Thursday, December 31, 2009
Last night, as part of our nightly devotional, my wife and I read the selection on Psalm 51 found in the Praying the Psalms with the Early Christians book which I highlighted a few weeks ago. As I mentioned there, this fine devotional focuses on 34 particular Psalms, including various selections from the Early Church Fathers. Last night, we read the entry on the very famous Psalm 51. It is one of the main penitential Psalms of the Church, most notably read every Friday morning in the Liturgy of the Hours.
Here it is, in the RSV-CE:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to thy steadfast love;
according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in thy sight,
so that thou art justified in thy sentence
and blameless in thy judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Fill me with joy and gladness;
let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors thy ways,
and sinners will return to thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
thou God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
O Lord, open thou my lips,
and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
For thou hast no delight in sacrifice;
were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on thy altar.
After reading through this Psalm, we were treated with three short reflections from the Church Fathers, including Clement of Rome, John Chrysostom, and Augustine. Although fairly short, Augustine's reflection on Psalm 51 is very poignant, since it helped me to look at Psalm 51 from a different vantage point. So, I want to share that reflection with you know, which comes from his Exposition of the Psalms, which I copied and pasted from, the helpful and inexpensive, The Faith Database. I hope you enjoy it!
"To thee Nathan the prophet hath not been sent, David himself hath been sent to thee Hear him crying, and with him cry: hear him groaning, and with him groan; hear him weeping, and mingle tears; hear him amended, and with him rejoice. If from thee sin could not be excluded, be not hope of pardon excluded. There was sent to that man Nathan the prophet, observe the king's humility. He rejected not the words of him giving admonition, he said not, Darest thou speak to me, a king? An exited king heard a prophet, let His humble people hear Christ."
Thursday, December 24, 2009
"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God....
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth." --John 1
Merry Christmas to you all. Thanks for stopping by over the past year. I look forward to discussing, debating, and analyzing all things Catholic Bibles with you in 2010.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
So here we go:
1) Continued Release of Quality Catholic Bible Study Tools
Over the past few years, the amount of quality Bible study material for Catholics has dramatically increased. Just looking back this past year, we have seen the release of Hahn's Catholic Bible Dictionary, Emmaus Road's The Catholic Bible Concordance, as well as additional Catholic Bible commentaries including the Navarre New Testament, The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture's "Ephesians" and "2 Corinthians", and the final volumes of the Ignatius Study Bible New Testament. There are others which I could mention, like the Faith Database, but I think you get the idea.
What can we look to in 2010? Well, Ignatius Press will be releasing the one-volume Ignatius Study Bible New Testament. It is scheduled to be released in early Spring, with the first editions of the Old Testament coming soon after. I would hope that the Old Testament volumes would come out at a much quicker pace than the New Testament ones. (It would be nice, if this blog still exists in 2019, that one of my hopes for 2020 would not be the "upcoming release" of the complete 1 volume Ignatius Study Bible.) There will also be additional volumes in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture released as well. I am also interested in checking out the 4th Edition of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, which will be released in February 2010.
2) The Publication of the Revised/Re-Revised NAB
This has only taken almost twenty years to complete. The Revised NAB NT was completed in 1986, with the dreadful revised Psalms in 1991. Since then, we have been stuck with a rather inconsistently translated American Catholic Bible for almost two full decades. Yet, there is some hope, with the NAB OT revised and approved and a re-revised Psalms in the works. If the revised OT and Psalms match the NT, I think it will be a decent translation overall. This would bring the entire NAB into the more formal category, slightly behind the RSV and NRSV. Also, it wouldn't be a bad thing either if they could incorporate some of the differences between the NAB we hear read at Mass into the one we read at home or in Bible study. Being able to read "Rejoice/Hail full of grace" in Luke 1:28 would be delightful!
A couple other thoughts that come to mind concerning the NAB. Whenever the revision is completed, it would be nice to see the USCCB/CBA shell out some minor funds to set up a respectable website that could promote the NAB. (Ignatius Press should do the same for their RSV-2CE as well!) The USCCB site just doesn't cut it for me, and there are plenty of other Bible translations that have fantastic sites in which to compare. (The NRSV site is not one of them!) Also, would it be too much for the NAB to come in different page layouts and formats? If you have seen one NAB, you have seen them all. Perhaps allowing a major publishing house to produce the NAB would be a good idea. Maybe the NAB could be made in a genuine leather cover too! Oooo......
3) Publication of Quality/Premium Editions of Catholic Bibles
This may well be a pipe dream, particularly with the state of the economy. However, the recent release of the Saint Benedict Press Douay-Rheims and RSV-CE does provide some hope. These new editions were not only published in multiple cover options, but also in attractive page layouts with accompanying study/prayer helps. In addition, the Little Rock Scripture Study's The Four Gospels, utilizing the NAB, also was encouraging in it's use of a single column format and informative in-text boxes which supplemented the NAB footnotes. And of course there is HarperCollins/Catholic/One who continues to publish the NRSV in different, often attractive editions. Although there always seems to be something lacking in their NRSV editions, like cross-references, I appreciate the effort. So there is some hope I think, although I am not going to wait around for the "perfect" edition to be made. (More on that in the coming weeks!)
So what are you hoping for in 2010?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Over the past few weeks I have expressed some frustration with Saint Benedict Press with the delay in receiving their new RSV-CE. However, one of the managers read about my frustration, here and on another blog, and contacted me directly to resolve the problem. She was very nice and helpful, and assured me that this was an anomaly, which I certainly believe is the case. I look forward to ordering more books from Saint Benedict Press in the future.
The good news: I received the genuine leather RSV-CE yesterday in the mail.
The even better news: Outside of one major omission, this is a really fine edition of the RSV-CE.
So, where to begin?
Well, I would like to mention the most obvious upgrade is the page layout. It is by far the best page layout of any RSV-CE that I own. It is a very clear, clean text including bolded paragraph headings. It is very easy on the eyes to read. (Those who need a larger print can also purchase a large print edition in 12 point font.) The inside cover of this Bible mentions that it was published in association with HarperOne/HarperCollins, which brought to mind the page layouts of the recently released NRSV Catholic Gift Bible and Life With God Bible. All three of them are similar, which is a good thing. This is definitely superior to the older Ignatius/Scepter editions of the RSV-CE. Included, of course, are the original RSV-CE explanatory notes, which are placed as end notes at the back of each Testament.
Now onto the genuine leather cover. It is nice to finally be able to hold a Catholic edition of the RSV in a genuine leather cover. (Yes, I am aware of the RSV-CE from Oxford, but this Bible has so much more included in it, while not appearing like it was simply enlarged from a compact version of itself.) Now don't get me wrong, this is not a calfskin leather cover or anything, but it is a definite improvement upon the typical bonded leather editions of the RSV-CE or RSV-2CE. At first it is a little stiff, but I am certain this will improve after continued use. Those who are interested in a more softer cover, the synthetic leather/Italian duo-tone type covers can be purchased as well for this new RSV-CE. It also comes in paperback.
The fine people at Saint Benedict Press also included a number of extra features, which are typically lacking in most editions of the RSV-CE. These include: Presentation and Family Record pages, a section of New Testament maps, four full color pictures of artwork (I particularly like the El Greco Christ on the Cross), and a calendar of readings for the 3 Year Sunday Liturgical cycle as well as the weekday readings. Bravo! In addition, there is a ribbon marker included and the words of Christ are in red in the Gospels, which I don't care either way about, although I know some people who are passionately for or against this inclusion in Bibles.
So, overall, this is a very fine edition of the RSV-CE. There is, however, one fairly huge omission in my mind, which all of you who read this blog will know instantly what it is. There are no cross-references! D'oh! So close! I am not sure why the RSV-CE cross-references aren't included, perhaps it has something to do with the arrangement with HarperOne. The RSV-CE editions published in the past by Ignatius and Scepter, which are identical by the way, both included cross-references.
Let me just conclude this review by saying that this edition is very good overall. I like everything about it, except it's one major omission. It will certainly meet your needs for an every day RSV-CE reading Bible. I am sure it will make a great gift as well, particularly due to the beautiful presentation box that it comes in.
Below is a photo I took with my IPhone of the page layout.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Praying the Psalms with the Early Christians by Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey
This fine book has become the nightly devotional that my wife and I read before going to sleep. It includes the RSV translation of 34 Psalms, with short reflections from the early Church Fathers. The short reflections are freshly translated in more modernized language. Some of the Fathers that are included are Augustine, Ambrose, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and Jerome. This is a great little devotional book.
Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture by Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV
This fairly thin book has been a real blessing to me. While I always enjoy reading the Holy Scriptures for Bible study and teaching class, I have often felt that my praying of Scripture has been rather poor. Sure, I pray every day with the Bible, but it hasn't always been as fruitful as it should. Fr. Gallagher's book focuses on Ignatius of Loyola's two basic methods of praying with the Bible: meditation and contemplation. The book does a great job at explaining the Ignatian method, along with dozens of real-life experiences by the typical lay reader. For those of you who haven't been introduced to the Ignatian way of praying Scripture, this book is a nice introduction.
The God of Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Triune God by Pope Benedict XVI. You didn't think I was going to have a list of my favorite books of the year without giving a nod to B16 did you? Well, this is one of the books that was released last year, but it was required for my Christology class last Spring. I am glad that it was. This book is a collection of edited papers by the then Cardinal Ratzinger focusing on each of the three persons of the Holy Trinity. It seeks to answer the question that Rahner asked years earlier about whether belief in the Trinity mattered to the average Christian. Cardinal Ratzinger believes that the proposition that "God is three and God is one" is essential and "if this proposition had nothing to say to us, it would not have been revealed (29)." Let me finish with one of his quotes concerning the Holy Spirit: "Unlike Father and Son, the name of the third Divine Person is not the expression of something specific. It designates that which is common in the Godhead. But this reveals the 'proper character' of the Third Person: he is that which is common, the unity of the Father and the Son, the unity in Person. The Father and the Son are one with each other by going out beyond themselves; it is in the third Person, in the fruitfulness of their act of giving, that they are One (109)."
Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI by Scott W. Hahn
As this book points out, while there has been many books written over the past few years about a variety of issues surrounding Pope Benedict XVI, very few, if any, have concentrated on his Biblical theology. Which is somewhat surprising, since the one major book he has released, as Pope, Jesus of Nazareth, is precisely a biblical examination of the life of Christ. (And of course, part II is set to be released next year.) This book proves to be is a fine overview, and it is written in a style that encourages the reader to read Benedict/Ratzinger for themselves. There are plenty of footnotes to entertain and delight those who want to do further reading.
Honorable Mentions (some of these I am still working on)
Kinship by Covenant by Scott W. Hahn
Inhabiting the Cruciform God by Michael J. Gorman
Justification by N.T. Wright
Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (a true classic that I read for the first time this year!)
So, what are yours?
Still awaiting the arrival of the Genuine Leather RSV from Saint Benedict Press. Any day now...
Monday, December 7, 2009
1) New paperback edition of the Saint Benedict Press Douay-Rheims Bible. Enjoy the Christmas season with this old classic!
2) A copy of NT Wright's book Contemporary Quest for Jesus by Fortress Press. You can take this handy little volume anywhere you go. Unfortunately, it is too small to beat over the heads of your Jesus Seminar friends. ;)
The winner must be the first one to answer the following questions correctly. You have one chance to answer, since I will not accept multiple entries by the same person. The entry deadline is Friday, December 11, at Noon EST. Make sure to have your name at the end of your entry. I will announce the winner in the comment box on Friday or Saturday. Sorry, but I will only ship to locations in North America.
1) Who is the person credited with dating the birth of Christ, thus establishing the use of B.C. and A.D. ? What year did he do this?
2) According to tradition (lower case "t"), what are the names of the Three Kings and what kingdoms did they rule?
3) Which of the four major basilicas did I not visit during my recent trip to Rome? (Take a guess)
Update: Winner announced in Comment Box!