Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Knox New Testament Commentaries (and Compact Edition)

Over the past month or so I have been acquiring used copies of Msgr. Ronald Knox's three volume A New Testament Commentary series.  They were published by Sheed & Ward in the 1950's and are full of great info.  In this series, volume one deals with the four Gospels, while volume two covers the Acts of the Apostle to 2 Thessalonians, and volume three concludes with 1 Timothy to the Apocalypse.     

The preface (and dust jacket) inform us that these volumes are "meant to be read in conjunction with the Knox New Testament, and wherever a quotation does not tally, it must be taken for a literal rendering either of the Latin or the Greek.  'The notes,' writes Monsignor Knox in his preface, 'are not meant to be exhaustive; they illustrate only those passages whose meaning is disputed, and those which the ordinary reader is apt to find obscure or unexpected.  Even within these limits, little space is left for the commentator to deploy his arguments; and the reader must resign himself to the need for close attention, and constant cross-references.'"  

As stated by the author of The Ronald Knox Society website: "These volumes contain Knox's explanations for various choices in wording, alternate interpretations of phrases, and the sometimes hidden meaning of entire passages. They are of tremendous use and interest to the scholar."  These comments are absolutely true.  This commentary is part textual commentary, part exposition of the text.  The commentary on the text, itself, is not a line by line commentary, but rather Knox comments on these various issues pericope by pericope.  What is most helpful, and something which I wish Knox or the publisher would have included in the Knox Bible, are the book introductions.  They are quite insightful, varying in length from 3-5 paragraphs each.  Of course, the lack of an Old Testament commentary series, which Knox never undertook, might have made including just the New Testament intros look a bit uneven.   Perhaps they would have been helpful in an Knox New Testament volume.

Which leads me to this little discovery.  One of the things I really enjoy about ordering older, used books is the surprise of actually getting the original dust jacket with it.  This happened when I got volume two of the commentary series. And to my surprise, when I turned to the back of the dust jacket, behold I found advertising for other Knox-related products from Sheed & Ward.  I have always known that there were New Testament editions out there, but this seems to indicate that Sheed & Ward published a pocket Knox New Testament in four different editions: Paperback, Leatherette, Cloth, and Leather.  And take a look at those prices!  I am also intrigued by the New Testament gift edition that is listed on the top with its inclusion of various art reproductions.  So, I would really like to get a hold of the New Testament pocket edition in leather.  I did a very quick internet search, but was unsuccessful.  I don't think Baronius is going to be publishing a compact Knox anytime soon, so this edition really intrigues me.  Anyone have an idea about how to acquire a copy?  I will surely offer more than the $6.00 listed!  :)


Anonymous said...

I had a compact Knox Bible (a complete Bible). Gave it to a friend when I bought the Baronius Press edition.


Anonymous said...

I'm still hoping and praying for a compact edition of the entire Knox Bible from Baronius, or if they're not really planning to make one, even from the others (Tan Books? St. Benedict's Press?).

Eric Barczak said...

I'm personally hoping for an Android app for my phone. The software interface on the Ignatius Bible & EWTN Apps is great, and I hope someone does something similar for Knox. Knox on the phone would be truly compact.

Timothy said...

I have been told by Baronius that we shouldn't expect a compact Knox anytime soon, but I certainly encourage all who are interested to email them to let them know that you are.

As for a Bible app, I agree 100%. Would be fantastic! While I am happy Knox is available on NewAdvent, I think it was a mistake to have it removed from Biblegateway.com, which is a more popular site with far more study tools on it.

There is a Rosary App available that utilizes the Knox:

Theophrastus said...

These commentary volumes are another very fascinating find, and undoubtedly will greatly increase your experience of reading Knox's translation. On the basis of your remarks and the photograph showing one page of the commentary, I have gone ahead and found copies for myself.

I want to especially thank you for posts such as this one, in which you point out helpful resources that otherwise might be obscure. These type of posts are my very favorite offerings of this blog, Timothy.

Patrick said...

Knox's commentary is also available complete in one volume

Timothy said...

Thank you! It was a true pleasure finding these and sharing them. I have found them to be a hidden gem really. And as you say, they really help you to get into the head of Knox, which makes my overall experience using his translation all the more meaningful.

Timothy said...


Thanks for that bit of info. The more I look into the Knox Bible and these commentaries, the more I am amazed at the diversity of editions they are found in.