Thursday, October 22, 2015

OBOY: Thank You Pope Francis

A couple days back I posted an introduction Pope Francis wrote for the German edition of the YouCat Bible.  There were many great things he said in this introduction, but none more striking to me than what he wrote at the very beginning:

"If you could see my Bible, you would not be particularly impressed. What—that’s the Pope’s Bible? Such an old, worn-out book!  You could buy me a new one for $1,000, but I would not want it. I love my old Bible, which has accompanied me half my life. It has been with me in my times of joy and times of tears. It is my most precious treasure. I live out of it, and I wouldn’t give anything in the world for it."

When I read these words from the Holy Father, my mind immediately went back to the whole One Bible, One Year (OBOY) challenge.  It reminded me that I hadn't posted about how I was doing recently, so, now seems to be a good time to give you an update.  I also felt confirmed in partaking in this experiment.

Back when I started, I made a commitment to sticking with the NRSV translation.  Although there have been times during the past year when I have "flirted", a tad, with my beloved Knox bible, I can honestly say that I have stuck to the NRSV throughout this year.  (In a perfect world my Knox Bible would be "the one" but there are too many situations where it is simply not practical.  But oh how I do love that Bible!). What has it been like?  Well, after having spent 3/4 of the year with it, I am even more certain that the NRSV does a remarkable job of being useful in almost every situation.  It is literary, accurate, well-annotated, ecumenical, and just plain feels right to me when I read from it.  (If you would like to read more about why I prefer the NRSV, here is a link to a prior post.)  This does not mean, just to be clear, that I refrain from looking at other translations for study and work purposes.  I, of course, need to as part of my job.  Yes, there are many good translations out there, but the NRSV is the one I choose.

I also decided to use two editions of the NRSV: 1) NOAB NRSV '91, for use with study and teaching; 2) The Harper NRSV compact, for daily reading.  Throughout this year, I have been faithful to the NOAB for studying and teaching.  I still think it is an amazing edition, with concise and useful annotations and references, along with a generous print and margin.  I like this edition so much that it will likely be the next candidate for a rebind, since the cover is wearing out a tad.  (Remember, I purchased it used a couple years back.)   In regards to my daily reading Bible, some of you will remember that I had the Harper compact NRSV rebound.  One might think that means it has remained my daily reading bible this year, but it hasn't.  Another NRSV has come in (and out, and back in) to my life that I simply can't put down.  I first received it back in February from my friend Jason.  It is the Oxford NRSV (anglicized) Pocket Edition with Apocrypha in blue calfskin leather.  I cannot really explain to you why I have taken to this Bible, but I simply enjoy the feel and look of it.  it lays open flat, comes with three ribbons (which were added by Jason), and just has a remarkable feel to it.  It is simply a reading bible, with no annotations or maps.  Yet, like my Knox Bible, I have just grown to really love reading from it.  I have recently started a 90 Day New Testament reading plan, which I am doing with this Bible.  It has been great.  

So, there is where I am at.  How about you?  I know there are at least a couple of you still out there!  The comments by Pope Francis above have only solidified my desire to have one of those 50 year old Bibles that I wouldn't trade anything for.  This bible would serve as a companion, one which has been read and loved over a long period of time, accompanying me on my journey to the Lord.  Yet, this journey has to start somewhere. For me, I am feeling ever so confident that my journey began in 2015.  How about you?


Christopher Buckley said...

Thanks for that.

I'm making a similar discovery, only in reverse.

Coming into the larger world of Catholic Bible translations during my recent blogging, I was making an effort to try a different approved translation each week for the Office of Readings before Morning Prayer.

What I found was that after a few months, I gradually began settling into a few favorites. Now, I find myself turning to just three each day:
-the Douay Rheims Challoner (for the Church's treatment of the Vulgagte in English)
-the RSV-2CE (for the first Church-approved treatment of the original languages in English)
-the NABRE (for the current Church-sponsored handling of original languages in light of the Vulgate)

Amazingly, if I were to pick a favorite for "my" Bible, it would have to be the NABRE... at least for the Old Testament. I'm hoping the revised NT will be just as appealing (for I'm regularly put off by some word choices there, while at the same time finding some OT passages sublime).

rolf said...

Hey Timothy, did you shelf your Cambridge NRSV Reference Bible? When I 'play around' with the NRSV, I like to use that Bible. I am still on my TBOY (three Bibles one year program), The Oxford Large Print NABRE, The Didache Bible and the Oxford Catholic Study Bible. They all have their place in my study, devotional reading and teaching. Cambridge announced on facebook the other day that they had published more NRSV Reference Bibles, so I asked them if they had thought about publishing the REB (with the apocrypha) in that reference edition? They replied that it was available used out in the market place (I already have one). Oh well, can't hurt to ask!

rolf said...

I should clarify my comment above, Cambridge: they said that the REB with apocrypha was avalible in the text edition used.

Mark in Spokane said...

Unfortunately, I can't read the biblical languages or Latin, so I find it very helpful to read from both a more dynamic translation and a more literal one. When I was in university & law school, that was the RSV and the New English Bible (Oxford Study Edition with Apocrypha). More recently, I left the RSV behind and switched to the NAB (now the NABRE) while keeping the NEB as the dynamic translation. Thanks to this website, I've largely left my NEB on the shelf and moved to using The Message Catholic Edition alongside the NABRE. This isn't a perfect arrangement, of course, but one that I make do with in light of my own ignorance & the lack of a perfect translation in English.

Steve Molitor said...

Wow thanks for sharing Matt! I've been using my NOAB RSV as my OBOY. But I may switch to my NOAB NRSV '91 like yours, if I ever finish transferring over all my notes!

David Garcia said...

My 1966 Jerusalem compact readers edition all the way! Pauls epistles simple do not read any better than they do in the JB and I still think it's the best overall translation for all purposes. :)

Anonymous said...

Greetings from the RSV-CE camp!
I had discovered lately that this is the perfect one for me for all purposes, but still I admire the Jerusalem Bible (especially the CTS edition) as a complementary dynamic translation.

When my pre-ordered RSV Compact Zipper arrives, this could be my OBOY entry for 2016!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
daviddlt said...

Still rocking my old 1966 JB full edition, no matter how many times I go to the other ones (NAB, NRSV, NJB, RSV CE) i always come back to my JB

David Garcia said...

Daviddit.... I agree 100%... I have danced and flirted with a dozen translations, and while some of them are good, I always come back to the 1966jb!