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Author Topic: Orthodox Study Bible  (Read 15157 times) Average Rating: 0
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James the Just
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« on: April 15, 2003, 02:58:49 PM »

What the census that the Orthodox Study Bible would be worth the purchase for me a traditional RC guy ? I know its only $22 US , is it worth the time or should I just use my NKJV for Orthodox readings.

James
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2003, 03:30:36 PM »

James,

I do not think the Orthodox Study Bible would be the best option for you.  As a protestant inquiring into Orthodoxy, the OSB was very valuable to me in learning biblical readings about teachings not found within Evangelical Protestantism.  As a traditional Catholic, you do not need third grade level explanations of the Eucharist, the visible church, or any of the Orthodoxy 101 footnotes and articles in the OSB.  

I would rather reccomend you to purchase the two volume Orthodox New Testament that we've discussed in the "Looking for a ...Bible" thread.  As a traditional liturgical Christian, you will find very little meat in the OSB as compared to the Orthodox New Testament.  Of course, I do not own a copy of the ONT yet, but from the reviews of others and my personal experience with the OSB I think my reccomendation will stand.  I hope this helps.
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2003, 03:32:09 PM »

The one I've seen most recommended by Orthodox priests is the RSV translation.  The NKJV translation used in the OSB is not highly regarded by many Orthodox priests I know.  In addition, I have been told by more than one Orthodox priest that the notes in the OSB are not very helpful and don't add much, from their perspective.  Obviously, there are other Orthodox who disagree with that, and who use the OSB -- but it hasn't received wholesale support from Orthodox clergy.
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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2003, 03:36:58 PM »

But if you purchase the leather-bound edition of the OST, it has a beautiful Orthodox three-bar cross embossed on the cover in gold!   Smiley

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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2003, 03:48:09 PM »

But if you purchase the leather-bound edition of the OST, it has a beautiful Orthodox three-bar cross embossed on the cover in gold!   Smiley

Hypo-Ortho

Not to mention full color icons inside.  While I wouldn't call the OSB a whitewashed tomb, I would say that with Bibles the inside should be as important as the cover. Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2003, 04:29:01 PM »

I got one early on in the process of my conversion. It helped me a lot, but then I was a Protestant seeker.

I tend to agree with David that the notes in it would not be of that much help to a Roman Catholic, since RCs do not need to be convinced that the Apostolic Tradition is authoritative or to learn of St. Vincent of Lerins' standards of antiquity, universality, and consensus (I think I have those right!  Grin).

For Protestants, however, the notes in the OSB can be a genuine revelation.

Buy it as a gift for some Lutheran you know!
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James the Just
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2003, 07:23:00 PM »

Bro Linus,

No Luthern compadres, guess I'll get the Ecumenical Study Bible RSV 2nd edition NT with expanded Apocrypha,had my eye on it for a while.Bro Hypo, I'll put a nice cover on it with a cross.

James
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2003, 11:10:42 AM »

As someone who is only in his 1st year of really active Orthodoxy(I was chrismated over 2 years ago), I would say that the OSB:NT and Psalms is absolutely indespensible. I just wish the translation were more formal and the notes were more detailed, but It's a great asset to have and even though its lamented for not having enough detail in the notes, it's still got about twice as many notes as my roomates Protestant NIV Study Bible, which I've consulted a few times and concluded that on a lot of their notes they simply did not read the verse because they are way off on a lot of this stuff.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2003, 12:55:02 PM »

I'm agreed with most of the posters on this thread - the Orthodox Study Bible is more of an evangelism tool than a "hard core" study Bible.  I think this reflects the background of the people who were responsible for it's initial publication (converts, in particular, from Protestant backgrounds.)

Perhaps I'm a luddite, but I'm still quite fond of the KJV (though finding one with the deuterocanonical books can be difficult and pricy) - a good replacement imho is the "third millenium bible",which is basically just the KJV with archaic words replaced by modern renderings (but still preserving the "high english" feel of the old KJV text... complete with "thee" and "thou").  It's also much more reasonably priced than most KJV w/apocrypha's that I've seen.

Seraphim
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2003, 09:58:37 PM »

1 of 2 reviews that can be found at a number of places online...

BOOK REVIEW: THE ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE

by Priest Seraphim Johnson

The Orthodox Study Bible (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1993) makes a very good initial impression. The bindings are handsome, the Bible is nicely printed, and it is graced by a number of full-color icons scattered through the book. It uses the increasingly popular New King James Version (NKJV) for the text. On the whole this version is an acceptable modernization of the King James Version (KJV), while retaining some of the literary quality of the latter. An additional advantage of the NKJV is that it indicates the Majority Text readings, since these generally correspond even more fully to the Church's text than do the KJV readings. However, it is disappointing that the Study Bible reproduces the whole textual apparatus of the NKJV, including many of the doubtful decisions of modern non-Orthodox biblical scholarship; it would have been preferable for them to have corrected the text to agree with that of the Church and then to present only that text, since the whole matter of textual criticism is complex and primarily serves to cause doubts and questions in the minds of non-technical readers of the Scriptures. While the NKJV is a generally acceptable text for the New Testament, its use for the Psalter is completely unacceptable. It is very unfortunate that the Study Bible uses a Protestant version of the Psalter in what claims to be a Bible for Orthodox Christians, following even the Protestant numbering of the psalms, rather than that of the Church. Several translations of the psalms from the Orthodox Church's Septuagint version into English have appeared in the last 20 years, and it surely would have been possible for the publishers to have arranged to use one of these if they truly wanted to offer an Orthodox text of the Bible to their readers.

When one actually starts to read the comments and notes attached to the Study Bible one quickly becomes very disappointed to see that a major opportunity has been lost. The comments on the text are on the whole quite simplistic and shallow, often doing nothing more than paraphrasing the verse to which they refer. Only very rarely do they quote from the Fathers to draw out the fuller meaning of the text, although a good collection of such quotations would have been the best possible Orthodox commentary on the Scriptures.

The early Church understood that the doctrines of the faith (viewed as facts and rational propositions) could not really be grasped until a person had attained some degree of moral purity. This is the reason for the extended catechumenate, during which the candidate had to reform his life and bring it into line with the Church's demands. Only near the end of this period was the content of the Faith presented, when the candidate was sufficiently purified to be able to receive it and make sense of it. To have presented it earlier would have reduced it to only empty factual knowledge with no meaning for one's life. One of the most unfortunate features of the Study Bible is that it confines itself only to this factual knowledge and does not even use those passages of Scripture which have a moral content to inculcate such purity in its readers. It rarely draws any but the most trite moral conclusions from the texts, while the Fathers consistently apply them primarily in a moral way, rather than as historical or factual artifacts.

As one reads the notes to the text, a false, non-Orthodox tone becomes uncomfortably apparent. The editors constantly refer to the way things are done in the "Orthodox Church," the teaching of the "Orthodox Church," etc. By always qualifying "Church" in this way, they distance themselves and write as they are outsiders or as if they are writing for outsiders. When Orthodox people describe the services, readings, practices, and doctrines of the Church, they just call it the "Church." Similarly, if you look at a Roman Catholic Bible (e.g. the Jerusalem Bible), it refers to the "Church's teaching" or says that "the Church reads this passage..." and so on. The only reason to qualify "Church" all the time, as the Study Bible does, is to distinguish it from other religious bodies. But the result of this constant qualification is that the reader does not feel he is reading a Bible prepared by Orthodox Christians for Orthodox Christians. The feeling is rather that this Bible is designed to introduce the non-Orthodox to Orthodoxy, or else that non-Orthodox wrote the notes in it. There is not anything inherently wrong in the idea of writing notes on a Bible to help convince non-Orthodox of the truth of Orthodoxy (assuming the notes accurately reflect the true views and positions of Orthodoxy, which is by no means always the case in the Study Bible), but it would be better to advertise the Bible as such, perhaps calling it the Orthodox Evangelism Bible, rather than to present it as if it is designed to help Orthodox Christians grow deeper in their understanding and practice of the faith.

Another example of the non-Orthodox tone of much of the commentary in the Study Bible is the way the Savior and the Saints are referred to. While there are instances in which Orthodox refer to the Lord as simply "Jesus," they are rare. Especially in the early Church (cf. St. Ignatius of Antioch's letters), the Lord is almost always referred to by His name and one or more titles (e.g., "Jesus Christ," "our Lord Jesus Christ," etc.). Even St. Paul usually refers to Him in this way. The Gospels do not, since they are presenting history, rather than reflections drawn from that history. But Orthodox Christians do not speak of the Lord in this unadorned way, so it strikes a false note to find the Study Bible referring to Him as "Jesus" most of the time. Similarly, in English (although less so in Greek or Russian) it sounds very odd to Orthodox ears to refer to the saints without using their title. Thus, Orthodox Christians usually speak of "St. Paul," not of "Paul." The same may be said about the note concerning the Theotokos on page 135. The editors address her as "Mary." Again, this is a small point, but it does offend Orthodox ears and adds to the feeling the authors of the notes in the Study Bible are not writing from within the Orthodox community, but rather are outsiders trying to interpret an Orthodoxy they only understand theoretically, but which they have not yet learned really to live.

A further example of the editors' viewpoint being from outside the Church is their decision to abbreviate the Morning and Evening Prayers printed in the back of the Study Bible by leaving out any prayers to the Theotokos or the saints. It seems almost inconceivable that Orthodox Christians would not at least include the Prayer "O Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice" and a prayer to their patron saint as part of their daily prayers; but these prayers are missing. While this omission undoubtedly will make the Study Bible more congenial to Protestant readers, it seriously distorts the actual teaching and practice of the Orthodox Church.

Throughout the Study Bible there is a surprising emphasis on the concept of "justification," including a whole article devoted to this topic in Romans 5. A number of notes scattered throughout the Study Bible refer to "justification," usually specifying that it is "by faith" (e.g. Mark 10:28; Acts 10:35; Romans 3:20, 5: 1; Galatians 2:16-4:31, 2:17; etc.). The article and notes are not particularly offensive, but the concept and term "justification" play almost no role in Orthodox theology, where "justification" is commonly not even distinguished from "sanctification," but both are seen as a united and inseparable part of the Christian's process of spiritual development. Certainly, its role is minor compared to the major position it occupies in Protestant thinking. Thus, the index to Timothy [now Bishop Kallistos] Ware's The Orthodox Church does not include the term, nor is it found in a number of Orthodox theological dictionaries (e.g., Polny Pravoslavnyy Bogoslovskiy Entsiklopicheskiy Slovar [Complete Orthodox Theological Encyclopedic Dictionary], reprinted in Russia in 1992 from a pre-Revolutionary edition; Dictionary of Orthodox Theology, George H. Demetrakopoulos, New York, 1964). Once again, while the treatment is not "wrong" from an Orthodox standpoint, the very discussion and term sound strange to Orthodox ears.

