Friday, January 26, 2018

NRSV Update Planned!

According to the recent SBL report, the NRSV will shortly begin an update process that will take roughly three years.  You can read all about this on page seven of the SBL annual Society Report 2017.

Here is a little bit of what the report has:

At the 2017 SBL-AAR Annual Meeting, the National Council of Churches (NCC) announced an update of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), an English translation of the Bible owned and licensed by the NCC. This update will be managed by the Society for Biblical Literature, following a partnership approved by Council earlier in 2017. Scholars have produced a considerable amount of work in text criticism since 1989, the year the NRSV was published. The last three decades have provided significant new discoveries, including new manuscript witnesses, developments in textcritical methodology, and philological insights. A thirty-year review is not only necessary in the light of this scholarly work but will result in an English translation that is based, without exception, on the most up-to-date textual analysis. The update will focus on three areas:
  • Text-Critical and Philological Advances: The primary focus of the thirty-year review is on new text-critical and philological considerations that affect the English translation. The philological review will draw upon the fruits of historical-critical scholarship that affect expressions in English. For the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, text-critical developments in the last thirty years have been especially significant. The publication of the Judean Desert biblical texts and fragments has revealed a number of readings that differ from the medieval Hebrew traditions in the Masoretic Text, which was the basis of the NRSV.
  • Textual Notes: SBL’s initial review of the NRSV suggested that the current text-critical footnotes are neither complete nor consistent. There are cases when the translation silently adds words not conspicuously in the sources or does not indicate when a reading is not following the sources. To address this deficiency, reviewers will be asked to identify text-critical issues that should have been documented in the notes but were not.
  • Style and Rendering: The translation philosophy of the NRSV will be maintained, including its overarching commitment to being “‘as literal as possible’ in adhering to the ancient texts and only ‘as free as necessary’ to make the meaning clear in graceful, understandable English.” That being said, when a reviewer judges a particular translation awkward, inaccurate, or difficult for general readers to understand, the reviewer may suggest a more elegant rendering.

Thanks to the Evangelical Textual Criticism Blog for posting the link.

As You Await the RNJB

I have heard from quite a few of you regarding the rising interest in the RNJB.  Hopefully, an actual copy of the New Testament and Psalms will be available in a month or so for purchase.  Until then, the RNJB's editor, Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB has a number of books available for purchase.  The most recent is his Introducing the New Testament published in 2015.  Looks like a perfect companion to the RNJB NT.

Introducing the New Testament presents the complex and often challenging texts and history of the New Testament in a clear and informative manner. The book begins with a section that gives readers a clear idea of how to use it most effectively for study and personal research, followed by a chapter which outlines the various manuscript traditions and processes of transmission that resulted in the biblical texts we have before us today. With this groundwork complete, readers are then introduced to all the texts of the New Testament, and to major issues and debates such as the 'Historical Jesus' the 'Synoptic Problem' and current debates surrounding inspiration - how these texts can be seen in both a historical context and in the context of religious faith. The book features maps, chapter summaries, sample essay questions, chapter bibliographies and reading lists, and an annotated glossary of key terms

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Update on the RNJB

Shout out to Jeff for supplying me with the info on this and for regularly checking out the RNJB publisher's website.

This info comes from the DLT website which is now being updated.  Information includes the use of the Revised Grail Psalms as well as a February publication date.  I have also been hearing that this edition is not directly affiliated with the Ecole Biblique, but a product of the publisher in union with Fr. Wansbrough.  Read on:

A Bible for study and proclamation.
The Revised New Jerusalem Bible presents anew the scholarship, character and clarity of the 1966 Jerusalem Bible (the first modern English version) and the 1985 New Jerusalem Bible. It is a Bible that prioritises accuracy of translation and richness of tone, written that ‘the message might be fully proclaimed’ (2 Ti 4:17).
This volume presents the full New Testament and the Psalms, and a comprehensive set of study notes, cross-references and book introductions.
‘Clear read’ style. The biblical scriptures were written to be proclaimed, so the RNJB uses linguistic style and speech patterns best suited for being read out loud.
Formal equivalence. The language, concepts and imagery of the original scriptures are presented more accurately by the RNJB than the colloquial approach of many other modern translations.
Gender inclusion. The message of the Bible is for all people, so care has been taken to avoid traditional male bias of the English language, while remaining faithful to the meaning of the original scriptures.
Revised Grail Psalter. The book of Psalms is based on the text of the 2010 translation of The Revised Grail Psalms.
Modern measurements. Ancient systems of measuring and timing have been replaced by modern, metric equivalents.
Comprehensive study notes. The notes, cross-references and book introductions of the JB and NJB are replaced in the RNJB by new materials which reflect the fruit of the most up-to-date and ecumenical scholarship.
The Revised New Jerusalem Bible has been prepared and edited by The Revd Henry Wansbrough OSB, who was previously General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bishop Barron & The Message & Merton, Oh My!

