So the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible won't be finished until 2030 or what?


#1

The last (quasi-)official word I can find on the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible Old Testament is from May 2014 here. Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, allegedly said in an email that he hoped to have the complete ICSB published by Spring 2016, and he reiterated Ignatius’s intention to publish it in a single volume.

But since then, Ignatius has only managed to publish one Old Testament volume per year: Job in 2014, Judges & Ruth in 2015, 1 & 2 Samuel in 2016, and Joshua in 2017. Looking at the Old Testament books yet to be released, I would estimate that Ignatius has at least a dozen volumes left to publish. Which, at the current rate of progress, would put the finished book around 2030 at the earliest. I’ve read rumors that most of the annotation text is actually finished and something else is holding up the production, that Scott Hahn is just too busy, that they can’t find orthodox Catholic scholars to review and edit Hahn and Mitch’s work, and on and on, but none of that seems confirmed.

Has anyone heard anything from Mark Brumley, Scott Hahn, or Curtis Mitch regarding this project? I know a lot of people are patiently awaiting the finished study Bible. It would be great if we could get a frank and transparent update about the release schedule. Is publication realistically going to pick up any time soon? Or is it going to continue to limp along at this speed? Or might the project be abandoned entirely? Is the plan still to publish a single volume edition? Anyone want to email Brumley or Ignatius customer service and ask?

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#2

I doubt you’d get a straight answer, but you’re welcome to try. Not because it’s a big secret but more likely because they just don’t know.

I’d venture to guess that the Old Testament volumes don’t sell as well as the New Testament volumes. So it may take them longer to foot the bill for the production. Add to that the fact that the Old Testament is, like, 4 times bigger than the New Testament, and that’s a recipe for waiting. That’s pure speculation, though.

I don’t think they will leave the project unfinished. I will just count it a happy surprise once it finally is all released. :slight_smile:


#3

It’s an ambitious project for TWO guys, whoever they are. The NAB had many contributors and I think that version involved the work of translation. Here, perhaps, Hahn and Curtis are taking the RSV-2CE translation as it is and working things out to create a study Bible out of that.

They would certainly run into copyright problems if they used wording that others had used in previous commentaries, so they are walking on eggshells. I think the NT version is a fine study Bible but it is limited in several ways. Nobody I know is even talking about making a concordance for this study Bible, although the Ignatius NT study Bible does have one. So, that’s an extraordinary resource that would have to be completed also.

The Jewish Publication Society began a project to publish commentaries on each of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures, and I’m not sure what that timetable is, except that what people are actually working on won’t be finished until 2025 (God help me to live that long and to study it). It took 10 years to write the 500+ page commentary on Genesis. A commentary is a quantum level above a study Bible. If you’re young, you might want to start buying into that collection as your income permits. Even these commentaries leave out topics.

While you’re waiting, I’d suggest The Jewish Study Bible from Oxford Press, in the second edition, last I heard. It’s the 1985 translation of the Tanakh, which shows the places where the text is less certain than you will see any Catholic Bible admit.


#4

Joe 5859 and psalm90 -

We all know it’s a huge undertaking to write a commentary on the Old Testament; no one here is underestimating the amount of work involved. The issue is that the president of Ignatius Press himself in 2014 seemed to think the project would be completed within 2-3 years, but then Ignatius only published a tiny fraction of the Old Testament over the course of the next four years. Obviously something changed, but Ignatius and Hahn/Mitch have never explained the massive slowdown publicly.

If they’d said from the beginning “Hey, the ICSB OT is going to take a few decades to complete, so be patient,” we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But that’s not what they said. They said “we think it’ll be done by Fall 2015 or Spring 2016,” and then they didn’t even come close to hitting that target.

I know I’m not entitled to an explanation. But it would be nice to have one. Or if they don’t want to actually explain the slowdown, it would be nice to at least get an update. Something like “Yes, we’ve run into production delays. It looks like only one or two volumes will be released per year for the foreseeable future.” Or whatever the case may be.


