Tag Archives: Augustine Institute

Announcing My New Book – Suffering: What Every Catholic Should Know

Suffering: What Every Catholic Should Know
Sometimes good things come in twos. I am happy to announce my other new book – Suffering: What Every Catholic Should Know. This book is part of the series from Augustine Institute and Ignatius Press that seeks to educate Catholics with laser focus on particular topics. “What Every Catholic Should Know” means that the book is designed for regular Catholics, not for some group of specialists. It is my hope that this book helps a lot of people think about, pray about and work through their own experiences of suffering.

Why Write a Book about Suffering?

Everybody suffers. There’s no way around it. Life is wonderful, but it can also be terrible. The more you love, the more it hurts. It would be nice if everything were always perfect and comfortable, but we get sick, have problems, struggle with relationships and careers. Cancer, war, debt, depression–I mean, you don’t have to look too far to find examples of suffering. It’s everywhere. There are a lot of books out there about suffering, but it’s a hard topic to write about, so many of the books are too long or too philosophical or tell too many personal stories without getting to the point. I couldn’t find the book I wanted to read out there, so I decided to write it.

What I am trying to do in this book is get at the heart of the question: Why do we suffer and how can we make sense of it if God is all-loving, all-good and all-powerful? And yet, I wanted to hit the topic from multiple angles so that we can get past the abstract stuff to the more practical strategies for living. My experience has been that a little theological thinking about suffering goes a long way. Once we take up the tradition of Christian biblical theology on this topic, we get some new insights, new perspectives, new ways of coping with the most pressing problems. No, this book won’t take away all of your suffering, but it might help a bit.

Table of Contents

Here’s a sneak preview of the Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1     Suffering Is an Experience of Evil
  • Chapter 2     Suffering Disorients Us
  • Chapter 3     Suffering Tests Us
  • Chapter 4     Suffering Saves Us
  • Chapter 5     Does God Suffer?
  • Chapter 6     The Many Forms of Suffering
  • Chapter 7     Suffering Is Personal
  • Chapter 8     Coping with Suffering
  • Chapter 9     Redeeming Suffering
  • Chapter 10     Suffering on Purpose
  • Chapter 11     Preparing for Death
  • Chapter 12     Suffering Transforms Us

Books in the What Every Catholic Should Know Series

  • Being Catholic by Suzie Andres
  • The Bible edited by Tim Gray
  • God by Elizabeth Klein
  • Literature by Joseph Pearce
  • Mercy by Fr. Daniel Moloney
  • Philosophy by Peter Kreeft
  • Salvation by Michael Patrick Barber
  • Suffering by Mark Giszczak

Where to Buy

You can find my new book at a couple different sites:

  1. Catholic Market: https://catholic.market/what-every-catholic-should-know/suffering-what-every-catholic-should-know/
  2. Amazon: https://a.co/d/bOfiVzm

When Will the Book be Released?

The release date for Suffering: What Every Catholic Should Know is set for January 31, 2024.

I hope you enjoy my new book and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. Suffering is such an important topic–one close to heart for all of us.

Talk on Suffering – CD and mp3

Suffering: What Every Catholic Should Know

I am happy to announce the release of my latest audio talk on CD and mp3. It is entitled “Suffering: What Every Catholic Should Know“. It is available from the Augustine Institute for $4.50 for a CD and $3.49 for the mp3 download.

Tonight, June 12, 2023, I will be interviewed about this topic on Catholic Answers Live Radio show. I hope you can tune in to listen live or after the fact.

Suffering is a mystery: an unavoidable reality of human life on earth, which disorients us and tests our souls. It leads us to ask questions about God and his goodness. Though we seek pain relief and comfort, suffering cannot be solved by human effort. Instead, Jesus invites us, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). As we accept his call to self-denial, suffering can become redemptive, conforming us to Christ in his salvific suffering. This talk will explain Catholic teaching on the redemptive value of suffering and show how it can go from feeling useless to transforming us to be like God.

