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The Orthodox Study Bible

The Orthodox Study Bible (edition 2008)

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Title:The Orthodox Study Bible
Info:Thomas Nelson (2008), Hardcover, 1824 pages
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The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today's World by Thomas Nelson



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I was very excited when this Bible was released, but I have found a few issues with it. First, a technical note: the tiny gutter really is annoying, I can’t imagine trying to use it in church to give a reading, perhaps they can produce a “pulpit” version next? In general, I find most “study” Bibles to exhibit very poor scholarship, and this one is no exception unfortunately.

The Author/Date/Theme sections beginning each book are generally not worth the paper they are written on. The “Date” section is the worst offender. It would have been far more useful to change “Date” to “Setting” and say that a particular book is “set” during a certain time. For example, Genesis is said to have been “written during Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness, in the time between the crossing of the Red Sea and the entrance into Canaan.” Oh? Based upon what evidence? Not only is this information not useful, adding nothing to the text of the book itself, but it is quite questionable and misleading. It would have been far better to say that Genesis is “Set” during the time of the earliest history of the world until Israel’s entrance into Egypt. Also Daniel, never a fun book to date, but the OSB says “Traditionally thought to have been written during the Babylonian captivity (603-530 BC).” Never mind the fact that this is another example of the overuse of the passive voice throughout the OSB, but who are the people who “traditionally thought” about the dates Daniel was written? I can’t think of anyone in Second Temple Judaism or ancient Christianity who was interested in such a question, much less put forth a “traditional thought” on the subject. The only “traditional thought” which assigns such a date to Daniel are those who hold to verbal plenary inspiration, which is a rather peculiar Protestant construction which has little to do with Orthodox traditional thinking. Since this note also applies to Susanna and Bel and the Dragon it opens the distinct possibility that academia will simply hold the OSB up for ridicule, and on this point they would well within their rights to do so.

Also, I found many notes to be rather strained and ignorant. For example: Jeremiah 2:13 “For my people have committed two evils: They forsook Me, the fountain of living water, and hewed for themselves broken cisterns, unable to hold water.” The note reads “In both the old covenant and the new, the problem is the same: people forsake God, the living water, and damage the cisterns or containers, the places of God’s dwelling. As Orthodox believers, therefore, we adhere both to Christ and His Church.” Besides the awkward prose and the unnecessary comma in the first clause, this comment misses the point of the verse entirely. First, a cistern is not a container. Cisterns are large underground sealed caverns built in order to store water from the rainy season in order to have water in the dry season. Second, where you have “living water” you do not need to have a cistern. Living water unceasingly flows up from the ground, you don’t need to store it. Simply put, there are no cisterns in Dan. Such a thought is just silly. Third, it misses the connection of this verse to John 4, where Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, as she is drawing water from a cistern, that he is “living water.” Fourth, I think it is profanity to equate a cistern with God’s dwelling place. God’s dwelling place is the Temple, not a cistern filled with old, dirty, and stale water. Nothing in the rest of the Bible supports such an equation of images. In short, living water is good, cisterns are bad, having living water but building cisterns anyways, and leaky one’s at that, is an image which shows the stupidity of Israel’s unfaithfulness.

I also think it is unfortunate that Archimandrite Ephrem’s critiques were not the least bit engaged with. Sure, parts of his critique were subjective, a matter of personal taste, but other parts were spot on. He’s a good scholar, and a great Christian, ignoring him is rather inexcusable.

I would like to see us work towards a Revised version (ROSB?) which uses the research of the NETS and is less dependent upon “traditional” Protestant understandings of the Bible. ( )
  SWagnerWassen | Jul 6, 2012 |
Just simply the BEST Study Bible EVER!
NKJV can be problematic to perceive in times, but nether the less, it's a Study Bible and it's Orthodox. And the History links and the Church Father's quotations are priceless. ( )
  USSangel85 | Aug 7, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nelson, Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sparks, Jack Normanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
St. Athanasius Orthodox Academymain authorall editionsconfirmed
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The Orthodox Study Bible : New Testament and Psalms should not be combined with The Orthodox Study Bible : Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today's World. The former includes only the New Testament and Psalms; the latter adds the Old Testament.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0718003594, Hardcover)

The FIRST EVER Orthodox Study Bible presents the Bible of the early church and the church of the early Bible.

Orthodox Christianity is the face of ancient Christianity to the modern world and embraces the second largest body of Christians in the world. In this first-of-its-kind study Bible, the Bible is presented with commentary from the ancient Christian perspective that speaks to those Christians who seek a deeper experience of the roots of their faith.

Features Include:
Old Testament newly translated from the Greek text of the Septuagint, including the Deuterocanon New Testament from the New King James Version Commentary drawn from the early Church Christians Easy-to-Locate liturgical readings Book Introductions and Outlines Subject Index Full-color Icons Full-color Maps

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:11 -0400)

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