As many of you know, soon after the publication of the English Standard Version in 2001, lively interest arose in various quarters of its target constituencies for an edition of this translation that would include the so-called Old Testament Apocrypha (more commonly known as the Deuterocanonicals among Roman Catholics, and as the Anaginoskomena among the Orthodox). For quite some time the publishers were at the very least hesitant to entertain this possibility. Demand for such an edition must have been great, however, since in the end they worked out a compromise that allowed the Oxford University Press to commission and publish under their own imprint an edition of the ESV with the Apocrypha. This, in turn allowed Crossway to disassociate themselves from the publication of that particular edition, as the following statement from the FAQs section of the ESV website shows:
Crossway will not be publishing the ESV in editions with the Apocrypha. An edition of the ESV with the Apocrypha is being developed by Oxford University Press and is expected to be available in early 2009.
(It should be noted, of course, that this strict Evangelical opposition to publishing Bibles that reflect the larger canons of other Christian traditions is not unique to Crossway; it also stands behind the unyielding decision of Biblica not to allow the publication of an NIV/TNIV Apocrypha. As I have mentioned before, among Evangelical publishers, Tyndale was perhaps the first to show the initiative to produce an edition of the deuterocanonical books of the Roman Catholic canon as part of the NLT Catholic Edition. I am happy to report that, since then, Baker has also published a one-volume edition of these same books as part of GOD’S WORD Translation.)
While OUP’s promotional materials for this edition coldly state that this would be “the only ESV with Apocrypha available anywhere,” it appears that this will not be the case after all. I have recently learned that Concordia Publishing House is hard at work on a study edition of the ESV Apocrypha that will serve as a companion volume to the recently published Lutheran Study Bible. A short description of the project by its editor, Rev. Edward Engelbrecht, may be read here. Surprisingly, this edition will print the text of all of the books of the Anaginoskomena, though it will provide introductions and notes only for those books included by Luther in his German translation of the Bible. The projected publication date is 2012.
While there are a number of study editions of the full Anaginoskomena now available, most of these are critical scholarly editions which, for that very reason, do not seek to relate the contents of these books to the life of any faith community. (As a matter of fact, it seems as though, for all of its many faults, the Orthodox Study Bible features the only annotated edition of these books that programmatically attempts to do this. [UPDATE: It is not: I overlooked the Life with God Bible, which also features faith-oriented annotations to the entire Anaginoskomena.]) Of course, one of the distinctive features of the Lutheran Study Bible is precisely that it seeks to read the Scriptures both confessionally and ecclesiastically, and it will doubtless be fascinating to see how these twin commitments are brought to bear on what by classical Lutheran standards are edifying and even sacred texts—albeit not canonical.