This talk is an appetizer for my forthcoming book, Suffering: What Every Catholic Should Know (Ignatius Press/Augustine Institute, 2023). Look for the book when it comes out later in 2023.

How Many Editions of the ESV Bible Text Are There?

The ESV Bible was originally released by Crossway Books in 2001. This new word-for-word style translation, which was a significant revision of the RSV Bible, has now been adopted by many Christian communities including the Catholic Church in India. Like many translations, the ESV has been released in many different editions. I don’t mean simply hardback, leather and paperback bindings, but that there are actual changes in the biblical text. Over the years, Crossway has published a handful of textual changes and has produced some unusual editions of the ESV for specific audiences—from the English, to the Gideons, to the Catholic Church. In this post, I will list out and explain the editions of the ESV Bible text that have been produced over the years.

 

2001 First Edition of the English Standard Version Bible

The first edition of the ESV Bible was published in 2001 by Crossway. It was hoped that this new revision of the RSV would replace the KJV, the NRSV and compete with the NIV in the evangelical Bible marketplace. Other translations would soon contend for the same turf: the Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004), the TNIV (2005), the NET (2005) and ISV (2011). The ESV was the product of a serious revision process undertaken in 1998–2001, when Crossway’s Translation Oversight Committee (TOC) held its periodic meetings to hammer out the text that would become the ESV. Its translation philosophy was to modernize the RSV text along the lines of an “essentially literal” approach, aiming for maximum transparency to the original language while maintaining elegant English style.

 

2001–2006 Silent Changes to the ESV

The first edition of the ESV was not flawless. In fact, a small number of verses were tweaked after the first edition without any public notification. An example of this phenomenon is in Romans 3:9. Take a look:

  • 2001 First Edition ESV: “For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks are under the power of sin.”
  • Later ESV: “For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks are under sin.”

The RSV had added the word “power” (not in the Greek) to clarify that people were under the spiritual domination of sin, not physically beneath an invisible entity. That went against the ESV’s “essentially literal” translation philosophy and had to be removed. I would imagine this change was brought to the attention of the TOC by readers familiar with the King James, which does not have “the power of.” These silent changes are small and infrequent, but no one has ever compiled a complete list of them. It would take a monumental effort by someone with eyes like a hawk!

 

2007 Brings 360 Changes to the ESV Text

Fortunately, Crossway collected ideas for little edits and changes over the years and kept its Translation Oversight Committee meeting on a periodic basis. By 2007, after pastors, churches, professors and seminaries had six years to examine the translation, the TOC released an official, public list of 360 changes to the ESV text, meant to improve the text and bring it further into accord with the ESV’s stated translation philosophy. These textual changes are small and systematic—the “wizards” in the Old Testament became “necromancers”, “reptiles” became “creeping things” (Rom 1:23), instead of “fighting with” we find Jephthah “fighting against” the Ammonites in Judges 11. Some of the changes involve word order, as in Acts 1:3, which had been “To them he presented himself alive,” but is now “He presented himself alive to them.” It is a phrase here and a word there. These minor changes altered the text of the ESV permanently. You can even view these changes through an automated software tool.

 

2009 ESV with Apocrypha from Oxford University Press

Building on the 2007 ESV Text, Crossway launched a joint publication project with Oxford University Press to bring out the 2009 ESV with Apocrypha. This standalone edition, bound in vermilion hardcover, included the texts of the Deuterocanon, which are in the Catholic Bible:

  • Baruch
  • Bel and the Dragon (=Daniel 14)
  • Greek Esther
  • Judith
  • The Letter of Jeremiah (=Baruch 6)
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees
  • The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men (=Daniel 3)
  • Sirach
  • Susanna (=Daniel 13)
  • Tobit
  • The Wisdom of Solomon.

It also included a handful of other texts that are not part of the Catholic Bible, but are regarded as canonical by certain Orthodox Churches, namely

  • 1 Esdras
  • 2 Esdras
  • 3 Maccabees
  • 4 Maccabees
  • The Prayer of Manasseh
  • Psalm 151

This edition laid the groundwork for the ESV-CE since it brought out the texts necessary to include in a Catholic Bible. The tiny one-page preface written by “The Translation Committee of the Apocryphal Books” credits three scholars (David A. deSilva, Dan McCartney, Bernard A. Taylor) and one editor (David Aiken). It is unclear who else, if anyone, was involved in the publication or on the Committee. The ESV with Apocrypha was initially released in just one format, with no electronic editions that I am aware of. Recently, over the past few years (2019–2021), we have seen new editions of it come out from SPCK and Cambridge University Press.

 

2011 – Another 275 Verses Changed in the ESV Text

In 2011, Crossway released a statement with a new list of changes intended “to correct grammar, improve consistency, or increase precision in meaning.” This list encompassed 275 verses and “less than 500 words.” No more would the Lord be “sorry” that he made man; now he “regretted” it (Gen 6:6). Abraham changes his word order, so he no longer says, “Here am I” but “Here I am.” Now the Apostle John is no longer merely “reclining at table close to” Jesus, but “leaned back against him” (John 21:20). And he asks that the friends be greeted “each by name” now not just “every one of them” (3 John 1:15). These are the kinds of tweaks that scholars love for their precision, but that the typical reader will never even notice.

 

2012 – Anglicised ESV Bible

One of the virtues of the ESV is that it was designed to be in “Standard English.” That meant the Translation Oversight Committee included both Englishmen and Americans. The text of the Bible should not be nationalized, nor should the English language—though many have tried, going back to Noah Webster and his American Dictionary of the English Language (1828). However, it is true that certain spelling conventions have divided the language across the Atlantic—“theater” or “theatre,” “center” or “centre,” and so on. To deal with this problem, Crossway came up with an “Anglicised” (not “Anglicized”) version of the ESV for publication in England that seeks to offer “British spellings for some words.” It was prepared with HarperCollins UK. The “Collins Anglicised ESV Bible” seems to have originally come out in 2012, but I have not found an official release date. All editions now being published in England through SPCK—whether Anglican, Catholic or otherwise have the “Anglicised” label.

 

2013 ESV Gideon Edition With NT Based on Textus Receptus

The Gideons are famous for distributing Bibles, placing them in hotel rooms and promoting the reading of the Bible around the world. While they distribute Bibles in many languages, the Gideons used to exclusively distribute the King James Version in English. Then they switched to the New King James Version (1982), but as of 2013, the Gideons have adopted the English Standard Version. This special edition is very different from the regular ESV Text because it uses a different Greek textual base for the translation. “Huh?” you ask. The regular ESV Bible uses the latest critical edition of the Greek New Testament (now the Nestle-Aland 28th edition), while the ESV Gideon Edition uses the so-called Textus Receptus as its base.

Why? The Textus Receptus was the Greek base text for the King James Version and some Protestants still hold it in high regard. A great example of the difference is Acts 8:37. If you look it up in the regular ESV, you won’t find it! It’s not there! Ok, it is in a footnote. But if you look up Acts 8:37 in the Gideon ESV, you will find this: “And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Though the regular ESV is based on more ancient and more accurate Greek manuscripts than the Textus Receptus, it was startling to some English Bible readers to have verses disappear. The Gideons and Crossway reached a compromise agreement, allowing the Gideons to “restore” verses and phrases present in the King James, but not the ESV. The copyright page even says, “Crossway is pleased to license the ESV Bible text to The Gideons, and to grant permission to The Gideons to include certain alternative readings based on the Textus Receptus.” The Gideon edition is the most dramatically different version of the ESV text compared to all other editions, but also the one you’ll never have to pay for!

