Which Bible?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
I am just starting to discover the catholic religion, so have not been baptised etc. I have a meeting with the priest from my local parish this saturday to discuss - myself, my husband and my baby becoming catholic and how to get baptised. I know there are lots of bibles out there......... which one should I get for starters?
-- jayne (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 27, 2001
AnswersHi, Jayne. Excellent question. You'll want to get the "Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition." (Make sure it's the Catholic Edition, or it will be missing some books.)
When you go in to see the priest, everything will be fine. God bless you!
-- Chris B -- February 27, 2001.Jayne, might I suggest a way to start reading the Bible? Start with the Gospel of John. It's wonderfully rich with beatuful symbols. Then you might read the Gospel of Luke. Then go back into the Old Testament and read Jonah. Then read Isaiah. Then come back into the New Testament and read Paul's letter to the Romans.
Those are some good books to start with. They bring you right into fascinating teachings and stories. Ideally, read the whole Bible eventually, but I just want to offer advice on how to get a good start.
When you sit down to read the Bible, say to Jesus, "Please guide me, Jesus, in understanding your Word."
You will find, the more you read the Bible, a flower of holiness opens up in your soul. You will find certain Bible verses become part of your inner life. Certain words of the Bible will spring into your mind when you least expect it. A light forms inside you. It's the same light that you felt when you said that the Mass was wonderful. That is the presence of the Holy Spirit.
-- Chris B -- February 27, 2001.Dear Jayne, -If you haven't checked your e-mail do it. I've sent you an EBay page, you can bid on a used copy of the exact one I have (one of my best ones). It isn't expensive, and it's a fine Confraternity edition, Douay Version. An absolutely lovely edition!
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), February 27, 2001.Jmj
In response to the question, "Which Bible version should I own?", I have heard a wise man reply, "The one that you will read." In other words, you need to find a Catholic Bible version that is written in language that you can understand and that "sings" to your heart.
Everyone seems to have a favorite, and the choice varies from person to person. I would like to try to help you choose a version to purchase by suggesting that you look at three versions that can be found on the Internet.
The version that Chris recommended -- and which I like best, too -- is available (in a slightly imperfect form) to browse and search online. After you click on this link to the Revised Standard Version, you will see a page on which are listed and linked the following:
1. The 39 Old Testament books that all Christians consider inspired by God.
2. The 27 New Testament books revered by all Christians.
3. A section that is unfortunately labeled "Apocrypha." Among the 18 items listed there, you will find seven Old Testament books that are recognized as divinely inspired by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox (Wisdom of Solomon, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Baruch, Tobit, and Judith), but not by Protestants. When you purchase a Catholic Bible (such as the RSV-Catholic-Edition that Chris recommended), you will find the seven books in their proper place, within the Old Testament section. The RSV is a fairly recent (1940s/50s) translation and is considered both accurate and readable.
A second Catholic Bible version available online is the one that folks who live in the U.S.A. always hear being read at Mass. You can access that version, the "New American Bible," through a link on this page. [The same page also has a link to the readings from the current day's Holy Mass -- as well as a two-month calendar of links, which allow you to look at readings from some days before and after the current day.] The NAB was first published in 1970, with a revised New Testament coming out several years ago.
A third Catholic Bible version available on the Internet is the one that Eugene recommended to you -- the Douay-Rheims Version. Originally published in the 1600s (even before the King James Version), it has been edited/revised many times since then. Eugene recommended the 20th-century "Confraternity Edition." I believe that the edition on the Internet is an earlier one. One version or another of the Douay (which is written in a more poetic style, with older language forms, than the RSV and NAB) was found in most Catholic homes from around 1600 to 1970, and many Catholics still own a copy. One little caution: About a dozen books in the Douay Bible have different names (slightly or very different) from the same books in the RSV and NAB. This could cause you some confusion until you have the differences memorized. Examples (giving the Douay name first) are Apocalypse=Revelation, Osee=Hosea, 1 Paralipomenon=1 Chronicles, Sophonias=Zephaniah, Micheas=Micah.
