Monday, January 8, 2018

OBOY?

Three years ago I spent a year using one bible for the entire year. I did a series of posts focusing on that experience.  It was an important year for me, I must say.  It showed me that I really do need to stick with one primary bible for my daily reading.  Sure, I look at different translations when I need to, particularly since I teach scripture.  But I can honestly say that because of that experience back in 2015, I feel like I am finally not simply reading the bible to seek info, but actually being taught by it in a slow, relational way.  It is hard to explain to be honest, but I just read to read, without looking for doctrines or proof-texts or anything of the sort.  And even though the bible I use now is not that one I used in 2015, I am immensely grateful for having spent a year with my NRSV.  

Recently, my friend Kevin has decided to start this year attempting to do the OBOY challenge.  I wanted to pass along a link to his site, where he goes over what he is attempting to do by taking on the OBOY challenge.  Give it a look!  Consider doing it yourself!

43 comments:

Jonny said...

When I enquired at my local Catholic Church in 2009, I was a disillusioned Protestant who was considering abandoning Christianity altogether. I was referred to a men’s group that was studying Romans with the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. That was an extraordinary blessing for me at that time in my life - just what I needed! I would go on to visit RCIA and become Catholic - but my journey with the Bible Study did not end there. We would go on to study the entire New Testament in detail with the ICSB over the next few years - some books more than once.

Once we had thoroughly covered the NT we were ready to move on to Genesis, and before we completed that the RSV-2CE Didache Bible was released. We all got a copy and got on a bit faster track to get through the Old Testament - using the notes and reference materials in it with the Catechism.

Our latest adventure has been Jeff Cavin’s Great Adventure series. We started with the Psalms and it was one of the most rewarding Bible studies I have ever done. I am excited for tomorrow as we will begin the Bible Timeline series from the beginning. This will be an intense video and workbook series that we will enjoy for years to come.

My theme here (any regular reader of this blog has probably already guessed) is the RSV-2CE. I have also invested, as most fans of the Bible have, hours into other translations. But the RSV-2CE is the basis for all the best Catholic group study resources groups I have mentioned above, as well as others we have done with Ascension Press. It has been a big part of my journey until now, and will continue to be for a long time to come. So yes, “my Bible”, this year, is the Didache RSV again! I still love to read from the original Ignatius Bible with the icons on the cover, but the Didache has proven itself indispensable time and time again - from various adult studies and ministries to the kiddos answering questions for their SRE homework!

Erica McCrea said...

I'm excited to be using the NABRE. I've warmed up to it over the past year. My comfort zone is still the RSV-2CE, but I've slowly gained an appreciation for other translations. The NABRE is still a formal translation but uses language and phrasing I find more enjoyable. I don't have issues understanding translations like the DR, KJV, RSV, or NRSV, but sometimes I just want to enjoy reading my bible.

https://blhermannsshelf.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/new-year-new-translation-my-2018-bible-challenge/

Timothy said...

Great insight! Thanks for sharing Jonny!

Timothy said...

Thanks for the link Erica!

Kevin Daugherty said...

Thanks for sharing, Timothy. I look forward to seeing what your readers think.

Tom said...

Intriguing thoughts Tim. One question - you said the bible you use now is not that one you used in 2015 - what Bible do you use now?

Michael Demers said...

It's the NABRE for me even though the Mass readings and the Liturgy of the Hours, which I read every day, are based on older versions. I have mixed feelings about having read the KJV, RSV, NEB, JB, and NJB. It prevented me from becoming really familiar with one Bible. I never finished the Challoner version nor the NRSV. It just made more sense for me to stay with the NABRE. I'm going through it again this year.

Timothy said...

Funny enough, and in many ways completely unpredictably, The Message:Catholic/Ecumenical Edition.

Christopher Buckley said...

Haven't spent much of the last couple of years all RSV-2CE, I've had a bit of a conversion to NABRE, preferring it now because I actually prefer much of its OT, and I value the more recent and complete selection of its base texts. To be honest, I actually LIKE its notes.

