Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Three of My Favorite Editions of the RSV


Catholic Scripture Study International Study Bible: RSV-CE

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Revised Standard Version, Expanded Edition

Ignatius Bible RSV-2CE

All three Bibles include different editions of the RSV. They each have their own unique features as well. In a perfect world, or if I worked for a major publishing house who had the rights to do this, I would combine elements from all three: The overall look, size, and feel of the NOAB RSV (and maps), the translation and cross-references of the RSV-2CE, and the supplemental material in the CSSI RSV-CE. What would I call this version? The Catholic Reference Bible: Revised Standard Version Second Catholic Edition. Ha!

20 comments:

rolf said...

Sounds good, and if you would include a large print size (like in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible- NT) then it would be perfect. I am still patiently waiting for a large print RSV-2CE edition from Ignatius. I just received a large print NABRE by Oxford in the Pacific Duvelle (tan/blue) and it is very nice! Come on Ignatius, I have been waiting for 5 years!

Matt said...

The NOAB looks like it has seen better days, but has been well used!

Does it have glued or sewn binding? Usually the spine-bend happens to books with glued binding.

Mark in Spokane said...

Love the NOAB -- my first non-NAB Bible was the NOAB.

Timothy said...

Matt,

I believe it is sewn. The NOAB I own has always been very flexible, even in the spine.

Anonymous said...

Hello Timothy,

If you could only have one of the above, which one would you choose?

And what is your opinion of the St. Benedict's large print RSV CE?

Thanks in advance,
John

Timothy said...

John,

For more on the CSSI Large Print RSV: http://catholicbibles.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-cssi-bible-rsv-ce.html

To your first question, each have their own positives and negatives. As I mentioned in the post, it would be nice to have a combination of all three in one, but of course that is mere fantasy. I have been using all three in various settings over the past month or two trying to answer your exact question actually. I am not sure if I have an answer. If you want the updated language, the RSV-2CE is where you should go. It also comes with maps and cross-references. The NOAB is a much nicer product overall, but it is 30+ years old and isn't technically a "Catholic" Bible. The CSSI has some wonderful apologetics material, and the large print makes it very easy to read from, but it is missing cross-references and a few other necessary study aids.

I would say, that if I had to make my decision right now, I would probably go with the NOAB RSV.

Timothy said...

Rolf,

If only Ignatius would publish their RSV-2CE in some different editions, like Large-Print or compact/thinline or even a reference Bible.

Theophrastus said...

If you want the updated language, the RSV-2CE is where you should go. It also comes with maps and cross-references.

I think you are overstating the advantages of the 2CE.

I hardly think that the cartoon-like images at the back of the 2CE deserve to be called maps (for example, where are the topographic features necessary for understanding scripture?), and the 2CE "cross-references" are terrible (and, in most of the OT, super-scarce) -- certainly inferior to the cross-references in the annotations of the NOAB.

The language of the RSV-2CE hasn't really been updated in the sense that the New RSV language is updated -- the syntax remains largely the same and there are no changes because of better scholarship.

While the the RSV-2CE has "Catholic" in its name, it does not actually have imprimatur (it claims it is covered under the original RSV imprimatur).

Finally -- other than Ignatius Press publications, I don't see anyone using the 2CE.

Theophrastus said...

As a specific example: I looked at the book of Jonah in the 2CE and the NOAB.

Cross references

2CE: 3 cross-references (+ 2 in introductory note)

NOAB: 24 cross-references (+ 4 in introduction)

Map

(Within 100 miles of Nineveh)

2CE: (Sixth map -- one page) Only Nineveh and Tigris River drawn. Lake Urmia drawn but not named

NOAB: (Map 7 -- two pages plus gazetter) Nineveh, Tigris, Urmia plus Lake Vari, the Lower and Upper Zab, the River Adhaim, and the River Diyala and five other cities drawn (including Calah from Genesis 10:12).

Notes

2CE: Only introductory note and textual notes.

NOAB: In just the first three verses, one learns from the NOAB (a) that Jonah means "dove"; (b) that Nineveh is the Assyrian capital; (c) that its wickedness is described in Nah. ch. 3; (d) that Tarshish is probably in Southern Spain (alternatively it might be Tarsus in Southern Turkey) away from the direction of Nineveh. (I would also draw special attention to the NOAB's note at 3:6 -- if someone does not know that sackcloth and ashes are signs of mourning, someone is likely to completely misunderstand this verse.)

