Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bible in a Year: Your Daily Encounter with God

It’s a mountaintop experience if you can open up the Word of God. It’s majestic, it’s beautiful, it’s breathtaking. It gets us out of our day-to-day and into God.

The simple format of this premium, leather-bound version of Bible in a Year will keep you engaged as you make your way through all 73 books of the Bible.

Commentaries are written by renowned Catholic biblical scholars and theologians, including Dr. Tim Gray, Dr. Mark Giszczak, Dr. John Sehorn, Dr. Scott Powell, Dr. Michael Morris, Dr. Elizabeth Klein, and Deborah Holiday. 

• Each day features three readings, one each from the Old Testament, Wisdom Literature, and the New Testament 
• Insightful daily reflections are written by leading theologians to facilitate deeper meditation and encounter with God through his Word 
• Revised Standard Version of the Bible – Second Catholic Edition

This beautiful, leather-bound book is a perfect gift for any occasion!  (It is also available in a paperback edition.)  

Thanks to John and Chris for alerting me to this new edition, which will be released at the beginning of Advent.  More info can be found here.  The also have a sample which you can see here.  This is a product of the Augustine Institute.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The New Testament: A Translation by David Bentley Hart

For a First Things article on this new translation, go here.   To purchase the translation, go here.

David Bentley Hart is an Eastern Orthodox scholar of religion, and a philosopher, writer, and cultural commentator. He is a fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Studies and has held positions at the University of Virginia, Duke University, and Providence College. He lives in South Bend, IN.

David Bentley Hart undertook this new translation of the New Testament in the spirit of “etsi doctrina non daretur,” “as if doctrine is not given.” Reproducing the texts’ often fragmentary formulations without augmentation or correction, he has produced a pitilessly literal translation, one that captures the texts’ impenetrability and unfinished quality while awakening readers to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers.
The early Christians’ sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that they were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values and priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable and decent. “To live as the New Testament language requires,” he writes, “Christians would have to become strangers and sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. And we surely cannot do that, can we?”

 Eager to hear your thoughts.

Thanks to Cathryn for the link.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Bible Sale

Over the years I have accumulated a lot of bibles and have tried to get them into the hands of people who might actually read them. So, thanks to the approval of the admin, I am offering this first batch of bibles to anyone who is interested. I’m not really looking to make a fortune, but if you see one you like, just message me an offer (including shipping) and I am sure we will work things out. I can take checks or via PayPal. I can only ship to the USA, unless the person who wants a particular bible is willing to pay $$$ in shipping costs.   If interested, or if you have a question, just email me at mccorm45(at)yahoo(dot)com.  I'll update this as we go.  I have a few more that I will be offering in the coming weeks as well.

Here are the bibles listed from top to bottom:

Cambridge Imitation Leather pocket NRSV NT, Psalms, and Proverbs

Asia Trading Company Hardcover Compact NLT-CE

Oxford Italian Duo-Tone Compact NRSV w/apocrypha

Nova Vulgate NT

Message Remix Hardcover

Vintage 1966 Liturgical Press Hardcover RSV-CE

Crossway ESV gift bible

NavPress The Message Saddle Tan

HarperOne NABRE in imitation leather

Abingdon NRSV New Interpreters Bible Hardcover

Vintage Douay-Westminster Family-sized Bible

Monday, October 9, 2017

Local Kid Beat Up On Church Playground For Carrying NIV

Thanks to Chris for passing along this article from the satirical site The Babylon Bee:

DALLAS, TX—Local youngster Caleb Beckett brought his trusty NIV Bible For Boys to church Sunday, as he does every week. But this Sunday was different, as a classmate reportedly noticed for the first time that Beckett was using the NIV translation.
According to sources, the classmate began to loudly ridicule him for his choice of translation, resulting in a group of young hooligans assaulting the youth and mocking him.
Witnesses confirmed that Beckett effectively shielded himself with his Bible—aided by the fact that it was housed in a very large and elaborate Bible cover—until one of the bullies got a hold of him while the others pummeled him, shouting insults like, “Dynamically equivalent little dork!” and “You wouldn’t know a good translation if it bit you in the butt!”
Finally, Beckett was thrown to the ground while the gang of ESV-wielding youths threw his NIV translation up onto a tree branch, far out of his reach.
“You’ll have better luck jumping up to grab your so-called ‘Bible’ than the NIV translators did imposing their gender neutrality on the text, you chump!” one of the bullies called out as they high-fived each other and left Beckett moaning in the playground sand, sources confirmed.
This made me think, if there was an equivalent in the Catholic bible translation world.  Hmmm.....I would think in some circles the NAB takes a lot of grief/crap from people who generally aren't aware of how that text has changed over the years.  Your thoughts?  (Let's not take this too serious, just have some fun.)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bible Poll: Which Bible translation would you like to see most in a Catholic Edition?

Which Bible translation would you like to see most in a Catholic Edition?
King James Version 1769
Revised Version 1895
New International Version (Specify Edition in Comments)
New King James Version
New American Standard Version 1995
English Standard Version
quotes 2 know

Friday, September 29, 2017

My Classroom Desk Today

Doing some class prep. using my ACTA The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition and the Saint Benedict Press/Tan Catholic Scripture Study Bible RSV-CE.   Why these two translations?  Well, there are two primary reasons: 1) They represent, for Catholic readers, the two opposite ends of the translation spectrum; 2) The physical books themselves are joy to read from, particularly the size of the print and the overall page layout.  So, while the translation is important, I have more and more come to the conclusion that the look and feel of a bible is of equal importance.

What are you reading from these days?

Friday, September 22, 2017

NLT-CE from Tyndale

I was really excited to receive from Tyndale a review copy of their brand new Catholic Holy Bible Reader's Edition NLT-CE for two main reasons.  First, I know there are a number of you who have desired an approved edition of the NLT.  You now have an edition available for purchase here in the United States.  (For more about the editions that came out last year in India, go here.)  Secondly, it is great to see a Protestant publisher try their hand, once again, at a Catholic edition.  I hope this continues, since it might mean that nicer, more well-made bible editions could be in our future.  So, I encourage all of you to consider getting this edition, so that Tyndale can see that there is an audience for further Catholic editions.  (Plus, it is a really nice edition too!)

The NLT text used is the 2015 revision.  The text for the Deuterocanonical books appear to be the same ones that were originally done for the ill-fated and unapproved NLT Catholic Reference Edition.  I will have to do some more reading to see, but I haven't notced too many differences. The page that lists the translation teams states that Philip Comfort, J. Julius Scott, David Barrett, and James Swanson translated the Deuterocanonicals, which, if I am not mistaken, are the same folks who did the earlier version. My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that the biblical scholars who approved the India edition that was first released last year simply reviewed the text with suggesting a few minor changes. I will be happy to be corrected if I am wrong about this.  Here is a photo of the copyright page:

For a fairly straight-forward readers Bible it is fantastic.  This edition has a very clear double-column page-layout.  (It reminds me a bit of HarperOne's NRSVs to be honest.) Since this is meant to be primarily a readers bible, I believe most of you will find that it succeeds in accomplishing that goal.  Bolded paragraph headings and line-matching makes it a easy to read from in most any setting and light.  The paper is a bright white, not cream colored.   The NLT-CE is sewn and includes a ribbon marker.  The hardcover is sturdy, and combined with the sewn binding, should last a long time.  It might also make a good candidate for a rebinding project.  Overall, a very nice product that is simply, yet beautifully made.

At the bottom of each page you will find textual notes, most often indicating a more literal rendering of the Hebrew or Greek.  In addition, you will find in the New Testament direct cross-references when the Old Testament is cited.  There are a few references found in the Old Testament as well.  All notes are indicated in the text by an asterisk.

Each book comes with an introduction, outline, and a short blurb about themes, purpose, authorship, and date of composition.  These are short, but helpful.  This is not intended to be a study bible, yet the introductions are very good and informative for the relative small size of them.

Finally, and to my surprise, there is found at the back of the Bible a generous set of maps.  And yes, there is a map of the Greek Empire included.  In total, there are 9 maps which cover the entire biblical period.  These are newly produced maps, with a copyright of 2016.

So, once again, I encourage you to got pick this edition up.  My edition is nicely made and a joy to read from.  

