Friday, July 27, 2012

Apocrypha-Lutheran Edition?

It is good that CPH is finally publishing the Apocrypha. It seems, however, that it will be in the modern ESV translation. Also, some of what is said in the CPH web page on this publication is disingenuous. For example:

For more than 100 years, the Apocrypha has been left out of English versions of the Bible. Concordia Publishing House is proud to announce the 2012 release of the first and only ESV edition of the Apocrypha with notes and annotations by Lutherans.

The second sentence in that quote does not follow logically from the first, for it could almost give the impression that CPH is reversing the century old trend of leaving the Apocrypha out of the bible, when in fact, this publication still leaves the Apocrypha out of the bible. It merely continues the decades long American trend of printing the OT Apocrypha in a separate volume.  Doing so in the ESV, and doing so with “Lutheran” notes, these are the things that are different.  Yet it remains the case that this new CPH books continues the American tradition described in the first sentence of the passage quoted above, a most unhealthy, uncatholic, and unlutheran tradition.

When I want to read the Apocrypha in traditional English, and I usually do, I open my King James Bible, which I obtained from Cambridge University Press before I started seminary, and it still serves me well.  At other times, I like to consult my RSV Bible with the Apocrypha, a modern English version which has stood the test of decades of use, and, frankly, of rather ecumenical usage.

Let CPH publish the King James with Apocrypha, and a modern English bible with Apocrypha, whether RSV, or their trendy ESV.  And add as many new Lutheran notes as you like.  Then we will have real progress toward a healthy evangelical and catholic appreciation of our biblical heritage among our people.

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