Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Best Sellers for Ignatius Press

2. Jesus of Nazareth, Vol 2
3. Unplanned
4. Be a Man!
5. He Comes! He Comes!
6. Jesus of Nazareth
7. Catholic Study Bible: New Testament Paperback)
8. Ignatius Bible (RSV) 2nd ed. (Hardcover)
9. Rome Sweet Home
10. Ignatius Bible (RSV) 2nd ed. (Paperback)

For more info, go here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Loot

A blessed Octive of Christmas to you all! I thought I would quickly check in and share with you a few of the Catholic Bibles related gifts I received (among a few others).

Simply Jesus by NT Wright

History in His Hands: A Christian Narrative of the West by Brennan Pursell

CCSS: 1 Corinthians by George T. Montague

CCSS: First and Second Peter, Jude by Daniel Keating

Amore Infinito: Songs inspired by the Poetry of John Paul II

U2: Achtung Baby Deluxe Edition

MST3K vs. Gamera

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The value of culture for the life of humanity

"Saint John’s proclamation that the Word became flesh reveals the inseparable bond between God’s word and the human words by which he communicates with us. In this context the Synod Fathers considered the relationship between the word of God and culture. God does not reveal himself in the abstract, but by using languages, imagery and expressions that are bound to different cultures. This relationship has proved fruitful, as the history of the Church abundantly testifies. Today it is entering a new phase due to the spread of the Gospel and its taking root within different cultures, as well as more recent developments in the culture of the West. It calls in the first place for a recognition of the importance of culture as such for the life of every man and woman. The phenomenon of culture is, in its various aspects, an essential datum of human experience. “Man lives always according to a culture which is properly his, and which in turn creates among persons a bond which is properly theirs, one which determines the inter-human and social character of human existence”.

Down the centuries the word of God has inspired different cultures, giving rise to fundamental moral values, outstanding expressions of art and exemplary life-styles. Hence, in looking to a renewed encounter between the Bible and culture, I wish to reassure all those who are part of the world of culture that they have nothing to fear from openness to God’s word, which never destroys true culture, but rather is a constant stimulus to seek ever more appropriate, meaningful and humane forms of expression. Every authentic culture, if it is truly to be at the service of humanity, has to be open to transcendence and, in the end, to God."
-Verbum Domini 109

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Blessed Christmas to You All!

As we approach the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, I wanted to take the time to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Thanks again for stopping by this blog over the past year, and I look forward to seeing what 2012 has in store. 2011 was indeed a banner year for Bible translations, with the NABRE, NIV2011, CEB, and KJV (400th), not to mention the wonderful new translation of the Roman Missal for those of us in the English-speaking world. May 2012 be as exciting!

Since posting will be sporadic during Christmas time, I leave you with this majestic doxology from the Letter of Jude (Judah):

"To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen!" - Jude 24-25

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ICSB: Exodus

Thanks to an anonymous comment made recently, we can now see that the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Exodus will be released in January 2012. There appears to be a sale going on at Ignatius currently, which allows you to pre-order this volume for only $8.46. As usual, the description reads:

"Large format, featuring large text size and additional margin space for personal annotations! The larger format enhances both individual and group study.

Based on the Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition, this volume leads readers through a penetrating study of the Book of Exodus using the biblical text itself and the Church's own guidelines for understanding the Bible. Ample notes accompany each page, providing fresh insights and commentary by renowned Bible scholars Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, as well as time-tested interpretations from the Fathers of the Church. These helpful study notes explain what the biblical authors often assumed. They also provide rich historical, cultural, geographical and theological information pertinent to Exodus

The Ignatius Study Bible also includes Topical Essays, Word Studies and Charts. Each page includes an easy-to-use Cross-Reference Section. Study Questions are provided for Exodus. These can deepen your personal study of God's Holy Word. There is also an introductory essay covering questions of authorship, date, destination, structure and themes. An outline of Exodus is also included.

