Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Didache NABRE Discount Ends Tomorrow!

The Didache NABRE will begin shipping on Friday.  If you want the discount through MTF, you need to pre-order by tomorrow!  Pre-order here.

This edition uses the New American Bible, Revised Edition translation of the complete text of Sacred Scriptures, Old and New Testaments.The Didache Bible also includes numerous apologetical inserts to assist the reader in understanding the Church’s teachings on current issues.  

After publishing the books of The Didache Series, Midwest Theological Forum set out to fill a need for a Catholic edition of Sacred Scripture with explanatory and apologetical commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The publication of the Didache Bible, based on these principles, fulfills the desire of Pope St. John Paul II as expressed in his Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church . . . is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith. (no. IV)

The Didache Bible is a valuable resource for students and those participating in Scripture studies. Ideal for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith and intended to be accessible by all Catholics in its level of scriptural scholarship.       
  • It uses the New American Bible, Revised Edition translation 
  • Features 27 full-color biblical maps, including the journeys of Jesus Christ 
  • More than 100 apologetical explanations that help to answer common questions about the faith 
  • Includes a comprehensive, 43-page glossary and a topical index 
  • The font size for the text of Scripture is 9.5 points which is comparable to the font size used in most business letters. 
  • The font size for the text of commentary is 8.5 points.
  • For the leather edition, the pages are gilded and the page corners are rounded.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Guest Post: Bibles in the Philippines by Gerald

Before I start this post, I would like to thank Timothy for giving me opportunity to post in this blog. I had been an avid reader of the blog maybe around 3 years already.

The Biblical environment here in the Philippines is not that extant compared to the US. Given the cost of sponsoring a translation, oftentimes, new translations here are being produced by organizations.

I would like to recount the history of Biblical translations chronologically, and with some background on the translation.

*1905 – The Philippine Bible Society produced the “Ang Biblia” (The Bible) version. This is a formal translation of the Bible, deriving mainly from the American Standard Version, with the exception that the Tetragrammaton is handled as “Panginoon” (Lord) unlike the ASV which uses Jehovah. Given the translational background of the ASV, you’ll expect ‘Ang Biblia’ also to be wooden at times. But until today, this is still used by many Protestant groups due to its literal nature, similar to how KJV is still valued by some Protestant groups in the US. For a long time, this was the only available Bible translation in the Philippines. ‘Ang Biblia’ has fell into public domain here in the Philippines.

*1950s – Msgr. Abriol did his own translation of the Bible from the Clementine Vulgate. His translation was known as the “Ang Banal na Biblia” (The Holy Bible). Maybe I could find a parallel to him to Msgr. Knox, since his version was initially used as the Catholic version in the liturgy. Also, the two also came from the Clementine Vulgate. The only difference is that while Msgr. Knox took on a slightly dynamic approach, Msgr. Abriol took on a formal approach. Perhaps his version can be claimed as the Philippine Douay-Rheims, because many of the traditional church vocabulary in the Philippines (which was loanwords from Spanish, the same applies for Biblical names of persons and places) was derived from this version. This version is rather a rare find and is only issued by the Paulines. (with Imprimatur)

Modern printings of the ‘Ang Banal na Biblia’ is already a revised version according to the Nova Vulgata. However, this is not the official liturgical version used here in the Philippines.

*1980s – In view of the recent changes in the Church’s liturgical structure, namely, (a) the Divino Afflante Spiritu which called for an opening of Biblical exegesis to the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic sources aside from the Latin Vulgate, (b) the Vatican II liturgical reforms which called for the conduct of Roman liturgy into vernacular, and (c) the Comme le prévoit, which called for a less formal translation of the Roman liturgy, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (CBCP-ECBA), in partnership with the  Philippine Bible Society, sponsored a new translation called “Magandang Balita Biblia” (Good News Bible).

From the English translation of the title of the version, you are right in concluding that the version parallels in translation philosophy with the Good News Bible. The project was not only done for the Filipino (or Tagalog) language, but also for other Philippine regional languages. Nevertheless, the project was successful in reaching out to the Filipino Catholics in their native tongues. The version was also very instrumental in complementing the objectives of Vatican II by Dei Verbum, to make the Scriptures accessible to many.