 

2016 Permanent Text Edition Changes

In 2016, by this time fifteen years after the original release, Crossway released a final list of changes to the ESV text changing 52 words in 29 verses. The most important change was to Genesis 3:16, which altered God’s speech to Eve from “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” to the more competitive “your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” Both translations are plausible, and the ESV 2016 also changes Gen 4:7 to show the relevance of the change, but with gender issues always being a controversial area, this change did not go unnoticed by critics.

The members of the TOC were aging and the idea of releasing changes on an on-going basis forever seemed implausible. Citing the permanence of the King James Version, Crossway issued the list of changes with a statement that from now on, this would be the “Permanent Text” of the ESV. To me, this strategy seems completely reasonable. Once a book is published, you cannot take it back from readers and rework it, so why keep tweaking a Bible text forever? Weirdly (from my vantage point), Crossway came under attack from certain quarters for issuing a Permanent Text. I really don’t see why anyone would care to stir up controversy over this, but they did. Eventually, responding to critics, Crossway released an additional statement saying that they would be open to “minimal and infrequent” changes to the ESV text.

 

2018 ESV Catholic Edition

In 2018, Crossway published the first edition of the ESV Catholic Edition in combination with the Asian Trading Corporation in India. This edition came to be incorporated in the liturgy in India as part of the 2019 ESV Lectionary approved by the Vatican. The ESV-CE was released by the Augustine Institute in the United States in 2019 as “The Augustine Bible” and it is now under consideration for being adopted in the Lectionary by the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales. If you are interested in learning more about were the ESV came from, its translation philosophy and how it fits in to the landscape of Catholic Bible translations, I have written a whole book about it: Bible Translation and the Making of the ESV Catholic Edition

The List of ESV Bible Text Editions

In sum, then, I think we can say that there are at least ten different text editions of the ESV Bible text:

  1. First Edition ESV (2001)
  2. Silent Changes ESV (2001–2007)
  3. 2007 ESV Bible Text
  4. 2009 ESV with Apocrypha
  5. 2011 ESV Bible Text
  6. 2012 Collins Anglicised ESV Bible
  7. 2013 Gideon Textus Receptus ESV
  8. 2016 Permanent Text Edition
  9. 2018 ESV Catholic Edition
  10. 2019 ESV Catholic Edition, Anglicised

Video: How is the Bible Translated?

Here is a video interview I did with Dr. Ben Akers on Formed Now about how the Bible is translated. We talk about which bishops’ conferences are adopting the ESV Catholic Edition, the way in which Catholic Lectionaries are edited, the Vatican’s translation norms as represented in Liturgiam authenticam, what “essentially literal” translation means, dynamic equivalence, the tradition of English Bible translation, transparency to the original text, Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin birth, the canon of biblical books, Tobit in the Nova Vulgata, the Protestant translators and Catholic reviewers of the ESV-CE. I hope you enjoy the conversation!

How is the Bible Translated? Interview with Mark Giszczak

My New Book: “Bible Translation and the Making of the ESV Catholic Edition” by Mark Giszczak

If you have been following my blog the past few years, you might have guessed that I would be writing something official on the ESV Catholic Edition Bible translation. And now I have! This new book, “Bible Translation and the Making of the ESV Catholic Edition,” tells the story of where the ESV-CE Bible came from and the translation strategies it employs.

When I first heard that the ESV was coming out in India as a Catholic Edition, I was so happy that we would finally have access to this to translation as a fully approved Catholic version. That Protestants are way out ahead of us Catholics when it comes to options in Bible translations. They have so many! In English, we Catholics have only had access to about three families of translations and it is such a relief to get a new translation out.

Where Did the ESV Come From?

But as soon as I started sharing with people about the ESV Catholic Edition, they started asking me questions:

  • Why are there so many Bible translations?
  • What is unique about the ESV-CE?
  • Who translated it?
  • What original texts does it rely on?
  • How is it different from the RSV-CE or other translations?

Since it seemed like I was uniquely situated to respond to these types of questions, as a biblical scholar at the Augustine Institute (the North American publisher of the ESV-CE), I thought I would pen a whole book. So, yes, during the Covid-19 lockdowns which we all remember so clearly, I was reading up and typing away.

