Friday, May 25, 2018

A Final Goodbye

Almost ten years ago I (somewhat blindly) decided to start this blog, with very little expectations for what it would become.   At that time, I was still working on my graduate degree in theology, unmarried, and had no children.  I had a lot more time on my hands and found myself routinely frustrated by the lack of Catholic bible information on the internet.  A truly dangerous mix!  At that time, most of the really good blogs or websites devoted to actual bible editions and translations were authored by our Protestant brothers and sisters.  Many of them were very good and informative, though most of them have not been updated in years.  They gave me the inspiration to start The Catholic Bibles Blog back in August, 2008.  It has been a very good ten years authoring this blog.  I would have never guessed that I would been able to interact with so many of you, from many different countries and traditions.   Some of you have been commentating on this blog from very early on. 

I have also been blessed to participate in a number of interviews with many of the people who work tirelessly to provide Catholics with better translations, editions, and study tools.  I have a much greater respect for the translators, editors, and publishers who are devoted to building up Catholic bible literacy in the English speaking world.  It is not an easy job and it comes with very few accolades.  Most often, people complain!  (I know, I was one of them.) 

But, really, who would have thought that in these ten years there would be an NABRE, a beautifully bound and republished Knox Bible, The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition with Deuteros translated from the Nova Vulgata, an approved NLT-CE and ESV-CE, and a forthcoming full RNJB?  And, of course, we are still waiting on a few others, right Ignatius Press?  So, who know what the future holds.  How about an NIV-CE or NASB-CE?  Ha!  Or, how about a premium Catholic Bible to match the brilliance of the most recent Cambridge NRSV Reference Bible w/Apocrypha? 

It has been a pleasure posting and interacting with all of you.  One of my goals for this blog was to make sure that it would be a place without a lot of the toxic bickering we see so often in social media, forums, and society in general.  I truly wanted all to be welcome to express their view point, always in a charitable tone of course.  Now, I haven’t always succeeded at that, but I have done my best and most of you have done the same.  To those who I may have offended or been short with, I offer my apologies.  But to all of you who have interacted with me through the blog or by email, I thank you for your contributions, kind words, and encouragement.    Some of you I have had the pleasure to meet in various ways, and a number of you I consider friends.

Yet, here we are, ten years later.  Life has changed, interests have changed as well.  It is time for me to move on and close shop.   Time to go dream it up all over again in different places and spaces.  So, thank you sticking with this little bug of a blog for the past ten years!  Keep on reading your bibles!  Keep on supporting those many small Catholic publishers who need to hear from you, both through your encouragement and financial support.  May God richly bless you as you read, pray, and study the written Word. 

"A final comparison. One can drink wine as it is and swallow hard or one can drink it mixed with water and enjoy it; hence, a book is good when it's written, but better when it's read. And so it is with mine."
-2 Maccabees 15:39 (The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Loreto Publications Douay-Rheims Bible


Loreto Publications has been one of the places, for a long time, where one could find a nice copy of the Douay-Rheims (Challoner) edition.  While perhaps not as refined as the Baronius editions, the Loreto Douay-Rheims has always been a very workable and durable edition of the venerable Douay-Rheims.  

This edition is sewn and comes in a bonded leather hardcover.  One of the things I most appreciate about this edition, in comparison to the other versions available in this translation, is the bible's size.  At 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 2" the Loreto Douay is a tad smaller than the standard size Baronius editions, without losing any of its readability.  In some ways, this smaller Loreto version feels like the Baronius Knox in my hand while reading from it. Two thick ribbons accompany this bible and the paper has very little issues regarding ghosting/bleed-through.  As you will see with the description below, many of the same features that are found in the Baronius edition are also available in this edition.  

The text is not retype set, nor are the maps in color.  So, there is a clear and obvious difference in that regard in comparison with what Baronius offers.  However, make sure to keep reading below for some news on this issue and what Loreto has planned for later this year.

