1) First off, thank you for taking the time to answer the following questions. I wanted to start off with a question about your involvement with Sacred Scripture. How has Scripture played an important role in your spiritual life? Has it always been that way?
I have grown in my appreciation of the divine text over the years, and two incidents stand out in particular. The first is the advice of my parish priest during my late teens. At the end of a chat with him he advised me to read the Bible, beginning with the Gospel of John, as that described Our Lord’s incarnation and then to go back to the Old Testament and discover not only the prophecies of Jesus, but also the inheritance we share with the Jewish faith.
The second was during a period I spent working with the Sion Community, which is the biggest provider of Home Missions in the
At the time they were running a course in praying the Scriptures, which
involved reading and reflecting on the Gospel of Mark. When it came to choosing
a version of the Bible I went into the library and saw a copy of Monsignor
Knox’s translation. It was a version I had heard lots about, but never actually
read, so I selected that one. Knox’s description of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel
brought him alive to me in a way no other text has done before or since. Knox’s
prose conjured up the events so vividly in my mind that it was like seeing the
stories for the first time. UK
2) How long have you been involved with Baronius Press? Could you talk a little bit about the history and mission of Baronius Press?
Baronius was set up in 2003 by a gentleman I was at university with – Ashley Paver. He had previously worked in Catholic publishing and had a personal vision of seeing the Douay-Rheims Bible available in a format that was worthy of its venerable text. For Ashley that meant digitally re-typesetting it – which was highly novel when all other versions of the Douay available were facsimiles – and using the highest quality materials: leather for the cover; gilt-edged pages; and so forth. It then expanded into publishing classics of spirituality and liturgical books for the extraordinary form of the Mass and Office – and it was as they were expanding in these areas that I first became involved.
I started working with Baronius Press back in early 2006 doing a bit of part-time writing and editing alongside another post and within a few months I had become Editor-in-Chief, Ashley having moved on from that position sometime before.
In all of its publications the goal was to ensure that books were made to the highest quality – and even Baronius’ paperbacks are smyth sewn.
3) This past month, Baronius Press published the Knox Holy Bible, which hasn’t been done in over fifty years. Could you talk a little bit about the process by which the Knox Bible was produced? How long of a project was it? Who were your main collaborators in this project?
The project was quite a lengthy one. To start with we had to find the right edition - as Knox also published a couple of early drafts before it was approved by the hierarchy – and then we had to convert the text from hard copy into digital format. This was perhaps one of the longest tasks; it meant scanning the entire Knox Bible, and then painstakingly checking and correcting any errors. We had a number of people working on this to ensure the accuracy of the text.
The project took over four years, but not all of this time was spent on the Knox by any means, our small team was working on several other projects at the same time, including our 1961 Breviary which consumed an awful lot of our time.
The Diocese of Westminster was extremely helpful in getting
Knox’s translation back into print, and we were especially grateful that
Archbishop Nichols granted a new imprimatur before we went to press. Mons
4) One of the best features of the Knox Bible is its outstanding look and readability of the text, along with the quality production value. Could you talk a little bit about how Baronius Press went about producing such a beautiful volume? Also, are there any plans in the future to have the Knox Bible come in a flexible leather edition? Compact edition?
We have always been keen with any title we do to ensure that it is beautiful and readable. We still aim to produce books of the very highest quality that befit the texts inside.
I’m not too familiar with the actual binding process – as we contract skilled craftsmen to do that, it’s not something we do ourselves – so I’d hesitate to say too much about that.
At the moment there are no plans to produce the Knox in any other editions, but I’m sure we’ll be looking at how sales go and listening to feedback from our customers.
5) Dr. Scott Hahn wrote the foreword to this volume. How did this come about?
We wanted to get a foreword to this volume by a leading biblical scholar. As Dr. Hahn is a convert, as
Knox was, we thought he would be ideal for the job. He is rather tricky to get
hold of, but we knew a close associate of his, who put us in contact with him.
He was delighted to be able to contribute this foreword and somehow managed to
fit it in with his large number of commitments. Mons
6) In general, is there anything else that you would like to tell my readers about the Knox Bible or Baronius Press?
In my personal opinion the Knox is one of the best translations of the Scriptures. Bringing it back into print has been a bit of a personal quest. When I first floated the idea most people at Baronius thought it was a crazy idea – as we were publishing the Douay-Rheims and they couldn’t see the logic in publishing two translations from the Vulgate. But to give the others their due they did take soundings from other people who worked with us and Robert Asch was so overwhelmingly enthusiastic that they decided that the project might have possibilities after all. So they asked a number of priests around the world, and were surprised to find that everyone they spoke to in the
UK and the was
strongly in favour of bringing the Knox back into print. USA
We also decided to use the one column layout that was used in early versions of the Knox Bible. This is how the original Rheims New Testament was laid out back in the sixteenth century and so typesetting it this was reflects a very old Catholic practice – as well as making the text easier to read in many people’s opinion.
Enthusiasm for the Knox Bible has been widespread – and the enthusiasm has come from some unexpected quarters, such as Bible Gateway, who we worked with to provide an electronic, searchable form of the text on their website.
7) Finally, do you have a favorite passage or verse from the Knox version of the Bible?
Just one passage or verse? That’s a tricky question. If forced to choose just one I think I’d select Mark 1:19-39 which was the passage that really brought it all to life for me back when I was living with the Sion Community:
As soon as they had left the synagogue, they came into Simon and Andrew’s house; James and John were with them. The mother of Simon’s wife was lying sick there, with a fever, and they made haste to tell him of her; whereupon he went close and took her by the hand, and lifted her up. And all at once the fever left her, and she began ministering to them. And when it was evening and the sun went down, they brought to him all those who were afflicted, and those who were possessed by devils; so that the whole city stood crowding there at the door. And he healed many that were afflicted with diseases of every sort, and cast out many devils; to the devils he would give no leave to speak, because they recognized him. Then, at very early dawn, he left them, and went away to a lonely place, and began praying there. Simon and his companions went in search of him: and when they found him, they told him, All men are looking for thee. And he said to them, Let us go to the next country-towns, so that I can preach there too; it is for this I have come. So he continued to preach in their synagogues, all through
Galilee, and cast the devils out.