*Thank you to Tyndale for providing this review copy for an honest review by this reviewer*

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Great Facebook Page

I just wanted to let you know of a really fantastic Facebook group that you all can join, which has regular content (far more than this place these days) and lively discussion.  It is simply called the Catholic Bible Fans group and I highly recommend you checking out.  It has been in operation for a few months now and was set up by many of the regulars who comment and read this blog.  So, go check it out!

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Release: The House of the Lord by Dr. Steven Smith

Catholic biblical scholar Steven Smith has just published, through Franciscan University Press, an important new book looking at the role of Temple in both the Old and New Testaments.  The House of the Lord: A Catholic Biblical Theology of God's Temple Presence in the Old and New Testaments is currently only available in hardcover and is listed at 392 pages.  It looks like it would make for a fascinating read.

You can find out more about Dr. Smith by heading over to his website, which includes information about both his printed and audio works.  Dr. Smith also did an interview with me a few years back focusing on an earlier book, which you can read here.  

The House of the Lord invites readers to participate in a unique journey: a deep exploration of the Old and New Testaments that searches out and contemplates the reality of God's presence with his people, with a particular focus on investigating God's self-revelation in and through the biblical temple. The journey represents a tour de force of biblical theology, guided by author Steven Smith, a Catholic biblical scholar, seminary professor, and expert on the temple and the Holy Land. In addition to the temple, Smith observes the centrality of priesthood in both the Old and New Testaments, exploring all four Gospels like never before, through a temple lens.
From Genesis onward, Smith carefully traces the biblical mystery of the temple, including the Sanctuary of Mount Eden, the tabernacle of the wilderness, the rise and fall of Solomon's Temple, Herod's Temple in Jesus's day, and the heavenly sanctuary of Revelation. Supported by a massive array of evidence and details, from sources across two millennia of biblical theology, this book will be read and read again for its value as a reference work. The House of the Lord is for anyone who seeks to understand more deeply the message of the biblical story.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

So Which Is It? (2 Maccabees 15:39/40)

Water and Wine, oil on canvas—Richard Baker, 1959
I was reading the last verse of 2 Maccabees 15 yesterday (verse 39 in the Greek-based texts, 40 in the Latin ones) and noticed that there is an interesting difference between the translations, depending on whether they use the Greek or Latin.  It may only be a slight difference, but one which changes the meaning of this last verse of the book.

Here are a few different translations that utilize the Greek:

"For as it is hurtful to drink wine or water alone; and as wine mingled with water is pleasant, and delighteth the taste: even so speech finely framed delighteth the ears of them that read the story. And here shall be an end." -Brenton LXX

"For as it is hurtful to drink wine or water alone; and as wine mingled with water is pleasant, and delighteth the taste: even so speech finely framed delighteth the ears of them that read the story. And here shall be an end." -KJV

"Just as it is unpleasant to drink wine by itself or just water, whereas wine mixed with water makes a delightful and pleasing drink, so a skillfully composed story delights the ears of those who read the work. Let this, then, be the end." -NABRE

"For just as it is harmful to drink wine alone, or, again, to drink water alone, while wine mixed with water is sweet and delicious and enhances one’s enjoyment, so also the style of the story delights the ears of those who read the work. And here will be the end." -NRSV

Here are two that utilize the Latin:

"For as it is hurtful to drink always wine, or always water, but pleasant to use sometimes the one, and sometimes the other: so if the speech be always nicely framed, it will not be grateful to the readers. But here it shall be ended." -Douay-Rheims (Challoner)

"Nothing but wine to take, nothing but water, thy health forbids; vary thy drinking, and thou shalt find content. So it is with reading; if the book be too nicely polished at every point, it grows wearisome. So here we will have done with it." -Knox

Did you notice the difference?  As you can see, the Greek-based texts conclude by praising a story that is skillfully written, while the Latin-based ones ends exalting books that aren't "too nicely polished."  (The NRSV is a bit more ambigious compared to the KJV and NABRE.)  In this instance, it seems to me that the Latin-based texts make more sense, particularly since earlier in the verse the author remarks that it is better to drink wine and water that are mixed together, hence not purely wine or water only.

