Thursday, December 29, 2005

Shameless Commerce

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 )

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!


Brian said...


I too received the 8th Day Catalog... It is amazing that something like that could make me salivate as if I were in a pastry shop. BUT THESE would be much better for me! At least until my wife finds out.

In The Parish

Dwight P. said...

Yeah, Brian, I understand completely. My wife sort of sneered and offered to throw the catalog away! So I sneaked it to my office where it will be safe -- and then I went out (really) and bought the staff donuts! What a coincidence with your post, eh?

Happy New Year -- and a blessed Theophany next week.


Pastor Zip said...

re: Alter's The Five Books of Moses -- most interesting.

Sounds just like The Five Books of Moses by Everett Fox, published in 1995 by Schocken Books, which has this nice little back cover blurb.

"Fox's translation has the rare virtue of making constantly visible in English the distinctive Hebraic quality of the original,k challenging preconceptions of what the Bible is really like. A bracing protest against the bland modernity of all the recent English versions of the Bible." The blurb writer? Robert Alter, Professor of Comparative Literature, Univeristy of California, Berkeley.

What gives? Any hints as to why he's published his own version a decade later?