Tag Archives: News

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.

Announcing My New Commentary on Wisdom of Solomon

Wisdom of Solomon Commentary

Wisdom of Solomon Commentary

I am very happy to announce that my new book is available for pre-order. This commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon is the first volume of the Old Testament series of the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture from Baker Academic.

Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture

The CCSS series has been valuable for teaching and research on the New Testament since the first volume on the Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy came out in 2008. Since that time the CCSS series has offered a total of 17 volumes, covering all the books of the New Testament. Peter Williamson and Mary Healy asked me to join the editorial team for the Old Testament series back in 2019. We have been working hard since then to bring out commentaries that will deliver a serious, scholarly, yet pastoral and accessible Catholic theological reading of the biblical text. We have recruited a great team of authors and are very happy to share this volume as the firstfruits of the OT series. Know that more volumes are coming as we continue writing and editing!

Why Write on Wisdom?

The Wisdom of Solomon is in one of the most overlooked books of the Bible. As a deuterocanonical book, it is not in the Protestant canon and so only Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican scholars (and some Lutherans) would think of it as Scripture. As an Old Testament book, it is an outlier since it was originally written in classical Greek. In terms of Greek, it is an outlier because it uses very rare vocabulary words. In terms of doctrine, it combines Hebrew doctrine with Greek philosophy, so it is not a favored topic of biblical scholars looking for the unique contribution of the Hebrew tradition. In terms of timeline, it is likely the very last book of the Old Testament to be composed. And in terms of resources in English, very little has been published on it. The last full-length English commentary was David Winston’s 1979 Anchor Bible volume (and fortunately, that has been added to by the Italian–and now translated–volume by Luca Mazzinghi in the IECOT series from Kohlhammer Verlag in 2019). I’ve posted before about how few resources are available on Wisdom of Solomon in English. To me, it was important to make a unique contribution that would help people read and understand this valuable book of the Bible. To that end, you might have noticed my name on the Ignatius Study Bible booklet on Wisdom. But this commentary is a much more complete treatment.

What is Wisdom of Solomon About?

The book of Wisdom or “Wisdom of Solomon” is an unusual book. Having read Proverbs and Sirach, you might expect it to be full of one-liner aphorisms, but it’s not. It takes up a different approach to talking about the pursuit of wisdom that is more reminiscent of Ecclesiastes, albeit in a Hellenistic Jewish mode. The author, who lived in Alexandria, attempts to fuse together Jewish appreciation of Torah and salvation history with a Greek philosophical approach to life. He addresses his work to “kings and rulers” and invites his audience to pursue Wisdom. But the book unfolds as a series of exhortations, vignettes, quests and symbolic narratives. The author speaks with the voice of Solomon (at least in chaps. 6-9), but is not actually Solomon, who died centuries earlier. However, the author sees Solomon as representative of an ideal life, of the pursuit of wisdom as the goal of life. By “loving righteousness” and honoring wisdom, one finds the path to God. So Wisdom of Solomon is about the quest for wisdom.

What is the Commentary’s Approach?

If you are familiar with the New Testament volumes of the CCSS series, you’ll know the approach. It is highly focused on the text–presenting the text of each passage with cross-references, Lectionary references and Catechism references. Then each verse or passage is discussed in paragraph form, with many quotations of Wisdom and other biblical passages. We have included Biblical Background sidebars that explain certain topics not directly treated in body text–topics like “The Devil’s Envy,” “Aristobulus,” and “Immortality in the Old Testament.” Also, we have included Living Tradition sidebars that offer quotations from major Christian writers on certain special topics such as “St. Irenaeus on Adam’s Salvation,” St. Augustine on Sevenfold Gifts and Sevenfold Evils.” The commentary includes a glossary of key terms. The hope is to explain the meaning of each passage in the Wisdom of Solomon with clarity, aware of the historical background, the literary techniques the writer is using and the tradition of the Catholic Church. The commentary is addressed to the educated general reader and will be accessible to priests, catechists, theology students, Bible study leaders and avid Bible readers. I hope that readers of the commentary will come to love the Wisdom of Solomon as I have!

Where to Buy

If you are interested in picking up a copy of this new resource, you can find available for pre-order it at these sites:

  1. Baker Academic: https://bakeracademic.com/p/Wisdom-of-Solomon-Mark-Giszczak/542807
  2. Amazon: https://a.co/d/a91Ukha 
  3. Verbum (for the electronic edition): https://verbum.com/product/252803/wisdom-of-solomon

When Will It Arrive?

The book is in production now and is set to be released on February 13, 2024. Perhaps it will make a great Valentine’s Day gift! 🙂

I hope that you will enjoy the book and that it will lead you into a deeper study of the Sacred Page. As we continue to work on the Old Testament series of the CCSS, I am hoping that many people will find these commentaries to be useful, inspiring and enjoyable.

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.

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

The Quest of the King in the Wisdom of Solomon

My new article, “The Quest of the King in the Wisdom of Solomon,” was just published in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, Volume 31, issue 1. I presented an early version of this paper at the 2020 SBL Annual Meeting.

If you want to know what is all about, here is the abstract of the paper:

Historians largely agree that Hellenistic kingship was founded, not primarily on heredity, but on military achievement (MacDonald, 2015). The right to rule was thus militarily meritocratic, but philosophically unsteady, so kings felt the need to propagandize by commissioning writings peri basileias. Diogenes Laertius gives evidence that this type of kingship literature was widely produced in this era, though only fragments of these texts survive. The tracts attributed to Ecphantus, Diotogenes, and Sthenidas, along with the Letter of Aristeas, reveal that Hellenistic kingship was supported by a mythos that viewed obtaining kingship as a kind of moral achievement. The king’s virtues are emphasized as godlike and worthy of imitation by his subjects, as he embodies the law in his person. The Wisdom of Solomon reworks this kingship tradition by “democratizing” kingship (Newman, 2004) to all to call his readers to imitate Solomon’s choice of wisdom over folly. Solomon’s search for and embrace of wisdom (7:7; 8:2) takes the place of militaristic emphases and establishes a universalizable pattern for the moral quest of the individual. Wisdom domesticates a Hellenistic pattern of seeking wisdom and thus achieving kingly rule, which eventually allows one to be a benefactor of others. Wisdom is beneficent (7:23) and, rather than becoming a god, the wise Solomon benefits others with his wise and just rule (Wis 8:10–15; 9:12). Even the wise Israelites become benefactors to others (19:14). Thus, the quest of the king for wisdom follows a familiar outline of the journey of a king from obscurity, to conquest, to rule, to beneficence.

If you are interested in reading the whole thing, here is the permanent link to it: https://doi.org/10.1177/09518207211032890

 

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!

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

Interview on ESV Catholic Edition Bible

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:
https://aleteia.org/2020/10/03/new-bible-translation-promises-greater-accuracy/

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.

New ESV Catholic Edition Bibles: Leather, Hardback, Paperback

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

All of these ESV Catholic Edition Bibles are available at CatholicBible.org and at Catholic.Market

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.

Here’s a photo of a bunch of the new Bibles piled up on my desk: