Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: ICSB Exodus

Earlier this year, Ignatius Press released the ICSB: Exodus. Those of you who are familiar with the ICSB NT or ICSB Genesis will find nothing new with this volume. Although it should be pointed out that many of the more recent volumes have been considerably larger in size, this one as well comes in at a large 10.7 x 8.2 x 0.7 inches. This allows for greater space for personal annotations. While I find this to be acceptable for these individual volumes, I sure hope that when the complete ICSB is published in 2014 or 2015, it will be smaller, even more so than the ICSB NT. As usual, the translation used is the RSV-2CE.

A few notes on the particulars of this volume:

** There are four pages of introductory material which cover topics such as author and dating, structure, themes, historical authenticity, and Christian perspective.

** Three word studies on Pharoah (par'oh), serve (abad), and merciful love (hesed).

** Two topical essays on The Date of Exodus and After the Golden Calf.

** Two maps (Moses' Flight/Return to Egypt and the Exodus), an illustration of the Tabernacle, and a chart on the 10 Plagues.

** A very helpful three page section in the appendix which gives quotes from the Church Fathers and other early church writings concerning the Mosaic Ceremonial Laws: Occasion and Purpose.

** The appendix also includes study questions for understanding and application for each chapter of Exodus.

As I mentioned above, if you are familiar with any of the ICSB volumes, what you will read in the ICSB Exodus will be much of the same. Typicall, the annotations/commentary take up a third to half of each page. There are, however, some sections where the annotations are considerably fewer and take up less than a quarter of a page. You can see this in Exodus 35-40. This is not terribly surprising since this section covers the actual building of the Tabernacle which was revealed in 25-31. (The NABRE has very limited notes in this area as well.) Exodus 9-10 also has limited annotations.

When I received this volume in the mail a couple weeks back, I was excited to see another well-design ICSB edition. However, my joy was tempered due to my frustrations with the pace of production the ICSB, which has been well documented on this blog. Recent comments by Dr. Scott Hahn about a possible completion date of 2014 or 2015 are encouraging, but that is still 2-3 years away at the earliest. Let us pray that the ICSB is completed in good time, but let us also pray that there would be additional good Catholic study Bibles in some of the other translations as well.


Chrysostom said...

I hope it's at least as large as the NT volume - the OT is more than twice as long, but requires less commentary, and can do away with the concordance (or just add it on to another volume). I think they will have to break it in to two volumes to be decent, and I'd rather have it in two volumes, single-paragraph text, double-column notes, and on decent paper than not. I'd put up with ESV Study Bible quality paper if they could put it all in one book, though.

I wish they'd done a word study on "Abrek" - by far the most interesting word in Exodus. Or "YHWH" for that matter, the most important word in existence.

Chrysostom said...

Ah, my bad, "abrek" is in Genesis - they still could have done with a multiple-page word study on Ex 3:14.

Now that I think of it, I don't think "abrek" was covered in the Genesis volume either.

I ordered this Exodus one a week or so ago off of Amazon and should be picking it up later today. I'll have to take a look.

Anonymous said...

Hello Timothy,

Does anyone know how many volumes they are planning for the OT? Will it be book by book or will the combine sections like the Prophets or Wisdom teachings in one volume.



Timothy said...


I have not read anything official about how many they plan to release, but with a proposed completion date of 2014 or 2015 I cannot see them releasing them all individually.