For its wide usage and ecumenical nature, this version is used as the OFFICIAL BIBLICAL TRANSLATION FOR THE ROMAN LITURGY in the Philippines. (of course, with Imprimatur)

*1990s – Being a Protestant himself, President Fidel Ramos, by an Executive Order, mandated the “Philippine Bible Week” on the fourth week of January. This is still observed until now and is mainly sponsored by the PBS.

*2001 – After being dormant of the Philippine Biblical scholarship for a while, PBS decided to make a modern update of the “Ang Biblia”, named as “Ang Bagong Ang Biblia” (The New Bible). I think this version is comparable to NASB, as how the NASB was updated from ASV. For far as I am aware, this version is still lacking support in the Evangelical circles, being still loyal to the 1905 Ang Biblia.

*2005 – PBS also decided to update the “Magandang Balita Biblia”, maybe similar to how RSV was revised to NRSV, but the Filipino language don’t have an issue of inclusive language anyways, since our language provides neutral words and pronouns. It modernizes some antiquated language, and incorporated recent scholarship changes as well. One great example is the relegation of some verses from Sirach in the footnotes.

For the Catholic editions, the deuterocanonicals were already interspersed in the Old Testament, the 1980 edition only put them in between the Testaments. Due to the still wide use of the Catholic Church of the 1980 version, the 2005 revision still haven’t got enormous attention from Filipino Catholics.

Similar updates were also done to other versions to the regional languages, but like the Filipino (Tagalog) version, the updated ones were not adopted by the Church.

*2008 – PBS published a New Testament of the Filipino Standard Version (remember, the English Standard Version?). It is meant to be a translation coming in between the formal equivalent Ang Biblia (The Bible) and the dynamic equivalent Magandang Balita Biblia (Good News Bible). If you are to research for this version, you’ll find that the cover of this version somehow imitates the ESV.

However, this version remained a niche one. It even hadn’t gained any attention, and an Old Testament translation was not anymore conducted, with the people being loyal to either of the two earlier major versions.

*2010 (if I am right) – Biblica International, Inc., the same organization holding the rights for the NIV, sponsored a Biblical translation into Filipino, following the philosophy of the NIV, published a new translation into Filipino (Tagalog) and Visayan (Cebuano), called Ang Salita ng Diyos (The Word of God), if my memory serves me right. It was designed to be used by evangelicals (which is fairly obvious) as an alternative to the two major version.

Slowly, it is already gaining attention in the evangelical circles being used in parallel with the NIV.

Thank you for reading my post and I’m planning to have another one featuring English Bibles in the Philippines.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 9)

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, I will be posting twice a month, on Mondays, a paragraph from this important document.  There are a total of 26 paragraphs, so this will take us through to the Fall when we reach the anniversary of its promulgation by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965.  I look forward to our discussion.  May I suggest a helpful book by Fr. Ronald D. Witherup called The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum published by Liturgical Press.

9. Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday's Message: 4th Week of Easter

Welcome back to another edition of Sunday's Message.  Here, I will reproduce the readings for Mass from The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition.  (I want to thank Greg Pierce at ACTA for giving me permission to do this weekly post.)  While this is not an "official" Catholic edition, one of my hopes for doing this new series is to have a lively discussion on the renderings, compared to the more formal ones we are use to reading and hearing at Mass.  Is there a place for a translation like this?  Could this be a good Bible to give to a Catholic "seeker" or young adult? I have used it while teaching my high school theology classes, along with the NRSV and NABRE, and have had positive results.  

I would like to also propose a question each week to reflect upon, particularly in light of the rendering found here in The Message:
How often do we give thanks to not only our earthly shepherds but also our heavenly one?

Acts 4:8-12
With that, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, let loose: “Rulers and leaders of the people, if we have been brought to trial today for helping a sick man, put under investigation regarding this healing, I’ll be completely frank with you—we have nothing to hide. By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the One you killed on a cross, the One God raised from the dead, by means of his name this man stands before you healthy and whole. Jesus is ‘the stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone.’ Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one.”

Psalm 118
Thank God because he’s good,
because his love never quits.
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in celebrities.
Thank you for responding to me;
you’ve truly become my salvation!
The stone the masons discarded as flawed
is now the capstone!
This is God’s work.
We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
Blessed are you who enter in God’s name—
from God’s house we bless you!
Thank God—he’s so good.
His love never quits!

