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Author Topic: what Bible should I get?  (Read 1597 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: November 28, 2010, 04:39:34 PM »

so, at Bible Study last week, we all laughed our butts off.  this is because my dad read from a "paraphrased" Catholic edition of the Bible.  he's quite new to Orthodoxy.  Father said it described a scene that should be in a graphic novel.    well, instead of just getting him a book of the Apocrypha for Christmas, I'd like to get him a brand new Bible that includes this.  I am searching on Amazon, and was wondering about this Bible:
 http://www.amazon.com/English-Standard-Version-Bible-Apocrypha/dp/0195289102/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290975155&sr=1-1 

it doesn't say "Orthodox Bible" or anything, but then I remember that it was originally the Orthodox who decided what books were to be the canonical gospels in the first place, therefor the Bible is Orthodox. 

do you think this would be OK?  my priest told me to get him an OSB (which I LOVE), but I'm afraid I can't afford it, being $50 at my Church's bookstore.  he also said I might get lucky on Amazon, which I might have.

so, priests and biblically knowledgeable Orthodox laity, what do you think of this Bible, is it OK?  my priest told me to stay away from the NRSV, and this doesn't look like it.  or...should I ask my priest for an IOU, for the OSB?

(forgive me if there are misspellings, my chihuahua smells the incense on me from liturgy, and is going nutts, bouncing around allover me, occasionally my keyboard)
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2010, 05:19:01 PM »

I just posted about this on my blog, both about the canons and translations of various Bibles with the Apocrypha. You can read it at The Text of the Orthodox Bible and The Canon of the Holy Bible. Although you might disagree since you said you loved the NKJV/OSB.  Shocked

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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2010, 05:39:57 PM »

Looks like there are a bunch of OSBs on eBay.
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2010, 05:56:40 PM »

I personally like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Standard-Expanded-Hardcover/dp/0195283481/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290981242&sr=1-1

If you want the Bible for the actual content and not worried about what the Bible looks like, then just buy a used one.  Can't go wrong for $8.21. 
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2010, 06:00:09 PM »

I personally like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Standard-Expanded-Hardcover/dp/0195283481/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290981242&sr=1-1

If you want the Bible for the actual content and not worried about what the Bible looks like, then just buy a used one.  Can't go wrong for $8.21. 

yes, that's the one my priest uses.  I think I'll go with that one.
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2010, 11:00:24 AM »

I personally like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Standard-Expanded-Hardcover/dp/0195283481/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290981242&sr=1-1

If you want the Bible for the actual content and not worried about what the Bible looks like, then just buy a used one.  Can't go wrong for $8.21. 

This version. It is great. But for more "devotional" reading and less Biblical "study", I use the following:

http://www.amazon.com/NKJV-Single-Column-Bible-Thomas-Nelson/dp/1418542539/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291128859&sr=1-2

It is the NKJV, I like the use of language more than the RSV. It is single columned, paragraphed, and given decent titles for the various parts of each book. There are no commentaries or chain references, but simply references for verses which are quotes or paraphrases of others. And has a plastic which stands up to the abuse it has to take dragging it with me everywhere and it is cheap. Good version (what most would call a translation) in a very readable form.

No "Apocrypha", but my 99% of my daily reading cycles throughout the NT, primarily the Gospels, the Psalms, and just begins to touch the OT.

If you have both, for true study, you have two versions to compare from the same language history and one Bible with excellent commentary and notes.

FWIW.
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2010, 11:43:58 AM »

Fr. Thomas Hopko just did a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio about this very subject.

Link: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/english_translations_of_the_bible

His favorite, stated in the podcast, is the Oxford Annotated RSV w/ Apocrypha...already suggested above. But, he does provide some basic guides and comparison of translations that you might find helpful, not only in determining which Bible to purchase for your dad, but also simply for your own personal knowledge.
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2010, 12:47:11 PM »

Every translation has its good points and bad points. Get a parallel Bible.
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2010, 02:14:01 PM »

I have an ESV copy, and here's a cursory listing of pros & cons from my perspective.

Pros:
-It's a very thoroughly researched translation. It should have adequate footnotes
-It doesn't contain any of the notable issues contained in the RSV, such as Isa 7:14 (refers to a "virgin" not a "young woman").
-I read (on this site) that it is only around a 6% variation from the RSV, which is otherwise a respected translation. The changes to the ESV seem to be far better than the changes made for the NRSV.

