Thursday, January 28, 2010

Catholic Bible Poll at 1000!

Which Catholic Bible Translation Do You Use?

Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition 28% (275)
New American Bible 26% (258)
New Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition 16% (159)
Douay-Rheims 13% (134)
New Jerusalem Bible 8% (83)
Jerusalem Bible 7% (67)
Good News Bible 2% (16)
Christian Community Bible 1% (8)

After 1000 votes have been cast, it is clear that the RSV-CE remains the most popular Catholic Bible translation on this blog. What is interesting, since the last time I posted on the Bible Poll, is that the NAB has been growing in popularity. Does this have something to do with the impending revision to the NAB OT and re-revised Psalms? I do not know. Certainly the NAB is the most well-known of all the Catholic Bibles in the US, and I have always felt that the NAB NT is quite good.

In many ways, there are three groupings in this poll. The first group, which accounts for 54% of the overall vote, contains the RSV-CE and the NAB. Next, and somewhat ironic considering their translation philosophies, is a group consisting of the NRSV and the Douay-Rheims. Those two are actually pretty close, together accounting for 29% of the total vote. The final group consists of the NJB, JB, GNB, and the CCB, which only account for 18% of the overall vote.

Although this poll is by no means scientific, I do think it represents, fairly well, which Bible translations Catholics are reading these day, particularly here in North America. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New DVD: What Every Catholic Should Know About the Bible

I know that I am not alone in praising the work that apostolates like St. Joseph Communication have done over the past decade. When I began to rediscover my faith, a little under ten years ago, I relied heavily on the many tapes and CD's offered by St. Joseph Communication. I still remember getting a copy of Dr. Scott Hahn's talk called "The 4th Cup" and just being completely blown away by what I was hearing. I had never heard Scripture explained in that way, and it truly left me inspired and excited to study the Scriptures. I can say with all honesty, that I wouldn't be doing what I am doing today, if it weren't for the excellent talks offered by St. Joseph Communication. So thank you!

With that said, I wanted to highlight a new DVD by St. Joseph Communications entitled: "What Every Catholic Needs to Know About the Bible". I have yet to view it, but it does look very promising. If it is as good as I think it is, I can see myself using this for the first meeting of future Bible studies I help facilitate.

Here is some more info about it:

Everyone knows that the Holy Bible is the best-selling book of all time. It is available in more versions and in more languages than any other book in history. But the Bible is more than the world’s most widely distributed book. The Sacred Scriptures are really a whole library of sacred books, letters, prophecy and poetry, all of which are believed to be inspired by God by millions around the world. But many read the Bible and never stop to ask, “Where did we get the Bible?” “By what authority was it compiled?” “Where can you find the correct interpretation of the Bible?”

Respected Team of Catholic Experts
On this remarkable DVD, Matthew Arnold (Our Catholic Faith, The Miracles of Jesus) has brought together the following respected team of Catholic experts to explore the above questions and many more: author and apologist Jesse Romero, M.A.; Brandt Pitre, Ph.D., assistant professor of Scripture and Theology at Our Lady of Holy Cross College, in New Orleans; Michael Barber, M.A., professor of Scripture, Theology and Catholic Thought at John Paul the Great Catholic University, San Diego; and best-selling author, professor of theology and Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation as St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe PA, Scott Hahn, Ph.D.

Discover the “Gospel Truth” about the Bible
Now you’ll be empowered to discover and share the “Gospel truth” about such important topics as the inspiration of Scripture, the formation of the Biblical canon, the crucial role of the Church’s Tradition in Biblical interpretation, and the history of Biblical translations from the time of Christ to today. You’ll also learn the truth about the pervasive Protestant charges that the Catholic Church banned and burned the Bible; that the Church chained the Bible and kept it in a dead language in order to keep the Scriptures from the people.

Inspiring and Enlightening
You’ll find this all-new DVD perfect for adult inquiry classes, RCIA, Confirmation and Catholic Bible study groups. With this inspiring and enlightening presentation, you’ll have a powerful and painless way to share the essential truths about the Bible and its relationship to the Catholic Church with Catholic adults and young people, the un-churched, and our separated brethren. Order now and discover What Every Catholic Needs to Know About the Bible.

How the Bible was compiled
What the words “Testament” really means
Why the Bible is primarily a “Liturgical book”
How the Holy Mass is “the Bible in action”
Why it is absolutely necessary to properly interpret the Sacred Page
How the divisions of the New Testament parallel the Old
How discovering the literary forms employed by the inspired authors helps us to understand the Bible
Why the doctrine of “the Bible alone” is unhistorical and unbiblical
What is the history of Biblical translations
How the Bible is God’s Word to you today

Monday, January 25, 2010

Scot McKnight on "Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture" Series

Popular evangelical speaker and author Scot McKnight, of the Jesus Creed blog, has posted on the new Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series that I have been promoting here on this blog. It is worth taking a look at, particularly because it is from a Protestant perspective.

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, AAnanias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.
- Acts 9:1-22 (NAB)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jesus of Nazareth Part II This Spring!

Head on over to Ignatius Insight for some additional information, including some fine resources for Volume I of Jesus of Nazareth.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Edition of Catholic Youth Bible (3rd Edition)

Coming this month, Saint Mary's Press will be releasing an update to their very popular Catholic Youth Bible. I recently received a copy in the mail, which I hope to review in the coming weeks once I get a little time to look it over. So far, it looks like they have added some nice sections on lectio divina and the memorization of scripture. I also like the overall look and page format of the new CYB. Once again, it comes in two versions, the NAB and the NRSV-CE.
Here are some of the new features found in the 3rd edition:
•New 40 expanded "Catholic Connection" articles that provide a more complete presentation of those Catholic teachings that are scripturally based
• New 28 articles that address the seven principles of Catholic social teaching
• New 40 pages of 4-color inserts that help you pray, study, and live the Bible and Catholic teachings
• New Illustrations throughout to provide a visual context for the biblical stories
• New Over 275 articles updated to reflect contemporary issues and biblical scholarship
More in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For Our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti

De Profundis

Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.
If You, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?
But with You is forgiveness, that You may be revered.
I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word.
My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the Lord,
For with the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption;
And He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.

O Most Merciful Jesus, lover of souls,
I pray to you by the agony of your most Sacred Heart,
and by the sorrows of your Immaculate Mother, to wash in
your blood all of our brothers and sisters in Haiti
who are now in their agony, and are to die this day.


According to media reports:
"The archbishop of Port-au-Prince was killed in the massive earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital and taken untold lives since striking Tuesday, according to a dispatch from the Vatican. The body of Bp. Joseph Serge Miot, 65, was found under the rubble of the archdiocese, and may be one of only hundreds of victims trapped in the ruins of the building."

May he and all the faithfully departed rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My New RSV-2CE in Calfskin Leather

So, yes, I decided to take things into my own hands. As many of you know, I have spent quite a few posts on this blog focusing on the lack of truly premium leather Catholic Bibles. I had always figured that at some point, someone would produce a premium leather RSV or NRSV in a specifically Catholic edition. Sure, I tried out a few of the genuine leather editions that are out there, but nothing really captured what I was looking for. I should point out that my desire for a premium leather was enhanced by the wonderful posts by J. Mark Bertrand at his Bible Design and Binding blog. So he is partially to blame! :)

In any case, I decided to commission my own premium leather Catholic Bible in the RSV-2CE. Why the RSV-2CE? Well, there are a couple of considerations that made that the obvious choice. First of all, the Ignatius edition contains cross-references, some minor notes, and maps. And even though the font isn't the most ideal in my mind, it is OK and contains paragraph headings that help to break up the text. Also, the Bible itself isn't too think. In many ways, it is the ideal size. The second reason is that the text book we will be using next year at the high school is keyed to the RSV-CE. This is also aided by the continued release of RSV-CE and 2CE related study tools, like The Catholic Bible Dictionary and The Catholic Bible Concordance.

So, next began the process of finding a book-binder who would handle my commission. Funny enough, the first book-binder who I contacted told me that he would not rebind my Catholic Bible in premium leather because he only would do Protestant Bibles. He basically told me that he would only rebind the Word of God, and the one I wanted to send him wasn't it. Hmm..... Lovely way to start this search.

Next, I contacted Leonard's Book Restoration. They were more than happy to rebind my Ignatius RSV-2CE. I sent them my book along with information as to what I wanted in my rebound RSV-2CE and they accepted it. Ultimately, the bonded leather Ignatius RSV-2CE was transformed into a premium rustic calfskin leather Ignatius RSV-2CE. So far, I am very happy with the end result. The people at Leonard's were very helpful when I placed my order, and it only took five weeks to complete the project, over the Christmas holiday no less.

