Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Bibles 1

I think it is great that the shelf that is holding these Bibles is beginning to bend.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Another Post from Dr. deSilva on ESV Apocrypha

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:

Greetings, Timothy.

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!

NT Wright @ Synod of Bishops in Rome

Noted Biblical scholar, and Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright attended the October Synod of Bishops in Rome. It's theme was "the Word of God". While we may not see the fruits of this Synod for some time, Bp. Wright has some reflections on what he took from the Synod.
"Three months ago I had the privilege of being the Anglican Fraternal Delegate at the Synod of Bishops in Rome. The topic was "the word of God", and it quickly became clear that it carried enormous ecumenical implications.....continue.
By the way, recently I have been trying to re-read Wright's Paul: In Fresh Perspective but have been occupied by reading for Trinity/Christology class. Hopefully I can pick it up sometime this weekend, but that will depend on how fast I can get through St. Gregory of Nazianzus' Third and Fourth Theological Orations.
Update: I spotted a talk by NT Wright on the NT Wright Page sight. It was recorded this past January at the Catholic Cathedral Church of St. Mary in the UK. While the main talk is centered on Paul, Bp. Wright does speak briefly in the beginning about his experiences at the Synod of Bishops.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Personal Encounter (while reading the ESV)

I just wanted to share a brief encounter I had at a local bookstore cafe yesterday. I was sitting at a table, sipping my hot chocolate, listening to my I-Pod, while doing some prep work for the STB comprehensive exam that I will be taking in April. (BTW: David at Better Bibles Blog has an interesting post about today's generation and Bible publishing, which corresponds to my need to do multiple things at once.) Anyways, on my table were my new ESV w/ Apocrypha, Raymond Brown's Introduction to the New Testament, HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, my notebook, and a Catholic devotional book. Needless to say, a younger couple (maybe 5 years younger) came up to me on their way out to ask what I was reading. I told them that the Brown book was a good NT introduction. They then asked what I was studying for, which I told them was a graduate degree at a local seminary. Then they asked which denomination, at which I told them Catholic. At that point, they recommended, almost immediately, that I get some books by Wayne Grudem and John Piper. I told them that I was indeed familiar with their works, but had not read anything by them. At that point, they smiled, wished me a good day, and left.

So as they were leaving, I wondered why they decided to immediately recommend those authors. Did they just assume that since I was using an ESV that I would be well read in the works of Grudem and Piper? Or perhaps were they trying to steer me towards a more reformed theology? I am really not sure. In my line of work, I have had multiple encounters with other Christians, mostly Baptists it seems, who have tried to challenge me on Catholic theology. While I don’t personally set out to challenge other Christians on their beliefs, it has always struck me at how oftentimes I am looked on as not even being Christian, simply because I am Catholic. Now I am not suggesting that the couple I met yesterday had those thoughts, but some of those whom I have encountered certainly have acted and said as much.

For me, I am always ready to talk about my Catholic faith with those who are interested in listening. It’s not like I am ashamed to be Catholic or that I think there are some problems with Catholic theology. I don’t. I am a proud JPII Catholic and can defend my faith with the best of them. However, what is odd to me is that when I am sharing my experiences as a Catholic with a Protestant, it never occurs to me to regard them as anything else but a fellow Christian. Again, let me point out that I have some wonderful friendships with Protestants who don’t think this way, but I have run into a few, more and more recently, who have regarded me as being equal to a Roman pagan of the 1st century. Oftentimes in these situations, I feel as though I am being talked down to, as if I were a fourth grader.

I bring up this personal story in order to put this in context with the ESV. Is there a connection with those who primarily use the ESV and anti-Catholicism? I don't know to be honest, but it certainly makes me think about whether or not to use the ESV.


So, I have been dabbling a bit into my new ESV with Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals) for the past few days. Overall, I have liked what I have read so far. It is definitely an improvement over the old RSV, particularly in its elimination of archaic English and its modest use of inclusive language.
While I am not a Bible translation scholar, nor do I pretend to be one on the Internet, I thought I might share some of my thoughts about the ESV translation, particularly in comparison to the NRSV.
I have jotted down some of my thoughts over the past few days, so this will not be a systematic analysis of the ESV, but simply some of my initial, random thoughts coming from my Catholic perspective.
**While I think the ESV is more readable than the RSV, I still find the NRSV to have better literary qualities. I have been reading through the prophets lately, mostly due to class assignments, and the NRSV just seems to read better. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the NRSV is not as "literal" as the ESV. I am also not beholden to the KJV style, which the NRSV begins to break away from. I must say, however, that there is an exception, which is that I much prefer the ESV's use of "woe" to the NRSV's "Ah" or "alas" particularly in Isaiah 5.
**Some of the interesting word choices in the two translations stand out to me. Here is a small list:
1) Overseers vs. Bishops (I Tim/Titus)
2) Propitiation vs. sacrifice of atonement (Rm 3:25)
3) Hell vs. Hades (Matt 16:18)
4) Born again vs. Born from Above (Jn 3:3)
5) Brothers vs. Brothers and Sisters
6) Son of Man vs. O Mortal/Human Beings (OT/Heb 2)
7) "a" vs. "the" (1 Tm 3:15)
8) grasped vs. exploited (Phi. 2:6)
9) made himself nothing vs. emptied himself (Phi. 2:7)
10) Virgin vs. young woman (Is. 7:14)
11) Behold vs. Look or See
12) husband of one wife vs. married once (Titus 1:6)
It is interesting to not that in cases #2,3,4 the ESV agrees with the old Douay-Rheims. I also prefer the ESV in #'s 6, 10, 11, 12. However, there are some places, principly #'s 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9 that I prefer the NRSV translation.
** I am still not sure if I like using a translation that didn't have at least one Catholic scholar on the translation team. Is that wrong of me to think that way? While I am not always 100% in agreement with the NRSV's translation philosophy, I do feel somewhat better about the fact that there were Catholic scholars on the translation team.
**While I am glad that there is an ESV w/ Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals), it does bug me that the main reason it is relegated to the back of the book is to affirm those books "uncanonicity". I appreciate the honesty of Dr. deSilva when he said on this blog: "Perhaps Luther's solution of separating them out and placing them in between the testaments (a location that makes far better sense historically) was not a sufficient statement regarding their (non-) canonicity." So there you have it. I am glad that the folks at Cambridge, who produced my beautiful NRSV w/ Apocrypha, refers to those books as "The Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament".
More thoughts to come over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lectionary Search Tool

There is now a site that allows you to search the Lectionary by Scripture passage. So, if you have a particular passage that you love, you can type it in and see when it will be read during the Liturgical year. For example, one of my favorite passages is Romans 5:8, well here are the results. Thanks to Jeff at The Cross Reference for developing this great tool!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Comments by ESV Apocrypha Translator

In the comment box from the previous post, it appears that one of the Apocrypha translators, David A deSilva (Ashland Theological Seminary), decided to add some interesting information about the publication process of the ESV w/ Apocrypha. I certainly agree that a Catholic edition of the ESV will probably never happen. There would need to be a not only a willingness to produce a Catholic edition, but it would also need to be approved by a Bishops conference, which is not always the easiest thing to do. Thanks for stopping by my humble little blog Dr. deSilva.

I was very pleased myself to get a copy of this edition in the mail.I can put to rest one question in the preceding comments: OUP did NOT make the decision to place the Apocrypha in the back. Perhaps Luther's solution of separating them out and placing them in between the testaments (a location that makes far better sense historically) was not a sufficient statement regarding their (non-) canonicity. I think a Catholic edition will be a long way off (perhaps scheduled for a few years after the second coming), unfortunately.

It was a privilege, however, to have been asked to work on this. We subjected the RSV to a very thorough revision, correcting it in ways that escaped the notice of the NRSV translators of the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. I know that the ESV has occasioned some serious debates on account of its inclusive language policy, and I am very sympathetic to the application of the same in the NRSV and TNIV. I think we attended well to this policy in handling the Apocryphal books, and expect, if we are not judged together with the rest of the translation, that critics from both sides will look favorably on what we have done.

But most importantly, we have put the Apocrypha within the grasp of the devotees of the ESV -- and anything that fosters knowledge of and appreciation for these texts is a project worthy of some part of my short span on this earth. :)

Kind regards,
David deSilva

Saturday, January 24, 2009

ESV w/ Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals) is Here!

Well, after a fairly long wait, I finally received the Oxford University Press English Standard Bible with Apocrypha. The photo on the left gives you a decent view of what the pages look like. (I hope to be able to get some better pictures up in the coming days.)

