On Reading Holy Scripture

Si vis profectum haurire lege humiliter, simpliciter, et fideliter nec unquam velis habere nomen scientiæ. Interroga libenter, et audi tacens Sanctorum verba, nec displiceant tibi parabolæ Seniorum sine cause enim non proferuntur.

If you wish to derive profit [from the Scriptures], read with humility, candor, and faith, and never seek to have a scholar’s reputation. Inquire willingly, and listen to the words of the saints; let not the parables of the ancients be displeasing to you, for they were not uttered without good reason.

Thomas à Kempis, De imitatione Christi, I. V. 2

On Worldview Deficiencies and the "Orthodox Study Bible"

John Hobbins recently blogged about the best Study Bibles in the market today, and listed the so-called “Orthodox Study Bible-New Testament” (OSB) as one of five confessionally-based editions recommended to those “who wish to understand the Bible from the point of view of a specific tradition.” I quickly cautioned him against regarding the OSB “as an authentic representative of the Orthodox approach to the Scriptures [….] because it betrays throughout a lack of conformity to what in our circles is often called the ‘mind of the Church’,” and naturally referred him to my hero Father Ephrem Lash’s searing review of the OSB. Iyov, whose very interesting blog I’m only starting to explore, found much to dislike in Father Ephrem’s review, and lodged his complaints in a lengthy comment. But I had several complaints of my own concerning Iyov’s “review of the review” which I registered in yet another lengthy comment (of course!). Unfortunately, I posted that comment by mistake before I had a chance to proofread it, and so it is riddled with stylistic infelicities that I did not have the chance to correct. For that reason I reprint my reply here, now fully corrected.

Needless to say, this whole discussion has been quite a fitting way to celebrate my birthday!

===============================

The key to understanding Father Ephrem’s protestations, I think, is his comment that he must again report on a missed opportunity. The “Orthodox Study Bible-New Testament” (OSB), with its impressive “overview committee” listed on the frontispiece (most of whom, however, reportedly never saw a page of the project and were unaware of belonging to any such body), sets out to 1) embody the Orthodox Christian approach to the Scriptures and 2) be a suitable edition for personal and homiletical use by the Orthodox. It accomplished neither of these things, precisely because it very much is a “piece of evangelical propaganda decked out in the trappings of Orthodoxy,” however snide one might find such a comment and its accompanying illustrations. So it is quite right that this comment sets the tone for the whole review, because it states the chief recurring theme of the whole piece: that at the root of all the problems of the OSB lies what we might call a “worldview deficiency.”

Clearly Father Ephrem has a sketchy understanding at best of the politics of American Bible publishing, but I don’t think his comments on the Orthodox use of the New King James Version (NKJV) are therefore irrelevant or superfluous. His point that NKJV New Testament needs to undergo rather thorough correction before it can properly be called an “Orthodox New Testament” is quite accurate, and since many folks (particularly Stateside) seem to consider that is such simply because it is used in this Bible, this fact really does bear noting (and repeating!). In any case, short of a complete translation, the least that should be done is to produce an Orthodox recension of a text such as the NKJV’s, much like the Roman Catholics did in producing the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. Of course, it is unlikely that Nelson would have agreed to this; however, this does not automatically remove the deficiencies of the NKJV for Orthodox use to which Father Ephrem refers.

(Incidentally, I fail to see how Bishop Tikhon’s pastoral judgement on this matter, which in any case was restricted to his own diocese while he was its ruling Bishop, could be weightier than Father Ephrem’s, given that His Grace lacks the latter’s extensive training in Biblical philology. But the point is moot, given that Bishop Tikhon, a careful student indeed of all matters linguistic, does not disagree with Father Ephrem at all: His Grace notes that neither the KJV nor the NKJV are “completely acceptable,” and encourages that they be used only as a temporary solution to the problem of the lack of Orthodox translations into English.)

Speaking of Bishops, that Father Ephrem does not criticize Bishop [now Metropolitan] Kallistos’ piece has little to do with any perceived need to “abate his criticism” (on account of what?), but rather this is so because Metropolitan Kallistos’ piece is truly a gem. And the “mandatory non-specific criticism” of which you speak, once again, draws our attention to the “worldview deficiencies” at the core of the OSB project, which as Father Ephrem wistfully notes, would have been significantly lessened if the principles articulated in Metropolitan Kallistos’ piece had actually been heeded.