Cons:
-The wording has been modernized too much for my personal liking. Your father may or may not appreciate this.  For instance, the Lord's prayer begins, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
-The ESV has a reputation of being an "Evangelical" translation, but I'm not entirely sure how deserved this is, or even what it means. The contributors, while not Orthodox, appear to be from mostly respected institutions, e.g. Oxford, Cambridge, Trinity, etc, and not The Right and Righteous Reverend Dan's Holy Evangelical Praise Tabernacle of the Textured Grip Latter Day Triple-Hops Brewed Adventists.

As others have stated, there are problems with all translations, but you could do a lot worse than the ESV.

Edit to Add: If price was the factor for not getting the OSB for your father, it's about the same (on Amazon or ebay) as the New Oxford Annotated RSV with Apocrypha. I'm not endorsing one over the other, I just wanted to point that out.
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2010, 02:24:50 PM »

Actually, any of the major translations are good.  It would seem best to use the one your parish uses.  I remember writing in my godchild's prayerbook:  "A prayerbook is only good when its used."   So any translation is fine with me, if you read it faithfully.
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2010, 03:13:45 PM »

Not to nit-pick, well yes, to nit-pick. We are not talking translations here, we are talking versions.

There are many versions of the translation of the "Bible" (which differs in content depending on who you ask) into English. Hence all those Vs at the end of all those initialisms rather than Ts for translation.

There are versions of translation of the Bible into German, French, etc.

Now to get really nit-picky as a rejoinder to me, you could say Biblex and Bibley are different translations if they are using significantly different sources they are translating (relying solely on the Septuagint for the OT for example).

Some versions are dynamic, literal, paraphrases, etc. But they are all a translation into English not translations into English.

FWIW.
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2010, 03:15:38 PM »

Fr. Thomas Hopko just did a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio about this very subject.

Link: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/english_translations_of_the_bible

His favorite, stated in the podcast, is the Oxford Annotated RSV w/ Apocrypha...already suggested above. But, he does provide some basic guides and comparison of translations that you might find helpful, not only in determining which Bible to purchase for your dad, but also simply for your own personal knowledge.

An excellent podcast. As are the couple others regarding reading the Bible. Fr. Hopko is always thought provoking, accessible, and challenging. The consistent quality in his numerous podcast is staggering.
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2010, 04:22:52 PM »

Not to nit-pick, well yes, to nit-pick. We are not talking translations here, we are talking versions.

There are many versions of the translation of the "Bible" (which differs in content depending on who you ask) into English. Hence all those Vs at the end of all those initialisms rather than Ts for translation.

There are versions of translation of the Bible into German, French, etc.

Now to get really nit-picky as a rejoinder to me, you could say Biblex and Bibley are different translations if they are using significantly different sources they are translating (relying solely on the Septuagint for the OT for example).

Some versions are dynamic, literal, paraphrases, etc. But they are all a translation into English not translations into English.

FWIW.

Point taken. Thank you.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2010, 04:40:41 PM »

We are not talking translations here, we are talking versions.

You're right, and I mistakenly used the term translation as well.  Still, translation issues do account for some of the variances between versions.  It seems to be a pretty common error, as evidenced by the title of the podcast.  Thanks for pointing it out.

I'll point out that "begs the question" is not the same as "asks the question."   Grin
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2010, 04:59:45 PM »

I have an ESV copy, and here's a cursory listing of pros & cons from my perspective.

Pros:
-It's a very thoroughly researched translation. It should have adequate footnotes
-It doesn't contain any of the notable issues contained in the RSV, such as Isa 7:14 (refers to a "virgin" not a "young woman").
-I read (on this site) that it is only around a 6% variation from the RSV, which is otherwise a respected translation. The changes to the ESV seem to be far better than the changes made for the NRSV.

Cons:
-The wording has been modernized too much for my personal liking. Your father may or may not appreciate this.  For instance, the Lord's prayer begins, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
-The ESV has a reputation of being an "Evangelical" translation, but I'm not entirely sure how deserved this is, or even what it means. The contributors, while not Orthodox, appear to be from mostly respected institutions, e.g. Oxford, Cambridge, Trinity, etc, and not The Right and Righteous Reverend Dan's Holy Evangelical Praise Tabernacle of the Textured Grip Latter Day Triple-Hops Brewed Adventists.

