Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Contest 1

As promised, I will be offering at least one contest during this Holy season of Advent. I may offer another one, depending on how busy the next few weeks get at school. But for now, the winner of this contest will receive:

1) The Catholic Prayer Bible: Lectio Divina Edition (NRSV)

2) The Gospel According to Luke I-IX (Anchor Bible) by Joseph A. Fitzmyer. 1981.

Here are the rules:

1) If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your blog. (If you don't, you can still enter the contest.)

2) This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. (Again, overseas shipping costs are a bit too high for me right now. Sorry.)

3) In the comment box, answer the following question:
What Catholic Bible, or Bible study tool, would you like to see under your Christmas tree this year and why? (Feel free to invent something that meets your needs!)

4) The contest ends on Saturday at 11:59PM EST.

5) One entry per person.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Truth & Life Audio Bible Review

Well, this is not so much going to be a review, but rather some of my thoughts on this fine product. As mentioned in previous posts, the Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible is an exciting development for Catholic Bible readers (and listeners). I believe this is the first dramatized audio Bible that utilizes a Catholic edition of the Bible. The RSV-CE is the translation used, and I must say that even though the translation is 40+ years old, it still sounds both contemporary (for the most part) and elegant.

The audio CD's are packaged in three separate "digipaks" which contain six CD's each. Each of them contains photos from the project, as well as a foreword on the Word of God from Pope Benedict XVI, a letter from the producer Carl Amari, and additional information about the cast and producers. All in all, it has a professional look to it, which is something that doesn't always accompany Catholic Bible products.

Now onto the audio Bible itself. At this point, I can say that I have listened to all of the Gospel according to John, as well as snippets from the other Gospels and some of the letters. As I was listening to the Gospel of John, narrated by Stacy Keach, I tried to compare this audio Bible with other audio Bibles I own, most notably portions of The Word of Promise and the The Bible Experience: New Testament. The first thing that comes to mind is that in comparison to the other two audio Bibles, this one is a little more scaled back in the use of background sounds. However, I think this is a benefit to the whole listening experience. While there is certainly background noise and sound that accompanies the actors performances, it is not as pronounced as in the other two, IMHO. In a way, by not over-producing these "environmental" sounds, with dominating crowd noise or the sounds of nature, the focus remains on the Sacred Word being read. Again, it just adds enough to help the listener use his or her imagination to construct the scene in their mind as they listen.

The second aspect of this audio Bible that I would like to point out is the voice acting. One thing to note is that while the other two audio Bibles I mentioned had celebrities playing the roles of almost all the characters, the Truth & Life audio Bible has around eleven fairly well known actors playing the main, starring roles, while the others are handled by supporting or voice actors. For me, this was actually a good thing, since I wasn't always distracted by trying to figure out who is saying what. Overall, I found the acting, thus far, to be quite good. Jesus is played by actor Neal McDonough, who does a nice job overall. In particular, I found the readings done by Micheal York, Julia Ormond, and John Rhys-Davies to be my favorites.

Ultimately, I found this product to be quite beautiful to listen to. I can see myself using these, not only for personal use, but also in future Scripture classes at the high school, particularly the letters of St. Paul. I found my copy at Barnes and Noble and paid a little under $30.00, so it can certainly be found at a great price. It is also great to support Catholic products like this. No date has been set, but there are plans to do an Old Testament edition in the future.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To Kindle or Not to Kindle....

Reader Sharon recently emailed me after she received a Kindle for her birthday. As she began to see what was available, she downloaded the Douay-Rheims and RSV-2CE Study Bible (ICSBNT). However, she would like to know what else is available for Catholics, particularly in the area of Bible study, for the Kindle.
So, I propose to you these two questions:
1) What Bible study material is out there and works well on the Kindle?
2) Do you use a Kindle regularly for your own personal Bible reading or study?

Monday, November 22, 2010

CSSI Update

You can get a sneak peak of the CSSI Bible at the Tan Books site here. I do not see any cross-references at this point, but that seems to confirm the belief that a future edition should/needs to contain them. (Hat tip to Kenneth for the link.)

Thank You Mark Shea

Although I try to maintain the focus of this blog to specifically "Catholic Bibles" and things related, I can't help but refer you to a fine examination/parody by my favorite Catholic blogger, Mark Shea, on the reporting by the mainstream press on Pope Benedict's comments concerning condom use in his upcoming interview book Light of the World.


(ROME) In a startling change to the Catholic Faith, Pope Benedict XVI announced today that tossing people down elevator shafts could represent a first step in assuming moral responsibility "in the intention of reducing the risk of murdering billions of innocent people."

