Wednesday, March 15, 2017

ICSB Joshua (May 2017)

The trickle continues..........

This volume in the popular Ignatius Catholic Study Bible series leads readers through a penetrating study of the book of Joshua using the biblical text itself and the Church's own guidelines for understanding the Bible.

Ample notes accompany each page, providing fresh insights by renowned Bible teachers Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch as well as time-tested interpretations from the Fathers of the Church. These helpful study notes provide rich historical, cultural, geographical, and theological information pertinent to the Old Testament book—information that bridges the distance between the biblical world and our own.

The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible also includes Topical Essays, Word Studies, and Charts. The Topical Essays explore the major themes of the book of Joshua, often relating them to the teachings of the Church. The Word Studies explain the background of important biblical terms, while the Charts summarize crucial biblical information "at a glance".

The ICSB edition of Joshua is scheduled for publication in May.


Michael Demers said...

Trickle is right.

Eric Barczak said...

I want a complete Old Testament by the time I retire. Unless the government kicks up the standard retirement age, that gives Ignatius a quarter century. Is that asking too much?

(I don't need an answer - the question is rhetorical)

Biblical Catholic said...

How much of the Old Testament is done now?

Maybe this will become like the Anchor Bible, which has taken so long (more than 60 years so far) to finish that they have concluded that most of the earlier volumes are out of date and started making second editions. So, there are two volumes on Mark, Matthew, Hebrews, Genesis and about a dozen others.

Timothy said...

I believe that would be about 15 OT books.

Erap10 said...

Well here are the OT ones published so far: Genesis, Exodus, Judges and Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, and Job. Only 7 out of the 46...
It took ten years to finish just the 27 books of the New Testament.........................................................................
Oh wait they also already finished Daniel, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of really 12 (including Joshua) out of the 46...26% completed!

JDH said...

I really wish the apps (Truth & Life is what I have) would be updated to include the recent volumes. Judges and Ruth has been out for a long time and it still isn't included in the app. It's not a ton of money, I guess, but it is $20 to get the ICSB on that app (or $30 for the ICSB/Audio NT combo), and there are several published OT volumes that still haven't been added.

Timothy said...

So does anyone else this think should have been done ten years ago? We are going on 17 years at this point. What will come first, the complete ICSB or the revised NABRE NT?

JDH said...

The revised NABRE NT will definitely be done before the ICSB. They are probably going to actually have the text and notes done and ready for final USCCB approval before 2025. I doubt the ICSB will be completely done and published as a single volume within 5 years of the fully revised NABRE.

I know this topic has been discussed at length on this blog for years, but it's really astounding when you think about it. Zondervan and Crossway can produce a major new edition of their main study Bibles every decade. Even Oxford can update the Catholic Study Bible every few years with new Reading Guides. But the ICSB is totally dependent on one guy pulling it together in his spare time. He does a great job with it, but that's really not a sign of a publisher taking a study Bible seriously.

I still suspect that Ignatius determined some time ago that their primary revenue from this project will be the single volumes, which they sell for parish Bible studies and the like. So, I think they might be intentionally slow-walking them to maximize that revenue, so that they won't have to sell a lot of copies of the complete volume make it worth it. And for all I know, that may be correct. I'm not sure how much of a market a Bible like this will have. Ignatius Press is in a much better position to know that.

Biblical Catholic said...

It's two guys trying to write a commentary on the entire Bible. That's not something that I expect will be done quickly. And reading it something that takes a long time too, while we're complaining that this isn't being done fast enough, how much of what has already been published have we read?

As for me, in the last two years, I've bought the Didache Bible, the Catholic Study Bible, the Little Study Bible and pre-ordered the Harper Collins Study Bible. And while I own the Ignatius Study Bible NT, I've only read maybe 1/3 of it.

I can wait, I've plenty of reading to do.

Timothy said...


That is all very true and unfortunate. I use to teach for a biblical school which utilized the ICSB NT. We were waiting and waiting for the OT to be complete and finally just started looking elsewhere.

There is no reason for the project to not be complete by now. Totally unacceptable. And to be honest, by the time it is done it will look old. Just look at the many beautifully made and colorful Protestant study bibles out there, including the ESV, NIV, and NLT. The ICSB just can't even compete with it.

Timothy said...


I should also point out that the Anchor Bible is a massive commentary series meant for academics and scholars. The ICSB is really for beginners and moderate level study. This is a comparison between apples and oranges.

JDH said...