The cover is very smooth and flexible, which is what I wanted. When I open it on a table, it opens flat without any need to bend the binding. In many ways, it looks and feels like the cover belongs with this Ignatius Bible. They also added my name to the bottom right of the front cover, as well as including an additional Bible ribbon.
Overall, I am very happy with my new Bible, and I will in the future recommend the fine people at Leonard's Book Restoration to anyone who wants a premium leather cover for their Bible.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Luke 1-2: 490 Days and Daniel 9

There is a very interesting post over at The Sacred Page blog which I think you might enjoy. It centers on Daniel 9 and the Seventy Weeks (of years) and a particular way to calculating it in reference to the infancy narratives in Luke 1-2. It is definitely worth a look, so check it out!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Bibles from Saint Benedict Press

The Bible editions are coming fast and furious from the fine folks at Saint Benedict Press. They are now offering, via pre-order, two new editions of the NAB. They are both NAB gift Bibles to celebrate First Communion and Confirmation.

As of now, they both come in hardbound editions and include a nice selection of Bible "extras".

Here is the description of the First Communion edition followed by the Confirmation one:

"This hardbound, gold-embossed New American Bible contains pages of colorful images, child-friendly stories on the lives of young Saints, daily Catholic prayers, including how to pray the Rosary, and explanations of the Seven Sacraments. This elegant edition also contains an explanation of the Mass and the complete Calendar of Sunday and Weekday Readings. The treasures discovered in this keepsake box will multiply the Graces received in the Sacrament of Holy Communion."

"This hardbound, gold-embossed New American Bible features stories on the lives of young Saints, explanations of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and well-known prayers written in English and Latin. This elegant edition also contains answers to teens’ top questions about Catholic moral teaching and the complete Calendar of Sunday and Weekday Readings. The treasures discovered in this keepsake box will multiply the Graces received in the Sacrament of Confirmation."

All I can say is "keep them coming!"

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

News on Ignatius Study Bible NT

(New Info at Bottom of Post)
According to the Ignatius Insight blog, the complete Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament will be available in April. As you know, it utilizes the RSV-2CE and has been almost ten years in the making. Here is the complete announcement:

Commentary by Scott Hahn, Curtis Mitch, and Dennis Walters

Available April 2010

The only Catholic Study Bible based on the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament brings together all of the books of the New Testament and the penetrating study tools developed by renowned Bible teachers Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.
This volume presents the written Word of God in a highly readable, accurate translation, excellent for personal and group study. Extensive study notes, topical essays and word studies provide fresh and faithful insights informed by time-tested, authentically Catholic interpretations from the Fathers of the Church and other scholars. Commentaries include the best insights of ancient, medieval and modern scholarship, and follow the Church’s guidelines for biblical interpretation.
Plus, each New Testament book is outlined and introduced with an essay covering questions of authorship, date of composition, intended audience and general themes. The Ignatius Study Bible also includes handy reference materials such as a doctrinal index, a concise concordance, a helpful cross-reference system, and various maps and charts.
Like many of you, I am very excited about this publication and hope that the complete, OT and NT, version will be out in the near future as well. It is really nice to see that they are including a concise concordance in this edition, and presumably in the complete edition whenever it is published. Although I don't always feel it is necessary, I do think a concise concordance can be a very handy feature, particularly if you lead Bible studies. The doctrinal index should also be helpful as well. The last time I saw one of those was in an old St. Joseph's NAB that I own.
Overall, it looks promising. I wonder if they will include the study questions that are found in the back of the single volume editions? Also, I wonder if there this edition will be published in different covers? While I wouldn't necessarily expect any premium leather editions, it would be nice to see it in some of the high quality synthetic/Duo-Tone/Premium Ultra-Soft covers. I also think they should develop a specific website for this study Bible, which would serve not only to promote the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, but also to be a place to find additional study helps including an online version of the RSV-2CE. Wouldn't that be nice?
You can pre-order the paperback edition here.
Some additional information about the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament from Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press, in response to some specific questions:

Wide margins, indeed.
Mostly the same commentary and notes as the individual NT volumes, but some changes,
revisions, etc. Plus, some new essays.
Doctrinal index, concise concordance, other study helps, including new full-color maps.
OT books slated to begin pub in Fall 2010. We'll see how much faster the OT books will come out--certainly faster than NT.
All of this is very good to hear. I like that there will be some additional essays, and new full-color maps. It is also encouraging that they plan to produce the OT books at a quicker pace. Excellent!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pope St. Leo the Great on the Epiphany