So, with 1-2 volumes of the ICSB OT being released each year, we can expect the complete ICSB by somewhere around 2034.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Child is Born

Those of you who enjoy reading comics and graphic novels should consider picking up Billy Tucci's A Child is Born. I received my copy a week ago, and have found many of the images to be quite fantastic. I am not a huge comic book guy, although I have collected a few over the years. This one-shot graphic novella of the birth of Jesus, according to Matthew and Luke, could be a great gift idea for a teenage boy (or girl) or young adult. Heck, I am 33 and like it, so it really is something that a person of any age could enjoy. The book is 32 pages long, and utilizes the KJV as the basis for the text.

There are a number of beautifully illustrated pages, but my favorites are found on pages 9 and 10, where Joseph approaches Mary after his dream in Matthew 1:20. Though we don't know exactly how Joseph approached Mary after the dream, Tucci does a remarkable job of showing the bond between the two, with little use of words. Tucci's illustration of Mary's facial expression and the posture of Joseph in this encounter is both touching and poignant. We see here the Holy Family truly coming together in their commitment to God and to each other.

Again, I highly recommend this book. An interview with Billy Tucci, who is Catholic, can be read here. We have talked about the New Evangelization here quite a bit recently, so I can't help but think that this comic book is an example of what is needed to engage the culture. More info on the book, include some sample pages, can be found at the Apostle Arts website.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

7 Questions: Mary Sperry

(One of the new series of posts you will see from time to time in 2012 is called 7 Questions. The purpose of 7 Questions is to highlight those people who are actively involved in producing, promoting, and supporting Catholic Bibles and study materials. For our inaugural edition Mary Sperry, who is no stranger to this blog, graciously took the time to respond to my questions. Mary Sperry is the Associate Director for the Utilization of the NAB at the USCCB.)

1)I wanted to start by having you tell us little bit about your job with the USCCB? How long have you been involved with the promotion of the NAB? What are some of the parts of the job you enjoy most? Least?

I came to work with the NAB 15 years ago – in early December 1996, shortly after completing my masters’ degree in liturgical studies at the Catholic University of America. (For 2 ½ years before I came to this job, I worked in the USCCB’s then-Secretariat for the Liturgy.) For the first 5 or so years, most of my work was legal and administrative, overseeing permissions and licensing, paying bills related to the NABRE translation, and reviewing manuscripts. Over the years, the job slowly evolved to focus increasingly on promotion of biblical literacy in general and the NABRE in particular. The promotion activity came to a head in spring 2011 when the NABRE was released.

I love the parts of the job that allow me to help people discover the wonders and richness of the Scriptural text and to meet Jesus in Scripture. A project I’m especially close to is the podcast of the daily readings. With tens of thousands of downloads each day from around the world, it’s a clear sign of people’s love for the Word of God. Least favorite: meetings, especially about administrative tasks. The only way meetings are good is if there are refreshments.

2) What interested you in working in the area of promoting the NAB?

I have always loved the Bible. My parents had a picture Bible that I can remember “reading” before I was 7. I still have vinyl records of audio versions of Bible stories that I received as Christmas gifts as a child. That love for and knowledge of Scripture grew through my years in Catholic grade school and high school. After graduation, I stayed involved with Scripture as a lector and in Bible studies. I kept buying and reading books about Scripture and taking classes. Even in working toward my liturgy degree, I took Scripture classes and stayed immersed in the Word.

The opportunity to work with the biblical scholars in preparing and promoting the NABRE is kind of a dream come true for someone who loves Scripture. I get to spend my days introducing people to the love of my life!

3) Perhaps you could share some information about the long process of finally getting the NABRE published?

It is a long process with a LOT of steps. First, the scholars of the Board of Control had to recommend preparing a new translation. These scholars based their decision on the availability of new scholarship and manuscript editions that allowed significant refinement of the text. That recommendation had to be approved by the bishops of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD). Only then could a budget and schedule be developed. Of course, the CCD had to approve those too.

The editorial board was selected in collaboration with the bishops who oversee Scripture translations. Those editors then identified possible revisers – all of whom had to be approved by the bishops.

Then, the revisers did their work, consulting the various manuscript traditions to get to the best possible version of the original. When the reviser finished, a member of the editorial board (“the shepherd”) reviewed it very carefully and raised any questions and concerns. Once those were resolved, the shepherd presented the text to half the editorial board which gave additional review and suggested any necessary changes. The board was divided into two groups to allow faster progress. Once each book had been completed and reviewed, the entire editorial board reviewed the complete text one more time before forwarding it to the bishops’ Scripture subcommittee.

