Monday, June 06, 2011

Review: Bad Bibles Edition

I have been meaning to do this for some time, but am just getting around to it now that the school year is over and I have a nifty new keyboard for my iPad. I can type anywhere and it makes things very easy.

I need to show you the rot so you can avoid the stench. Here are two really bad Bibles that you need to avoid. Gladly, they aren't all the easiest to come by.

Bad Bible #1: The Rainbow Catholic Study Bible
If it were just the Good News Translation I probably wouldn't mention it. The GNT is one that I used as a Presbyterian growing up in Sunday School and Youth Group but even then we all knew it was sort of lame. But this one is really lame. Every verse in it is color coded, by topic, except for the "Catholic" books. They left those alone. The color coding makes this Bible completely unusable. One gentleman in my Bible study uses this and sits next to me in class. I don't know how he does it. It is the stupidest gimmick out there.

It also comes with a CD (Windows 3.1 Compatible!) with a whole bunch of heresy on it.

Bad Bible #2: Catholic Community Bible
This is the most insidious and evil edition I have ever come across in my life. I bought it off Amazon a few months ago because I was intrigued with what I saw from its website. I read some of the PDFs available for download and the notes looked a whole lot more faithful than our NAB. The translation itself didn't see half bad at all either.

Boy was I wrong. If you think the NAB notes are bad, you haven't seen these. On nearly every page appears some sort of anti-Catholic screed. There are some really really good notes too but that doesn't help the cause of this Bible.

Here is an example from the Letter of James.


James 5:13 - 16
Are any among you sick? They should pray. Are any of you happy? They should sing songs to God. If anyone is sick, let him call on the elders of the Church, They shall pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. They prayer said in faith will save the sick person; the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.


Not horrible. Here is the note on this passage.

We know, through James' words, that the Church continued - and must continue today - Christ's ministry to the sick. Salvation includes both physical and spiritual health. [? I wonder if this was written by a liberation theologian.] The Gospel shows us that the latter is the most important and God always grants it. [He does?], although he does not always restore physical health.
In the Gospel, Jesus lays his hands on the sick and when he sends his missionaries, he asks them to lay their hands on the sick or to anoint them with oil (Mk 6:13 and 16:18). The laying on of hands is like communicating to another person the power which will heal him, in the name of Christ and with his authority. As to oil, it was used in those days as a remedy. The two signs - anointing and laying of hands - accompany prayer.

The elders are those in charge of Christian communities. They were lay people [FAIL] but had been charged with the direction of the community, the celebration of baptism, presiding at the eucharist. [this is downright evil. it goes on...]

When the Church speaks of the sacrament of the sick, it refers only to the anointing with oil done by someone who has officially received the power for this sacrament (up to now, only priests can administer this sacrament) [?!?] This in no way excludes leaders of Christian communities from praying, from anointing, and laying hands on the sick...[etc...you get the point]


The CCB is the main English Bible translation for Phillipines. Avoid this piece of garbage.

12 comments:

cheryl said...

I totally agree with you regarding the laying on of hands, baptism and the Eucharist. The notes are aberrant from the Catholic Faith. There's no saving them. They need to be tossed.

Regarding the notes on sickness and salvation, they're misleading. But only because they're poorly worded and missing some important caveats. If they were reworded, they'd be okay.

For example, first it says,
Salvation includes both physical and spiritual health.
But then it goes onto say,
he (God) does not always restore physical health.

Without further explanation, the notes are contradictory. If I'm ill, should I conclude that I'm not saved? Some protestants do.

I'd like to have a Bible with nothing but notes from the catechism, church fathers and papal encyclicals. No translator's opinions, except to note the variant readings in the ancient texts.

Matt said...

I'd like to have a Bible with nothing but notes from the catechism, church fathers and papal encyclicals. No translator's opinions, except to note the variant readings in the ancient texts.

Bingo. The Navarre Series comes close to that, and so does the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. But the Navarre only exists in multiple volumes and the ICSB is only the New Testament right now...and its a giant tank of a Bible at that.

cheryl said...

I've been thinking about getting the Navarre Series for awhile, since I actually prefer individual volumes. I'm glad to hear, that perhaps this is the series I've been looking for. I've been hesitant in the past, having bought Bibles, only to be disappointed later. Thanks.

Javier said...

In fact there is a single volume edition of the Navarre Bible. Only it is in spanish. It is printed in the U.S. by the Midwest Theological Forum. They might be able to do the same for the english version.

Navarre Bible

Javier

Javier said...