If I have confused you, Jayne, please put this message of mine completely out of your mind and let the Holy Spirit be your guide. In the Yellow Pages, you can find your nearest Catholic book store -- where you can take a good long look at the available Bible versions before making a choice.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 27, 2001.Hi,
Please tell me more about these 'missing books'. I don't have a copy of the 'apocrypha'. Where do the missing books fit, why were they removed (be truthful but kind!). What does 'apocrypha' mean.
Any answers gratefully recieved since just because I am an anglican does not mean I want to be ignorant of something that may be from God.
-- Sharon (email@example.com), March 13, 2001.Dear Sharon:
I am not totally clear on the "apocrypha," but maybe I can help you out.
I don't know the exact translation of the word apocrypha, but I think that the apocrypha were the books and letters that the Catholics who compiled the Bible did not include as divinely inspired. Then, when Protestants took the seven books out of the Bible, they called them apocrypha, too.
The apocrypha are: Tobit, Judith, 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. I think some of Daniel is missing from the Protestant Bible, too (the story of Susannah and the Elders).
They are all excellent books. Judith and Tobit are written like little novels (kind of like Ruth and Esther). Sirach is a wisdom book and is one of my favorite in the Bible.
My priest told me that Martin Luther took those books out of the Bible because he could not find Hebrew sources for them, only Greek. I am not exactly sure how he got the idea that this meant that they weren't divinely inspired. On an interesting note, the excavations of the twentieth century uncovered ancient Hebrew texts of some of these books.
You can probably find a Catholic Bible at the library. If they don't have one, I am sure a Catholic parish nearby has plenty that you could read (they might even give you one free). The books are very interesting and spiritually enriching. Read and enjoy.
-- Hannah (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 13, 2001.to my knowledge, Hebrew translations of all have been found.
The council of Jamnia, circa AD90 was the Jewish council that fixed the Hebrew canon. the Jews took those books out for their own (for what reasons I am unsure), but the Christians never stopped believing they were inspired, and always held to them. Many years later when the Church "officially" defined the canon (they merely gave their rubber stamp to the books already being used for centuries - they didn't take out or put in any books, contrary to a few legends) all the books that had been upheld by the Apostles, and the early Christians were now officially upheld by the Church.
I'm pretty sure the Jewish council's deletion of those books helped in some way to make them targets for Luther, but I do believe Hannah was right about what he said his reason was.
-- Anthony (email@example.com), March 13, 2001.Jmj
Anthony, you wrote: "The council of Jamnia, circa AD90 was the Jewish council that fixed the Hebrew canon. the Jews took those books out for their own (for what reasons I am unsure)"
I recently heard a well-informed Catholic apologist speaking about this subject. Here are a few of the things he mentioned:
1. There is uncertainty whether or not there really was a Jewish "council of Jamnia." But, however the list of 39 Old Testament books was formed, it was only one of THREE known "Jewish canons." Yes, it could be called a Hebrew canon. But another of the Jewish canons was the Alexandrian canon, the list of books considered divinely inspired by the Greek-speaking Jews of the Mediterranean, especially those around Alexandria, Egypt. This was the canon of 46 books adopted by Christians early in the first millennium. All Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have continued to revere all of these books as inspired since then.
2. The Jewish leaders who assembled the smaller Jewish canon apparently did not respect the seven books as inspired, perhaps because they were thought to have been written in Greek rather than Hebrew.
3. There is internal evidence in the New Testament that its writers used the Alexandrian canon. All (or almost all) of the N.T. was written in Greek, and it contains many quotations from the Alexandrian/Greek texts. It has no quotations from the seven special books, but has some indirect allusions to them.