The bishops then sent each book to at least one censor (I have no idea who the censors were for any given book as they remain anonymous. However, all censors are Catholic and approved by their local bishop. Usually they are professors of Scripture at Catholic universities and seminaries, though I think some may be retired.) The bishops then review the censors’ comments and may choose to forward them to the editorial board as suggestions for consideration or as required changes. The editorial board responds to each comment. That conversation goes back and forth until the bishops and the editorial board reach agreement. Only then does the bishops’ subcommittee recommend that the Administrative Committee recommend that the USCCB President grant the canonical rescript allowing publication. Only the NAB has to go through the USCCB Administrative Committee. Other translations go from the subcommittee to the President directly.

After that process was completed for most of the Old Testament, the bishops decided that they wanted a revision of the Psalter. That meant going through the process again, except with a single book. That took another 2 years.

Only then could the publishers finalize their settings of the NABRE and begin preparing auxiliary materials.

4) How's the reception been for the NABRE, since its publication on Ash Wednesday?

So far, it seems to be going well. We will have a better sense of diffusion of the text by Spring 2012 as our reports on such things always lag.

There was some confusion about the release of the NABRE and new Roman Missal (though they are completely unrelated projects), but that will diminish as the Missal becomes more familiar.

A new Bible translation taking hold happens over a period of time, not all at once. We expect that we’ll be working on promoting the NABRE for at least 3-5 years.

5) What is it like working with both Bishops and Biblical scholars?

Challenging for someone as impatient as I am! Neither bishops nor Bible scholars are noted for working in haste (nor would we want them to be).

It’s actually very inspiring to work closely with them. The sheer amount of knowledge that they possess is is overwhelming. Their commitment to conveying the text accurately and helping people to understand God’s Word is really a model for everyone who wants to teach and live the Gospel.

6) In general, is there anything that you would like to tell my readers about the NABRE?

Give it a chance. Read it for its own value, not only as it compares to other texts. And read the notes and cross references with care. You’ll be amazed at the insights you’ll discover and at how much more attuned you will become to canonical exegesis.

7) Finally, do you have a favorite passage or verse from the Bible?

That’s like asking a mother if she has a favorite child! I think I’ll go with the Gospel passage from which my parents chose my name: Luke 1:39-56.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Female Doctor of the Church in 2012

St. Hildegard of Bingen

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of the word of God and the protection of creation

"Engagement with the world, as demanded by God’s word, makes us look with new eyes at the entire created cosmos, which contains traces of that word through whom all things were made (cf. Jn 1:2). As men and women who believe in and proclaim the Gospel, we have a responsibility towards creation. Revelation makes known God’s plan for the cosmos, yet it also leads us to denounce that mistaken attitude which refuses to view all created realities as a reflection of their Creator, but instead as mere raw material, to be exploited without scruple. Man thus lacks that essential humility which would enable him to see creation as a gift from God, to be received and used in accordance with his plan. Instead, the arrogance of human beings who live “as if God did not exist” leads them to exploit and disfigure nature, failing to see it as the handiwork of the creative word. In this theological context, I would like to echo the statements of the Synod Fathers who reminded us that “accepting the word of God, attested to by Scripture and by the Church’s living Tradition, gives rise to a new way of seeing things, promotes an authentic ecology which has its deepest roots in the obedience of faith … [and] develops a renewed theological sensitivity to the goodness of all things, which are created in Christ”. We need to be re-educated in wonder and in the ability to recognize the beauty made manifest in created realities." -Verbum Domini 108

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Offering of Leviticus 3

One of the things I do when I am preparing for a lecture for the CBSM class I teach is to compare the major translations as much as possible. This often means looking at the RSV, NRSV, and NABRE. This week, I am giving a summary lecture on the book of Leviticus. I am sure many of you know the old joke about those who desire to read the whole Bible in one year starting on January 1, but stopping completely in February after reaching Leviticus. However, while perhaps the experience for some, its unfortunate because Leviticus is an important book, not only for understanding Jewish worship, but also for coming into a more profound understanding of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. You cannot fully understand a book like Hebrews, unless you have spent some serious time reading and meditating on Leviticus. But before you begin a study of Leviticus, make sure to have a good commentary or study Bible while doing it. I would highly recommend Oxford's Jewish Study Bible and the Catholic Study Bible. Both are fantastic resources!