#5

This is something I would like to know the answer to as well. There are very few sincerely faith-affirming, popular-level commentaries, and the Ignatius Press OT would have made a welcome addition to that small field.

I sent Mark Brumley a friend-request on Facebook, and will try to private message him if he accepts. Maybe I can politely ask for some sort of an update.


#6

Ah, I get what you’re getting at. Yes, it would be nice to have an explanation. To be fair, Brumley was responding to someone’s personal email and probably did not anticipate it being posted online and thereby creating expectations for a much larger group of people than the individual he was talking to. He may not be eager to offer further explanation that could again change a dozen times for a dozen reasons.

Having known people involved in Catholic publishing, it doesn’t surprise me to see things delayed. Usually, I’m more surprised to see something come through on time. :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

Hey now, they’ve actually scheduled another release for this year! If they keep up this breakneck two-books-per-year pace, they may actually beat the NABRE 2025 to publication after all…


#8

I wonder if things might pick up. I feel like it went that way with the New Testament. It seemed like a slow slog through the Gospels and Acts and the first few letters of Paul, but then all the sudden the rest of the letters were out. Maybe I just stopped paying close attention, though. :o


#9

From a business/production standpoint, for a commercial entity (I presume Ignatius is one), albeit Catholic, this is completely unacceptable.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, but part of doing it well is also doing it within a reasonable amount of time, not two decades. Put it this way: if my child was born when they started work on the first volume, he would be at least in senior high now, probably yelling that I don’t understand him and that he hates me.

Like, people have died while waiting for this thing to finish. If one person is not enough, then throw some resources at it. This is part of business.


#10

Once you get through them most of the New Testament books are short though. On saying that if the books are being done in order, once Ezekiel is done I think the Old Testament books also get much shorter.


#11

There was almost a 30 yr. wait between the NT and the OT for the original D/R. :wink:

The circumstances aren’t much different either. In both cases just a few men were doing the entire work. However with the Ignatius Bible, since the NT came out in 2010, it would be almost 2040 before the OT appears if it followed the D/R schedule. :smiley: But I am sure it won’t be more than a few more years.

Of course the big problem with the D/R was lack of money to publish overseas for an English readership. The entire Bible was ready in 1582, but the money never materialized until 1609 for the completion of the OT.

It’s hard to say what the hold up with the Ignatius Study Bible is. Maybe the scholarship is done, but other contraints are holding it back. :shrug:


#12

I’m 64. Converted at age 49. I’m not a theologian or scholar but I have taken two courses at Franciscan distance learning and I am a college graduate. I may or may not still be alive when this thing is finished, so I think I’ll go back to a good evangelical Bible and use my NRSV Catholic Women’s Devotional Bible for introductory notes to the Deuterocanon. I’d rather risk the heresy in evangelical Bibles than the heresy in the NABRE footnotes, introductions and essays. I know I can ignore the footnotes but it just irritates me. And beauty and quality are supposed to be important, right? Catholic Bibles are uniformly ugly, including the Didache with the hideous front cover and alligator green. (Catholic Women’s Devotional Bible is a nice exception and it’s small enough to tote around as a supplement to another Bible with a better translation, although that’s not ideal.) I want a nice, single volume with brief intros. and orthodox notes, a Bible that I can “live in” as they say. Floppy cover, sewn binding. Is that too much to ask? Catholics can’t seem to understand you can have a devotional Bible with good historical material in it as well.

Can you tell I’m really P.O.'d?


#13

In fairness to the Didache Bible, they only chose that color because it matches the color of the Catechism, which is what the Bible relies on for much of its footnotes. :o


#14

I don’t think you are asking too much, although you are very specific in your requirements. My standards are pretty high too when it comes to Bibles, and I think there are lots of good quality bibles out there with orthodox notes.

I even have the NABRE Personal Study Bible, which has some troublesome notes, I agree, yet it still is for the most part orthodox. It’s not my “go to” Bible, but I do think it has much to offer as far as current scholarship is concerned. To be fair, it is helpful to understand current scholarship even when reading the notes of the Ignatius Study Bible. That Bible tries to put the current scholarship into perspective, whereas the NABRE has a more heavy handed approach (unfortunately.)

I doubt Ignatius Press would hold up their translation/notes for reasons other than those which are beyond their control.


#15

Good point Joe, about matching the Catechism.


#16

Yeah, it’s frustrating because the complete Ignatius Catholic Study Bible could serve as a general-purpose Catholic study Bible, something that (depressingly) we don’t really have. We have some themed and devotional Bibles. We have the NAB with its footnotes, but they’re too inconsistent and sparse, and too slavishly deferential to the historical-critical method, to count as an ideal study Bible for the average Catholic. There are NAB-based Catholic study Bibles (like the Oxford), but again, they draw from almost nothing but the historical-critical method. The Didache Bible’s notes are (obviously) almost entirely catechetical. There is no single-volume Navarre Bible, and the Navarre Bible doesn’t engage all that much with textual and historical stuff anyway.

The ICSB covers a wide swath of topics and approaches. It has textual notes, historical notes, catechetical notes, devotional notes. It engages historical-critical stuff, but balances it against things like the witness of the early Church Fathers, the work of conservative Protestant scholars, and earlier generations of Catholic scholarship. It is the only candidate for a general-purpose Catholic study Bible.

It’s just such a necessary book. I wish Ignatius Press and Hahn and Mitch would prioritize it over other projects. But I suppose it’s probably not that simple.

And yeah, what is up with Catholic Bible publishers? Saint Benedict Press has nice “ultrasoft” synthetic covers, but no sewn bindings. Baronius Press has all sewn bindings, but no genuinely flexible covers. Most of the other publishers content themselves with paperbacks and hardcovers and maybe some low-quality bonded leather. Where is the genuine leather (or even a nice synthetic) with sewn binding? And is it really not profitable for one Catholic publisher to bother making a truly premium (i.e. goatskin) Bible?


#17

And yeah, what is up with Catholic Bible publishers? Saint Benedict Press has nice “ultrasoft” synthetic covers, but no sewn bindings. Baronius Press has all sewn bindings, but no genuinely flexible covers. Most of the other publishers content themselves with paperbacks and hardcovers and maybe some low-quality bonded leather. Where is the genuine leather (or even a nice synthetic) with sewn binding? And is it really not profitable for one Catholic publisher to bother making a truly premium (i.e. goatskin) Bible?

I HATE flexible covers!! :mad: (personal preference) For example, I sent back the Leather bound Ignatius Study bible (in flexible covers) in preference to the ordinary hardback.

But sewn bindings and good quality leather (on stiff boards) is what I like. :slight_smile:


#18

I agree–the Ignatius bible is so necessary! On the subject of beautiful Bibles (admittedly, as I am a woman, Bibles that appeal to women in this case)–I just got the She Reads Truth Bible in the CSB (Protestant) version. Even though I prefer flexible covers, the hardcovers are just delightful to hold and view. It’s primarily devotional but has historical chapter intros, some footnotes, unfortunately no cross-references (but wide margins for journaling), maps,
charts, devotional/catechetical notes, artwork, topical index, a Bible-in-a-year reading plan (if it were Catholic we could do the lectionary like Catholic Women’s Devotional Bible does).

This is a delightful Bible. I hope some day ecumenical work will progress enough that a Catholic version of this can be produced. And get this, in their promotional literature, a Protestant bible, this is what they say: The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth.

Beauty, goodness, truth.

In a Catholic version properly promoted, this would fly off the shelves. Same with the scholarly Ignatius bible. The whole Bible–one volume. :shrug:

Go to Christianbook.com and look up the She Reads Truth bibles, then click on the video. Yes, there are different Bibles for different purposes, but this one is gorgeous. We need something like this as Catholics!


#19

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