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Monday, November 3, 2008

This is the Best Review of the OSB I've seen thus far

As seen from Orrologion's blog.

"A Review in Progress (October 26, 2008)

by R. G. Jones

I received my hardback copy of the Orthodox Study Bible (OSB) in June 2008, having ordered it from in January. Was it worth the wait?

At the moment, the jury is out. I had hoped for a modern translation of the Greek Old Testament in English with the books in their proper order and all the parts in place. In their “Introduction to the Orthodox Study Bible,” the editors note that “in Orthodoxy’s 200 year history in North America, no English translation of the LXX has ever been produced by the Church.” From what I have seen to date, that statement may still be true: this translation abounds with errors, at least in Genesis and Exodus, as the table near the bottom of this page will demonstrate. When I began to compare the OSB Old Testament with the Greek, I suspected I would end up quibbling about a few passages on the grounds that the patristic understanding had not been taken into account, but end up recommending the work. I didn’t consider the possibility that the editors would permit so many plain mistakes to be published.

What other options are there? Charles Thomson’s translation (available from Shekinah Enterprises), though printed nicely in about 11.5 point font, uses archaic language and omits several books. But my primary objection to it is that it is too free. Lancelot Brenton’s translation (Hendrickson Publications) is literal and includes the Greek text alongside the English, but the font is small (about 8 points), the books are out of order, the language is archaic, and there are a few errors. (Personally, I don’t mind the archaic language.) A New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS) is available in .pdf form online and in printed form from Oxford University Press. I have yet to examine it in detail, but my initial impression is favorable. It is certainly much more accurate than the OSB in Genesis and Exodus. The Eastern Orthodox Bible looks promising, but the Old Testament will not be published before the end of 2009 at the earliest.

Though far from perfect, the OSB has commendable features, and the prospective buyer will likely want to hear both pros and cons. I searched the internet for reviews and found a few, but those I glanced at focused on theological issues. (The OSB is bad because it was produced by converts. The OSB is bad because the icons are too American. The OSB is bad because it includes an article on justification, an Unorthodox topic – by which logic St. Cyril of Alexandria was Unorthodox as well: see his Commentary on John, book 4, chapter 6. And so on.) I’m more interested in the readability of the book itself and the faithfulness of the translation to the patristic tradition.

So, to get started, you should know a few things about the book."

To read the rest, please go to the website.

Eventhough this OSB may have some flaws, I still like it anyway. And besides, we all know this isn't going to be the final edition. But it's good to know what the mistakes are now, so when the next one comes out........everything will be resolved. People have to remember that the OSB was done willingly without pay by people who really wanted to have a Study Bible of their own. They set aside the time from their bizzy lives to actually get this thing done, and I'm sure the next edition will also be a labor of love too.
With the funds made from this edition, there should be no problem in having the money to produce another one.....some years in the future.



Tony said...

I've heard the "Too many converts worked on it" excuse as well, but in all honesty (and I don't just say this because I'm a convert myself) we shouldn't snub our noses at fellow Orthodox just because they're the "new guy". Besides, some of these converts are well respected Orthodox scholars - Timothy Ware, any one?

Jnorm said...



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