I hope you enjoy this little interview with me about “Where Did the Bible Come From?” by Chris Stefanick. It is part of The Search series. It is for a general audience, so expect very introductory material. They did a great job with the lighting and audio here.
I just bought it myself! While the Augustine Institute released the original American edition of the ESV Catholic Edition Bible back in December 2019 under the title, “The Augustine Bible,” no digital edition has been available until now. This week, with the launch of Logos/Verbum 9, the Faithlife company has put out the first digital edition of the ESV Catholic Edition Bible. It will now become my “top Bible” in my prioritization of resources in the Verbum platform.
What is Verbum?
While I love BibleWorks and have been using it for almost fifteen years, this small company shut down a couple summers ago. I hope that one day BibleWorks will return bigger and better! But until the theology of resurrection applies to software, there are two other options for Catholic Bible Students: Accordance and Verbum. Since these programs are big and expensive digital libraries, you have to make a choice early on. Accordance used to be only for Mac users, but now has a PC version, but I’ve never used it. Verbum is the Catholic version of the widely-used Logos Bible Software program. This program has been around for decades and has the biggest digital library of any Bible software. It includes everything from Bible commentaries, Church Fathers, dictionaries, encyclopedias, original language search, papal documents, theology books and on and on. I use it every day and believe that software of this caliber has become indispensable for biblical scholarship.
What to do with the ESV Catholic Edition in Verbum?
I’m so happy that they were able to put the ESV Catholic Edition into production so quickly. Now you can search the text, copy the text, look for details in the text and examine it statistically. I know I’ll be diving in to the deuterocanon, getting stats and publishing them here. But I’ll be so happy to finally use the ESV-CE text as my base text in the electronic format. I can’t quite believe this day has arrived!
Where to Get It
If you want to pick up a digital copy for yourself, it’s only $9.99 right now which is half of what a paperback print Bible costs. Here’s the link: https://verbum.com/product/192293/the-augustine-bible
If you aren’t ready to take the Verbum plunge yet, that’s not a problem, you can get a free basic version of the software to run the translation here: https://verbum.com/product/168882/verbum-8-basic
On Friday, I was interviewed by John Burger at Aleteia about the new ESV Catholic Edition Bible. (It’s one of those interviews where they transcribe what you say, so I apologize for any grammatical errors other weird inaccuracies). However, I think it gets the message across. Here’s an excerpt:
The English Standard Version-Catholic Edition pursues a word-for-word translation philosophy. It calls itself an essentially literal translation. The goal is to be as transparent as possible to the original text, while still producing good, solid elegant English in the translation. It’s not the same as reading an interlinear [which has the original language and English side by side], but it’s not pursuing a more loose translation style, often referred to as thought-for-thought style translation or dynamic equivalent. It’s really trying to stick to a word-for-word approach.
You can read the whole interview on their site here:
I’m excited to announce that my talk on the Dark Passages of Scripture was just put out by the Augustine Institute as the CD-of-the-month. Of course, you can download it as an mp3 as well. Not the cheeriest picture, I realize–but I guess it gets the point across!
This talk is based on my book, Light on the Dark Passages of Scripture (OSV). I deal with some of the tough stuff in Sacred Scripture. Passages in the Old Testament can be frightening or strange, certainly difficult to read. I tried to shed some light in the dark corners of the Bible to reveal how to understand the balance of God’s justice and his mercy. I deal with questions about the Canaanite conquest, innocent suffering, hell, and ultimately the Cross. I hope you find it helpful and enjoyable. If you take a listen, I’d love to hear from you if you want to leave a comment on this post.
This new video about the ESV Catholic Edition was just released:
As you can see in the video, a bunch of new ESV Catholic Edition Bibles are available now:
- Bonded Leather in Black, Mahogany, Navy and Burgundy with gold edges and ribbon bookmarks
- Hardback in Gray and Navy with ribbon bookmarks
- Paperback in several different covers
It is so encouraging to see this project come together and to see how nicely these volumes came out. I’m just happy to have been a part of it. I think Catholic Bible Students will be very pleased with these.
