Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Guest Review: Sinag-Tala Confraternity Bible
Thanks to reader Jonny for another fine guest review:
This is a uniquely interesting copy of the Confraternity version of the Holy Bible that is currently being published by Sinag-Tala Publishers in the Philippines. It is an attractive but boxy little hardcover book (6 ¼ x 4 ½ x 2 ½) with quality binding and two ribbon markers. It also includes the cut-out thumb tabs which is kind of cool. The dimensions of this Bible remind me of the squat pre-NAB hardbacks from CBPC and others. It includes an index, a glossary, and 8 maps in the back that feature the traditional Catholic form of the proper names (e.g. “Chanaan” and “Juda.”) This Bible, like the blue pocket Confraternity NT Tim mentioned in his recent post, is reprinted with the special permission of the Confraternity of the Precious Blood.
The Old Testament in this edition is for the most part what could be called the “Confraternity Old Testament.” This is basically the translation that became the 1970 version of the New American Bible OT, with a few exceptions. The OT books of this version included are: Genesis - Ruth, Job - Sirach, and Isaia – Malachia. The remaining books (1 Kings to Esther, and 1 & 2 Machabees) are in the Challoner version. There is no reason given as to why certain books were included in the Challoner version, although I wonder if the desire was to keep some of the unique book names and textual peculiarities of the Vulgate. The difference between the OT Confraternity books and the NAB 1970 is threefold. First, the Book of Genesis was completely redone for NAB 1970. The Confraternity Version was a bit more traditional… “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; the earth was waste and void; darkness covered the abyss, and the spirit of God was stirring above the waters.” Also in Genesis, God creates the “firmament,” instead of the “dome” between the waters, and calls the serpent “cursed” instead of “banned,” just to name a couple more. But in general, it is unlike the Douay version in many places where the Douay is especially unique (such as God forming man from the “slime” of the earth.) The second major difference is the translation of proper names. The Confraternity OT is translated from the Hebrew but yet the proper names are not quite the same as the commonly accepted Protestant versions. Some examples are “Noe” instead of “Noah,” Aaron’s sister “Miriam” in the RSV is “Mariam” here (and Mary in the Douay), “Zion” is “Sion,” and also the prophets “Jeremia,” “Osee,” “Abdia,” “Jona,” “Michea,” “Habacuc,” “Sophonia,” “Aggai,” “Zacharia,” and “Malachia” are good examples of the uniqueness of this version. The third main difference in this version from the NAB 1970 is the format and notes. The NAB 1970 has more extensive notes and outlined column headings, including the stanza division in the Psalms. The Confraternity Psalms also have the dual numbering system like the RSV-CE.
All in all, I think this Holy Bible from Sinag-Tala makes a great addition to any Catholic Bible collectors bookshelf. It is kind of the “missing link” between the Douay Rheims and the NAB. By the way, the front cover art is taken from the Ramsay Psalter: Creation, Creation of Eve, Fall of Man, and Expulsion from Paradise. The back cover art is taken from Book of Hours: Betrayal and Arrest of Christ, Suicide of Judas, Pilate Washing His Hands.