Conclusion

Even if the language in the 2CE is somewhat updated, I cannot in good conscience recommend the 2CE to a new Bible reader unless she has access to a commentary -- what is the point of updated language when the text simply seems obscure to the reader? A reader of the NOAB will have a much better understanding of the story of Jonah than a 2CE reader.

Francesco said...

Theophrastus:

You're over-selling the point that the RSV-2CE doesn't have an imprimatur. It's used in the Antilles for the lectionary, and will be used in several African countries soon. This puts it in another class than the NLT-CE or the ESV/wA.

Theophrastus said...

To be clear, I am not seriously worried about the issue of imprimatur. I feel imprimatur is in many ways a hold-over from the 16th century, and I don't seriously worry that 2CE (or the NLT-CE or the ESV+Apoc) will lead to heresy. Also since imprimatur is given by national conferences (which in the US case also is a translation sponsor-- namely of the NAB) there is a real risk that politics may play a role.

In particular, I'm sure the 2CE deserves to get imprimatur.

However, putting on my legalistic hat: The lectionary includes only 13.5% of the OT and only 71.5% of the NT. Approval of the lectionary says nothing about the majority of the Bible that is not in the lectionary. Further, the standards for lectionary translation (Liturgiam Authenticam) and Biblical translation (Dei Verbum) are completely different. In fact, I am unaware of any major translation with imprimatur that has not been changed for the lectionary (with the exception of the Nova Vulgata.) Finally, it is not the Caribbean conference which would give imprimatur, but the US conference, since the translation is published in the US and not the Caribbean.

Finally, there are questions about the 2CE translation -- as Tim frequently reminds us, the editors were not very transparent about the process; and the claim that the translation meets the standards of Liturgiam Authenticam is exaggerated.

Anonymous said...

To John: Regarding the St. Benedict large print RSV-CE. It has a beautiful cover and the print is easy to read buttttt: the glue holding the pages to the cloth spine is already separting and the pages are coming loose after less than six months of use. It is a very big disappointment. I have bought an Oxford large print RSV-
CE and so far the binding is holding up much better and the print is larger.

Sharon in Waxahachie!!

Theophrastus said...

Note: this is a repeat of a comment that was apparently lost during the "the Great Blogger Data Loss of 2011"

As a specific example: I looked at the book of Jonah in the 2CE and the NOAB.

Cross references

2CE: 3 cross-references (+ 2 in introductory note)

NOAB: 24 cross-references (+ 4 in introduction)

Map

(Within 100 miles of Nineveh)

2CE: (Sixth map -- one page) Only Nineveh and Tigris River drawn. Lake Urmia drawn but not named

NOAB: (Map 7 -- two pages plus gazetter) Nineveh, Tigris, Urmia plus Lake Vari, the Lower and Upper Zab, the River Adhaim, and the River Diyala and five other cities drawn (including Calah from Genesis 10:12).

Notes

2CE: Only introductory note and textual notes.

NOAB: In just the first three verses, one learns from the NOAB (a) that Jonah means "dove"; (b) that Nineveh is the Assyrian capital; (c) that its wickedness is described in Nah. ch. 3; (d) that Tarshish is probably in Southern Spain (alternatively it might be Tarsus in Southern Turkey) away from the direction of Nineveh. (I would also draw special attention to the NOAB's note at 3:6 -- if someone does not know that sackcloth and ashes are signs of mourning, someone is likely to completely misunderstand this verse.)

Conclusion

Even if the language in the 2CE is somewhat updated, I cannot in good conscience recommend the 2CE to a new Bible reader unless she has access to a commentary -- what is the point of updated language when the text simply seems obscure to the reader? A reader of the NOAB will have a much better understanding of the story of Jonah than a 2CE reader.

Theophrastus said...

Note: this is a repeat of a comment that was apparently lost during the "the Great Blogger Data Loss of 2011"

If you want the updated language, the RSV-2CE is where you should go. It also comes with maps and cross-references.

I think you are overstating the advantages of the 2CE.