There are other notes in which a non-Orthodox viewpoint comes across. Examples are:

a) The note on Acts 3:1 refers to "Advent," which is a term and period which does not exist in Orthodoxy. In the Western liturgical churches (Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran) "Advent" is the name given to the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Orthodoxy does not observe these Sundays, but it does have a six-week fast preceding the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.

b) Mark 2:20. This note defends fasting, but from a rather Protestant viewpoint. It is written to persuade Protestant readers that fasting is acceptable for a Christian, not to encourage Orthodox to discover the spiritual benefits of fasting.

c) The note on "fasting" in the glossary (p. 798) mis-defines the Apostles Fast, incorrectly saying that it is the two weeks before June 29. This fast is actually of variable length, starting on the Monday after All Saints Sunday and continuing until the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. The fact that the author of the notes does not know how long the fast lasts can only raise doubts about the extent to which the Faith is being lived.

Finally, there are notes which are simply unacceptable to any true Orthodox Christian, since they are omissions or distortions of vital Orthodox teachings.

a) Matthew 14:14-2 1. In discussing the feeding of the five thousand, the editors somewhat grudgingly say that the feeding of the four thousand (reported in Matthew 15:32-39) "...is PROBABLY not a duplicate report of the first miracle." Thereby, the editors are challenging the authenticity and reliability of the Gospels, since the same Gospel reports the two miracles separately and since the Lord Himself refers to both of them as separate events (Matthew 16:9-10). To raise even a question about whether these are separate events is to call into question the Lord's veracity and the reliability of the Gospels—surely not an Orthodox attitude toward either.

b) Mark 9:38-40. The note says, "Sectarianism and triumphalism (the attitude that one creed is superior to all others) are forbidden, for God's working transcends our limited perceptions. One is either for or against (v.40) Christ, but it is not always ours to know who is on which side." Does this mean that the creed of the First and Second Ecumenical Councils (the Symbol of Faith) is no better than any other creed (e.g., the Lutherans' Augsburg Confession)? Any Orthodox Christian who does not think that the Church's creed is superior to all others places himself outside the Church. Furthermore, while we may not always know where a person's heart is, we can see that those who willfully promulgate false creeds are working against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The attitude in this note is simply foreign to any healthy Orthodox Christian.

c) Mark 10:30. The Lord promises that those who give up family and possessions will receive them back a hundredfold, but the note calls this into question, saying that this is "not an absolute promise: countless saints and martyrs were not so rewarded." Here the authors betray their carnal viewpoint. The Fathers apply this passage to the whole Christian community, saying that those who give up earthly family and possessions receive new fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, homes and lands in the CHURCH, but not in the carnal sense of getting more personal possessions. It is bad enough that the authors' viewpoint is carnal, their error is compounded by the fact that they openly disagree with the Lord and question the accuracy of His promise.

d) Acts 13:3. The note supports multiple ordination. This practice has been forbidden in the Orthodox Church for many centuries, so there is no reason whatsoever to mention it, unless it is to justify the extreme irregularity of performing such ordinations when the so-called "Evangelical Orthodox" were received into the Antiochian Church.

e) I Timothy 2:12. By citing Romans 16:1 to suggest that women have been ordained as deacons and by stating that "women are not ordained to the offices of bishop and presbyter in the Orthodox Church," the note implies that women can be ordained deacons. This is not the case. The order of deaconesses is not currently in use in the Church, and in any case the Church does not treat the order of deaconesses as equivalent to that of deacons, since the former do not perform the deacon's liturgical functions.

f) II Timothy 1:9. The note says, "Our salvation and CALLING are based on His GRACE and love, not on anything we have done to merit God's favor." The Orthodox viewpoint is that our salvation does in fact depend on our response to God's grace and how we use it in our lives. We are co-workers with God in our salvation, as St. Paul says (I Cor. 3:9; II Cor. 6: 1; Phil. 2:12-13). Even our calling as Christians is based on our synergy in responding to God's grace in our lives, since we are all sustained by His grace in every breath we take. Those who respond to this grace receive a calling to participate more fully in it, a calling which is based on their earlier responses.

g) The note on I Peter 3:18 glosses over the Lord's descent into Hades. You may be able to find this doctrine in the note if you know it is supposed to be there, but it certainly is not presented in a clear and unambiguous way. And yet, this is the focus of the primary icons of the feast of the Resurrection, so how can it be skimmed over with no more than a hint in what claims to be an "Orthodox Bible?"

These comments are representative of the non-Orthodox viewpoint which permeates this Study Bible and which makes it unsuited for use by Orthodox Christians. It is truly sad to see so much effort, time, and expense put into producing this Bible with such meager results in the end. It would, however, be far safer for Orthodox Christians to avoid such inaccurate and misleading aids as are provided in this Bible, especially since several more reliable "Orthodox Study" Bible commentaries are available in English for Orthodox readers (e.g. Johanna Manley's "The Bible and the Holy Fathers" her "Grace for Grace: The Psalter and the Holy Fathers" (which has the added advantage of using the Orthodox Psalter as its basic text, rather than the Protestant one); and the ongoing translation of Blessed Theophylact's commentaries on the Gospels.

* Originally Published in THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN WITNESS Vol. XXVII, No. 18(1273)
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2003, 10:02:41 PM »

Critique #2...

Since this book is obviously destined for wide circulation—we are told that it is to be translated into Greek, Russian and other Eastern European languages—and because it raises a number of serious issues. I have decided to devote most of the space for reviews in this issue of Sourozh to examining it.

The focal point of an Orthodox church is the Holy Table at the centre of the Sanctuary. All the rest, the frescoes, the icons, the choir stalls, the icon screen, the Holy Doors themselves draw the worshipper's attention to and culminate in the Holy Altar, or Throne, on which, at the Divine Liturgy, the Word of God is offered in the Sacrifice without shedding of blood. But the Holy Table stands apart in the Holy of Holies. It is not generally visible; during most of the ordinary services it is not used at all. Analogously, the daily round of offices and services, and the other Mysteries of the Church have their focal point, their culmination in the Divine Liturgy itself, the supreme Mystery. The same is true of the Bible. Its centre and focus is the Holy Gospel, which alone lies at the centre of the Altar. All the other books which make up the Holy Scripture lead to or flow from the Holy Gospel. The Bible is the pearl of great price, the treasure hidden in the field. It is not a weapon, even against heresy. We do not read the Holy Gospel 'to discover Orthodox Christianity', as the dust jacket of this book suggests, but to hear the Word of God leading us to repentance. Every time the Gospel is read we pray that 'we may be counted worthy to listen to the Holy Gospel'. There is a profound sense in which the Bible for the Orthodox is not a public thing, any more than the Eucharist is a public thing, but one of the Mysteries of the Faith. Our Lord himself said something very like this: 'To you has been given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to the rest in parables.' Against this background it must be clearly stated from the outset that the whole feel of this volume is wrong. It feels far too much like a piece of evangelical propaganda decked out in the trappings of Orthodoxy, like an eighteenth century New England chapel or meeting house with a golden onion dome stuck over the pediment of the porch.

First of all let us look at the translation used. This is not an Orthodox one at all. The editors have taken the New King James Version, which is a slightly modernised ('You' not 'Thou') re-edition of the version of 1611. They defend this on the grounds that the underlying Greek text of the New Testament in the King James version is closer to the traditional Byzantine text than that of modern critical editions. This is for the most part true and all that they needed to say was that the Byzantine text is the text accepted by the Orthodox Church. Instead they defend their decision on supposedly scholarly grounds. This is irrelevant, except for conservative Evangelicals who wish to justify their conservatism by trying to make it 'scientifically' respectable. It also obscures the central point that for the Orthodox the Bible comes from the Church, exists in the Church, lives in the Church. The section of the opening chapter, pages x and xi, which discusses the choice of text, is in fact nothing more than a slightly revised version of the preface to the Revised Authorised Version, pages vi and vii. In adopting this approach the editors allow themselves to be drawn onto the ground chosen by their opponents, when they should have taken their stand on the Orthodox ground that the Church's text is the Orthodox text, full stop.

Even if the text of the NKJV is on the whole that of the Church, it needs careful checking and revision before it can be called Orthodox. One small example will indicate what I mean. The NKJV, like its ancestor of 1611, which here follows the Latin Vulgate, reads at Luke 23:42, 'Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.' This prayer, we are told in a note, 'is highlighted in the hymns and worship of the Orthodox Church'. It isn't, because the Church's Gospel and all the liturgical texts derived from it in both Greek and Slavonic have 'in your Kingdom', a reference to the Second Coming of Christ in his kingly power, as described in Matthew 25:31-46.

The marginal note on the story of the woman taken in adultery, John 7:53-8:11, is interesting. We are told that the modem critical editions bracket this is not in the original text, but that they are present in over 900 mss of [St] John. The latter remark shows that the editors have little idea of the basics of textual criticism. They should read A.E. Housman. The status of this passage is curious and it would have been worth pointing out both that St John Chrysostom did not have it in his text and that the Gospel for Pentecost makes exactly the same omission as St John Chrysostom and the modern scholars. The Johannine comma, I John 5:7b-8a, is printed as part of the text, though it occurs in no Greek ms. before the fourteenth century and, for the Fathers at least, it is not part of the Orthodox Bible.

On the difficult word in the Lord's Prayer, which is traditionally rendered 'daily' we read: 'Daily is a misleading translation of the Greek epiousios, which is literally "above the essence" or "supersubstantial".' Not for St John Chrysostom it isn't. He says very simply that it means 'for the day', epehmeron. He may be wrong, but his view is at least worth mentioning. Further, the idea that our Lord during his earthly incarnation was acquainted with the technical language of Greek philosophy has interesting implications for Christology. I am not sure it is quite what the Fathers of Chalcedon meant when they declared that Christ is homoousios with us, 'sin alone excepted'. The corresponding note on Luke 11:3 is far better. This is only one of a number of places which display signs of sloppy editing. The note on Luke 11:2 is a give-away. We read that St Matthew's version of the Our Father 'has a slightly stronger liturgical flavor' than St Luke's. This is true if one compares the modern texts produced by modern scholars. In the traditional text, as given here, the two are virtually identical. The note presumably derives from a comment on some quite different translation.

Similar observations could be made on page after page of the translation. Finally I must protest most vigorously against the wholly unorthodox inverted Arianism of the typography whereby the words of Christ are printed in salmon pink, while his heavenly Father has to be content with mere black along with Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate. This use of colour is at times seriously misleading. Thus at John 3:16, which is badly translated, it is not clear whether this and the following verses are spoken by Jesus, or whether they are a comment by the Evangelist. They are probably the latter, but the salmon pink type adopted here compels one interpretation only. There are even more serious objections to this practice. What Our Lord did during his earthly life is as important, if not more important, than what he said. Both St John and St Luke make this point. St John ends his Gospel, 'There are many other things that Jesus did'; nothing about 'said'. St Luke begins Acts with a look back at the Gospel as the record of 'all that Jesus began to do and teach'. It is Jesus himself who is the Word of God, and his actual words are only one aspect of the mystery. To highlight only the spoken words of Jesus is a reflection of a peculiarly Anglo-Saxon attitude which effectively reduces Jesus to a teacher of a system of ethics and a teller of picturesque inspirational stories. It is not for nothing that the traditional iconography of the Holy Doors includes not only the Four Evangelists but the Annunciation as well. The reason that the Gospel and the other readings from Holy Scripture are always chanted in the Church and never simply read is to make sure that the readers do not impose, by their inflections and emphases, their own interpretations on God's word.