1 John 3:1-2
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.
But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him.

John 10:11-18
Jesus said:
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Good Cause

Brian is a brand new Catholic who works and lives at the Catholic Worker House in New Orleans. If you are willing to help him out in any way, I would be immensely grateful.  Brian worked in movements for peace, labor rights and racial justice. He recently completed RCIA and was received into full communion with the Catholic Church on Holy Saturday this year at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in New Orleans.  He is looking to attend a conference that will explore Dorothy Day’s life, legacy and contemporary significance for the Church. 

Here is an additional link, in case you are having trouble viewing.  

In Praise of Paraphrase by William Griffin

This article dates back to 2002, before Griffin was given the task to translate the Deuterocanonical books from the Nova Vugata for The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition. Thanks to Russ for the link.

Among his mail one foggy Oxford morning, C. S. Lewis found a letter-cum-manuscript from J. B. Phillips, vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd in London. He didn't know the man, but the vicar had said some nice things about his books and broadcasts.

As for the enclosed manuscript, well, with bombs falling and sirens wailing and buildings collapsing all around, London wasn't so unlike first-century Rome, at least from the Christians' point of view. Paul's epistles seemed right to the point.

Trouble was, the young people in Phillips' parish couldn't understand the Authorized Version. What they needed was something just a little easier to read. Hence, his own attempt at Colossians. What did Lewis think?
Immediately he put the translation to the test.

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ," read the eighth verse of the second chapter in the Authorized Version.

"Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense," read Phillips' rendition of the same passage. "Such stuff is at best founded on men's idea of the nature of the world, and disregards Christ!"

Lewis thought he knew Colossians pretty well, but this Paraphrase, for that's what it was, seemed to hit the nail right on the head. He then read the Phillips version from beginning to end. "It was like seeing a familiar picture after it's been cleaned," he wrote to the good vicar.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Guest Review: Owen's Opening of the King Bible

The following review is largely photo image driven and it's focus is on the physical book itself including contents but not speaking to the "translation." 

Thanks for Timothy for the invitation to do this when I mentioned that I had acquired a copy.

There are a lot of photos. Don't say I didn't say so :)  And, the following could seem a little fanatical, perhaps it is but as the specific bible is not easily found outside the UK and with few suppliers it seemed it might be helpful to offer a detailed view. Some of the images are fuzzy. I do not present them so you can read the text but so that you have a general idea of the look of things.

Shipped from thebookdepository [UK]

In the photo I've covered my address with my art-business cards. Otherwise, this is as it arrived with the contents very well protected. The photos that follow happened in real-time as I took the treasure out of it's package; other than the white in the display box window (below) which is the packing slip that sat on top of the bible inside. I removed the paper and closed it up again without removing the book itself.

The book was in perfect condition and truth, that is not always the case when ordering online from well known non bricks-n-mortar stores. It increasingly seems we get "seconds" from A-zon for example.

[Caveat emptor: oddly, the day my copy arrived the seller had dropped the price by $16.00, at the time of writing this post, from what I paid. I wrote them. They have no intention of offering me anything more than the "fact" that prices fluctuate according to availability [and recent purchases is my honest guess as I have seen this occur more than once - but that's good news for anyone who has not yet purchased]. That said, thebookdepository sells for less than I have seen at the publisher's site or when you find it on ebay. ]

Out of the box:

Opened roughly to center without doing any of my usual careful page-by-page from the center out to the left / out to the right, to gently break in the binding. Such a fastidious task is often not necessary in bibles that are sewn and covered with one kind or another of synthetic "leather" as is the case with this edition. Speaking of leather, this has what the publisher's promotional material calls a "[s]oft leather effect". The whole affair looked pretty flexible so I went for it and . . .

. . . was happily not disappointed. Without delay then I went front then back to see how the brand-newly opened book cover would respond - as in, just how flat would it lay and therefore what's the potential for a lovely flat sitting bible with a bit of usage?

That bods well. Onward. Let's go find that ribbon.

Purple? Ack. What were they thinking of? How about a nice tan or brown or even black. Ah well, at least I know why the display box and hardcover editions are purple. Maybe all the other colours used to distinguish a brand of bible were used up. Perhaps the colour will grow on me or I make my own set of ribbons as I have with other bibles. A little DYI is a bible-geek's wont.

