Monday, July 24, 2017

ESV w/ Apocrypha

Back in 2009, Oxford University Press published the only available ESV with the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals.  However, if you took a look at its listing on Amazon you will notice that it is only available from third parties and isn't in print. Even doesn't have a listing for it anymore.  Well, my friend Brett did some digging and contacted Oxford.  Turns out that they decided to return the rights back to Crossway.  A note has been sent to Crossway to see if they have any plans to publish the ESV w/apocrypha.  If not, and you want one, I'd recommend you get a used copy of the Oxford one before they disappear.

I'll let you know if I get any additional news.

My friend Brett received some additional reliable information that Crossway is in the process of seeking an imprimatur for a future ESV-CE.  It is in the early stages, but they are moving forward with it.


Russ Stutler said...

All I can say is WOW! The possibility of an ESV-CE is amazing!

Christopher Buckley said...

I'm open to the ESV for all the reasons I've blogged about before: the way the RSV and its progeny connect Christians across traditions.

Currently, I liken the RSV-2CE as the "Catholic RSV" and the ESV as the "Evangelical RSV."

This would be good though, since the ESV I think is based on the 1971 or 1977 RSV text, whereas the -2CE is built on the 1966.

Steve Molitor said...

Wow. An ESV-CE would be a game changer. I wonder who is involved, and what kind of changes they will accept.

I wonder what this would do to the rumored RSV-2CE liturgy project? Could they use the ESV-CE instead? Would Crossways let them make the necessary changes? I read that before Crossways would not. But now they're doing an ESV-CE? Surprising.

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

I would hope the Catholic world wouldn't become full a different Bible's whose only purpose is to make money.

Jonny said...

The short answer is this: Crossway wants to cash in on the Catholic market. And why wouldn't they? The deuterocanonical books are already done, and I'm sure the folks at Crossway would say that they would be doing a service to Christendom to publish a CE. I do commend them for seeking an imprimatur first instead of just putting a "Catholic" label on it.

I am a bit skeptical of this translation after reading about its questionable renderings and supposed evangelical bias. Here is one post I could find off hand, perhaps some other readers would have more input.

I tend to prefer and trust the readings in the RSV-2CE vs the ESV changes. For an "ecumenical" Bible, when a "Catholic" edition is not for some reason accepted, I simply use the RSV Oxford Study Bible.

Jason said...

I'm afraid your hope may have long come and gone...

There are oven a dozen Catholic Bibles currently.... and that's only in English. If you took the top ten most popular languages I'm sure there would be close to 100 different Catholic translations.

That sail has shipped my friend.

Steve Molitor said...

I like the idea of the ESV: update the RSV to be more readable to contemporary English speakers, and use the latest manuscripts and scholarship. I have a copy (pre 2016 revisions) and enjoy reading from it on occasion. As much as I love the RSV (my main reading bible), it is a strange bird. It's not really Elizabethan English, but it's not contemporary English either. Usually it's beautiful, but occasionally it does come across as wooden or odd sounding. The ESV goes a long ways towards fixing that, more so than the the RSV-2CE. And as Chris mentions, it still has all the benefits of being in the Tyndale / KJ / RSV tradition.

However it definitely nudges things in an evangelical / reformed / low church direction. Which has been fine I guess as up to know it's been a translation by and for evangelicals. But the whole debacle around the 'permanent' edition of 2016 with the slanted change to Genesis 3:16 was positively bizarre. (Google "ESV Genesis 3:16" if you don't know what I'm talking about). All of which means as a Catholic, I can't quite trust the ESV or Crossways. When I read it, I'm always having to double check it against other translations to make sure I'm not getting a quirky, biased rendering.

(In fairness, if I were an evangelical reading the RSV-2CE I might have the same wariness.)

I hope the Catholic authorities go over it with a fine tooth comb before giving it an imprimatur, and I hope Crossways lets them make all requested changes. But I wouldn't hold my breath on that. Plus, Crossways makes a lot of revisions to the ESV (although they've said they are going to slow down), and I worry that they might sneak in little changes to the ESV-CE, nudging it back in an evangelical direction again, after the initial imprimatur is granted.

In spite of all that, I love the idea of a modern, up to date RSV working from the latest texts, and the ESV is the best candidate for that.

We'll see what happens....

Michael Demers said...

The best solution here is to update and revise the NRSV. It's time.

Biblical Catholic said...

"The best solution here is to update and revise the NRSV. It's time."

There was a discussion of this back in 2009 for the 20th anniversary, although not a public one. A number of seminary professors, Bible scholars and whatnot received a mailing from the NRSV committee asking them if they thought a revision was necessary, and if so, what should its nature and extent be.