When we turn to the text of the Psalter we are in an even worse case. The Church's Psalter is that of the Greek Septuagint [LXX], and has been since the days of the Apostles. It is the one used in all Orthodox services, and it forms the basis of innumerable liturgical hymns and prayers which are frequently little more than a mosaic of words and phrases from it. If one adds the fact, though the editorial introduction to the Psalter fails to point this out, that the Latin Psalter of the Western Church was itself a translation of the LXX until this century, one can say quite simply that the Christian Psalter is that of the LXX. The editors lamely protest that 'no suitable translation of the Septuagint is currently available'. Considering the number of names that occupy most of the title page, not to mention the numerous others listed in the introduction, it should have been possible between them to produce a translation of the Psalms. If that was beyond the resources of the editors, they could at least have printed the Psalms with the correct numbering and divided them into the traditional kathismata and staseis of the Church Psalter. To do that does not even require a knowledge of Greek, only access to Miss Hapgood's compendium of Orthodox services, or Mother Mary's and Bishop Kallistos's Festal Menaion. Moreover an Orthodox Psalter contains the text of the Odes used at Matins. There is no trace of them here, nor of Psalm 151. We are told that 'some compensation is provided by giving the Septuagint text (author's translation) in the notes for certain psalms'. A rapid run through the notes reveals that the author must be Ebenezer Scrooge. No attempt has been made to give the LXX titles to the psalm, though these are one of the areas in which the patristic commentaries are particularly rich. Where is the title of Psalm 5, 'For her that shall inherit', which the Fathers see as referring to the Church, the Bride of Christ? Where is the 'Song for the Beloved' in the title of Psalm 44, in which the Fathers see a reference to Christ? In Psalm 67:15 there is not so much as a hint that the words translated 'curdled mountain' form one of the most frequent images used in the Church's poetry for the Mother of God, for reasons that I have set out in detail elsewhere. The NKJV's 'mountain of many peaks' is pointless as an image of the motherhood of the Ever-Virgin. As one might have expected by now, the 'doctors' have disappeared from Psalm 97:10. One of St Basil's favourite verses [Psalm 118:120], which he uses in many of his prayers that we still use in the Office, goes by unnoticed. The 'author' would have been well advised to spend a little time with the three volumes of St Nikodemos's commentary before writing his notes, even if his own familiarity with the Church's Psalter was such that these things and countless others like them did not spring to mind at once from his familiarity with the Church’s texts.

What then of the Study Guide itself? Some of it looks like unaltered evangelical material, like the chapter entitled 'How to read the New Testament in a year'. Many of us prefer to follow the Church's way of reading. The maps also betray their evangelical origins. The sites of Calvary and the Tomb of Christ, venerated since at least the fourth century by countless thousands of Orthodox believers, are marked with question marks to leave open the possibility, also on the map with question marks, that General Gordon's improbable 'Garden Tomb' was the real one.

The main study material, apart from the notes on the text itself, begins on page 755 with Morning and Evening Prayers. These contain traditional material, but are distinctly unorthodox in feel; at least I would be surprised to find an Orthodox Christian whose regular morning and evening prayers made not a single reference to the Mother of God or the Saints. Both Greek and Slavonic books have traditional sets of Morning and Evening Prayers and it was surely not impossible to include one or other of them.

Next we have a long and helpful piece by Bishop Kallistos on 'How to Read the Bible'. This is by far the best section of the book and in it the Bishop makes a number of important points. For example, 'A book is not part of Holy Scripture because of any particular theory about its date and authorship, but because the Church treats it as canonical.' It is a pity that the sort of approach recommended by the Bishop seems not to have been properly taken into account by the other contributors. 'There is gold', writes Bishop Kallistos, 'in the patristic texts, if only we have the persistence and imagination to discover it.' Sadly the editors on the whole lack that Klondyke spirit. An earlier version of this piece was originally published as a separate pamphlet and it is much to be hoped that this fuller version will also be made widely available in the West as its Russian translation already is in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

There follows a Lectionary for the whole year. This is a useful feature of the book, for those who do not have ready access to an annual calendar. For some reason the eleven Gospels for Sunday Matins are nowhere given, or even listed, though those for Matins of the major Feasts are. The lectionary does, however, contain a number of curiosities. Why, for example, are we informed that the 4th Sunday after Pentecost is the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils and that it occurs between the 13th and 19th of July, when in most years it does not? The references given are indeed the ones for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost; they are not those for the Fathers. The same remarks apply to the Sunday of the Fathers of the Seventh Council in October. The Lectionary is basically the Slav one and no account is taken of that of the Great Church. The Sundays of Lent on which Saints are commemorated are not given their two sets of Readings, but only those for the Sunday. There is a small selection of Readings for the fixed Feasts, whose dates are given by both the old and new calendars, though this is not explained. Such a list is useful, but not adequate, since on numerous occasions the actual text of the readings does not correspond with the modern verse numbers and on occasion verses are given in a different position from the one in which they are found in the actual scriptural text. For example in the reading from Luke 8:5-15 verse 8b is displaced to the end of verse 15.

There follows a tendentious and wholly unnecessary chapter 'Introducing the Orthodox Church'. The paragraphs on the so-called Nestorian and Monophysite Churches of the East are most misleading, and of no interest whatever to the Orthodox Christian seeking help in reading the Holy Scripture; nor for that matter are Henry VIII's matrimonial problems, which are also discussed. There are some surprising statements, such as 'spontaneity was never the practice in the ancient Church!', when it is well known that in the early centuries the Eucharistic Prayer was improvised by the bishop. That Christian worship had 'a basic structure or shape' does not of itself exclude spontaneity. There is little or no evidence that 'chrismation [was] there from the start'. The New Testament evidence is all for the apostolic laying on of hands. The section on the early history of the Christian ministry is likewise marked by quite inadequate scholarship. The exegesis of Acts 1:20 shows an extraordinary insensitivity to a sense of history. The remarks on the presbyterate show an equal insensitivity to language; but a sound knowledge of Greek is a not a noteworthy feature of this volume. On page 794 we are told that baptizo means 'to be plunged', which was news to me. Elsewhere we learn that the Greek for 'anointing' is chrismatis. We are told that the Seven of Acts 6:1-7 were 'deacons’ though the word is not used of them and St John Chrysostom specifically says that they were not. At Romans 16:1, incidentally, we are not told that Phoebe of the church of Cencreae was a 'deacon', only that she was 'a leading Christian woman'. This whole chapter has absolutely no place in a biblical study guide for the Orthodox; it is simply a piece of not very effective propaganda aimed at those outside the Church. Inquirers are advised, among other things, to attend a liturgy, when, if parts are not in English, 'the Service Book in the pew will help.' They will be disappointed when they find neither, and with good reason, in a traditional Orthodox church.

Next we are offered a Glossary. This is explained, but only on the dust jacket, as being 'of Orthodox Christian terminology'. It starts with a howler. 'Abba', as used in first century Aramaic and in the New Testament, is not 'somewhat equivalent to the English "Daddy".' Try reading Mark 14:36 with that substitution. The Evangelist, quite correctly, glosses the Aramaic with the word 'Father'. Many of the entries are however well done, though there is nothing particularly Orthodox about a large number of them. The Glossary is followed by an extremely useful 'Index to Annotations' and a list of the traditional Seventy Apostles with the scriptural passages in which their names occur and the dates of their feasts in the Church calendar. A detailed study of the references could be quite interesting. I do not know why there is a second Mark, listed without any scriptural reference under September 27th and October 30, since in both cases the entry in the Synaxarion makes it clear that he is the same as Mark the Evangelist.

This list is followed by a long chapter, reprinted from elsewhere, by the dean of St Athanasius Academy, Jack N. Sparks. This is a somewhat rambling and incoherent piece, but makes a number of useful points about the differences between allegory and typology. It would have been preferable, though, to have asked Fr John Breck of St Vladimir's to write something, or even for his permission to reprint a chapter from his book on biblical interpretation. This would have been heavier going for the reader but would have packed a good deal more intellectual punch.

The volume ends with a 'Harmony of the Gospels', a sort of 'Write your own Diatessaron' or 'Be your own Tatian', the usefulness of which is obscure, Tables of Monies, Weights and Measures and a Concordance that includes phrases as well as individual words. This comes from some other book—it is paginated quite separately—and covers the whole Bible, not merely the New Testament and Psalter. It would have been better to have provided a fuller concordance for the actual book that the reader is using.

The notes that accompany the text are very full for the New Testament, scrappy to a degree for the Psalms. The notes to the New Testament are on the whole straightforward and some readers will find them a help in understanding many of the words and ideas in the text. Most of them though are dull and many of them jejune in the extreme. As a friend put it to me, they remind one of the notes to some school editions of Shakespeare. 'King Lear plans to divide his kingdom between his daughters', or 'Hamlet wonders if it would be a good idea to commit suicide.' In this book we find similar notes all too often, such as that on Luke 16:11: 'True riches signify spiritual treasures', or that on Luke 16:25 'This conversation is not between God and the rich man, but between Abraham and the rich man.' The level is that of a not very bright Sunday School class. Critical questions are avoided by simply not being discussed at all. This is unsatisfactory, since many readers will be seeking help on just these questions. What should have been provided is an article setting out clearly how an Orthodox reader of the Bible should approach these problems. The solution adopted here is a further instance of what I call the attitude of the double-headed Byzantine ostrich.

Clearly it is not possible to discuss even a small part of this annotation in detail. It is a pity that more explicit reference to the Fathers was not provided. I have noted a number of curious remarks, to put it no more strongly. On Matthew 8:20, 'Since Son of Man refers to the Messiah (Dan. 7:13), it expresses both His humanity and divinity.' Since there is nothing divine about the figure in Daniel, doubtful if the figure is the Messiah and doubtful if the expected Messiah was thought to be divine I fail to follow the logic of the comment. The note on Luke 22:48 at least shows some evidence that the writer is aware of recent work on this difficult title. The note on Luke 23:44 tells us that Jesus died on the Cross at the sixth hour, despite the clear statement by St Matthew and St Mark and the clear implication in St Luke that he died at the ninth hour, a belief to which the texts of the Church's offices make abundant reference. I find no clear evidence that the Greek ekpneo, used at Mark 15:37 of Jesus' death, 'connotes a voluntary death.' This sounds like theologically wishful hermeneutics. The note on John 1:1 fails to notice, though Origen discusses the point at some length, that there is a difference in Greek between ho theos, '[the] God', that is the Father, and theos, 'God', without the article, that is 'God', but not the Father. In general, what Orthodox readers need is to be helped to enter into the spiritual teaching of the Gospel, which is about theology, in the true sense, about the great mystery of the coming of God incarnate into human history, about the response of the sinner to the loving invitation of Christ. They will hardly be helped to any of this by being told that Luke 24:13-35 is 'a delightful account of a resurrection appearance of Christ', which sounds more like a description of the visit of the Bishop to the parish sale of work.