I. The Epiphany a necessary sequel to the Nativity
After celebrating but lately the day on which immaculate virginity brought forth the Saviour of mankind, the venerable feast of the Epiphany, dearly beloved, gives us continuance of joy, that the force of our exultation and the fervour of our faith may not grow cool, in the midst of neighbouring and kindred mysteries. For it concerns all men's salvation, that the infancy of the Mediator between God and men was already manifested to the whole world, while He was still detained in the tiny town. For although He had chosen the Israelitish nation, and one family out of that nation, from whom to assume the nature of all mankind, yet He was unwilling that the early days of His birth should be concealed within the narrow limits of His mother's home: but desired to be soon recognized by all, seeing that He deigned to be born for all. To three wise men, therefore, appeared a star of new splendour in the region of the East, which, being brighter and fairer than the other stars, might easily attract the eyes and minds of those that looked on it, so that at once that might be observed not to be meaningless, which had so unusual an appearance. He therefore who gave the sign, gave to the beholders understanding of it, and caused inquiry to be made about that, of which He had thus caused understanding, and after inquiry made, offered Himself to be found.

II. Herod's evil designs were fruitless
The wise men's gifts were consciously symbolical. These three men follow the leading of the light above, and with steadfast gaze obeying the indications of the guiding splendour, are led to the recognition of the Truth by the brilliance of Grace, for they supposed that a king's birth was notified in a human sense , and that it must be sought in a royal city. Yet He who had taken a slave's form, and had come not to judge, but to be judged, chose Bethlehem for His nativity, Jerusalem for His passion. But Herod, hearing that a prince of the Jews was born, suspected a successor, and was in great terror: and to compass the death of the Author of Salvation, pledged himself to a false homage. How happy had he been, if he had imitated the wise men's faith, and turned to a pious use what he designed for deceit. What blind wickedness of foolish jealousy, to think you can overthrow the Divine plan by your frenzy. The Lord of the world, who offers an eternal Kingdom, seeks not a temporal. Why do you attempt to change the unchangeable order of things ordained, and to forestall others in their crime? The death of Christ belongs not to your time. The Gospel must be first set on foot, the Kingdom of God first preached, healings first given to the sick, wondrous acts first performed. Why do you wish yourself to have the blame of what will belong to another's work, and why without being able to effect your wicked design, do you bring on yourself alone the charge of wishing the evil? You gain nothing and carriest out nothing by this intriguing. He that was born voluntarily shall die of His own free will. The Wise men, therefore, fulfil their desire, and come to the child, the Lord Jesus Christ, the same star going before them. They adore the Word in flesh, the Wisdom in infancy, the Power in weakness, the Lord of majesty in the reality of man: and by their gifts make open acknowledgment of what they believe in their hearts, that they may show forth the mystery of their faith and understanding. The incense they offer to God, the myrrh to Man, the gold to the King, consciously paying honour to the Divine and human Nature in union: because while each substance had its own properties, there was no difference in the power of either.

III. The massacre of the innocents is in harmony with the Virgin's conception, which again teaches us purity of life
And when the wise men had returned to their own land, and Jesus had been carried into Egypt at the Divine suggestion, Herod's madness blazes out into fruitless schemes. He orders all the little ones in Bethlehem to be slain, and since he knows not which infant to fear, extends a general sentence against the age he suspects. But that which the wicked king removes from the world, Christ admits to heaven: and on those for whom He had not yet spent His redeeming blood, He already bestows the dignity of martyrdom. Lift your faithful hearts then, dearly-beloved, to the gracious blaze of eternal light, and in adoration of the mysteries dispensed for man's salvation give your diligent heed to the things which have been wrought on your behalf. Love the purity of a chaste life, because Christ is the Son of a virgin. Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul 1 Peter 2:11, as the blessed Apostle, present in his words as we read, exhorts us, In malice be ye children 1 Corinthians 14:20, because the Lord of glory conformed Himself to the infancy of mortals. Follow after humility which the Son of God deigned to teach His disciples. Put on the power of patience, in which you may be able to gain your souls; seeing that He who is the Redemption of all, is also the Strength of all. Set your minds on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth Colossians 3:2 . Walk firmly along the path of truth and life: let not earthly things hinder you for whom are prepared heavenly things through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
Happy Feast of the Epiphany
(whenever you celebrate it!)

(Pope St. Leo's Sermon 31 brought to you by the fine people at New Advent)