4. Hannah was right in stating that, when the Catholic bishops first made a judgment about which ancient books were truly inspired by God, they set aside many works (written before and after the time of Jesus) that they called "apocrypha" (Greek for "secrets" or "obscure things"). For this reason, my opinion is that only those "rejected" works should carry that somewhat disreputable tag. Hannah was also right in stating that the label, "apocrypha," was assigned, by certain separated brethren of the 16th century, to the seven books that they decided not to consider divinely inspired. [I believe that they then began to call the actual apocrypha the "pseudepigrapha" (Greek for "false writings").]
5. In order to have a convenient term by which people could refer to the seven special books of the Alexandrian canon, some began to call them the "deuterocanonical" ("second-canon") books. This is the term that Catholics now use for them -- never "apocrypha." Besides the seven full books, the books of Daniel and Esther are longer in their Catholic/Orthodox versions (as used by the Alexandrians).
6. During the past 480 years, the various Protestant communities have had varying degrees of respect for the deuterocanonicals. Some have recommended them as good spiritual reading, but not inspired. Some have included them as an appendix to their Bible translations [e.g., early King James ("Authorized") Versions, some editions of the English Bible, etc.]. Other communities (e.g., some fundamentalists) have excluded them entirely as "heretical papist additions."
7. There is a dispute as to whether Martin Luther handled this subject honestly. He stated that he was dropping the deuterocanonicals because they were not in the contemporary Jewish canon. My impression is that most Catholic scholars believe that this was only a pretext (a convincing excuse) to hide the true reason he wanted to drop them -- namely, that they supported Catholic doctrines and practices that he rejected, especially Purgatory. [I have even heard Scott Hahn state that Luther dropped several New Testament books from one of his first Bible editions (known as the "September Bible"), but was persuaded to restore them in subsequent editions by some of his disciples. (For example, the Epistle of St. James was dropped because it showed that we must have both faith and good works. I believe that the Book of Revelation and the Epistle to the Hebrews were dropped too.) I have not been able to verify this, but I know that Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister and seminary -- now a Catholic college professor -- was for many years an ardent, anti-Catholic admirer of Luther, who studied his former hero intensely.]
St. James, pray for us.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 13, 2001.Every day I pray to God that Pope John Paul II will critically examine the current editions of the NEW AMERICAN BIBLE with the REVISED NEW TESTAMENT and the REVISED PSALMS "authorized by the Board of Trustees of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine" -- and take appropriate action. As Vicar of Christ, he must defend our Catholic faith (before it becomes annhilated.)
Peace be with you,
-- Mrs. Mary Ann McGrath DeGraw (Marydoveofpeace@aol.com), September 22, 2002.Jmj
Don't worry, Mary Ann. The Vatican is well aware of the situation.
In new editions of the New American Bible, the Old Testament (except for the Psalms) remains unchanged from the first edition (published in 1970.)
The NAB's Revised New Testament (from the late 1980s, I think) is generally considered to be a technical improvement over the 1970 translation -- even restoring some of the old customary language that had been dumped in 1970. In my opinion, though, the Revised NT is made awkward-sounding, because it has too much so-called "gender-neutral language."
A few years ago, all parishes were supposed to start using a new Lectionary, in which the NT readings are "adapted" from the Revised NT of the NAB. However:
(1) The new Lectionary's OT readings are the same as before, and ...
(2) The "Revised Psalms" of the new edition of the NAB were completely rejected by the Vatican for liturgical use. They were found to be inaccurate translations, even theologically erroneous, partly because of "political correctness," partly because of "feminist language."
God bless you.
-- (email@example.com), September 22, 2002.
-- The Thread Restorer (Thread@Restoration.com), December 02, 2003
Which Bible Should You Read?
By: Thomas A. Nelson
Which Bible Should You Read? is a short, provocative analysis showing which is the most accurate, safest English translation of the Bible. Not so surprisingly, the Douay-Rheims traditional Catholic version of the Bible emerges from this analysis and comparison as the best, safest, most accurate Bible in English of the ten versions compared.
The booklet can be downloaded here.
-- FGC (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 10, 2003.
The booklet can be downloaded here.
Hope that works.
-- FGC (email@example.com), December 10, 2003.