Description from Loreto:
Even after all of the modern "revisions" of the bible that are now available to Catholics, many still think that the Douay-Rheims version, (the only English translation of the Catholic Vulgate bible in use for almost 400 years) is the very best ever produced. We at Loreto agree that what was good enough for fifty generations of English-speaking  Catholics and countless Saints and Martyrs is still good enough for us. We are proud to offer this beautiful genuine bonded leather hardbound edition for only $39.95! The text is clear and easy to read and the two satin ribbons mark he pages where your daily reading is to begin. This Bible fills the need for a small (5 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 2") good quality hardbound Douay-Rheims bible. It is a perfect gift for Christmas, First Communions, Confirmations, weddings, birthdays, etc. and is also great for those who want a portable bible which is legible, durable, and handsome.
  • Douay-Challoner version
  • Hardbound binding
  • Genuine bonded leather cover
  • Gold embossed title and decoration on spine and cover
  • Top quality bible paper
  • Family Register pages
  • Papal Encyclical Providentissimus Deus of Leo XIII at front
  • Sharp, clear, and readable text
  • Gold and red satin ribbon page markers
  • 32 illustrations
  • Maps
  • Index




As I alluded to above, I am happy to report that later this year Loreto will be releasing a brand new edition of their Douay-Rheims Bible which will be newly typeset.  So, definitely keep an eye out for it some time in the Fall 2018.  

Note the Douay on top is the compact edition from Baronius







I would like to thank Loreto Publications for providing me a review copy of this bible.



Monday, May 21, 2018

Pentecost Sunday: Liturgy of the Word Comparison Final Edition (w./ Fr. Neil)


N.B there are many options for Pentecost.  For the purposes of this comparison, I have selected three readings from the Mass of the Day.  The Old Testament of the RNJB has not been published yet. These readings are simply for study and comment.



First reading

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary

Acts 2:1-11 (no changes to Biblical text in Lectionary)

                        1 When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, 2 when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; 3 and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.
            5 Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, 6 and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? 8 How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9  Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – 11 Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

Acts 2:1-11

                   1 When Pentecost day had come, they were all together, 2 when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a rushing wind, filling the entire house in which they were sitting; 3 and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves.
                        5 Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, 6 and at this sound they all assembled, and they were bewildered because each one heard them speaking his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, visitors from Rome – 11 Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs, we hear them speaking in our own languages about the marvels of God.’

There is not much to comment on here.  The translations are very alike.  The RNJB is a more precise translation. Note the use of “men” in V.5 for the Greek andres. Again this shows a moderate use of inclusive language. Wansbrough retains the exclusive word “men” as this is the more exact translation. Here St. Luke uses a word that means men to the exclusion of women. Historically it is probable that no men were in the assembly that St. Luke describes. Therefore


Second reading

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary


Galatians 5:16-25 (no changes to Biblical text in Lectionary)

                        16 If you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, 17 since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions. 18 If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you. 19 When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: fornication, gross indecency and sexual irresponsibility; 20 idolatry and sorcery; feuds and wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels; disagreements, factions, 21 envy; drunkenness, orgies and similar things. I warn you now, as I warned you before: those who behave like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. There can be no law against things like that, of course. 24 You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.
            25 Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

Galatians 5:16-25

                        16 Be guided by the Spirit, and do not fulfil the desires of the flesh. 17 The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh: they are opposed to one another, so that you may not do whatever you please. 18 If you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the Law. 19 The works of the flesh are obvious: sexual vice, impurity and sensuality; 20 idolatry and sorcery; antagonisms and rivalry, jealousy, bad temper, quarrels, disagreements, 21 factions and malice, drunkenness, orgies and all suchlike, about which, I tell you now as I have told you in the past, people who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with all its passions and desires.
                        25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let our behaviour be guided by the Spirit.

I think that an honest comparison of the two translations is perhaps the clearest argument in favour of adopting the RNJB to replace the JB in the Lectionary.  The JB is not bad, but its avoidance of the word “flesh” for the Greek sarx is a very significant fault. “Indulgence” kind of says the same thing, but it lacks the clarity and the poetry. Likewise the interplay between “Flesh,” “Spirit” and “Law” are much clearer in the RNJB.