Your impression of the OSB’s lectionary is mistaken in that this is indeed a full lectionary for every day of the year, but one clearly prepared by individuals inadequately acquainted with the interaction (both highly variable and minutely regulated) of the many cycles that converge in the order of ferial and festal readings in the lectionary. (This, again, is not surprising, given the lack of liturgical experience of the project team at the time of preparation.) But given that this is a complete lectionary, it is indeed perplexing that the 11 Gospels for Sunday Matins, which are read without fail in unbroken succession throughout the year, are nowhere given. What you call an “obvious editing error” (namely, the identification of the 4th Sunday After Pentecost as the Sunday of the Holy Fathers, which is in fact a movable commemoration not at all tied to that particular Sunday) is really not such at all, but rather betrays the actual source of this lectionary: not the service and rubrical books, but rather the annual calendar for a given year (probably the popular “St Herman Calendar,” which is of Russian provenance rubrically speaking), whose readings were reprinted wholesale into this lectionary without taking into account the variables for different years given in the rubrics. I fail to see how pointing this out is “sectarian” in nature.

Now, that the second sentence of the article “Introducing the Orthodox Church” states that “many people have heard of the Russian Orthodox Church” is an unlikely cause for Father Ephrem’s criticism. After all, the rest of that very sentence reads “or the Greek Orthodox Church,” to which Father Ephrem himself belongs, “which was born centuries earlier.” And in any case, the team that produced the OSB belongs neither to the Russian or Greek Churches, but rather to the Church of Antioch! Thus, it is very hard for me to make any sense at all of these cries of “sectarian” prejudice (particularly when Father Ephrem outright expresses his wish, towards the end of the review, that the ROCOR [Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia] should have had a role in the publication of this volume, as a counterbalance and corrective to this project’s manifold “worldview deficiencies”). Indeed, a glance to anything further than the first part of the second sentence of this article will put in evidence what Father Ephrem’s actual objections are, some of which are summarized in the review. This summary may be found immediately following the sentence where he describes this piece as “tendentious and wholly unnecessary”namely, immediately after the first sentence.

Further, there are a couple things that suggest to me that you’re looking at a different printing of the OSB than that which Father Ephrem is reviewing. In my copy of the OSB, which is indeed the very first printing, there are no mentions whatever of the Mother of God or the saints in the morning and evening prayers, just as Father Ephrem states. Further, in the list of the Seventy Apostles, there are indeed two Marks listed, one after the other, with different feastdays given. Again, your copy must come from a later printing, for not even the pagination that you give coincides with that of the book in front of me. [UPDATE: I have been able to verify with Conciliar Press that corrections and augmentations of these supplementary materials have indeed been introduced without note in several successive printings.]

The comment about the invariably bad iconography stemming from America might seem petty to those without, but it is really not such at all. There most certainly exists within what I call “militant Americanist Orthodoxy” a culture of ugly iconography, which is perfectly illustrated by the dreadful icon of the Harrowing of Hell in the OSB. This is hardly the place to address the theology of the icon, but suffice it to say that the bastardization of iconographic aesthetics is theologically problematic on many levelsall the more so when it comes about because Kentigernmungo Jones, a master of the Etch-A-Sketch, is now Orthodox and suddenly fancies himself an iconographer.

Father Ephrem is rightly troubled that, in a purportedly Orthodox Bible, the Mother of God is simply referred to as “Mary.” This is because, as Kevin Edgecomb has brilliantly noted elsewhere, the regula fidei “is truly an entire complicated mindset involving behavior, action, belief, vocabulary, and writings.” And so we return to “the main point of what we have been saying”: that this volume has serious “worldview deficiencies” and that it embodies hardly at all an Orthodox approach to the Scriptures, simply because time and again it finds itself at variance with the comprehensive regula fideiagain, what in our circles is often called “the mind of the Church.”

Fr Ephrem’s last paragraph, which causes you such wonderment, more fully develops this latter point. The acquisition of this mind, of this complex and comprehensive regula fidei, simply does not happen overnight: it is a lifelong process. And it does indeed take centuries to acquire in corporate contexts (but not of course for individuals, though this process is greatly helped if it occurs in a corporate context thoroughly integrated to the mind of the Church). That this should seem unwelcoming comes as no surprise, and yet, all are welcome to join in the unbroken stream of the Tradition to be shaped and claimed by it though of course, not all are willing to “‘leave all things and follow’ where our Fathers have lead.” This, again, is the whole point. A volume such as this, which is “the product of people who, with the very best of intentions, are going too fast too soon,” is symptomatic of a much greater ailment, and Father Ephrem’s review is as much a critique of the volume in question as it is a searing corrective to the context which produced it.

In the end, I must again caution all against referencing the “Orthodox Study Bible-New Testament” as an authentic witness to the Orthodox Christian approach to the Scriptures, because this decidedly it is not.

A Song for My 29th Birthday

Since 2005, when I started to blog in one way or another, I have customarily chosen a song for my birthday that seems appropriate to my mood and life circumstances at the time. I have decided to continue this practice here at The Voice of Stefan, so here for your enjoyment is my entry for this year, followed by links to the songs of the previous two years.

Born at the Right Time – Lyrics

Previous Songs for My Birthday:

Two Excellent Posts

Allow me to draw your attention to a couple excellent posts that have recently appeared in two of my favorite corners of the biblioblogdom:

1) The hoopy Kevin Edgecomb, who blogs over at biblicalia, has posted some very insightful thoughts on the relationship between the rise of the Biblical canon and the “canon of faith” (regula fidei) in earliest Christianityindeed, in the Apostolic age itselfwhich are right worthy of your time and attention.

2) John Hobbins, also a frood who knows where his towel is, explains to us quite pointedly why Hector Avalos is full of it, and he also explicitly illustrates what the awful Bible actually teaches, and why such savage notions are impossible to apply in the modern world. These and other morsels of sheer Hobbinsian awesomeness may be routinely found over at Ancient Hebrew Poetry.

Also, you might want to watch Richard Dawkins’ fascinating interview of Alister McGrath, which was recently made available online by Dawkins’ websiteand be sure to read Anthony Sacramone’s equally fascinating commentary piece on this interview over at the First Things blog.

On Translating The Church’s (and No Other) Bible

Lately I have been occupied with revising my preliminary Spanish translation, now nearly four years old (!), of an abbreviated version of the formularies for the daily morning and evening prayers as generally used in the Slavic Orthodox Churches. Although the more ancient practice is for the Midnight Office and Small Compline to be read privately as morning and evening prayers, respectively, formularies like those in the Slavonic books arose at least several centuries ago to fill the need for a simpler rule of private prayer. (Such formularies exist even among the Russian Old Ritualists, which fact testifies to their multisecular use even in the strictest of contexts.) Although I had originally intended to translate the Midnight Office and Small Compline for private use, I soon realized that I simply did not have time for such an undertaking: this would involve, among other things, producing a full translation of Psalm 118 [119], with its 176 verseswhich make up, in fact, 22 Psalms of average length. In the end, time constraints (and rather urgent need) forced me to settle for an abbreviated translation of the formularies which I hoped (and still hope) to complete at a later time.

My policy in rendering these prayers into Spanish has been to translate from Greek whenever the text is available in that language (because in that case, the Slavonic text is itself a translation rather than an original composition), but otherwise I translate from Slavonic. This makes for quite a bit of book shuffling, but I don’t mind it terribly. In fact, to work with the Greek and Slavonic texts side-by-side is often downright exhilarating.

One of the more amazing, even shocking things about Slavonic texts is that they systematically preserve the Greek word order. This was a great help to me when first learning the language, because I could sit to compare the Slavonic translation with its Greek original until I made full sense of the former. But although I had a sensitive eye for linguistics even then, I didn’t fully grasp what a truly astonishing thing that isthat one can pick any random text, find the ninth word from the beginning, and, without fail, it will be the the same in both languages. Imagine the degree of syntactical fluidity that required from Church Slavonic, to have been able to assimilate the syntax of another language wholesale!

Because I find such extensive agreement to be quite extraordinary (and frankly, also a little too precious), I’m always looking for instances when the Slavonic does not, in fact, represent the Greek, and last week I thought that I had found one such instance. While translating portions of the Slavonic service for the Feast of the Transfiguration (which we celebrated last Sunday, August 6 by the Old Calendar), I found Psalm 77 [78]:54a quoted as follows:

и введе я в гору святыни своея

This means, roughly, “And he brought them to the mountain of his holy place.” However, Rahlf’s Septuaginta reads:

καὶ εἰσήγαγεν αὐτοὺς εἰς ὅριον ἁγιάσματος αὐτοῦ

Which, again roughly, means “And he brought them to the territory of his holy place” (cf. also the NETS rendering: “And he brought them to a territory of his holy precinct”). As far as I can tell, this is rather close to the Hebrew וַיְבִיאֵם אֶל־ גְּבוּל קָדְשֹׁו (“And so he brought them to the border of his holy land,” TNIV; cf. also KJV and ASV), but I’d be glad to accept correction on this point from people whose grasp of Hebrew is better than my own.

I thought, then, that I had before me a clear instance of a mistranslation of the Greek text in the Slavonic: the translator would have simply misread the LXX’s ὅριον (horion, territory or border) for ὄρος (oros, mountain). This would have raised all kinds of interesting questions concerning the Slavonic translator’s knowledge of Greek, the dating of Slavonic Psalter, etc. Ah, I could feel an article coming! But then I scrupulously thought to check the ecclesiastical Greek Psalter, which is ultimately the canonical text of the Psalms in the Orthodox Church, and there it was:

καὶ εἰσήγαγεν αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ἁγιάσματος αὐτοῦ

This is, of course, identical to the Slavonic: “And he brought them to the mountain of his holy place.” And so it turned out that even here the Slavonic Psalter had slavishly translated its Greek text. Interestingly, the Vulgate too reads here “et induxit eos in montem sanctificationis suae” in its Psalter “iuxta LXX” (but “et adduxit eos ad terminum sanctificatum suum” in its Psalter “iuxta Hebraicum”; cf. the RSV’s “and he brought them to his holy land”).

In light of the upcoming release of projects like the New English Translation of the Septuagint and of the complete Orthodox Study Bible, I was reminded by this brief comparative exercise that any translation of the Church’s Old Testament intended for liturgical use (and this includes translations of readings, quotations and allusions in the Divine Services, and even in the private prayers) must be made not from the modern critical editions of the Biblical texts, but rather from the texts printed in our liturgical books, with reference to patristic exegesis and the context in which they are used liturgically. For as my hero Father Ephrem Lash says in the introduction to his translation of the Prophetologion:

The Orthodox Church has always used the Greek Bible of Alexandria as its text of the Old Testament and therefore the text on which the translation is based is that of the Greek Septuagint (LXX), as it is found in the Greek Menaia. This qualification is important, since the lectionary text often differs quite sharply from that of the critical editions of the LXX and even more sharply from that found in the bilingual edition published by Samuel Bagster and frequently reprinted [i.e., that by Sir Lancelot Brenton, currently printed by Hendrickson]. This is not the place to discuss in detail the relationship between the standard Hebrew, or Masoretic (MT), and the Greek texts of the Old Testament, but is worth noting that the Greek text represents a very ancient version of the Hebrew which predates the Masoretic text by several centuries. In places where the Greek and Hebrew differ, it cannot automatically be assumed that the Hebrew has the better reading. Moreover, the text is a living text and reflects the living tradition of both Jews and Christians. (emphases and brackets mine)

Unless those involved in the various projects aimed at producing an English translation of the Greek Old Testament take this to heart, I hope we don’t rush to use their finished products, without critical examination, in the public worship of the Church.

[UPDATE: I’m glad to report that both the Eastern Orthodox Bible and the Orthodox Study Bible translate at least the verse here discussed according to the ecclesiastical text. One hopes that this is true across the board for each translation, but that remains to be seen.]

Saturday à Machen: The Meaning of Conversion

“Paul’s conversion shows that Christianity is a supernatural thing. Up to the conversion Paul’s life had been a natural development, but the conversion itself was a sudden blaze of glory. It is very much the same with all of us. True, the form of Christ’s appearing is very diverse. We do not see him with the bodily eye. We do not, like Paul, become witnesses to the resurrection. Many of us do not know when we first saw him. It is a great mistake to demand from every man that he shall be able, like Paul, to give day and hour of his conversion. Many men, it is true, still have such a definite experience. It is not pathological. It may result in glorious Christian lives. But it is not universal, and it should not be induced by tactless methods. The children of Christian homes often seem to grow up into the love of Christ. When they decide to unite themselves definitely with the Church, the decision need not necessarily come with anguish of soul. It may simply be the culmination of a God-enriched childhood, a recognition of what God has already done rather than the acquisition of something new.”

(J. Gresham Machen, The New Testament: An Introduction to its Literature and History [Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1990], page 82.)

And a supplementary anecdote from Father Georges Florovsky’s time at Princeton:

“In the course of a certain lecture, a seminary student—frustrated, I suspect, at the philosophical depth of Father Georges Florovsky’s discussion of a certain Patristic point (in fact, he was, as I recall, discussing Origen)—raised his hand and rather boldly asked, ‘What does all of this have to do with accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?’ There was a long pause, after which Father Georges, with a piercing glance, looked up at the student and said, with the frail voice that in those days betrayed his advanced age: ‘Young man, I was converted to Jesus Christ, not to Protestant Evangelical piety’. He then continued his lecture, without another comment. He no doubt thought that the matter was closed; his clumsy student, no doubt, understood nothing of what Father Georges had said.”

(From Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, Person and Personality in Orthodox Teaching: Concerning the Concept of a “Personal Lord and Savior” [Orthodox Tradition, Vol. XVII, Nos. 2 & 3 (2000), pp. 28-34]; emphasis mine.)

Paul Simon on Charlie Rose

Last June, Charlie Rose interviewed Paul Simon on the occasion of his being awarded the first ever Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress. In spite of Charlie Rose’s irritating interruptions, his bad habit of putting words in the mouth of his guests, and his glib appeal to the insufferable Christopher Hitchens, it was fascinating to hear Paul (who is, hands down, the best singer/songwriter who has ever lived) reflect for so long on the creative process of songwriting, which appears to have come full circle for him. The full interview runs for 47 minutes (with a montage of excerpts from a handful of songs at the beginning), and then Paul performs Slip Slidin’ Away at the end. Enjoy!

(To all those Bono-obsessed emergent types out there, clearly you have missed the boat. Paul Simon’s where it’s at! :-)

In Which I Award Theological Schools On Account of Their Finest Offerings

As is my custom, I’ve been reviewing academic catalogs and admissions literature from a great many theological schools across the United States, which is, generally speaking, a most pleasant endeavor. Every so often, however, I encounter one thing or another that makes my blissful stroll through these printed materials come to a screeching halt. So grandiose are these derailers that I decided to officially proclaim awards to the chiefest of them, and thus to share them with all of you, my gentle snowflakes. Enjoy!

The Award to the Most Asinine Name for a Course goes to the Moravian Theological Seminary (Bethlehem, PA) for their course SEBO 943: Baby Can You Dig It? Archaeology and the Hebrew Bible (also here). Surely no further comment is needed. No, wait, let me say this: how do you suppose that looks in a transcript? Better not be planning to go on to grad school! Which is odd, because this is exactly the type of course that someone wanting to go on to, say, doctoral study in Old Testament would want to take. Oh, but maybe whoever named this course believes the OT teaching market to be tragically saturated, and is doing all they can to save poor, unsuspecting seminarians from a life of misery by ruining their chances of getting into Harvard. Sigh. Such admirable commitment to student welfare!

The Award to the Most Pathetic Promotional Piece goes to Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI) for their Ever Wonder What People Think of You? brochure. Well, do you? “We did,” say they, “so we asked! Here’s what he heard…” There follow 10 blurbs about the seminary, 8 of which were written by faculty members. Maybe it’s just me, but I had the impression that asking others what they think of you means asking, well, not yourself, but other people (who, again, are not you). Unless the “we” in question is the Admissions Office as opposed to the Seminary as a whole, in which case each of these well-credentialed Faculty failed to actually answer the question. (Which is entirely possible, given that they all hold earned doctorates.)

The Award to the Course Name Most Likely to Cause a Double-take goes to Drew University Theological School (Madison, NJ) for their course BIBST 178 [EDIT: now BBST 678] The Literature of the Emerging Church. This course, listed under “Advanced Courses on New Testament and Early Christianity,” is actually a “historical and theological study” of the Pauline Epistles considered “deutero” by some (like whoever wrote this course description), the Pastoral Epistles (which apparently are not even deutero-Pauline!), Hebrews, Revelation, and the Apostolic Fathers. To most readers acquainted at any level with current developments in Evangelicalism, however, the name is more likely to suggest that the writings of Brian McLaren and Rob Bell will be the subject of an advanced class in Biblical studies (!!!)and Google agrees.

And of course, I have already announced the Award to the Most Absurdly Po/Mo Theological School in the World.

Saturday à Machen: That Is Enough

“The Christian life is a life of hope. Inwardly we are free, but our freedom is not yet fully realized. We are in danger of losing our hope in the trials or in the mere humdrum of life. To keep it alive, the Apocalypse opens a glorious vision of the future. The vision is presented in symbolical language. It is not intended to help in any calculation of the times and seasons. But it shows the Lamb upon the throne―and that is enough.”

(J. Gresham Machen, The New Testament: An Introduction to its Literature and History [Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1990], page 19.)

More Bible Matters

Yahoo! Groups’ motto, as seen in their login page, is “Connect with a world of people who share your passions.” Boy and girl, do they ever speak the truth without knowing it! But quite apart from any sinister connotations that any given term in that phrase may or may not have, I can certainly appreciate the sentimentwhich is why I’m so glad to have finally set out to explore biblioblogdom, as I noted in a previous post. Since accessible academic libraries are notorious for their absence around here, and since even Borders has abandoned us all (as demonstrated by my recent and outrageously futile TNIV Quest), it has been a bit of a challenge to keep up not only with academic publications and recent issues in Biblical studies, but even with new translations of the Bible and various new editions thereof. (Allow me to note, incidentally, that this is clear proof that the divine Lilliana Ramos Collado was right when she remarked that here in Puerto Rico we seem to think we live in New York, but really live in Timbuktu.) In any case, after a mere few days reading the aforesaid bibliobloggers, I’m already starting to feel up to speed.For instance, it seems that it was just as well that I was unable to find a copy of the TNIV, because Zondervan has scheduled the release of what appears will be a very fine TNIV Reference Bible. (View sample pages here and here.) I note with a great deal of satisfaction that this will be a single-column, black-letter edition, both of which things are decidedly not against my religion. The only drawback seems to be that this will only be published in a bonded leather edition (and as a former Bible salesperson, I can assure you this is not desirable, particularly when coming from Zondervan!). But perhaps given some time they will also make a plain hardcover edition available.

Another interesting project involving the TNIV is an edition released only a couple weeks ago, The Books of the Bible. This obviates all chapter and verse numbers and typesets the text as literature, according to genre. Revolutionary, now isn’t it? (View samples, which include the books of Micah, Ecclesiastes, Philippians and James in full, here.) Another feature that I celebrate is that whole books and multi-book sequences which have been unnaturally and arbitrarily split in the history of Bible translation, transmission and printing (Luke-Acts, Samuel-Kings, Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah) are here printed together as literary units. I am less sure about the order in which the Biblical books are printed, although a certain logic is evident in the arrangement. But I do appreciate the creativity it exhibits: for instance, while it is certainly a bit of a shock for my inner Neo-Griesbachian to see the Gospel of St. Matthew thus displaced, it never occurred to me to read it in conjunction with another “Hebraic” book such as James until I saw the order of books in this edition. I do not find the grouping of Hebrews with Matthew and James acceptable, however, in view of its literary style (a central concern of this edition). It could have been better placed as a lone-standing book immediately after the Luke-Paul grouping. Matthew-James then could have been placed at the very beginning as a witness of the Hebraic character of earliest Palestinian Christian communities, followed by Luke-Paul, Hebrews as just suggested, Mark-Peter, the Gospel and Epistles of John, and the Revelation. (And I swear that any resemblance between this proposed arrangement and my above-named preferred solution to the Synoptic Problem is merely coincidentalthough I’m sure that Dom Orchard would be proud.) The icing on the cake is that the International Bible Society is making this little jewel available for a mere $8.99 plus shipping.

Also, you may remember my recent discovery of the NIV Archaelogical Study Bible at local Wal-Mart, of all places. While browsing Rick Mansfield’s very interesting blog This Lamp, I came across his helpful review of this Bible, which he later revisited. Both posts are very informative (which seems to be a trend in that blog.).

So you see, it may be a long time since I had the Spring Arbor Bible catalog virtually memorized, and Borders may have utterly forsaken us all, but with a little help from the bibliobloggers it won’t be hard to catch up!