This morning, I just wanted to share a few things that are going to be coming available in the coming weeks and months.

First off, thank you to Kenneth for pointing out that in the most recent Word on Fire Show podcast, hosted by Brandon Vogt and Bishop Robert Barron, they announced that later this year they would be publishing a new bible with commentary from Bp. Barron and other theologians.  It is aimed at the "nones", a growing demographic in America that most often identifies themselves as agnostic or atheist.  Nothing more was said about the content of this bible or the translation that will be used.  More info will be shared here when I get it.

Secondly, I want to thank those of you who purchased the Advent devotional that my wife and I created for ACTA Publications.  If you enjoyed it, we do have a Lenten devotional out now called Walking Together in Freedom.  Similar to the Advent one, this edition has a selection from the daily Lenten readings (in The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition translation) presented, with a short reflection and space for daily journaling.  Also, once again, my wife has done the cover art work and a number of beautiful hand-drawn illustrations to supplement the text.  Below is a short description:

What does it mean to “walk together in freedom”? Here is our chance to find out during this time of Lent. The words from the daily Mass readings, as taken from The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition, practically jump off the page, inviting us to prayer, conversion, and our own vocation as Christians at our jobs and studies, with our families and loved ones, and in our community and civic involvement. Combined with Rakhi’s whimsical art and Tim and Rahki’s short but insightful reflections and ideas for practical action steps that anyone can take, this booklet makes a wonderful companion for a spiritually productive Lenten journey.

So, if you are looking for a Lenten devotional this year, consider picking up Walking Together in FreedomAnd heck, it is only $1.25!  

Lastly, I am honored to have an essay included in an upcoming book about Thomas Merton being published by Ave Maria Press in March.  The book is titled What I Am Living For: Lessons from the Life and Writings of Thomas Merton.  Edited by Jon M. Sweeney, there are contributions from Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. James Martin, Fr. Dan Horan, Sue Monk Kid, Robert Ellsberg, as well as a number of others.  Here is a short description:

What I Am Living For offers readers new to Merton, as well as longtime enthusiasts, an opportunity to see how the influential twentieth-century monk and writer continues to encourage the awakening of faith in the twenty-first century.

The book is in two parts. Each contributor to part one focuses on an aspect of the spiritual life that is of vital importance today and on which Merton made a profound impact. These include:

  • Martin—Finding who God intends you to be
  • Ellsberg—The spiritual need for solitude and stability
  • Oakes—The importance of coming to terms with our sexuality, whether married, single, or celibate
  • Horan—The importance of dialogue with God, culture, society, and people of other faiths
Part two features shorter, often more personal reflections on the future of faith, the life and teachings of Merton, and what he still says to anyone who seeks a relationship with God.

My contribution comes in the form of a short essay in part two of the book, where I write about how I came to appreciate Thomas Merton after many years of actively avoiding him.  So, if you are a Thomas Merton fan or simply curious about him, this book promises to have plenty of insights about this man who helped to nurture and rediscover the importance of contemplation for both monks and lay people, while also being active in the non-violence movement and inter-religious dialogue.  This book, conveniently, comes out in this 50th anniversary year of Thomas Merton's death.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

This Is Amazing and I Love It In Every Possible Way

The Babylon Bee is magical:

KJV-Only Pastor Tests Positive For NIV

HOLLY SPRINGS, MS—In a somber announcement, Pastor Philip Wallace confirmed to his congregation at Hartford Ave Fundamentalist Baptist Church, AV1611 Wednesday evening that he has tested positive for NIV.
The man has pastored the congregation of seventeen people for the past thirty years, staunchly defending the purity of the Scriptures as handed down to mankind in the Authorized Version, but confessed he may have contracted NIV while “experimenting” with other translations during his college years.....(click here to read the rest)

Monday, January 8, 2018


Three years ago I spent a year using one bible for the entire year. I did a series of posts focusing on that experience.  It was an important year for me, I must say.  It showed me that I really do need to stick with one primary bible for my daily reading.  Sure, I look at different translations when I need to, particularly since I teach scripture.  But I can honestly say that because of that experience back in 2015, I feel like I am finally not simply reading the bible to seek info, but actually being taught by it in a slow, relational way.  It is hard to explain to be honest, but I just read to read, without looking for doctrines or proof-texts or anything of the sort.  And even though the bible I use now is not that one I used in 2015, I am immensely grateful for having spent a year with my NRSV.  

Recently, my friend Kevin has decided to start this year attempting to do the OBOY challenge.  I wanted to pass along a link to his site, where he goes over what he is attempting to do by taking on the OBOY challenge.  Give it a look!  Consider doing it yourself!