Gospel

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary

John 20:19-23 (words omitted from the Biblical text in the Lectionary are stricken through)

19 In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, 20 and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, 21 and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
22 After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

John 20:19-23 (words omitted from the Biblical text in the Lectionary are stricken through)

19 In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you,’ 20 and, after saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced at seeing the Lord, 21 and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
 ‘As the Father has sent me,
so am I sending you.’
22 After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone’s sins,
they are forgiven;
if you retain anyone’s sins,
they are retained.’

The translations are very similar.  The final instruction in V.23 is now conditional in the RNJB. This is the same translation as in the RSV/NRSV, the NAB and the KJV/DR are closer to the original JB translation. This is more an editorial decision.


With this comparison, our series is complete.  Next week there are Old Testament readings and we will have to wait the publication of the full RNJB later this year to compare those readings. Obviously it is essential to see the Old Testament before making a final decision, but I believe that these 8 sets of readings that we have compared since Easter have shown what a RNJB lectionary would look like. I commented already on the issue of Rome preferring a single Biblical translation for use in each region  Given this preference, I personally believe that the interest of the faithful in the countries where the Jerusalem Bible is currently in use would be best served if their bishops adopted a new Lectionary using the Revised New Jerusalem Bible. The bishops have already decided that the current Jerusalem Bible Lectionary is no longer fit for purpose.  Not only is this new translation a much more exact and faithful translation that its predecessor, it also has the great advantage of pastoral continuity as it does not sound radically different to its predecessor.  Adopting it would help maintain what St. Augustine described as the tranquillitas ordinis or tranquillity of order in the Church. I think this is particularly important given the radical manner in which the translation of the Roman Missal was changed a few years ago. Pastorally I do not think that it would be good to adopt a totally new translation of the Bible as the basis of a new Lectionary in those countries where the Jerusalem Bible Lectionary is already in use.


Neil Xavier O'Donoghue is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He currently ministers in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland, where he serves as vice rector at Redemptoris Mater Seminary. He has studied at Seton Hall University, the University of Notre Dame, and St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctorate in Theology from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ascension Sunday: Liturgy of the Word Comparison (w/ Fr. Neil)


N.B there are a number of options for this Sunday (some places still celebrate it on the traditional 40th day). For the purposes of this comparison, I am simply commenting on the particular readings that I used when I celebrated Mass in County Armagh in Ireland.

First reading

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary

Acts 1:1-11 (no changes to Biblical text in Lectionary)

1 In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning 2 until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. 3 He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God. 4 When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. ‘It is’ he had said ‘what you have heard me speak about: 5 John baptised with water but you, not many days from now, will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’
            6 Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’
            9 As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. 10 They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them 11 and they said, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

Acts 1:1-11

1 In my earlier work, Theophilus, I wrote about everything Jesus began to do and teach from the beginning 2 until the day when, after giving instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, he was taken up to heaven. 3 He had presented himself alive to them after his Passion by many proofs: for forty days he had continued to appear to them speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. He had said, ‘This is what you have heard me speak about: 5 for John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’
6 Now having met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time for you to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has laid down by his own authority, 8 but you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and you will be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’
9 As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him up out of their sight. 10 And while they were staring into the sky as he went, suddenly two men in white were standing beside them, 11 and they said, ‘Why are you Galileans standing here looking into the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

In V.3 the word “presented” is a better translation that “showed” to show the nuance of the building up of the faith of the Apostles during the 40 days. Verse 5 is a good example of the RNJB’s decision to be a translation for proclamation in Church.  There is no significant difference in wording, but I think the newer version is easier for the listener to understand. This is a significant characteristic of the RNJB. The King James Bible was also conceived of as a bible to be read in churches. The modern achievement of universal literacy and the economic possibilities of so many people to actually own their own copy of the complete Bible (something that not even most bishops could aspire to before the printing press), has sometimes led us to undervalue the fact that for Christians the Bible is principally something that is proclaimed in the liturgical assembly. In V.11 the RNJB is more exact including the word “heaven” twice (as in the original Greek).


