Text itself is 100% Orthodox, 100% Catholic.

The commentary is loaded with anti Catholic junk but its basically just a preface and letter at the beginning which is not even included in many versions. Also the OT Canon is wrong and the books are not even included in many versions. These ARE issues.

But the KJV Bible, the translation itself, is every bit as Catholic as the NAB Bible.

Jonny said...

Theo- you are correct- the King James Bible is primarily 16th century English- not 15th... typo, sorry! The KJV is a revision of the Church of England's 16th century Bishops Bible.

Unknown said...

Mainly the Oxford Large Print NABRE and Ignatius NT and Psalms. Although lately there are days I just get in a few chapters with the Truth and Life Audio NT. I've been wanting to pick up my old The Catholic Living Bible and read that again. Either that or the GNT-CE. Maybe the 24/7 caregiver duties are getting me tired, but the more literal translations just don't sink in lately.

Surly Hermit said...

I'm always amazed and the hatred and vitriol for the Authorized Version from some quarters of Catholicism. I could easily condemn The Message far more justifiably than the AV, but I don't.

Anyway, my daily reader is the Knox. For prayer, the AV (though usually the Coverdale psalter).

Timothy said...

Fortunately, I won’t allow any blanket condemnations of any translation to be posted here. Please let’s keep the discussion civil. I try to maintain that on this blog, even though in most other areas of Catholic social media it is not. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Timothy, Please continue the good work maintaining that here. It's appreciated! I've stopped going to other sites and forums because of the drama and Bible snobbery.

Jonny said...

I am surprised that no publisher has attempted to make an English Revised Version (1895) "Catholic Edition." It retains much of the grammar and syntax of the KJV, while correcting inaccuracies and obsolete vocabulary. But most importantly the RV does not have the anti-Catholic connotations that the KJV continues to have to this day. A simple google search will reveal those who cling to it today: a lot of anti-Catholic wackiness, some from groups who think KJV is divinely inspired. I have nothing against the translation itself- but I cannot recommend it for general use for English speaking Catholics.

But what about the Revised Version with apocrypha? If I am not mistaken, it is in the public domain and no one is even publishing it! Tim, would this make a good poll: Which Bible translation would you like to see most in a Catholic Edition? :D

Timothy said...


Come up with some selections and I will make one. :)

Ronny Tadena said...

Jonny, your comments about the RV are interesting. I think I had thought about looking into that translation as well at one point. The thing that stopped me, though, was that from my understanding, the RV committee never translated the Deuterocanonical texts. So it's not even an issue of incorrect labeling of these books as "apocryphal" and their relegation to an appendix section such as in the KJV, for the RV, those texts simply don't exist in any form. So any Catholic publisher would have to commission a translation committee to freshly translate those texts in the RV style, this is likely why no publisher has attempted this.

Now, if you tell me that the RV did include an Apocrypha section, you're gonna ruin my day because I'll be compelled to spend the rest of my day hunting down a copy ;-)

Theophrastus said...

The RV is most definitely in print -- Cambridge University Press publishes a very nice interlinear edition with the KJV (ISBN 9781107630932).

See, for example:
* Amazon
* Christian Books
* Cambridge Bibles

Also of possible interest, Bibliotecha, a modestly updated version of the ASV (with the RV Apocrypha).

Theophrastus said...

Ronny: the Apocrypha was translated for the RV (it was completed in 1894 and appeared in print in 1895.)

I use the term "Apocrypha" rather than "Deuterocanonicals" (a) because that is the term the RV translators themselves used, and (b) because the RV Apocrypha (like the KJV Apocrypha) includes books that Roman Catholics do not consider deuterocanonical, but rather appear in the Vulgate Appendix and form the so-called "Catholic Apocrypha" (namely, 3 Esdras [called "1 Esdras" in the RV translation], 4 Esdras [called "2 Esdras" in the RV translation, and the Prayer of Manasseh). Yes, the Vulgate contains its own Apocrypha, separate from the Roman Catholic Deuterocanon.

Note that the RV translation of 4 Esdras (called "2 Esdras" in this translation) is superior to the KJV translation of the same book, because the RV includes the so-called 4 Esdras "missing fragment" in chapter 7 that does not appear in the Vulgate appendix but does appear in the Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, Armenian, and other ancient Latin manuscripts. For details, look at the notes in any good RSV or NRSV study Bible (e.g., any of the New Oxford Annotated Bibles, or HarperCollins Study Bible, etc) in what those translations call "2 Esdras" at verse 7:36.

When American scholars adapted the RV to become the ASV, the editors did not prepare a version of the Apocrypha.

An interesting bit of trivia: in the 1930s, the RV Apocrypha was even published in Oxford's famous "World's Classics" series.

The RV Apocrypha is easily found online; for example a copy is available here.

An interesting contemporary (1896) scholarly review of the RV Apocrypha can be found here; it begins:

This final instalment of the Revision of the Authorized Version of 1611 will be found to stand, in point of merit, as its contents mostly fall in point of time, somewhere between the Old and New Testaments. But while it does not, as a whole, attain the level of sober scholarship displayed by the Old Testament Revision, yet it is in parts a splendid performance, which will reflect credit on English learning and prove a priceless boon to the student. Indeed, the work as a whole is a distinct advance on the A.V., and it would have been a greater stride still but for the regrettable fact that some of the best of the new features are strangely defaced by what looks like a want of continuity in the editing.

Jonny said...

Theophrastus, I actually own the Cambridge interlinear version. It is ironic that these two editions you listed are at opposite ends of the spectrum of readability: The Biblioteca is beautiful and designed to read like a novel- and the Interlinear is difficult to read even for reference. The neat thing about the Interlinear is that it not only shows all the revisions made to the KJV (within the text itself) but also has an appendix that shows the changes made by the American Committee for the ASV.

I read some of the articles about the Biblioteca and learned that it was lightly revised, but revised enough to get its own copyright. It is now known as the ALV, the "American Literary Version." I have not found a list of the changes made, but that I know that the name "Jehovah," which the ASV uses consistently is replaced by "YHWH." I prefer the name "LORD" used by the RV and most other modern English translations.

In general, the ASV made improvements throughout the Bible to modernize spelling and vocabulary. Also a notable change is the use of "Holy Spirit" instead of "Holy Ghost." So perhaps the ideal version of a "Catholic Edition" of the RV would actually be the ASV OT sans "Jehovah," the RV Apocrypha, and the the ASV NT. I would settle for simply a RV with Apocrypha.

The reason I would buy this would be simply for personal reading and study. The ASV is considered one of the most "literal" and accurate English versions ever. The language is arguably still too archaic to be used for liturgy or small group Bible studies, but it might come in handy as a secondary translation.

There is one publisher that I know of still printing the ASV, but of course there is no apocrypha:

Dwight Spivey said...

The Message Catholic/Ecumenical edition and the NABRE or NRSV. The Message still pleasantly surprises me several months after diving into it. Peterson simply rocks.

Timothy said...

Dwight, the MSG always surprises me. And I read it every day.

Unknown said...

I'm am also reading from the Catholic Scripture Study RSV-CE as well as a St Joseph's Edition NABRE.

Johnny M

Paul said...

The look and feel of the Bible is important, the comfort level of holding, reading and carrying the Bible, as well as, in my older age the size of the font. Thank You for your interesting posts.