Most helpful critical review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
the Catholic Study Edition (NAB (New American Bible) and the RSV Bible which are all excellent in many aspects
on July 14, 2014
Friends, blessings to all; Catholic, and non Catholic alike. This review was written for another study Bible but as you read it you will see its application here.
The following are comments regarding another Catholic study Bible, The Navarre Bible (Gospels & Acts) with text and commentaries but the comments do relate specifically to the Catholic Study Bible (NAB) (as well as other co related books) and what I consider to be some problems I have with it.. Please have patience and bear with the first section dealing with the merits of the aforementioned Navarre Bible but my comments on the NAB Catholic Study Bible are directly related to it and will appear soon.
First, the quality of this Bible (Navarre) with text and commentaries is a treasure and has become my main study Bible.The humility in not showing the names of the scholars directly involved impressed me right from the start, as well as the fact that the project was initiated by Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of the University of Navarre and of course Opus Dei . In addition, in the introductory section the mention is made that all those involved prayed for help to the Holy Spirit in its creation. Sadly, it is rare to see these spiritual aspects of humility particularly with the lack of it in some contemporary scholars more interested in their own ego, notoriety and of course, money.
Regarding the last remarks i certainly do not want to be perceived as cynical or negative but rather as a realist and a Catholic with some major concerns. Anyway,to continue; I have been using the Douay- Rheims Bible, the Catholic Study Edition (NAB (New American Bible) and the RSV Bible which are all excellent in many aspects.
However, in a way of comparison and as a thinking point, speaking as a North American reader (from Montreal, Canada , (quite a strong Catholic area at one time but affected by the modern ills of secularism, materialism, atheism, etc.)). I am disturbed by the potential effects regarding the quality of scholarship (and I might add spirituality) of the NAB Catholic Study Edition as well as of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible series of books (Dr. Scott Hahn is a named co editor, I believe, of most or all of them.Please correct me if I am wrong.) and .. This is not meant as a review in their exegesis (i.e.,"an explanation or critical interpretation of a text" (Merriam Dictionary definition)) of these noteworthy Bibles. I am in no way commenting in my review on exegesis directly something for which I am not well equipped. Hopefully my comments will not offend my fellow North Americans, particularly Americans.
My point for thoughtful (and prayerful) consideration is this:
The finest Catholic education in higher learning, in my humble opinion and based on prayer, insight and just plain common sense, comes from the worldwide Pontifical universities which are "academic institutes established or approved directly by the Holy See, composed of three main ecclesiastical faculties (Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law) and at least one other faculty." (from Wikipedia, only one of many other and better sources but useful here).
My general opinion is that the best scholars in Catholic studies come from these universities. Canada has one Pontifical university in Ottawa while the USA has a good number more (Incidentally, my undergraduate education (sadly, not majoring in Theology) was spent at Boston College, one of the aforementioned Pontifical universities.
i am not qualified to comment about the exegesis regarding the aforementioned Bibles (again that is rightfully addressed by those selfsame scholars from the Pontifical universities and, as we all know, everyone is entitled to their opinion but some opinions certainly carry a lot more weight than others.
Note: The following is in no way anti-Americanism or in the specific case of Dr. Hahn a personal attack on him ,for whom I have a great deal of respect. However, many of the scholars involved in my comparison do not have the best academic credentials. The American scholars for example are specifically named for various sections of the Catholic Study Bible (NAB) and very few have any Pontifical university education (a surprise to me considering , as I previously said the US has a good many pontifical Universities), particularly Dr. Scott Hahn who is extremely popular , has written many books, and is a fine communicator.
My point in the proverbial "nutshell" is simply that I would rather place my reliance on a Bible with the best possible scholarship, diligence and spiritual inspiration,etc.. I do not favour a tendency ,particularly in the US, to popularize and inject personalities.This is not a movie where the credits list everyone involved with the work nor just another book with named editors, etc. This is commentary on (in my opinion the world's greatest sacred book, The Holy Bible. I humbly advocate the use of anonymity and the placing of "principles before personalities" (as well as of course my previous point of the best Catholic scholarship).
I have tried my best not to stir controversy here but rather some points for thoughtful consideration in critical reading. As opposed to the Navarre Bible with text/commentary the aforementioned Bibles have gotten many 5 star comments particularly from US readers. Incidentally, to my US friends i do hold US citizenship as well as Canadian and Irish. My critical comments come from a friend and hopefully will be taken in that spirit.
God's blessings to all,
Mr. Bryan J. Ledoux