Second reading

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary


Ephesians 1:17-23 (no changes to Biblical text in Lectionary)

17 May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. 18 May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit 19 and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. This you can tell from the strength of his power 20 at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make him sit at his right hand, in heaven, 21 far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 He has put all things under his feet and made him, as the ruler of everything, the head of the Church; 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation.


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

Ephesians 1:17-23 (words moved in the Biblical text are underlined)


17 May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in further knowledge of him; 18 that the eyes of your mind may be enlightened for you to see what the hope of his call is, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the overflowing greatness of his power to us believers, according to the working of the strength of his might 20 which he has put to work in Christ by raising him from the dead and enthroning him at his right hand, in the heavens, 21 far above every rule and authority and power and lordship and every title that is given, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 He has put all things under his feet and has given him as head above all things to the Church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

The original JB didn’t need manipulation for editing it for the Lectionary, Here the RNJB did. I think this is a neutral difference.  One would need to look at a complete Lectionary to make any inferences on this point. It should be noted that Scripture has always had to be slightly edited in order to be used in the Lectionary. As we do not read whole books, the start of a passage often needs to have a few words of contextualization added to make it understandable.



Gospel

Original Jerusalem Bible 1966 as found in the Current JB edition of the Lectionary


Mark 16:15-20 (additions to Biblical text in Lectionary are underlined)

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:
15 ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. 16 He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
            19 And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, 20 while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.


Revised New Jerusalem Bible 2018

Mark 16:15-20 (additions to Biblical text in Lectionary are underlined)

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:

15 ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 These are the signs that will follow believers: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands; should they drink deadly poison it will not harm them; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
19 And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven; and sat down at the right hand of God, 20 while they, going out, proclaimed the good news everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.

In V15 the RNJB uses “gospel” rather than “good news.” There are arguments for either translation. Note the inclusive language in V.16. Again I think this is a necessary improvement (see my comments at the end of last week’s post for more). A small note again on the attention for proclaiming the text. At Mass I found it challenging to proclaim V.18 “they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison.” Even though I prepared the readings beforehand, each time I was proclaiming the Gospel I tended to say “they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed” which breaks the sense of the reading. I think the new translation is better in this respect: “they will pick up snakes in their hands; should they drink deadly poison it will not harm them.” This is an improvement that will only be understood when the text is actually read aloud. In V. 20 the translation of ek─ôryssan is worth noting.  It is the root of the English word kerygma (used as a verb). The JB has “preached” the RNJB has “proclaimed the good news.” I can see arguments for both translations.



Neil Xavier O'Donoghue is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He currently ministers in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland, where he serves as vice rector at Redemptoris Mater Seminary. He has studied at Seton Hall University, the University of Notre Dame, and St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctorate in Theology from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New Bible: Global Impact Bible, NABRE Catholic Edition, Hardcover

Global Impact Bible, NABRE Catholic Edition, Hardcover


Description:
One of the most comprehensive and thought-provoking resources for exploring the deep impact, historical significance, and influence of the best-selling book of all time. Through more than 900 articles, this 4-color, highly illustrated Bible illuminates and enlivens the Bible as powerful living text. Uses the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) translation. Includes the Apocrypha.


This will be published by the Museum of the Bible Books:
The Museum of the Bible opened it’s 40-foot bronze entry doors in Washington, D.C. in November 2017 and marked an unprecedented historical first in Bible history. The one-of-a-kind collection is housed in a 430,000-square-foot building just two blocks from the National Mall and three blocks from the nation’s Capitol. The largest single museum in Washington D.C., and the first in the world to focus on honoring the Bible, the Museum provides guests with an immersive and personalized experience as they explore the history, narrative, and global impact of the Bible. Worthy Publishing Group and Museum of the Bible have teamed up to form a new book-publishing imprint, Museum of the Bible Books.

Due to be published in October.