Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Review of the Anselm Academic Study Bible NABRE

Friend of this blog Geoffrey Miller has contributed a fine review of the recently released Anselm Academic Study Bible (NABRE) over at the Austin Catholic New Media page.  In short, Geoffrey comments that "without any reservations, I can happily recommend this packaging of Sacred Scripture as the very best available to the modern, educated American layperson."   For more of his review, continue reading here.

To get a better, inside look, of the Anselm Academic Study Bible and all its features, go here.  

Richard J. Clifford, S.J., one of the revisers of the NABRE OT states: 
"Among study Bibles, the Anselm Academic Study Bible stands out for its excellent translation and notes (New American Bible Revised Edition), fresh introductions to the biblical books, and articles on important and neglected topics such as the social context of the Bible, the Christian Bible and Jews, and contextual and transformative interpretation. Expertly edited and amply illustrated, the volume is a most welcome resource for students and interested adults."

I am hoping to provide some additional thoughts on this study Bible in the coming weeks.  


Theophrastus said...

I had a copy of this Bible for a few days, and decided to return it to Amazon. In terms of translation and notes, it is yet another NABRE. It does have some extras, but I did not think that they were so special -- both the introductory essays and the book essays were brief and thus necessarily shallow. One can find significantly more detailed and substantive content in study Bibles (NABRE, RSV, NRSV) from Oxford, HarperCollins, and Ignatius; as well as in one-volume commentaries such as The New Jerome.

The Anselm's layout was nice, but not as nice as the HarperOne NABRE or even the Little Rock NABRE.

In his review, Geoffrey writes: "Gone are the useless glossaries of Biblical terms (we’ve got Google for that)." I do not understand this point of view; if one wishes to use online resources instead of printed resources, why not simply read the NABRE text online? The point of a study Bible is to bring a variety of resources together in one cover. I'd like to hope I can give a book my full attention without need to refer to a computer or cell phone.

The Anselm (an imprint of St. Mary's Press) publication is compact (by study Bible standards) and easy to carry, but aside from that advantage, I cannot say that the Anselm volume is "best" at anything else.

Biblical Catholic said...

Why heck, if the fact that Google exists means that we don't need a glossary, then surely the fact that the NABRE text is available online means that we don't need it in print at all...so let's just cease publication....

I don't get that mentality at all...

larry said...

In my humble opinion the requirement of having the notes with every version of the NABRE is a non starter for acquiring another version. I've got the Little Rock in NABRE and looks like that'll be it. I wonder if the notes will be revised or the requirement done away with altogether in the Grand Unified NAB eventually comes out.

Timothy said...


The revised NAB, which will take some time, will include revised notes as well.

CJA Mayo said...

This Bible was one of the worst I've ever seen. I generally buy pretty much every new Bible when it comes out, if it's original enough or looks interesting.

This managed to take the NAB/RE notes and make them look very tame and conservative. That's saying a lot.

I only read some of the essays.

I still recommend a text Bible with a separate commentary and/or the Catechism, or, for study Bibles, the Lutheran Study Bible and Annotated Apocrypha (my regard for it keeps increasing), the Haydock, the Navarre, and the ICSBNT.

Biblical Catholic said...

There is absolutely no chance of the requirement of the NAB notes be printed with every edition will be lifted, that requirement is in Canon Law and cannot be lifted by the American bishops....

Theophrastus said...

Michael: actually the Confraternity allows versions with no (or very limited) notes -- e.g., parallel Bibles, audio Bibles, etc. And, of course, a number of Bibles with imprimatur (e.g., NRSV) have only textual notes.

So Canon 825.2 can be very broadly interpreted. So, the problem lies more with copyright law (the Confraternity owns the copyright and licenses printing) rather than Canon 825.2.

Larry: If you like the NAB translation, but hate the notes, then you may be interested in the Oxford editions that place the notes at the end of each book, such as this one (which is quite cheap at $6; the version in faux leather is only $12). Alternatively, you may be interested in the now out-of-print Catholic Comparative New Testament, which can still be found pretty cheap.

Servus Dei said...

Well you guys are right, glossary of Biblical terms are just for starters or novices (so putting like that on a Good News Bible seems to be justified).

But for a NABRE reader, it seems to be of no use. Given that the textual notes of NABRE seem to be non-accomodating to starters, a Bible glossary would not help. The best way for a Biblical reader to be familiar with the Biblical terms is that he learns them by himself so that in his search for meaning of these terms, he may also grow deep in Faith.

Remember: Curiosity brings more knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone,

Speaking of Study Bibles, are any of you familiar with Barclay's Daily Study Bible? After reading Brandon's reference to it, I've been thinking about buying some of the volumes available on Kindle ( which removes the need to worry about font sizes). Any thoughts?


Theophrastus said...

Servus Dei:

You wrote:

glossary of Biblical terms are just for starters or novices

I disagree. For example, these terms are in the New Oxford Annotated Bible glossary:

* Amarna Letters,
* amphictyony,
* aniconic,
* apodictic law,
* bicolon,
* causistic law,
* ceramic typology,
* Chemosh,
* Enuma Elish,
* haruspex,
* Holiness Code,
* jussive,
* ketib,
* Letter of Polycarp,
* merism,
* Merneptah Stele,
* Mesha Stele,
* mezuzah,
* Milcom,
* Mot,
* Oral Torah,
* Rift Valley,
* Ritual Decalogue,
* Samaritan Pentateuch,
* Shephelah,
* sorites,
* step parallelism,
* Sukkoth
* suzerain,
* Symmachus,
* syncretism,
* synecdoche,
* synonymous parallelism,
* talion,
* Urim and Thummim,
* Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon,
* Yehud,
* ziggurat

(By the way, if you rely on Google to define these terms, you will get some very strange misinformation).

Now, in my experience working with college undergraduates, I have found that not all students know 100% of these terms. Perhaps, since you are well beyond being "beginners and novices" these terms are all part of your working vocabulary, but I suspect that are perhaps some even a few readers of this blog who may not be able to define all of these terms.

Even understanding, for example, the difference between Sheol and Hades or the difference between ha-Satan in the Hebrew Bible and Satan in the Greek New Testament can be quite challenging for many readers (these are points addressed in the NOAB glossary.)

I know a large number of faculty in Biblical, Ancient Near Eastern, and theological studies. While I hope that most of them know the terms that I list above, I still find that they regularly refer to good Bible dictionaries such as the Anchor Bible Dictionary (or even the Eerdmans Bible Dictionary). This suggests to me that even experienced readers can benefit from reference materials.

So, rather than insult those that can benefit from aids such as a glossary because they do not remember the date of the Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon (it was 681-669 BCE, by the way) or who cannot recite the correspondents who wrote the Amarna Letters (Amenophis II and Akhenaten, by the way) or cannot remember the difference between the Merneptah Stele and the Mesha Stele, I say: let us provide them with useful aids.

CJA Mayo said...

I only know about 75% of the terms, persons, places, things, and events above.

Obviously, defining the "jussive", or a "merism", is going to be helpful for most, not to mention the non-grammatical terms of obscure ANE history.