It's very sad and frustrating because I think there is a real need for a Bible like this (which is not necessarily the same thing as a market). The Oxford CSB is a good resource for academic/scholarly information geared to the average Catholic who's interested in those things, but there isn't much out there other than the ICSB that is a study Bible format and geared toward people who want a more devotional/tradition oriented approach. I love the fact that the ICSB talks about things like the various choirs of angels as understood historically in the Church's tradition. Or the articles about topics like how the Church Fathers and Doctors wrestled with Peter's teaching about the "spirits in prison." There's a LOT of value in that kind of thing for the average Catholic out there, even though it might be dismissed by those who are more exclusively academically minded.

Of course, I'd like to see a more balanced approach where both of those general approaches are pursued and seen as complementary. Maybe Pope Benedict got us started down a road where we will see that more often.

Michael Demers said...

By the way, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture also seems to be bogged down with only 12 volumes to date.

HoosierHound said...

While I won't dispute that the ICSB is published very slowly, I will point out that when Joshua is published, the ICSB OT published so far will surpass the NT (in number of verses). This will bring the OT verses published to 30% of the total OT. But it will still only be 46% of the total verses in the bible, including the NT already published. So on the one hand, they've published as much material (in number of verses) in the past 7 years as they did in 10 years of publishing the NT. But overall it has still been 17 years and less than half of the bible has been published.

As for chronicling the ICSB's slow progress and delays, this is the third time this blog has published announcements about this volume of Joshua alone. Previous posts were long ago on July 8, 2014 & a May 21, 2015 post that proclaimed an Oct. 2015 publication date.

Jason Prewara said...

Bishop Challoner and Father Francis Blyth revised the entire Old and New Testament and an entire commentary which was originally spread across 3 full volumes while they had a full pastoral 3 years between 1749-1752.

Bishop Challoner and Fr Blyth were world class scholars and IMO Saints, but two people can do it.

My point is "it's only two people" is not an excuse.... there's not even translation work to be done, it's simply commentary.

IMO again the delay is being caused by greed, sloth, or a combination of the two.

Biblical Catholic said...

Well, truthfully, while I think that ICSB is well done, a lot of the same devotional territory is covered by the Navarre Bible while the apologetics content is largely covered by the Haydock commentary. While the Haydock commentary is more than 200 years old, most of the apologetics content is still relevant today.

Maybe the reason I'm not upset by this is because I kind of feel like I already what they offer in other works.

Timothy said...

And Ronald Knox translated the entire bible, with a fair amount of notes, in 9 years. And then followed that up with a three volume NT commentary.

Erap10 said...

Didn't I hear testimonies from several people claiming that they talked to Scott Hahn about how far they have gotten? I remember one guy said he claimed that they were done with about half of the OT som 4-6 years ago. I can't find this statement now at the moment, but I know there have been claims like these: of people personally meeting Scott Hahn and knowing how much is really completed.

Anonymous said...

Here's how slow this trickle really is. The Minor Prophets section was finished at least 9 years ago already. When I asked the author why it was taking so long, he said they are struggling to find orthodox Catholic Bible scholars to serve as editors to check/evaluate the work.


Anonymous said...

Biblical Catholic, you wrote, "It's two guys trying to write a commentary on the entire Bible."

That's a myth. First there are THREE men officially listed for the New Testament and those are the men who got their names in print. Who know how many didn't.

I know one of the Old Testament authors and he is not Scott Hahn, Curtis Mitch or the priest whose name I can not recall who did one of the NT books. Who knows, there might be people who are actually ghost writing sections for all we know.

The OT section author I know began working on his section sometime between 2002 and 2005 if I recall correctly and finished at least 9 years ago. His section has still not been published. NINE YEARS.


Anonymous said...

Well, where is an actual Navarre study bible? Best I know, there is the same slice-and-dice approach to publishing there as with Ignatius. Both have done the NT and the rest is piecemeal. In some sense I think it is worse that Sceptre have all the material ready and are still not publishing a complete study bible.

For that matter, what I would consider a good Catholic study bible would need to have: 1) topical commentary form a traditional / spiritual perspective (the world truly does not need another commentary along the historical / critical lines - there are plenty of good choices for academic pursuits already), 2) referencing to and quoting from the CCC but also other major magisterial documents (and not just Vatican II ones, bring on the Denzinger), 3) copious excerpts from Church / desert Fathers (and Mothers), medieval authors and counter-Reformation ones, roughly in that order by volume (excluding largely modern authors, simply because a bible commentary should contain what has already stood the test of time).

Frankly, a Catholic study bible could easily blow all Protestant offerings out of the water. Easily. Catholics simply have a much, much larger source base to work with. The current situation is just ridiculous, and is largely a historical artefact of big publishers in the bible business being Protestant.

Erap10 said...

How is it that can't find enough Catholic scholars quickly enough to review and edit the work???? We have plenty!

Biblical Catholic said...

"Bishop Challoner and Father Francis Blyth revised the entire Old and New Testament and an entire commentary which was originally spread across 3 full volumes while they had a full pastoral 3 years between 1749-1752."

