Monday, December 17, 2007

Buzz on Bibles
Lee Penn writes:
Do any of you have any information about these pending offerings?

First, there is the Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today’s World, to be released in full in February or March 2008 by Thomas Nelson:

This is based on the NKJV, and has gotten some criticism from some people for being covertly Protestant Evangelical. But several Orthodox hierarchs have supported this effort. The translator’s site,, has not been updated since early this year — but Light and Life (as well as Amazon) are already offering this complete bible for sale, with an expected release date of February 2008.

Here is the Conciliar Press site announcing the new book (OT with NT):

And then there is this new version of the Septuagint, to be based on the NRSV:

A New English Translation of the Septuagint: Albert Pietersma, Benjamin G. Wright

Their home page is here:

NETS: New English Translation of the Septuagint

Here is a one-man effort, that is part way through the OT:

Welcome to - Author
[sic] of the Holy Orthodox Bible

And there is this, which seems to be a competitor of the Orthodox Study Bible:

EOB - The Eastern/Greek Orthodox Bible based on the Septuagint (LXX) and Patriarchal Text

Do any of you have information about these efforts, and can you advise on which one to get? (The correct answer to the last question, for me, is not “buy them all and compare.”)
Dear Lee,

A blessed Christmas Lent (like ‘Advent’ common English for ‘Nativity Fast’, like ‘Assumption Lent’ for ‘Dormition Fast’)! (Lee belongs to the Russian Catholic Church.)

I’m afraid I’m no expert on these but like everybody on the Internet I’ve got opinions. IMO the Orthodox Study Bible New Testament and Psalms is a beautiful book in many ways but the page layout isn’t the prettiest (the columns are so narrow and studded with notes trying to be helpful). There is Protestant residual anti-Romanism in the accompanying articles on the faith which is annoying and hurtful (they sound positively Lutheran about the Eucharist) and my priest has noticed the lack of Marian devotions in the prayers (which doesn’t bother me that much — actually I’m rather minimalist about that though I accept it fully in theory — but I appreciate his point).

Most often I use an old paperback RC RSV I got about 20 years ago in England (it was printed by the Catholic Truth Society there). It’s small, sturdy and handy and the style is pretty enough and understandable. If I want to get fancy I have a nice reprint (hard-bound leather-covered photocopy of an early-1800s edition) of the full Anglican King James Bible (‘full’ meaning it includes the Apocrypha as a true Anglican Bible should).

[Interesting notes/digressions on that KJV: the anti-Catholic history/foreword — though it does admit there were Catholic English Bibles before the ‘Reformation’ (a convent had one) — and throughout as decoration on the chapter headings are not religious symbols but symbols of the state (English rose, Scottish thistle, Irish harp) just like that awful ‘Patriot’s Bible’ somebody has printed with flags and eagles on it like a Republican threw up. Like the royal arms (lion and unicorn) front and centre in 1600s-1700s Anglican sanctuaries: it'd be just like having the Great Seal of the US (the eagle and shield) over the altar! And ‘high church’ sermons telling you it’s God’s will to bomb Iran.]

On top of that I’ve got my English Book of Common Prayer (two copies, one a sturdy little hardcover personal copy from the 1950s; the other a little leather-bound 1920s antique that includes the words of Hymns Ancient and Modern — there are prayers for the Sovereign but no yucky symbols of the state) for the psalms and canticles (Isabel Hapgood in your rite and the Anglican Breviary have the same idea; I’ve also got three saved copies of US 1928) and a Confraternity Bible for its helpful anti-Protestant commentary.

P.S. Sign o’ the times and of the Orthodox convert boomlet: you probably already knew this but the president of Thomas Nelson, America’s biggest Bible publisher and of course part of a massively Protestant industry, is an Orthodox deacon.

P.P.S. I’m sure the theological-college graduates who are friends of this blog can give you better informed answers in the comments-box.

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