I don’t always read Jim West’s blog because he is apt to come up with some some very disturbing notions for my tender female soul. For example, he recently informed us that dogs don’t go to heaven. I wanted to ask, “How do you know?” as I ruffled my pets’ silky fur and velvet nose. In any case, that is my excuse for missing out on reading about this project.
- Our leading idea is to enable the reader to read the Biblical text along with the history of its reception. Behind this is our awareness of the importance of the role of the reader in determining the meaning of texts—a role that has been much emphasized in recent hermeneutical reflection and literary criticism.
The page itself is meant to show three things that are new to the Jerusalem Bible: First, the irreducibility of several versions of the same book (or of the same passage of a book); second, a greater awareness of the literary meaning of Biblical texts, besides their plain historical or doctrinal meaning; third, the new importance given to reception history in literary studies—this matches up with the rediscovery of patristic commentaries in exegesis. As in earlier forms of the Jerusalem Bible, the new edition will also situate the Biblical text in its ancient context or contexts.
In brief, we aim at producing a study edition of the Catholic Bible targeting a scripturally educated public. It will present the texts themselves in their diversity, framed by an enriched annotation divided into three main registers.
1. The first, ‘Text’, will include all the notes dealing with the linguistic and literary description of the text, from points in textual criticism to more literary remarks.
2. ‘Contexts’ will group notes dealing with archaeology, history, geography, realia or texts of the ancient world and cultures, relevant to the production of a Biblical text.
3. ‘Reception’ will be the largest zone of annotation; it is to comprise the most important readings of the text throughout history, starting from intertextual echoes in parallel texts (in the canonical Bible, in Jewish tradition, or in aprocryphal works), and continuing to some of the most important readings, including the Church Fathers, medieval Latin and Orthodox theologians, Syriac and other Oriental writers and Protestant Reformers.
4. The top left corner of each page will present the reading proposed by the exegetes in charge of the book as a result of all preceding notes.
We envisage two forms of publication, one on paper, the other online. Obviously the latter makes available possibilities of presentation and consultation that cannot be envisaged with traditional means of publication.
Jim has posted an update here. I am sure this is old news but just in case you haven’t seen it yet…. It sounds as if it will be the definitive annotated text. This is indeed what we have been looking for.