Since my primary Bible-reading time is the expanded Office of Readings selections of the Liturgy of the Hours (http://www.catholicbiblesblog.com/2015/09/guest-post-resource-for-praying-sacred.html), my primary copy will be the St. Joseph personal edition from Catholic Book Publishing (http://www.catholicbookpublishing.com/products/7). Its binding is a perfect match of the size and trade dress of the one-volume Christian Prayer I pray with.

But I have a few other copies as well:
-the Pauline Press NABRE NT & Psalms for my work bag
-the USCCB leatherbound NABRE for bedside reading
-the NABRE is my default translation on the YouVersion app

Ed Rio said...

It's still the NABRE for me! I enjoy the translation, and the NAB is what's used in the Liturgy and the U.S. Catechism. I'm hoping the next update to the Divine Office will use the NABRE Psalms.

Steve Molitor said...

I took the challenge! I've been using my NOAB RSV as my primary bible for several years now. It's full of my underlines and notes now. It feels like an old friend. So much so that on a recent trip, I forgot my beloved RSV (only packed my NABRE), and I missed it! So much so that I ran down to the closest Barnes & Noble and picked up an inexpensive ESV (as they didn't have an RSV, not surprising), just so I could hear that familiar language.

OBOY has been a valuable experience for me. My relationship with the bible is deeper, and I've started to memorize a few passages without really working on it.

I still spend a bit too much time comparing verses with other translations, sometimes on my smart phone. That is valuable in moderation. But I'm not a bible scholar, nor a priest preparing homilies, nor a teacher. I don't need to do that as much as I do. Truthfully it's a distraction at times. I get the most out of my bible reading spiritually when I turn off my phone, set other translations aside, and just spend some time with the Word of God.

I may be ready to move on to a different primary translation though. Truth be told, it's been refreshing to read the NABRE lately, as it's just a little bit easier to read than the RSV at times. There are a few spots in the RSV where I missed the plain meaning of the text because of the slightly old language. When I read those passages in the NABRE the meaning popped right into my head, and I went "Oh, now I see!".

I also appreciate the NABRE for all the reasons Chris mentioned: more recent manuscript basis, scholarship, the OT is excellent, and the NT is solid enough. Some of the renderings in Isaiah in particular are stunning and beautiful. And yes, I must confess I actually like the NABRE notes also, even the NT notes (although the OT notes are even better IMO). Finally, the NABRE language is familiar because it's close to what we use in the liturgy here in the US.

The ESV made quite an impression on me on that trip though. It goes a long way towards smoothing out the wooden or difficult bits in the RSV. Similar to my experience with the NABRE, although not quite as much, certain tricky bits "popped" a bit more. The changes are small for the most part, but they remove those little reading speed bumps that can disrupt the flow of the RSV on occasion. I still have my "quibble versus" with the ESV, but I am looking forward to the rumored ESV-CE.

So I may make a switch to another primary bible soon, but I am planning on doing another OBOY (or two years) with that bible.

JDH said...

I'm not strictly doing OBOY, but I am using the Bible in a Year I reviewed a few weeks ago, which uses the RSV-2CE. I'm pretty excited about that as I used to use the RSV-CE almost exclusively but have never spent a great deal of time with the Ignatius edition. So, my primary daily devotional reading will be from that Bible. That being said, I am still going to spend study time with my Oxford Catholic Study Bible (NABRE) and I also have the Oxford NABRE Large Print (I also did a review for that rebind) by my comfy chair, so I'm still going to be reading some from the NABRE, which I've really grown to love over the past few years.

I also have the HarperOne NABRE and NRSV Thinline. I usually take one of those to my weekly Holy Hour, during which I kinda follow my own Holy Hour reading pattern, separate from my other reading. They are just really convenient to carry around, very portable but also not expensive to replace should they be lost or damaged.

I will say, though, that after just a week I do understand why so many people love the RSV-2CE. There's something about that KJV sounding language (without the archaisms) that reverberates in my soul. That doesn't make me love the NABRE less, but it does mean I'm really enjoying this journey through the RSV-2CE. I'm considering taking the Ignatius RSV-2CE that I have to Holy Hour too, just to really make that my primary text for the year.