The Imperial Mainstream Media Center has taken this as a signal that the Church intends to canonize Darth Vader for his saintly courage in tossing Emperor Palpatine down an elevator shaft as he was torturing his son to death with huge bolts of electric Force energy. In addition, the Imperial Mainstream Media Center has also declared that the Pope therefore means to say that destruction of whole planets, as well as the subjugation of billions of inhabitants all over the galaxy, the betrayal of his closest friends, the slaughter of the Jedi and their younglings, and his conversion to the Dark Side "don't matter". But most importantly, according to an Imperial Mainstream Media spokesman, "The point is, throwing people down elevator shafts is now formally accepted by the Church as moral behavior and Catholic need to think about how to incorporate this new development of doctrine into their lives. If you feel that throwing people down elevator shafts is the safe and right thing for you, then," says the Imperial Mainstream Media Center, "we believe the Pope means to say, 'Do it with my blessing.'"

ICSBNT Contest Giveway Winner

Congrats to reader Lou! Please drop me an email at mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com with your name and address and I will get your copy of the ICSBNT out to you.

Stay tuned, I think I will be having another contest soon since we are entering into the Advent season. All I have to do is figure out what the contest question will be.

Thanks again to all who entered.

CSSI Bible Now Shipping

According to the Saint Benedict Press website, the Catholic Scripture Study International RSV-CE is available for order now. Personally, I am still debating on whether or not to shell out $69.95 + shipping for this, but I would be interested to hear from any of you who do decide to purchase it.
This new RSV-CE edition contains:
This high-quality RSV-CE Bible seamlessly integrates Sacred Scripture with extensive study materials and reference guides. Includes 76 full color pages, Holy Land maps marked with significant events and places, and extensive biblical apologetics and topical indexes, all beautifully bound in our Classic Black Bonded Leather with multiple ribbon markers, gold edges and beautiful foil stamped cover.
Update: You can a sneak peak of this volume on the Tan Books site here. I do not see cross-references.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ICSBNT Contest Giveway

One of my favorite liturgical days is coming up this Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King. I love the readings for that day, as well as the ones that lead up to it. Truly a wonderful way to end the liturgical year. So, in honor of this great feast, I am going to have a contest for a brand new paperback edition of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament.
Here are the rules:
1) If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your blog.
(If you don't, you can still enter the contest.)
2) This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. One of my previous contest winners was outside the North America and the shipping costs were not cheap, so on this occasion I will be limiting this contest to those in the US or Canada. Sorry, I have a new baby and need to buy more formula and diapers!
3) In the comment box, answer the following two questions:
What do you like better: the RSV-CE, the RSV-2CE, or NRSV? Why?
4) The contest ends on Sunday at 11:59PM EST.
5) One entry per person.
I will announce the winner on Monday, so be creative!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Truth & Life Audio Bible RSV-CE

The Truth & Life audio RSV-CE is now available on CD at Amazon.com for only $31.49. I have not been able to find it yet on I-Tunes, but will keep checking. (Hat tip to reader Charles.)

A Reader's Question

A reader sent me an email with the following request:

"I needed to ask you for advice. For a translation of a theology book I need a digital version of the RSV CE to copy and paste hundreds of quotes. I am not using a Kindle. On google search I find audio CD's, but not CD's with text. Years ago I had an Ignatius CD with the RSV, but I lost it. Please advise me where I can purchase what I need."

I did point out to him the UMich online RSV, but perhaps there is more out there for him.
Any assistance, which you can give in the comments, would be appreciated.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Catholic Bible Poll at 2000!

Which Catholic Bible Translation Do You Use?

Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition 28% (560)
New American Bible
22% (438)
15% (307)
New Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition
15% (303)
Jerusalem Bible
9% (174)
New Jerusalem Bible
8% (166)
Good News Bible
2% (34)
Christian Community Bible
1% (29)

So, what do you think about this non-scientific poll? From my experience, it seems that the precentages are about right. The main "battle" continues to be between the RSV and NAB, with the RSV remaining king of the Catholic Bible poll for almost two years now. However, the most interesting fight is between the Douay-Rheims and the NRSV, each representing 15% of the vote. Who will be third?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Verbum Domini

Well, it appears that the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini is now available in English from the Vatican website. So get started on your homework, it's only 208 pages long! More to come on this once I get a chance to read through it. I may have to wait for the printed version, since I am not sure my school wants me to print out 208 pages on my classroom printer. For a little more on the release of this document, you can check out Catholic News Service which provides some quotes and anaylsis of Verbum Domini, as well as the USCCB Media Blog, which posted an article by Mary Sperry, from the NAB team, who was gracious in the past to answer our questions about the upcoming NABRE.