The 1859 Haydock commentary of the Douay noted the difference as well:

Ver. 40. Always. Greek, "only." (Haydock) --- Readers delight in variety. A middle style is adopted. (Calmet) --- But.Greek, "But as wine mixed with water is pleasant, and affords delight, so the preparation (or style) of a discourse pleases the ears of those who read what is collected. But here shall be an end." (Haydock)


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Millennial’s Thoughts on Bible Translation

By  Alex Blechle Pray Tell blog

This post is especially for millennials, from a millennial.
Biblical translations are a fickle subject. Many people have opinions on which translations are the most “correct” or “orthodox”, which is great – but a little scholarship might change your opinion. Let me take a crack at it.
So, I’m going to walk through some common mistakes or misunderstandings that tend to sneak up on people concerning translations. These bolded statements are from conversations that I have had with students my age. A majority of this conversation will be focused upon the New Testament side of things, because, well… I don’t know Hebrew very well!
“I read the King James Version because it’s the most reliable translation.”
Sorry. The KJV is poor in quality compared to biblical texts in the 20th/21st century. I promise I do not have a prejudice against “thy” and “thou”. The KJV is a “literal” translation from Hebrew and Greek into English, which is a great thing. The only problem is that the KJV only used a few older Greek manuscripts in the creation of the New Testament. To be a bit more technical, the KJV uses almost solely the Textus Receptus, while we now use a dynamic, critical text, which means we have an overwhelming amount of researched Greek texts that have helped us create a more reliable New Testament. It’s not the KJV’s fault, but we just have a better Greek text to translate from.
“The Douay-Rheims is the most ‘Catholic’ Bible.”
Sigh. I’m sorry, Grandpa. This is not true either! The Douay-Rheims is a literal translation from the Latin Vulgate into English. Why is that an issue? Let’s be very clear here – the New Testament was written in GREEK. The Latin Vulgate, although beautiful, is also not the best translation in the world. The Douay-Rheims is a translation of a translation. You do not need to be a critical scholar who compares the critical Greek text and the Latin to understand that translating a translation cannot be as literal as starting with the first translation. Also, reiterating my point in the KJV post, our Greek texts are better now than in the time of Jerome. I am very aware that Jerome was closer to the time of Jesus than we are, but he also had limited resources. We translate from Greek instead of Latin for a reason.
So, which translation is best?
To continue reading, click here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

For Sale: Rebound Calloner-Rheims New Testament


I just wanted to pass this along, because I know there will be someone who will really dig this. Please make sure to address all inquiries to Bill.

Hi, I am offering my 1941 Revised Challoner-Rheims Version of the New Testament, which was recently bound by Leonard's in black leather soft-tanned goatskin. The bible itself is in near perfect condition with the exception of some light browning of the page edges which is common for a book from 1941. As far as I can see, there is no writing in the bible, and it is solidly bound.

This was rebound by Leonard's back in March of this year. I have far too many bibles, and am clearing out my bookshelf. This one, in particular,  I wanted to share here, on Timothy's blog because I know people here understand the value of a professionally leather covered bible from Leonard's. 

I payed just over $140.00 with shipping, and am asking $75.00 shipped via USPS within the ConUSA (Shipping from MA.). I will except PayPal.  Please contact me at: Billhicks(at)ymail(dot)com with any questions.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Thinking About Advent Yet?

I am happy to announce that my wife and I have published an Advent devotional through ACTA Publications.  Entitled Expectantly Waiting in Wonder, this 32 page devotional contains excerpts from the daily Mass readings for Advent, reflections, illustrations, and suggestions for action.  Each day's suggestion for action provides an invitation to enter into the wondrous love of a God, who chose to become one of us and "moved into the neighborhood (Jn 1:14)."  We have also made sure to provide space each day for journaling and reflecting. Original illustrations were created by my wife and connects to the Sunday and Holy Day readings found during the Advent season.  All of the daily reflections are taken from The Message: Catholic/Ecumencial Edition.

This was a lot of fun to work on, particularly since it was a joint project with my amazingly talented wife.  (More information about her work can be found on her Instagram page.)  Using The Message made the process a lot more interesting, since its renderings are often much more direct and challenging.  I have come to appreciate it a lot more after writing this devotional, even when I don't always agree with a particular rendering.  