The notes on the Psalms are woefully inadequate. We are told that where a psalm is used in the 'fixed' parts of the daily round of offices this will be pointed out. We are not however told that Psalms 19 and 20 form the main part of the Royal Office which precedes the Six Psalms every day at Matins. Psalm 23 is used 'quite sparingly in the services’, despite the frequent use of the phrase 'the waters of repose' in the liturgical texts. We are told that the LXX has 'Lift up your gates, O Priests' at Psalm 23.7. So far as I am aware it has 'you rulers’, in Greek archontes, and I know no of no variant reading. We also learn that 'verses 7- 10 are proclaimed as the priest knocks on the door of the church on Easter morning'. This is a ceremony unknown to the Triodion and, so far as I am aware, to either Greek or Russian tradition. It seems singularly inept, since the point of the procession in the dark and the entry into the church is to re-enact the coming of the Myrrh bearers to seek for Christ’s Body, only to find the tomb open and filled with light and sweet fragrance. Hence the rubric that while the procession is outside the sacristan is to light a brazier in the church and cast sweet-smelling incense onto it. Psalm 50 is used every day in the Office not 'three’ times, but 'four', but perhaps the editors are unaware of the existence of the Midnight Office. It is the Psalm which begins the daily round and which ends it. Psalm 118 is used every day, except Saturday and Sunday, at the Midnight Office, and is used every Saturday and on most Sundays at Matins. It is thus said nearly every day of the year in the Church's daily round of prayer. Likewise the Psalms of Ascents (119-133) are the regular Psalms at Vespers during about half the year. They are not, as suggested here, particularly Lenten. In neither Greek nor Russian use is Psalm 136 used 'throughout Lent itself in the Matins services.' Psalm 142 is also used daily at Small Compline. The whole of Psalm 144 forms part of the grace before the main meal in monasteries, not just two verses. Since the typikon that underlies this book is clearly most bizarre, it might have been helpful to have been told where it comes from.

In addition to the detailed annotation there are longer notes on major topics interspersed at appropriate places. Many of these are extremely valuable. Thus the one on the Transfiguration correctly notes that the 'bright cloud' is the Holy Spirit, and that the Transfiguration is thus a manifestation of the Most Holy Trinity. This point is made a number of times by St John of Damascus. Unfortunately the editor has nodded, because the note on the text of the Gospel suggests that the cloud is a sign of the Presence of God the rather. Another is entitled 'Mary'. Surely in an Orthodox book she should be called by one of her familiar titles. No Orthodox would refer to her simply as 'Mary’. 'Godbearer' is not a good translation of Theotokos, which is better rendered Mother of God, or She who gave birth to God. 'God-bearer' suggests rather theophoros, an epithet applied to numerous Saints, but more particularly to St Ignatios of Antioch. I wonder whether the note on Christology does not water down the Chalcedonian Definition, which states that Christ is 'consubstantial' [homoousios] with us in his humanity, rather than simply 'like us' as we read here. If this is so, then is he merely 'like' the Father? It is surely confusing to write that '[Ordination] is extended ... generally to all through Holy Baptism.'

Finally there are a number of icons. These are almost without exception bad. One of the few exceptions is the icon of the Transfiguration. When I came to this one I said to myself, 'At last, a proper icon', and I was not surprised, on reading the caption on the next page, to see the name Photios Kontoglou. The others all seem to stem from America. The colours are garish, particularly in those of the Descent into Hades, which is a very long way after the masterpiece in the church of the Saviour in Chora, and of the Baptism, where the Bodiless Powers have a distinctly well-fed, well-scrubbed, suburban look, like cheer leaders for the Washington Redskins. But best of all is the one of St John dictating the Apocalypse. The Apostle, who has been to an expensive Manhatten barber's shop, is straining to hear the message being dictated from heaven. Either he or St Prochoros are having difficulties, however, since St Prochoros is carefully writing down the first verse of the Gospel!

Once again I have to report on yet another missed opportunity. There is much that some people may find useful in this book, but there is much that is wrong or misleading. It was not to be expected that the ROCOR would have co-operated in such a project, but it needs a good injection of traditional old-fashioned, even old-world, Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy in America, as represented by large parts of the OCA, the Greek Archdiocese and the Antiochene Diocese, has two great temptations, which are not unknown on this side of the Atlantic. On the one hand the former immigrants assert their assimilation by taking on things western, like pews and organs, without sufficient discrimination. I even have a book of church music that includes a transcription into traditional Byzantine neum notation of the Wedding March from Lohengrin, together with an appropriate Greek text. On the other hand the converts tend to bring with them far too much of the baggage of their previous allegiances, even to the introduction of so-called 'western rites'. We converts to Orthodoxy must be ready to 'leave all things and follow' where our Fathers have led. We Orthodox must be prepared to say 'Come and see.' But we must strenuously resist every temptation to add, 'And don't worry, well try to make it palatable for you.' Let us hope that those charged with preparing editions of this book for the traditionally Orthodox countries will insist on a thorough overhaul, though they would do better to start again from scratch. There is a profound sense in which it is true to say that Orthodoxy takes centuries to acquire. This book is the product of people who, with the very best of intentions, are going too fast too soon.

ARCHIMANDRITE EPHREM
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2003, 02:51:19 PM »

Nicholas -

Thanks!

Those were excellent critiques and real eye-openers, as well.

I agree with them, although I think the second one was a little too hard on the icons in the OSB.

The OSB was helpful to me, for one reason because when I first purchased it I knew very little about Orthodoxy, but it definitely could be a lot better.

There is really a too-Protestant feel about much of it.
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2003, 03:32:43 PM »

Linus7<<I agree with them, although I think the second one was a little too hard on the icons in the OSB.>>

Archimandrite Ephrem *was* way out of line in his criticisms of the icons in the OSB, IMHO.  I gather if the iconographer is non-Greek, a convert, and didn't spend time on Mount Athos, then he/she isn't capable of writing good icons (which, of course, must be strictly Byzantine-Greek!).  Bah!  Tell that to the folks at Jordanville, Nik!

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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2003, 04:15:47 PM »

Linus7<<I agree with them, although I think the second one was a little too hard on the icons in the OSB.>>

Archimandrite Ephrem *was* way out of line in his criticisms of the icons in the OSB, IMHO.  I gather if the iconographer is non-Greek, a convert, and didn't spend time on Mount Athos, then he/she isn't capable of writing good icons (which, of course, must be strictly Byzantine-Greek!).  Bah!  Tell that to the folks at Jordanville, Nik!

Hypo-Ortho

Hypo -

I should have added that I like the icons in the OSB, because I do. Grin

Otherwise, I agree with the two critiques.
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2003, 04:34:26 PM »

Linus, in general, I also agreed with the two critiques.  But the criticisms of the icons went overboard, were severe and uncharitable (and I'm one who usually has the highest regard for Archimandrite Ephrem's opinions).  I very much liked the icons also.

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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2003, 04:52:32 PM »

Some good points have been made on this thread, including Archimandrite Ephrem's long critique. A priest commented to me that the daily prayers seem Protestant in that Our Lady is missing. I agree that his criticism of the icons was harsh and uncharitable.

Quote
We converts to Orthodoxy must be ready to 'leave all things and follow' where our Fathers have led.

Here this touches on one of the annoying things I find about at least some Eastern Orthodox - the one-sidedness/chauvinism/uncharity and a variation of the pathetic fallacy. In this mindset, something's only true when an approved Eastern source says it, no matter that others have said the same things. (And unlike Keble I'm not denying there can be a one true church or arguing that the church is some synthesis of apostolic and Protestant.) What I mean is, for example, if Sister Mary Eucharia, a Roman Catholic, says the Eucharist is wholly transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, she's ridiculed or ignored (in retrospect), but if some Greek or Russian says the same thing it's treated as oh, so profound and original. (Like the way some people who like to call other people 'papists' get all defensive if one questions their holy gurus - they accuse one of pope worship while they engage in infallible-guru worship!) Kind of like the dad in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' claiming every word in English is really Greek, or Mr Chekov the walking ethnic joke on the old 'Star Trek' show claiming Russians invented and discovered everything. Ridiculous.
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« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2003, 05:07:11 PM »

Some good points have been made on this thread, including Archimandrite Ephrem's long critique. A priest commented to me that the daily prayers seem Protestant in that Our Lady is missing. I agree that his criticism of the icons was harsh and uncharitable.

Quote
We converts to Orthodoxy must be ready to 'leave all things and follow' where our Fathers have led.

Here this touches on one of the annoying things I find about at least some Eastern Orthodox - the one-sidedness/chauvinism/uncharity and a variation of the pathetic fallacy - it's only true when an approved Eastern source says it, no matter that others have said the same things. (And unlike Keble I'm not denying there can be a one true church or arguing that the church is some synthesis of apostolic and Protestant.) What I mean is, for example, if Sister Mary Eucharia, a Roman Catholic, says the Eucharist is wholly transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, she's ridiculed or ignored (in retrospect), but if some Greek or Russian says the same thing it's treated as oh, so profound and original. (Like the way some people who like to call people 'papists' get all defensive if one questions their holy gurus.) Kind of like the dad in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' claiming every word in English is really Greek, or Mr Chekov the walking ethnic joke on the old 'Star Trek' show claiming Russians invented and discovered everything. Ridiculous.

Excellent points.

I would add that as a convert from Protestantism I have sometimes encountered the suspicion that all of us are still "closet Protestants" or not quite as Orthodox as we should be.

I also suspect that the OSB was scrutinized very closely in part for this very reason, that it was produced mostly by former Protestants.

As I said, however, I think the two critiques of it above are valid and I got a lot out of them (except for Archimandrite Ephrem's too-harsh criticism of the icons in the OSB).

Do former RCs encounter any sort of similar suspicions, i.e., that they are still "closet papists?"
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2003, 10:47:40 AM »

Thanks, Linus.

I'll add that this annoying attitude nine time out of ten comes from converts - rarely from Russians.
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2003, 03:40:53 PM »

Brother Nicholas,

Thanks for the review & info, I purchased a New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV Ecumenical Study Bible with expanded Apocrypha and 2nd edition of the New Testament, 1977. Its a hardback but I can live with it,its what is inside that counts. No red letters and good size text for my old eyes.

James
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« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2003, 08:14:29 PM »

Thanks, Linus.

I'll add that this annoying attitude nine time out of ten comes from converts - rarely from Russians.

I agree, but that's probably because most of the Russians are converts themselves, having been robbed of the faith of their Fathers for 70+ years by the Bolsheviks.

My wife is Russian, and most of our Russian friends are amazed and pleased to discover that Protestants are converting to Orthodoxy. I have had nothing but a big fat welcome from them (as well as from other East Europeans).

There are others, however, who have a different take on things. Thankfully, they are in the minority.
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« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2003, 05:29:50 PM »

Does anybody know when the new version of the OSB (with the Old Testament!) is supposed to come out?

Also is there a projected date for Holy Apostles Convent making an Old Testament?
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« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2003, 02:24:50 AM »

From www.lxx.org Q & A:

Q: When will the complete OSB be available for purchase?