This brings me to Leviticus 3, which describes the third offering prescribed by God through Moses. (Please note that Leviticus 7:11-36 goes into more detail about the three different types of this offering.) Depending on the translation, the Hebrew word shelamim may be translated in a number of different ways. Often, it is referred to in English as the Peace Offering, which is followed most notably by the RSV. Some scholars prefer this due to the closeness to the Hebrew word shalom. However, the NRSV and JPS translations prefer to go with Well-Being Offering, which is connected to the idea of peace. Lastly, the NABRE (and the NJB) went with Communion Offering. So which one is better?

In this offering, a herd animal was brought to the sanctuary, divided into several parts with the fatty portions being placed on the fires of the altar and given to God. A choice portion was given to the priest, while the remainder was returned to the offerer and his family to be eaten. It seems that his type of offering was the most common. The note in the NJB gives a good indication as to why it was so popular: "In early times, this sacrifice was the most common and formed the central rite at festivals, being the most perfect way of expressing the communal life, covenantal bond and fellowship existing between the worshipper and his God." In addition, the note found in the JSB points out: "Well-being offerings are thus the natural expression of gladness, the worshipper celebrating by feasting in the presence of God in acknowledgment of His loving-kindness (210)." Finally, Fr. Lawrence Boadt, who died last year, insisted in his introduction to Leviticus in the CSB that our understanding of the Eucharist is greatly enhanced by what we find in Leviticus.

So, with that brief background I provided, both of the Hebrew term and the ritual of the shelamim offering/sacrifice, which English translation better captures the intended meaning?

Advent Contest Winner

The winner was chosen randomly by one of my high school students. And that winner is: Dennis S

Dennis please email me at mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com with your full name and address and I will get your prize pack out to you.

Thanks to all 33 of you who entered.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent Contest Reminder

This is just a reminder that the deadline for entries for the Advent contest is tonight at 11:59PM EST. I will announce the winner on Thursday, who will then need to email me his/her address. Please go here to enter and for contest rules.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seeking a Permanent Guest Blogger

After reviewing the helpful comments from you, my dear readers, regarding what you would like to see on this blog as we enter 2012, I have decided that this blog would be enhanced by the presence of one or two permanent guest columns. While I enjoy providing reviews and commentary on all things Catholic Bibles, I am convinced that this blog would benefit from some other voices. (I will continue to do my best in providing as much Catholic Bible info to you in 2012.)

I am happy to annoucence that we will continue in January with the new monthly humor post, entitled Geoffey's Biblical Comedary, which began this month. I look forward to reading what Geoffrey has in store for us in 2012. However, I would also like to add one more additional column for this blog. That is where you come in. I would like to open this column up to you. I know there are a number of very creative readers of this blog, who have a talent for writing and have a deep love of Scripture. So, if you are interested, please consult the following requirements to see if you are interest:

1) Compose 1-2 original columns per month on any subject related to Catholic Bibles. (Each column would be emailed to me directly, where I would then review and post directly to the site.)

2) Be engaged in the comment discussion after column is published each month.

3) Be a faithful Catholic, who honestly desires to promote the joy of reading the Holy Scriptures.

If you are interested, please email me your proposal to mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com by the end of the week. I will review any applications and hopefully make an announcement before the end of Advent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of the word of God and the poor

Sacred Scripture manifests God’s special love for the poor and the needy (cf. Mt 25:31-46). The Synod Fathers frequently spoke of the importance of enabling these, our brothers and sisters, to hear the Gospel message and to experience the closeness of their pastors and communities. Indeed, “the poor are the first ones entitled to hear the proclamation of the Gospel; they need not only bread, but also words of life”. The diaconia of charity, which must never be lacking in our churches, should always be bound to the proclamation of the word and the celebration of the sacred mysteries. Yet we also need to recognize and appreciate the fact that the poor are themselves agents of evangelization. In the Bible, the true poor are those who entrust themselves totally to God; in the Gospel Jesus calls them blessed, “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 5:3; cf. Lk 6:20). The Lord exalts the simplicity of heart of those who find in God true riches, placing their hope in him, and not in the things of this world. The Church cannot let the poor down: “Pastors are called to listen to them, to learn from them, to guide them in their faith and to encourage them to take responsibility for lives”.