So, if you are interested in picking up something for Advent that will be very different, consider giving this a try.  It cost a whopping .99 cents per copy, with an even greater discount if you buy it in bulk.  If you have ever considered supporting this blog, this would also be a great way to do it.  

We recently finished the Lenten counterpart to this one, so look for that in January.  I'll have more information about this in the coming months, as well as a giveaway or two.  

Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lost Latin Commentary of Gospels Found

Via Religion News Service:
The earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels, lost for more than 1,500 years, has been rediscovered and made available in English for the first time. The extraordinary find, a work written by a bishop in northern Italy, Fortunatianus of Aquileia, dates back to the middle of the fourth century.
The biblical text of the manuscript is of particular significance, as it predates the standard Latin version known as the Vulgate and provides new evidence about the earliest form of the Gospels in Latin.
Despite references to this commentary in other ancient works, no copy was known to survive until Lukas Dorfbauer, a researcher from the University of Salzburg, identified Fortunatianus’ text in an anonymous manuscript copied around the year 800 and held in Cologne Cathedral Library. The manuscripts of Cologne Cathedral Library were made available online in 2002.
To continue reading this article from RNS, click here

Thursday, August 24, 2017

60th Anniversary of the Death of Msgr. Ronald Knox

17 February 1888 – 24 August 1957

Mary of Holyrood may smile indeed,
Knowing what grim historic shade it shocks
To see wit, laughter and the Popish creed
Cluster and sparkle in the name of Knox.
- G.K.Chesterton

Monday, August 21, 2017

CCSS: Romans by Scott Hahn

The long awaited Scott Hahn commentary on Romans, via the excellent Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series, will be released on November 7th.  This is one of the best Catholic biblical series out there because it does an amazing job combining the pastoral and the academic.  It utilizes the current NAB NT, which also makes it useful for those doing lectionary-based catechesis or for homiletics in the US.

However, one of the things I most appreciate about this series is the diversity of endorsements, which really cover the spectrum of Catholic biblical scholarship.  Here is a taste of the endorsements for this edition:

"Scott Hahn has written a masterful commentary on Romans that is theologically insightful and pastorally relevant. While dealing adeptly with the historical and literary background of Romans, he always keeps the focus on its theological content and meaning for our lives. I recommend Hahn's work to all who want to discover the powerful message of Paul's great Letter to the Romans."
--Frank J. Matera, Catholic University of America

"Hahn's commentary on Romans is lucid, penetrating, theologically alert, and a joy to read. It will be of interest to both scholar and nonscholar alike. His status as one of the most prominent Catholic converts from Protestantism makes his treatment of this great Pauline text, which was of such significance to Luther and the other Reformers, of particular interest."
--Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles

"Hahn has written an informative, elegant, and learned commentary on Romans. The exegesis is crisp, the explanations are clear, and the judgments are consistently sensible. One of the best commentaries available on Romans from within the Catholic tradition. A treat to read and a treasure to hold."
--Michael F. Bird, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

"For four decades, Hahn has joyfully studied, debated, preached, taught, and lived Paul's Letter to the Romans. No biblical book is closer to his heart, with the result that the vibrant wisdom of this commentary exceeds that of commentaries many times its size. Judicious in its sifting of the scholarly literature, profound in its handling of sensitive Jewish-Christian themes, and powerful in its proclamation of the gospel, this deeply Catholic commentary will find a notable place among his most enduring and influential books."
--Matthew Levering, Mundelein Seminary

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dynamic Catholic's New Testament (RSV-CE)

Paperback Cover
I am sure many of you are familiar with the work of Matthew Kelly and his organization Dynamic Catholic.  Well, it looks like they are publishing their own edition of the RSV-CE New Testament.  The paperback edition you can order for free, with only a $5.95 shipping and handling cost.  They also have a blue leatherette for $24.95.  

Description of Leatherette Edition:
Do you want to know Jesus, but don’t know where to begin? Why not begin with the Bible? It is the most read book of all time, and is the best way to discover who Jesus was, how he lived, and what he taught. Even a few minutes a day spent reading the New Testament can transform your life in surprising ways – it’s not just another book.

The Revised Standard Version has been acclaimed for decades as the clearest, most accurate, and most beautiful modern translation of the Bible in English. This handsome leatherette edition with ribbon marker is set in clear, contemporary typeface and a single-column format making it attractive and easy to read.