Similarity Between Evangelical and Catholic Translation Discussions

My hope was to tell the backstory of the ESV-CE so that people would know where it came from, who translated it and why it was so suitable for adoption by English-speaking Catholic countries. What I found as I researched and read surprised me. It seemed like discussions and controversies that Protestants (specifically, evangelical Protestants) were having about Bible translation mapped on to the debates about translation taking place in Catholic bishops’ conferences around the world. Indeed, it seems the bishops are always talking about how to translate the Bible, the liturgy and even the Catechism.

What is in the Book?

In this book, I cover the conversations that preceded the ESV project and the promulgation of the Vatican document on translation, Liturgiam authenticam (2001). The meeting of the minds represented by the ESV translation philosophy and the Vatican’s own translation norms is remarkable. To get a sense of the topics that I cover in the book, here is the Table of Contents:

Part I – Origins

Chapter 1 – Why Another Translation?
Chapter 2 – The Catholic Lectionary Problem
Chapter 3 – The King of Bibles and the Toil of Revision
Chapter 4 – Catholic Battles in the Inclusive Language Debate
Chapter 5 – Evangelical Battles in the Inclusive Language Debate
Chapter 6 – How the ESV Came to Be

Part II – Translation

Chapter 7 – Which Text Is Really the Bible?
Chapter 8 – The Case for Essentially Literal Translation
Chapter 9 – A Christian Translation by Design
Chapter 10 – A Christ-Centered Answer to the Inclusive Language Wars
Chapter 11 – Can Evangelicals Produce a Trustworthy Catholic Translation?
Chapter 12 – The Origin and Destiny of the ESV-CE

I hope that gives you a good idea of what I am up to in the book. If you are interested in taking a closer look, you can get the book from catholic.market

My New Talk on Leviticus

The Book of Leviticus has always puzzled Bible readers. We come looking for inspiration, prayer and hope amid the challenges of life in the Valley of Tears, but instead we find rules about sacrifices, priestly garb, foods to avoid, skin diseases and other topics that seem like mere relics from the ancient past. Yet Leviticus is not just about rules and ritual purity. It is about the holiness of God. It shows us how holy He is and how he calls each one of us to be holy. In fact, to me, Leviticus is the Old Testament version of “the universal call to holiness” famously proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council. In fact, that’s exactly it: “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” (Lev 19:2 ESV). God is holy, that is, “set apart” from us. He’s different, other, separate from our sinfulness and selfishness. He wants us to leave behind the petty desires of the world and become truly holy like Him.

If you want to learn more about Leviticus, check out my new Lighthouse Talk on mp3 and CD from the Augustine Institute: “Leviticus Explained”. I hope you enjoy it!

New Short Course On Wisdom Literature

Today, the Augustine Institute released my new short course on Wisdom Literature. In it, I teach 30 minute video sessions on Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Sirach and Wisdom of Solomon. This non-credit video course is available as a standalone for $59 and also as part of the monthly short course subscription of $23/month.

The course is available here: https://courses.augustineinstitute.org/courses/wisdom-literature

The short course program from the Augustine Institute is an easy way to encounter new ideas very quickly. The courses vary in length, but tend to consist of six or more 30-minute video lectures, accompanied by quizzes, links and other material. Right now, we have about twenty courses available and we add a new one every month.

It’s worth mentioning that I also teach the first course in the Short Course curriculum, “The Story of the Old Testament.” You can find that one here: https://courses.augustineinstitute.org/courses/old-testament

I hope you have a chance to check out these courses and the others. I hope that you’ll enjoy them! If you have suggestions for future short courses I should teach, put them in the comments on this post.

ESV Catholic Edition Bible Now Available on Verbum

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

New CD/mp3 Talk on the Dark Passages of Scripture

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.

Interviews on ESV-CE and Catholic Answers, links

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):

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!