Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Semi-Regular Weekly Poll

22 comments:

CJA Mayo said...

Either NRSV or KJV (KJV because of all the old, cheap concordances and stuff keyed to it). NIV has good popular study tools as well.

RSV has hardly any, and NABRE has absolutely none, to my knowledge.

Colleague said...

Tim,

Speaking of this, has Oxford ever corrected the mistakes found in the early printings of the Catholic Study Bible? I know there were a few places where the Reading Guide still relied upon the 1970 OT and 1991 Psalms. The reviews on Amazon are quite positive, so either the reviewers haven't picked up on these defects or Oxford has made the change. If they have, I'd love to get a genuine leather copy.

Timothy said...

Colleague,

I don't believe they have. When I look at some of the editions I have seen in secular bookstores, they seem to have the old info still in them.

Colleague said...

Tim,

I e-mailed Donald Kraus, Executive Editor of Bibles with OUP, concerning the revised Reading Guide for the Catholic Study Bible. Here is the full text of his reply:

"Thank you for your note. The changes have been made and I think revised copies should be available shortly.

The problem, incidentally, was one of scheduling given the use of the Catholic Study Bible in college courses. We needed to publish the text with revised translation (according to the terms of our license with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops). If we had also made changes to the Reading Guides, we would have missed a printing date. Our choices were therefore to reprint the unrevised text or to print the revised text with unrevised Reading Guides. That was the better of two bad choices."

Timothy said...

Very interesting. I hope that they let us know when they will be available.

Jason Engel said...

I would have to say that nothing can replace taking a couple college-level topical courses. I've sat in on several lessons by an excellent NT professor, and an hour with him has proven superior to anything I've read in my NOAB (which I do still find valuable, but the notes and commentary always seem to give a pedestrian interpretation while missing the obvious big picture).

Biblical Catholic said...

The Oxford Annotated Bible ia not really a commentary, it is basically what the title says, an annotated edition of the Bible...and not even a heavily annotated one, like the Annotated Sherlock Holmes.....the notations are really just explanatory glosses clarifying or explaining some ambiguous or difficult verses.....

Theophrastus said...

I think that it is pretty clear that by sheer volume, the NRSV has more (serious academic) printed study materials keyed to it than either the NABRE or the RSV.

I also think that with the spread of Bible software (such as Logos) this is becoming less of an issue -- it is now easier to use study materials with any academic translation.

Biblical Catholic said...

If it wasn't for the heavy promotion of the Catholic Edition in recent years and its widespread use in academia, I have to wonder if the NRSV would even sell enough to remain in print....

In the last couple of years, they have beeb sending out surveys asking if the NRSV needs to be revised.....I would say 'yes, but it is unlikely that any revision would be in the direction I want' namely more conservative and with less inclusive language....

Although, with the financial troubles of the NCC, it is a serious question whether they are even capable of funding another Bible revision....they would need to get corporate underwriting or something....

Theophrastus said...

Michael -- Actually, the NRSV is a pretty big seller by most standards. It is an apple and oranges comparison, but the NRSV (in all its variants) sells far more copies than the NABRE or all editions of the RSV, for example. There continue to be many new editions of the NRSV coming out from multiple publishers (in the last few months, for example, Oxford's "Jewish Annotated New Testament" or the Hendrickson NRSV-audio edition or the daily reading NRSV from Harper, etc.) The NRSV sells pretty well according to Amazon stats, and even makes it to the top 10 list of the Christian Bookseller's Association once or twice a year.

I don't mean to imply that doing well in the marketplace means that a translation is "good," however.

The Bible marketplace is so large that many different translations can co-exist -- and most Bible translations vary considerably in quality from book to book (and sometimes from verse to verse -- this is certainly true of both the NRSV and ESV, for example) -- so I sometimes find asking which translation is better is like asking which kind of restaurant is better -- Chinese or Italian. We need to narrow things down to particular sections to have a meaningful comparison.

By the way, I think that the intent of the CEB translation (which to my mind is not very good) was to be a replacement of the NRSV -- but it hardly seems likely that academia will embrace the CEB (and the promised study CEB Bible appears to have been delayed considerably.)

Biblical Catholic said...

Oh I don't doubt that the sales are healthy, my question is more what would the sales be if not for the fact that every college and university that has a 'religion' or 'Bible' or similar class that requires a Bible uses the NRSV? It's not just seminaries either.....

As an undergraduate, my university offered a one semester course on 'Old Testament' and a one semester class on 'New Testament', both taught by a Catholic priest, and a one semester course on 'World Religions' taught by a Lutheran pastor....all three required a Bible, and the only one you were allowed to use was the NRSV, in particular you had to buy The New Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV edited by Michael Coogan...

I mean, they could allow you to use any translation you wanted, but to make sure everyone had the same translation so there was no confusion when passages were read aloud during class.....the NRSV is favored because it is the most 'ecumenical', Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Orthodox....other...they can all use it and not feel like it is biased against their faith....and if you buy the right edition, it offers the biggest canon of any Bible in print....a total of 81 books....



.and since most of the people in these generic 'Bible' classes were people who were interested in the Bible or 'religion', they usually didn't sell their Bible back at the end of the semester....because hey, you need a Bible and you just spent a whole semester getting familiar with this particular one, might as well keep it...

I'm wondering how much of NRSV sales come from the Bible presence in college bookstores...


If you factor out all copies of the NRSV bought by college students for their classes....and you remove all the Catholics buying up the fancy Harper One editions that have been appearing in the last few years and breathed new life into the NRSV....what would the sales be? And would they be big enough to justify the NRSV remaining in print?

You mention that the NRSV appears on the top 10 list a couple times a year....this usually happens in August/September and then again in January/February, right about the time that college students are buying up textbooks....that can't be a coincidence....

I don't know what the sales would be if the NRSV wasn't used so widely in colleges....but it's an interesting question...

Theophrastus said...

Excellent point -- but I think most college and seminary sales are focused on academic editions, such as the HarperCollins Study Bible, New Oxford Annotated Bibel, individual commentary books, etc.

There seem to be a fair number of editions designed for a general (non-academic) market as well (leather bound editions, daily Bibles, audio Bibles, illustrated Bibles, etc.) -- although, of course, translations such as the NIV, KJV, etc. have many, many, many more "non-academic" versions.

Biblical Catholic said...

There are non-academic editions, but they do tend to be hard to find, for years the NRSV was almost completely absent anywhere except on college campuses.....today it is easier to find, but generally the only edition you can easily find is the Catholic Edition...if you walk into a Barnes and Noble or a B Dalton or wherever the only NRSV you are likely to find are the Catholic Edition....and even then it is only in the last 5 years or so that you've been able to find it...before about 2007 the NRSV could not be found in any form in those places....

Granted, these days places like Barnes and Noble are not as important as they used to be because people buy most of their books online or in e-book edition.....but seeing what they tend to have in stock it is still a good measure of what is popular....if you want a non-academic non-Catholic edition NRSV, you need to order it online, it's hard to get it anywhere else....

CJA Mayo said...

I think the ESV is catching up fast in terms of stuff available and keyed to it; I don't know why I forgot about it in my first comment.

I just read about a forthcoming ESV-BHS diglot, with the ESV on one page and the BHS, with full apparatus, on the page facing. I don't think such a thing has been done before at all, and the ESV does have a ridiculous number of (reverse) interlinears and such with its text.

Doubtless due to the peerless marketing, the ESV seems to be in a pretty much unchallenged ascendancy everywhere except for liberal churches and seminaries and secular academia. However, the marketing leads me to wonder whether the image of its ascendancy hasn't also been engineered by the marketers. (Although that would lead to the conclusion that even if it has, the perception of ascendancy would lead to a bandwagon effect and make it ascendant in reality, given the several different varieties of bandwagon effect in strong evidence everywhere from eschatology to the choices of Bible translation committees to the believer's choice of Bible translation.)