Thank you to reader Michael for sharing this with me. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Coming Soon: Spirtual Warfare Bible (RSV-CE)

All I can say is that the binding on this bible better be sewn and there should be a whole lot more than just nine glossy inserts to justify that price.  

There is a battle waging for your soul. But you can arm yourself, and this Spiritual Warfare Bible is the perfect weapon against Satan. There is no better way to Our Lord than by reflecting on His own words and actions in Scripture. 

This Spiritual Warfare Bible RSV-CE includes nine special Spiritual Warfare inserts written and compiled by Paul Thigpen, PhD, author the acclaimed Manual for Spiritual Warfare, including: 

• Scripture for the Battle 
• Know Your Enemy 
• Know Your Commander and Comrades 
• Know Your Weapons 
• Church Teaching About Spiritual Warfare 
• Words from the Saints about Spiritual Warfare 
• Spiritual Warfare in the Lives of the Saints 
• Prayers for the Battle 
• Spiritual Warfare Topical Index

Price: $69.95

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Revised New Jerusalem Bible

I spotted this on the very fine Facebook group, Catholic Bible Fans, via Llywellyn, the DLT (out of the U.K.) will be publishing a revised NJB New Testament and Psalms this November.  No word on whether there it will be published in the US at this time.  I'll look around.

Presenting the world’s first modern English Bible in a new light.
In 1966, Darton, Longman and Todd published the Jerusalem Bible, the first full translation of the Bible into modern English, with an acclaimed set of study notes. In 1985, it released the New Jerusalem Bible, an update of the Bible text for a fast-changing world. Now, after more than thirty years, DLT is preparing to publish the Revised New Jerusalem Bible – a substantial revision of the JB and NJB texts, and one which applies formal equivalence translation for a more accurate rendering of the original scriptures, sensitivity to readable speech patterns and more inclusive language. The RNJB is accompanied by a new, comprehensive set of study notes and book introductions enabling the Bible to be read with the insight, wisdom and understanding of the most up-to-date biblical scholarship.
The New Testament and Psalms will be published in November 2017, and the Full Bible will be published in the late spring of 2018. Both editions will contain the comprehensive study notes and book introductions.
The RNJB has been translated, and the notes and introductions written, by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and one of the foremost biblical scholars of our day. Fr Henry was the translator and general editor of the NJB.
Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB is a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and one of the foremost biblical scholars of our day. Fr Henry was the translator and general editor of the NJB.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Genesis 1-11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators

It is not often that I receive a book for review that really excites me and has me hoping that there will be more volumes like it in the future.  Genesis 1-11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators by Bray and Hobbins is one of them.  Of all the books I have read over the past few years, this one I found to be the clearest and most helpful in showing the true art of translation.  This blog came into existence to provide a place to discuss Catholic translations, and if you were to look back at the various posts over the years, the ones that discussed the "good" and "bad" of the various Catholic translations have always been the most popular and engaging in the comments.  And that is all a very good thing, particularly with the interactions from the various people who have provided helpful insight over the years in the comboxes.  Yet, it is not often that a book comes out that tackles all those issues we have discuss here.  

Well, what does this book do?

Book description: This translation of Genesis 1-11 follows the Hebrew text closely and leaves in what many translations leave out: physicality, ambiguity, repetition, even puns. Bray and Hobbins also draw deeply from the long history of Jewish and Christian interpretation. Their translation and notes offer the reader wisdom and delight.

Before I explain, I'd encourage you to read (or re-read) my recent interview with Samuel Bray.  He goes over, in detail and with examples, what the book description says.  Their motivation for writing this book should be encouragement enough for you to consider purchasing it.  In addition, you will discover that the authors, who are both Protestant, are very ecumenical.  There are references to the Douay, Knox, JB, NJB, and NABRE throughout.  There is a great appreciation for Catholic biblical contributions within this book.

The book, itself, is divided into two distinct parts.  The first part is the authors translation of Genesis 1-11 (although they include 12:1-9 as well).   The translation is presented in a single column, paragraph style, with the chapter and verse numbering on the margins.  Much like the Knox or Jerusalem Bible editions, this allows the text to flow very freely and encourage long chunks of reading.  There are no paragraph headings, which is a good thing.  The translation gives you a real flavor of the importance of repetition in the Hebrew text.  The toledot formula ("These are the generations of....) is a clear example
of this.  How often do we find it translated with some variation within the same translation?  Many translations do not keep a consistency here, even though the formula appears six times in the first eleven chapters of Genesis (2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 27).  It is examples like this which make this volume so very helpful.

Notice the clear page layout and references at the bottom
The second part of the book consists of almost 150 pages of notes/annotations, along with a number of extensive indexes, a glossary, and a 30+ page work cited section.  The notes are the real jewel here.  The translation, found in the first half of the book, is examined (almost) verse by verse, looking at the Hebrew and comparing it to other ancient translations (like the LXX and Vulgate) as well as dozens of older and modern English translations, including Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish ones.  Because the indexes are so extensive, you can look up your favorite translation to see where it is commented on.

In conclusion, get this book.  It contains both a ton of insights about the Hebrew of Genesis 1-11 and enough translation comparison information to keep you occupied for weeks, if not months.  It is a great tool for your study of Genesis 1-11, which should be used beside your favorite translation and commentaries.  Support this book so that more volumes will come out in the future.

Thank you Sam Bray, John Hobbins, and Glossahouse for providing me a copy for this book for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Real Douay-Rheims Bible (Review and Interview)

Dr. William von Peters is the author of The Real Douay-Rheims Bible Site, where you can find his transliteration of the original 1610 edition of the venerable Douay-Rheims Bible.  You can purchase both digital and print copies, in various editions, on the website.  

I received a review copy of the Rheims New Testament (1582) which was printed through Lulu.  As you will see from the images provided, it is a very basic paperback edition.   Yet, the print is very clear and the binding seems to be OK.  The scripture, itself, is set out by verse, not in paragraph form, which was custom at that time and remained popular until fairly recently.  Before each chapter you will find, in italics, a summary of that chapter.  In the margins you will find cross-references, commentary focusing on liturgical/lectionary connections, as well as brief notes.  At the end of each biblical chapter, you will find an extensive amount of annotations, which are much more detailed than the what is found in the margins.  These notes are both theological and apologetic.  You will notice two things, the use of the Church Fathers and Councils, as well as a direct focus on refuting the teachings of the Reformation.   In so many ways, these annotations are a window into the time in which they were written.  Many of the reformers are referred to by name, such most notably Martin Luther and John Calvin.  The "errors" of the Protestant reformers are not handled in the more ecumenical spirit of our current days.  For example, the annotation for Romans 3:22 refers to the Calvinist commentary on it as "wicked and vain."  Most of you are aware that by the time of the Challoner revision, much of that style of annotation was eliminated from the text.  

So, I see this text as a very interesting peek into a particular moment of time.  Much like the King James Version, most people who read the Douay-Rheims don't realize that it has been revised and edited since the original version was completed in the early 17th century.  

Recently, I was able to ask Dr. von Peters a few questions about this project.  I'd like to thank him for taking the time to answer my questions.

1) To begin with, could you tell my audience a little bit about yourself?
I am a natural physician with degrees in various natural therapies such as oriental, homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, as well as in religion and humanities. Religiously I'm a former Protestant seminarian and convert to the Catholic Church.

2) What interested you in making the original Douay-Rheims more readable for a modern audience?
As a Protestant, and particularly as a seminarian, we learned all about the unscriptural Catholic Church and its worship of statues and such. While not buying into the idea that Catholics were not Christians, they didn't seem to be Bible Christians.

One day an instructor in one of our courses remarked upon a verse, I can't remember which one any longer, and stated that our seminary believed it meant this, but Baptists thought it meant that, others something else, and Catholics, well they had their own strange ideas At that point I realized that if I was to be responsible for souls as a pastor, and could not be sure of correct interpretation of text, I could not continue, and so left seminary.

Years later, as a result of a divine intervention after being given a "rosary challenge" by a good Catholic, I was told out of the blue by a voice as I walked down the sidewalk that - "the oldest Church is the true Church" - and this set me upon the path of gradually becoming a Catholic. Having been brought up that the worst thing one could do was become a Catholic, it was difficult.