The Church also knows that poverty can exist as a virtue, to be cultivated and chosen freely, as so many saints have done. Poverty can likewise exist as indigence, often due to injustice or selfishness, marked by hunger and need, and as a source of conflict. In her proclamation of God’s word, the Church knows that a “virtuous circle” must be promoted between the poverty which is to be chosen and the poverty which is to be combated; we need to rediscover “moderation and solidarity, these values of the Gospel that are also universal … This entails decisions marked by justice and moderation”. -Verbum Domini 107

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Contest

'Tis the season for an Advent contest. This one will be very straight forward. All you need to do to enter is simply to put your name in the comment section of this post. No anonymous entries will be considered. The winner will be randomly drawn at the end of the contest, which will be Wednesday, December 14th at 11:59PM. This contest is open to anyone in North America. (Sorry again to my loyal readers in the rest of the world.)

The winner will receive the following two items:

Oxford University Press NABRE Compact (black/blue pacific duvelle)

Pope Benedict's Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on the Mass (Ignatius)

Again, all entries are due by Wednesday at 11:59 PM (EST).

A blessed Advent to you all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review: Oxford NABRE Compact

Published back in April, the OUP Compact NABRE remains one of the few, besides the St. Joseph Personal Size, compact versions of the NABRE available today. The edition I am reviewing is the one with the black/blue pacific duvelle cover, although it can be purchased in black duradera (with a zipper closure) and paperback. For an inside look of the NABRE compact, go here.

Those of you who have Oxford's original NAB compact will notice that they are very similar. This edition, like the prior one, consists of the following features:

Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum)
* Placement of the NABRE notes at the end of each book to enhance the readability of the biblical text
* Table of Weekday and Sunday Lectionary readings
* Table of weights and measures in the Bible
* Glossy presentation and family record pages
* Glossy section of Catholic prayers and devotions

(Please note that the Oxford site mentions that this edition also comes with a concordance and essay on the lectionary, which it does not.)

This compact edition of the NABRE has pretty much all you would need for a compact Bible. The only omission, really, would be a set of Oxford Maps placed in the appendix, although it is common for maps, certainly in Oxford compact editions, to be excluded. One might also desire the inclusion of a concordance, but that would simply make the volume less compact and certainly more bulky. As it stands, this edition is the ideal 4-1/2 x 6-1/8 size for a compact Bible.

The page layout is very clean, containing the sacred text and bolded paragraph headings. As mentioned above, all notes and cross-references are consigned to the back of each biblical book. For a standard sized Bible this would be annoying, but since it is a compact I don't mind it. The NABRE book introductions, including book outline, are placed at the beginning of each biblical book, which actually serves to break up and space the text quite nicely. I have read some reviews that complained about the font size being too small. Yes, it is small, but last time I checked this was a compact Bible. If you have seen any prior Oxford compact Bibles, this edition is pretty much the same. But please do preview this Bible before purchasing it, if this is an issue for you.

Overall, this is a well-constructed and fairly inexpensive compact from Oxford. Time will tell as to what other styles of the NABRE will be produced in 2012 and beyond. We certainly can look forward to what HarperOne will be releasing in the coming months. But as it stands now, I believe this is the most durable and readable compact NABRE on the market.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Some Initial Thoughts on the ESV Lectionary Thing

Since finding out about the likely use of an adapted form of the ESV in the Australian lectionary, a few random thoughts have been floating around in my mind since yesterday. Some of these have already been brought up by commentators in the previous post, but I think they are worth repeating and discussing:

1) What does this say about the RSV-2CE? The fact that it has already been adapted and issued in a lectionary format, yet was passed up instead for an adapted ESV, makes me wonder whether the RSV-2CE will ever be a major translation for liturgical use (or study)? Also, there must be some sort of cost associated with adapting the ESV and getting permission to do so by Crossway or Oxford. It seems to me that the Australian Bishops were willing to incur an expense, presumably, to do this adaption, while they could have just simply used the RSV-2CE. Why?

