Review of Novum Testamentum Graece: Greek-English New Testament, 28th Edition (NRSV-REB Edition)

Hendrickson brings to us a delightful gift. Included for the first time in a Greek-English interlinear is the Revised English Bible. This less-travelled road makes all the difference in deciding which NA-28 to purchase, in my opinion.

The NA-28 is the most recent update to the Nestle-Aland production of a critical Greek New Testament, but it includes only changes made to the Catholic, or General, Epistles (James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1–3 John, and Jude). The NA-28’s website reads, “the Catholic Letters were revised according to a fundamentally new concept which in the long run will be adopted for the entire edition.” The focus on changes, then, should occur on the Catholic letters and have been discussed by various scholars in a myriad of publications. One may be hesitant to purchase the NA-28 based only on a few changes although one of those changes includes the adoption of the Editio Critica Maior, a particularly nice evolution in the NA series. Other revisions or changes include the marginal apparatus of references, a revision of non-Greek version citations, as well as a revision of patristic citations.

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The various endings of Mark (English)

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The various endings of Mark (Greek)

However, what I consider quite special about this version of the NA-28 is the inclusion of the Revised English Bible alongside that of the NRSV (which replaces the now outdated Revised Standard Version found in earlier NA editions). Unfortunately, the REB has not found it’s place in the American audience just yet. The REB, published in 1989, is the descendent of the 1960’s New English Bible and is itself based on the NA-27. It clears up some of the poor readings in the New English Bible as well as providing a nice, almost conservative, counterweight to the NRSV when it comes to certain translation issues like inclusive language (notably, Psalm 1). The literary quality of the REB is, in my opinion, a vastly superior one compared to many recent translations. While some of the Britishisms of the REB may slow the American reader,  the lack of Evangelicalism (such as what is found in the NIV) presents a doctrinal neutral text. Finally, as with the NRSV which is endorsed by the National Council of Churches, a U.S.-based organization, the REB is endorsed by the Joint Committee of the Churches, a U.K.-based ecumenical organization including many Protestant churches as we well as the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.

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Very portable

I was concerned with size and the layout. After all, other Greek-English diglots are bulky with just one English translation. To add a second one is to tempt the scales. However, the size is no larger than what you might hope for in a hand-held bible. The layout places the Greek on one side of the page with the English translations on the other, all synced together. The NRSV is in plain font while the REB is in italics. Section headings and section parsing are taken from the NRSV. Missing from the English part is the critical apparatus detailing how other versions translated certain phrases and words (when compared to the RSV).

The NA-28 is step in redesigning the entire NA Greek New Testament. Not only does it adopt the Editio Critica Maior with changes to the Catholic Epistles, but it includes two English translations to showcase various methods of translation. It is profitable for the scholar and the autodidact alike and finally gives due consideration to the REB. 

Below is a brief vlog review as well:

New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha – Features Overview

Click to Order

Nearly every class so far in seminary has required this particular bible. In addition, the Oxford Annotated Bible has had a tradition of use in seminaries and other higher institutions of theological learning in which a more academic approach (i.e., less doctrinal, unbiased) is needed in the study of Scripture. This is my first use of the Annotated Bible series, although it is the fourth edition, but I have found it more than helpful whether in seminary class or in the pew. While the text is the NRSV, and not the NLT which is my preference, the translation is still sufficiently close to the rigidness expected by literalists without being overly wooden as the NASB often is. Further, the NRSV is the ecumenical standard, which also explains why this edition included the (so-called, and in my opinion, falsely called) Apocrypha (hereafter the Deuterocanon). (For those readers who desire not to have one with the Deuterocanon, you can purchase one of those as well). For this series, I wanted to highlight features of the edition which I believe are useful for the reader (or maybe, more appropriately, user), whether academic or lay. Indeed, while the additional features carry are generally entrenched in the much feared higher biblical criticism, even a conservative user should be able to find something of use among them, even if it is merely something to preach against.

It is edited by Michael D. Coogan, a well-known biblical scholar who has behind him a long list of varied voices serving as contributors. With such contributors as Amy-Jill Levine, David A. de Silva, and Richard A. Horsley, there is a variety of opinion and viewpoint for each book. What is enjoyable is that the various viewpoints are not sedated through editing, leaving the reader interacting with voices different from their own, and indeed, different from one book to the next. Is this important? In an academic setting, one must be willing to hear different voices on the same issues, and not just those with whom the student is familiar with. By including not just moderates to liberals, but conservatives, Christians and Jews and the such, the NOAB provides a foothold into the world of academic biblical studies in a time when more often, a singular voice is superimposed upon the student.