Bishop Challoner's revision of the Douay-Rheims was largely based on the KJV, he went through the text of the DR verse by verse and 'fixed' whatever problems he saw with Gregory Martin's work, and most of his 'corrections' closely follow the KJV, he didn't exactly go back to the Latin and re-translate it all from scratch.

And John Calvin produced a commentary for almost every book of the Bible all on his own in only a few years. The complete works of John Calvin span dozens of volumes and positively dwarf the complete works of any modern Bible scholar.

Martin Luther produced a full translation of the Bible into German in less than 5 years, and on top of that, his collected works in English fill 54 very big volumes, and according to Jaroslav Pelikan who edited the collection, those 54 volumes are not even close to being Luther's complete works, they are only the major works and there are many more volumes of minor works that could have been included that he chose not to translate and include in the collection.

By the same token, the Beatles released 12 albums in 6 years, but bands today release one album every 3-5 years at most. A band today that tried to release music at the same level that was common for bands in the 50's and 60's would be accused of trying to flood the market.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the level of scholarly rigor required of a published work was much lower than it is today. Today, a scholar is expected to fully document all his sources, and to have a citation for every claim. It's a little harder to produce the caliber of work that is required today.

There is no possible way that a modern scholar, even one writing for a popular audience, could possibly be as prolific as a Luther or a Calvin. It is unreasonable to expect them to be.

In addition, the authors of the ICSB are college professors who have a full teaching and research load who are doing it in their spare time. If it was the only thing they were working on, I'm sure it would go a lot faster.

But from the sounds of it, the problem isn't the writing, but the editing. Apparently, there is a lot more that has been written which is still waiting to be edited.

Biblical Catholic said...

I should also point out that the Anchor Bible is a massive commentary series meant for academics and scholars. The ICSB is really for beginners and moderate level study. This is a comparison between apples and oranges."

My comparison was facetious, I was suggesting that the ICSB will take so long to produce that by the time it is done it will necessary to revise it because the early volumes will already be outdated, much like what has happened with the Anchor Bible, a project which I am convinced will never be finished.

Christopher Buckley said...

Do ALL the individual volumes use the RSV-2CE? Weren't some of them published BEFORE the 2CE was introduced in 2006?

Biblical Catholic said...

"And Ronald Knox translated the entire bible, with a fair amount of notes, in 9 years. And then followed that up with a three volume NT commentary"

And Knox was working as a result of a commission with an implied time limit by the English Catholic bishops, and he worked on it full-time until he was done.

The authors of the ICSB are obviously not working on it full-time and from the looks of it, have never been given a time limit or deadline to complete the work.

Now, if the authors were devoting all of their working hours to the task, and if they had a reason to work on it full-time, such as a deadline to complete it by such and such a date or the project will be taken away from them, then they could no doubt get it done quicker.

Timothy said...


I get all of what you are saying, but the fact that this study bible has been in production for at least 17 years and is still not complete is a bit ridiculous. Your continued defense of the fact that they only have a couple people authoring these notes, with who knows how many people working on editing the texts, only suggests to me that the people at Ignatius are the ones who are to blame for this. I am in no way placing blame towards Hahn or Mitch, but if this is suppose to be the best Catholic study bible ever to be created, utilizing "the only contemporary Catholic Bible translation in standard English", than this thing should have been done years ago.

It already looks dated, compared to all the other study bibles out there and there has been no indication of an end date. They continue to release the individual OT books, perhaps one or two a year, that seem to trickle out for people to purchase, without any rhyme or reason. They have never confirmed that this will be a single volume study bible. This whole project has just left more questions than answers.

Erap10 said...

Yes! Bring on the Denzinger!

Timothy said...


Yes the gospels were published starting in 2000. However, if you want to buy one of them today, they are labeled as second editions. I haven't really looked at the differences and I don't have any of those original editions anymore to refer to.

Anonymous said...

Timothy wrote: "I get all of what you are saying, but the fact that this study bible has been in production for at least 17 years and is still not complete is a bit ridiculous."

EXACTLY! There is simply no reason - other than a lack of will on someone's part to get this done in a timely fashion - for this to have taken (what will probably be) 25 years.

Don't tell me it's a money issue - Money could be raised through subscriptions and donations.

Don't tell me it's about not enough scholars - An innovative person could find them among young scholars are better Catholic universities (and they would be loyal Catholics as well!).

I bought the first booklet in 1998. That means this has been going on for NINETEEN YEARS. St. Jerome produced the Vulgate translating from the original languages (and he went to Judea to learn Hebrew!) in 20 years if I recall correctly. This should have been done in 5 years or less.

I wonder how long it took to complete the Didache Bibles from MTF? At this point, I think the ISB is taking longer than it did to produce the Orthodox Study Bible and there may have been some years of no work at all having been done on that before the OT's completion in 2008.



Erap10 said...

We could pray for its speedy conclusion this lent ;-).

Biblical Catholic said...

" St. Jerome produced the Vulgate translating from the original languages (and he went to Judea to learn Hebrew!) in 20 years if I recall correctly. This should have been done in 5 years or less."

This is a common myth. St. Jerome didn't actually translate the entire Bible. when he died, his translation was unfinished, the rest of what became the Vulgate was put together by others after his death. There are portions of the Vulgate that were never translated or revised at all but were simply carried over unchanged from the Old Latin version that St. Jerome was tasked with updating.

It actually isn't clear to modern scholars just how much of what became the Vulgate was by St. Jerome, how much was done by others after he died, and how much was carried over virtually unchanged from the earlier Latin versions.

And truthfully, Jerome was not always a careful or conscientious translator, for example, he bragged that he translated the entire text of the book of Tobit in one evening. I've seen some claim that his quick translation work was a sign of his genius, but, obviously, no matter how smart someone might be, translating a text as long as the book of Tobit is something which requires more than one evening of work.

When he was commissioned by the Pope, Jerome wasn't asked to translate the entire Bible from scratch into Latin, that had been done by anonymous translators 100 years or more before Jerome was born. What Jerome was asked to do was to take all of the competing Latin Bibles which already existed, and revise them, unify them and try to make a definitive Latin text.

Jerome objected to the commission, claiming that the task was so big that it could not possibly be done in one lifetime by one person and that he would die before he was anywhere to being finished. He was right, he never did finish it. And truthfully, the task that St. Jerome was given was never really finished at all until after the Council of Trent.

And, like many future translators, he was worried that if he were to introduce changes to the text which changed verses which were already common and traditional that people would attack him and accuse him of impiety or heresy. He was right about that too.

He accepted the commission only out of a sense of obligation and obedience to his superiors.

I may be the only one here who feels this way, but truthfully, I don't really care if the ICSB is ever finished. It certainly wouldn't be the first set of commentaries or study Bibles that ended up never being finished, and it definitely won't be the last. And I certainly have no shortage of study Bibles and commentaries sitting on my bookshelf right now that I haven't even really touched since buying them. So I have plenty to read.
How much of the project ends up being finished, we will be better off with that, unfinished as it may be, then we were before it started.

Timothy said...


I don't really use the ICSB that much to be honest. I use other resources and, like you, I have plenty of other books to read. That said, I know that there are a lot of people who really want a full study bible. It is the #1 question I get from people who email me, along with whether I can point them to a premium leather Catholic bible. So, I do really want this to be done so that people can utilize it and feel some sort of finality to this project that has dragged on for almost two decades. This isn't an academic commentary series, like the Anchor or Berit Olam, so it should have been done years ago.

JDH said...

I want to second Timothy's comment immediately above. It's true there are other resources available and I'm sure lots of folks have found other things and aren't that interested in the ICSB anymore. But, none of that changes the fact that this study Bible should have been on the market in full years ago. I do use the electronic version of it quite a bit and frankly, there isn't anything quite like it in a study Bible format. You have to coordinate multiple sources to come up with something similar.

I would definitely buy and use a single volume ICSB (either hardcover or premium leather if available!) and I would also probably buy several hardcover copies for gifts for new Catholics, people returning to the Faith, etc. The Oxford Catholic Study Bible is great, but it's just not always the right approach for someone trying to pray with the Scriptures for the first time or who is trying to learn the basics about the Faith.

They really just need to get the project done. And maybe have a graphic design firm jazz it up a bit to make it more comparable to the nice Protestant SBs on the market. Then publish it!

rolf said...

I use the ICSB-NT in preparing for my RCIA sessions, I like a more theological based NT study Bible. When it comes to the OT, I prefer a more historical-critical based study Bible like the Oxford Catholic Study Bible.

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

.. and I am reading the Oxford NSRV. I picked up a version of the NABRE produced by Harper's but the paper is too translucent and whoever set this in type must be 20 years old with eagle eyes. I will keep it, it didn't cost too much. But Oxford Annotated version is easier to read.

Christopher Buckley said...

Though I love the RSV-2CE as my primary text, and wish the ICSB was complete and available as an actual study Bible, I've come to see it as a "commentary" instead.

In fact, the one-volume NT is kind of like a Catholic counterpart to something I used all the time as a Methodist: Wesley's "Explanatory Notes on the New Testament." Both of them are a self-contained NT annotated with doctrinal commentary verse-by-verse.

I often use both in morning prayer, comparing the "Methodist" to the "Catholic" interpretation of the same passage. It helps me see where my original faith aligns with Catholic doctrine, and where we differ.