Looking at those images enlarged one begins to have good sense of the ghosting/show-through but more about readability late. Next-up, "size maters"?

A sense of size:

Guest  reviewer Russ, in another post showed you the King Bible along with the New Oxford Annotated NRSV with Apocrypha, Hardcover. I reprise that comparison here adding another large bible to the mix, the New Jerusalem Bible, Standard Edition [copious notes and cross reference], real leather board cover with slip-case.

And, below, here is the King Bible, sandwiched between the NOA-NRSVwA and the Life With God, NRSV with Deuterocanonicals reviewed on this blog. Clearly this is not an easily taken to Mass or bible study bible.

Readability and the like:

Margins. Impressive, I think. Plenty of room for marginalia such as bible-geeks like myself are wont to add. The inside margin on left facing pages throughout are plentiful; none of this bend the page nonsense in order to read the copy. The right hand margins on all pages, left and right facing, throughout are wider; a good 1.25 inches.

Ghosting/Show-through. Very good, as in not much, as in pretty standard to slightly better-than. I've selected these pages with minimal text and even with all that white space things look good and read well. Pages with lots of text read very clearly.

Single Column Text:
Correct. You read and have seen correctly. This Catholic bible is SINGLE COLUMN TEXT in the Hebrew portions [here called the Old Testament] AND in the New Testament. This fact alone numbers it among the few Catholic bibles with single column text and is desirable to many a reader for that reason alone.

And, it is a beautifully set single column text at that. How so?

Font and font size:
The font is the very pleasing Adobe Garamond and is used throughout including the text notes and bold subheadings. I find this uniform text makes the content shine rather than screaming, "Look at our clever design team." 

Using allbibles sample bible font chart [a print out laid over the bible page] I make the main text to be 9.5pt with the Old Testament footnotes to be a surprisingly legible 7pt. Fellow reviews Russ guesses 9pt for the main text. Subheadings, paragraph breaks at a 10pt bold.

The kerning is very good, open but not loose and certainly not crowded as is the case in too many bibles. Line spacing is roughly 1.5 times the text height. 

Setting of the Notes:

As shown above in several images it is a fairly standard two column setting in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it's a whole different thing. 

A page from the New Testament shows the inset Notes. Above on the page shown the Notes appear at the top and in the lower third of the page with the scripture text running the full column width  The font size of the inset Notes is the same as the main body text. I find it very easy to read. The inset Notes do break the flow of the bible text yet should you care to skip Notes reading the bible text only flows very well. Right now I am reading everything. Perhaps more on that in another post. Love it!

The following is a good example of a page that has Notes and Old Testament quotations within the New Testament. Most are center text. Occasionally, a quotation is very short or a fragment it will flow within the main body copy and not be centered as a drop-quote.  

I have found but one instance of a page that has this boxed note below. It is in a New Testament book. Perhaps there are some of these in the Old Testament but I haven't uncovered every page by any means.

Below, I do so briefly and limitedly verge into "translation" yet only relation to the look more than the content.

Here then, you find highlighted with purple is an example of the a) seldom used list of references at the bottom of the page and b) convention of using square brackets to indicate questionable translation choice or more often words used to make sense in the English that are not present in the Greek.

Cross-Reference Citations:
Regarding referenced verses, "forward" or "back" they are limited and are primarily found within the copy of the inset Notes though sometimes in the bible text itself. In both these cases the citation is within closed square brackets. Very readable and not distracting. Less often "cross" references are listed as a footer [see above].  In the Old Testament cross references are given within the two column footer notes.

Translator's Emphasis:
In the bible text words are occasionally made bold, or italic or both. Sometimes the reason for this is explained in the inset Notes but just as often not. One must intuit why this may be. Overall I have not found it a problem coming to the text with some pre-knowledge. Honestly, I don't think it matters.

  • The only other bible using inset notes in this manner that I am aware of, Protestant, Catholic or otherwise is Eugene Peterson's [standard Protestant book selection not the Catholic/Ecumenical edition of] The Message translation called Conversations: The Message With Its Translator, now O.P. with a re-print under a new title revisions and additional material.

Book Introductions, Maps, Other:

The book introductions tend to be short. Most come in at under one page while some run to two pages as in the second example image below.

Maps are few. Two a the back of the New Testament . . .

and but one in the Old Testament, located at the close of the Historical Books presenting Palestine of the Maccabean period. The maps are in my preferred grey scale. They are, I believe, intentionally simple so as to keep the reader from wonderful but not entirely necessary head knowledge; just enough to help you "place" events if you even want/need to.

Oh yes, Other. 
Apart from a two paragraph About the Author page, the translator's page and a half "Dear Reader" preface and an Acknowledgement page there is no Other. No charts of weights and measures, no timelines, no glossary, no cross-reference system, no thing that will detract the reader from reading. Frankly, I find it wholly refreshing.

Aesthetically and subjectively[!] speaking:

I can live with two-tone and as I must lucky for me these are two tones that suit me for a bible. The stitching around the edges is well done and attractive. The "soft leather effect" is pretty much that. One is either OK with it or not. I'm OK with it. Feels smooth, flexible and warms in the hand. It doe not smell, at all, not like leather unhappily yet happily not like the backside of a chemical plant as is with some synthetic materials used as bible covers.

Now, the logo. Ick! Nasty. Yuk. It's HUGE. The "The" in the middle top of the "B" drives my artist/graphic designer mind crazy. And, it's huge; both on the front cover and on the spine [as seen way above]; huge! Did I mention the logo and author name are huge? Why do bible publishers do this to us. However, the new Didache bibles [NABRE and RSV2CE] are worse stinkers for clutter so console myself that I'm not looking at those.

I do rather like that it's title is simply, The Bible and not The Holy Bible because every Christian bible is holy. [This reminds me of at time I worked in a Mom n Pop Christian bookstore. A women asked for a Holy Bible. After some information gleaning questions to help find some suitable translation/editions I began showing her selections to which she said, "None of these say Holy. I want a Holy Bible not just a bible".]

For "fun":

I have never really understood why the following kind of images get bible-geek's mojo going but, well, here:

And, "in closing": 

After a few hours of use the book is already opening nearly flat at either end. That's impressive. 

P.S. I have some thoughts about how the page design and content aids reading the sacred text and have found some very interesting translation peculiarities that have quite "blessed" me. There's a post. I also have a copy of the 2005 Pocket Edition that curiously has more introductory material than this full bible does. Odd. There's another post. Perhaps.

Related posts to date on this translation:

Guest Review: Holy Bible King Translation

Review of King's LXX Translation

#frnicholaskingbible #kingbible #frnicholasking

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Question from a Reader: REB

I've noticed that a few of your readers have highly praised the Revised English Bible (REB), and after seeking more information on this translation, I have a question that perhaps you or your readers could answer: As far as I can tell, a Catholic edition of the REB has never been released, even though the Catholic churches of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland were among the official sponsors of the translation. Why? I'm surprised that they would go to the trouble of officially sponsoring the translation work and then fail to approve the resulting translation for Catholic use. I'd be interested in any light you could shed on this. 

Catholic Biblical Quarterly (Vol. 77, No.2/April 2015)

The Agenda of Priestly Taxonomy
Lance Hawley

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12: An Emphatic Statement of Themes
Addison G. Wright, P.S.S.

Creature Features: Monstrosity and the Construction of Human Identity in the Testament of Solomon 
Thomas Scott Cason

Is the Lucan Jesus a "Martyr"?  A Critical Assessment of a Scholarly Consensus
Brian J. Tabb

"I Rather Appeal to Auctoritas": Roman Conceptualizations of Power and Paul's Appeal to Philemon
Timothy A. Brookins