2) What does this change to the ESV mean for other English speaking bishops conferences that were adapting the NRSV? Canada already has an adapted and approved NRSV lectionary, but what about the others? How did the Canadian Bishops get permission to make modifications to the NRSV, while the Australians were not? The Holy See did eventually approve the Canadian adapted NRSV for Mass.

3) Who is the copyright holder that is granting permission to do this adaption of the ESV? Crossway or Oxford?

4) What do I think about the ESV? There has not been, nor likely ever be, any official Catholic participation in this translation. The ESV is a product of a conservative Reformed tradition and does, at times, reflect that perspective. As Chrysostom suggested in his comment: “Change Lk 1:28 to the Angelic Salutation, add "only-begotten" in John 3:16, change "episkopos" and "presbyter" to "Bishop" and "Priest", take the indefinite article out of 1 Tim 3:15, and change a few words to "husband" instead of "man" ("not by the will of a husband..."), etc. to remove some overtly Calvinistic interpretations.” There is also the issue of whether to use “propitiation" (ESV) or “expiation" (RSV or NAB) in Romans 3:25. (Please note I realize the Vulgate and Nova Vulgata (and thus DR) use propitiationem, but how are those two important theological terms understood today?) The RSV, of course, had no Catholic participation when it was originally produced either, but later through editorial changes by the CBA (UK) and Ignatius Press. The NRSV, on the other hand, had active participation from a number of Catholic biblical scholars. Joel, a non-Catholic Christian, on his blog Unsettled Christianity wonders why any Catholic body would utilize the “Evangelical Standard Version”. I wonder as well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ESV in Aussie Lectionary?

This news comes from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn in Australia. During his reflections on the year 2011, archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge mentioned the following:

"Some years ago, I was asked to chair a commission which would prepare a new English-language Lectionary, using a modified form of the NRSV and a revised Grail Psalter. That seemed straight-forward enough, and the expectation was that the new Lectionary would be ready for publication at the same time as the Missal.

However, we struck problems with the copyright holders of the NRSV and have had some difficulties in our dealings with the Holy See. All of this so becalmed the project that there is now no hope that the Lectionary or any part of it will appear at the same time as the Missal. In fact, we have decided to move away from the NRSV and to prepare the Lectionary using a modified form of the English Standard Version (ESV), still with the revised Grail Psalter.

On this new basis, the project has progressed well; and the hope now is to have at least the first volume of the Lectionary (Sundays and Solemnities) ready for publication as close as possible to the appearance of the Missal."

Very interesting news! I wonder if this means an official Catholic edition of the ESV could be on the way? An edition of the ESV w/Apocrypha has already been translated and published by Oxford University Press. What I find most interesting is the last line, which seems to indicate that this project is almost complete. I would assume, then, that they have received approval from the creators of the ESV, whether that be Crossway or Oxford University Press, as well as tacit approval from Rome? Interesting....

Hat tip to Joel at Unsettled Christianity for the link.

Guest Review: Royal Electronic NABRE/D-R

After months of anticipation (due to mysterious postponements from the manufacturer), I finally received my “Royal” brand NABRE/Douay Rheims with Baltimore Catechism electronic Bible from I was reluctant to order this because I already have a pocket electronic Bible I used for reference (the Franklin KJV-570), and a really cool Bible program called E-sword I got online for free. I liked the convenience of the KJV-570 for use as a concordance, but since it does not have the Deuteros in it, I decided to go ahead and get this new one from Royal.

I must say I am really impressed with the overall product here from Royal. It is about the same size as the Franklin (about 5.25” x 3.25” x 0.25”), but with a slightly thicker ridge in the back to accommodate the two AAA batteries instead of the watch battery. This one has many of the same features as the Franklin, including search the Bible by word or reference, bookmarks, clock, alarm, calculator, and phone book, but the Royal version has so much more and it moves through the Scripture passages and word searches instantly without delay.

There are so many cool features with this product. First off, I must say that this does not include the “original Douay-Rheims” as advertised, but yet the standard 1899 edition as reproduced by current book publishers. More specifically, I think the D-R text may have been taken from the Baronius Press 2005 or earlier edition because St. Matthew 24:27 reads: “For as lightning cometh out of the east and appeareth even into the west: so shall also the cowling of the Son of man be.” I thought this was actually the translation until I got a copy of a 2008 edition corrected by the same publisher: “coming of the Son of man”. (BTW, the original D-R reads “advent” in this verse.)

Regardless of this one inconsistency I have noticed, I am pleased that the Challoner version was used for this. I was even more pleased that the book introductions and all of Challoner’s notations are included as well! And of course, it is not only a D-R, but also a complete NABRE as well, with all of the cross-references, notes, and introductions included! You can toggle between the D-R and the NABRE with the touch of a button, and it even compensates for chapter and verse numbering differences (e.g. the Psalms.) You can also surf back and forth through the NABRE cross-reference webs quicker that anyone could ever do with a hard copy, even with the handy thumb tabs. The concordance feature is also very effecient; it lists the D-R and NABRE references separately, and you can search by Old, New, or Entire Bible. It includes over 18,000 words. Unlike the Franklin edition, it will only list the exact word you are searching for and not every conjugation thereof, which I think is easier when looking for a specific verse.

Yes, I am impressed with the efficiency and novelty of having two Bibles and a Catechism reference tool compact enough to fit in my pocket or Missal cover. But it also has a good devotional quality I did not expect as well. It has a weekly reading plan that covers the entire Bible in a year, inspirational verses grouped by topic and at random, and a generous selection of Catholic prayers and devotions. It also includes a backlight for low-light situations, and you can select normal or large size fonts.

Thank you to Jonny for another fine guest review.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Geoffrey's Biblical Comedary for December

Geoffrey's Biblical Comedary
Bad Exegesis Lesson One: The Case for Indefinite Slacking

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in addressing observance of Jewish festivals, St. Paul writes, "One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:5). From the context, the holy Apostle is encouraging legitimate diversity of practice within the Church. And I am writing to suggest one particularly legitimately diverse practice. No one disagrees that there is nothing wrong with observing Saturday as a sabbath in addition to the Lord's Day. And by corollary, any other day may be observed as a sabbath as well. Therefore, why not observe all days as sabbaths?

I am fully convinced in my own mind that God is calling me, personally, to never work again. "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Why am I so certain? Because God loves me, and the Lord says, "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2). Obviously, if any man wakes up to commute to a job in the morning instead of sleeping in, he has fallen out of God's favor. As it is written, "Blessed are the unemployed, for they shall inherit Wall Street."

Therefore, I invite you to join me in proclaiming the Gospel of Rest amid a Culture of Work. Do not be afraid to step up and assert your divine right. We are people of God's promise, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" (Exodus 33:14).

(All Scripture is taken from the RSV, but if a copyright agent is reading this, my quotations are original translations of the Greek)

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The proclamation of the word of God and the suffering

During the work of the Synod, the Fathers also considered the need to proclaim God’s word to all those who are suffering, whether physically, psychologically or spiritually. It is in times of pain that the ultimate questions about the meaning of one’s life make themselves acutely felt. If human words seem to fall silent before the mystery of evil and suffering, and if our society appears to value life only when it corresponds to certain standards of efficiency and well-being, the word of God makes us see that even these moments are mysteriously “embraced” by God’s love. Faith born of an encounter with God’s word helps us to realize that human life deserves to be lived fully, even when weakened by illness and pain. God created us for happiness and for life, whereas sickness and death came into the world as a result of sin (cf. Wis 2:23-24). Yet the Father of life is mankind’s physician par excellence, and he does not cease to bend lovingly over suffering humanity. We contemplate the culmination of God’s closeness to our sufferings in Jesus himself, “the Word incarnate. He suffered and died for us. By his passion and death he took our weakness upon himself and totally transformed it”.

Jesus’ closeness to those who suffer is constant: it is prolonged in time thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit in the mission of the Church, in the word and in the sacraments, in men and women of good will, and in charitable initiatives undertaken with fraternal love by communities, thus making known God’s true face and his love. The Synod thanked God for the luminous witness, often hidden, of all the many Christians – priests, religious and lay faithful – who have lent and continue to lend their hands, eyes and hearts to Christ, the true physician of body and soul. It exhorts all to continue to care for the infirm and to bring them the life-giving presence of the Lord Jesus in the word and in the Eucharist. Those who suffer should be helped to read the Scriptures and to realize that their condition itself enables them to share in a special way in Christ’s redemptive suffering for the salvation of the world (cf. 2 Cor 4:8-11,14).
-Verbum Domini 106

Friday, December 2, 2011

Spot Check: Isaiah 40 for Second Sunday of Advent

This weekend we will hear, in the first reading, from Isaiah 40, which is often regarded as the beginning of the "Book of Consolation" for the Israelites. The lectionary combines two sections of Isaiah 40, verses 1-5 & 9-11 for the reading. Below are how the RSV and NABRE render this passage:

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." (RSV)

"Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service has ended, that her guilt is expiated, That she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted up, every mountain and hill made low; The rugged land shall be a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of good news! Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Cry out, do not fear! Say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care." (NABRE)

Your thoughts?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New: Spanish Bible, Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada

I provide this information for any of you interested in Spanish language Bibles, although I must admit that I am woefully ignorant of the quality of the translation. Perhaps one of my fine readers will be able to provide some helpful information.

Saint Benedict Press: SAGRADA BIBLIA Edición Inmaculada

Permita que su hogar sea un lugar de paz y oración con la ayuda de la Sagrada Biblia, Edición Inmaculada. Esta lujosa Biblia se convertirá en uno de sus objetos más apreciados que diariamente le recordará el amor y la misericordia de Dios y preservará en sus páginas los grandes acontecimientos familiares.

Esta elegante Sagrada Biblia, Edición Inmaculada contiene:
◦Una sección para escribir sus acontecimientos familiares en papel de primera
◦Elegantes páginas de filo dorado
◦Una lujosa y duradera encuadernación
◦Una vasta sección a todo color sobre la vida de Cristo
◦Un Diccionario Católico que facilitará su estudio
◦Hermosas ilustraciones de profetas, patriarcas y otros héroes bíblicos
◦Un peregrinaje a todo color de la Tierra Santa y varias iglesias
◦Una composición tipográfica fácil de leer
◦Mucho, mucho más!

Lleve la Sagrada Biblia, Edición Inmaculada a su hogar y a los hogares de sus seres queridos. Es el regalo perfecto para bodas, aniversarios, estrenos de casas, padres primerizos y otras ocasiones especiales.

La traducción usada en esta Biblia es el texto clásico de Torres Amat, traducido al español de la vulgata latina de San Jerónimo.

Help make your home a place of peace and prayer with the Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada. This deluxe Family Bible will become one of your most treasured belongings, reminding you daily of God's love and care and preserving within its pages the great milestones of your family.

Special features of the Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada: Elegant, easy-to-read typesetting, Special Family Record section on the finest Parchtex Paper, Beautifully gilded page edges, Deluxe side-sewn binding to ensure your Family Bible will last for generations, Devotional aids including an inspiring 48 page full color section on the Life of Christ, Study aids including an extensive Biblical Dictionary, Beautiful Old Master illustrations of Prophets, Patriarchs and other Heroes and Heroines of the Bible, A pilgrimage in pictures to shrines and the Holy Land and much, much more!

Bring the Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada into your home and the homes of those you love. It is the perfect gift for Weddings and Anniversaries, Housewarmings, New Parents and Any Special Occasion!

The translation used in the Sagrada Biblia Edición Inmaculada is the classic Torres Amat text, a translation into Spanish of the Latin Vulgate of Saint Jerome.

NRSV w/ Grail Psalms on Sale

Amazon UK has slashed its prices for the Collins NRSV w/ Grail Psalms. You can now purchase it for £12.90. For a brief review I did on this Bible, you can go here.

I wonder if this means that the adapted NRSV w/ Revised Grail Psalter, which is being prepared for the UK lectionary, will be coming out in 2012?

Thanks to reader Llanbedr for alerting me to this.