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!


Dwight said...

My answer is probably not what you are looking for: I don't know. :(
I've used the ESV and NRSV for years, which I know are directly related to the RSV (I've only been a Catholic for a year and a half so I only have the Protestant ESV and NRSV without deuterocanonicals).
I appreciate your blog very much!

Timothy said...


Thanks! Actually, I just expanded the contest question to include the NRSV. So feel free to post an entry with the NRSV.

Oscar said...

I’m not sure what my chances are in this contest since I just bought my first Bible. After reading this blog and reading Catholic Answer’s discussion forum, I decided on buying a bible that was easy to read without being lost in translation. I just know that If I’m to become closer to the truth thus becoming a better Catholic, why not get the most recommended RSV-2CE bible.

Theophrastus said...

I'm not going to enter this contest -- I already have a copy of the Ignatius Study Bible (plus mine is in hardcover -- even nicer than paperback, I suspect!)

But I have an opinion on the best editions of the RSV so I'll just vent here, if that's OK.

I think that the best edition of the RSV is the RSV Expanded Edition (which you can find here): It includes revisions to the RSV 2nd edition NT that were made after the RSV-CE was produced (the RSV 2nd edition NT incorporates many changes made in the RSV-CE; when changes are not incorporated, they are often listed as alternatives in the footnotes.) Notably, the Expanded Edition is also an ecumenical edition by including books held sacred in the Eastern Churches. The Oxford annotated edition I link to is particularly nice because it is easy to read.

If one is buying a NRSV, I recommend buying an ecumenical edition that one can use to read books held sacred in the Jewish, Eastern, Roman, and Protestant traditions.

I'm not that crazy about the RSV-2CE. First, it is a translation associated a single publisher, Ignatius. That strikes me as being too narrow for a universal book such as the Bible. Second, who were the revisers of the 2CE? Those translators involved in the RSV and the NRSV were prominently listed -- but I am not aware that the translators associated with the 2CE have ever been listed. If I produce a "Theophrastus's edition of the RSV" how would the RSV-T be less canonical than the RSV-2CE? Third, the RSV-2CE does not seem to be consistently revised from the RSV-CE. Fourth, the physical editions of the RSV-2CE that I've seen have been, in a word, poor. They have garish covers and poor paper. While this is a criticism of the physical books rather than the translation proper, to the best of my knowledge, there are no nice physical editions of the RSV-2CE available today or likely to be available soon.

Diakonos said...

I prefer the NRSV for several reasons over the other two versions. First, it reads smoothly with a fresh contemprary feel to it without betraying the literal aspect. Second, it's ecumenical and I think this is extremely important for the Sacred Scriptures. We are already divided in solemn things both doctrinally (like the papcy) and liturgically (as in variant dates for the greatest Christian celebration, Easter)that it's wonderful to have at least a "common" type Bible. Third (and this really has nothing to do with translation) the NRSV is available in a greater choice of bindings and style (though I will yet again bemoan the cross references issue).

The RSV-CE is a bit stale to me but more than that I have come to appreciate the chapter subheadings that help me locate passages with more ease. And the RSV-CE in all its editions (that I am aware of) lack this feature.

While the RSV-2CE does have these subheadings, I just cannot get past the idea (fact?) that it is not really an "ecclesial" edition but moreso the translation of a Catholic publishing house and most likely also the work of an individual, Fr. Fessio, founder & editor of the Press.

What I DO like about the RSV-2CE over its predecessor is the updated language in reference to God and in the Study Bible version all the notes and aids. But even these cannot overcome the absolutely ugly gaudy glaringly gold-stamped cover of the Ignatius Study Bible (maybe its just worse looking in the leather edition I purchased).

If I do win I will give this edition to a lady I know who is taking a Scripture class and needs the notes contained in the Study Bible. But first I will be sure to put it into a nice zipper case so she won't need to see that cover. :)

Kathy said...

I'd love to win this. Of the above options I have only read the NRSV (though I've read many others including NAB over the years). It would be interesting to see a RSV 2 CE. I have an ESV and I wonder how similar the ESV and RSV2CE are. I imagine they are quite similar and if I win I can compare them.

Lou said...

I used the RSV-CE for a few years and have been using the RSV-2CE as my reading Bible since not long after it was released.

I share some of the reservations that others have aired about the RSV-2CE: there's something lost in going from a translation marked by ecumenical collaboration to something that seems more like a publisher's in house project.

Fr. Fessio's comment here telling how the 2CE happened almost by accident goes a long way toward explaining the lack of transparency and ecclesiastical cooperation in its origins. I like Ignatius Press a lot, but because of these inauspicous beginnings, it's hard to see the RSV-2CE rising above a "conservative Catholic brand" translation.

All of that being said, for sheer readability, I prefer the RSV-2CE mainly because of the dropping of "thee"s and "thou"s. My ears, raised on the NAB, just never grew accustomed to it in the RSV-CE, particularly because of the RSV's compromise of retaining the archaic pronouns when referring to God, but nowhere else. This always seemed awkward and jarring to me--like people who say "... the Lord is with thee, blessed are you among women...".

