Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
If interested, I wanted to share this watershed moment of Christianity with all of you (something I have waited for most of my adult life): The Publication of the first translation of the Orthodox Septuagint into modern English along with notes illuminating the ancient Orthodox Faith.
Some highlights of this Bible for me, as an Armenian Orthodox Christian, are:
1. The numbering of the Psalms reflect the ancient Tradition of the Universal Church, as maintained traditionally by the Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Slavic and other ancient Churches.
2. The fuller Old Testament Canon including the book of 3 Maccabees, 1 & 2 Ezra, the Prayer of Manasseh and the 151st Psalm (which appear in ancient and modern Armenian Church Canons). These books are not placed in an ostracized section (as in some Bibles), but in a Traditional, Canonical order reflecting their respective genre and meaning.
3. The removal of a paragraph in the original Orthodox Study Bible (OSB) New Testament which called into question the Orthodoxy of the Oriental Orthodox Communion (including the Coptic, Syriac, Armenian and Indian Churches). The OSB is now truly meant for the use of ALL ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS, and can even be very helpful for Eastern and Latin Catholics.
4. The Septuagint (abbreviated LXX) was translated by Jews 200 years before Christ, roughly 600 years before St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate and 1000 years before the Hebrew Masoretic Text -the text which serves as the basis for ALL modern English Old Testament Translations whether Catholic or Protestant. The Christological prophesies which are lost (or disorted) in the Masoretic are fully evident in the LXX. This was the primary Old Testament of the great Fathers of the Church.
5. Numerous notes from ancient Christian Fathers of the Church who's works were among the first to be translated into Armenian by our Holy Translators -following that of the Holy Scriptures (see the list of them below).
6. Not only is the Septuagint the primary Text used by our Holy Translators Sahag and Mesrob to make the Armenian Version known as the "Queen of All Translations," but it was THE OLD TESTAMENT text used by the Apostles themselves as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the New Testament. WHAT MORE COULD WE ASK FOR IN AN ENGLISH OLD TESTAMENT TRANSLATION???
7. Based on the above this translation has the potential to become THE OFFICIAL ENGLISH translation of the Orthodox Church of Armenia in the U.S. and other English speaking countries.
Trusting in Christ's Inextinguishable Light
Sdn. Lazarus W. Der-Ghazarian
The OSB can be purchased on-line at: http://orthodoxstudybible.com/
***Background on the Saint Athanasius Academy Septuagint (SAAS) and the Orthodox Study Bible from the editors:
THE FIRST EVER Orthodox Study Bible presents the Bible of the early Church and the Church of the early Bible. Believers of the Orthodox Christian faith now have a clear and compelling study resource enabling them to delve into the riches of Holy Scripture. Prepared by a pan-Orthodox team of scholars and pastors, the Orthodox Study Bile brings to one volume the words of Scripture and the understanding of those words form the earliest days of the Christian era. More importantly, the Bible is a treasury of Christian commentary for all Christians of the twenty-first century.
The great voices of the historic Church were such luminaries as Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons, Hippolytus, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Nicholas of Myra, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, John Cassian, John of Damascus, and Maximos the Confessor. Grounded in the Scriptures and inspired by the Holy Spirit, these and numerous others like them were the teachers, preachers, pastors and defenders of the Truth of Christianity in the first millennium of Christian history. These were the voice of early Christianity, the leaders of the Orthodox Church.
The Orthodox Christian faith is the face of the ancient Church to the modern world and is the second largest body of Christians in the world. In this first of its kind study Bible, you'll find commentary from the ancient Christian perspective, with sources seldom cited in contemporary study Bibles, sources that shine with heavenly insight. The OSB was prepared to make this treasury of biblical commentary available to Orthodox believers. And abundance of additional helps and articles is provided to encourage Christians to become people of informed faith and people of prayer.
But this bible is not just for Orthodox Christians. Countless otters will find the OSB an invaluable road map for their spiritual journey. Those exploring Christianity for the first time and those Christians wanting to discover their own spiritual roots will see this Bible as a source of inspiration and challenge.
Features include: Old Testament from the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint with Deuterocanon (SAAS); New Testament from the New King James Version (NKJV); Insightful commentary drawn from the Christian writers and teachers of the first ten centuries after Christ; Introduction and outline to each book of the Bible; Helpful notes relating Scripture to seasons of Christian feasting and fasting; And exhaustive subject index to the study notes to facilitate Bible Study; Lectionary to guide your bible reading through the Church year; Morning and Evening prayers; Supplemental Bible Study articles such as: Overview of the Books of the Bible; The bible God's Revelation of Man; How to Read the Bible; Saints of the Old Testament; the Sermon on the Mount; Christology; Beautiful full color icons;
The last decade of the twentieth century saw an historic event. In 1993, the Orthodox Study Bible : New Testament and Psalms was released, the first English Bible with study material reflecting how the early Christians interpreted and applied the Bible to their lives. Christians from both the Eastern and Western traditions found a source of Bible study that provided light for their spiritual journeys. English-speaking Orthodox Christians -whether converts for from Greek, Russian, Arab, Serbian, Bulgarian, Coptic, Armenian or any other Eastern Orthodox parentage -found the biblical roots of their faith in words fresh and powerful. Christians from non-Orthodox traditions glimpsed a faith experience that rang true and enriched their won Christian experience.
The necessity of answering popular demand pressed upon the editors of the New Testament edition the task of preparing an edition of the Orthodox Study Bible with both the Old and New Testaments. So they undertook the task of preparing a biblical text suitable for the purpose. The decision was made that the notes and commentary which address the biblical text would emphasize the major themes of the Christian faith.
Thus, the notes give primary attention to:
1. The Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
2. The Incarnation : the Divine Son of God becoming Man
3. The Centrality of the Church, the "dwelling place of God in the Spirit" (Eph 2:22)
4. The Virtues: God's call to His people to live righteous and holy lives in Christ.
To attain these goals, specific attention was given to the biblical interpretations of the Fathers of the ancient and undivided Church, and to the consensus of the Seven Ecumenical or Church-wide Councils of Christendom, held from the fourth to eighth centuries. Other helps were added to provide the Bible reader every opportunity to employ the Bible not only in study, but also in contemplative Bible reading and prayer.
The prayer of the editors and contributors of The Orthodox Study Bible is that it presents an understandable Bible text and commentary to (1) English-speaking Orthodox Christians the world over and to (2) non-Orthodox readers interested in learning more about the faith of the historic Orthodox Church.
"At last! A study Bible that integrates the Old Testament with the worshipping life of the Church Among the several approaches to the biblical text which Orthodoxy has manifested and permitted over the centuries literal, symbolic or a mix of both this one follows the more symbolic tradition. It's the only resource I know of that relates the Old Testament to the theology, liturgy, lectionary and Fathers of Christian antiquity. Christians of all back grounds -Orthodox, Catholic and Protestants- will see Christ as the key that unites the whole of Christian tradition through an integrated understand of its parts." -Bradley Nassif, Professor Biblical and Theological Studies, North Park University (Chicago).