Objects of Mercy in Jude: The Prophetic Background of Jude 22-23
Darian Lockett

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Monthly Benedict

To mark the 10th anniversary of the election of our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict, I am very happy to announce a new monthly (bi-monthly?) column by Llanbedr.   Some of you may know him from interactions in the comment section of this blog.  Each month he will focus on particular facets of Benedict's Biblical Theology.  To start, he has structured his column around the content of Verbum Domini and the various Propisitio contained within.  
Since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, there has been much speculation concerning the impact of his papacy on the future direction of the Church. Certainly, his decision to resign from office will have repercussions long into the future and, no doubt, marks the beginning of a new epoch in which the role of the Bishop of Rome will be focussed on anew. Being the successor to a saint, and the first Pope to renounce the See of Peter in 600 years, from election to resignation his papacy was exceptional in every way.
Chaucer once wrote that a story is only as good as its ending. On this, the tenth anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI, I would like to begin an evaluation of his legacy as one of the greatest, and most prolific Biblical scholars ever to occupy the Chair of Peter. To this end, I propose to evaluate the fruits, if any, of his Post-Synodal Exhortation Verbum Domini, in the life of the Church, both communally and individually, and, almost five years after the publication of this document, to ensure that the suggestions and recommendations contained within it remain current in our discourse.
Verbum Domini contains many observations, suggestions and recommendations ranging from practical spiritual advice, such as the reiteration of the need for Scripture to be engaged in prayerfully (86), as addressed in Dei Verbum 25, and the need for the word to be accompanied by silence (66.b). To calls for further scholarly study of the relationship between Mariology and the theology of the word (27), and the interrelation of the different expressions of 'word' (7).
We are all called upon to not only own and use a Bible, but for it to be kept in a worthy place in our homes (85) and also in our churches (68). Priests must be more deeply versed in the Scriptures, and this must translate into an improvement in homiletics and, thus, the deepening of the understanding of the laity regarding the living nature of the word of Scripture (59). Pastors are encouraged to promote specific times at which the word is celebrated (65), and the call is made for a greater 'biblical apostolate' to ground all pastoral activity in scriptural soil (73).
With this Apostolic Exhortation I would like the work of the Synod to have a real effect on the life of the Church: on our personal relationship with the sacred Scriptures, on their interpretation in the liturgy and catechesis, and in scientific research, so that the Bible may not be simply a word from the past, but a living and timely word. (5)
Being the first in a series of posts I aim to proceed from the general to the particular, not wishing to prejudice the dialogue with subjectivity and lead the conversation in any particular direction.
My own experience, post-publication, has been that I have not witnessed any evidence of the reception of this document in any practical way, over these past five years, and that the vast majority of the laity are not even aware of it. This could be geographical (I live in the UK), but I've yet to see any evidence of this.
What is your experience either personally or communally of the effects of the Exhortation?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Catholics get 'The Message' in new edition of Bible | NCR

Not sure if I ever posted this article from last summer about the Catholic/Ecumenical edition of The Message.

Catholics get 'The Message' in new edition of Bible | National Catholic Reporter

Hear My Prayer: The Complete Audio Book of Psalms (NRSV)

 The Psalms are routinely listed as one of the most beloved parts of the Bible.  They so often are able to catch a particular feeling or state in life we may find ourselves in, particularly in relation to God or others.  The Psalms have played an integral role in the life of Israel and the Church from the very beginning.  I am sure many of you regularly pray the Psalms, either through the Breviary, shorter breviaries like the Give Us This Day or Magnificat, or perhaps by simply opening up your bible.  Of all the books of the bible, the Psalms certainly would be an ideal candidate for an audio edition.  There are, of course, many audio bibles out there, but this new edition from Paraclete Press focuses only on the Psalms.  It is called Hear My Prayer: The Complete Audio Book of Psalms at it utilizes the NRSV translation of the Psalms. 

Below is a brief description from their website: 

Listen to the voices of poets, theologians, novelists, scholars, priests, pastors, and spiritual writers as they pointedly and poignantly read each of the 150 psalms in the Psalter. With James Martin, sj, Thomas Lynch, Scot McKnight, Sr. Joan Chittister, Jon M. Sweeney, Chris Smith, Sybil MacBeth, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Scott Cairns, Cathleen Falsani, Albert Haase, ofm, Paul Mariani, Paula Huston, Greg Wolfe, Vassilios Papavassiliou, Carl McColman, Danielle Shroyer, Jack Levison, Priscilla Pope-Levison, William Woolfitt, AND many others.

The Psalms were written by human beings, and here, they are read by human beings—a wide range of ordinary and extraordinary Christians representing every expression of Christianity. One psalm follows another, 1 through 150, creating a powerful listening experience that you will return to again and again.

Listen on the subway, on a walk, on your lunch break, or while you are cooking dinner. Take a break from the busy noise of your day and let these words of prayer seep into your soul.

You will notice that the pictures I took were done in my car.  Well, I was excited to receive this copy in order to primarily utilize it while travelling.  What a great way to go to work each day listening to the Psalms, as opposed to getting angry at the slow driver ahead of you.  "As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God (Psalm 42)."  Ahhh....that is better.  Yeah, I have already put this into my car's CD rotation and plan to use it often.  

Hear My Prayer currently is available in a 4 CD set format.  The packaging is simple and slim, yet, get this, it includes liner notes!  Any one remember them?  Now, I grew up in the late 80's and 90's when reading liner notes in your favorite band's CD was still the thing to do.  Digital music has sort of ruined that experience, along with a number of other things which I will not get into now. Fortunately, Hear My Prayer does include liner notes which explain a bit of the reason for this publication as well as a listing of who is reading each psalm.  As with any audio performance some of the readings are better than others, which is to be expected.  Overall, the audio, itself, is quite good and the fact that there are different people reading the Psalms makes the entire experience very beautiful to listen to.  I found myself eagerly anticipating hearing what different voice would be coming up next.  Upon receive Hear My Prayer, my wife and I listened to the first CD, which encompassed most of the first book of the Psalter. My wife remarked that she would have liked to have heard some background music while the Psalms were being read.  I definitely think some people would prefer that, while others, like myself, may not.  (A similar debate occurs between people who like a straight reading of the text or a dramatic one for their audio bibles.)

The only drawback to this set, which might seem a tad ironic after my excursus on liner notes above, is that it isn't available digitally yet.  I would love to have this downloaded on my IPhone at some point.  I am sure this is something that they are working on, since a digital edition would make it available and attractive to more people.  Overall, however, I highly recommend this to anyone who reads the Psalms regularly.  I have a particular fondness for it because it is done in the NRSV translation, which I think is one of the most beautiful renderings of the Psalms in English.

Thank you to fine people at Paraclete Press who provided me a review copy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Ronald Knox Book from Catholic Answers

From our friends at the Ronald Knox Society of North America:

Here's some good news: Catholic Answers has published a beautiful new volume of 6 forgotten Knox sermons and essays. The book will be off the press in April but is available for pre-order.

Included in this volume:
1. The Essentials of Spiritual Unity
2. Proving God
3. The Rich Young Man
4. Nazi and Nazarene
5. The Beginning and End of Man
6. On English Translation (Romanes Lecture)

This is a handsome hardback with high-quality paper, old-style wide margins, clean typography, an ex libris plate, and a sewn-in satin ribbon. Plus a forward by Karl Keating.

It sounds like a "must have" for Knox fans!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Illuminating the Word


This completely updated and expanded edition of Illuminating the Word devotes a separate chapter to each of the Bible's seven volumes and includes:
  • Fascinating new chapters on the scripts and the production of the Heritage Edition
  • A riveting window into the activities, challenges, and struggles at artist Donald Jackson's Scriptorium in Wales
  • Depictions of illuminations moving from conception to completion
  • More than 120 additional pages and 180 exquisite full-color images!
25% off and
FREE standard

Hardcover, 352 pp., 9 5/8 x 11 3/8, 
 Sale $37.46

Promotion code: ITW23
Offer valid through May 15, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dei Verbum at 50 (Paragraph 8)

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, I will be posting twice a month, on Mondays, a paragraph from this important document.  There are a total of 26 paragraphs, so this will take us through to the Fall when we reach the anniversary of its promulgation by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965.  I look forward to our discussion.  May I suggest a helpful book by Fr. Ronald D. Witherup called The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum published by Liturgical Press.

8.  And so the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved by an unending succession of preachers until the end of time. Therefore the Apostles, handing on what they themselves had received, warn the faithful to hold fast to the traditions which they have learned either by word of mouth or by letter (see 2 Thess. 2:15), and to fight in defense of the faith handed on once and for all (see Jude 1:3) Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.

This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit.  For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through Episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.

The words of the holy fathers witness to the presence of this living tradition, whose wealth is poured into the practice and life of the believing and praying Church. Through the same tradition the Church's full canon of the sacred books is known, and the sacred writings themselves are more profoundly understood and unceasingly made active in her; and thus God, who spoke of old, uninterruptedly converses with the bride of His beloved Son; and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel resounds in the Church, and through her, in the world, leads unto all truth those who believe and makes the word of Christ dwell abundantly in them (see Col. 3:16).