The Christian Community Bible is the work of a french priest, Fr. Bernard Hurault. It was his adaptation to english of his "Biblia Latinoamericana" (Latin American Bible), an spanish translation he made while doing pastoral work in Chile in the 1970's. I have never read it, but from what I've heard it was pretty much influenced by liberation theology. It elicited a pretty strong reaction by the Argentinian Episcopate, in the form of a letter addressing the errors in the Bible notes (and translation).
The Christian Community Bible was put together by him while in the Philippines.
I've been reading Fr. Hurault biography. I'm not in the least favorable to liberation theology. Still, Fr. Hurault is a very curious character. From his letters it is clear that he was rabidly anticlerical, and he didn't like Pope John Paul II or the then Cardinal Ratzinger at all. Still, he at no point seems to deny a dogma, and he was very interested in Saint Therese of Avila, and in the modern stigmatic Marthe Robin.

Javier.

Matt said...

Thanks for the information Javier!

Moonshadow said...

I have the NT text of the CCB sans footnotes in the Catholic Comparable New Testament and knew it was used overseas. Half the English versions are "word-for-word" and the rest are paraphrases. Guess which kind is CCB?! [Paraphrase!]

Whether one believes that God always provides spiritual healing or not depends upon one's theology. God always grants but we may refuse? Or God doesn't grant? Your pick - on the ground, it's difficult to tell.

The belief that God saves temporally (i.e., physically) is found clearly in the Psalms, especially whenever Judaism dismisses belief in an afterlife. Preservation from one's mortal enemies is hardly liberation theology.

Were elders laymen? They're appointed by leaders appointed by Paul (Titus 1:5); they lay hands on leaders appointed by Paul (1 Tim. 4:14). Certainly, Jewish elders in Jesus' day were laymen. What's the evidence this did not continue into the NT period?

Javier said...

Matt,

I'm a craddle catholic, and only recently have I began studying the Bible. In my experience, choosing the best Bible is no easy task. I'm argentinean, so my experience regards exclusively spanish catholics versions.
We have a lot of versions to choose from:
Nácar-Colunga
Bover-Cantera
Mons. Straubinger
"El libro del Pueblo de Dios" (The book of the People of God). This is the "official" one used at Mass in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
"La Biblia del Peregrino" by Fr. Alonso Schökel
"La Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo" the text by Fr. Schökel, with notes adapted to Latin America
"La Biblia Latinoamericana"
"The Navarre Bible"
and there are still others.
The problem I've found is that sometimes the Bible with the most orthodox notes (let's say it is the Navarre Bible), is not the best translation. By this, I mean that in the effort to try to remain faithful to the original hebrew or aramaic, the translator comes up with linguistic structures that use spanish words, but are, to all effects, unintelligible.
There is some consensus that "La Biblia del Peregrino" is currently the best translation into spanish. But the notes and introductions are so informed by the critical method, that for me some are in direct contradiction with the Faith.
I'm currently using for study the "Libro del Pueblo de Dios", as it is the official version in my country. The translation is nice to read, and the notes are average.
In the end, I might choose to read the text from one version and the notes from another. Wich is far from ideal.
I think there might be some parallels with the situation in the U.S.. From what I have read, the most natural and accurate english translation seems to be the NABRE. But it's notes seem to be far from satisfactory. And the best notes seem to be those of the Navarre and Ignatius versions.

Javier

Matt said...

God always grants but we may refuse? Or God doesn't grant? Your pick - on the ground, it's difficult to tell.

If you look at it from the slant that God's grace is a free gift, then I suppose he always grants it. But the passage in the notes is refers salvation. I think it is possible that some people ask for salvation but don't get it because they refuse everything that goes along with that commitment.

The belief that God saves temporally (i.e., physically) is found clearly in the Psalms, especially whenever Judaism dismisses belief in an afterlife. Preservation from one's mortal enemies is hardly liberation theology

This is an interesting way to look at this note. When I think of salvation I rarely think of preservation from enemies. This note is about laying hands on the sick and not enemies but I can see how you might look deeper into that term.

Were elders laymen? They're appointed by leaders appointed by Paul (Titus 1:5); they lay hands on leaders appointed by Paul (1 Tim. 4:14). Certainly, Jewish elders in Jesus' day were laymen. What's the evidence this did not continue into the NT period?

What I object to in this note is the declaration that they were indeed laymen and that the editor implies that the sacrament may eventually be administered by laymen. Perhaps when the Church was just getting off the ground some well intentioned folks were running around mimicking the sacraments. But they weren't sacraments if that was the case.

Moonshadow said...

salvation ... preservation from enemies.

"The last enemy to be destroyed is death." (1 Cor. 15:26, emphasis mine)

Not disagreeing with your reply at all.

servusmariaen said...

I made mistake of buying this Bible online a few years ago. I was looking for a Catholic Bible with commentary included.... I wish that there was a single volume Navarre OLD and New Testament. I think there is a real need for this. I want something I can take with me. The Haydock Bible is too large.

Javier said...

Servus,

there is a single volume Old plus New Testament Navarre Bible. It is is spanish though. That's ok for me because spanish is my native tongue, but it might not work for you.

Navarre Bible

Javier

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton