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!

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6 responses to “More Bible Matters

  1. I used to have a Bible called the Common Bible (RSV), but it was stolen.

    I liked your profile, now that Blogger lets us search interests again, and we seem to agree that political liberalism goes with theological conservatism and vice versa.

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  2. Greetings! You know, I recognize your picture from LJ. You and my friend Lisa are both somehow associated to Father Anatoly and the Klin parish, if I recall correctly.

    What a shame that your “Common Bible” was stolen! I would not mind having the old RSV with the entire text of the deuterocanonicals (including all those in the LXX and the Slavonic Bible) such as it was printed in that edition. But I do have them all available in a single volume in the NRSV.

    As for liberal politics, I never cease to be baffled by people who believe them antithetical to the strictest doctrinal orthodoxy, and like you, refuse to be buliied into any such ideological constrictions.

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  3. I picked up a shrinkwrapped paperback RSV (w/ Apocrypha) at Baker Book House yesterday for $10. BBH does have TNIVs as well. If nothing else, you can check them out when you next visit Grand Rapids.

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  4. How interesting, Thor! Would you mind giving me the ISBN on that, to check it out? One the one hand it seems that the NCC discourages the printing and distribution of the old RSV, and yet interesting formats of it keep showing up here and there.

    This is also reminds me that I’ve been meaning to e-mail you about the TNIV, but never got around to it. I ordered a copy of the basic text edition at Borders about three weeks, but as I expected, it hasn’t arrived (if they even placed the order). I do know they have at Baker, and what IRKS ME is that I’ve had it in my hands before, but always thought I’d get it later–but when I finally decide to get it, then I can’t! :-)

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  5. This particular RSV’s ISBN is 0-19-528820-3. (C) 2002 by Oxford University Press. BBH had another copy in the used section, sans shrinkwrap, for $8, but that could be gone by now.

    I’m rather liking BBH, as I can find some interesting books in their used section. The addition of an “Eastern Orthodox” section (all two shelves worth) is rather nice of them too. I do wish Orthodox books had more of a presence in Grand Rapids, rather than being largely accessible only on the internet.

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  6. Thanks for that, Thor! This looks like something I might recommend to some people I know, particularly on account of the full deuterocanonicals (i.e., all those in the Septuagint). I myself have the RSV, Catholic Edition, which I like very much.

    And of course, Baker is an excellent store in every way. The Eastern Orthodox section was actually already there when I started working at Baker, but it was tagged Eastern Orthodox/Roman Catholic. I separated them, and created a third, Early Christian Writers, for Patristic texts and such. When I left in 2001 this was all undone: EO/RC were combined again, the ECW was merged with it and with Christian Classics. But when my main man Louis came to the Kentwood store, he took over the section and straightened things out again! (He’s a great guy, and has an MA in Church History from TEDS.) So whenever you stop at Baker again, make a point to find Louis, and tell him you’re my friend and are interested in Orthodox books. He’ll help you out!

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