I hardly think that the cartoon-like images at the back of the 2CE deserve to be called maps (for example, where are the topographic features necessary for understanding scripture?), and the 2CE "cross-references" are terrible (and, in most of the OT, super-scarce) -- certainly inferior to the cross-references in the annotations of the NOAB.

The language of the RSV-2CE hasn't really been updated in the sense that the New RSV language is updated -- the syntax remains largely the same and there are no changes because of better scholarship.

While the the RSV-2CE has "Catholic" in its name, it does not actually have imprimatur (it claims it is covered under the original RSV imprimatur).

Finally -- other than Ignatius Press publications, I don't see anyone using the 2CE.

Theophrastus said...

Note: this is a repeat of a comment that was apparently lost during the "the Great Blogger Data Loss of 2011"

To be clear, I am not seriously worried about the issue of imprimatur. I feel imprimatur is in many ways a hold-over from the 16th century, and I don't seriously worry that 2CE (or the NLT-CE or the ESV+Apoc) will lead to heresy. Also since imprimatur is given by national conferences (which in the US case also is a translation sponsor-- namely of the NAB) there is a real risk that politics may play a role.

In particular, I'm sure the 2CE deserves to get imprimatur.

However, putting on my legalistic hat: The lectionary includes only 13.5% of the OT and only 71.5% of the NT. Approval of the lectionary says nothing about the majority of the Bible that is not in the lectionary. Further, the standards for lectionary translation (Liturgiam Authenticam) and Biblical translation (Dei Verbum) are completely different. In fact, I am unaware of any major translation with imprimatur that has not been changed for the lectionary (with the exception of the Nova Vulgata.) Finally, it is not the Caribbean conference which would give imprimatur, but the US conference, since the translation is published in the US and not the Caribbean.

Finally, there are questions about the 2CE translation -- as Tim frequently reminds us, the editors were not very transparent about the process; and the claim that the translation meets the standards of Liturgiam Authenticam is exaggerated.

Timothy said...

Mike,

Stay tuned, I was thinking of doing a sort of retro review of the NOAB RSV Extended. I am sure there are some other readers who would also have some good comments about the whole NOAB history.

Theophrastus said...

Mike -- I believe I have every edition in the Oxford Annotated Bible series ever published.

There were big changes in the evolution from the NOAB to the NOAB-2 (change from RSV to NRSV) and from the NOAB-2 to the NOAB-3 (complete change in editors and in the annotations themselves).

Therefore, if you get the NOAB, I think you will find it to be quite different than the NOAB-3 that you currently own. It has a different translation, a completely different set of annotations, and different editors. And the NOAB is physically more handy than the NOAB-3.

The only suggestion I would make is that I'm not sure it is worth getting the leather version of the NOAB. As you can see, Tim's leather version looks quite a bit worse for the wear. I think that the hardcover edition of the NOAB is quite robust, and more practical for everyday use than the leather edition. (I'm not a fan of leather editions in general, but particularly when the book is thick, I don't think a leather binding makes sense at all -- flexible bindings and thick books don't go together.)

ben said...

It is true that Ignatius is the only publisher with the "RSV-2CE", but the version published by Scepter, as part of the Navarre Bible, seems the same to me. Isaiah 7:14 and a few other spot checks looks to be the same text.

Theophrastus said...

Just to be clear -- the comparison I did here between the book of Jonah in the NOAB and RSV-2CE was based on the (now current) RSV-2CE edition with the Ignatius maps.

Tom Detchemendy - TomDetch@outdrs.net said...

Everyone talks about this or that
translation. Or they compare
translations to one another. No
one seems to talk much about the
physical aspects of the bible.
Is the binding glued or sewn. If
sewn, what type of sewing is it
- Smyth (the best) or some other? There are inferior sewn
bindings and they are not much
better than glued. How is the
bible physically organized? Is it genuine leather bound or is it
bonded leather? A Smyth sewn
binding bible with bound genuine leather cover( goat skin, calf
skin or other skin)is infinitely
better and a top of the line
bible. I and others would be
willing to pay the premium price
demanded of such a bible. I am referring to an RSV-CE bible.
These characteristics are readily
available in a KJV bible, and in
large print (14+ pt.)for us
senior bible readers. Any
positive answers from all the
bible experts out there would be
greatly appreciated.
K of C Brother Tom