A: Sometime around the first of July, 2005.


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« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2003, 03:04:46 PM »

2005!!  That is a lot longer off than I thought......thinking patience


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« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2003, 10:04:32 AM »

Is everyone talking about the same OSB?  Is the OSB from Thomas Nelson the same as the one mentioned on lxx.org?  Huh
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« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2003, 07:56:30 PM »


Fr. Peter Gillquist spoke a few weeks ago at the Antiochian House of Studies. He indicated that it would be published closer to August 2005 by Thomas Nelson. It will be a complete edition of the Bible (OT & NT) and cost approx. $50 (hardcover) and $100 (leatherbound). He also indicated that it would be thick.

Plans also call for continued publication by Thomas Nelson of the current OSB New Testament and Psalms because it has been so popular and will be more portable than the thick, complete Study Bible.

(Yeah, I know I'm salivating in an unseemly manner... )

--Subdeacon Tikhon

Do you know if the NT portion will be a new translation as well or just the current OSB?

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« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2003, 05:00:04 PM »

Would anyone recommend the current OSB?  

I currently use the New KJV along with the Latin Vulgate for my Bible readings, but am interested to know if the commentaries contained within it are a good aid in understanding the scripture.
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« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2003, 11:52:02 PM »

Justinianus,

I find it very helpful, but I being a RC (at the moment) I would try to find a used one, I found mine at Barnes& Noble for half the price in new condition.

james

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« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2003, 08:47:37 AM »

Is everyone talking about the same OSB?  Is the OSB from Thomas Nelson the same as the one mentioned on lxx.org?  Huh

(Apologies for the lag in posting. Lots of homework has kept me underwater until recently...)

lxx.org is the project site for preparing the OT for the OSB. When their work is completed, Thomas Nelson will be the publisher.

The NT/Psalms OSB that has been available for about 10 years was also published by Thomas Nelson

In Christ,
Subdeacon Tikhon

Thanks for the response. Smiley

A couple of more questions:

1.  Is the translation of Psalms currently used in the OSB based on the LXX or the Masoretic Text?  

2.  I'm assuming the OSB will include the "Deuterocanonicals"--is this true?

I guess the reason I ask is that I'm also interested in the THIRD MILLENIUM BIBLE.  If I do convert to Orthodoxy someday, I'll probably purchase one or the other (either the OSB or the TMB--then again I may decide to get one of these Bibles anyway).
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« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2003, 02:07:52 PM »

The Psalms are from the Masoretic Text with explanations. I generally use the Psalms from the Jerusalem or Douay bibles.

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« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2003, 04:24:18 PM »

I met with Fr. Peter Gilquist last night and he told me that the manuscript will be delivered to Thomas Nelson early next year.  I asked him about plans for a NT translation, and he mentioned that that is on the agenda for future years.  I then brought up The Orthodox New Testament, which he was not aware of, and he is going to look at that.  Wonderful man, btw.
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« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2003, 05:22:33 PM »

I hope that they publish the hard back OT next year to go with my HB NT which for me will fill my bible collection.   maybe.................

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« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2003, 05:31:43 PM »

The Psalms are from the Masoretic Text with explanations. I generally use the Psalms from the Jerusalem or Douay bibles.

james

James, are you quite sure that the psalms are translated from the Masoretic text?  If so, do you know why that was chosen over the LXX?  Seems quite strange to me, inasmuch as the evangelists would, presumably, have used the LXX translation of the psalms no less than of the rest of the Old Testament.  Can anyone clarify and/or explain?
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« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2003, 08:56:59 PM »

Ambrosemzv,

OSB used the Psalms from the NKJV.

The JB OT has quite alot of changes to the Greek .

james
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« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2003, 09:20:52 PM »

I just ordered the Orthodox New Testament from Holy Apostles Convent through amazon.com -- I have the OSB also, but I heard that the ONT has a lot more commentary from the Church Fathers.  I haven't received it yet, but I'll post some more information about it and how it is after I receive it, which should be after Nov. 1st.
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« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2003, 09:34:07 PM »

I'm still confounded by, and a little skeptical about, the idea that the complete OSB (OT and NT) will translate the psalms from the Masoretic text.  The OSBNT did, I know, but I assume that was because the translation of the LXX, including psalter, had not been completed.  My understanding is that the canons make it clear the Septuagint version of the OT, including psalms, is normative for Orthodox Christians.  The decisions of the translators of the Jerusalem Bible, it seems to me, is moot, inasmuch as that translation, though it was approved for some use in Orthodox Churches, was sponsored by Roman Catholics.  Am I missing something?  Can anyone confirm that the Masoretic text will be used in the OSB?  I will be disappointed if that is true.
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« Reply #35 on: October 29, 2003, 10:14:07 AM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I have the Orthodox New Testament from Holy Apostles Convent, It is great!  I think it actually has better comentary from the Holy Fathers than does the OSB (NT). It has plenty of black and white photos of Icons to illustrate the text

It is relatively well known in most jurisdictions , including the Antiochian, so I am surprized that Father was unaware of it.  I have have met Father Peter and you are right, he is a very charismatic priest.

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« Reply #36 on: October 29, 2003, 12:34:19 PM »

I have have met Father Peter and you are right, he is a very charismatic priest.

I don't think he's THAT charismatic, but then again I've known him all my life (well before either of us were Orthodox).
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« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2003, 03:11:57 PM »

I do not know when Mother Miriam will begin work on the Prophetikon or if she already has.  As I understand it though she is in the midst of translating the Great Synaxaristas.  I will endeavor to find out when it will be published.

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« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2003, 03:18:23 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I have the Orthodox New Testament from Holy Apostles Convent, It is great!  I think it actually has better comentary from the Holy Fathers than does the OSB (NT).

I have both The Holy Gospels and the Epistles from Holy Apostles Convent. IMHO, this is heads above any other New Testament I have seen. The commentary by the Holy Fathers really helps to clarify the scripture form an Orthodox perspective.

I initially bought the Orthodox Study Bible but found it to be lacking in its commentary on the scriptures.

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« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2003, 03:23:07 PM »

I have sent an email to Mother Miriam, I'll let everyone know what her reply is.  

TomS:  this is what I have heard from many others as well.  

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« Reply #40 on: November 03, 2003, 03:01:01 PM »

Just to add a comment about Orthodox Bible translations, I am NOT wild or enthusiastic about "The Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms" published by Thomas Nelson.  I have to thank my parish priest, Father Marcus Burch, for pointing out the excessively Protestant background of the this so-called "Orthodoxy Study Bible."  While well meaning, the people that put the OSB together were nearly all former evangelical Protestants who were part of that large group of "Evangelical Orthodox" who joined the Antiochian Archdiocese back in 1987.  And their Protestant roots and baggage are quite evident in the OSB.  I don't mean to demonize the OSB, but the people that produced it simply bit off more than they could chew.  They had not been Orthodox long enough to be seasoned and experienced enough in our faith to even make a proper Orthodox Bible translation. The very fact that they took as their starting point the NJKV (a translation so Protestant it did not even BOTHER to translate the Deuterocanonicals like the KJV did) says volumes.  The very fact that the OSB uses the Masoretic text of the Psalter AND the Protestant numbering of the Psalms is also another red flag for me.  Why not use "The Psalter According to the LXX" published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery instead?  Or the "Septuagint Psalms" translated by New Skete Monastery into contemporary English?  Or the Psalter from the Douai Rheims Bible, a very faithful translation of the Psalter made by Roman Catholics? Perhaps people may think I am too argumentative here, but why is there such precious LITTLE use made in the OSB of the faculties of St. Vladimir's, St. Tikhon's and Holy Cross Seminaries?  Why are the people responsible for almost everything in it teachers at St. Anthanasius Academy who came from almost exclusively evangelical Protestant backgrounds?  Has anyone besides me noticed that the Morning and Evening Prayers in the OSB have been edited to exclude all prayers to the Theotokos?  Its hard for me to even imagine how any Orthodox Christian's daily rule of prayer could not contain intercessions to the Mother of God. Has anyone besides me noticed that even the maps in the back of the OSB are Protestant too?  The maps even show the General Gordon's supposed "Garden Tomb"!  I guess we Orthodox must be mistaken about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre!  In short, I would not waste my time with the OSB.  I recommend the Orthodox New Testament published by Holy Apostles Convent.  Its a masterpiece!  A brilliant, fresh, new Orthodox translation of the NT in reverent, traditional English, copious notes from the Holy Fathers, hundreds of icons illustrating the text.  I hope that Holy Apostles eventually makes an translation of the OT as well.  The English speaking Orthodox would be forever greatful if they did.
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« Reply #41 on: November 03, 2003, 03:39:48 PM »

Tikhon,

I don't believe that a orthodox minded bible existed before the OSB and therefore a starting point was needed. Granted the 2 book ONT is a much better product, but I do find the OSB as it now exists useful to someone looking into Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #42 on: November 03, 2003, 04:48:49 PM »

Maybe they should call it "The Becoming Orthdox Study Bible" then. Wink
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« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2003, 02:03:50 PM »

For those who think I may have been too harsh in my assessment of the OSB, I refer them to this review of the Orthodox Study Bible by Archimandrite Ephrem that appeared in the Journal Sourozh. I am greatly to my priest, Father Marcus Burch, for being the first person to refer me to this in depth and scholarly review of the OSB.  I think all fans of the OSB should take note of this review.  It certainly opened my eyes.  Here is the web address: www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/ph_reviews.htm  I hope people will read this and post their reactions to it.  Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2003, 04:38:00 PM »

Tikhon,
Thanks though I have read it before, all I said was that before the OSB there was hardly anything that resembled a study bible with Orthodox notes, at least to my knowledge, but I'm just a" Roaming" Catholic  .

james

ps - this was discussed somewhere before here on the forum, maybe someone in the know can bump it up.
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« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2003, 12:00:29 PM »

The LXX.org site (Thomas Nelson OSB) clearly indicates the methodology they use (http://www.lxx.org/qa_d1.htm):

"Q: Why is another translation of the Bible needed?

A: Take a look at what we are doing. The Old Testament of the Orthodox Church is that which it has been from the beginning the Septuagint, that Greek version already in use when Christ came. It was the Bible used by him and the Apostles. The King James Version and other English language versions are made from the Masoretic Hebrew text which dates from about the 9th century A.D. Our translation of the Septuagint is essential for Orthodox Christians in America. Not only that, but we are making a Study Bible, with Orthodox notes throughout.

Q: Is the LXX project a complete translation of the Septuagint into modern English? It seems like that would be a much larger project than I see here.

A: You see as thorough a translation as that to be found anywhere. We are taking the New King James Version as a starting point -- "boilerplate" you might say -- and changing it everywhere it is different from the Septuagint. The result will indeed be a Septuagint translation. "

Thus, where the NKJV text does not adequately reflect the LXX, they will change the NKJV text (including translating parts of verses left out of the MT, for example many places in Proverbs).  The Psalms, it is clear, will reflect the LXX.