Feel free to start a conversation on this document in the comment section. As I said above, it is a long document, so there is plenty to discuss.

Whatcha Think?

I think it is a bit much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Review: The Harvard Vulgate/Douay-Rheims

Many thanks to reader Theophrastus for this thorough review of the Harvard University Press The Vulgate Bible, Volume 1: The Pentateuch.

Below is his full review:

Harvard University Press, together with the Dumbarton Oaks Library, has launched a new book series called the "Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library". The inaugural volume is a new version of the Pentateuch in a new reconstructed Vulgate and an updated Douay-Rheims translation; and the next release of books features the Prophets: (ISBNs0674055349, 0674996674, 0674060776). Although I have only spent a small amount of time with the new Pentateuch, I can say that it is easily the nicest Latin-English Bible diglot I have ever seen, and a worthy addition to any Bible collector's library.

The new Pentateuch volume is edited by Swift Edgar, a researcher at Dumbarton Oaks, and is quite generous in size with 36+ 1151 pages with 11 extra blank pages at the end. It is a hardcover, and the dimensions of the book are 8.4 x 5.5 x 2.3 inches (I know that is different from Amazon's listed dimensions, but I actually measured the book). This means that this book is nice and thick, and it features creamy thick paper with very generous margins (7/8" on the top and sides, and usually over an inch on the bottom) and nice, big print (I'm guessing 11 point.) This is a book for taking notes, and best of all, has minimal bleed-through. There is a single ribbon for keeping one's place.

The text is rather interesting. The editor presents substantial evidence that Gregory Martin began his translation in 1578 and (after proof reading by two fellow professors) completed it 676 days later, with publication being delayed until 1609-1610 by the exile to Rheims. This of course is consistent with introductory "To the right vvelbeloved English reader" which states that the Bible was translated"about thirtie yeares since" but "as for the impediments, which hitherto haue hindered this worke, they al proceded (as manie do know) of one general cause, our poore estate in banishment."

The English text is revised from the 1899 revision of the Challoner's revision of the Douay. Punctuation and transliteration of proper nouns and adjectives have been brought into modern practice; also, some printer errors in the 1899 version have been corrected by reference to the original Challoner 1750 and 1752 versions. "In addition, the whole text has been prepared according to the guidelines of the fifteenth edition of the 'Chicago Manual of Style.' This policy has resulted in significant alterations to Challoner's edition, which superabounds in colons and commas, lacks quotation marks andbegins each verse on a new line.... In contrast to most English Bibles, this volume renders all of the text as prose, even the partsthat were originally in verse, since neither the Latin nor the Englishis poetic." All of Challoner's notes have been excised, although the text keeps Challoner's chapter summaries.

The most interesting part is the Latin text of the Bible. "While the English College was working on its translation at Douay and Rheims, Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-1590) called for the preparation of an authoritative Latin text. This Latin Bible was published in 1590, just prior to his death, but it contained errors and was soon suppressed for fear that Protestants would use them to attack the Catholic Church. Three corrected printings followed, in 1592, 1593,and 1598, during the papacy of Clement VIII (r. 1592-1605). These four editions, substantially the same, are referred to the Sixto-Clementine Version. While it strongly resembles the Latin Bible that evidently served as the basis for the Douay-Rheims translation, the two are not identical." (Indeed, note that Gregory Martin died adecade before the initial publication of the Sixto-Clementineversion.) This version presents a reconstructed Latin text based on the English evidence of the Douay-Rheims, drawing on the critical apparati in Weber's 5th edition (2007) and Quentin's edition(1926-[1995]).

The result is a fascinating rendition of the Latin -- one that explains mysteries that many of us have noticed in English renderingsof the Douai-Rheims that differ from the Sixto-Clementine version. Of course, many people have strong preference for the Sixto-Clementine (for example in the 1959 Vatican City edition) version, holding, like the introduction to the 1609 Douay:

"But here an other question may be proposed: VVhy we translate the Latin text, rather than the Hebrew, or Greke, which Protestantes preferre, as the fountaine tongues, wherin holie Scriptures were first written? To this we answer, that if in dede those first pure Editions were now extant, or if such as be extant, were more pure than theLatin, we would also preferre such fountaines before the riuers, in whatsoeuer they should be found to disagree. But the ancient bestlerned Fathers, & Doctors of the Church, do not much complaine, andtestifie to vs, that both the Hebrew and Greke Editions are fouly corrupted by the Iewes, and Heretikes, since the Latin was truly translated out of them, whiles they were more pure."

Despite this version of the Latin text being reconstructed, and thus necessarily artificial, it is highly readable Latin and arguably is as close to the version Gregory Martin used as we can hope to get.