I'm not knowledgable enough to comment on the other changes made to the translation. They seem mostly minor, though I know that, on at least one or two occasions they've surprised me enough to send me to the original languages. I'm not sure whether that speaks in their favor or not :).

Also, maybe I just have bad taste, but I don't find the RSV-2CE cover gaudy or garish. I rather like the depiction of the symbols of the evangelists and Christ the Teacher. It's certainly an improvement over the old blue cover of my RSV-CE "Ignatius Bible".

Abe said...

I stumbled on to this website (and this contest) while researching which Bible to use for the youth Bible study group that we (few members of the church and I) are creating at our church. I grew up using the RSV-CE and hadn't actually taken a serious look at the RSV-2CE until a couple of weeks ago.

I've grown used to the old style English so it no longer bothers me. When we had our meeting to determine which Bible to use for the study group, the RSV-CE was among the top of the list of Bibles to use. While I personally didn't have any problems using RSV-CE, after some critical thought I came to the conclusion that many of the younger members that would join the group would have some difficulty fully comprehending. This goes doubly so for the recent converts and foreigners, both of which we have a surprising number of. It isn't that the whole thees and thous are hard to understand, but that it creates small hiccups in reading due to unfamiliarity that prevents a smooth reading required for proper understanding. I remember struggling through it when I was a child.

Upon further research for an appropriate Bible for the study group, I came upon the RSV-2CE which seemed to have all the requirements that we were looking for. It was literal enough in the translations that it would facilitate the critical thinking required for such a study group while at the same time having modernized English to allow for a more fluid reading. After some brief readings (I didn't have enough time yet to warrant a through review) I feel that the difference between RSV-CE and RSV-2CE is, aside from the modernization of the language, minor.

On a side note, we did not take NRSV into account due to what we felt was a rather liberal usage of inclusive language. Personally, I find the inclusive language to be highly annoying. I know that I should be more open minded since I've been told that aside from the inclusive language, the translation is rather excellent. I'm a traditionalist by nature and NRSV just rankles that part of me I guess.

I would say that I personally like the RSV-CE more, I find that the RSV-2CE may be the better of the two for studying purposes.

Shazamaholic said...

This is kind of a tough one for me, because I have never owned any of the RSV based translations. My personal experience is based on excerpts I have read and from other reviews.

First, it surprises me so many people consider the RSV-2CE's cover as garish. It is an excellent example of Eastern style iconography, and I like it very much and think it is very suitable for a Bible cover. But I suppose some people also prefer plain, bare "worship spaces" to grand and ornate churches.

As for the translation itself, I would exclude the NRSV, because of questionable translation choices and the overt use of inclusive language, which changes the meaning of many passages.

Additionally, I am not a scholar, so that the NRSV uses the most recently discovered texts doesn't matter much to me. It can be debated endlessly if these newly discovered texts are more authentic and reliable than the texts St Jerome used. Also, if the newer texts don't have any radical differences... if they confirm the texts that were already used, I don't see the need to make new translations, other than to use lowest common denominator English, and inject inclusive language.

In fact, all the RSV versions, since they originated as Prostestant translations, have some problems in the choice of words they use in the translation, which may be technically correct, but lack doctrinal certainty (ex., "in the presence of Christ" vs "in the person of Christ", or "powers of death" vs "gates of hell", or "truly I tell you" vs "Amen I say to you").

So ruling out the NRSV, that leaves me with the RSV-CE and RSV-2CE. I have read there are actually two RSV-CE's. The original, and a hybrid exclusive to Oxford Press that uses the 1971 Protestant RSV mixed with the RSV-CE. From what I've read in research, many of the changes made by Ignatius Press in the RSV-2CE are the same as Oxford's hybrid. The RSV-CE uses mild archaic language, which does not bother me. In fact, I think it makes Scripture sound more prayerful.

It makes me laugh when I read people saying the Pope uses the RSV-CE in all his writings. I'm sure that is not true at all. I'm sure the Pope uses the Vulgate or a German translation, and it is his editors and publishers that use the RSV-CE when they translate his writings into English.

The RSV-2CE removes the archaic language, and in addition to the changes also found in the Oxford hybrid, there are other changes that conform to Liturgiam Authenticam. Critics of the RSV-2CE have said, at best it is a work in progress, as despite what Ignatus says, it does not follow L.A. fully, but only partially. It seems the whole reason for the RSV-2CE was not so much for a readers Bible, but for a Lecionary (and indeed, its icon cover makes it look more like a Lecionary), so that the English speaking world would have a translation for Liturgy to replace the Jerusalem Bible. Unfortunately for Ignatius, this hasn't panned out, as the UK bishops are going with the NRSV, and with Canada also using it, most others will follow. This leaves the RSV-2CE as sort of a fringe translation.

So, having contemplated all this, my decision as to which I would prefer out of the RSV based translations... would actually be a toss up between the RSV-2CE and the Oxford hybrid RSV-CE.