As others have stated, there are problems with all translations, but you could do a lot worse than the ESV.

Edit to Add: If price was the factor for not getting the OSB for your father, it's about the same (on Amazon or ebay) as the New Oxford Annotated RSV with Apocrypha. I'm not endorsing one over the other, I just wanted to point that out.

I won't address all your comments, but they are not entirely accurate. The passage you cite is indeed in most RSV editions rendered as young woman; however, in nearly every one of these editions the alternate reading is given. This is the strength of the version. As to the theological or exegetical importance of such differences, I leave to others.

You can find printings of the RSV (I am nearly certain) where the passage is rendered with virgin and the alternate reading given is young woman. I believe the Roman Catholic Church published a few editions where the received such permission.

The strength of the Oxford RSV and most of the contemporary, critical editions of versions following in the Authorized tradition (KJV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV) is that alternate phrasing and readings are usually given. Of course, you cannot note every nuance, but many of the "sticklers" are there in footnotes.

As Fr. Hopko says, in the large picture of living a committed Christian life, does that snippet of scripture really have much impact on your layperson trying to inform themselves on how to lead a life which informed by the Gospel?

No. And I doubt most committed Orthodox Christians' understanding of Mary is going to hang in the balance based on how that verse is rendered. Overly worrying about such things seems to me to smack of possible sola scripture or worse Fundamentalism.

BTW, the above version of Fr. Hopko's text was a paraphrase by me.  Wink

But what do I know? I barely make through 10 minutes without breaking one of the 10 Commandments much less coming close to anything taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe for others, that stuff is old hat and whether or not Isaiah was speaking of Mary in virtue of her being a young woman or more specifically as a virgin is of preeminence.
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2010, 05:03:06 PM »

We are not talking translations here, we are talking versions.

You're right, and I mistakenly used the term translation as well.  Still, translation issues do account for some of the variances between versions.  It seems to be a pretty common error, as evidenced by the title of the podcast.  Thanks for pointing it out.

I'll point out that "begs the question" is not the same as "asks the question."   Grin


Not being argumentative here, but do I use "begs the question" in that manner? Because you are right and I hate when I catch myself using it in that way. If not only for using incorrectly, but because even if it is commonly understood as "asks the question", it just a silly way of saying so.
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« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2010, 05:06:44 PM »

Edit to Add: If price was the factor for not getting the OSB for your father, it's about the same (on Amazon or ebay) as the New Oxford Annotated RSV with Apocrypha. I'm not endorsing one over the other, I just wanted to point that out.

And I want to add to emphasize this is a study Bible. And if you are getting into the "Apocrypha" there is a bit of page flipping involved as it is treated pretty much like an appendix. It is also heavy and relatively large.
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« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2010, 06:33:31 PM »

The King James Version of the Bible does actually have the Apocrypha of the Old Testament.

However, many modern prints of the KJV, especially by less traditional Protestants, are less likely to have it.

So I recommend getting a printing of the KJV that actually has the Apocrypha.

By the way, the KJV has its problems like many versions, but it is my favorite because I find that the translators tried very hard to make it very close to its source, (eg. including alleged Latin-style expressions) while more modern versions have modernized the language in an attempt to make it more in up to date English.

In fact, though, the older English makes sense, and was made to be closer to the Latin source, rather than more modern ones that have more paraphrasing.

Plus, Orthodox Bibles in English in the passt used generally the KJV. Newer Orthodox Bibles (like Orthodox Study Bible) use more the NKJV.

I still say KJV, with NKJV as a second choice.
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2010, 11:18:19 PM »

Side bar: In my Bible reading, I'm up to the book of 2nd Maccabees. And what is it today?

It's the first night of Chanukah.   Wink   Cheesy

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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2010, 01:12:11 PM »


so, priests and biblically knowledgeable Orthodox laity, what do you think of this Bible, is it OK?  my priest told me to stay away from the NRSV, and this doesn't look like it.  or...should I ask my priest for an IOU, for the OSB?

I'm sorry, but IMO there is nothing at all wrong with NRSV. I know the OCA has some "ban" in it but I've never been able to figure out why. (I've read the decision from 1990 and it still remains unclear to me, some of the objectionable verses are simply accurate renderings of the greek or hebrew, so the problem lies with the text itself, not the translation, I dunno, I've found this whole thing weird personally)

Remember many Churches had the same reaction to the RSV when it was released as well. (Isaiah doesn't say "virgin, but young woman, heresy!!!!!!") The NRSV is a good literal translation, my biggest problem is it's language is a little too "inclusive" at times. Some of it is also sounds so different than any classical rendering that we're used to that it's sometimes hard to follow, especially Liturgically. Some of it sounds, I dunno, a little hokey if you know what I mean? lol! Its not an evil translation though  nor is it a bad one. I'm not comfortable with the whole idea of the Church banning bible translations but that's just me.

As they say the best translation is the one you read. I have an OSB and almost never read the thing. I don't mean to sound harsh, but the notes feel too much like propaganda to me. They don't get into the real meaning and nitty grittiness of the text itself or the cultural/historical socioeconomic history behind a text. Nothing about "2nd Isaiah", or how even conservative scholars figure John 21 is a later edition by the Johaninne community, no commentaries or notations on all the things I personally find interesting in the Bible. It's basically an apologetics study Bible. Which is fine if that's what one likes or feels they need, but it's just not my cup of tea. It's good for an intro to Orthodox interpretation though. The translation of the LXX is quite good, but for $50 you could get a whole library of used bibles from ABE books...Smiley

I actually read the NLT mostly these days. The 2007 edition is a fresh translation and not just an update of the living bible, and it's decent. yeah it has it's problems, but no translation is perfect. All translations are interpretations and so for edification the NLT is my choice. Of course it all depends on what i'm reading. Nothing beats the KJV for Psalm 23, or for Luke's narrative of the birth of Jesus. Gotta be KJV or NKJV in those cases. Smiley For studying I use the old RSV, with about 4 or 5 other versions, study bibles, notes, commentaries etc all open switching back and forth. But just for casual devotional reading, NLT works for me. The NLT actually had a Catholic edition with all the deuterocanonical books, but I'm not sure it's available anymore. if it was I'd get it myself.

There is also always the RSV Catholic edition and 2nd Catholic edition. I don't have one because they too are pricey for a nice leather bound version (I think the paperbacks are pretty reasonable though) but the downside is these tend to monkey with the text using Vulgate readings of certain verses to make it fit with Catholic doctrine. I personally want what the original likely said or meant, even it implies something quite unorthodox to our ears. For that the  RSV is probably the best all around English version, but I don't like thees and thous in references to God the father, which the 2nd Catholic edition changes to modern usage. It is really just preference though. Almost no translation is "bad", but rather different strokes for different folks. (most here probably wouldn't touch the NLT but I love it...LOL!)

NP

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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2010, 05:49:45 PM »

so, at Bible Study last week, we all laughed our butts off.  this is because my dad read from a "paraphrased" Catholic edition of the Bible.  he's quite new to Orthodoxy.  Father said it described a scene that should be in a graphic novel.    well, instead of just getting him a book of the Apocrypha for Christmas, I'd like to get him a brand new Bible that includes this.  I am searching on Amazon, and was wondering about this Bible:
 http://www.amazon.com/English-Standard-Version-Bible-Apocrypha/dp/0195289102/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290975155&sr=1-1 

it doesn't say "Orthodox Bible" or anything, but then I remember that it was originally the Orthodox who decided what books were to be the canonical gospels in the first place, therefor the Bible is Orthodox. 

do you think this would be OK?  my priest told me to get him an OSB (which I LOVE), but I'm afraid I can't afford it, being $50 at my Church's bookstore.  he also said I might get lucky on Amazon, which I might have.

so, priests and biblically knowledgeable Orthodox laity, what do you think of this Bible, is it OK?  my priest told me to stay away from the NRSV, and this doesn't look like it.  or...should I ask my priest for an IOU, for the OSB?

(forgive me if there are misspellings, my chihuahua smells the incense on me from liturgy, and is going nutts, bouncing around allover me, occasionally my keyboard)

Hi Trevor. I think this would be a great Bible to get your dad. I have a copy of the ESV myself. It's 90% identical to the text of the RSV. Good price too.
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