The end result is a very convenient and very easy to use diglot. Besides its merits as a Latin edition, it has the nicest version of Challoner that I've seen (and, having restored many changes made by the 1899 revisers to the original 1750 and 1752 form, is more true to Challoner) and the result is English that is reasonably concordant to the Latin. This stands in marked contrast to editions such as the Baronius Press "Douay-Rheims and Clementina Vulgata: English-Latin Bible" (ISBN 1905574444) where the sharp differences between the meaning of the Latin and the meaning of the English often leave thereader gasping and wondering how an edition with such divergent readings could have appeared. Further, in contrast to the cramped, tiny print of the over-sized Baronius, the easy-to-old Harvard edition is a pleasure to use, read, and mark with personal annotations. (The drawback, of course, is that the Harvard edition is appearing in multiple volumes, as opposed to the single-volume Baronius. However, the Baronius is not convenient to use , and while it may have value as a reference volume, I doubt many readers sit down and read it cover to cover.)

At the other extreme, the Weber and Quentin Vulgates, although very scholarly, are hardly convenient to sit down and read; (and for thosewho have intermediate Latin skills, reference to an English version isuseful anyway); in contrast, this new Harvard edition is a wonderful reading version of the Vulgate.

I think that this version will set the new standard for Latin-English diglots of the Bible. I predict that just as the Harvard Loeb volumes have become the convenient reading version for those readers who want consult the Greek and Latin classics (with a matching English translation), I suspect that the Harvard Vulgate will become the standard version for those readers who actually wish to read the Vulgate in Latin. Even if one has English but no Latin at all, the elegant design of this volume commends itself to the reader. I am glad I bought it and look forward to spending a lot of time with it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letter on Bible Synod due Thursday

According to Zenit (Nov. 5):

Benedict XVI's postsynodal exhortation for the world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God will be published next Thursday, the Vatican is reporting. The papal text will gather the reflections and proposals suggested during the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in October 2008, and which reflected on the theme "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church." The document will be titled "Verbum Domini" (word of God).

I think we will spend some posts discussing this text once it is released. So, stay tuned!

PS: "Verbum Domini" should be "Word of the Lord" not "Word of God".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jesus of Nazareth Part II Cover Art

So there it is! Ignatius Press will publish Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth Part 2: Holy Week from the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection on March 15, 2011. The cover art has a similar look to the first volume in this three part series. Part II will number 315 pages, about a hundred pages shorter than Part I. I am sure there will be more news and features from Ignatius Press once we get a little closer to the publication date.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"The State of the Word is Good"

Many thanks to reader Francesco who alerted me to this interesting article from Publishers Weekly. Written by Marcia Z. Nelson, this piece, entitled "The State of the Word Is Good", deals with the recent publication of new translations and study Bibles, along with some info about the Catholic Bible market. Needless to say, HarperOne is prominent in this article, who, like I have mentioned before, seem to be one of the few publishers who have created attractive Bibles for Catholics. Below is a section from the article that deals with the Catholic market, but to read it in its entirety please go here.

"We've been very happy with Bible sales," says Mickey Maudlin, v-p and editorial director at HarperOne, which published several Bibles this year. "They're never the sexiest number, but they just keep going." Now HarperOne is going after the Catholic market (see p. 22), which is vast, with 67 million adherents, but difficult, because the distribution structure is less clearly delineated than the sales and distribution channels of the evangelical market. One strategy Harper has used is forging partnerships with Catholic publishers like Our Sunday Visitor, which are smaller in size but well networked through curriculum publishing. "We're very bullish about the Catholic market," Maudlin says.

I like reading that they view the Catholic market as bullish!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Truth & Life RSV-CE Audio Bible

As mentioned last month, the Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible RSV-CE New Testament will be released sometime this month, on both CD and I-Tunes. (I hope to get a precise date soon on when exactly they will be released.) As far as I can tell, it will be the first dramatized edition of a Catholic Bible in English. It has a host of well-known actors involved in the project. It is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict! The picture on the left surfaced at the Truth & Life Facebook site. The complete audio New Testament is 22 hours long on 18 CDs.

Update: I talked with someone involved with the Truth and Life project who said that the release date should be in about 3 weeks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Revised NIV is Now Available

For those of you who are interested, the revised NIV can now be searched here.

Happy All Saints Day!

I, John, saw another angel come up from the East,holding the seal of the living God.He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea,“Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal,one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the children of Israel. After this I had a vision of a great multitude,which no one could count,from every nation, race, people, and tongue.They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.They cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,and from the Lamb.”
All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures.They prostrated themselves before the throne,worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”He said to me,“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
-Revelation 7