Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Biblical Knox

Over the weekend I was thinking about the available resources one is able to attain surrounding Msgr. Knox and his translation. Not only do we have the newly re-published Knox Bible from Baronius, but also a number of other books which can all be used in tandem with it.  I am not sure there is any other Catholic, at least in the English speaking world, that can match Knox.  

Consider this, with On Englishing the Bible we have a small collection of essays from Msgr. Knox which reveals his translation philosophy as well as examines particular translation issues that Knox had to deal with during his years of translating.  This collection is both frank in its assessment of his translating the Bible, but also quite witty and humorous.  I am not sure anything like this exists with the other major translations.  Would it not be amazing to have something similar from some of the other Catholic translations and their translators?  (The closest we have would probably be from Dom Henry Wansbrough and his essays on the New Jerusalem Bible.) 

Next, although out of print, is Knox's three volume A New Testament Commentary series which was published by in the 1950's.  Though utilizing his own translation of the New Testament, Knox constantly brings forth textual alternatives referring not only to the Latin, but also the Greek.  In many cases, he explains why he rendered a particular passage in that way he did, which again adds another level of clarity and is just simply fascinating.  The textual commentary found in these volumes helps to supplement the notes that are found in the Knox Bible itself.  Also, he provides some very insightful commentary, both theological and exegetical, on the New Testament passages themselves.  It becomes quite clear that although Knox was not a professional Biblical scholar, he was well versed in all the scholarly issues of the day and was able to aptly make his own contributions to the field.  This would be a great set for Baronius to bring back in print.  It can be found at some of the online used bookstores with only a little bit of effort and trust me it is well worth it. 

Finally, Ignatius Press still has in print Pastoral and Occasional Sermons by Knox.  As our friends at the Ronald Knox Society of North America point out: "Pastoral and Occasional Sermons is the largest collection of Ronald Knox's sermons and was republished in 2002 by Ignatius Press in a beautiful hardcover edition. It covers a wide variety of sermons on Christian themes as well as the feasts of the Church year, sermons for special occasions and panegyrics. In his introduction to the original edition Father Caraman, S.J. comments, "Only after I had read the sermons in this volume a second time, with the purpose of giving the references to Scriptural and other quotations, did I realize that this collection formed perhaps the most impressive body of pastoral teaching of our time. In scope and brilliance it appeared an achievement comparable only with Newman's Oxford sermons; yet more valuable because the idiom and message belonged to our own generation."  The Ignatius edition comes with an extremely useful scriptural index, thus allowing the reader to glean more insights from Knox on particular passages.  These pastoral sermons, which are deeply scriptural, provide an amazing compliment to his commentary series.

So all together, Ronald Knox has provided us a solid Biblical translation, relying on the Latin but with constant reference to the Greek and Hebrew (as indicated in his notes), a collection of essays that reveal his way of translating, a three volume commentary which examines the textual and theological issues of the text, and a collection of pastoral sermons about the scriptures.  If you think about it, this is pretty remarkable.  I am not sure that there is anything (or anyone) who can match this, particular for those of us who are English-speaking Catholics.  Thank you Ronnie!

13 comments:

Jonny said...

Ignatius Press also offers by Ronald Knox: "A Retreat for Lay People", and "In Soft Garments" & "The Belief of Catholics" (apologetics). They also have 2 books about Knox: "Ronald Knox as Apologist" by Milton Walsh and "The Wine of Certitude" by David Rooney.

John Francis Frederick Manlapig said...

I agree with you that Baronius should republish Knox's commentary on the NT. Since they've already started with the bible, it would be very helpful if they'd continue with the commentary as well. It would be of great help to preachers, as well as theology/bible students.

Eric Barczak said...

Speaking of Knox, if someone is looking for a compact Knox Bible, there appears to be one on E-Bay right now (not my auction, just saw it on a saved search result).

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=131068919375

Timothy said...

Eric,

Looks like someone just bought it. I wonder who that could have been.........

Timothy said...

Jonny,

I have those two books about Knox, which are quite good. I also enjoy Milton's book which compares and contrasts Knox with Lewis.

Timothy said...

John Francis,

Totally agree! Wouldn't a collected one volume edition of his commentaries be amazing.

John Francis Frederick Manlapig said...

Timothy,
A one-volume, compact edition of the commentary wouldbe great. They might even consider doing a set of three books: the bible, "Englishing..." and the commentary.

John Francis Frederick Manlapig said...

Timothy,

Another thought...
Is there anyone out there planning, or maybe already attempting, to make an ebook or app of the Knox Bible?

If there's one brave soul with that thing in mind: God bless you!!!
You'll be a big blessing to people!

Timothy said...

John Francis,

I like the way you think!

As for an app or ebook with the Knox, I am not sure Baronius is interested in doing this. They seem to be most concerned about make quality bibles and prayer books that are made to be held and experienced in the traditional way. In the digital area, as you probably know, the Knox is available at Newadvent.org. It use to be on Biblegateway, which I think was a great thing. For whatever reason, they decided to pull it from there. I think that was a mistake since Biblegateway is a major website where people look up scripture passages.

Are you familiar with the Scriptural rosary app that uses the Knox? http://www.catholicbiblesblog.com/2013/04/7-questions-valent-richie.html

John Francis Frederick Manlapig said...

Timothy,

Yup, I'm aware of the Knox bible at newadvent.org, it's good that they placed that there. It also used to be at the Veritas Bible site, but it got pulled out later due to copyright concerns (related to Fr. Cormac Burke's "You" version possibly).
An ebook might work, especially in places where there's no internet. But if it will be remote possibilty, I guess I have to settle with praying for Baronius to publish a compact edition of Knox. This one's a bit too bulky for a bag or a backpack. :)
Thanks for the time and the ideas!
Blessed Advent (& Advanced Happy Christmas) from the Philippines!

Javier said...

Timothy,

this is not Knox related. But it involves a new translation of the Bible by a british priest. I hadn't heard of it before:

Fr. Nicholas King Bible

Fr. Nicholas King Bible II

For the Old Testament he used the Septuagint. Not a very usual choice.

Regards,

Javier

Timothy said...

Javier,

Do you know where I can sample this new translation? Looks interesting.

Javier said...

Timothy,

I don't really know. I found it by accident. But here are a couple of links that might be helpful:

1) The translator's website. He can even be contacted through it:

Fr. Nicholas King


2) The announcement of the New Translation's book launch:

Book Launch