As I noted, this particular version includes the Apocrypha/Deuterocanon but not just the Western lists. We also see included the books of 1st through 4th Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and 3rd and 4th Maccabees. Unlike the New English Translation of the Septuagint which is itself dependent upon the NRSV’s translation, it does not include the Psalms of Solomon. Note, no canonical list actually includes the Psalms of Solomon, but given that it is included in some ancient manuscripts and is a personal favorite of mine, a future edition of the NOAB might do well to include it, at the very least, in the appendix. To this end, regarding the canons, the editor includes an essay detailing the canons, their inception, lists, and uses from Judaism to the West as well as the East. It is not a simply essay, either, but includes various arguments over canonization, history, and intrusion into canonical interpretation. This essay is one among many which deals with the various criticisms, such as textual, as well as methods of interpretation.  Further, as usual, there is the glossary, index and concordance need to navigate the text as well as the NOAB.

Review: New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th Edition-Part 2

In this installment, I will be looking at the text of the notes and introductions to the different books. To make it totally random, I just opened my copy of the NOAB3 to and picked the first note I saw.

NOAB3

NOAB4

Ezekiel 18.1-4 Note Sins and their punishments may involve long-term consequence for the corporate community, as 16.44; Ex 20.5 recognize. In the exiles’ current situation, however, it is not appropriate for them to blame their ancestors for their misfortunes, as they were doing (Jer 31.29-30). Ezekiel’s audience is far from an innocent generation. Nevertheless, individuals within the community can take responsibility, turn from sin, and chose life amidst the coming corporate (communal) punishment. The text does not necessarily deny the notion of corporate (communal) punishment or contradict the statement of Ex 20.5 that parents can pass on the consequences of sin to their children. In places such as 16.44 and 20.4, 30 Ezekiel affirms that sins and their punishments may involve long term consequences for individuals and for the corporate community. What Ezekiel is stressing is that the exiles cannot hide behind a defense of fatalism but must take responsibility for their present circumstances and their future. The prophet’s audience is far from an innocent generation, and it is not appropriate for them to view their present fate as inexorably determined by past actions of their ancestors (cf. Jer 31.29-30, which quotes the same proverb).
Mark 7.1-5 Note As representatives of the Jerusalem religious establishment, the Pharisees and scribes cultivated oral traditions of the elders supplementary to the law of Moses, in this story focused on purity codes for processing and eating food. As representatives of the Jerusalem Temple, the political-economic as well as religious capital of Judea, the Pharisees and scribes cultivated oral tradition of the elders supplementary to the law of Moses, in this story focused on purity codes for processing and eating foods.

For the introduction, I chose the book of Job. The NAOB4 was divided up into sections: Name and Location in Canon; Authorship, Date of Composition, and Historical Context; Literary History, Structure, and Contents; Interpretation; Guide to Reading.  The NAOB3 did not have any division of sections.  Most of the introduction of Job in the NAOB4 was rewritten.  This was not true for all introductions, some only received minor updates.

Overall Assessment:

I really like the changes made in the NAOB4.  I think the editors did a great job of keeping the NAOB “classic but not stodgy, up-to-date but not trendy”.

Review: New Oxford Annotated Bible 4th Edition

The first part of my review of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th Edition (hereafter NOAB4) will focus more on appearance than on content.

Here is a picture of the 3rd and 4th editions.  The 4th edition is on top.

NOAB3

NOAB4

Pages 2432 2480
Dimensions 9.3×6.8×2.1 9.3×6.9×1.9
Page Numbering Page numbering varies depending on the section: [785 Hebrew Bible] or [257 New Testament]. Page numbering is sequential and consistent throughout: Hebrew Bible | 613 or New Testament | 2067.

Misc cosmetic changes:

  • The print of the NOAB4 is smaller than the print in the NOAB3.

I like the change made in the numbering of pages.  The page numbering in the NAOB3 didn’t make much sense.  Concerning the font size, the smaller print of the NAOB4 hasn’t really bothered me.  I like that the NAOB4 is a little thinner than the NAOB3.  I used the NAOB3 during seminary, and it was a beast to lug to and from class.  All in all, I approve of the cosmetic changes.