My priest is a translator, commentator on the OSB project, and is responsible, as I understand it, for the Psalsm.  He has written the book Christ in the Psalms, from Conciliar Press.
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« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2003, 12:13:43 PM »

As a follow up to some previous comments . . .

I've heard the accusation that the OSB is either not an Orthodox work or is less Orthodox than Protestant.

Can anyone give specific points that show the OSB to be Protestant?

(I'm sorry if this has been addressed on this board elsewhere, in which case if someone could point me to the discussion, I'd be grateful.)
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« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2003, 05:14:39 PM »

Curiouser and curiouser...

Curious:
The Orthodox New Testament many are raving about is published by (pardon me, Mor Ephrem) ... OH I CAN'T SAY IT! http://www.buenavistaco.com/GOC/HRDPUB.HTM

Curiouser:
just went to Allbookstores.com to check out the Orthodox New Testament http://www.allbookstores.com/book/0944359175.

They (Allbookstore) categorized it under "Subjects : Religion : Judaism : Orthodox!"

LOL!

David

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« Reply #48 on: November 10, 2003, 05:23:32 AM »

Curious:
The Orthodox New Testament many are raving about is published by (pardon me, Mor Ephrem) ... OH I CAN'T SAY IT! http://www.buenavistaco.com/GOC/HRDPUB.HTM

As Saint Basil instructed his students, "take only the honey" Smiley

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« Reply #49 on: November 10, 2003, 10:11:22 AM »

I'm not sure if you can consider this a "Study Bible" or not but I like to read "The Bible and The Holy Fathers". It was compiled by Johanna Manley. I like it because for most of the readings you get  more than one Holy Father's  comments on it. That way if one of these commentaries is a little vague the other should shed some light on it.

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« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2010, 10:57:13 PM »

When will we see an online version of the OSB?
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« Reply #51 on: December 08, 2010, 01:37:55 PM »

When will we see an online version of the OSB?

I would love to see a pocket version of OSB, too. I know there's the translation from Holy Apostles, but I do better if I work off of one text. Like with the Psalms: choose one translation and stick with it. Otherwise, the meaning doesn't seep in as well. (Plus, the HAC version sometimes leaves me wondering what on earth they are trying to say, and not because the ideas are abstruse, but because the language doesn't scan.)
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« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2010, 01:49:41 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)
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« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2010, 01:52:32 PM »

In the recent past I have found it easier to read things online. That is why I would like to see an OSB online, complete with keyword options
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« Reply #54 on: December 08, 2010, 02:31:11 PM »

I'm still waiting for an Orthodox study Bible.
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« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2010, 02:36:55 PM »

I hope before Christmas to get the OSB for my Nook (eBook).
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« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2010, 02:48:08 PM »

In the recent past I have found it easier to read things online. That is why I would like to see an OSB online, complete with keyword options

It's definitely easier to find things in online Bibles. That's pretty much a copyright issue. The NKJV is on BibleGateway.com, so it would seem that Thomas Nelson is not opposed to releasing their translations for online consumption.

My guess is that none of these things (additional translations besides the OSB, different form factors and media, etc) is all about simple demand. There simply isn't enough demand for Orthodox Bibles in English-speaking countries for people or companies to invest the time or money needed to "compete" with other translations.

Maybe when the Glorious Unification happens, the Church will pool its resources and put together a Church-sponsored common translation for all English-speaking Orthodox Christians to use.
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« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2010, 03:40:22 PM »

I do better if I work off of one text. Like with the Psalms: choose one translation and stick with it.

Couldn't agree more, especially with the Psalms in terms of prayer.

But I am so nit-picky I can't settle on any one. Should stay with the KJV, since it rings in my head anyhow. Just find it wanting in many places, especially for "musicality". The Coverdale translation always strikes me as lovely, but I have not spent much time with it.



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« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2010, 03:50:29 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)

I am surprised you would choose the NRSV. I understand your desire to have the "apocrypha" even if partially, but I do think the flaws in this version truly outweigh the improvement over the RSV. I have one I use in study. NRSV especially without footnotes can offer some rather non-Christological readings of the OT and arguably the NT.

The "inclusive language" does improve the accuracy of a few passages, but obfuscates many others.

If you have read my opinion on English version of the Bible, you might be surprised I would have this negative opinion of this version. I just can't imagine using it as my primary version. For the "young woman" vs. "virgin" controversy (which is of little concern to me).

Here is the first verse of the first Psalm:

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers

See the problem with bolded part? This is just crazy IMHO. I am certain you know the typical rendering of this verse and its some of the meaning gleaned from the choice of how to translate the subject here.

This problem is legion in the NRSV.

But nice to have, especially a critical edition for study in conjunction with other versions.

If you can stand the RSV there are "complete" versions of it and the 1611 "KJV" has the same books as the canon of the RCC.

FWIW.
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« Reply #59 on: December 08, 2010, 04:51:13 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)

I am surprised you would choose the NRSV. I understand your desire to have the "apocrypha" even if partially, but I do think the flaws in this version truly outweigh the improvement over the RSV. I have one I use in study. NRSV especially without footnotes can offer some rather non-Christological readings of the OT and arguably the NT.

The "inclusive language" does improve the accuracy of a few passages, but obfuscates many others.

If you have read my opinion on English version of the Bible, you might be surprised I would have this negative opinion of this version. I just can't imagine using it as my primary version. For the "young woman" vs. "virgin" controversy (which is of little concern to me).

Here is the first verse of the first Psalm:

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers

See the problem with bolded part? This is just crazy IMHO. I am certain you know the typical rendering of this verse and its some of the meaning gleaned from the choice of how to translate the subject here.

This problem is legion in the NRSV.

But nice to have, especially a critical edition for study in conjunction with other versions.

If you can stand the RSV there are "complete" versions of it and the 1611 "KJV" has the same books as the canon of the RCC.

FWIW.

I was not aware of the translation issues with the NRSV. I guess it's back to the drawing board.

But some of the NRSV's I've seen are so nice, with nice typography and the leather covers. And it's just a little thing, but it irritates me that they put the "apocrypha" off in a separate section in most Bibles that include the books.

And yet, I suppose the inclusion of the deuterocanonical books isn't everything. The other books would still be based on the MT, and there are a host of differences there. Heck, the LXX orders the book differently than most Protestant-friendly Bibles.

Perhaps the OSB is the only choice for a complete Orthodox Bible (old and new testaments) based on the LXX. The issues of being 0.7% of the population...
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« Reply #60 on: December 08, 2010, 04:58:51 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)

I am surprised you would choose the NRSV. I understand your desire to have the "apocrypha" even if partially, but I do think the flaws in this version truly outweigh the improvement over the RSV. I have one I use in study. NRSV especially without footnotes can offer some rather non-Christological readings of the OT and arguably the NT.

The "inclusive language" does improve the accuracy of a few passages, but obfuscates many others.

If you have read my opinion on English version of the Bible, you might be surprised I would have this negative opinion of this version. I just can't imagine using it as my primary version. For the "young woman" vs. "virgin" controversy (which is of little concern to me).

Here is the first verse of the first Psalm:

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers

See the problem with bolded part? This is just crazy IMHO. I am certain you know the typical rendering of this verse and its some of the meaning gleaned from the choice of how to translate the subject here.

This problem is legion in the NRSV.

But nice to have, especially a critical edition for study in conjunction with other versions.

If you can stand the RSV there are "complete" versions of it and the 1611 "KJV" has the same books as the canon of the RCC.

FWIW.

I was not aware of the translation issues with the NRSV. I guess it's back to the drawing board.

But some of the NRSV's I've seen are so nice, with nice typography and the leather covers. And it's just a little thing, but it irritates me that they put the "apocrypha" off in a separate section in most Bibles that include the books.

And yet, I suppose the inclusion of the deuterocanonical books isn't everything. The other books would still be based on the MT, and there are a host of differences there. Heck, the LXX orders the book differently than most Protestant-friendly Bibles.

Perhaps the OSB is the only choice for a complete Orthodox Bible (old and new testaments) based on the LXX. The issues of being 0.7% of the population...

My wife got me and OSB as a chrismation gift. I love it and from what I can tell, most of the problems that many had with it have been fixed (such as Psalms being the MT with Protestant numbering as it is now LXX with "proper" numbering). I'm sure a more suitable translation can be made, but I am not aware of any currently in print - that is not to say that one does not exist.
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« Reply #61 on: December 08, 2010, 05:04:15 PM »

A pocket version would be nice

I would enjoy that. I would also love to see a nice pocket Psalter. Holy Transfiguration Monastery has a "pocket" Psalter, and it's portable, but definitely not pocket-size.

I'm thinking more along the lines of the little Gideon Bibles that are the NT with Psalms and Proverbs. Just a nice little Psalter translated from an LXX text and broken into kathismata. I think that would be nice. Just saying.
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« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2010, 05:05:52 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)

I'm going to have to agree with orthonorm about avoiding the NRSV, but on the additional grounds that it lacks any real sense of poetry. "Spirit" is almost always translated as "wind"; overly literal to provide clarity for modern readers (READ: STUPID-SPEAK), such as firmament being instead the "dome" of the sky, Behold a pale green horse, etc. It's much more about being understandable than being dignified or actually Holy. Also, as he noted, this thing is too politically correct for its own good, so anything Christological in the Old Testament is given a neutral rendering to allow for the pre-Christian "Jewish" understanding. It's certainly not worthless, but I think most of it is questionable.

On the other hand, I actually don't mind an academic Bible. While orthonorm seems to have no love for the RSV, I think it is really quite well done, and I recommend you buy The New Oxford Annotated Bible with "Apocrypha" RSV. Yes, it has study notes, but they're very minimal and really serve to provide clarification on textual issues. Here's a link if you want to consider it:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Standard-Expanded-Hardcover/dp/0195283481

I think the translation is great and the footnotes have all the variants know at the last pressing in the late 70's. It is also Ecumenical in that it is approved for liturgical use and personal study in Orthodox, Roman Catholic and most Protestant churches. Some of the scholarship in the notes is not compatible with an Orthodox ethos, but any of that is really quite minimal and I don't see any real damage coming from those minor areas anyway.

I mostly find the notes in the Orthodox Study Bible to be banal and irritating. There's notes for everything, and they're completely repetitive. Ruth lays down with Boaz, just like we lay down dead with Christ in baptism, and He tells us what to do just as Boaz tells Ruth what to do. ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?! I know typology can get out of hand sometimes, but this stuff is sometimes downright moronic. That being said, I mean no disrespect to the OSB and all the love and effort that went into it. I use the text quite often and I think overall it's a huge asset to Orthodox in America and was an absolute necessity to create.

So get whatever you want to, but for me at this time the Oxford RSV is becoming my standard for Bible reading. Excellent textual scholarship on variants, excellent poetical translation of songs, and even if you don't want notes these are really valuable if you are in any way historically critically inclined.
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« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2010, 05:09:51 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)

I am surprised you would choose the NRSV. I understand your desire to have the "apocrypha" even if partially, but I do think the flaws in this version truly outweigh the improvement over the RSV. I have one I use in study. NRSV especially without footnotes can offer some rather non-Christological readings of the OT and arguably the NT.

The "inclusive language" does improve the accuracy of a few passages, but obfuscates many others.

If you have read my opinion on English version of the Bible, you might be surprised I would have this negative opinion of this version. I just can't imagine using it as my primary version. For the "young woman" vs. "virgin" controversy (which is of little concern to me).

Here is the first verse of the first Psalm:

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers

See the problem with bolded part? This is just crazy IMHO. I am certain you know the typical rendering of this verse and its some of the meaning gleaned from the choice of how to translate the subject here.

This problem is legion in the NRSV.

But nice to have, especially a critical edition for study in conjunction with other versions.

If you can stand the RSV there are "complete" versions of it and the 1611 "KJV" has the same books as the canon of the RCC.

FWIW.

I was not aware of the translation issues with the NRSV. I guess it's back to the drawing board.

But some of the NRSV's I've seen are so nice, with nice typography and the leather covers. And it's just a little thing, but it irritates me that they put the "apocrypha" off in a separate section in most Bibles that include the books.

And yet, I suppose the inclusion of the deuterocanonical books isn't everything. The other books would still be based on the MT, and there are a host of differences there. Heck, the LXX orders the book differently than most Protestant-friendly Bibles.

Perhaps the OSB is the only choice for a complete Orthodox Bible (old and new testaments) based on the LXX. The issues of being 0.7% of the population...

The Catholic Church puts out a RSV of their canon that doesn't require all the flipping, IIRC.

When it comes to Christological typology in the OT, the NRSV does a disservice with its use of inclusive language. I like the version and use as a study aid as someone whose Greek is terrible.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, when it come to my daily reading, I enjoy more than anything a single column, paragraph edition. The NKJV is not bad and there is an edition that has great titling of the "sections" within each book. The only notes are your typical alternate readings.

This is what I use day to day, at work or wherever I am and don't want to haul out some massive heavy difficult to read text:

http://www.amazon.com/NKJV-Single-Column-Bible-Thomas-Nelson/dp/1418542539/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

It is cheap, no leather. The cover takes abuse well and doesn't draw attention to itself, which may not be an issue for you.

The pages are that onionskin style. Hard to make a reasonably sized Bible without them.

Looking for something like the above with just the Gospels and Psalms, since that is what am reading 73% of the time.

FWIW.
 
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« Reply #64 on: December 08, 2010, 05:28:52 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)

I'm going to have to agree with orthonorm about avoiding the NRSV, but on the additional grounds that it lacks any real sense of poetry. "Spirit" is almost always translated as "wind"; overly literal to provide clarity for modern readers (READ: STUPID-SPEAK), such as firmament being instead the "dome" of the sky, Behold a pale green horse, etc. It's much more about being understandable than being dignified or actually Holy. Also, as he noted, this thing is too politically correct for its own good, so anything Christological in the Old Testament is given a neutral rendering to allow for the pre-Christian "Jewish" understanding. It's certainly not worthless, but I think most of it is questionable.

On the other hand, I actually don't mind an academic Bible. While orthonorm seems to have no love for the RSV, I think it is really quite well done, and I recommend you buy The New Oxford Annotated Bible with "Apocrypha" RSV. Yes, it has study notes, but they're very minimal and really serve to provide clarification on textual issues. Here's a link if you want to consider it:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Standard-Expanded-Hardcover/dp/0195283481

I think the translation is great and the footnotes have all the variants know at the last pressing in the late 70's. It is also Ecumenical in that it is approved for liturgical use and personal study in Orthodox, Roman Catholic and most Protestant churches. Some of the scholarship in the notes is not compatible with an Orthodox ethos, but any of that is really quite minimal and I don't see any real damage coming from those minor areas anyway.

I mostly find the notes in the Orthodox Study Bible to be banal and irritating. There's notes for everything, and they're completely repetitive. Ruth lays down with Boaz, just like we lay down dead with Christ in baptism, and He tells us what to do just as Boaz tells Ruth what to do. ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?! I know typology can get out of hand sometimes, but this stuff is sometimes downright moronic. That being said, I mean no disrespect to the OSB and all the love and effort that went into it. I use the text quite often and I think overall it's a huge asset to Orthodox in America and was an absolute necessity to create.

So get whatever you want to, but for me at this time the Oxford RSV is becoming my standard for Bible reading. Excellent textual scholarship on variants, excellent poetical translation of songs, and even if you don't want notes these are really valuable if you are in any way historically critically inclined.

OK. First, maybe I don't write English. I've suggest the exact edition of the RSV you recommend for Bible study. I use it in conjunction with with NKJV for 83% of my Bible reading / study. The Oxford RSV comes out with the notes when doing some light study and comparison with the NKJV.

So if I have given the impression that I have no love for the RSV, then I have been unclear although I have explicitly recommended it.

Having grown up on the KJV though, the RSV as Bible to read daily seems to be a poor marriage of the language of KJV and more contemporary English. But the version is great.

Alveus,

I agree obviously with some of what you say about the OT in NRSV, as I have already said it.  Wink

And I agree with the lack of poetic quality. But hearing wind, breath, spirit, etc. through a variety of versions communicated more clearly what is suggested. The Hebrew and Greek agree with these meanings. This is why I think for study a couple versions are handy.

For single use, again the NRSV is to be avoided.

However, I do think it gets a bad rap about being too "Jewish". I think Christianity, Orthodox or otherwise, has suffered severely from divorcing itself too much from its semitic albeit Hellenistic influenced origins. And I think we agree Jews have as well. And really the whole what "OT" did the writers of the "NT" use is very complicated and ultimately too unclear an issue to come down on a single set much less version or even translation.

Spot on with the Christological typology. But sometimes it is the NRSV which is the greatest help in trying to make sense of some the Scripture, for me.

But I would definitely not recommend it to anyone who isn't sensitive to these matters.

To be clear, as if it matters what I do:

Daily Reading: NKJV
Light Study: Oxford RSV and NKJV and NRSV
More Serious Study: The whole kitchen sink: podcasts, books, many English versions, commentaries, homilies, etc.

Again FWIW.

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« Reply #65 on: December 08, 2010, 06:01:35 PM »

orthonorm: Sorry, I obviously read too much into the statement "If you can stand the RSV..."
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« Reply #66 on: December 08, 2010, 06:11:20 PM »

orthonorm: Sorry, I obviously read too much into the statement "If you can stand the RSV..."

No problem, I figured as much. It was poorly worded. I just rarely hear many folks who like the RSV as a "devotional" Bible.

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« Reply #67 on: December 08, 2010, 06:25:46 PM »

No problem, I figured as much. It was poorly worded. I just rarely hear many folks who like the RSV as a "devotional" Bible.

Well, I wouldn't consider my use of it to be "devotional." I am using it to trek through the Old Testament Torah and history books like the Books of the Kingdoms, Chronicles, etc. I haven't actually spent any time with the New Testament in it, which is where I consider the "devotional" material to really be. I mostly consider a good portion of the Old Testament to be reading history books, so my posture is more academic in trying to keep straight dates, locations, characters and their lineages, etc. Once I hit Job and the Prophets, however, everything becomes much more internal. I'm not sure how the RSV will stack up in those situations.
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« Reply #68 on: December 08, 2010, 06:28:35 PM »

I'll echo what Alveus said, the NOAB RSV with Expanded Apocrypha is my Bible of choice, great translation and they include in verses that are missing in a normal RSV. Also for example in Isaiah 7:14 it talks about the messiah being born from a "young woman" but there is a footnote that says "or virgin". I believe they will have footnotes where it will say "In Greek or Hebrew this verse could say.." I enjoy the essays in the back and pretty nice, but brief, introductions to the books of the Bible
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« Reply #69 on: December 08, 2010, 06:39:47 PM »

I'll echo what Alveus said, the NOAB RSV with Expanded Apocrypha is my Bible of choice, great translation and they include in verses that are missing in a normal RSV.

Also, I want to note that they do make it in a genuine leather, because I seem to recall bogdan expressing interest in that:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Revised-Standard-Expanded/dp/019528335X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_1

I personally find the hardcover sturdier and it looks classy and simple if you pull off the ugly dustcover.
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« Reply #70 on: December 08, 2010, 06:45:35 PM »

I'll echo what Alveus said, the NOAB RSV with Expanded Apocrypha is my Bible of choice, great translation and they include in verses that are missing in a normal RSV.

Also, I want to note that they do make it in a genuine leather, because I seem to recall bogdan expressing interest in that:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Revised-Standard-Expanded/dp/019528335X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_1

I personally find the hardcover sturdier and it looks classy and simple if you pull off the ugly dustcover.

Hate dustcovers.

The hardcover has held up for forever being dragged around in my backpack and treated to all kindsa abuse.
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« Reply #71 on: December 08, 2010, 07:04:39 PM »

I'll echo what Alveus said, the NOAB RSV with Expanded Apocrypha is my Bible of choice, great translation and they include in verses that are missing in a normal RSV.

Also, I want to note that they do make it in a genuine leather, because I seem to recall bogdan expressing interest in that:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Revised-Standard-Expanded/dp/019528335X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_1

I personally find the hardcover sturdier and it looks classy and simple if you pull off the ugly dustcover.

Yeah the hardcover is awesome without that terrible dustcover. Any pictures on that leatherbound? Just curious, but I love how the hardcover just lays completley flat.
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« Reply #72 on: December 08, 2010, 08:42:28 PM »

I'll echo what Alveus said, the NOAB RSV with Expanded Apocrypha is my Bible of choice, great translation and they include in verses that are missing in a normal RSV.

Also, I want to note that they do make it in a genuine leather, because I seem to recall bogdan expressing interest in that:

http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Revised-Standard-Expanded/dp/019528335X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_1

I personally find the hardcover sturdier and it looks classy and simple if you pull off the ugly dustcover.

Yeah the hardcover is awesome without that terrible dustcover. Any pictures on that leatherbound? Just curious, but I love how the hardcover just lays completley flat.

The leather-bound is illustrated, too. Same icons as the hard cover. It also lies nice and flat, it's just too big to be portable.
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« Reply #73 on: December 08, 2010, 08:45:53 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)

Oxford University Press puts out a nice portable Catholic Bible. It's my second choice when I don't have room to carry OSB. They make a matching King James edition, as well. (Not RSV.)
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« Reply #74 on: December 08, 2010, 08:49:52 PM »

A pocket version would be nice, or I would like to see a non-study Bible version of the OSB. Just the text and some footnotes, like regular pew Bibles. I actually don't want all the study notes. I'm close to just getting a Catholic NRSV because I don't want a study Bible. It doesn't have 3 Maccabees, but it has the rest (well, except for 4 Maccabees and 3 Esdras/Apocalypse of Ezra, but the OSB doesn't have those either)

I am surprised you would choose the NRSV. I understand your desire to have the "apocrypha" even if partially, but I do think the flaws in this version truly outweigh the improvement over the RSV. I have one I use in study. NRSV especially without footnotes can offer some rather non-Christological readings of the OT and arguably the NT.

The "inclusive language" does improve the accuracy of a few passages, but obfuscates many others.