Once in the Church, I heard that the Douay Rheims was the official bible of the Catholic Church and the one that should be used.  Later I learned that the Challoner is not the real Douay Rheims, but Challoner's translation. So I bought a photocopy of the 1610 Douay Rheims, and began reading it. I was struck by the quality and erudition of the notes and annotations, as well as the difference in translation of the original DR compared to other translations I was familiar with.

Reading the notes and annotations of the 1610 original Douay Rheims I found that all the questions that Protestants throw at Catholics were answered easily. It occurred to me that "everyone should have a copy of this bible". The problem was that it was in old English script, and had never been rendered into Latin script; and so was basically unknown, and unreadable to the masses.

I had studied German in high school, and the German script is very close to the old English, and I had no trouble with it, but this would not be so for others. So I set about transliterating the text to render it readable.

3) What was the process by which you transliterated the text?  How long did it take?
The process was to simply sit down at my computer and begin typing. I began with the New Testament, and every evening I would type a chapter or two along with the notes and annotations, trying to keep the formatting close to the original. I'm sure my family wondered about this seeming obsession every evening, but I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. And it was a daunting job.

My eyesight at that time was much better and I could read the very small print easily. Now I could not do it as with age my eyesight, while still good, is no longer up to the job.

When it was complete after several years of work, I began offering it for sale. The process was so long and intensive that I took a few years off, and didn't really want to get into the Douay Old Testament.

But then one day I decided to begin with it. People had been asking when the Douay would be available and I realized that I needed to get going again. So began the same process of sitting down and typing. During the process, and after I had completed about a third of the Old Testament, someone said they had a pdf file of the Douay, which they gave me.

This new technology enabled me to greatly speed up the process. So I began the slow work of rendering the old English into a workable copy in Latin script. At that point everything sped up as I could work on cleaning up and correcting the copy instead of continuing to type from scratch.

I began with the Rheims in early 1994, and finished just prior to Christmas in 2005. So overall, the time frame was close to twelve years before the entire REAL Douay Rheims Bible was complete.

4) Are there any differences between your work and the original?
Well, there is no difference between the two at all, as all I did was bring the Douay Rheims into our modern world of latin script which is the English that we are familiar with. There are some footnotes that I added to give the meanings for obsolete words in the text, which I got from the Oxford unabridged dictionary, but other than that it is what it was.

5) What else is included in your Real Douay-Rheims? Annotations? Cross-references?
The original Douay Rheims is a remarkable work by Dr. Gregory Martin and his team, and includes cross references, references to verses used in the Mass of various types, such as for a bishop, for a confessor, etc.

The annotations are prodigious. They take up about half of the space in the entire Bible and give the reasons why a certain text means what the Catholic Church says it does. It does this by quoting Doctors of the Church, Saints, Popes, Councils and others. In addition it goes into the reasons why Protestant arguments are not correct and are heretical.

The Bible is the product of the Catholic Church. She put the canon of Scripture together, carefully protected it from the fires of heresy and schism, and made it available to the world as the Word of God - one of the two sources of truth, the other being sacred Tradition.

6) Why do you consider the original Douay-Rheims to be superior to the Challoner revision?
Cardinal Wiseman said regarding Challoner's version: "To call it any longer the Douav or Rheimish Version is an abuse of terms. It has been altered and modified until scarcely any verse remains as it was originally published."

If one looks at the reasons for Bp. Challoner's work one can understand why he did what he did, but it is definitely inferior. He removed pretty much everything against the Protestants, soft pedaled doctrine, and made the translation in line with the King James Bible.

This was done for a reason. Under British penal laws being -caught with the Douay Rheims Bible was an executable offense. Henry VIII set up the Church of England as the only official church in his realm, and Catholics were hounded, persecuted, and executed. The Douay Rheims gave true Catholic doctrine and could not be permitted by the authorities.

So Catholics in England were not allowed the Douay Rheims Bible, and indeed had no bible until Challoner (who was a convert) made his edition and put it between the covers as the Douay Rheims in the 1700s. This was watered down enough to be allowed by the Crown to English Catholics.

As the REAL Douay Rheims was never printed in Latin script (what we today simply call modern English) it became basically an interest of scholars, and was lost to ordinary Catholics. This is what I sought to remedy.