JDH said...

Also, I have the same problem as Steve mentioned above with comparing various translations of a verse on my phone. It's a habit I'm really trying to break.

straykat said...

I'm not even a Catholic (long story.. I might come into the fold :) ) and even I'd say the NABRE is a fine choice. It has some faults (what doesn't), but that's my 2c. And as I mentioned on Carl's old article about the NAB review, the cool thing about Catholic translations (France and Germany especially) is they share a few similarities. There's a certain unity among Catholic approved/Bishop designed translations. For example, they're the only ones that properly have Jesus say "Amen, amen"... something I like to think the Gospel writers were purposely trying to get across as one of our Lord's Aramaic quirks. They didn't attempt to translate it, just like they never attempted to translate a few other Hebraisms (Hallelujah, for example). Our early Greek speaking church adopted them as their own words rather than use something else. I love this.

I also like the NRSV, but in a way, it's stripped of specific "flavor" of various authors of the scriptures. I know the NRSV translators actually set out to be more "classical" to reflect the OT Hebrew and more common to reflect the NT, but it doesn't really come through imo. The whole thing has a kind of "sameness" to me. Probably from being from the KJV/RSV heritage. That's it's true family of speech, if anything.

Also, I'm a newcomer btw, but lurker on the blog. I love this place. I'm glad to see so many modern day Catholics with an enthusiasm for the holy scriptures.

Christopher Buckley said...

Re: the comments on textual basis Steve and I both mention -

I came to really value the 2010 NABRE when I started paying attention to this.

Even with its 1986 NT, the Greek is the 26th edition of the Nestle Aland Greek... FAR more recent than what was available to the RSV (the 17th ed. I think). I believe NABRE's is the same base text as the NRSV, with an even more recent basis for the 2010 OT & Psalms.

In fact, among Catholic Bibles the only ones I'm seeing that currently use the 27th are the NLT-CE (and the rumored ESV-CE, should there ever be one).

The NABRE NT revision currently underway is working with the the 28th edition, which would stand alone with the Christian Standard Bible (formerly the HCSB).


SurlyHermit said...

I finally managed to complete the OBOY challenge in 2017 with the Knox Version. I've read the whole Bible in a year before, but never stuck with a single translation; staying with the Knox was an excellent decision. This year I'm not going to officially attempt OBOY, but will restrict myself to the Authorized Version for the lessons according to the 1928 BCP lectionary.

Timothy said...

Thanks for stopping by and lurking in any way you please! :)

Timothy said...

SH,

Would love to hear some insights in devoting a year to Knox.

Timothy said...

I think that is an important distinction you make there. In particular the OT, which shows a bit of the age of the RSV (and 2CE) in comparison with the NABRE.

straykat said...

In the RSV's favor, as a godless delinquent, my family home still had an old Protestant American Bible Society copy in the house for years. When I finally renounced my old ways and felt God's calling, I finally opened up the RSV and for some reason, went straight to Matthew. I knew a "little" of the Gospel, but after finishing it, I was stunned.. to say the least. I immediately went outside to do some chores and felt God's spirit envelop me. It was like I couldn't get a stream of God's words flowing in my head. It literally made me stop mowing my lawn and just stand there letting myself take it all in. I believe I was anointed with God's spirit. Maybe not "speaking on tongues", but more like God speaking in my own tongue. Take this story for what it's worth, but there it is. Needless to say, it was the RSV that sparked this in me, and I was never the same (this was over 20 yrs ago). I've since moved past the RSV, but it's always had a special place in my heart.

straykat said...

Oh yeah, the point of my story is, God will use any of these translations. Even with the some of the Protestant RSV's flaws.

I'd even say this about some of the paraphrases (someone mentioned the Message above, for example), although I keep my distance on these. That and the Jehovah Witnesses bible lol.

Owen said...

I read the Message Catholic Ecumenical. After bouncing all over the place translation wise for ages, and on both sides of the Tiber, last Lent I went full emmersion into the MSGCE and haven't come up for air yet. Real. Poetic. Straight shooting. Clear. The one complaint I can see folks having is that it is not hard to understand with head or heart therefore the only issue becomes living-out the trutchs sacred scripture contains. No wonder people may like to obsfusicate. Looks like I've gone OBFL. ;-)

Owen said...

truths ^ (sorry)

Steve Molitor said...

Straykat good observation re the “sameness” of the NRSV. The NRSV has the smoothest ride, but you don’t feel the variations in the road. The most striking example compared to its predecessor is Mark. Reading the RSV, with all the sentences that begin with “And”, you really feel the immediacy of Mark’s message, like he’s rushing to get it all out and can’t be bothered with the niceties of grammar. The NRSV smoothes that out into proper English, but it’s less true to the style of the original I feel. I can’t read the Greek, but that’s my sense of it anyway.

Ed Rio said...

I have a Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible I've only skimmed here and there since owning it. That might be the next OBOY after finishing the OT of the NABRE. The devotional material by Phil and Al Robertson looked good from the few things I've read.

straykat said...

Heh... I saw a listing of that. I was actually curious why the Duck Dynasty guys would even make a devotional bible. It's a very cool design/color scheme though. I love green bibles. There aren't many green versions of the NAB or NRSV that I like.

Ed Rio said...

Straykat, I think it's just one more way for the Robertsons to share their faith with others. If memory serves, a few of the Robertson women have devotional books out also.
I'm going to use it now. The NABRE intros and notes just leave me scratching my head, and I'd like to read material that is more practical or uplifting.

Owen said...

While we are sharing opinion based on personal preference: I find the unnatural sounding use of And used at virtually every (arbitrary) line break, verses never being in the original as we all know :) to slow things down for me. I prefer the NRSV over the RSV for a more natural flow but for an every more natural-to-the-way-we-think-and-speak experience I'll stick with The Message (Catholic/Ecumenical).

straykat said...

Well, to be fair, mostly Mark is like that. It's apparently also his way of writing fast, action paced narrative. John is apparently strange in the Greek too. But these writers were likely very rudimentary in their skills. Especially the case of John (or John's writer) who was almost definitely a Jew whose native tongue was not Greek. Luke, on the other hand, is skilled with it. The writer of Matthew was also a Jew, but had more skill. So it's nice if translations reflect some of this (although I think it's impossible to truly capture the original).

Owen said...

Agreed, it is the fastest pace, most concise of the four gospels. If we are speculating, and the writer or writers of Mark were rudimentary very likely the repeated use of a conjunction wasn't a thing, same as verse numbering, not a thing :) That the Ands reflect an action pace, there I disagree, at least that's true for me; KJV come ASV come RSV family bog the text down. If the Ands make it read well for you--by read well I mean causes the text to resonate with in you in such a way that the message if contains causes you to live-out the text more authentically in your life, man, more power to the Ands. :-) For that is not the case. That a translation should capture different voicing and mode of writing, totally agree. That it's impossible for any one translation to truly capture the original - totally agree. All the more reason to read the one that resonates most and aids each of us to live-out the core of the gospel most authentically.

straykat said...

Oh I agree with you. I'm just saying that's what I heard why he writes that way.. or how it comes across in the Greek. Not just the "ands", but apparently Mark has a conscious use of present tense verbs and action. "He was walking", rather than "He walked". Scholars speculate that it started off as a spoken word story, with a kind of present-tense action to it.

Owen said...

Hey there stray. Yes, lights, camera, Mark! I did a public reading of Mark, a single continuous public reading of Mark for the very reason you mention, Mark was originally a spoken word event. For that 2 hour public reading I used The Message Catholic Ecumenical translation, because the language powerfully reflects that original immediacy. No And And And to bog it down ;-) Yes, the writer(s) of Mark, very present tense. No disputation there. A very definite use of present tense verbs which gives us action. It has been argued that conjunctions of their various kinds were used much in the Greek. So, one may like to make a case that use of same in an English translation follows as either more accurate and conveys that original immediacy. I don't hear or read people on the street, in the cafe, news anchors, novel writers, poets, etc people in normal daily language using And to the effect it may have been used in the Greek or has been used in the KJV and its prodigy. :) So, again I do not contest that Mark is a zoomin' fast gospel with a sense of immediacy, urgency and intimacy. For me, the repeated use of And does not convey any of that, if anything its use diminishes those powerful traits in Mark. But, again, if AndAndAnd does it for you, may float your barque, bringing you a vibrant and authentic life in-Christ.

And, ;-) in closing ;-) just doing a comparison reading here https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%201&version=RSV;MSG for me, makes the point.

Timothy said...

Straykat,

I appreciated your first two paragraphs, but your comments in the final paragraph aren’t acceptable on this blog. Please resubmit without the venom

Timothy said...

Straykat,

There are ways to make your point without being condemning. That simply isn’t going to happen in this space. I have met a few of the translators of the NAB and they have been faithful men for many decades. I can’t have your words be directed at them.

You are always welcome here. Please comment often, but with less vitriol.

straykat said...

My comment had little to do with the NAB - I already said it's one of my favorite translations. My comment was towards the academic, secular, scholarly consensus. I only said the NAB translators caved into scholarly consensus rather than Apostolic consensus on Isaiah 7:14. Unlike, for example, the French bishop's committee which made it's own recent translation. They knew full well not to depart from apostolic readings. They say in their preface itself that all it does is breed confusion (not just one passage, but the whole gamut of translation choices that have become novelties lately). They wanted their text to be the same memorable words said through the church for centuries. This is what a liturgical text SHOULD do. Not make people scratch their heads or lead them to deny Christ. God forbid!!!

My words, at best, are directed at the NAB translators to realize that they are better than these secular scholars. They inherited the wealth of Christ's kingdom, and the seat of Peter -- and the stewardship of the Word of God itself... There's no choice but to be in awe of the responsibility. When you listen to destroyers and atheists, you are not treating the Word of God with awe. You are being mundane.

"Aim high", as they say.

If I have any problems with any Catholic specific scholars, it's the likes of John Dominic Crossan and Michael Coogan (editor of the Oxford Annotated Bible, which you've mentioned here before). These men are ex-priests and and no longer Catholic in reality. They denied their vows and went even further and started writing books that deny nearly everything about the church and God too. They are hailed as giants in the secular world and stars in the TV world... but that should mean little to believers. They are typical of the more mainline/academic mentality.. but I'd rather not see Catholics succumb to it. There's a reason why these mainline denominations are empty. They feed no one anything worth eating.

Don't mistake me as a rude person. We must love God with all our heart, and love our neighbors, and be patient, but also we must hate evil. It is evil to deny the Son of God and evil to deny his miraculous birth and his mother's testimony. I won't be friendly to this. I'd rather be crushed in an earthquake.

Timothy said...

Listen, you can critique, and do so with support from me, without name-calling and making judgments on a person’s soul or the merit of their arguments. There are ways of doing it. This isn’t going to be an extension of Trump’s twitter feed.

I also don’t agree with your assessment of Is 7:14. If a translation claims that it is translating the OT from the Hebrew, then I think they are more than justified to follow what the RSV, NRSV, and NABRE did. If you are doing it from the LXX or Vg, then that is a different story.

straykat said...

Just to add: Why do you think NAB keeps getting revisions? The Vatican knows what's right. They won't fully a lectionary until it aligns with apostolic teaching (along with phrasing). The sooner translators realize this, the better. :)

Timothy said...

The NAB committee is going through the process of doing that as we speak. And up until the recent revision of the OT, the NAB a person could get in a store matched for the most part what was heard at Mass. (Minus the Psalms.)

straykat said...

I have no idea what Donald Trump has to do with this. Have you ever read Joan of Arc's "Letter to the Hussites"? Was that Trump-like to you too? Perhaps any given apologetic discourse from Justin Martyr? :)

I'm just going to step out. I know you mean well, but I have no time for walking on eggshells, just like you have no time for my speech. I wish the best though, and still love your blog. Needless to say, but the people of God have died for less defenses of their faith. I'm merely doing the smallest amount in defending it. If you can't do that, what point is there in believing anything at all? And the smallest amount of testimony is the Son of God and virgin birth. Yet even being strong about that is making you uncomfortable. I urge you to ask yourself why and how you got to that point, and I promise I will try to learn to improve my social approach. I said earlier that I was a "catacomb" Christian. I mean that I'm practically a hermit and have few friends. Now you see why. I've never been good at social occasions at all. Especially with this subject.

Peace

Timothy said...

Skykat,

You are always welcomed back to comment. You are free to critique and disagree with biblical scholars or even me, but I cannot allow you to do it with the name calling and condemnations. It is not going to happen here, and to be honest, I think it takes away from your argument and the merits it may have. If you can’t see that, I am sorry. (And you know what I mean when I bring up Trump.)

straykat said...

That just seems strange to mention Donald Trump. I'm talking about the defense of our faith. I say nothing new that thousands of writings over millennia have said. Strong language didn't become some thing unique to Donald Trump. I didn't vote for Trump, and barely care about the USA, other than where the gospel is planted or where it can be planted.

You have little tolerance for what I'm saying about these scholars, but I am telling you about the first person that we should tolerate: Our Lord. He is a person too. Not a concept or abstraction to be debated. You know this. I will not belittle you in saying you don't - so don't mistake this. Now that being the case, if you hold this much passion for, say, a Michael Coogan, and chastise me about him -- then apply it to Christ, and then you'll understand I'm doing the exact thing you are doing - I'm getting angry about an insult to a person I care about. It just so happens that it's the only person worthy of it. And I just want us to remember that. Not me.. all by my lonesome, but all of us, all of the time.

If you're merely trying to appeal to tolerance for it's own sake (and I'm not sure if you are), then I want nothing to do with that either. It's the modern belief system. And I'm not a believer. I hope you're not. It's no better than listening to some Stoner or Frat Boy when they say: "It's all good, man!" No, it's not "all good". And as far as this subject of translation goes, I will eventually be proven right here too. As I said, the Vatican itself will direct the definitive text. It gives me joy just knowing that... that the church is always shepherded in the right direction. We all fall short and make mistakes, but Christ will keep us from wandering too far off.

Timothy said...

Straykat,

Critique and question scholarship. Yes, do it and continue to do it. But do it with gentleness and reverence, not with name calling, declarations about their fidelity, or simple rudeness. I think someone like Msgr Ronald Knox is an excellent example of this. He was a gentle soul who was kind and eloquent (and witty) in his interaction with atheists and our separated brethren. I try to model that, even though I know that I have failed. In that regard, I would rather be a Msgr Knox over, say, a St Jerome, who certainly bordered on the neighborhood of being a jerk. Thankfully, even jerks see the beatific vision, which give me (and my soul) much hope!

The world needs less angst, stereotyping, and rudeness. We need to think the best of our interlocutors and opponents. Give and share peace with them, not an unkind word that will often lead to a terrible fire. That person, in the end, might listen and be converted. Peace my friend.

straykat said...

I extend my kindness to outsiders far more than to those within the church or who were ordained at one point, then turned their backs. I was a horrible person deserving nothing myself. I won't bore you with the details, but here's something that sums it up: I even stole cake from a Nun's bake sale when I was a teen. Not even the other thugs at my school were that bad. They would hurt each other, but nuns were off-limits. I totally get you when it comes to tolerating the faults of others. I am no better. Worse, I think.

What I am annoyed about is those within the church, but still agnostic or atheistic, yet stick around. These people had their chance, unlike an outsider who hasn't come into God's grace yet. Yet being the academics that they are, they still kept academic jobs (such is the case with all professors who know little outside staying at university). So they just fester around like an open wound, leading people astray. Some may not be in their respective denominations any longer, but they run in the same circles or fields of interests and affect believers.

Hah! Sorry. I still can't do it. Be as tolerant as you urge me to be, that is. You're kind and I know you mean the best. I just wish to explain myself as well.