If you have read my opinion on English version of the Bible, you might be surprised I would have this negative opinion of this version. I just can't imagine using it as my primary version. For the "young woman" vs. "virgin" controversy (which is of little concern to me).

Here is the first verse of the first Psalm:

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers

See the problem with bolded part? This is just crazy IMHO. I am certain you know the typical rendering of this verse and its some of the meaning gleaned from the choice of how to translate the subject here.

This problem is legion in the NRSV.

But nice to have, especially a critical edition for study in conjunction with other versions.

If you can stand the RSV there are "complete" versions of it and the 1611 "KJV" has the same books as the canon of the RCC.

FWIW.

I was not aware of the translation issues with the NRSV. I guess it's back to the drawing board.

But some of the NRSV's I've seen are so nice, with nice typography and the leather covers. And it's just a little thing, but it irritates me that they put the "apocrypha" off in a separate section in most Bibles that include the books.

And yet, I suppose the inclusion of the deuterocanonical books isn't everything. The other books would still be based on the MT, and there are a host of differences there. Heck, the LXX orders the book differently than most Protestant-friendly Bibles.

Perhaps the OSB is the only choice for a complete Orthodox Bible (old and new testaments) based on the LXX. The issues of being 0.7% of the population...

The Catholic Church puts out a RSV of their canon that doesn't require all the flipping, IIRC.

When it comes to Christological typology in the OT, the NRSV does a disservice with its use of inclusive language. I like the version and use as a study aid as someone whose Greek is terrible.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, when it come to my daily reading, I enjoy more than anything a single column, paragraph edition. The NKJV is not bad and there is an edition that has great titling of the "sections" within each book. The only notes are your typical alternate readings.

This is what I use day to day, at work or wherever I am and don't want to haul out some massive heavy difficult to read text:

http://www.amazon.com/NKJV-Single-Column-Bible-Thomas-Nelson/dp/1418542539/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

It is cheap, no leather. The cover takes abuse well and doesn't draw attention to itself, which may not be an issue for you.

The pages are that onionskin style. Hard to make a reasonably sized Bible without them.

Looking for something like the above with just the Gospels and Psalms, since that is what am reading 73% of the time.

FWIW.
 

The notes in the large-format edition by Holy Apostles Convent has pretty good notes. They're at the back of each book. I, too, am disappointed in the quality of the notes in OSB.
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« Reply #75 on: December 08, 2010, 08:56:00 PM »

I also use the Stone Edition of the Chumash (Torah with comments) and Tanakh (OT with comments), besides the old Brenton Septuagint and an interlinear Greek-English NT. For beauty, though, I still gotta go back to King James or Tyndale/Coverdale. There's a lovely 1611 facsimile of KJ with Apochrypha with original orthography. Not for everyone, it's a little fussy, but I find it beautiful.

I guess I'm kind of averaging things out. It would be nice to have just one edition one could have confidence in.
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« Reply #76 on: December 08, 2010, 09:03:21 PM »

I can't remember if I mentioned this in another thread already, but...

At our Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity, when the question of, "Can the Churches stock Orthodox bibles to give out to people who visit," came up, and led to the inevitable discussion of, "Which translation/the OSB is too expensive," His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS (who was a New Testament professor) suggested the RSV and NKJV for study and reflection (I just don't remember which one he said was for study and which for reflection... sorry!).  But he stated that we're in the planning stages of doing an actual, honest to goodness, new translation from the Orthodox Church's liturgical text of the scripture (i.e. not from one of the Manuscripts, or from Nestle-Aland).
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« Reply #77 on: February 03, 2011, 01:15:41 AM »

I got a copy of the OSB since, from what I knew then (and now) it’s the only complete LXX translation in English. My old Serbian language bible translated by Vuk himself is a protestant one in terms of the texts that are included. I read that too, and I started to translate Philemon recently from Serbian into English to see how close I could get to the OSB, and to practice old 1800s-style Serbian, just for fun. I may try more of this if time allows. I compare OSB to RSV and NRSV now and then, but right now, for me OSB works even though it's not the best. When someone else makes a complete LXX translation I will get that and use it. I guess my biggest point is that the OSB made it easier for me to read the bible daily, and that is very important to me fight now. Since there no 'official' English Orthodox bible its good enough for me in particular since it helps me meditate a bit.


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« Reply #78 on: February 03, 2011, 01:37:59 AM »

A correction to my post: the New Testament is from Vuk and the old I am referring to is from Dancicic, Vuk's collaborator. Smiley
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« Reply #79 on: February 03, 2011, 01:46:05 AM »

The OSB has its strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are that it: (1.) It uses all Greek Texts. (2.) It has Church Fathers in it and is Orthodox. (3.) It has a beautiful cover.
The weaknesses is this that it: (1.) It uses all Protestant translations. (2.) It needs more quotes of Church Fathers (3.) The paper is so thin its almost like kleenex.

There is a "Eastern Orthodox Bible" (EOB) of which the New Testament has been released. On their web-site they say the Old Testament would be finished by 2011, but the disappointing thing is that I emailed the head editor of the project and he said, "Frankly, I do not see it being completed in 2011 – too few volunteers, too much work…"

Many should be aware of this bible by now: http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/eob/
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« Reply #80 on: February 12, 2011, 07:22:15 PM »

Does anyone know of a good edition of the Septuagint? I've heard very mixed reviews of the new edition that came out recently, but the old one leaves a lot to be desired.
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« Reply #81 on: February 12, 2011, 07:31:21 PM »

Does anyone know of a good edition of the Septuagint? I've heard very mixed reviews of the new edition that came out recently, but the old one leaves a lot to be desired.
Personally I don't know, I'm waiting for the EOB to complete its OT translation from the Septuagint but that's going to be awhile. I've read parts of the Brenton and NETS but they have their problems. I think it's impossible to get a perfect translation into English.

It would be lovely if the Orthodox Study Bible was in RSV or even using their own Orthodox translation. Maybe one day.
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« Reply #82 on: February 12, 2011, 07:36:01 PM »

Does anyone know of a good edition of the Septuagint? I've heard very mixed reviews of the new edition that came out recently, but the old one leaves a lot to be desired.
Personally I don't know, I'm waiting for the EOB to complete its OT translation from the Septuagint but that's going to be awhile. I've read parts of the Brenton and NETS but they have their problems. I think it's impossible to get a perfect translation into English.

It would be lovely if the Orthodox Study Bible was in RSV or even using their own Orthodox translation. Maybe one day.

I have a copy of the Breton translation on my laptop that I used before I got my OSB - I liked it but it was lacking in the translation a bit. The one thing I loved was the LXX next the MT so you can see where things differ between the two versions. My OSB is what I primarily use even though many are not happy with the translation, and I will probably stick with it even after other versions come out.
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« Reply #83 on: February 12, 2011, 07:46:41 PM »

The differences are quite a bit, that's why I do like my NOAB RSV which has generous footnotes on Greek translations on certain verses. Like the "young woman" being a "virgin" in Isaiah.
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« Reply #84 on: February 12, 2011, 08:08:03 PM »

There's a lovely 1611 facsimile of KJ with Apochrypha with original orthography. Not for everyone, it's a little fussy, but I find it beautiful.

This is the Blackletter font right (Gothic type)? Where can I purchase this? You'd think for it being a 400th anniversary they wouldn't just use the Roman facsimile.
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« Reply #85 on: February 12, 2011, 10:00:10 PM »

It would be lovely if the Orthodox Study Bible was in RSV or even using their own Orthodox translation. Maybe one day.
But the OSB is an Orthodox translation of the LXX. The NT is NKJV; I, too, am looking forward to an Orthodox translation to complement the OT of the OSB.
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« Reply #86 on: February 12, 2011, 10:02:26 PM »

Right but it uses the NKJV framework for the LXX if I'm not mistaken. What I meant to say is using a translation template (outside of Protestant ones) that is more in line with Orthodox "language".
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« Reply #87 on: February 12, 2011, 10:12:41 PM »

Right but it uses the NKJV framework for the LXX if I'm not mistaken. What I meant to say is using a translation template (outside of Protestant ones) that is more in line with Orthodox "language".
I do understand your point. Translation is as much an art as a science and as such reflects the bias of the translator/s (or perhaps more correctly the benefactors of the project  Wink). But given that there never has been a definitive translation done by the Orthodox into English, I doubt that there is such a template that would avoid the controversies that surround the OSB.
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« Reply #88 on: February 12, 2011, 10:24:59 PM »

True enough, it basically comes down to no "template" could ever be perfect however we should strive to get something that is pretty accurate and faithful to the text. You know you don't want something as scarilegous as the Living Bible or the Message  Cheesy
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« Reply #89 on: February 13, 2011, 12:51:40 AM »

I've mentioned this in a bunch of other places, but Michael Asser has produced a KJV-style Septuagint translation. It's available online here: http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/zot.htm

He needs proofreaders though- if you have time, consider getting in touch with him and helping out. When everything is ready he'll get it printed- probably starting with lulu.com, unless some publishers express interest.

Michael Asser produced the Psalter currently published by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies. It's a beautiful volume and my favorite Psalter currently in print.

Currently he is working on revising the KJV New Testament to conform with the standard Greek Orthodox text.
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« Reply #90 on: February 13, 2011, 01:16:07 PM »

There's a lovely 1611 facsimile of KJ with Apochrypha with original orthography. Not for everyone, it's a little fussy, but I find it beautiful.

This is the Blackletter font right (Gothic type)? Where can I purchase this? You'd think for it being a 400th anniversary they wouldn't just use the Roman facsimile.

No, not Gothic type. I honestly don't remember where I got it, but check Amazon. It's not expensive.
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« Reply #91 on: February 13, 2011, 09:03:19 PM »

Nah that's not the true 1611 version then. I want the one with the Blackletter font (Gothic) which is very expensive. I was trying to find a version that was inexpensive.
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« Reply #92 on: February 20, 2011, 01:38:43 AM »

I see that in the intorduction to Tobit that the OSB has a cross reference to John 3:16. Is this correct?
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« Reply #93 on: February 20, 2011, 02:03:04 AM »

I see that in the intorduction to Tobit that the OSB has a cross reference to John 3:16. Is this correct?

Quote
The Book of Tobit is a love story. A father sends his only son into the world so that he may find a bride, save her, and bring her back rejoicing to his parents.

A comparison with John 3:16 could read

A father                                                   For God
sends his only son into the world                  so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
so that he may find a bride,                         that whosoever believeth in him
save her,                                                  should not perish,
and bring her back rejoicing to his parents.     but have everlasting life.
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« Reply #94 on: February 20, 2011, 03:04:40 AM »

Interesting. I saw that too. The parallel is strong; however, I am wondering if John 3:16 is really a reference to Tobit as such. How does one determine this idea of reference?
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« Reply #95 on: February 20, 2011, 02:37:56 PM »

I think it was just to draw the parallel so that people can see how this story is ultimately fulfilled in the person of Christ and bears witness to Him.
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« Reply #96 on: February 20, 2011, 06:27:19 PM »

Agreed. Smiley
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