I asked Dr. deSilva two questions in the comment box:
1) Was it intentional the way in which the Apocrypha was arranged, with the Catholic Deuterocanonicals in order first? (I know that the original RSV NOAB Expanded Edition had it a little different)
2) How do you rate this new ESV edition in comparison with the NRSV? Do you think a Catholic, like myself, would be comfortable using it as a primary Bible for prayer and study?
Here is his reply:
I really can't answer your second question, since only you can determine your level of comfort. If I were Catholic, I would probably be put off by the books appearing outside of the OT and in the back, although I do think placing them in the middle is an acceptable compromise (acceptable, because some Protestants wouldn't want it printed in a Bible at all, and Catholics would, of course, prefer the more common distribution of the books within the OT). As a translation, I think the ESV Apocrypha offers a strong option for devotional reading and study. I know that I approached my task with the attitude that I was translating the Church's scripture (even if it is not part of MY church's Scripture). I'm admittedly a little uncomfortable with some aspects of the ESV's inclusive language policy, though I think the NRSV sometimes solves the issue of gender inclusivity poorly (e.g., using "friends" or "beloved" to replace "brothers," when I would certainly have used "brothers and sisters" as the inclusive equivalent -- the kinship language being intentional and formational within the early church).
I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no answer for your first question at all. I never paid any attention to the question of how the books would be ordered -- just plugged along translating my own assignments!
All the best,
Thanks again, Dr. deSilva, for stopping by!