A most blessed Christmas season to my Western Christian friends and a blessed Theophany/Epiphany to East and West alike next week.
I received the new catalog from Eighth Day Books yesterday -- and it was ample evidence that good things can cause bad results. My temptatioin index has gone through the roof. Here in one place are almost all the books I could want to read. (Well, not all: You can't buy the St. John's Bible, e.g.) Butwhat a collection! I set the catalog before my wife and said, "Here's my wish list for the rest of my reading life." Check it out here.
I was graced by my wife and daughter with the first volume of the St. John's Bible, Gospels and Acts. It is a very rare treat to the eyes and the soul. I have attended the traveling exhibit about the Bible project and I have sat in on the mini-lecture and film at the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library at St. John's University (at the Abbey producing the book). And I keep getting more and more excited, fascinated, and inspired by the project. Despite my initial objection to any group's spending perhaps $7 million to produce a hand-lettered and -illuminated manuscript, I am now a shameless promoter of the project. Having seen some of the actual pages, I cannot begin to describe the depth and subtlty of the work. It is pure praise of God! Check out St. John's Bible website to get a mere sense of the project.
To boast further about the quality of family, I now own, by virtue of the generosity of my in-laws, Robert Alter's The Five Books of Moses -- his translation of the Torah that attempts to capture in English the sound, sense, meter, and soul of the Hebrew original. (He writes a long essay on what that means as the introduction to the volume.) This work will be a classic, too. (It is another title unavailable from Eighth Day Books, but use your Barnes & Noble discount card to get it there -- it's set in the Judaica section, not in the Bible section: Go figure! Or save lots of money and get it from Amazon.com. )
Now that I have commercialized Christmas, let me note that these books will enhance your spiritual health, even if they lighten your wallet.
A most blessed season to you!