My next post will look at the content of the NOAB4.

Just Arrived

I recently submitted a request to Oxford University Press to get a review copy of the Fourth Edition New Oxford Annotated Bible.  I know it’s not the NLT…I think Joel will let it slide.  He doesn’t make one subscribe to NLT-onlyism to blog here.  ;)

Keep an eye out for my review.  I’ll be comparing the Fourth Edition to the Third Edition.

Deuteronomy 33.26-29, (LXX) Some thoughts

“There is no one like the God of the Beloved,
Who rides the heavens and is your help,
And the Magnificent One of the firmament,

There is Protection in of the rule of God –
Who is under the strength of the everlasting arms;
He will drive out the enemy from before your face,
Saying, “Destroy!’

Then Israel shall dwell in hope,
Alone in the land of Jacob,
In a land of grain and new wine;
His heavens shall also drop dew.

Happy are you, O Israel!
Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD?
Your helper will defend as with a shield
And the sword shall be your boast!

Your enemies shall speak falsely to you,
And you shall tread on their neck.”

My immediate thought concerns the God Who has no equal – and I think upon His Church. So many times we see people attempting to turn the Church into that which is like the world. We adopt their music, their style, their doctrine and theology, and their agendas. Our God has none like Him, and yet we would turn His body into a similitude of the adversary.

This passage begins with Moses giving blessings to the tribes of Israel, but ends with a psalm of praise to God. Of all the blessings that each tribe will be given, there is none like the blessing of having the one God to rule and to protect all of Israel. There is hope and strength in God alone, or divine protection under the rule of God.

It is a reminder for Israel not to go after foreign gods and kings, for they could not provide the protection of God.

This psalm is also a summation of the Covenant – if Israel was to stay under the rule of God, in the refuge of the Eternal God, then the enemies of the People would be thrust out from before them and be destroyed.

The NRSV at verse 27 attempts to reconstruct the Hebrew, and arrives at this,

He subdues the ancient gods, shatters the forces of old;  he drove out the enemy before you, and said, “Destroy!”(Deuteronomy 33:27 NRVS)

This translation feeds the next verse, in that after these obsolete deities are driven away, after the high places are destroyed, all Israel will dwell alone in the land that God has given them. It is the same as the Church – when we remove those foreign gods from our lives, we will dwell with God alone. Would God really share His glory with another? Would we really seek to live under the protection of God and another?

"Gender Inclusive" – Is the KJV "Gender Inclusive"?

The KJVO supporters usually criticize the TNIV and NRSV on the grounds that they use ‘gender inclusive’ language – yet the KJV promoted that venue long before those versions were thought of. Granted, the KJVO does not go far enough in translating gender all that well, but it is interesting to note that they did allow for some less than literal translations. The goal of this article is to show that some of the criticisms leveled against the newer versions can be found to be equally leveled at the KJV.

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My top Bibles for 2008

Bryon has posted his top bibles for the year, and it has inspired me to do so as well. In 2007, I was 90% King James, still considering myself a King James Primary bible user, but this year has seen me change that dramatically.

So, here it is,

  1. NKJV
  2. NLT
  3. NRSV
  4. NET
  5. NETS

1.) The New King James Version has quickly become my favorite  for church service – although the KJV is the only thing used in service. It is still similiar enough to the KJV that I can read along while calling attention to some of the faults of the KJV. The particular version that I use is the OSB, which you can read about once you click the review.

2.) I opened this translation because of my daughter and have since found that it is more than just an ‘easy to read’ bible, but has a good dose of literalism even in the most informal translations. It is direct and to the point, and it is a version of the bible that my daughter can actually read and understand.

3.) I use the NRSV for comparsion, especially with the Deuteroncanon. It is within the Tyndale tradition so it mirrors the RSV and the KJV (NKJV) enough that the structure is familiar.

4.) The New English Translation is one that I laughed at, until I read it and looked at the translator’s notes. This bible is worth something alone because of those notes

5.) Granted, the NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint does not include the New Testament, but it’s highly literal rendering of the LXX makes it viable enough to study. I have it on my Palm Centro (do not get a Palm Centro) so if I were to ever need it, I don’t have to carry the hard copy around.

Other honorable mentions include the RSV, the Jerusalem Bible, the NAB, and the Living Oracles. I like Mace’s translation as well.