Theophrastus said...

I have the BHS-ESV diglot and it is pretty bad. For example, they didn't even bother to harmonize the verse numbering between the English and Hebrew, making it basically impossible to use. The editorial preparation was so sloppy that the introduction talks about translations of Greek words in Romans.

There are, of course, numerous Hebrew-English diglots; the Crossway one is the worst I've encountered to date.

I just received a copy of the NA28-ESV diglot; but have not yet carefully examined it.

Biblical Catholic said...

"However, the marketing leads me to wonder whether the image of its ascendancy hasn't also been engineered by the marketers"

Marketing can only do so much, if people just simply do not want a product all the marketing in the world won't do a thing for it.....otherwise we'd all be driving an Edsel, drinking New Coke and watching John Carter DVD's.

The marketing certainly helps, but I think the reason why the ESV has been so successful is because there were a lot of people who liked the RSV but wanted a more modern and more conservative edition....and it has been a long time since someone has published a a literal translation of the Bible, for the last 40 years all you've gotten are dynamic equivalent translations with increasingly banal language.

CJA Mayo said...

I suppose the fact that Theophrastus has one is confirmation that the marketing works :-)

I must have been reading an old post, as I got the impression ESV-BHS was not due out for a while; am I correct in my assessment that such a thing has never been done before - full BHS w/ apparatus and full English Bible (disregarding most interlinears such as Jay Green or the JPS Tanakh) - even if Crossway did it poorly?

I got an NA28 a couple of weeks ago and have yet to see a single alteration in the slightest degree from NA27. I've read (or read-skimmed) the four Gospels, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, the Pastorals, 1 John, Jude, and part of Revelation.

Where's the beef?

I believe I've mentioned before on this blog that I dislike "reverse interlinears" and diglots of the sort of BHS-ESV; if it needs to be an interlinear, it needs 1) the Greek (or Hebrew), 2) an extremely literal, non-grammatical, word-for-word English translation in Greek word order below it, and 3) optionally, Strong's numbers.

Putting a reverse interlinear or a diglot w/ established English translation in to the hands of a man who is learning Greek seems to be a recipe for exegetical disaster. I don't know where I formed that opinion, now that I think about it; it just seems so, that reading an exegete's decisions along with the original Greek leads to "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" and an imitative exegete at best.

(I have, as my only NT diglot, an NA26-RSV, and, for the OT, Brenton's Diglot. I have several "interlinears, proper" - Green and Comfort - that I used as crib sheets when learning Greek.)

CJA Mayo said...

Oh, I also have the Hebrew-English New JPS Tanakh, but my Hebrew isn't good enough to read it (my reading of Hebrew involves heavy use of grammars and BDB); it was retired from use when I got the Jewish Study Bible - but it doesn't count, as I never actually used it as an interlinear (not to mention, I had the little 4x6x2" edition, with the niqqud so small one essentially has a bare consonantal text).

Theophrastus said...

I got an NA28 a couple of weeks ago and have yet to see a single alteration in the slightest degree from NA27

See this list of differences noted to date.

Biblical Catholic said...

I don't think there are significant differences in the actual Greek text, the differences are in the critical apparatus, at least that's what I got from the interview that was posted here with the editor...

Theophrastus said...

The differences between the NA27 and NA28 are spelled out here in more detail.

See also here

CJA Mayo said...

Hmm.. So, some changes in books I read, and didn't notice. Pretty minor changes. I don't know what I was expecting.

Actually, I do: every time a new NA comes out I expect angels to sing loud hosannas at the pure and undefiled original NT, now once and for all recovered, agreeing exactly with the Patriarchal Text of 1904. Either that, or sweeping changes based on occult manuscript discoveries that prove the the Latin word "trinitas" was used by the Greeks in writing the NT.

Yeah, right.