Today, in a surprise move, Pope Francis issued a new Apostolic Letter about St. Jerome (c. 345-420), whose feast day is today, September 30th. Today marks the 1600th anniversary of his death. The letter is entitled Scripturae sacrae affectus, “Devotion to Sacred Scripture.” Here is a brief summary of the letter:
- Jerome had a “living and tender love” for Scripture as a “scholar, translator and exegete.” He was committed to ardent, even impetuous, defense of Christian doctrine, but was also a great ascetic, hermit and “sensitive spiritual guide.”
- While originally a great student and lover of classical Latin literature—“an insatiable reader of the Latin classics”—he thought of Scripture as “uncouth and ungrammatical.” However, he eventually experienced a profound conversion and devoted the rest of his life to the study of Scripture for “the greater service of God and the ecclesial community.”
- His spiritual journey followed a winding course from rhetoric study in Rome to the life of a monk in Gaul, to the deserts of Syria as a hermit and then back to Rome as a priest, and finally to Bethlehem as a lifelong pilgrim.
- In the desert, he encountered God and engaged in “contemplation, interior trials and spiritual combat.”
- He was characterized by a “stubborn will to learn” and became an “exegete, teacher and spiritual guide,” motivated to defend the faith and Scripture.
- Pope Francis puts it beautifully: “Jerome saw his studies not as a pleasant pastime and an end unto itself, but rather as a spiritual exercise and a means of drawing closer to God.”
- He provides some wonderful quotes from Jerome:
- “I have the habit of asking questions.”
- “The Bible was written by the People of God for the People of God.”
- Jerome thinks of himself as “an ancient mariner, the survivor of several shipwrecks, attempting to teach a young sailor.”
- “Read the Scriptures constantly; never let the sacred volume fall from your hand.”
- Jerome’s life was characterized by two major dimensions:
- “An absolute and austere consecration to God”
- “A commitment to diligent study”
- He is a model for monks and for scholars, inspired by the prophets of old from whom he “drew the inner fire that became a vehement and explosive word, necessary for expressing the burning zeal of one who serve the cause of God.”
- Jerome’s zeal for Scripture was matched by his obedience to the Church and his commitment to communion with Peter’s successor, the Pope.
- He was renown for his competence in biblical languages, careful analysis of the manuscripts, and his knowledge of the history of interpretation.
- Pope Francis insists that every theology faculty should teach the interpretation of Scripture and that every Catholic family should read Scripture prayerfully, inspired by the Pope’s new “Sunday of the Word of God.”
- He lauds Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation of Sacred Scripture as a bridge-building gift to the Latin Church, which should encourage modern translators of Scripture.
- The Pope says “For him, study was not limited to the years of his youthful training, but a continual commitment, a daily priority.”
The Letter is a beautiful summation of Jerome’s life and work, a call to love what he loved—namely Sacred Scripture. It is a clarion call to prayerful and diligent reading and study of the Bible for all Christians. What a great tribute to the great Doctor of the Church! Happy Feast Day, St. Jerome!
I just wanted to give you a few links here on a few recent things I’ve been involved with:
First, I did a Q&A Interview over at the Catholic Bible Talk blog about the ESV Catholic Edition. Here’s an excerpt:
A: The Translation Oversight Committee of the ESV has been very attentive to scholars’ and leaders’ concerns and suggestions, issuing a few lists of changes over the years since the first publication of the ESV in 2001. As long as Crossway continues to gather this committee, there is always the possibility for minor tweaks to the text. I would imagine the primary area where Catholic input would improve the translation is in the deuterocanonical books. I think it is important that the ESV text be regarded as stable, so I do not think we’ll see a major revision, but minor corrections and improvements. I think Catholics and Protestants will be pleasantly surprised by the common ground they share when they study this translation together.
Second, I appeared on Catholic Answers radio show a couple weeks ago:
Third, I’ve also appeared on the Formed Now! show at the Augustine Institute a few times recently (sorry! paywall):
- St. Teresa of Calcutta (September 4, 2020)
- 15 Years of the Augustine Institute
- Jesus and the Psalms (July 7, 2020)
- The ESV Translation (May 20, 2020)
- The Story of the Old Testament (June 25, 2020)
Fourth, I put together a Short Course on the Old Testament, which is housed in the Augustine Institute Short Course platform. The link to my particular course is here: https://courses.augustineinstitute.org/courses/old-testament
Fifth, I have had a few posts go up at Faith and Culture, the Augustine Institute’s journal:
It looks like I’ve been busier than I thought I was. I have a lot of other things cooking right now, but nothing ready to serve up just yet. I hope to have some more things to share with you in the not-too-distant future. Until then, happy Bible reading!