From what I understand, the main reason why the idea of a revision was shelved back in 2009 was not just because the results of their survey came back negative, with a majority of respondents saying no revision is necessary, but that the bigger problem is money.

The RSV and NRSV copyrights are owned by the National Council of Churches. The NCC is having severe financial hardships, according to many insiders, the only reason the NCC hasn't been forced yet to file for bankruptcy is because of the money the organization gets from sales and licensing of the RSV and NRSV. In fact, according to many independent sources, not only are these copyrights pretty the ONLY source of revenue for the NCC, but they get a greater or equal amount of money from the RSV than they do for the NRSV, which is why they have been so generous about keeping the RSV in print in many lavish editions.

So the biggest obstacle to a revision of the NRSV is the simple fact that they can't afford it. The translators don't work for free (not should they be expected to do so) and even just doing the research necessary to prepare the translation, and massive research is necessary, is too expensive for them. Translating the Bible, even just a revision of an existing translation, is an expensive process, and the NCC simply doesn't have the money to do it.

I think the mere fact that such a thing as the 'ESV', which is an authorized revision of the 1971 RSV, exists, is a sign of how desperate the NCC is for money.

After the production of the Catholic Edition of the RSV in 1966, various conservative Protestant groups approached the NCC and asked for permission to do a revision of their own, a RSV: Evangelical Edition so to speak. Permission was denied. And requests continued to come in for decades, and they were all denied.

Then suddenly, in 1999, an evangelical group again approached the NCC and asked for permission to revise it and create a kind of 'RSV: Evangelical Edition', and the request was granted, the result being the ESV.

The mere fact the NCC did an about face on a position that it had consistently held for more than 3 decades that no 'conservative' revision of the RSV would be allowed, is a sign, I think, of just how short of cash they are right now. The ESV probably would not exist at all if not for the fact that NCC is desperate for cash and Crossway publishing was willing to pay the licensing fees.

Biblical Catholic said...

"I am a bit skeptical of this translation after reading about its questionable renderings and supposed evangelical bias. Here is one post I could find off hand, perhaps some other readers would have more input."

Bias is a possible problem with all Bible translations, however, with a literal translation like the ESV there's a significantly lower risk of bias than there is with a more dynamic translation like the NIV. The NIV is incredibly biased in favor of evangelicalism, and in general, the more 'free' the translation, the greater the risk of bias.

As far as it goes, however, even with the latest round of changes with the 2016 edition, the text of the ESV is still overwhelmingly the text of the RSV. Estimates vary, but those who have closely studied the text of the ESV have claimed that anywhere from 90-97% of the text of the ESV is identical to the text of the 1971 RSV.

The bigger problem with the ESV, I think, is Crossway's constant fiddling with the text. Since its first publication in 2001, the ESV was revised in 2004,2007,2010 and 2016. Originally, Crossway claimed that the 2016 text was the 'permanent text' and no further changes were anticipated. Within a week, they retracted that claim and said that they will continue making periodic updates more or less whenever they feel like it.

And the history of these updates is not encouraging, Crossway initially refused to release a list of the changes, and they finally did so only after attentive readers started distributing their own lists online.

A translation which the publisher says will never be final, and that they reserve the right to change it whenever they feel like it, and that they may or may not publish a list of changes, is rather disturbing.

Christopher Buckley said...

"A translation which the publisher says will never be final, and that they reserve the right to change it whenever they feel like it, and that they may or may not publish a list of changes, is rather disturbing."

Thank God Ignatius has been so very much more transparent in its own RSV change log, eh? ;-)

Biblical Catholic said...

The text of the Ignatius Bible has remained unchanged since initial publication.

Steve Molitor said...

Chris you just nailed why I use the RSV over the RSV-2CE and the ESV!

Well that plus I have all my notes in my NOAB RSV. ;)

Percentage wise, the changes between the RSV and the 2CE / ESV might be small, but small changes can be significant.

Having said that, I reserve the right to switch to the 2CE in the future! I do like most of the changes I've seen.

Christopher Buckley said...

Biblical Catholic-

"The text of the Ignatius Bible has remained unchanged since initial publication."

I wouldn't know whether it has or hasn't. They've never seen fit to publish exactly what changes they made in the first place, did they?

As much as I admire Ignatius, at least Crossways acted like a proper translation committee in that regard.

Moreover, the text may bot have changed, but the copyright notice sure has.

Older versions and the app seem to list it as:
Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition (copyright)2000 and 2006

Newer printings seem to list it as:
Revised Standard Version, Ignatius Edition (copyright)2006

Why change the copyright notice at all?

Biblical Catholic said...

The 2000 and 2006 copyrights are not copyrights of the same thing.

Similar to almost every Bible publisher, Ignatius makes its own little tweaks, such as the font, the spacing, the addition of photos, maps, and cross references, and any other kind of little 'tweaks' that publishers make to Bibles to make their edition stand out on the shelves. Publishers make these little tweaks both to make their edition stand out but also, and more importantly, so that they can have something to copyright in case someone tries to copy them.

The NCC allows publishers of the RSV and NRSV to design their own proprietary editions, which is why, for example, some editions of the NRSV have cross references, and some don't.

The 'Ignatius Bible' branding is a proprietary branding and Ignatius has added their own little 'tweaks' to the RSV text. I've never bothered to check and see exactly what changes they made, but I think there is a glossary that Ignatius added.

It is similar to a deck of playing cards. There is nothing really unique or distinctive about a deck of cards, all card decks look more or less the same. So what printers do is they come up with a unique design for the Joker card, and copyright that unique design, that way if another printer tries to steal their design, they can look at the Joker card and see if they stole that too, and if they did, file a complaint about a copyright violation.

The 2000 copyright is a copyright of the 'Ignatius Bible' which is their distinctive style and printing. it is on all 'Ignatius Bible' reprints of the RSV, both the first Catholic Edition and the Second.

The 2006 copyright is the copyright over the RSV 2 CE text itself.

If newer editions no longer have the 2000 copyright, it is most likely because they have changed the printing and it isn't the same as the one they copyrighted back in 2000, whatever it was that Ignatius added, whether it is maps, a glossary, or cross references, are apparently no longer included in the editions that are now being sold, hence that copyright notice is no longer necessary.

However, the 2006 copyright of the text of the RSV 2 CE Iis obviously still necessary.

Christopher Buckley said...


I think what stands out to me most is that, regardless of what covers and trade dress say, the actual text as codified in the copyright notice is no longer a "second Catholic edition" or "-2CE."

The 2006 textual variant is officially branded "RSV Bible, Ignatius Edition."
Where it appears, it does so underneath and in contrast to the "RSV Bible, Catholic Edition" copyright 1966.

So, no, the "RSV Bible, Ignatius Edition" specifically refers to the "2CE" text.
When Ignatius refers to the original RSV-CE, they call is the "RSV Bible, Catholic Edition" now.

At least in all of the three copies I own.

Jonny said...

The original "Ignatius Bible" (1994) was simply a reprint of the original Thomas Nelson RSV-CE edition of 1966 with IP's blue cover.

Ignatius Press then sought permission from the Congregation for Divine Worship to publish a lectionary based on the RSV-CE and received back a list of requested modifications to adapt it for liturgical use. The changes were made and thus resulted the RSV-CE lectionary, the 2000 copyright, and Imprimatur.

Then in 2001 comes Liturgiam Authenticam, which outlined standards for liturgical texts- and a model for adapting existing texts (as had been done for the RSV-CE lectionary.) The document also called for the complete published Bible to match the Biblical texts in the lectionary. It is from this mandate came the RSV-2CE in 2006.

This is why, if my understanding is correct, there are two copyright dates on the RSV-2CE. Now as to why the copyright listing in the Bible has changed, that is I think, simply a matter of clarity. The "Ignatius Bible" is now a term used exclusively for the 2nd edition. IP never had exclusive rights to the RSV-CE, therefore calling it the Ignatius Bible was a bit of a misnomer. I personally prefer using the name "Ignatius Bible" over the more cumbersome "Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition," although it does continue to be known by both names.

Biblical Catholic said...

"IP never had exclusive rights to the RSV-CE, therefore calling it the Ignatius Bible was a bit of a misnomer."

If you buy the NABRE, you can buy it printed by many different publishers, many of these publishers give the NARBE special names, such as 'St. Joseph Edition' or even 'Harper One Bible'. The term 'Ignatius Bible' is no different from either of these brandings.

To call the 1966 RSV CE the 'Ignatius Bible' (and yes, it is, or at least at one point used to be) sold under that name is not to claim to be the exclusive right to the text, it is to claim that it is your own special edition of the text. Harper One calls its own Bibles the 'Harper One Bible', but calling it this is not to claim that they have an exclusive right to print the NABRE. Likewise, if you buy a 'St. Joseph Edition' of the NABRE, the publisher is not claiming to have an exclusive right to publish it, only to have a special edition of the book that cannot be obtained from any other publisher.

By the way, it is my understanding that there are only two publishers that currently have the right to published the RSV, namely Ignatius Press and Oxford University Press. So, yes, I do think that Ignatius Press does indeed have an exclusive right to publish the RSV CE, they are the only American publisher that is allowed to publish the RSV, that is an exclusive.

Jonny said...

The original Ignatius Bibles were published by Thomas Nelson. I apologize, I actually have an original TN edition, I could have been more clear about that. It was the exact same book block as the 1966 edition, except a line on the copyright page was added: "Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers for Ignatius Press." The other Ignatius editions were published by Oxford, namely the large print, readers, and compact editions. All these editions were published for IP, who simply put their own cover on.

As for the 2000 copyright, I was assuming that it was for the text of the lectionary itself, but I do not have a copy of that book to confirm for sure. If I recall a reader named Rolf has that. Perhaps if he or someone else with a copy of the RSV-CE Lectionary could confirm.... does it list a 2000 copyright and imprimatur on the copyright page???

rolf said...

Here is the info off the front page of the Ignatius Lectionary:

Concordat cum originali Most Reverend Edgerton R. Clsrke, Archbishop of Kingston

English translation approved by the Antilles Episcopal Confrence

The text portions from Sacred Scripture in this Lectionary are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Second Catholic Edition, c 1965, 1966, 2006 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and are used by permission.

Published by Ignatius Press, San Francisco. c 2006 Ignatius Press.

Jonny said...

Thanks for posting this Rolf, much appreciated! All evidence seems to indicate that the RSV-2CE (full Bible) was first published in 2006 and has not changed since. After seeing the copyright information from the lectionary, I think the 2000 copyright might properly refer to the Study Bible. According to its Amazon listing, the ICSB Matthew was published on October 31, 2000 and the only places I have seen the 2000 copyright are on the Study Bible and the app (which contains the Study Bible.)

The stable copyright is a great strength of the RSV-2CE. It does not just have the generic imprimatur, but it was specifically adapted in cooperation with the CDW to create a text suitable for the liturgy. It seems highly unlikely that the text will ever change, either from IP hiring a translation team to tweak the text from the latest edition of the Nestle Aland NT or from Rome requesting changes to be made.

I think it is also unlikely that Crossway will pursue having their text modified to the extent that was done for the RSV. How bizarre would that be? A Protestant company petitioning Rome to review their translation - and to what end? So they can sell more Bibles to Catholics? Even simply requesting a Bishop to give it an imprimatur seems a bit sketchy.

My initial impression of the ESV was that I was ok with some of the changes, others no, but overall preferred the RSV-2CE. I am looking forward to doing some more comparisons while waiting to see what becomes of all this.

Christopher Buckley said...

My point isn't so much that the text or the copyright has changed.

It's that the copyright information reveals something about the branding.

In all three of my printed editions (Ignatius' leather-bound full 2CE Bible and their NT/Psalms, as well as the Didache Bible), the nomenclature on the copyright page differs from our common usage, and distinguishes between the "Catholic" RSV and the "Ignatius" RSV. In each it lists both:

Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, © 1965, 1966 by Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America

Revised Standard Version, Ignatius Edition, © 2006 by Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America

So, legally, there seem to be two variants... and neither is officially "Second Catholic Edition."

There's the original RSV-CE (1966) and there's the RSV-Ignatius Edition (2006, what we've come to call the RSV-2CE).

Jonny said...

The Ignatius Study Bibles utilize the term "Second Catholic Edition" in the copyright. From the ICSB NT:

"Bible text: Revised Standard Version Second Catholic Edition c 2000 and 2006 by the Division of Christian Education of the NCCC in the USA"

So the publications not specifically connected to the Study Bible and are from 2006 and later use the term "Ignatius Bible."

It could be just a matter of rebranding. Perhaps by the time the full Bible was ready in 2006 IP decided they preferred to use the term "Ignatius Bible." That is what the Didache Bible's copyright page calls the translation. I have a hunch that when the full Study Bible is published it will be likewise designated as the "Ignatius Bible."

Craig St. Clair said...

I too am interested in the possibility of an ESV-CE being published in English. I heard something recently coming out of the AAR-SBL conference in Boston in November that the Catholic bishops of India have approved an ESV-CE for use in India, but am having difficulty confirming that. Anyone have any info along these lines?

Timothy said...

Thanks for the info. I think people were interested to hear if the official approval came from the Indian bishops. That seems to be good news. Next thing would be to hear from Crossway. I will let you know if I hear anything.