Here are my first impressions:

Overall, I think the product, itself, is quite good. Since there was very little information about it given on any of the vendor websites, I must say I am pleasantly surprised. It contains the 2007 edition of the ESV, with the new Oxford 2009 ESV Apocrypha. The new translation of the Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals) is really an updating of the older RSV Expanded Apocrypha. The Preface to the Apocrypha says that this edition's goal was "updating archaic language, clarifying obscure words, removing inaccuracies, and bringing punctuation up to current American standards." The scholars who worked on the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicials were David A deSilva (Ashland Theological Seminary), Dan McCartney (Westminster Theological Seminary), and Bernard A. Taylor (Loma Linda University). There was also a post edit job to achieve consistency by David Aiken (Ada, Michigan).

The Table of Contents Lists the Following:
Alphabetic Listing of Books of the Bible
Alphabetic Listing of Books of the Apocrypha
Preface to the ESV
Explanation of Features
Apocrypha Table of Contents
Preface to Apocrypha
Tables of Weights and Measures
Oxford Maps (9)

Positive features:

1) I really like the size of this Bible. I was worried at first that it might be too big and heavy, but it really isn't. In fact, if I were to compare it to one of my other Bibles, it is almost identical in size with the Ignatius RSV-2CE. As a matter of fact, it may be a touch smaller, but not by much.

2) The page layout is pretty good. I think it is similar to many of the Crossway ESV editions that I have looked at in the past, although I could be wrong on that. Each page contains paragraph headings, textual notes, alternative renderings, and cross-references (primarily in NT).

3) It seems to have a solid binding. (I am no expert on this however!) It also lays open nice and rests well in the hand.

4) It contains maps and the previously mentioned cross-references. As I have stated in previous posts, it is amazing, particularly in some Catholic Bibles, that the publishers decide not to have maps or cross-references. Hello HarperCollins? (A concordance would have been nice too, but I am not going to complain about that omission.)

Negative Features:

1) I don't like the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals placed at the back. Yeah, I know, the ESV is a conservative, Evangelical translation, but I would have thought that Oxford would have placed them in the middle, like they do with the NRSV. Perhaps that was a condition of Crossway.

2) I think it would have been helpful to have a list of the various OT Canons in the Apocrypha section. This would certainly have helped the mistake, IMHO, of placing them in the back. Although, I should point out that the Apocrypha are arranged with the Catholic Deuterocanonicals first, before the Orthodox.

3) The last negative feature, thus far, is that the paper is very thin. My guess is that there would be some considerable bleeding through when using any type of Bible pen. While time will tell whether or not I will be using this regularly, it is certain that I won't be writing in this ESV, except perhaps for erasing the "a" in 1 Timothy 3:15. (There is no definitive article, thus using "the", which is in the vast majority of Bibles, or not using an article at all, would have been better.)

That is all for now. I really haven't spent any time reading the ESV before. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am interested in comparing it to the NRSV and the RSV-2CE. Since this edition of the ESV has all the books of the Catholic Bible, as well as maps and cross-references, I am going to consider using this as my reading Bible for 2009.

PS: It looks like the this Bible is now in stock at Amazon.

PS2: It seems that the ESV Apocrypha translators decided to translate the entire Greek edition of Esther, instead of just the additions. (The RSV NOAB just translated the Greek editions of Esther.)

Vatican is Now on YouTube

Yes, it is both true and official. You can check out the Vatican's new site at YouTube here.

The site, itself, states that: "This channel offers news coverage of the main activities of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and of relevant Vatican events.It is updated daily.Video images are produced by Centro Televisio Vaticano (CTV), texts by Vatican Radio (RV) and CTV.This video-news presents the Catholic Churchs position regarding the principal issues of the world today."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Fatherhood of God-zilla

While I'm at it....why not a little more humor, with a much needed message from one of my favorites!

By the way, I think it is a real shame that Saturday afternoons are now filled with infomercials on TV, as opposed to those classic sci-fi/monster films of the 50's and 60's. I was fortunate enough to be able to experience these wonderful films in the Detroit area with the "Thriller Double Feature" on TV20 each Saturday afternoon. Honestly, what would you rather watch, Godzilla vs. Mothra or an infomercial where someone is trying to sell you a juicer?

A Little Humor

Friday, January 16, 2009

ESV with Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals) Update

Well, I decided to cancel my order with in regards for the ESV with Apocrypha. The site now states that it is temporarily out of stock. Since I have seen various publication dates, from January 1 to early February, hopefully we will have an answer fairly soon about when it will actually be available. Who knows? It is interesting that I still cannot find any sample pages anywhere, either at Amazon or OUP. Rest assured, once it is available, I will order it and then be able to do a review.