During these strange times, priests are getting creative. My pastor, Fr. Brian Larkin, brought me in to the rectory for a video interview on his YouTube channel. Check it out:
- I was just interviewed, along with Tim Gray, president of the Augustine Institute, by National Catholic Register regarding the new ESV-CE Augustine Bible. We get deep into the details about the origin and style of the new translation. Check it out: https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/augustine-institute-publishes-major-new-catholic-bible Here’s an excerpt:
Giszczak: A lot of Bible translations pursue a philosophy of “dynamic equivalence” or “thought for thought” style translation, which produces perhaps a very readable text, but not a very exact one. And the ESV takes the opposite approach of what they refer to as an essentially literal translation. The ESV is really trying to be as transparent as possible to original languages, and provide a word for word style translation rather than thought for thought style translation. And so it allows people who are studying Scripture, they get that much closer to the meaning in the original language, because they can trust what they’re reading is really what it says. So with the ESV, when you’re studying it or when it’s being preached from, you’ll hear a lot fewer of those phrases that we’re still accustomed to hearing in homilies, “well, what it really says here is.” So often the homilist or the preacher has to correct the translation in order for the people to understand it. But with the ESV, you have to spend less time retranslating in the context of study, and you can spend more time just understanding what’s there on the sacred page.
- The Summer Scripture Conference 2020 at University of St. Mary of the Lake in the Chicago area has been cancelled due to the pandemic. I had mentioned that I was scheduled to speak at it a while back on my blog. But that won’t be happening. This is the year of cancelling everything! However, the organizers have asked me to film my planned lectures to share with their registrants. Once we do that, I’ll post the videos here too to share them with you.
Things I’ve learned from the present Covid-19 pandemic (I think):
- We probably won’t make a vaccine since we’ve never made a coronavirus vaccine before.
- Epidemiological models are more fiction than fact. No one can predict the future, not even a computer. (link)
- We won’t solve the “testing problem.” If we were going to solve it, we would have by now.
- Staying at home probably helped prevent a lot of sickness and death, but we’ll never know since there’s no counterfactual.
- Shutting down surgeries and other procedures at all hospitals all at once was a dumb, ham-handed policy move that left hospitals without revenue, empty, furloughing doctors and nurses, instituting pay cuts. 171 hospitals are doing this at last count (link)
- Work-from-home is white collar privilege, not a comprehensive policy. Asking blue collar workers at grocery stores, meat-packing plants, Amazon warehouses, etc. to risk their lives to save white collar people working at their kitchen tables on laptops is probably the best way to foment class warfare. Oops.
- A pandemic is a national news story, but its effects are deeply local and vary from one place to another at any given time. Closing normal hospital work in California when the first wave is hitting Michigan and New York was not a good idea.
- Politicians are selfish and, well, political. Their goal is to score points and votes, not to fix the problem. Same goes for the media organizations.
- When everyone is terrified, selfish and angry, it’s hard to get good information (and toilet paper).
- Trying to blame a politician or a country for the virus is like trying to blame someone for the weather. The blame game is fun to play, but this thing is literally a force of nature.
- The more “takes” I read on the virus, the economy, how life will never be the same, the less patience I have for them.
- Cancelling everything all at once everywhere makes people unhappy.
- America eats over 500,000 hogs a day, but a pork shortage is likely coming.
- The disease is terrible if you get it. Try not to.
- Even though it seems like it won’t, a pandemic does come to an end eventually.
These are early thoughts, after reading so much and trying to understand what is happening. We will be looking back on the decisions being made right now for the next few years.
Thinking in biblical terms, Solomon’s prayer comes to mind:
“If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemy besieges them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our fathers. (1Ki 8:37-40 ESV)