Update: I saw that the ESV was available at, so I decided to place an order. I think it cost me a couple dollars more, but at least they appear to be in stock there. Although comments by Michael indicate that Amazon has shipped out some of its stock, even though it is still listed as "temporarily out of stock" on the site.

Update 2: Thanks to Esteban, who found a link to some more info on the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals of the ESV. Also, I have been alerted by that my copy of the ESV with Apocrypha is on the way.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
-Mark 1:7-11

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Required Reading

So, I have officially begun my final semester of STB work at the seminary, with the hopes of graduating in late April. Of course, this all depends on the passing of the STB exam sometime at the end of the semester. (The STB is a graduate ecclesiastical degree which is slightly more rigorous than an M. Div.) One of the classes that I am taking this semester is on the Old Testament Prophets. This class should be both enlightening and fun. While I have taken courses on the Pentateuch and the Psalms, as well as half a dozen NT courses, I haven't taken anything specifically focused on the prophets. So, I am actually quite excited.

At least for me, one of the best parts of any semester class is getting the syllabus on the first day. Not only do you get to find out how many papers or exams you will have to complete, but you also get to find out whats the required reading for the course. No surprise, the first and foremost book needed for study of the prophets is the Bible itself. In my case, the professor recommended "a scholarly edition". As one who owns too many Bibles, that isn't a problem. I think I will probably rely on my trusty RSV-New Oxford Annotated Bible. As for what else is required, there are two books:

1) The Hebrew Prophets by James D. Newsome Jr.

2) Theology of the Prophetic Books by Donald E. Gowan

While I have started to read Newsome's book, I was wondering if anyone is familiar with these texts?

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Archbishop for Detroit

I don't typically put information on my blog about newly named bishops, but when the bishop named is your new boss, I can make an exception.

"Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Allen Henry Vigneron, 60, of the Diocese of Oakland, California, as the new Archbishop of Detroit. Installation of the new archbishop has been scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28, at Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.

As required by Church law, Cardinal Maida submitted his resignation to the Holy Father when he turned 75, in March of 2005. Pope Benedict then invited Cardinal Maida to continue as Archbishop of Detroit. Cardinal Maida’s resignation has now been accepted; he will, however, serve as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese during this month’s transition.

Cardinal Adam Maida will introduce his successor, Archbishop-elect Allen Vigneron, at a news conference on Monday, January 5, at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, 2701 Chicago Boulevard at Linwood, Detroit.

Archbishop-elect Vigneron was born in Mt. Clemens and grew up in Immaculate Conception Parish, Anchorville. He attended Immaculate Conception Grade School before going on to Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary High School and College. Later, he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Prior to being named Bishop of Oakland, California, in 2003, Archbishop-elect Vigneron was an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit. His background includes assignments as rector/president of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, work in the Administrative Section of the Vatican Secretariat of State, and service as associate pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Harper Woods.

In his remarks, Archbishop-elect Vigneron expressed his gratitude to Pope Benedict, acknowledged Cardinal Maida’s welcome home, and addressed southeast Michigan’s economic struggle. “I recognize that this challenge for our civic community is – as all societal problems are – a pastoral challenge as well. To that challenge,” he said, “I want to bring all the riches of grace which the Holy Spirit has bestowed on the Church.”

As Archbishop of Detroit, Archbishop-elect Vigneron will be the chief shepherd of 1.4 million Catholics who reside in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Lapeer, and St. Clair Counties. Assisting him in his duties will be Auxiliary Bishops Daniel Flores and Francis Reiss and retired Auxiliary Bishops Moses Anderson, SSE, and Thomas Gumbleton."
(From Press Release by Archdiocese of Detroit)

Friday, January 2, 2009

CBA Study Bible Rankings

Well, this is the ranking of the top ten selling study Bibles, according to the January 2009 CBA Best Sellers list. The CBA is a trade association that represents many independent and chain Christian book stores. The list helps to give a small indication as to what study Bibles are the most popular, particularly in Protestant communities. It must be pointed out that these rankings do not include Catholic Bookstores or larger secular retail chains like Borders or Barnes and Noble. Therefore, you will not see any edition of the NAB study Bible or NJB or anything Ignatius Press might produce for Bible study.

Of all the study Bibles listed on this ranking, the only one that might be of interest to Catholics would be the New Interpreters Study Bible, which is an ecumenical study Bible that includes the full NRSV translation, with Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha. As for the rest, it is not surprising to see the new ESV and NLT Study Bibles doing quite well, since they were both heavily promoted prior to publication in late 2008. And of course, the NIV remains the most popular overall.